My daughter said to me this evening ‘Thank you for being lovely and listening to me earlier’ and I thought about how my coaching training must be paying off. I’ve always thought that I was a good listener, but in the last few months I’ve been consciously trying to hear every word without thinking of my response; to truly hear the message without trying to offer the solution.
Why is listening without offering a solution so important?
If we offer our solution to someone else’s problem and they go with it, that might not be the conclusion they were going to get to. We have no guarantee that our idea would be better. We could have stopped their thinking part way through the best idea they would ever have.
Being listened to
The flip side of listening to others is having someone listen to you in order to come up with solutions yourself. In my session with my coach today, we eventually got to my new goal of ‘To be able to sit with my feet up in the future’. In my mind there are many steps and barriers that I need to get through to make this happen. He then asked what timeframe I imagined this goal happening.
I think we were both shocked when my immediate response was 1-2 years. What was I thinking? Can’t I just put my feet up right now? What’s stopping me? The answer I came up with was that I’m not seeing it as time to fully relax.
When my coach listened to me more and asked me lots of effective questions, it became obvious to me that because I allow the interruptions to happen, and react to them, I’m always on edge so don’t feel like I’m relaxing.
Interruptions come into my life in many forms and I let most of them impact my day. So, we agreed that over the next couple of weeks I would keep a journal and make notes under the following headings to see what I say yes and no to.
- What do I successfully say no to?
- What do I say yes to when I really want to say no?
- What are the pulls on my time?
- How can I get some more time for self-care?
I went through the rest of the afternoon looking out for things that I do that I don’t really want to do and what I actually do say no to with ease. I noticed a few things that I actually don’t mind doing (I didn’t see them as interruptions), but for the 8 hours that I was monitoring, I couldn’t find anything that I said yes to when I really wanted to say no.
That was until it came to 9.30pm when I finally went to sit down in the lounge and my husband asked me if I could make him two pieces of toast. It sounds like a simple request from someone who has just come out of hospital and can’t do it himself, but I had just cleaned up in the kitchen and really wanted to relax.
I obliged but made a mental note that I really would have liked to have said no so that I could relax. The cost of me doing this little bit of kindness was only 5-10 mins of rest and relaxation, but he then needed some help with other things and so I ended up giving up on relaxing.
I thought about how I could get some self-care into my evening in a different way and I decided to run a bath. This way I could relax without interruptions. I then wrote this blog, so I did get some me-time in after all.
Until next time…