Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Singin' 'Bout Da Brick House

Yesterday I was in Columbia, SC, doing a presentation for the young leaders group of the South Carolina Association of CPAs. A good group; smart people. Most of these folks are late-20s to mid-30s.

Usually, I start the leadership presentation off with this quote:

“Looking back in time we are in debt to the leaders
Angels of mercy every one.
…if you look in the soul of everyone they can be found.”
Heroes
The Commodores, 1978

I like it and find it wonderfully illustrative of the fact that everyone leads.

Before or after the quote I make the crack that they sure didn’t think they’d start off their day with a line from a song by the same group that sang, “Brick House.” (It’s about how attractive a young woman was, but we’ll get into that at another time.)

Ok, if you are of a certain age…saaayyy…over 45, you probably get that and it’s funny.

But, it hit me right before the program that most of the folks in that room probably never heard of The Commodores and surely never heard the song, “Brick House.”

So, I didn’t use the quote.

Trying to understand what someone else’s frame of reference might be—based on age, health, life situation, or other marker—is a good start when trying to communicate and relate.

Unfortunately, we don’t do that often enough. We don’t say it, but most of us assume (or hope) down deep that most folks think, act, and believe the same way we do. If so, it makes it easier to exist with them.

I have two good friends who are seriously ill. Their frames of reference are very different than mine. They are looking forward to each day while I’m looking ahead into the months and years they probably do not have.

Slow down a little…what joys, sorrows or challenges might the person near you be experiencing?

What is your frame of reference?

Through what lens do you see life?

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