We were at a strip mall and were on our way to meet my wife when my son asked “Dad, can I get a hot chocolate?”
I asked him where he wanted to go because there was not a place in sight. He told me Starbucks. Now I was impressed because he was 3 years old at the time and Starbucks was at this shopping area, but not anywhere he could see.
I explained that we were here just to pick something up quickly and then head home. I let him know that his mom was waiting for us. He politely acknowledged what I had said and then told me he understood.
For about a minute he was quiet and then he spoke.
“Dad” he said and then paused.
“Yes.” I responded.
“You look like you could use a cup of coffee.” He said.
I laughed. I laughed hard until my stomach hurt. What a clever child. He knew that I was not going to go to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate. But he knew that I enjoyed coffee and so he focused on me. He stopped thinking about what he wanted and started thinking about what I wanted. And he made the sale!
Whether it is a client relationship, a co-worker, your boss, your neighbor, or even your arch enemy take a moment to think about the world from their perspective. Maybe there is more common ground then you think. Sit on your agenda for a moment and be curious. Who knows maybe you will make more money, develop a stronger team, grow a challenged employee, create an innovative breakthrough, or solve a global issue. Or maybe you may become a better friend. What do you have to lose? Regardless, if you want something from someone else; you must change yourself first. It is all about them first. And that path will lead to you. I know it is not linear, but it works.
Get out of your own way and see what happens. This is the lesson that my son’s story reminds me of everyday.