Chapter 9

Start with a Positive Assumption

We see things not as they are but as we are.


It's Over before It's Begun

It's 10:45 on Wednesday morning. So far, your day is going really well. You've crossed three important things off your to-do list and you're rewarding yourself with a lattee. You are sitting at your computer working on a few finishing touches to the big presentation you have to give on Monday when your e-mail alert flashes in the corner of your screen.

All you see is the name. But that's all you need to see. It's from that person: the one person on your team who just rubs you the wrong way. The person who makes your heart rate spike and your palms sweat. Maybe it's because they have always been critical of your work. Maybe they have been downright mean—or maybe just aloof. For whatever reason, you have never felt valued by this person.

Can you think of someone on your team like that? Try to conjure up how you actually feel when you interact with them.

You take a deep breath and open the message.

Figure 9.1 Wednesday Morning E-mail Opened—Negative Person


How do you feel?

When I ask this question, most people say things like “defensive,”“worried,”“angry,” or “annoyed.” But no matter whether they feel anger, sadness, or fear, all agree that they are dreading 3:00.

Now imagine 3:00 comes. How will you behave? Will you sit with your arms crossed looking down at ...

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