I was preparing runner beans for cooking and my husband suggested that I use the peeler rather than the knife for the first stage in the preparation process. Now my immediate reaction was to say ‘no thanks, I’m fine’ and then I started to think about his suggestion! Now some people might recognise this response either in themselves or other people!
What I did then was think about why my immediate reaction was to say ‘no, thanks’?
- Was it because I don’t like change, even to this small degree? This didn’t fit in with my usual response to change, which is open interest if not positive enthusiasm. Part of my core value ‘well-being’ is to be open and curious, as well as enjoy learning.
- What about habit? This felt like part of the story and, after all, it did work fine. However, this still didn’t feel like the whole picture.
- How about my connection with my mum? I thought about the fact that my mother taught me this approach to preparing the beans and by changing it unconsciously I might feel I was being disloyal to her. Or would making this change mean another link would be lost between my mother and me (my mother died in 1998)?
Once I worked through all this, I recognised that making this change is not a negative reflection of my love and appreciation of my mother. It was just a thought that I had made up and not reality!
So I had a go at the proposed new approach and it was definitely easier and quicker! Now I have another warm connection with my husband and no loss of true link with my mother (I know, just my thinking again!).
So what did I learn?
Well, these sort of thoughts might also impact others when suggestions are made about how to do things. The link may be to your justifiable pride of past efforts and/or to other people who were important to you.
The practical results of this learning are:
- to keep alert of times when I say ‘no’ to a suggestion without much thought (or only consider one option) and take time to come up with other options. This may help me find more options from which to select;
- when being asked to assist in developing strategy and plans to instigate change, I now consider what attachments there may be to the past;
- consider how any, if not all, of my core values can support me in such situations; and
- if asked, suggest the same approaches to people I coach.