“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” - Roy T. Bennett
Many a times we tend to tell our story more than listening to what others have to say to us. We want to sound good, look good in another's eye, as if we are competing to prove who is better and in that space we tend to forget the very intent of having the conversation in the first place. As as result of this what happens? We don't connect with another person, neither do we create any impact in their nor our lives. I have often been told that while I am in conversation with another person, I make them feel comfortable; comfortable to that extent that they share some of the deepest secrets with me that they had never shared with another person. This makes me happy, but at the same time I used to wonder what did I do differently to enable that! I didn't apply any technique/tool, then what?! When they asked me as to how I did that, I had no answer because I actually didn't do anything consciously, neither tried to project something on to them. All I did was listened deeply, got really curious about the person & what he/she had to say. Undoubtedly, I am a very curious person and I just go with the flow out of that curiosity. I forget everything at that moment and just allow my curious mind to take the lead. I let them say that they always wanted to say but were too intimated by other's clever words that they just shunned themselves away. Well, here the point that I am making is not about me but about deep listening, about understanding another from their perspective, about accepting & respecting another as they are, creating a safe space for them to share & be comfortable and to do this, all you need is genuine curiosity.
Curiosity is caring in action! You can get curious only when the focus is not you but the person in front of you; when he/she is more important than yourself at that moment and that comes only out of sheer care for the person. And how has that curiosity helped me & the person?! It helped me save lives of people, transform people's perspective for good, helped them find solutions to their problems, helped them take off burdens that they had been carrying all throughout their lives. By this simple way, I have helped individuals who wanted to end their lives not give up but see for possibility amidst adversity; not give up on their dreams but believe in their innate gifts & uncertainty to be able to make it come true; people into addiction recover & give up addiction to be able to replace that with something not to numb their pain but feel it to let it out; have helped people to grieve, let out their emotions & not be left alone; the list is long. In fact, I acknowledge myself for today instilling hope in a person who wanted to end the life out of sheer distress and loss of hope in possibilities & self. And yes, that's a huge difference that I could have made to them. They say that and that makes a difference to me. The light that I see in their eyes, the spark in their voice, the shift in their being after the conversation is what gives me immense pleasure of having made an impact, a difference. Imagine what will happen when you simply get curious?! I hear from a lot of professionals/individuals who are leading teams, building teams, wanting to form deep connections, wanting to create long lasting relationships both personally & professionally but with failed attempts. My invitation to them is to ask one question to oneself: How curious you are?
As I dug deeper, I found that beneath that curiosity was the genuine care & compassion for the person. As I got curious, I also brought empathy & care along with that curiosity. I wasn't just collecting random data to create something out of that but caring for the person in front of me, who to me had so much to share & speak. Compassion doesn't come from having experienced someone's life experience but through imagination. When you use your mind to creatively think what they must have gone through, you are filled with compassion & love. So, to me to form deeper connections you need the 3 Cs: Curiosity, Care & Compassion. The more time you spend in questions starting with "what and why", you will figure out the answers to "how". And only with curiosity you can uncover the "whats & whys". The answers to "hows" is a by-product of how well you spent your time figuring out the "whats & whys". Last but not the least, it is important to get curious without attachment. Because if you are in it, you can't see the perspective outside of it but similar to what the person is saying & that won't make much of a difference because then you are putting back the person to the same box that he/she is in. And if you are wondering what box I am talking about, do feel free to read my previous blog to get more insights into that.
I am curious to know what's coming up for you at this moment after going through this blog. Can't stop myself & my curiosity! Get curious!
Believing in you,
I was at the famous Murchie's Tea & Coffee at Victoria reflecting on my experience of THE Intensive, a coach workshop that I had come to attend to; hosted by two extra-ordinary coaches who have done deep transformative work on themselves & who chose not to just be content at being credentialed coaches but to keep raising the bar for themselves & the coaching industry. Yes, I flew all the way from India because I knew this is going to be different. Somehow I love to learn from such coaches; it makes me happy, fulfilled & content of the fact that I am at the right place, in the right room full of genuinity & radiance. So, here I am basking in my own thoughts, reading the book, "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon gifted to us by coach Adam Quiney & Bay LeBlanc Quiney during the workshop(To know more about Adam & Bay, click here). As I was sipping my hot coffee & reading through the lines of the first page of the book, something just struck me. It caught my attention & made me think. It read, "Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think." And this is so true! We hold back and don't share our work, our ideas, our views etc. hoping for the perfect day to come, hoping to master the craft & then share; fearing our work might be stolen; believing that we might be like a dumb person sharing without any reason or being called for. We can add on to this list of judgments that we make about self & others & thus hold back. We do this often and yet feel guilt & shame for avoiding what we want to do. We make peace with this avoidance & numb the pain with other things. You might as well choose to say I never do this. This way you are just putting yourself back into your box, unaware of your own blind spots. We remain in our box again & again. We gravitate towards it and that's who we are until we choose to ask ourselves this powerful question: "Where might I be doing this in my life?".
Just as I was about to get inside my box again after this awakening, my inner voice told me: "Look at you! Did you hear what others think of you?! What they think your essence is?! Did you truly believe them or ignored?" We were given an activity during the workshop to discuss about the essence of every person that we see through our eyes. And my group members shared some amazing stuffs about me & it was hard to believe it myself. I was embarrassed for putting myself down for such a long time, for not believing who truly I am. The group that I worked with in the workshop, were strangers to me & they didn't know who I was, neither did they have any vested interest to share good stuff about me with me; but they saw in me what I didn't. They saw radiance, brilliance, possibilities, wisdom, groundedness, feminine power, free spirit in me that I hadn't viscerally acknowledged. Intellectually may be I owned that, but viscerally I didn't and hence I refrained from showing myself, my work to the world. I knew there are people out there in the world who would love what I do, my work, my ideas & what uniqueness I bring in, only if I allow that to happen. Well, I have come a long way in this; blogging & you-tubing are few ways of showing my work to my niche community, the community of people who would relate to me & understand me. But, it's just the beginning & I am glad I have made that start. It is scary, fearful & uncomfortable; but much better than sitting in avoidance and not creating your possibilities. I want my obituary to be awesome after all!
See we all have the essence in us. It's like a light bulb that lights up at the back of our head which every person can see except us. May be we too got a glimpse of it when we were just born; but we were too caught up with other things but notice our essence. And thus chose to operate from fear. As a result of which, we over or under express our essence. Just being conscious of this phenomenon is powerful! Making sense?! Try it out to see for yourself. What did I get by holding back?! Certainty of who I am, but missed out exploring my possibilities; comfort of being inside my box using my survival mechanisms but missed out on experiencing the evolved & radiant me. Was fine with what I had in life, but failed to embrace the other spectrum of being not fine. Because only when you allow yourself to experience both the sides of the spectrum, you truly can embrace & enjoy every emotion(positive or negative) & experience life in totality. In letting go off our old ways, we discover new ones. In letting go off the contentment, we realize what we are running away & numbing ourselves from. More guarded you are, more you stand in your own way of feeling even the goodness in your life with the power & velocity that it might have been possible for you. Because the possibilities of the spectrum is infinite! As you expand, it expands. Evolution is never upwards but it's like going up & down and up & down for you to experience its power. As I learnt this beautiful acronym during the workshop for the word FINE (Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional or Emotionally unavailable), I realized that many a times we just say a plain "Fine" we are not being aware of the underlying experience of the emotion (energy in motion). So, next time you say you are fine or hear someone saying it, know that there's hell lot of emotions running beneath the surface of your fineness which you might be aware or not even aware. Whether you own it & dare to accept it & dive in to explore, is completely your choice, depends on your being: if it is fear-sourced or love-sourced in essence. And showing your work is just like that. You have to be courageous enough to be seen, copied, stolen & ridiculed or praised but yet you show it no matter what because you don't want your essence to die out & fizzle but show up in the world as it is. And this piece of thought, my insight is what I have to give you, may be you might not resonate with what I had to share or add some more from your story & create a new insight for you to create magic & miracle in your life. After all you need to first enroll yourself to your dream, the possibilities that you can create. I don't need to do this for you because you are whole, complete & full.
Want to figure out how you can start doing your deep work, I recommend you hire a coach.
Love & radiance,
"If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinion for or against." - Osho
There is always peace & tranquility in the truth. But we are so impatient that we have no time to discover it but use our opinions & judgements. And when we use only our perspectives to see the things, situations, people and understand them, we are way away from the reality. I have judged people many a times. I have judged myself too. I have seen people, things and situations from my lens only & believed strongly to be the truth in totality. For many years I have lived like that. What happens then? My ego got satisfied with the fact that I know people & myself well. I didn't have to do the hard thing of finding out the reality but easily draw conclusion with certain parameters that I choose to have & that saved my time. I felt happy that what I thought to be true is what it is. Ridiculous! Now I can laugh it out, but then this was my priced possession.
A STUMBLE INSIDE ME NEEDED INVESTIGATION
Living in an illusion and believing my truth to be the only truth. This limited my understanding of self and others, of situations & things. Emotional triggers are best ways to find out what's happening in your inner world. We often draw conclusions by seeing what's happening outside but forgetting to acknowledge that it's our inner world that draws these conclusions. For many years I didn't understand this phenomenon. Even though intellectually I did, I didn't viscerally accept it. We live in a world that judges us, boxes us. Assessments are used to categories us. No offense to the great researches done in this area. Assessments are required and important but what is more important is what conclusion we draw from these assessments and who is drawing the conclusion. If our own views are limited, we will draw the conclusion accordingly even if the assessments might have a different tonality to it. Anyways, this isn't my topic of discussion for today. What I want to share is how our own truth distorts the reality, the actual reality. I too choose not to understand the truth. Uncovering the truth was a difficult one & not easy. And who would choose a difficult path over easy one?! No sensible person would! But later I realized, what looked like an easy path, was actually a path leading me to nowhere. I always found a deadlock. As if there was a roadblock every now & then. And all my energy was spent in figuring out & overcoming that. I wasn't tired but my energy depleted and that wasn't a good space to be in. If that way was easy, the sail should have been free-flowing. Something inside me struck & I decided to try out the seemingly hard path. Everyone says it's hard, but is it really hard?! Did I try it myself to conclude that to be hard?! So, I decided to walk the hard path. Not to become some sort of a spiritual teacher or guru; but to experience it myself to see what's there in it. The curious mind did play a good role here! This first decision was enough to bring about a huge shift in me. A shift that's not visible but can be felt from inside and it takes time to manifest outside. In this path, all I needed to do is to look within, check my internal map & navigate myself accordingly. Whenever I find myself not moving forward, I know I have not gone deep inside. There's a stumble inside that I needed to investigate. Once I did that & overcame the block, the path outside itself opened the doors to many beautiful destinations.
SOMEONE ELSE HAVING CONTROL OVER OUR EMOTIONAL STATE
One such block inside me was being easily affected by other's behaviours, opinions, other's idea of me, their actions. This is the zone that most of us are in. Many of my clients whom I coach find themselves in this spot. Someone else having the power on us! We feel angry, sad, happy, good about ourselves, feel bad based on what others think of us & do to us. Sometimes we also try to act smart and ignore feeling this way. We are ashamed to admit & acknowledge. But the fact is that it affected us so much that we decided to ignore it, numb it to negate the pain. So, see we are again walking the easy path of being affected by others or altogether brushing off our emotions & acting as if nothing can affect me. In reality, this rejection is a clear sign of being affected. Consciously we have numbed our emotions, but our neurons stores it. Every cell has an emotional memory which manifests in some or the other forms such as our behaviours, actions & physical manifestations in the form of ailments, illness etc. Emotions means energy in motion. And energy can't be destroyed or created but transformed & transferred. And transformation of energy is what is called building up one's emotional resilience, internal strength, the emotional muscle. Today I vulnerably write about my weaknesses & express openly. But, I wasn't like this too before. Now I understand that if I have to experience myself in totality which is the beautiful thing to do, I have to acknowledge every side of me and so do I have to allow others to see my dark sides too. No one should love me only for my strengths but also should know that I too have my imperfections & I am working on it. If that acceptance is there, people will experience me more profoundly, without my mask & armour. This will also enable others to drop their masks & armour hopefully. My journey then will be fruitful!
When you choose to see the truth, you investigate. Whenever I get hurt, angry or sad or even too excited; I ask myself this question: What is causing this emotional state: my truth or the actual truth? If there is a gap, I know the emotional state is futile. Not real but temporary. When my truth doesn't match the reality, I get angry, sad & withdraw. Then I know that I have taken the shortcut and not the so-perceived hard path. When my truth exceeds the reality, I get excited & overly happy. Then also I know that deep down I need to do deep work to investigate if that's my low self-esteem finding solace in external validation or me lowering my benchmark to not to lean on to my fears & insecurities. I am working on myself, I stumble many many times; but I get up because now I am conscious of my inner world and that this is the only thing that bridges the gap between my truth & the actual truth. I have the power to control my emotional state & no one else has.
TRUTH IS JOY, PEACE & GENTLE
Many a times we lower our truth to be happy. Other times we exceed it to at least land up at something positive. But any which ways we are deviating from the reality. To uncover the truth, the reality as it is; we must peep inside, accept & start seeing as it is without prejudice, judgements, opinions. Is this easy? Not at all. But it leads to joy, inner peace & increased vibration. Because the truth is joy, peace & gentle. That's a state of neutrality. Everything is in sync. So, does your truth match the truth of the source? If not, it's time to walk the inward journey.
Love, light & gratitude,
"I don't fix problems, I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves." - Louise Hay
Yesterday was indeed a day of self-discovery! For the past couple of days, I was becoming more aware of my patterns and blind spots. And after attending a webinar by one of the master coaches on the topic, discovering your sweet spot; I became more aware of a part hidden in me that I wasn't aware of. This webinar acted like a catalyst to uncovering that. Sometimes you need your own sweet time to discover things. That discovery is joyful because then the insight becomes too powerful to resist converting it into action. As coaches too, we have our blind spots. If we aren't mindful of that, if we aren't looking within, there are chances of us sabotaging our own growth & so the growth of our clients & people whom we serve.
SELF-DISCOVERY IS BEAUTIFUL
Self-discovery is beautiful because then you get to decide what you want to do about it. You have the power within to control the outcomes and not the other way around. I realized that I had a mindset of fixing everyone's problems. I wanted to fix things. This I did consciously & many a times unconsciously too. My mind looked for cues to fix people, fix things, situations. After having been into HR for more than a decade, I developed this attitude in me strongly and so I behaved exactly the same way in every aspect of my life. I wanted to fix things not working in my relationship, I wanted to fix things in my son, I wanted to fix things in my career etc. etc. And amusingly, I looked at this from an absolutely different angle. I gave it the name of being a giver. I was considering myself to be profound giver giving away my advice, my ideas, my tips, my suggestions trying to fix what was wrong in the other person. Sometimes, I did this without even the person asking for it. I mean unconsciously, I just exuded that energy and so I sabotaged many connections & relationships. Many a times I offended people too. Most importantly, I was harming myself and sabotaging my peace of mind & happiness. This attitude of fixing never works out for good. The only thing that would really be empowering for me would be to fix this mindset of mine. Something inside of me needed to be fixed and so I decided to dive into it deep.
OUR PROJECTIONS ARE OUR DEEPER INTRINSIC NEEDS
What we project onto others is exactly what we need to give ourselves. As an Enneagram style 4 person, I had this believe around myself being defective. My coach, Clarence Thompson did tell me about this. I viewed myself from that space and so my urge to fix things in others. You fix when you think that what you are seeing, experiencing is not right. So, you try to make it better. You try to fix it to be able to fit that into your idea of being good. I realized I had high ideals in my mind and I was never satisfied being who I was. I always had this habit of comparing self with someone whom I looked up to.This can be even imaginary ideals, the perfect being. So, I wanted to fix every part of me to be able to be that ideal person. And when I do this what happens, I loose out my uniqueness, my originality and become just a mere copy of the ideal & a vacuum persist. I had nourished this demon inside me for years and this was one of the major blind spots that was holding me back from experiencing myself in my truest form, liberating myself to my next level of growth. Ah! Every time I think this is the big one, I encounter another big one. But this uncovering is amazing!
NO FIXING NO REPAIRING, JUST THE WAY IT IS
I then realized that this needs to be fixed in me. Rather, than fixing, it needs acknowledgment. I acknowledged this side of me and embraced it fully. I gave approval to myself for who I am. As Byron Katie says, "Loving what it is." So, I decided to love what it is. No fixing, no repairing; just the way it is. If I want to live with this imperfection, so be it. And if I want to fix it, so be it. But now there's a huge difference in the way I operate. I don't fix because I want to make things better; but because I want to accept the imperfection & embrace the next level to experience another side of me and so in other people; not to escape from the imperfections but to experience myself & others more profoundly. More than fixing, which comes from a place of scarcity, fear; now I operate from a space of love and abundance. There's scope for improvement, if you want, embrace it; if not let it be how it is because that is what is needed exactly at this point, at this moment. So, givers & people who love fixing; do look deep within: "What's that which needs fixing inside of you? What is it that you need to give to yourself that you have been giving others?"
Last but not the least, when you fix others problems, you take away their ability to find their own solutions. All you got to do is, just support them in finding their solutions and answers. They know best what needs to be done, you just be with them while they solve/fix their problems. That is powerful! We don't see this power because we haven't realized it's power yet. And coaching is all about that, no fixing but inspiring, eliciting, nurturing & leading forward.
Love, light & gratitude,
Life & Organizational Development Coach