Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
This is an odd question. It’s designed as a healthy and nurturing enquiry and yet can be so difficult to answer honestly without a degree of intimacy being present.
If you’re English, the standard answer is …I’m fine, how are you?
To which the acceptable social answer is; I’m fine too.
So, that’s all good then. We are all fine. Nothing to report. Nothing to see here, please move along.
And we may be fine in that moment.
And what does ‘fine’ mean anyway? I suspect it’s a social shorthand for please go away.
The skill here is to notice the difference between our social response and what’s really going on for us.
Perhaps we woke up feeling sad, or we are listlessly watching Netflix and not really paying attention. Maybe something is agitating us.
Often we know when we have a feeling and yet we might push that away and put it back in it’s box. It’s curious we do this as adults and yet when with young children we notice their feelings and explore them, help the child to find meaning and soothe them.
As adults we don’t often get that nurture from others. We want the other person to be fine, so that they can carry on with the business meeting, or keep cooking dinner, or not take up our time with their complex and messy feelings.
Curious isn’t it, that we wouldn’t dream of doing that with a child.
I like being curious.
We are all children. Living in adult bodies and doing adult things and yet still children inside, who need time and space and love and care and understanding.
It’s okay to be not fine. To know when we feel safe with a friend and give them an honest answer. We might not want them to offer advice, as that can be tedious. We can ask them to listen to us though and have the chance to talk through what’s eating us.
Being heard is a joyful experience, even if the content may be dark. Often young children just want to be heard, and acknowledging someone is to care for them.
So, this week, when can you make yourself available to listen to someone? Perhaps instead of hosting another time wasting Zoom meeting, we can set up a time slot for people to drop in and be listened to. Ten minutes might be all they need.
And I hope you are fine. If not, then say hello to me and I will find time to listen to you.
Next week: The Joy Of Sadness
I love being a business coach. It’s such a privilege to work with people and collaborate on problem solving. I love being a psychotherapeutic counsellor too and supporting people to make progress with difficult issues.
Coaching is not counselling and vice versa.
However, what ties the two together is that in both cases we have to identity a need and ask for some sort of intervention.
There is no shame in feeling down, or feeling stressed and tired. There is no shame in not knowing how to lead our team, or run our business.
We are all dealing with the long term stress effects of lockdown, massive social changes and vicious economic upheaval.
There is no blueprint we can fish out of a drawer to help us. No map we can use to navigate.
Therefore, it follows that what counts is creativity. School teaches us what to write and what to draw, but it rarely, if ever, gives us a blank sheet of paper and says …you decide, you can be creative and do what you like here.
Without creativity we have to rely on old maps, which in the context of running our business, are to a large extent, useless.
We might ask, so what’s the point of coaching or counselling then, if we are all in the same position?
The answer is that it’s often impossible to be truly creative on our own. We fall into pre-existing ways of thinking and end up with pseudo-creativity. We invent the answer that we secretly wanted all along.
Creativity means challenge and support and friendly collaboration. Working with someone else means we become a team of two. We double the amount of brain cells at our disposal and can benefit from the shared interplay between them.
New perspectives are created and shared. Progress is made.
And the key that unlocks this potential is to ask for it.
Asking is often the most powerful thing we can do to help ourselves and support our business.
It amazes me that so many people are trying to tough it out on their own. I don’t mind if you don’t want to call me, there are lots of coaches and counsellors out there. However, do you have someone you and your team can call on?
If not, please ask.
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