This morning’s meditation was Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘Our Idea of Happiness’. He was talking about the concept of how we push our idea of happiness on others and this creates tension – for us and them. If they did this (what I tell them), they would be happy. If they made this decision (the decision I think is best), they would be happy. Which is code for ‘my idea of happiness’. Happiness could be anything. About their mental state, better job performance, better culture or friendships. After this, I could see how often I do this. With my kids, my friends and past lovers.
Then I open my current read; Timothy Clark’s The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. There’s a section on how we make people feel safe when they are able to contribute to a team and its success. One way to measure this is to consider your ‘tell to ask ratio’. When we tell more than we ask Clark suggests we become ‘noise’ to another. We lose our impact. And other people don’t feel seen or understood and contribute less or not at all.
If I put these two lessons together. And life is clever like this (if we choose to be present enough to the signs) it’s telling me that the best place I can be in, for others, is to listen. To be present. To understand them, rather than push my agenda, my sense of what will make them happy all over them.
I love this question that Clark asks; ‘Are you emotionally advanced beyond needing to hear yourself talk?’ Ouch. If you hold positional power you need to be aware that what you can, and how early you say, can shut the room down.
How well do we do this as a leader? As a friend? As a parent or a partner? Understanding why we need to ask more and tell less will change how we operate. If we dare.
How many times is the Universe trying to teach me this lesson? Something tells me it’s going to be eternal 😉
PS: Want to talk about our ‘Working as One’ program? How to create high performance teams and workplaces (and give your team the tools I talked about in this blog). Just send me a direct message with “lets chat” and we’ll reach out and set up a time to talk.