Why Can’t We All Play Nice & Get Along???

Why is it that in some groups, in some situations, people get along. In fact, people thrive! They’re willing to be vulnerable, to be open, to be honest, to take risks, to set their egos aside, and to respect other people’s points of view. It’s not rocket science is it.

Recently I attended a camp run through Rotary International for my 14th year in a row. The camp is designed to help teens develop leadership skills, build self confidence and work in teams. With 60+ teens, and 20+ youth and adult leaders, the potential for chaos is great. Yet, at this camp, something magical happens each and every year. Don’t get me wrong, we have our casualties as well, and some students end up going home prior to completing the weekend.

But there’s an “intention” at this camp to make things work. And when people set an intention, a purpose if you will, and their behaviour is consistent with that intention, good things tend to happen. At this camp, for example, we really emphasize stepping out of our comfort zones and taking risks, both physical and emotional. Now clearly, if the leaders were not willing to do this, then how can we expect the students to do this? The notion of “do as I say, and not as I do” comes into play here and it just doesn’t work.

Yet, my experience is such that many organizations, groups and families function under that very philosophy. If we step into my career development world for a moment, how can we as career practitioners expect our clients to do anything different in their lives, take risks and step outside their comfort zones, when we don’t? What credibility do we have by insisting that they do all the work and we remain locked into our “usual” unchanging lives?

Look in the mirror and ask yourself…”Where do I do this in my life? Where am I asking people to change when I’m not willing to?”

And speaking of hypocrisy…