There are four professions everyone thinks they can do – everyone is a Psychologist, interpreting the reasons why people do things. Everyone thinks they’re a Designer – tweaking logos, websites, and brochures based on nothing other than their own taste. Everyone is a marketing professional, setting a marketing plan on social media, sending newsletters and creating meaningless blogs. And everyone thinks they’re a Coach – they wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I can do that! I can tell people how to live their lives or run their businesses.

Well guess what! Those four professions require credentials and ability. When you’re a pop-psychologist or a self-proclaimed marketing person or coach, you make assumptions. Ninety nine times out of 100, your assumptions are totally wrong. You never really have an idea about why someone does or says something. Here’s an example.

I was reading a nonfiction book for my book club. I really didn’t want to read it, being a fan of fiction and storytelling. I took the book to bed one evening to give it a try, thinking it would be boring and it would put me to sleep. Well low and behold, it grabbed my attention and I wound up reading until 2:30 am. I had a client at 8:00 am the next morning, which meant I’d be getting up in just four hours. I thought, “I’ll just close my eyes for 5 minutes, get up and set the alarm, and get some sleep.”

The next thing I knew it was after 9:00 am! I totally missed my client meeting. I picked up the phone and retrieved her 6 messages. The first said, “I hope you’re OK.” The second said, “I worried.” The third said, “Did you forget about me?” The fourth said, “This is so unprofessional that you didn’t even call me. ” And so on.

When I called her she went through the other 20 or so assumptions she had about why I didn’t meet her at 8:00 am. They were progressively angrier and angrier. Even if she had made 99 assumptions, she couldn’t have known the real reason – I fell asleep and didn’t set the alarm – I overslept!

Assumptions are worthless and crazy. So much of the time we talk about what motivates people. And 99 out of 100 times, we’re totally wrong.

Stop making up reasons for other people.

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