The stylist who cuts my hair sports a new haircut and/or color almost every time I have an appointment.  I guess it’s part of her profession to experiment with new styles — or maybe she is just more brave than I am!

Her current look includes a 3-inch streak of bright green across the front of her auburn hair.  I would look like someone dumped paint on my head, but it makes her look hip and wonderful.

It was to this woman that I gave permission to cut and color my hair, and even to add “a little color” to the mix.  I did so with total confidence, because I know that she knows what I mean by “a little color” is not remotely related to what she would choose for herself.

Try to use Jen as a model for your next communication encounter.  She is able to listen to what I say, make an appropriate translation for what fits my situation, and deliver it with aplomb, all while preserving her own opinions and flair.

You needn’t be the same to work well together, but you do have to listen and understand the perspective of the other party to honor their intent.  Make it your job to make others the best they can be, rather than a replica of you.

— beth triplett

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