Are you guilty of faulty interpretations? The problems with faulty interpretations are many. The first one is that your interpretations are so subjective that you don’t usually realize that you are making a false interpretation. An event can occur that others see as a “non-event” and yet you see it as a negative event. These interpretations happen frequently in the workplace.
When faulty interpretations make you nervous
Take the example when a client calls you about a case. Typically she is friendly and cheerful when she calls. But yesterday you made a mistake. Maybe you misstated the facts of the case. Maybe you offered an opinion that you could not substantiate. Maybe your report had a typo.
Today the attorney calls you and does not sound friendly and cheerful. What does that mean? Well, it could mean nothing at all. It could mean that she had something very pressing on her mind and just wanted to get right to the heart of why she called. It could be that she was under such pressure that she was having a bad day. Or it could be that she was upset with you.
This is a perfect scenario for faulty interpretations to come into play. Because you know that you made a mistake you are sure the attorney knows about it, or even more importantly, is upset about it. It is making you nervous and anxious. It is affecting your performance, your productivity and your personal satisfaction. You are certain that the reason for the attorney’s behavior is your actions.
How you are impacted by faulty interpretations
Your satisfaction level is going to be directly impacted by the interpretations you put on events or the actions of others. In reality, those interpretations are almost always incorrect. I like to think that there are three interpretations we can put on any event. The first, of course, is the negative interpretation. That is the worst choice. The second is a positive interpretation. That is a good choice but it takes time and energy. You have to come up with a way to re-frame what has just taken place.
In the scenario above you could also consider that the attorney was not thinking of you at all but had something else on her mind. But what?
How you can respond
I like the third choice of interpretations. That is don’t think of it at all. The attorney is not cheerful. So what? You have a case to work on for her. It really doesn’t make a difference one way or the other. You cannot control what she was thinking. You can only control how you react to it. That is what is important.
As a speaker I work with organizations that want their people to learn how to work and live beyond fear. Interpretations and how to re-frame them are a big part of my role as a speaker. I always appreciate your comments. Feel free to join in the conversation. And if you like this please share it.
Don’t be the victim of your own faulty interpretations. Join me and Pat Iyer for a new online on demand course: How to Live Beyond Fear: Secrets for Legal Nurse Consultants. This 4 week course will help you conquer your fears and gain success as a legal nurse consultant. http://legalnursebusiness.com/webinars/how-to-live-beyond-fear-secrets-for-legal-nurse-consultants/
Wayne Schoeneberg is an experienced trial attorney who litigates a variety of cases involving medical issues.