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A simple truth about improving relationships

In the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed reflective times and full-on busy times. As I write this, I’ve been grateful that this morning, my alarm wasn’t set until 6am, after an entire week of much earlier wake-ups. And as I sit here, I remember that after the initial sharp thought of “What on EARTH is that alarm going off so early for?!?” my next thought each morning had been “I’m looking forward to seeing the people I have today.” In an instant, I remember how lucky I feel I am.

This week, there’s been a group of 60 people in a corporate’s European division, another 32 in Australia-New Zealand and 27 during an in-person full-day session in West London. There has also been a schedule full of one-to-one sessions with coaching clients. When I spend a moment to ponder that, I feel very grateful to be able to touch that many people in one week. While I never know the impact any session will have on anyone from the moment each meeting ends, I know something will have been heard, seen or felt that has the potential to turn their work or personal life in a new direction: towards achieving more joy, increased business results, more enjoyment and more comfort in their own skin.

One theme that’s occurred numerous times in the past week is how much of our attention (and worry!) consists of what others think of us. And I get it! I still think about this more than I’d like to. What I wish I always remembered is that what other people think of me is none of my business. It’s their business. 100% of the time. I also wish that I always remembered that me concerning myself with “What do they think of me?” takes me into my own make-believe world, a world of story and of imagination. Then, I try to fix, in my head, what I’ve imagined. And build strategies and actions to manage what I’ve imagined. Then I hope those actions work. Imagine that! Here’s what I have noticed, regardless of my history with someone: when I just show up, present to them, every relationship gets better. I enjoy them as people more, and I also know they enjoy me more. It doesn’t stop me worrying about what other’s think or stop me planning in my head how I want to come across or stop me thinking about how to overcome a version of me I’ve imagined. Yet it’s futile. In my natural state, instead of my ‘in my own head’ state, relationships are simple. Simple, because I’m in relationship with them, instead of being in relationship with what I’ve made up in my head. That feeling when I’m with someone and it’s as if - to them - I’m the only person in the world. That’s presence. And available to every one of us when we have our attention on the other person, not on the thoughts in our head. This doesn’t mean that there are times I need to plan what to say for a meeting or say sorry to someone if there’s an apology that needs to be made. I’m wise enough to know that. That thought "comes to me out of the blue" as opposed to coming to me as a result of a whole heap of thinking and mental analysis. And here’s what comes to me right now: when I stay in my own lane and not try to imagine what others are thinking about me in their own lane; relationships improve.

Here's what's coming up...

Over November 4-6, I have an event for coaches, where you can watch me work with a real client over 2.5 days (via Zoom). We get to unpack each of the sessions and explore the nature of impact and transformation in clients and what we have going for us, as coaches, to help maximise the chances of a life-changing transformation. I will also soon be starting to design an on-demand video-based program for people to overcome what’s known as "Imposter Syndrome". I recently ran a poll for what people would find most helpful for them, and this was, by far, the most popular.

Later in November I will once again be running a weekend retreat in Connecticut with my dear friend and colleague Lorna Davis. It’s over November 11-13, more details coming soon.


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