Ever been in a situation where someone around you says something and your gut instinct kicks in and you cannot help but wonder “what the fuck” (WTF)? Why did this person say that? I bet that often when this kind of thing happens, you cannot say those words out loud can you?
What would change for you if you decided to change the question? I was in a Management 3.0 training class last week in Ottawa and one of the participants, Ellen Grove, a fellow agile coach, told us how she did just that. She replaced it with a question so powerful she actually wears a bracelet with WTF engraved on it to remind herself she needs to keep asking herself that question.
So tell me, what new possibilities open up for you when you transform WTF from “What the fuck?” to “Where’s that coming from?”
Does it open the possibility to show compassion for someone? Does it open another way for you to deal with the same situation? Does it offer a possibility to learn more about someone and try to see the world from his or her point of view?
Starting with the assumption that people react to how the world occurs to them, can something as simple as changing your reaction to such situations change how these same situations occur to you? If that is true, what else could it change? Could it change the perception of the people around you or could it also change how these people perceive you?
When you start to wonder, “Where’s that coming from?” it allows you to approach the world from the perspective of Curious George and come from a position of openness and compassion instead of judgment.
So the next time you are in a situation where you have an uncontrollable urge to scream out loud “WTF!” I invite you to take a deep breath, change the question and see what opens up for you!
Remember that leaders should say WTF way more often or at a minimum regularly ask themselves “Where’s that coming from?”