Focus On the Person, Not the Label
Who Are You Putting in a Box?
This week I seem to be confronted with evidence of how often we put people into boxes. In business, we talk about niche-ing; in politics, we make assumptions about a person based on their affiliation to a party or candidate; in my Facebook feed, people were dissecting the world according to personality type—from where I sat, it looked a distinction between humans and lesser humans!
We all do it to some extent. When we walk into a room, we peel ourselves away from, or towards, people based on an identity we imagine we have—as a newcomer, and old-timer, a parent, as two women alone in a room of men; or maybe we choose to divide over our sports team; where we live, or even the model or make of our car.
While it can be helpful to find connection with those with whom we feel a shared language or shared values, there's also a danger that the labels we use divide us more than they unite us.
It's easy to find something in common with someone else—and yet we fail to see the biggest connection that we all share...
...that we're all people; and we all have 'stuff' going on underneath the surface.
The greater—more important—connection that we share is that we're all human, we all love, we all have feelings, and we all face insecurities.
Why not, this week, look at the person across from you with compassion. Rather than looking for what divides you, look for what connects you. And then, reach inside and share a little love with them. We all appreciate it.
P.S. I know this talk of 'love' this can be unfamiliar in business and professional environments, but connection is the heart of communication—if we can't connect, we can't understand, and we can't be understood—which means we can't create a shared experience at work, at home, or, indeed, anywhere in life.