It makes sense to include people rather than exclude them. But when we fail, when things don’t go right for us, the last thing we feel like doing is letting people into our lives. But that’s the time when we absolutely have to let people in. Rather than exclude people from our lives, it’s the time when we have to include others.
Let me give you an example: I was speaking in the country recently and there was a farmer, I’ll call him ‘Alan’, in his early 40s, the prime of his life, but he felt like a failure. His wife came up to me and said, ‘Pete, I really want you to talk to him, I’m really worried about him. He’s very upset, but he’s shutting everyone out.’
Alan’s father and grandfather had been farmers and they’d run the family farm successfully. But times are tough in the country, as we know, with the drought and the economic downturn. Things weren’t going well for Alan.
But it wasn’t his fault! He was focussing on things he can’t control. He can’t make it rain, he can’t change the economic downturn. But he can change himself, he can include people, include his wife, say to her, ‘Hey, I need you at the moment. Can you be there for me?’
And maybe what he’s experiencing right now is an opportunity. It’s a chance for him to say, ‘Right, I’ll go and spend more time with my kids, or I’ll go and coach the local junior footy team.’ He can say to himself, ‘I’ve got a wife who loves me – and I can focus on the things I can do, rather than what I can’t.’
Where you can, include rather than exclude in your business, or your sporting team, or your family. Because when you make someone feel important and valued they feel included. They’re part of the team, they can share in your goals and what excites you. They’re in the game.
Okay Pete, you might say, how do I actually do this? Well, it’s blindingly simple. Ask these four incredibly powerful words: What do you think?
If people get the chance to tell you, they’re going to feel their contribution is valuable, that it matters.
Sometimes it’s our kids who do this so much more naturally than we do. On Father’s Day, my son, who’s 24, who is overseas, texted and called me, telling me how much he loved me, that he missed me and that the time we’d recently spent together was just so important. I felt included in the journey of his life – and I know that’s because I’ve spent a lot of time and effort over the years loving him and including him.
We’ve got to start asking ourselves better questions. And the one that keeps coming to me, the one I feel people need to ask is ‘How I can include people?’ It’s not a question we naturally ask. But it needs to be. If we want to be the best we can be, we have to have the best people for us around us, supporting us, encouraging us, telling us that, yes, we can do it. We’re not on our own with this.