Mindful Communication: The quality of our communication determines the quality of our relationships. In a fast-paced, future-oriented world it is easy to become complacent, reactive and judgmental in the way we interact with our colleagues, family, and friends. This leads to results that are not desirable in a workplace.
To help develop a practice of mindful communication, we can do these 4 things:
In the modern world we tend to listen with these 4 prominent types of listening:
- Surf-listening: Listening only to respond. Not really present with the person in front of you.
- Busy-listening: Multi-tasking and trying to listen at the same time.
- Auto-pilot: Really not caring too much about what is being spoken about. “mm mm, yep, cool” Not showing any real interest as you are not present at.
- Forced-listening: Both parties not wanting to be in the conversation and so the conversation is not.
The main lesson here is to notice when we are going into one of these types of listening. Ask for permission to have this conversation another time if you notice yourself not listening deeply. “I’d really love to be present for this conversation, so do you mind if we have it another time?”
When we are in conversation with another person, all we really hear are our own perceptions or judgments about what is being said. We are meaning-making machines as humans and so what to one person might bring joy, to another might trigger an experience from earlier in life and bring anxiety and stress. A lot of communication is coming to a common understanding of a concept. Without this common understanding, we end up swimming in the darkness and forever feeling like the other person does not ‘get it.’
The other side of this is for us to recognize our role within this. What judgments and what meaning are we placing on what is being said. Are you acting or speaking out of subconscious biases or are you aware of these and letting yourself speak from a compassionate place of understanding. As in meditation, the aim here is to start to notice our own subjective thoughts and start to look at them objectively.
In a workplace, or in any relationship we all have the yearning to feel that we belong and that we are able to be ourselves in this space. Part of this is feeling that we are understood and heard. As a practical tool, you can use to enact mindful communication, see if you can repeat back to someone what they just said, in their own words. Try not to phrase it in your own language just yet, but then maybe ask if you did, in fact, hear them correctly. “What I heard you saying was that you…. Is that what you meant?”
If this was said to you, would you ﬁnd it kind, gentle and beneﬁcial?
Taking a moment before we respond or speak is important. A moment to consider the importance of the words we are about to speak and who we are speaking them for. Am I saying this simply for my own good, or will this person also beneﬁt generously from my words? Speaking mindfully is the art of taking a break before we speak to check-in, become clear on our intention and choose our words purposefully.
Purpose at Work:
We’ve all had days where getting up in the morning is almost impossible. Why do I need to do this? Why can’t I just stay here? Answering these ‘WHY’ questions is incredibly important. Without answers to the why, the HOW can sometimes feel lifeless and mundane. IKIGAI – Japanese for ‘reason for being.’ The IKIGAI model is a very practical model for coming to know where we ﬁnd purpose and a sense of meaning.
It can be a wonderful exercise to draw out the Venn diagram on a big sheet of paper, then go through each circle (not worrying too much about the bottom ‘what can you be paid for’ circle as you are being paid to be at work!). Fill in each circle with keywords, images, quotes, etc. Try not to be too self-critical or judgmental in the process.
Once you’ve ﬁlled them out, start to mentally draw lines between each circle and come up with ideas for what a life-on-purpose might look like for you. “I teach yoga out in nature, incorporating hiking also, for social enterprises and teams, then we share in a locally produced organic meal up the top.” Come up with some wild combinations.
The next important step is to start to relate this to your role at work. How is being here, helping me live this life? It could be as simple as it is helping pay the bills so that I can then do online courses and learn the skills I need, or I learn how to manage projects so that I can then take that into managing my own workshops and events. How is this role now helping you get to this vision and life on-purpose you envision Building that link is very important? This way when you get up in the morning and you’re struggling to get out of bed, you can remember WHY you are doing this and it feels exciting when you link it to this sense of vision and purpose!
Any questions, guidance or more information, feel free to contact Al directly at [email protected]