week #14 in an experimental year…

One of my rituals for each new year is to choose a word to influence me for the year.  My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT. To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.

I’m a relatively outspoken person.  When someone asks my opinion, I give it.  When someone says something with which I disagree, I feel comfortable presenting a different perspective.

So this week’s experiment was a challenge ~ a very good challenge.

This week I chose NOT to disagree with anyone.

It’s not that I like to pick fights.   I just think my opinion is worth at least as much as another person’s~ especially when they’re WRONG 🙂  .

Please note, this experiment did not involve agreeing when I didn’t.  It simply involved NOT disagreeing.

It was a serendipitous week to choose this experiment.  This week I got to speak with a lawyer representing someone who owes me $14,000.  I also got to speak with a representative from my computer’s technical support team.  And I had the joy of speaking with a ‘Customer Satisfaction Manager’ from my health insurance company.

Those conversations weren’t very agreeable.

And thanks to this experiment, they weren’t DISagreeable, either.

Here’s what I learned when disagreeing is removed from the table:

  • finding resolution becomes more important that being RIGHT;
  • listening becomes more important than being heard;
  • recognizing potential common ground becomes easier (albeit not always EASY); and
  • I breathe more deeply.

This experiment will stay with me.   It was humbling.  It was constructive.  It felt honest.

What does this experiment stir in you?

6 thoughts on “week #14 in an experimental year…

  1. When I saw the graphic, I thought this week’s experiment had something to do with duct tape!

    I’m glad you got through those sticky conversations agreeably- I’m not sure I’d been able to do the same.

  2. You are keeping me thinking! And I will take your words to heart during some conversations I know I have to have this week!

    In all the “manuals” for people who are “in charge” they mention the very points you touched on. I’m trying to become a better leader in my current position and it isn’t always easy. But everything I have read and heard says just what you learned this week!

    I’ll try……

  3. Let me understand this concept a little more clearly. By not disagreeing, even if you don’t agree, do you mean just not verbalizing that you don’t agree? Are you allowed to ask a question that might give a hint to your feelings? Like if someone says, “I think Hitler was a pretty cool guy, ” can you say something like, “Do ever watch the History Channel?” Or if you are face to face, and you remain silent, are you allowed to stare steadily at the person with raised eyebrows or a pained expression on you face, or maybe even roll your eyes a bit?

  4. Good grief–I can’t imagine how hard some of those conversations must have been. I think I need to try this with my husband.
    Good questions, Mary Louise.

  5. Rachel, LOL! sometimes i felt like i DID NEED duct tape during this experiment :).

    Judi, what a joy to know there are leaders LIKE YOU.

    ML, i am STILL chuckling at some of your questions ~ especially the Hitler one. points WELL made tho. this wasn’t an easy one for me either.

    Amma, good grief, INDEED!

    thanks, ya’ll!

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