Vision Statement:
Seek to understand others before you seek to be understood.

First Pass – Write down the first thought that comes to mind.

Thought Question

What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish before you die?

How would your life be different if... you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey ~ Steve Maraboli

Set high expectations for yourself by beginning and ending every single day in Respect

Understanding the Basics of Self-Respect


“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We want to help you improve in all aspects of your life this season to become a master. A true master is always respectful. If you begin casting blame you are ultimately defeated, and we have all known defeat. The upside is that masters learn from defeat and improve.

Masters don’t rigidly clock out at 5pm because they are so intensively focused on what they’re working on. They often forget to sleep, eat, or drink. Their inner intensity drives them to push harder and work longer than their contemporaries, and they also eventually find a way to incorporate breathing space and time away from work into their lives.

Like a seasoned baker, they intuitively know when to let their work rest and rise on its own for a while or when others can knead the dough and add interesting flavors.

As you may be aware, the “keystone” is the central stone at the summit of an arch that locks the structure together. It is also the term to describe the central principle or part of a policy or system on which all else depends, and without which the 7NNs structure would collapse.

Respect must play a keystone role in any personal or working relationship. One of our most important statements at our company, Fishbowl, is, “I’ve got your back.” This single phrase carries all of the 7NNs with it. We are not perfect. No one is. Yet we can hone the skills to get any situation, no matter how difficult, back on track – to course correct and move forward and we can help others on their journey.

The true measure of respect is summed up in Thomas Monson’s words, “When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.”

Self-Paced Learning Exercise

Developing Empathic Listening Skills

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen,” said Ernest Hemingway. Part of the building blocks of respect is the importance of listening to each other empathically. This doesn’t mean listening until someone is done speaking. It requires that you listen with your eyes directed at them. It is listening to what they are saying without judging or focusing solely on how we intend to respond.

Here are the core elements for developing excellent listening skills:

  • Make authentic eye contact and turn towards the individual who is speaking. Sit up straight, not slouched down or leaning back and even lean slightly toward the individual so they know you’re listening to them.
  • Nod and let them know you are with them. This doesn’t mean you are agreeing, necessarily. This physical attention lets the other person know you’re not engaged in anything else, such as looking around, typing, texting, or anything besides listening fully.
  • Another part of empathic listening is waiting until the person is finished speaking to begin sharing your thoughts, which can be difficult if the individual talks a lot. It’s not necessarily a bad idea to say something like, “Can we stop here and take a little break?” or, “Let me try to understand what you’re saying” to get the conversation back on track.
  • Repeat back what you think you heard the person say to be sure you interpreted their message correctly. It’s okay if you don’t interpret perfectly. You will be corrected, if necessary, and can respectfully thank the individual for helping to clarify the areas you may have misunderstood.

These actions often take a conversation to a deeper level because they help people clarify information, send the right messages, and provide another perspective. An engaging, respectful conversation involves seeking to understand first before being understood.

Personal Self-Assessment: When Was the Last Time You Listened to Someone with Deep and Complete Respect?

  • 1-3 I can’t remember
  • 4-6 A couple years ago
  • 7-9 Recently
  • 10 Today

The Essential Step: Pressing Pause

Another tool that helps to foster respect is to place a gap of time between the stimulus that comes from someone or something, and your response. Sometimes it only takes a few seconds; other times it can take a day or even a week to defuse the emotions.

Think about how many times at work we get angry at a coworker over something small and let it ruin our entire day. Someone may say something that we choose to let hurt or offend us.

However, if you simply put some time and distance between your initial reaction and your decision to do something about it, you’ll be far more prepared to respond in a way that is professional, mature, optimistic, and respectful. That doesn’t mean you avoid the issue; it simply means that you air out a little bit before you say or do anything.

Be sure that what you say and do is uplifting. You may have misunderstood someone’s emotions or reacted inappropriately because what you thought you heard is not really what they meant. Once you put some time between the stimulus and the response, the next step is to make an effort to seek to understand that person.

Failing to go to the source and get to the bottom of things, however, usually does more harm than good. If you hold the negative emotions inside, you harbor ill will against that person that will drive a wedge in your organization, hurting not only you and perhaps the individual, but also everyone around you. It is a form of emotional cancer that can spread into behavior and output.

Though it’s difficult, you must have the courage to share your thoughts and feelings directly. Approach the misunderstanding as a subject matter or an issue rather than as a challenge to the individual. This approach will bring great things into a relationship. These principles are timeless and universal. They’re not complicated or difficult to grasp.

Most of us practice them outside of work every day. Seek to understand the individuals who bring up issues, and take the emotion out of it.

Personal Self-Assessment: When Was the Last Time You Respectfully Defused a Conflict?

  • 1-3 I can’t remember
  • 4-6 A couple years ago
  • 7-9 Recently
  • 10 Today

Seek Out Opportunities to Exhibit Unconditional Kindness

The worst thing that you can do in a relationship is to speak rudely about someone behind their back. This shows a total lack of respect for that person.

However, the reverse of this – singing someone’s praises to another person – is one of the greatest compliments an individual can receive.

Avoid complaining audibly about coworkers. Instead, share positive observations about them as often as possible. The more specific you can be, the better; maybe something about their leadership style that you particularly like, an action they took that you admire, or something you are learning from them.

Forgive and move on. “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel,” said Catherine Ponder. “Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Personal Self-Assessment: When Was the Last Time You Said or Did Something Kind to Someone You Perceived to Have Hurt You?

  • 1-3 I can’t remember
  • 4-6 A couple years ago
  • 7-9 Recently
  • 10 Today

Keep the Issue the Issue

Another important principle of respect is to keep the issue the issue. Don’t make it a personal attack. Keeping the focus on the problem at hand will help you overcome the fear that a problem might grow into something bigger and scarier than it actually is.

We all have a tendency to make things emotional when issues seem daunting. Emotions can escalate a situation beyond your control. You should avoid making issues emotional, whether in large groups, small groups, or one on one.

Personal Self-Assessment: When Was the Last Time You Created a Solution with Someone You Have Trouble Understanding or Working with?

  • 1-3 I can’t remember
  • 4-6 A couple years ago
  • 7-9 Recently
  • 10 Today

Thought Question: How has the principle of respect enhanced your life and career development?

Second Pass – Write down the first thought that comes to mind.

Back to other Non-Negotiables

Getting the Most Out of This program

The theme of this training program was inspired by a quote from Nelson Mandela. Keep it in mind as you make your way through the exercises.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Learn to appreciate and respect the life that is uniquely yours and continue to develop and grow each day by remaining open to new possibilities.

The 7 Pathways Pre-Assessment and Post Reviews Exercises

We have included a pre- and post-assessment for each respective pathway:

  1. Read the corresponding chapter in The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning.
  2. Write down the first thought that comes to mind when you read the vision statement for each pathway found on the website.
  3. Complete the exercises included for each of the 7NNs.
  4. Return here and once again write out the first thought that comes to mind.
  5. Discover how far you have come and chart another course for future growth and development.
  6. With the newfound knowledge, complete the thought question.

Back to other Non-Negotiables