Hello COREageous Founders:
Consider this time at home a rare opportunity to bolster the connections with your primary support team – your family and friends. As we endure the inevitable roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship, where quality time with loved ones is often limited, we depend on the stability and reinforcement of those cheering for us on the sidelines. Please take a minute to tune up your communication skills and read this:
“If you think tempers are churning a bit now, give it a couple more weeks.”
Listening mindfully to one another in times of trouble and apprehension can help calm nerves, adjust to inconveniences and resolve long-standing relationship problems.
I’m not talking about the “act-like-you-are-listening” tactics taught in business training classes. I’m talking about authentic, put-your-ego-aside kind of listening — mindful listening.
Could one of the reasons for this pandemic be to restore or rehabilitate our connections with those who are precious and important to us? World renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Hallowell, calls “connection” with people, pets, nature and favorite activities as the Vitamin C of well-being. Why not use this time at home to connect or re-connect with loved ones?
Here are a few mindful ways to start creating healthier connections with key people in your life:
1) Ask an open-ended question like, “How are you doing?” and wait. Watch and wait some more. Your conversation partner will see this silence as a green light to share what’s on their mind. If they don’t respond or brush you off, try again later. Eventually, they may get the sense that you really care to listen.
2) Get into their movie! When they start to speak, forget yourself and your troubles, just like you do at the movies. Watch them carefully while you listen to their words. See how well the words and non-verbals match up. Just like at the movies, maintain your silence and keep your eyes on them. It’s all about them right now, not you. There may be long pauses, but hang in there, that’s where the gold is – their true feelings and concerns will bubble to the surface.
3) When you think they are done talking, pleasantly surprise them and tell back in your own words, what you heard them say – just a couple sentences. No rebuttal, no advice, no judgment, it’s what you heard them say. This lets them know they have been heard ( high Vitamin C content! ). Don’t be too shocked if they want to hear from you at this point. If you get that far, you have established a connection.
For more about Mindful Listening, get the audio book version of The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction at Amazon.com