My mentor always tells me that he respects me. You know when someone gives you a compliment, and it feels really weird? That’s how I feel when he says it. Respect is something that has always been strange to me. I feel like I can only be respected based on my current track record.
I feel like once I hit a speed bump in my life, I have to earn respect all over again. Why does my mentor say he respects me? It’s kind of hard to pinpoint. It’s a bit like saying why do I love a certain someone the way I do. I don’t know, it’s kind of a “woo woo” feeling you get that makes no sense.
Being respectful is about living in a way where you have attractive values that others appreciate. Having values is one thing, but what people who are respected do is live them. I have made several new values in the last couple of years. They include:
– Treat your body like a temple
– Acknowledge and comprehend someone’s opinion even if it’s different to yours
– Give more of yourself than anybody else
– Put people above everything else
Without respect, you feel like a big piece of your soul is missing. Respect gives you something that so few people have: it gives you people’s trust. When people respect you, they give you a break and create a sense of freedom in your life. In a work environment, this is like saying, “Do what you love, whenever you want, and we’ll support you.”
Feels pretty amazing if you ask me. That last line sums up a lot of my working life. But it hasn’t been all roses. My life has had low points just like yours. I’ve had moments in my life where no one respects me and where I felt alone. Loneliness has a lot to do with the way others feel about you.
When people respect you, it’s like a superhero trait. You all of a sudden have some confidence in your life that says, “I got this baby!” When sickness knocks you down, you just feel like people have your back. My cancer scare taught me this a few years ago.
“It’s because of respect that I was able to foster the belief that anything is possible”
If I look at my life now, I feel that I’m at an all-time level high in the level of respect I get from everyone in my life. It didn’t happen in 5 minutes though. It took five years of working my butt off and doing what I said I would do.
The crux of respect is really just about keeping your word. Things got even crazier when I did more than I said I would. It’s at that level that people’s respect for you goes through the roof. Is it so hard to do this? No, it’s actually pretty easy and just takes discipline.
To reiterate, to gain more respect you need to set the following three goals:
- A) Keep your word
- B) Treat others like they are royalty
- C) Stay focused and don’t veer away from your values
I want to talk about Seinfeld for a second. The guy’s a comical genius, and if he doesn’t make you laugh then there may be something wrong with you… kidding. In a speech I heard yesterday, Seinfeld says that his success is based on habit.
Quite clearly, what he said is that all you need to do is the following:
- Buy a paper calendar
- Get a permanent red marker
- Every day, put a big X through the day if you spent time on your passion
Not a bad formula for success. You could almost use these three steps for any goal. Respect is no different, and you could apply the same principle. Every day, put an X through the day if you kept to the three goals above. Once it’s a habit, respect will flow into your life like a freight train speeding down a railway track.
The challenge with respect is like most things in life: it’s just too bloody complicated. It’s like a foreign matter from Mars that nobody knows how to bring back to Earth. It’s not easy to articulate. Complex things rarely get achieved, so dumb it right down.
To be in control of your mind, remain disciplined, and treat others with respect, you can try the following three practices:
1. Write your thoughts down
Respect is gained when you can demonstrate to others that your mind is under control. People respect you when you treat them well. It’s hard to be nice to people if you are walking around with a head full of negative thoughts.
Through blogging, I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and get them out of my head. This allows me, during work hours, to have a clearer mind that can be focused on treating others well. I am able to remember what’s important to the various people I interact with, and this helps me build rapport. Rapport is the gateway to respect.
It’s hard for someone to respect you if they don’t have rapport with you. If you aren’t into blogging like me, then try something like doing five minutes of journaling. There’s a great journal called The Five-minute Journal which has a good guide. Get used to expressing yourself through writing.
2. Tell people you appreciate them
It’s funny how the things that make people respect us are almost too easy not to do. One of those things is to tell people you appreciate them. I don’t mean in a fake kind of way. The best way is to do it only if you mean it, and put lots of passion into your voice.
The approximate time needed to do this is something like sixty seconds a day. The results that come from this habit are off the charts.
“People respect you when you appreciate them first”
Respect starts with you taking action first and then the benefits follow. This point is dear to my heart especially with tragedies like the one I recently witnessed where a madman killed people only meters away from me. What if you never got to tell someone how much they meant to you ever again? Do it.
3. Say sorry when you mess up
This practice is only very new for me. I make mistakes all the time, just like you do. Until recently, I never said sorry or acknowledged them. Now I do it every time. Last week I offended my friend because he thought I didn’t respect his partner. I said sorry.
The week before, I snapped at someone because I had hardly slept the night before. I told them the next day I was sorry. I got off a train and said some silly things to a train conductor because his voice through the PA was interrupting my mobile phone conversation. I said sorry.
You will be the person everyone respects when you can apologize without being asked when you’ve done something wrong.
- A) Within a month, I felt better about myself
- B) Within three months I noticed more people said hello to me
- C) Within six months my advice on social media began to be shared by people I respected
- D) Within a year I became the go-to person for people who are way smarter and more successful than me.
And then, of course, I would experience a challenging life experience and sometimes forget all of the rules I’ve just mentioned. That’s okay. We’re not Superman 24 / 7, chief!