Loosening Labels Create Connections

What is your go-to morning beverage?  

Decades ago, if you offered me a cup of tea, you heard a prompt, “no, thank you.” I held a less than favorable opinion of tea.  

My ideas about tea may have been formed without even trying tea, or from one or two experiences. Quite frankly, I do not remember. Tea and I were just not a match at that time in my life. 

At some point I changed my mind. Now, I enjoy a cuppa nearly every day.  

The tea itself remains neither good nor bad, nor right nor wrong, in all times and places and spaces. Tea is just tea. It may be a match at some times for some people and not a match for some people any time.   

The same may hold true for you and the folks in your business or organization. Neither you nor they are necessarily “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Humans are just humans. Each brings a unique skillset, set of life experiences, and personalities.  

Some may be a match for a specific role, department, team, or organization. Some may not be a fit for a particular position, and some may not fit with the organization at all.  

So often in conflict, I see folks wanting to show or convince how one person is so “wrong” or “bad.” 

Viewing or approaching things differently does not make someone “bad” or “wrong.” Labeling folks as such may make life seem a bit easier. It often avoids the joint responsibility to understand or clarify, rather than label or judge.  

Labeling misses the opportunity for connection. When you judge someone, it proves difficult to connect. Connection happens when engaging with clarity, compassion, and curiosity.  

Clarity involves remembering that each person has reasons for their views, and ideas about where they wish to go. It may align with your mission, vision, or values or those of the organization, or it may not. When you know your values and they remain top of mind in what you think, say, and do, it makes it easier to discern what fits or does not fit. When you align actions with core values, on the path to achieving your mission and vision, you may decide who will be with you on that path and for how long. Like that cuppa tea, they are not bad or wrong for not joining you for all or part of the journey.  

Compassion recognizes that you know only a limited amount about this person in this moment, and folks have a whole set of experiences that lead to this very moment. When coming from a place of compassion, you notice the full feeling human before you and recognize their underlying needs. Of course, whatever you experience about the person is limited to your experience. Just as you are so much more than any given moment in your life, so is everyone you encounter.  

Curiosity wonders about someone or a situation in a way that asks engaging questions. Engaging questions typically begin with “what” or “I wonder” with a wish to increase the level of understanding. Curiosity recognizes that you do not know the full story. It allows you to lean into the unknown mystery with a bit of wonder. 

Labeling something good or bad with little information may sometimes make life seem easier. It may also disconnect you from something lovely and wonderful.  

All humans hold some things in common, as do all teas. Yet, your experience with them may change from day to day or decade to decade. 

Likewise, humans may show up differently at different times and different places based upon their own thoughts, feelings, experiences, and needs in a particular moment that may have little or nothing to do with you. Labeling someone based upon one experience, or experiences confined to one setting, does not take into account all of the information available about them.  

Like my opinions about tea, you may form opinions about people you have never met, or only encountered on less than a few occasions. Opinions are only opinions. They do not represent the full truth about anyone. 

My first opinions about tea were just opinions. If I held fast to those original notions and labels, the nice cuppa lemon ginseng, chai, or a lovely sweet and spicy concoction does not pass my taste buds these days.  

Whether it is your beverage of choice, the people on your team, or the organizations to which you belong, you may loosen the labels. By loosening the labels, and engaging with curiosity, compassion, and curiosity, you respect humanity while discerning who or what is a match for you. 

Looking to loosen the labels and create more connections in your business, team, or organization? Find a time for a virtual cuppa by clicking here. 

What thoughts or ideas do you have about the people around you? 

What labels are preventing you from appreciating the full human before you? 

What if you loosen the labels and approach with clarity, compassion, and curiosity? 

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Most widely known as Lonzo's human, mediator, speaker, and author Sherry Ann Bruckner works with leaders and organizations to create peace, resolve conflict, and transform visions into results.

From her twenty-plus years' experience practicing civil and family law, and her own personal experiences with silence and violence, Sherry Ann understands how much inner peace impacts outer peace. A graduate of Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and William Mitchell College of Law, she also studied conflict resolution at Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Sherry serves as a neutral on matters ranging from bias and employment discrimination to marriage dissolution and caring for aging parents. A speaker and trainer on the global stage, Sherry gives you and your audience practical skills and the confidence to use embrace your personal power to create peace. Through helping thousands of people navigate their way through conflict, and finding her own way to inner peace, she shares the transformational power of clarity, compassion, curiosity, and cribbage.

Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or give her a call at (320) 808-3212.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

Be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.