People Will Treat Us The Way We Train Them To
Updated: Oct 1, 2018
A couple of years ago I met a very successful business owner here in the state and I knew right away that I wanted to get to know him better. I was very impressed with what he was doing and how well his company had grown. This was a company he had started only 4 years earlier and they now had over 100 employees. This man seemed to understand business at a deep level and he had all sorts of connections in what seemed like one of the best networks in the state.
I was lucky enough to get his ear for a little bit and he agreed to meet me when I asked him if we could grab some breakfast. He asked if I could do the following Tuesday at 7:00 am at a spot he liked in Draper, about 30 minutes from my house in Provo. I told him that would be great and I appreciated that he was obviously finding an hour in his busy schedule that he normally wouldn’t be working.
The night before our breakfast I was out late with some friends and when my alarm went off the next morning at 6:15 I decided that I could hit the snooze and still make it with plenty of time. Next thing I knew my alarm was going off again and I couldn’t believe how tired I was. I justified in my mind that it would be ok to be a few minutes late and if I hurried and got ready after then I could sleep for another 15 minutes. I hit the snooze again.
Finally, at 6:30 I got up and I sent him a text saying, “Looks like I’m going to be running a few minutes late, I should be there by 7:15, hopefully that’s ok.” I was fully expecting him to reply something like, “No problem, I’ll see you when you get here.” That is not what happened.
He sent me a text back and it is a text that will forever change my life, change my mind and help me to realize the value of one’s time. He simply said, “Sorry Jimmy, I keep a tight schedule and had set aside this specific time to meet with you. Let’s try and get together next month.”
At first I was just kind of shocked. I’m not sure if I was more shocked that he had cancelled or that he was so damn disciplined, but either way I loved it. I thought, “Here is a guy that knows the value of his time and he’s not going to let some punk like me screw up his day because I didn’t have the discipline not to hit the snooze button twice.”
Eventually a few months later we had a meeting and now he is a great friend of mine and someone I continue to have the benefit to learn from on a constant basis. I’ll forever be grateful for the lesson that he taught me that day. The lesson was simply this:
“People will treat you the way you train them to!”
In life, it can be easy to fall into the trap of allowing others to treat you poorly. Whether that is in a relationship with a loved one or at work. We excuse the behavior because “that’s just how they are” or we say things like, “It’s not really a big deal.” But here is the thing, it is a big deal. It is if we want to have great relationships in our lives.
A few months ago, a friend relayed to me that his wife had become very cold and short with him over the years. She would nag at him and call him names when he was simply trying to rekindle some kind of passion in the relationship. Through a long and somewhat painful conversation he admitted to me that he had allowed this to happen over time because he didn’t want to upset her way back when.
I explained to this friend that his wife probably didn’t want to be bitchy to him any more than he didn’t want her to be that way. But she did have some bad habits and on some level, she had lost respect for him. I explained to him this principle of training others how to treat us and then we decided on a plan to start a change in his life. He would respectfully start to train her to treat him differently.
A couple of weeks later he called me and said, “I just had the most amazing experience and I wanted to tell you about it!” He then relayed a story that had just occurred with his wife that he needed to tell me about. She had come into the room when he was working on a project on the computer and had rudely called him a name and told him what to do. His response, “Try again!”
She didn’t understand at first so he repeated, “Try again! We love each other and we respect each other. That’s why we don’t talk to each other like that. I’m happy to help you but you need to try again and talk to me like a man you love.” She smiled. For the first time in a long time her man had demanded the respect she probably was dying to give him.
If somebody calls your phone and you aren’t able to answer the last thing you should do is pick it up if they call right back again. In this scenario you are training them to call you until you pick up. If you are answering your phone all day every time a call or text comes in, you probably won’t get much done. But if you set aside time to get back to people you will notice that you will be much more effective. And people won’t mind, they are very open to this as long as you eventually do get back to them. But don’t train them to call until you answer!
When we let other people dictate our lives we end up with a life that we didn’t necessarily want to have. So instead of saying yes to everyone that asks for you time and attention, instead of allowing others bad habits to negatively effect your life; decide what you will allow and what you won’t. But know this, you are the one training other people how to treat you. Be like my friend Cody from breakfast, demand respect and you will get it. The other people in your life will appreciate it as well.