Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Smiley“I want you to be more friendly.” “That doesn’t sound like a doable, present-tense, positive request.” “Well, it sounds positive enough! I want him to be more friendly.” “Sure, I get, that friendliness is really important to you. You want more friendliness in your life. So what can you ask of him that would bring more of that friendliness?”

“I don’t know. Just a smile on his face when he first sees me in the morning. Maybe ‘Hi sweetie, I’m really happy to see you this morning.’” “Oh”, he says in this calm, understanding voice. “Just a smile and ‘hi sweetie, I’m happy to see you this morning.’”

I feel awkward. It sounds silly when I hear my friend reflect me back. Childish. What is the big deal? And yet, when I imagine my husband greet me in the morning with a big smile of delight, because I’m there and expressing his joy with those words, I do feel warm and happy. Something about appreciation. There is something important about that.

That’s what I like so much about visiting the Netherlands. All those smiley faces of my parents, my siblings, my family and friends. Because I am there. So much celebration of my existence. To know that I matter, that my being here makes a difference.

And I want that here too, in my own home, every morning. My husband greeting me with a smile “Hi sweetie, I’m happy you’re here.” And isn’t it funny how translating the broad concept of friendliness into a doable, positive, present-tense request increases the likelihood of me getting what I want?

It doesn’t sound so foolish anymore. Rather sweet and important.


Contact me if you want to learn how to make doable, positive, present-tense requests 512-589-0482

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