In my last post, I asked the question, “What if you’re right?” What if the stories you’ve been telling yourself about a situation or person turn out to be true?
Now, I’m of the opinion that this is seldom the case (else, I wouldn’t have written a book that aims to edit or eradicate The Stories We Tell Ourselves.) But there are moments in our lives when our intuition strikes the center of the dartboard.
So, what should you do when the stories you’ve been telling yourself about someone else turn out to be true?
Take these steps: stop, corroborate, and listen.
1. Stop: Even if your assumptions seem correct, don’t keep building a tower of assumptions. Pause the stories you’re telling yourself based on your intuition until you’ve had the opportunity to proceed to Step 2.
2. Corroborate: Have an information-seeking conversation with the other person in question. Seek out their side of the story to see if it corroborates what you’ve intuited. This may require some careful handling on your part depending on the issue at hand. You can never fully know if you’re right unless the other person is able to corroborate your assumptions.
3. Listen: One of my favorite quotes is from Suzanne Wallace: “Listen to learn. Speak to be known.” Your job in assessing your assumptions is to listen to learn. Don’t judge or argue when hearing the other person’s story. Rather, listen with the goal of hearing their side of the story as objectively as you can.
These three simple steps can help you confirm some stories you’ve told yourself that have turned out to be true.
But if you’re right, don’t boast—you’ll be wrong soon enough.