Wednesday, May 06, 2009

job search notes: Honor yourself

You Teach People How to Treat You
by Christine Kane

There I was in Web Guy's office.

Christine He was having a moment of overwhelm. He complained that clients were calling on weekends and late at night. No one was honoring his schedule. He was frustrated.

I told him what I learned many years ago. It's a fundamental truth that has served me (and my coaching clients) immensely. It is this:

You teach people how to treat you.

His eyes lit up. He couldn't believe it was that simple. And the more we talked, the more excited he got. (I refrained from calling him Grasshopper.)

So, what does it mean?

It means that it all comes back to YOU. It's up to you to allow or not allow certain treatment. It also means that you have to get clear about how you want to be treated. It means that you have to take responsibility for writing your own Owner's Manual, and hold yourself accountable for living by it.

Here are four steps for teaching people how to treat you.

1 - Start by Knowing What You Want (and What You Don't Want)

Pick an area of your life where you want to be treated differently. Describe how you'd like to be treated. Or, write about what you don't want.

For instance, when I first began to apply this work to my performances, I knew that I no longer wanted to stay in hotels that scared me. (Promoters often lodge musicians in dives.) I had to start there because I didn't yet know how to ask for what I wanted.

You'll probably have some obvious beginning points. For instance, if you're tired of people wasting your time with latest office drama, you might decide, "I don't allow people to gossip in my presence."

Simple? Yes. But it's amazing how many of us allow these kinds of interactions without ever making necessary changes.

2 - Learn from your Current Situation

Ask yourself how you've allowed certain behaviors from others.

Choose one situation where you feel mistreated. Ask yourself how you allowed this to happen. You'll be amazed to see that often you choose to ignore your own needs or desires.

This process can show you where you get triggered. For instance, you might be tempted to say, "Well, I don't have a choice! He makes me feel guilty if I don't do it his way!"

Bingo! There's your trigger. Guilt!

Acknowledge that you allowed the situation so that you could avoid feeling guilty. Then, recognize that guilt is a trigger that will tempt you to ignore your own Owner's Manual. This is a valuable awareness to have.

Back to my hotel room example:

I had allowed years of unacceptable treatment on the road because I had a fear of being called a "diva," and of losing gigs. Once, when I told a promoter I wanted a different hotel, she retorted, "Everyone stays there! No one has ever complained before!" I felt myself shrink. "But all the kids are doing it!" is a trigger. I saw the trigger, and I was able to honor my needs in that situation.

3 - Honor It and Practice It

This is a process, not an event.

It's not a one-time thing. When you've taught people how to treat you one way, it can take some time to change that pattern.

One reason people struggle with this is that they wait until they're triggered before they attempt to set boundaries. Try not to communicate when you're in a highly charged emotional state. Most likely, you're not teaching people how to treat you. You're probably blaming them and making yourself into the victim.

Instead, wait until you get calm, then start with Step #2. Take the necessary course of action to right the situation.

4 - Teach YOU How to Treat You When That's the Only Choice

Not everyone is going to honor your requests or your clarity. Sometimes it'll have to be YOU who treats you well.

In my hotel room example, there were times where contractually, I couldn't ask for a better room. So, I opted instead to pay for my own room and move myself to a better hotel. "I don't stay in hotel rooms that scare me," means that I don't allow it. Period. If I don't honor that, then I won't feel safe with me.

You must include yourself in your equation. If you've told your clients that you don't take business calls on weekends, then don't make business calls on weekends.

Honor yourself. This is the best way to teach people how to treat you!


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at

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