Palms Up

imgresA concept and practice called “palms up” was shared with me recently, and since I have a blog followed by millions (okay thousands) of people I thought I’d pass it along. I hope it is as helpful to you as it has been for me.

Keep this on the DL, but sometimes I can have a bad attitude. I can be defensive, argumentative, negative, resistive, stubborn, prideful, opinionated and ornery. I tend to think that I have the best ideas, the best practices, the best observations, the best solutions and the best hair (that last one is true). Put me in a meeting with my team members and watch as I inadvertently tear someone down, dismiss a comment, ignore someone’s apparent stupidity, and argue my point into the ground. Then observe as I withdraw, sulk and go all passive-aggressive for the rest of the meeting when I don’t get my way. It’s super fun.

Obviously, this is bad.

How do I combat my tendency to become frustrated with the very people who are passionately working alongside me, striving for shared outcomes?

I put my palms up.

No, this isn’t figurative. This isn’t a metaphor or mental imagery. I literally lay my hands on my lap and turn my palms towards the sky. It’s no Jedi trick, but it really works.

How? Somehow, placing my palms up directly affects my attitude.

It is almost impossible to be angry, argumentative and defensive when I have my palms up. It’s a posture of surrender, openness and acceptance. It immediately brings me to a place of humility and vulnerability. It keeps me open-handed and prevents me from becoming possessive and selfish. Placing my palms up allows me to listen and respond to others in a loving way and reminds me that this conversation, this meeting, this job, this life is not all about me.

Palms up is a simple practice that has had huge implications for me. I still don’t get it right all the time, but with my palms up I’m making progress.

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