It has been a difficult couple of weeks in an already difficult year. Tony Hsieh died in a fire and has been revealed as delivering far less than happiness for himself. Dave Ramsey hosted a holiday party for approximately 1,000 mask-free guests during a global pandemic and in a state with worrisome increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths. These are disappointing reminders that our role models are as human as we are.
Because I am committed to looking for the lesson or opportunity in every conflict, I naturally decided to use the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process to determine why I was feeling hurt and disappointed by these two strangers’ personal choices.
Define the Conflict
I am not sure I can support people whose private actions are inconsistent with their public actions.
Identify the Interests
I thought Tony Hsieh knew how to deliver happiness and that Dave Ramsey cared about people. I believed big business and financial success was granted to people who knew more than I do and who deserved it more. I wanted to follow in their footsteps for at least part of my journey. I need to trust myself instead of looking for a perfect role model with a foolproof plan for success, especially success as I define it.
Play with the Possibilities
If I could have this conflict resolve in any way possible, Dave Ramsey and his guests would be more respectful of laws, risks, and others’ lives. This consideration would not require more people getting sick or dying. Tony Hsieh’s followers would deliver for themselves and others what he could not.
Create the Future
I cannot control others’ actions, but I can control my own. Thus, I will:
- Follow the laws, rules, and CDC Guidelines throughout the pandemic
- Continue to support good work, even from people I question
- Focus on aligning my own private actions with my public values
Stay on PARR
As I was planning my SMILE actions and as I’ve been taking them, it has become easier to see how much this conflict was about my own behaviors. Tony Hsieh and Dave Ramsey’s failures were awakening my fears that I do not always act according to what I say I value. I might even restrain my success, so these failures are not too public. It might seem that conflicts like these are about other people, but our lives are about us. Who else could they be about?
Keep listening with your third ear for the hurts you can heal, including in your role models.
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Nance L. Schick, Esq., is a workplace attorney, ethno-religious mediator, and conflict resolution coach based in New York City. Her goal is to keep managers and small business owners out of court and build their conflict resolution skills so everyone has a better work experience. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards). She has also contributed to articles in Inc. Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, and NBC News and been a guest on a number of podcasts, including multiple appearances on SAP Radio’s Coffee Break with Game Changers.