A Question of Priorities, not Character

question of prioritiesSadly, of late, I’ve been barraged by some family members who don’t understand what I do, what I am going through & the major changes I am trying to make. It upsets their natural order of things – they very much don’t like unpredictability.

That’s ok, I am working on a big, evil plans (not affiliate), mohwahhahaha. Not very many people understand, or appreciate.


In the process, I’ve uncovered a huge communication gap, one that I see with many people (myself included).

At the core: Not asking – just assuming. Just assuming people think like you do, and they are at fault when they don’t read your mind and do what you think you would do.

Here’s a story:  I sat with a friend and listened to him discuss all his frustrations with people & why can’t they just do the right thing. He’s clearly going through a lot but some of it is manageable by modifying / managing the thinking process. I struggled with finding an example for him – but the perfect  example came loud & clear today. Remember the ‘barrage’ I mentioned above? Well this morning, as I went to bring in the trash cans, a certain someone started talking about the wilted peony plant, & how could we have had a yard waste can out for trash pickup when the wilted peony is still there.  A whole world war broke out over said peony between said ‘certain someone’, and another family member about my ‘lack of care & attention’ in removing the peony. 

To be honest, I never even noticed the wilted peony. Ever.  It was never in my line of sight.

It was at that moment when it struck me that this was the perfect example for my friend!

I didn’t see that peony because of my filters and priorities, not because I was being negligent, lazy, incompetence, or possessing a lack of character. I am in the middle of implementing some of those evil plans, and have lots of balls up in the air. BUT – had someone asked me to remove the wilted peony, I gladly would have made the time to do it.

Apparently though, the general consensus was that I should not have to be asked. I should not have to be told. I should know the ‘right thing to do’.  Because  I ‘slacked’, means that my character is flawed.

Everyone has their own sets of priorities, and therefore, their own agendas, focus, and filters. Because of those individual priorities, different things are attended to at different times.  They cause people to see and filter out different things. It doesn’t mean they don’t know how to do the right thing. It’s question of priorities, not character.

You cannot assume the other person thinks like you, even about something important, or even surrounding a question about work ethic. When priorities and agendas, and therefore focus, are different, then by default what gets tended to when, and how, are different. An individual’s actions are not necessarily indicative of character, but of priorities, agendas, and focus. Therefore, you cannot assume the other person thinks like you or holds the same things as important.

Had someone simply said to me:  “hey, when you have a minute (or by the end of the day or some other time period), can you cut down the peony?”,  then this would all have been handled, and graciously handled. It would have been a non issue, and this post wouldn’t exist.

When we expect people to think like us, be like us, and read our minds, then communication issues and tensions arise.

This same situation exists when we don’t let people know when they’ve crossed a line in some way with us.  Most people don’t they’ve done something to upset us. They can also be so wrapped up in their world, that they don’t even notice our reaction (so they can read our mind).

A major portion of my upcoming book is on communications, being proactive and emotionally intelligent to specify, to set expectations, and to clarify / follow up. (I know, I know, I can just hear some of you saying “But people are adults. I shouldn’t have to tell them ‘this or that’.” To that I say, if you want better results, you need to be the proactive communicator, setting boundaries and expectations, and being clear.)

Most people will do what you ask, if it’s reasonable, clear, and specific. And, it’s up to you to followup to ensure they understand, agree, and deliver.  Even then you may still encounter issues, because let’s face it, people are an unpredictable lot, and they have their own opinions.

When you take the steps and measures to be clear and concise, and act accordingly, you will have assumed all the responsibility you can to ensure results.  They may not be the results you are expecting, but you have done your fair share, and cannot beat yourself up for it.

The next time someone doesn’t do what you want, ask yourself: did you drive the communication or did you expect someone to think and act like you?

What other communication tips do you have? Leave them below in the comments.

To your success,



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