Pssst…want to have a big breakthrough? Then pay attention to those you judge!

This past week, I was reminded in my coaching and teaching work, the importance of casting away your judgements about one another or your beliefs.

I was having a coaching meeting over coffee with a client (thank you Sammy-he reads these posts, so I am mentioning him) and during that meeting we talked about the beliefs and judgements we make when we first meet people. We do it in person, we do it online, we do it on a dating site, we do it in business or at work and we do it socially.

In a way these judgements protect us. It could be our intuition about someone that might be a potential threat or danger to us. When have you not trusted your intuition and as you first thought, the person turned out to be what you thought, a negative or hurtful individual? Can you remember an occasion or two? If so, how might you respond differently, when that inner voice pops up? Will you pay attention and then maybe be more cautious about pursuing a business or personal relationship with that person, your inner voice is warning you about?

I have a 3 strikes your out policy personally, when it comes to how I interact with others. I love the quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”!

The quote is from the late Dr. Maya Angelou and it says a lot. You need to be open, but you need to be discerning too…it isn’t an easy task to do that is it? Intrinsically, we want to be liked and get along with others but…it is not always an easy line to walk.

I do recommend you trust your intuition and like a Yield sign at an intersection, proceed with caution.

However, let’s go back to the headline of this week’s post. If you want a breakthrough, you need to cast away your judgement. This is the late, Dr. Stephen Covey stuff here…Like he said and wrote about in the book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek to understand, before being understood yourself.”

It sounds easy to do right? It isn’t. It isn’t because we have our own agenda, needs and wants we need others to fulfill…in sales it is known as the customer comes to you with a filter on…the WIIFM filter, the “What’s in it for me”?, filter.

Then from our own filters, judgements and opinions, we make a decision. That decision might be to dismiss someone, cast them away, discount them in some way. That is pretty harsh isn’t it, based on you making a judgement without taking time to know them.

Welcome to the miracle zone!

What if you cast away your judgements when you first meet someone? Who would you be? What could happen? What would be possible?

In my work, I have to make decisions about people all the time. I run a training program and we have to decide (rightly or wrongly) who gets in or who doesn’t. This is the part of the job I don’t like. But, we do need to decide and the decisions are based on a protocol that we work with and filters and key questions too. However, in some cases it is based on our gut feel, our interaction with people?

Did that person applying for the training program show up late, did they speak out of turn, did they display a behaviour that might upset the class? Do they have the skills and wherewithal to make things happen for themselves? Are they kind? Are they keen and motivated for change? These are but a few filters we work with when it comes down to making a decision for those we work with to be in our program. There are others as well…we don’t take the task of our work lightly.

However, about 15 months ago, a young man came to apply for our program and he was talking out of turn, badgering us, asking all kinds of questions, he seemed overly hyper about getting into the program we run and lead.

He wanted it badly to the point that he was strong headed and just expected to get in, because he fit the criteria for the program. As we probed deeper, he wanted to start a business that had some health and safety regulations and the way he was able to do it, could have been a disaster and he opened himself up to the risk of being sued down the road.

His badgering didn’t stop. “I really have to get into this program” he would repeat. Our reply was, that he needed to educate himself by knowing the legal and health/safety aspects first, when you do that, come back. We recommended who to talk to and where to go to do this.

We didn’t hear back for a good 6 months…then in February of this year, he called again…now inside, I am thinking, “Oh no…this guy again, the guy that won’t let go and do his homework on the health and safety regulations that apply to his business idea.”

Sure enough, he hadn’t done his homework, but he wanted to meet me again.

I thought, I can help or I can turn him away based on past beliefs, actions and biases. I chose to dispel my judgements and truly help this person out. We met. We reviewed what needed to happen for him to get into our program. This time, he listened.

This time, he acted and did his homework. This time, I listened to him, I sat with him for over an hour and gave him contacts to call, actions to take, places to explore to get him started on a new business he wants to begin!

I learned about his love for what he does, that he loves the earth and farming. That he has some clients lined up. I learned that he has calmed down since we first met for those few times last year, about 15 months ago. I leaned that he has had a tough life here in Canada, but he wants to be self-made like another individual who is a billionaire in his native India!

I learned he has dreams and wants my help to help him fulfill on those dreams. Wow…what an honour and what a task! What a miracle in the waiting!

If you take time to let go of the judgements, you can really begin to understand someone and why they are the way they are.

This prospective participant in our training program is that close to finally getting in. We are meeting this week to see if what he has done is in keeping with health and safety issues and if so, he will probably be in our small business training program.

He has taught me something…something so cool, I have to share it with you.

I have come to respect this young man and I want to be helpful in his success…but yeah, sometimes, those we meet stretch us. It is easier to judge and dismiss…then it is to make an effort to do the opposite.

This week, who do you need to not judge? What relationships can you heal, by giving, not judging, by seeking to understand before being understood? What filters do you need to sift through to understand someone’s truth?

Make it a great week.



David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in helping small business owners mine their strengths, get clear on their value, their markets and then begin to develop a sales and marketing game plan that gets results.

He also can be booked to do his keynote presentations; “The 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear that life and business might throw your way. He leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs. David is currently with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program for inner city youth and adults. He has taught thousands and coached numerous clients in the area of Small Business Start-ups and business growth strategies.