If being Thoughtfully Fit® was just about your relationship with yourself, things would be so much easier! However, our lives are built on relationships so at some point we must also focus on others.
Since I started developing this model, I have been trying to incorporate it into all areas of my daily life. While I have a lot of practice being Thoughtfully Fit with clients and my team, I still struggle with my own family. Recently my sister sent me a text that made me really frustrated. I felt like she was judging my parenting, and so I decided to pause before firing off an angry response. In the meantime, she enlisted my dad for backup when she didn’t immediately hear back from me. Now I was even more angry—first the judgment and now tattling?? We’re in our 40s! To top if off, I was mean to my dad when he called to ask me about it (which, yes, I realize makes NO sense), and I froze my sister out.
This is a pattern that has played out thousands of times in my life, and I just walked right into it. That’s what is so challenging about relationships—we’re often having to override our default on multiple patterns and habits at once. In the end, everyone was mad at everyone until we could get a little time and space, and then we made up. It turns out my sister’s intention was good and coming from a loving place. I just got triggered and didn’t respond in a thoughtful way.
But what if you could get it right the first time, and spend less time apologizing?
It’s still about you!
Last month I talked about focusing on what you can control—you! And you know what? This is true in relationships as well. While obviously there are at least two people in any relationship, the truth is you are still the only thing you can control. So, when we are looking for deeper connection, less conflict, or more teamwork, we have to manage our OWN behavior and not try to control anyone else’s. Which is often easier said than done!
When we start working on relationships, if we pause and think about the other person, often we are able to act in a way that is more thoughtful, and more likely to get us the outcome we are looking for.
Okay, so maybe it is a little bit about both of you.
Being Externally Thoughtfully Fit®
While it is true that we can only control ourselves, the three external components of being Thoughtfully Fit are about strengthening your relationships with others. They are: Flexibility, Balance, and Agility. We’ll go deeper into each of these in the future, but here’s the essence of each one:
- Flexibility is stretching for full and unconditional acceptance of others.
- Balance is finding harmony by balancing your wants and needs with another person’s.
- Agility is being able to respond effectively instead of react instinctively.
Don’t start with your mother-in-law!
We all have some relationships that are more challenging than others. So, my advice to you is to start flexing your external Thoughtfully Fit muscles in low stakes relationships. You can practice with an ornery customer service person or unhelpful sales associate. From there, you can graduate to people you interact with occasionally, and then move on to your most complicated relationships: your spouse, boss, siblings, coworkers and kids. Hot Tip: Do not start with your mother-in-law!
So what do you do? Again we’re going to use our Thoughtfully Fit core muscles: pause—think—act. If you’re feeling triggered, pause. Think about what you want, why the other person may be behaving the way they are, and then make a plan of action. If you have to do it in the moment, just try to quickly center yourself before responding. If you are in a situation where you can take time to think, do it! Work to identify actions that are more likely to get you to a win-win outcome.
Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em
Over the coming months we’ll be providing you with lots of tips on how to build strong relationships with all the other people in your life, because although we don’t always want to live with them, we know we can’t live without them.
Thoughtfully Fit® is a leadership model to help you lead your life and your relationships by increasing your self awareness and choosing how to show up for the strongest impact. To continue the conversation, feel free to leave a comment or visit our Facebook page.