When You Assume…

Date posted: September 1, 2016

During a client call, we were talking about the importance of customer conversations — talking to members of the market you’re interested in working with to find out what they want or need; how it’s best to speak with them directly instead of offering something you think they want.

Assumptions are funny little things.

Assuming someone is too busy to help, so you don’t ask.assume

Assuming someone doesn’t like you because he or she is quiet.

Assuming your family knows what you need even though they’re not doing it.

Assuming you know why someone chose to do something they did.

We make assumptions based on our history and experiences. It’s all part of the unique filter we each look at life through. And we convince ourselves that our assumptions are the truth, with no evidence to back it up. We become so committed to our version of the story that we struggle to believe anything else.

While waiting for an oil change, I watched a woman on the Dr. Phil show speak with such conviction that her husband was poisoning her. This is the conclusion she came to based on his behavior and her perception of it. Despite the extensive blood tests done that showed no poison in her system, she stuck to her story.

Sure, that’s an extreme example but that’s the power of assumptions. They often prevent you from seeing any other option and end up causing a lot of unnecessary grief.

When I find myself spiraling in frustration, I pause to identify what thought I’m ruminating on, then I use Byron Katie‘s Four Questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know it is true?
  3. How do I react when I believe the thought?
  4. Who would I be without the thought?

So I wonder, what’s the payout to assuming?

When you choose to believe your story, you don’t have to challenge your thinking.

You don’t have to risk disappointment or failure.

You can continue to play the martyr and justify your anger.

What would be the payout to no longer assuming?

You could get the help you need.

You could deepen your relationships.

You could have cleaner communication.

You could get clear on the moves you need to make next to fulfill your dreams.

Hmmm, I’ll take “Not Assuming” for $500, Alex.

This week to honor your commitment to Live Out Loud, notice when you’re assuming and use Katie’s questions to right your course.

I’ll assume you have what it takes.

Photo credit: armatoj via VisualHunt / CC BY

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