Interpretations Often Lead to Poor Decisions
Interpretations are what coaches like to call “energy blocks.” They are an opinions or judgments that you create about an event, situation, person or experience that you believe to be true.
The problems with interpretations are many. The first one is that your interpretations are so subjective that you don’t usually realize that you are making a false interpretation. An event can occur that others see as a “non-event” and yet you see it as a negative event. These interpretations happen frequently in the workplace.
Take the example where the boss comes in everyday and passes your desk. When she does she gives you a big, professional smile and a hearty greeting. But yesterday you made some small mistake. Maybe you misdirected a phone call. Maybe you forgot to answer an email on time. Perhaps you quoted a customer the wrong price on a product.
Today the boss comes in and walks right past your desk without saying a word. What does that mean? Well, it could mean nothing at all. It could mean that the boss had something very pressing on her mind and just had to get to her office in a hurry. It could be that the boss was under such pressure that she was having a bad day. Or it could be that the boss was upset with you.
This is a perfect scenario for false interpretations to come into play. Because you know that you made a mistake you are sure the boss knows about it, or even more importantly, is upset about it. It is making you nervous and anxious. It is affecting your performance, your productivity and your personal satisfaction. You are certain that the reason for the boss’s behavior is your actions.
Your satisfaction level is going to be directly impacted by the interpretations you put on events or the actions of others. When, in reality, those interpretations are almost always incorrect. I like to think that there are three interpretations we can put on any event. The first, of course, is the negative interpretation. That is the worst choice. The second is a positive interpretation. That is a good choice but it takes time and energy. You have to come up with a way to re-frame what has just taken place.
In the scenario above you could also consider that boss was not thinking of you at all but had something else on her mind. But what?
I like the third choice of interpretations. That is don’t think of it at all. The boss walks by and doesn’t say anything. So what? You have work to do. You have a job to fulfill. It really doesn’t make a difference one way or the other. You cannot control what the boss was thinking. You can only control how you react to it. That is what is important.
As a speaker I work with organizations that want their people to learn how to work and live beyond fear. Interpretations and how to re-frame them are a big part of my role as a speaker.
I always appreciate your comments. Feel free to join in the conversation. And if you like this please share it.
Don’t be the victim of your own interpretations.