I spent my day at work today in a coaching session. It was all about how to listen, ask questions, and generally create an atmosphere to allow people to be the best darn versions of themselves they can be.
Its the kind of mandatory work activity that will send the ‘say no to Kool-Aid’ people running for the hills while the ‘I LOVE Kool-Aid’ people will be asking for their own jug of Purplesaurus Rex or Surfin’ Berry Punch screaming ‘Oh, Yeah!’ as they enthusiastically smash through the nearest wall.
Depending on where you exist on the spectrum of ‘oh hell no,’ to ‘oh hell ya’ you’ll either dread or love the day. Generally, I’m a sarcastic skeptic, which will swiftly place me on the far side of ‘oh hell no,’ but I refuse to be a negative nancy and I refuse to avoid things just because they are uncomfortable – or at least I’m trying not to avoid such things.
I think I’ve talked on here about how people with passion are the best people, they are the people getting things done, and they are the people whole-heartedly following a dream. They aren’t sitting on the sidelines wishing things would happen for them. So passion is good, but add that to people who are willing to push their comfort zone, open up, and really try and grow and boom! we’re in business.
I’m not an especially open person with the inner-workings of my mind, heart, and soul but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to be better at connecting with people. We live in such a closed-off society where talking about how you feel, especially emotions that are stereotyped as ‘negative’ or show vulnerability, is seen as a weakness of character. This can be isolating and downright harmful. So in honour of being open to talking about these things, here is something that really struck me from my day:
We did an activity where one person had to tell a story and the other had to half-assedly listen. Then we had to change roles but the listener was actively involved in the conversation. It shouldn’t be a surprise that when we feel heard or paid attention to we leave the situation feeling safer and happier, but it was the conversation afterwards that got to me, and it was explained by this excerpt,
The way I choose to conduct myself creates an atmosphere inside others. They make this atmosphere mean something about them.
Basically we internalize cues that others give us as an indication of who we are, how good we are, and our value. Now I’m sure you’re thinking ‘I don’t let people affect me that much,’ but consider the people you walk away from and think ‘I couldn’t get a read on if that guy hated me or not’ or ‘I feel like she was judging me the whole time we were talking.’ I know these seem like extreme examples, but the cues might be something where you just don’t feel like you are in a welcoming environment. I know I have been in situations where I walk away feeling like a total idiot for no other reason than how someone treated me.
One of my cousins explained something similar to me once. He said there are two kinds of bosses, ones that drain you and ones that fill you up. There are people it feels like work to be around. It feels like they always want something from you, and leave you feeling emptier. Then there are people who make you feel like you can do anything, that they are behind you, supporting you, and really want to see you do your best.
The simple question is, which kind of a person are you? And how can you change your subtle behaviours to put people at ease around you?
I know I can do better at this.
So we all better check ourselves, before we wreck each other.