Assumptions: My Most Embarrassing Story

Many years ago, while visiting a dear friend in Toronto, we decided to walk past a house in Kensington Market we had once owned and lived in together. A mom was working in the front garden with her young son nearby and we had a conversation. When she learned of our connection to the house, she invited us in to see their renovation and use of the space.

She and her husband were dance teachers and they had transformed the living room into a dance studio. It was beautiful and I immediately noticed that they created this amazing space by removing a staircase. When I asked her about it she said: “Well, we had to get rid of those stairs anyway. There were termites.” Oh!

And assumptions, says Henry Winkler, are “the termites of relationships”. Just like the staircase in my former home was being invisibly destroyed from its very foundation, assumptions can create havoc and destruction in our relationships.

Acknowledging and eliminating our assumptions is essential to creating trust and long-lasting, successful relationships. Knowing how to do this is a key skill of storyfinding. In this video, I not only discuss assumptions but share a most embarrassing event where my assumptions created an extremely uncomfortable – and costly – situation.

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4 thoughts on “Assumptions: My Most Embarrassing Story”

  1. Brilliant story and example of the value of testing assumptions with really good questions. Thanks for sharing, Mary Jane. As always, another wisdom nugget to help us all be better in what we do.

    • Thanks so much, Nicole. I sometimes find it challenging to share the my biggest mistakes but they were also my biggest lessons in terms of growing both myself and my business. I hope I can keep sharing them as they remind me of the challenges we encounter in our work … and today they often make me laugh.

  2. A perfect example
    Of being vulnerable but you owned it and apologized which is huge.
    Thank you for sharing, a great reminder to ask one more question.


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