Many of us like to think that we base our important decisions on facts and logic. Sometimes, however, our “hoped-for” results crowd out our logical assessments.
Let’s look at Molly and Bill, whose life together includes a home and small children. They struggle with money, with family, and sometimes with each other. However, they share a commitment to create a loving environment for their children.
From their struggles, Molly perceives that Bill has little respect for her intelligence. Although he’ll ask her opinion, it seems to Molly that he responds by doing just the opposite!
For example, when they could finally afford kitchen renovations, Molly suggested they research products, take measurements, and phone around for prices. Bill, however, insisted on immediately driving to the home renovation store, where he dashed through the display kitchens and bought whatever looked appealing.
Molly acquiesced, saying nothing. Of course, when they got home, it was obvious that the products weren’t suitable. Back to the store they went, returned those and bought others. A job that could have been finished in a weekend is still not done. “Story of my life,” sighs Molly. “What can you do?”
This sequence of events has occurred time and time again. Molly has handled Bill’s behaviour by choosing to pretend it doesn’t bother her. Bill won’t listen, so she lets him make his mistakes. He’ll see eventually that he should have done things her way.
It’s irritating, though, that he never takes her seriously. Fundamentally, Molly’s wish is that Bill value her opinions. After all his mistakes, you’d think he would by now, wouldn’t you? Yet he doesn’t.
Now Bill has an exciting opportunity. With backing of friends, he is about to start a business. This could be his big break! However, he needs help.
So Bill has asked Molly to quit her job and become his bookkeeper, assistant, and general gofer. The pay is a little uncertain; he’ll pay her what he can. After the business gets on its feet, that is.
Molly is considering this. You’re probably thinking, “No, no; why would you even think of that!?”
It could be because Molly has a “hoped-for” result in mind. She hopes that if she works with Bill, he will surely realize what she can contribute, that she is smart, that he does need her.
Before she plunges in, Molly might ask herself,
- What do I want? She wants Bill to value her opinions.
- What have I been doing? When Bill has ignored her in the past and made mistakes, Molly sighs and says, “I told you but you wouldn’t listen.”
- How has that been working? “Well, he keeps doing it. It’s not getting better.”
- What plan might be helpful? In this new business, her income (as well as Bill’s) will depend on his decisions. Sounds risky!
If Molly joins Bill in his business—not as an equal partner but as a gofer— will he value her opinions unlike before? Her hope is yes; experience would say no! If she continues to go along with his poor decisions, she will likely get more of those same decisions from Bill. What do you think?