At the weekend I had the pleasure of working with young people from a local school on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition.

It was great to be outdoors in the Spring sunshine, and to enjoy a large slice of chocolate cake in the tea rooms at Avoncliffe on the Kennet-Avon Canal.

It's also great when you feel you've possibly made a difference to these young folks lives.  The de-brief at the end is always an opportunity to facilitate accelerated learning of life skills, and I try to make the most of this.

One group of girls were within a whisker of failing, mainly due to poor attitude at camp, but they'd upped their game on the second day to scrape through.

Rebellious teenagerThere was one girl in particular who stood out as being a challenging individual, continually interrupting and arguing: "Yeah but..."  We spent some time as a group exploring this behaviour, which she justified because she'd been brought up to always speak her mind and not to allow others to "walk all over her."

The real eye-opener came when we talked about people's varying perspectives and the possiibility of two different views both being right.  Her problem was not so much because of expressing her opinion, it was more to do with showing disrespect for other's opinions by using the "but" word.  

So her homework now is to come up with some strategies for expressing herself whilst showing empathy with others.  If she can do this successfully, she will be a long way towards fulfilling her full amazing potential.  We wish her well.

A question for you now: do you ever find yourself using the "but" word?  Does this put you at odds with others and destroy your efforts at maintaining rapport?  Just notice yourself doing it (in a non-judgmental way) and think of other more resourceful ways of disagreeing respectfully.