Trash the tropes

“Pay peanuts, get monkeys.” The bumper sticker philosophy was coming from the bearded man in 16B to the lady in 16A. I was seated in 16C. He was referring to the flight attendants on our Southwest flight. His proverb came before the jet had even pushed back from the gate. I hate sayings. “Old chestnuts” like that bristle. So, I decided to check his narrative against reality. The verdict? The FA’s on our flight were kind, speedy, helpful, cheerful, and professional. It was a great experience. My bearded seat mate’s saying ended up saying more about him than the people working hard to make our flight a success. The whole thing informed my own new saying. “Narratives create expectations.” I just made that one up, but, I like it already. You see, the micro narratives we tell ourselves based on past experience should not be relied upon as absolute truth. Why? Because bumper sticker philosophy creates expectations that may not always line up with reality. Besides, these sayings are usually sarcastic and negative. Try trashing the tropes. Go in open to what could be. I bet you will be surprised.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on May 24, 2019

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