Monday, May 16

The Approachability Principle

In his book Winning With People, author John Maxwell offers an abundance of wisdom about getting along, communicating and building genuine relationships with others.

One of the chapters I most appreciated was The Approachability Principle; something about it just clicked with the hospitality major in me. Maxwell explains that people who are approachable and put others at ease tend to demonstrate a handful of key characteristics:

1. Personal warmth - they truly like people
2. Appreciation for the differences in people
3. Consistency of mood
4. Sensitivity towards people's feelings
5. Understanding human weakness and exposure of their own
6. Ability to forgive easily and to quickly ask forgiveness
7. Authenticity

Note that he uses none of these suggestions in their politically correct sense, but in their demonstration of honest and humble character. Even those of us who are introverts or those who struggle with self-confidence can cultivate these characteristics in ourselves and both bless and be blessed by them. Maxwell reminds readers that:

"When you stop worrying so much about yourself and start looking at others and what they desire, you build a bridge to other people, and you become the kind of person others want to be around."

These principles connect with a lot of themes I've been reading about lately that keep turning up at places as diverse as Raising Homemakers, (in)Courage, LAF and Kingdom Commerce among others.

As I seek to create a home where people feel welcome and as I meet new people through both Mary Kay and ESAM, I am finding a lot of application for these ideas and many occasions to practice them! If you've never read any of Maxwell's books, I highly recommend them. They are easy reads, but packed with information and encouragement that will bless you!

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