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Why are people so sensitive to the cues we

give out? Recent research states our brains

contain “Mirror Neurons”. Neuroscientist,

Dr. Rizzolatti whom first identified mirror

neurons, says that these neurons explain

how and why we “read” other people’s

minds, including the conclusions they

have drawn about us.

Unfortunately, under stress we often

see people through a

“Red Lens”

, which

blocks out anything except the following 5


1. This person will be difficult to work with.

2. This person is blocked or stuck: I need

to help them get through this.

3. This person has patterns of behavior

that will take a long time to resolve.

4. We will have to work hard, especially

if this person is not producing results

5. This person has deficits that need to be


Given our mirror neurons, how would

people react to being seen through a “Red

Lens”? Not good.

Here is a more powerful, productive and

compassionate “lens” successful people

use when working with someone who is

having a difficult time. They use the green


“Success Lens”

– 5 conclusions that

support the success of the person:

1. This person has goals and dreams

and aspires to be successful

2. This person has his or her own an-

swers: a wellspring of wisdom.

3. This person has a desire to contribute

to the workplace.

4. There is something about this person

that I can find inspiring.

5. This person deserves to be treated

with dignity and respect.

Here’s how to implement the use of

this empowering tool: during a difficult

conversation use questions that begin

with “what” or “how”. Don’t start with

“why” because it invites analysis and does

not move the person you are talking with

forward. Examples are:

• What is important to you about this


Use The Success Lens To Become a More

Powerful Communicator

By Joan Washburn








Personal Growth Strategies