Fred #1: Fred Preller – AKA my Dad (see picture at right). Hi Dad!
His lesson – pay attention to peoples’ patterns. Watch what people do on a consistent basis, and those consistent behaviors will give you clear insights about them. Sounds simplistic, right? But there are two traps you can avoid by keeping this perspective front and center in your mind.
- The trap of potential. It’s a beautiful thing to see people’s potential. But when you depend on a picture of someone’s unrealized potential, to the exclusion of their actual patterns, you can get in trouble. The damage ranges from you forming resentments when they fail to live up to your expectations, to severely harming your business or reputation when you rely on their unrealized potential. See the best in people, but rely on them based on their actual patterns of behavior.
- The trap of self-delusion. This one can be even harder, because now you turn the standards on yourself. What are your patterns? Do you think of yourself as someone who is responsible and caring, but often show up late and keep people waiting, or fail to respond to phone calls and email? Like it or not, people are watching your patterns – what are you teaching them about you?
Fred #2: Fred Rogers – AKA Mr. Rogers.
As a child, I watched Mr. Rogers’ comforting, but not incredibly exciting, television show. Since then, he faded to a bland memory, and the subject of jokes. But recently I viewed a video that compiled snippets of his gentle wisdom, and was absolutely floored. His messages of humanity, compassion, curiosity, and boundless possibilities left me choked up and teary.
His delightful insights are just as applicable today as they were when I was a child. Perhaps more so. Enjoy.