I had a beautiful coaching call with my client Laura yesterday. It was beautiful because it was messy and real. She was working from home, and we were on video-chat on Zoom.
She was in her running gear, without make-up. I got to see her work environment: the typewriter in the background, which her husband uses to write (he’s an author). I got to meet her 6-year-old daughter (Ari), who’s also at home. She wanted to hang out with her mom for a few minutes. I discovered that the best part of Ari’s day is having her dad home-school her. I also got to meet Laura’s dog McCarthy who kept coming into her make-shift home-office and be part of the coaching action. He’s 14 years old, losing his eyesight and has to be carried down the stairs to go out.
It was one of our best coaching calls because I got to see her whole life and be in the mess with her.
Our lives are all a bit messy right now. What a wonderful opportunity to reveal our real selves to each other. It helps us grow our tolerance for messiness, in ourselves and others. Allowing for messiness creates space for creativity because we can bear imperfection.
In times of social distancing, I know I am craving more intimacy. Intimacy as defined as “Into-Me-See.” I’m craving deeper connections with others. These are times of enormous stress, and this intimacy (micro-moments of open-hearted connection with others) are good for our immune system. They are also absolutely necessary to build the fabric of trust that is needed now to move together fast, pivot, experiment, fail, forgive, learn from each other.
So, as you’re in your virtual meetings, experiment with being okay with messy and real. Experiment with getting curious about the context of someone’s life. Show them your home office set up, so they see your context. Reveal something vulnerable first, so others feel safe. Try simple curious questions:
- What is it like for you right now?
- What’s working well?
- What’s challenging?
And then just listen. Listen to learn. Listen to notice what they’re feeling. Listen to be with their experience. See if you can feel what their experience is like. People need us to be with them and listen. Take a breath. And then ask what support they need.
We need each other’s humanity during these times. Since we have people from all over the world in our community, do write and share what it’s like for you right now.
Grateful that we’re in this together,
P.S. Please share these blog series with others on your teams so together we can grow new capacities to thrive in disruption. You can sign up for the series here. And don’t forget to comment below with your questions and challenges so we can co-create for our community.