“I don’t do affinity,” she said.
These words were spoken by a young woman in her 20's who had recently graduated college and was navigating her first job in a large corporation. She has great career aspirations for a leadership position.
She was beautiful and well dressed, enough to turn heads. Her face was expressionless and her eyes were cold. She signed up for the Causative Communication workshop because she wanted to learn how to get other people to do what she wants.
As I coached her through the workshop, she did the exercises well, but with this coldness. I was in the process of coaching her to increase her affinity when she looked at me dispassionately and very deliberately stated, “I don’t do affinity.”
I asked her why not? And she said her attitude towards people was very neutral. She said, “I don’t like you and I don’t dislike you. I’m here to get the work done.”
Even without knowing her exact back story, how she came to be this way (cold and beautiful), I could clearly see she had had a complete mis-education in the subject of people.
I had no doubt that there had been an intense period of confusion in her life, in the middle of which her solution to the confusion was to shut off her feelings. Young as she was, she had now done this for so long, she had no feelings for others.
She told me she thought that having affinity involved making (or forcing) yourself to like someone you didn’t like. I explained to her that you can’t make yourself like someone.
I told her the real secret to affinity and then I walked away. I had a lot of affinity for her when I said what I said. And then I left it up to her.
In the next exercise I watched her from a distance. She was different. She was smiling at the person she was paired up with. It was not a big smile, but it was genuine, it had warmth. Her partner smiled back.
Her transformation continued from there into something miraculous.
“Cold and beautiful” melted into someone warm and alive.
She opened up the circle of people she was working with (from only 1-2) and ended up working with everyone in the workshop. She was forming great relationships rapidly and people were responding to her with great warmth. She looked happy and astonished.
I knew she had never experienced anything like this in her life. She didn’t know I was watching her. I wiped a tear and went back to coaching others.
At the end of the workshop she looked me straight in the eye and with a great intensity of feeling said, “Thank you.” We didn’t speak, just looked at each other and shared a long moment of intense understanding and mutual admiration. Warmth. Affinity.
The reason she was able to transform so quickly is because the power and knowledge was within her already. I just had to give her a friendly reminder where to look.
I just had to show her the path to being causative.
Once you show someone the right path, they always do the rest.
You can do this too. You just have to make the choice to learn.
Be the cause!