For the last several days, I’ve been living in DetailLand. Unlike DisneyLand, where everything is fun and thrilling, DetailLand is more like my own personal hell. Nothing fun and thrilling about having to read my book for the fiftieth time – checking every single word to make sure each period, space, spelling, comma, verb tense, and countless other details are correct. Fortunately, my book formatter has an eye for detail and caught many of the errors. The final version has been submitted for technical review. We are really close to publication!
But my biggest fear is NOT about the book going out with mistakes. I’m quite sure the final book will have mistakes, even after we combed through it so many times. I can live with that.
My fear is more personal – and irrational. It’s having to give away the secret of the ways I have jumped to conclusions in the past. This morning, my husband Russ asked me if he were in the book. “Of course you are,” I said. I reminded him of the “soy sauce” incident (Chapter 11). He had completely forgotten it. Maybe that was lucky for me. It was one of the times I completely failed to make an “elegant pivot”. I would like for people to forget my embarrassing moments!
So many of the times where I assumed positive intent (which is the core idea of The Elegant Pivot,) the event started with me NOT being so gracious. All too often, my first thought is the one I don’t want anyone to see. I share a lot of those “first thoughts” in the book. When I would catch myself and respond with a more measured “second thought” of assuming positive intent, things went better. And part of me likes to hide the ugly part.
Another part of me realizes the reality of our human minds. It’s natural to assume the worst – at first. Life is safer that way.
My book will show you both just how human I am and a way to navigate conflict and difficult conversations that transformed my life.
When I say things like that, I wonder if it’s a bit of hyperbole. But maybe not. I got a message on LinkedIn yesterday from Donna Basden, Chief Operating Officer of Lovelace Medical Group at Lovelace Health System. She mentioned a podcast where she had given me a “sincere shout out” in an interview she had done:
This next one is one that I was introduced to about 12 years ago by Lynn Carnes, who is an executive coach, and it’s one that I certainly wish I had come across earlier in my career. And that is consistently assume positive intent. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I’m gonna honestly say that this practice changed my life and it continues to be a tool that I not only use myself daily, but that I use as I mentor other leaders. When you’re tempted to be judgmental or defensive, or take something personally, it’s so important not to react, to pause, to recognize in that moment that there’s a choice that you have. So you can change the story, even if the intentions were negative, by assuming positive intent and really acting on that. Your response often can transform negative to positive intent.
In that quote, she beautifully summarized the whole point of The Elegant Pivot.
Notice how she said she uses it in mentoring others? That’s the other point of the book. Assuming positive intent does not come naturally. It helps to have someone help us make up better stories.
That’s why I’m going to do something just for the subscribers of The Coaching Digest. About a month after the book comes out, I’m going to host a Zoom mentoring session, where you can bring your live case studies of situations where you struggle to assume positive intent. We will work through them together, just as I do with my clients.
As subscribers, you will also get free access to the digital version of the companion workbook I’m working on that will be published within the next few months.
Hearing what Donna had to say, combined with several of my own moments of truth in the last few days, has helped me get over my hesitancy to give the go ahead for publication. My fear of looking bad has to be set aside – because I really do believe that when we catch our first thought and respond from the high road, we make things better.
If you know someone who might want to join the Zoom mentoring session or get the companion workbook, you have my full permission to forward this blog to them. We have an easy link to subscribe to The Coaching Digest below.
Stay tuned – I will be announcing the publication date very soon!