People want to be seen and understood. If we remember this when we meet people, the entire process takes on a whole new meaning. It can even become a spiritual experience, as we experience our oneness with another.

What does it take for me to understand you? First, I must genuinely want to know and understand you. And I can begin the process by listening with attention when I first meet you.

I can take care to remember basic information about you, such as your name, where you live and what you do. If I truly want to understand you, I will initiate conversation that is centered on getting to know you. I will listen without interpreting or forming judgments about what I’m hearing, and I won’t be planning my own clever response.

I will be as authentic as I can possibly be so that you can be your natural, genuine self as well.

Generally, true understanding comes with time, and doesn’t happen overnight. Yet there are exceptions to this rule. If you and I have shared interests, or if we have had similar life experiences, understanding comes more readily. Not that we have necessarily had the exact same experience, but if we can relate to the other’s experience to our own, empathy and understanding follow.

Abraham Lincoln lost his third son, Willy, during the Civil War. His wife took to her bed and was never the same. In other words, with Willy’s death, Lincoln really lost his family. Thousands of families lost their sons and families during the Civil War—and Lincoln understood in his heart the magnitude of their loss. He had shared the same experience and understood these families at an empathetic level.

Understanding others is not like understanding facts. Understanding others engages both the head and the heart.

What do we do when someone tells us they don’t have the time or money to join us in our network marketing venture?

We could try to talk them out of their position. Or, we can remember times when we didn’t have what we needed to do something we wanted to do. When we put ourselves in the other’s shoes, we begin to understanding them. From that place, we will more naturally (and more quickly) find ourselves working together towards solutions.

What would our lives be like if we held the intention that, with each new person we meet, we will come to a place of understanding as quickly and deeply as possible?

We might find ourselves creating a greater sense of oneness with others.

We might also see our businesses soar.

MARION CULHANE is a successful
network marketer and was featured in our June 2002 issue.