The yearly calendar is not without a day of some sort. Be it Daffodil Day, Bandaged Bear day or other. No doubt we have heard of R U OK day which falls this year on 10 September 2020. And this year, with all that we are facing counts more than ever. While the focus is on the prevention of suicide, I like to think of it as slowing down from our task driven way to looking around and see who might need our care and attention. This is a lifelong awareness and skill.
And while my role as a coach is about listening and providing a space to others, I too have had the need to be heard when challenges get the better of me as a business owner, partner and all the other roles I play. It is in those moments that I experience the power of receiving the gift that I give.
It is so easy to get caught up in the goal or where we are heading yet as I often say, it is about the journey not just about the destination. How often do we look around to check in on those around us? Where is our awareness?
For some of us, it comes naturally and for others not so. At the core, it is about empathy – that ability to step into another’s shoes and see it from another perspective. It is about releasing ourselves from the belief that we need to have an answer, that we need to solve it for that person. Often, what one needs is simply to be heard. Instead of a solution, shift the focus to questions. I guess you could start with – are you ok? To that you could add What support do you need? Would you like to talk about it?
There is skill also in being present. In our technologically focused world, our attention spans may be challenged. Put aside all distractions and choose an environment that provides safety for a person to speak, allow time where you will not feel rushed to get somewhere. The feeling of being heard happens at an unconscious level. Listen to connect with the person. A connection is happening at a heart brain level. Put aside your thoughts, your questions, your solutions as to what they should do. Put aside any concern as to what you should do. There is nothing to do and everything to do in being present and listening.
Research shows that one of the greatest factors in engagement within the workplace is a demonstration of care by peers and manager. At a personal level, it is a gift we give others.
Stop, look around. How can you start to show you care even in the smallest way? How can we step away from technology, task and deadlines to reach out to others in the moment? And last but not least, recognise when you need to reach other in support of your own wellbeing and resilience.