If you consider yourself to be polite, this article is an invitation to rethink your politeness as opportunities to get to know yourself better, and to grow. People often reach out to me via my coaching website. I receive two requests within 24h from the same person… with two very different projects. The two emails intrigued me and their combination confused me: they both seem exciting but I couldn’t see the connection between the two.
As a coach, I’m excited about these projects so I want to learn more. I invited her for a short conversation to untangle the projects:
I’m confused but interested. Let's block 30 mins to have a quick Skype call, so that you can tell me more in person. Here's a link to block some time to talk.
Instead of receiving a booking for the 30 min call, I received a long email with more explanations. I read attentively and was still confused by the connection between the two ideas… so I replied with the same message as above with an invitation for a 30 min call.
She replied to my second request to block time for a Skype call with an opening line that inspired this article:
Before we make a Skype call, I’d like to make sure we don't 'waste' your time.”
After telling me about not wanting to waste my time, she wrote a long email that left me in the same state of confusion I was in before.
As a coach, my job is to observe the language people use because with the words we use, we build the world that we live in. The sentence “I’d like to make sure we don’t waste your time” is very interesting because the moment we take responsibility for others, it is a sign that our thoughts are all muddled up.
The reply I sent her contains a few nuggets of wisdom that may be useful to you:
You say "I’d like to make sure we don't 'waste' your time"
I have read your email, and it's still confusing. I don't have more time to spend reading your emails. I understand your good intensions, but by giving in to your fears / lack of self-worth and anxieties, you are not following my instructions (i.e. book a 30-min call) and as a result you are wasting my time.
Be fearless - by giving in to your fears, you are doing exactly what you wanted to avoid.
Have faith - by not trusting me (i.e. following my guidance and instructions), you are not allowing me to do my best work.
Use this link to block 30 mins to have a quick Skype call, so that you can tell me more in person. Here's a link to block some time to talk.
When you're worried about "offending" someone or "wasting their time", it is a sign that you are scared of something. "Being polite" is often our way of hiding behind our fears… and it is something I got caught up in for many years.
Turn away from "being polite" and focus your attention on "what scares you?” / “what is the worst that could happen if you were fearlessly yourself?”.
When you are clear about what scares you, you can start heading straight towards your fears.
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear;
after that, you are free." Jim Morrison
- When were the last 3 times you felt the need to be polite / you made sure you were being polite?
- What were you scared would happen if you weren’t being polite?
- If you weren’t being polite, what would you REALLY want to say / do differently?