Jumping to Offense

Cliff Sign

(Image Courtesy of http://www.aroundtheworldl.com)

The other day during a conversation with someone close, I noticed something about our interaction. It was a simple conversation, nothing too deep or seemingly important, but a pattern revealed itself.

The pattern was simple: I jump to offense.

Let me explain. This means that my mind appears to be on a quest to find a way to be offended at what someone else is saying. By quest, I mean that my mind considers this its highest priority and will devote both time, energy, and resources to ensure the quest’s success.

Here are a few examples:

“It is getting kind of late for sending out Christmas Cards”

My Jump: So are you saying that I should have sent these out?

“It would be nice to do more interactive things at the next holiday with everyone”

My Jump: So they expect me to plan this then be responsible for meeting everyone’s idea of what is fun?

“We need to make sure we are attentive to the bottom line”

My Jump: So they are saying that I am overspending?

There are risks in jumping to offense, just like the risk of jumping off a cliff. It is dangerous and there is unseen peril just beyond the lip. Luckily I am beginning to notice this pattern as it occurs (or shortly afterwards).

I realize that I need to retrain my mind to see the warning sign on the edge of that cliff before I go off jumping. Picturing that warning sign helps, but also explaining to the person I am talking with if it begins to happen.

Here are a few tips for my fellow jumpers:

  1. Recognize your bent toward Jumping to Offense.
  2. Understand that Jumping to Offense is dangerous, for you and others.
  3. Slow down and listen, don’t respond right away.
  4. Ask clarifying questions, make sure you understand what the other person is saying.
  5. If you do jump, climb back up and reconcile with those around you.
  6. Repeat steps as needed.

Where are you Jumping to Offense? Take a few moments to think about where you could, as my grandmother always used to say, “look before you leap.”

P.S. I am going to print out this photo and put it where I can see it every day.

About Carl Weber

Carl Weber, is the owner and founder of Carl Weber Consulting, a consulting group that helps businesses, non-profits, and individuals understand themselves, hire and manage well, and become great leaders. Carl worked in local government for more than ten years, as the Town Administrator of a few towns in NH. Once upon a time he was a search and rescue swimmer for the US Navy. Carl holds Bachelors’ Degrees in Political Science & Community Development and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Carl is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Motivators Analyst (CPMA). Carl regularly teaches on human factors and the relationship of behavior and leadership styles, as well as motivation, coaching, leadership challenges, and failing as a leader. His passion is to help leaders in their lifelong journey to finish well, to combat and work with their inner voice, and to live a meaningful story worth reading. Carl lives in Southern New Hampshire with his wife Amanda and together they are raising a small tribe of four young (somewhat crazy) women with the goal of unleashing them on the world to change it for the better.
This entry was posted in Change, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Knowing Yourself, Making a Difference, Our Behaviors, Our Words, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jumping to Offense

  1. Robin Lake says:

    This is awesome. I wish I could put a little hologram of this photo at the inside edge of my glasses so I could see it all the time. I am going to use this post OFTEN in my life. Thanks friend.

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