Last week I had the privilege of reading how one of our newest Approved Presenters has been applying relational wisdom with dozens of people, including his indecisive wife, a challenging grandson, two tense business partners, and long-term clients who had dropped him as their insurance agent.
I was delighted to see how profoundly his life was changing as he learned to weave the RW acrostics into both his personal and professional relationships. He gave me permission to share these five brief stories with you in the hope that they would inspire you to weave these simple and yet life-changing principles into your life.
To be relationally wise in all situations …
Practice the SOG Plan
- Self-aware: How am I feeling and acting?
- Other-aware: How are others feeling? How am I affecting them?
- God-aware: What is God up to?
We had our grandson (age 4) for the weekend while his parents were away. He is a wonderful young man, but he is four and can try my patience. I practiced SOG before and during the visit. Before he came, I was working on “S,” reflecting on my weaknesses and impatience and praying that I would think of myself less. During the visit, I was back and forth with S, O, and G. I tried to discern what my grandson was thinking, some of the fears he might have, and some of the adventures he’d like. It was also helpful to remember that God was ruling each moment and to look for the blessings and lessons he had for us. The weekend was wonderful. Where before I was often impatient and irritated, this time I thoroughly enjoyed my grandson!
To become more God-aware and God-engaging …
Follow a Trustworthy GPS (God Positioning System)
- Glorify God (Trust him absolutely)
- Pursue God (Seek him earnestly)
- Serve God (Do what pleases him)
I’ve spent thirty years trying to figure out how to pursue and serve God, both individually and as an elder in my church. As I reflected on the GPS concept, I realized that much of my pursuit has involved seeking the glamorous up-front roles, because I desire the respect and admiration of others. I’m often concerned about what would make me look good as opposed to what would truly glorify God. I sacrificially serve when others are watching, but then I will be grumpy when the trash needs to be taken out or the dishwasher needs to be emptied. I’m praying that God will change my heart so that my service is an expression of love for God and the person being served rather than trying to gain the attention and approval of others.
To become more self-aware and self-engaging …
READ Yourself Accurately
- Recognize your emotions
- Evaluate their source
- Anticipate the consequences of following them
- Direct them on a constructive course
I tend to get irritable with my wife when we do not have a plan. Today we were out shopping and got hungry. So I asked, “Where do you want to eat?” She replied, “I don’t know, what do you have in mind?” I really didn’t care and wanted her to make the decision, but I knew she doesn’t like to make that kind of decision. When things began to heat up, I remembered to apply READ. I could feel my frustration and knew that I could blow the whole day with a harsh reaction. So I paused for a moment and suggested options based on the places I could see on the street. Once I gave her a list, she happily picked one right away. And we had a great lunch!
To become more other-aware and other-engaging …
SERVE Every Person You Meet
- Smile (Home, office, church, store, telephone)
- Explore and Empathize (Show interest and compassion)
- Reconcile (Be a peacemaker)
- Value (Express appreciation and admiration)
- Encourage (Give courage, inspire, put wind under their wings)
I sell insurance. It’s always hard to lose customers but there are times when they really are better off with another company. I recently met with two long-time clients who had a unique situation that would be better served by another company. When we met they were clearly stressed about saying they were switching companies. SERVE was a great tool for me. I smiled warmly when we met. As we evaluated the situation, I drew out their concerns and empathized with their situation. To their surprise, I sincerely affirmed that they were doing the right thing. I let them know that even though they were leaving, I was grateful for all the business in the past and would be glad to serve them again in the future. The meeting they were dreading turned into a positive experience for all of us.
When you need to negotiate an agreement …
Practice the PAUSE principle
- Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options)
- Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others)
- Understand interests (identify others’ concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears)
- Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming)
- Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don’t argue)
I share an office with two other agents. The three of us are in the process of hiring a replacement receptionist. Since there was potential for tension and disagreement, I consciously worked the PAUSE concepts into the discussion. As we started, I made a nostalgic comment about how much I had enjoyed working with both of them over the last three years. This gave us an opportunity to share a few memories that affirmed our relationship. As we went on, I sought to understand my partners’ concerns about each candidate. This approach reduced almost all of the tension we would have normally had in this kind of meeting and enabled us to comfortably agree on the person we would hire.
As you can see, the RW acrostics are surprisingly simple. But when you practice them daily for seven weeks—as outlined in our 102 RW Personal Study Course—you can develop new habits and skills that will improve every relationship in your life.
Why not start this life-changing process today?
– Ken Sande
- Which of relational challenges described above have you experienced? How do you typically respond? How does your response usually impact others?
- If you asked the people closest to you which of the RW acrostics they wish you’d learn to practice, what would they probably say?
- How would your relationships be different if you learned to consistently practice the SOG Plan? GPS? READ? SERVE? PAUSE?
- The 102 RW Personal Study Course requires 15-20 minutes of your time each day for seven weeks. In the long run, how much time would you save each day if you improved your relational skills?
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