As a reminder, just as lighthouses are powerful lights used to avoid dangerous areas; lighthouse principles are powerful beacons to guide successful people in all endeavors in life. They rise above so that they can be easily detected and used to navigate any situation involving the specific principle.

If you choose to ignore the principle then you run the risk of running aground and preventing yourself from moving forward. You will find out how critical they are if you live your life in contrast to the principles. This is the eighth in a series of blogs that are dedicated to highlighting the 10 principles that spell out L-I-G-H-T-H-O-U-S-E:

* Listening
* Integrity
* Gratitude
* Honesty
* Trust
* Humbleness
* Optimism
* Understanding
* Strategy
* Empathy

Understanding is key and practiced often to insure that before any important decisions are made that a thorough and complete evaluation is used to support the direction to be taken. Additionally, understanding becomes key in any negotiations where the goal is always to seek a win/win solution. In order to learn the value of understanding you have to circle back to the first lighthouse principle of Listening. I think Stephen Covey said it best in his 5th habit of highly successful people in that you need to seek first to understand then be understood.

Understanding involves asking key questions to gain the other person’s perspective and then listening intently and completely to their responses without reacting or interjecting. This principle is as much about understanding the other person as it is about understanding yourself. Learning to understand yourself and how you operate can be life changing; it is what working with a good coach is all about.

Understanding can be deep or shallow but successful people want to understand the person, situation or thing deeply. With deep understanding, the successful person is flexible and creative in solving for problems. Deep understanding does not assume an endpoint but a continuous learning, developing and encouragement for growth.