The Set for Your Creative Edge~
Two mechanics walk into a bar. One mechanic says to the other, “what a day, I think every customer had a complaint,” and buys himself and his friend a beer as he straddles the wooden stool. The other mechanic takes a sip setting his glass down heavy and says, “No kidding, same here. I’m exhausted. How can you look so at ease about it?”
How do you suppose the first mechanic responds? What does he tell his friend about his day? Did he hear his customers out? Make eye contact? Debate? Repeat his own case? Placate? Offer coupons? Interrupt? Make sure they felt understood? Please each customer? Avoid eye contact? Lie? Freeze? Swear about them behind their back? Make them laugh?
How did you respond in your gut with each of those options?
Whether you’re a parent or CEO of a global company or both, you know what it feels like in your core to receive authentic communication. And you know that your “customer” — child, vendor, patient, friend, lover, parishioner, employee, boss — won’t settle for placation either, at least not for long.
“The most important thing about communication
is hearing what isn’t said.” ~Peter Drucker
Communication is something like a volley. Who and what is on the either side of the net, determines the level of the game you get to play, where you aim the ball and what is possible for you to accomplish and receive in return.
As soon as two people are in any level of relationship, there is an energy between them, like the net in a volley. The threads contributed by each person have the opportunity to weave, tangle or unravel the net.
The first mechanic found it within himself to attune to what wasn’t being said—not his perspective of it, his customers’ perspective. Not his intuitive evaluation of his customer. His customer’s authentic need and how it wove with his own success as a business owner.
In so doing, he transformed his customers’ lives for that moment and came to the end of his day with fulfillment because he found a way to authentically connect with his customer while remaining connected with himself.
The second mechanic had tried everything to please his customers. But they wouldn’t have it because, whether it was said or not, they knew he wasn’t “there.” In the room with them. In the moment. Authentically invested in relationship. To him, no matter how positive he tried to be, in truth they were simply a cranky, energy-draining customers with needs that got in the way and he couldn’t fulfill. He would either lose himself or disassociate from the interaction. His customers felt it.
Yes, there are times you must end the proverbial conversation. That is in your discernment of who is on the other side of the volley, the quality of the “net,” and the potential for mutual investment in something greater.
Are they invested in relationship and true resolution or not? Invested in their position or actually feeling and being present to what is being said? Invested in something greater created together or simply winning? Authentic or hiding? Returning communication that can weave a stronger net or simply repeating their position, or subtly extracting energy? Are they trying to appease or open to a higher way?
Like a good volleyball game, the most fun is when each team brings out the best in each other, where you call on the best of your skills.
This applies whether your selling widgets, building a love relationship, or raising a child. A child or a customer, a board member or a lover who are being authentically heard and invested in will transform before your eyes.
“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy—it is disposition alone.
Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other,
and seven days are more than enough for others.” ~ Jane Austen
You’ve probably heard it said many times that communication is the beginning of intimacy. Intimacy being deep emotional connection. It may seem odd at first to think of intimacy in context with your professional as well as personal relationships.
Yet learning to modulate this connection for each context will put you on a creative edge in every aspect of your life, freeing up energy from a dead or one-sided game for something that feels alive, mutual, makes you a better version of yourself, and fueling your creative juices for each avenue of your expression.
“Intimacy is not something that just happens between two people;
it is a way of being alive. At every moment,
we are choosing either to reveal ourselves
or to protect ourselves, to value ourselves
or to diminish ourselves, to tell the truth or to hide.
To dive into life or to avoid it.
Intimacy is making the choice to be connected to,
rather than isolated from, our deepest truth at that moment.” ~ Geneen Roth
Why not cast intention into 2023 for a powerful and rich(er) “net” throughout your life? Where the volley of communication is elevating you and your relationships in your job, your company, friendships, employees, boss, your significant other, your children…
What kind of creative edge would develop within you when there is a mutual volley? With your attention and energy increasingly directed in creativity instead of dead conversations?
If you don’t think it’s possible, then it’s not. If you do think it’s possible and you’re committed…it has already begun. If you’re there already, where can you take it next?
Here’s to more of you in this world,