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Free Yourself from “Imagiphants” by Asking Yourself These 4 Questions

imaginary elephants in the room

Pretend someone sends you a request by email, but they don’t say “please” or “thank you.”

All they say is, “Hey, can you do this?”

How do you feel about that?

If you’re like some people, the story you may tell yourself is that they’re rude, or they’re angry with you.

You may not consider their email may have been written at a rushed moment.

Or that maybe they were writing with consideration for your efficiency.

Instead, you get upset by the abrupt tone and hold on to that frustration.

Well, guess what? We might have an imagiphant in the room.

What is an Imagiphant?

The act of holding frustration without an effort to clarify summons what I call “the Imagiphant.”

Imagiphants are born from stories you’ve told yourself and assumptions you’ve made.

To correctly identify an Imagiphant, listen for phrases like:

“No, I know that’s what they meant.”

“Oh, that’s just who they are.”

“They will never be open to that.”

If there’s an Imagiphant in your presence, you aren’t helpless.

You can start to free yourself by asking four questions:

  1. What do I know to be true?
  2. What role am I playing in this?
  3. What assumptions am I holding?
  4. What makes sense to the other person?

These questions will help you release your assumptions and consider other perspectives.

Ultimately, it will help you let go of the frustration your Imagiphant caused.

Looking for more ways to help you identify other types of elephants-in-the-room? Pick up your copy of Don’t Feed the Elephants! on Amazon today.

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Sarah Noll Wilson is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. She aims to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”, Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations”, is certified in Co-Active Coaching and Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.

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