Assuming the Best Intentions

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on this notion recently, and the impact it has not just on relationships but also on self awareness and new knowledge.

Recently I was challenged by my  coach regarding my motives and intentions.  At first I was offended.  Who did this lady think she is?  Why would she assert that my motives were about me and not about purely supporting others.  We have a few conversations and now she thinks she knows me better than I know myself?  Please….

In the moment I refuted her challenge and the conversation moved on.  But her comments stuck with me for days.  I couldn’t shake the frustration, and then it hit me.  If a comment stays with me, there may just be something there for me to work through.

I had assumed she was trying to call out a weakness to keep me in my place.  But it wasn’t so.   She truly had the best of intentions when she asked the question.  She wanted to help me see what could be a blockage in my development.

So I trusted her intentions and have been devoting time to journaling, meditation and prayer over her question.  I have come to acknowledge that her question had some substance to it, and I need to be aware when supporting others to check my motives at the door.

This experience has taught me more than just about my underlining motives.  It has taught me that when individuals ask questions our natural instinct at times is to become defensive.  That defensive mechanism can come from not assuming the best of the questioner.  That perhaps they have ulterior motives.   And honestly sometimes the individual does have ulterior motivates.  But what if we took back control and reframe it.

What if we were to step back, take a breath, and assume that this question is coming with the best of intentions. That they want the best for us, our team or our company.  That they aren’t threatening or are threaten by us, but they want us to achieve what they see as a real possibility.  It may just shed a new light not just on how that individual values you or values the company, but also on new understandings within yourself, your company, or your team.  Really it opens you to the possibility of all kinds of new knowledge.

When we assume wrong intent we immediately close ourselves to all opportunities for growth. Don’t rob yourself of that!  It will keep you in a cycle of frustration that just isn’t productive nor necessary.  Instead, take a step back, breathe, and assume positive intent.  You may just be amazed by what you discover.

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