It's almost like a disease and it's not healthy for business - business owners assume that customers won't ever pay this much, or that clients won't ever want that product. What happened to market research? The only thing we can be sure of in business, just as in life, is our own thoughts, our own behaviours. Market research informs us so that we don't need to second-guess, we can avoid the mind-read disease.
I have to put my hand up though - I am guilty of my own fair share of mind-reading. But it's not a talent I want to master. It's not on my list of strengths to be proud of. In fact, I am more proud of myself these days when I notice that I've NOT assumed that I know what somebody else is thinking, what they meant by what they said. Mind-read was getting ... wait no ... mind-reading does get in my way.
You see, when we engage in mind-read we are saying so much more about ourselves than we are others. Mind-reading isn't some clever art form to be maximised. It's not a treasure, something to be marvelled at. Mind-reading can damage relationships, it can get in the way of understanding the reality of a situation. It can stop us progressing, stop our growth, both personally and in business.
How can you spot when you're getting into a mind-read scenario? Our mind-read is generally surrounded by generalisations such as 'nobody' or 'everybody', 'always', 'never', or if we're reading one person's thoughts we'll discover ourselves stating as fact something that is in fact a guess. I find the easiest way is to be asking myself questions like 'really?' 'always?' 'nobody?' and so on. Additionally, I will check in 'did this person tell me that or am I in fact guessing? If you find it hard to notice your own mind-read behaviours, it may be easier to listen to how others talk first. Check out when they are assuming things for other people, or when they are making sweeping generalisations. It becomes a really fun game, and pretty soon you'll easily spot the mind-read moments.
What can you do about it? Firstly we need to be honest with ourselves, we need acknowledge that we get into mind-reading. Next time you catch yourself doing it, stop! Take a breath and ask yourself 'what is this saying about me?' Check in to see if there is a lesson for you to learn that will take you much farther on in your journey than a few seconds of 'fame' for being able to mind-read.
When we set mind-reading aside we can give our business a greater opportunity to grow. The mind-read may help us to be aware, to be mindful of what is going on around us, and so checking in with the mind-read that is going on will be invaluable to your business. Equally though, setting the mind-read aside gives us the chance to research, to test, to investigate, to ask. When you assume an outcome or somebody else's thoughts you are limiting yourself and your business. How much better to check things out and be sure - you may even find that somebody WILL be happy to pay this much, or buy that product. You may just be the answer to their prayers.
Time to go and get mind-read spotting - what have you done today that relied on you assuming what someone else was thinking?