For my friend’s fiftieth birthday, her husband organized a gigantic surprise party for her, complete with loads of guests, gifts, and catering. Fun galore. Who wouldn’t want that kind of bash thrown in their honor?
Well—one person, for sure: my friend.
As the last guest left that night, her husband basking in the glory of what he’d pulled off for his wife’s birthday celebration, he asked her, “So how did you like your party?” She said, “It was lovely, but you threw me the party you wanted for your fiftieth birthday, not the party I wanted for mine.”
At first blush, her response might seem unappreciative given the level of effort he’d invested. But as you unpack it a bit further, we can all relate. Although he was well-intended on the surface, who was the husband really holding the party for? I certainly don’t know, but the story has made me check my motives as I plan family vacations, holiday celebrations, dinners out, and birthday parties for my wife (who hates them).
Check your motive. When you’re entering a meeting, starting a conversation with a colleague, or launching a campaign, ask yourself: What’s your role? What’s your agenda? What’s your win and what's theirs?
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