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Assume The Best

Originally posted: August 27, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

You never know when you’ve heard something that will stick in your mind forever.  I had that experience a couple years ago when I was working as a HR Director at Fleishman Hillard, Inc.  One of the most memorable experiences during my time there was a HR learning session we put together called “Team Leader’s Unplugged”.  In this session, our bosses were on a panel and fielded questions from the HR team that we had solicited anonymously prior to the session.  It was interesting how much we learned about them professionally and personally by keeping them a little off guard with the questioning.  The one specific quote that has remained with me from that day was something my team leader, Lisa, said.  She said the best advice she could give someone is, “Assume the best.”

Assume the best.

It sounds simple enough, but it is far too easy to see or hear something and immediately have your suspicion raised.   You begin to judge based on a limited view of the facts of a situation or the motivation and context around a situation.  It happens every day in the workplace, at home, in stores, and anywhere people gather.  I fall prey to this thinking sometimes too.  But, it’s amazing how often Lisa’s words ring in my ears in situations that appear on the surface to be negative.

Assume the best.

It’s a test to hold yourself accountable to trying to really assume that the person in question really did have good intentions.  It’s challenging to sometimes stop and think why someone is making the choice they are.  Why?  Because it’s easier to make a quick review of a situation on the surface and assume the worst.

So, my challenge to you is this….assume the best.  Not just today, but every chance you get.  I promise it will change the way you think and react to many situations.   Do you have any phrases that you think about often that impact  your reactions and behavior?  Share them in the comments.

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