“The boss isn’t competent”.
“The job isn’t meaningful”.
“Colleagues / partnerships are insensitive”.
“My health is going downhill and I don’t have the time to work on it”.
“People resort to unfair means to get ahead and I don’t want to do the same”.
“I cant get to work on my passions. The turkdom of daily work is killing my soul”
One of these is bound to come up in conversations beyond that go beyond a brief while. Once the pleasantries are done and the weather is beaten to death so much, that anything said beyond that would get the weatherman come after with an employment letter.
I don the hat of a coach, at times. Most other times, just being a friend and listening to people, which in any case is a key aspect of being a coach.
The ‘sadness’ that engulfs the conversation is only eclipsed by the seeming helplessness of the situation. “But what can I do? I have a home loan and kids need to go to school” are refrains. Many speak of wanting to throw it all away and pursue their passions. The room lights up by their frissons when they describe these. Darkness returns as they talk of their immediate circumstances.
Sitting there, I don’t do much. For there is nothing for me to do except listen. Only pausing to ask a question here or one there. Hoping it can be a flare in a new moon night. Perhaps showing us a patch that can become a pathway. A clearing that can lead to a path. Whatever.
I have never ceased to be amazed at the depth of what resides in each conversation and in every person. Every time I come back convinced that the world will be a better place if we can sit down and talk to each other. Listening without an agenda.
The other thing that I have learnt to trust in, and am always proven right is this : people have it in them to be better off with their lives. Sometimes all I have to do is to help them become present to the fact that their choices make the difference. Choices that they become aware of when they speak their hearts out. When they are in the flow.
The moment, choices and consequences are very clear to people, new possibilities emerge. People begin taking the You Turn. First in their minds and then if you help them stick with it, in reality as well.
You don’t need to do much. Ask a few questions. Listen with all you have got. Perhaps am making it sound a tad easier than it is.
Here is an invitation. Perhaps its a challenge. Can you sit back and listen to one person this week? It could be your driver. Perhaps the boss. Maybe its a peer in another organisation. Or even your kids. Listening without agenda. Just one person.
It may seem like an exercise in waste. You have no idea what it does to the other person. I didn’t too, for a long while. And then, I experienced an ace coach help people take ‘U’ turns. It gave me a new lens and I have been working on my ears.