DSC_0097 - Version 2
Principle 4. Connect through Appreciation and Ownership

First and foremost, to genuinely connect with you means that I am ready to express my appreciation for who you are -- as a whole and complete being. I appreciate your experience and your pride in the work you’ve done to get here, wherever here might be. I appreciate the goals and underlying dreams you have and the diverse talents you bring. I appreciate the way you think and feel, the adversity you’ve faced, the learning you’ve already acquired -- and the challenges you now may face. And beyond all of these things, I appreciate the person within and your potentials. In the moment, I am your advocate and supporter. I am one who can be on your side even if in reaching out to you, tthere is conflict, disagreement and a certain amount of pain.

What I am also willing to do is acknowledge my legitimate ownership of issues that belong to me. If we have had a conflict, I fully accept that I am a party to what has caused that conflict to show up. Instead of being righteous, blindly defending my side of things, I can voice my role in the problems. What I am willing to do is "undefend" myself so that it is clear in the process of crossing a trust divide, you know that I do not see myself as blameless or that I need to win. I openly model responsibility because what I'm saying is true, not because I'm trying to openly model anything. Combining my appreciation for you with my own sense of responsibility opens a door to another kind of resolution, overcoming betrayal or a sense of continuing, mutual defensivenss.

Appreciation and ownership foster a sense of equity, fairness, and mutual depth. These qualities come forward as a genuine request for restoration and engagement, a renewal that overrides any "disconnect" or failure to simply not reach out far enough to find you.

Case Study: The professional relationship between Don and Melissa had ended badly. Melissa felt betrayed. Don felt used. Although as consultants they'd worked well together for several years, the disagreement that erupted over what had caused a client to reject their combined services tore a hole in their relationship that looked like it might not be mended. Both felt "right" in their beliefs about one another and about their version of events. Somehow, after a year of not talking to each other, Melissa felt that the situation did not make sense. At the least, if they were not to work together, they should be able to talk and not consider one another "enemies." It took some courage on her part to break the ice. She started by writing a note, asking if Don would like to get together for coffee at her office. He agreed and they began by sharing their own professional work challenges and victories over the past year. But the conversation did not become meaningful until Melissa said, "You know, Don, I asked you to have coffee with me because our work together ended badly, and I think we ought to get past that. Do you agree?" When Don shared his relieved agreement, she was able to voice her appreciation of Don and his skills and she took ownership for her part of the falling out. Although Don did not voice his own sense of ownership, it seemed apparent to Melissa that he felt it. While it was clear in the conversation that each had decided to follow a new path, they shared in a mutual sense of reconciliation.

Links to the other principles:

1. Draw on inner strength

2. Step away from personal gains and losses

3. Focus on both the good and the true

5. Engage to stay engaged