Have you ever experienced something so significant in your life that you can’t put words to it? Like there is not enough time or existing language to describe the event. Worse, you are pretty sure that no one but yourself really cares to hear about the full experience? I am that kind of person. Part of my job as an executive coach is to hear others tell their leadership story. I love hearing about others (and not just because I’m getting paid). I am truly fascinated by what my clients perceive and experience. I like to help bring awareness to the patterns in their story and the different connections that have made them who they are. Yet, I have a hard time believing someone else will feel the same way about my story (unless, of course, they are getting paid).
I don’t want to be “that person”. The person who can’t seem to have a conversation without slipping something in about their dog, their kids, their new job or the latest article they published. That person who pretends they haven’t already told you about their newest promotion and the 14,000 people they now oversee and how demanding it is. We have all known someone like this who takes something interesting and goes weird with it. I shudder to think someone might see me “that way”. So I go quiet. I have all these rich experiences and learnings about life, myself and knowledge, but I choose not to share
- Can I tell you what I am learning?
- Can I share with you what I just wrote?
- Can I talk with you about something I am wrestling with?
- Would you be willing to let me run an idea by you so I can hear myself talk out loud about it?
- Can I share something with you that I find really exciting?
Not many of us would respond to any of these questions with an emphatic “no”. Most will, time willing, lean in and say, “of course”. The question then becomes why do we not ask for what we need? This is part of my weird lessons learnt as a PhD student. I need to make my thinking, requests and needs more explicit. There are 1,000 other learnings but I’ll stop with this one, for now, lest I get weird. Thanks for letting me share, invited or not.
What are you waiting on to share? How will you get what you need despite the invitation?