- Thoughts for inspired living

March 25, 2019

Below The Belt

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:52 am

Below The BeltThere’s a boxing term called, “below the belt.” It means that a fighter has struck his opponent below the waistline, which is a no-no.

So it follows that hitting below the belt is striking a vulnerable area. When this tactic is used metaphorically, it can often be labeled as an attack.

It also can be a useful tool when getting someone off their “horseshit soapbox.” That’s the place where they cite “their truth” about why they are the way they are. It’s always a defensive position and it keeps them stuck in place.

Hard questions are perceived by many as hitting below the belt.

Many won’t ask hard questions of a person suffering, thinking it will further damage them. I find that’s not the case. Hard questions are focusing agents. They are bridge building questions – taking you from where you really are to where you want to be.

I wouldn’t recommend a steady diet of them but a well placed, succinct inquiry can take the fight out of a long held defensive position. Perhaps an example would be helpful.

Here’s an excerpt from my book “INTER RUPTION: The Magic key To Lasting Change.”

“It was some 30 years ago and I was pitching an employee communications program to the owner of a propane gas company. I did all the usual rapport building one would do and began my presentation.

There was a lot of back and forth, along with many questions about the content and expected results of the program. It was all pretty routine, until he asked me this question: “How will I know I’ve enhanced my employees’ communication skills?”

I had a ready-made answer for him but for some reason I didn’t bring it out. I just let the question hang in the air for what seemed like an eternity. It may have been no longer than 10 to 15 seconds but in a setting like this, that’s a long time for silence. I just sat quietly and then this question popped out of my mouth: “Why do you think your employees hate you?”

His eyes widened, he sat up straighter, and he looked at me as though I had visited his soul. He asked me, “How do you know that?” I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was along the lines of “Just a hunch.”

This piece of information may have never surfaced unless my patterned answer got INTER RUPTED. The good news for both of us was that we got what we wanted: He learned to communicate with his employees, and his employees learned some new, fun and useful stuff as well. Me, I got paid, and in the bargain I got a bigger payoff than money can buy, that is, how to find deeper, more meaningful answers by INTER RUPTING my patterned way.”

If your patterned way is using kid gloves, you may not be getting measurable results with yourself or others. It may be time to “lace them up” as they say in the boxing world and land a strategic blow below the belt.

I can tell you this for certain: it will take the wind out of any defensive position.

All the best,


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