WHERE YOU ARE
SOME NOTES ON MEETING YOU WHERE YOU ARE, NOW
AT NOWHERE TOUR WE RECOGNIZE OURSELVES
And from time to time, that recognition includes not meeting someone where they are. One of the tensions of being a guide, or a leader for that matter, is that we are charged with guiding those around us to an answer or next step, yet ultimately it is up to them to find the answers for themselves. When we tell them what to do, we are no longer leading them, we are commanding them. We’ve taken away their ability to learn for themselves while creating a dependency that requires the commander (us) to be a part of every decision. We are, in effect, losing out on an opportunity to create deeper thinkers who take ownership over their own roles and responsibilities, all because we’ve neglected to meet them where they are, in the now/here.
We feel you. We've walked this path before. And we continue to grow from challenges every day. We can help you navigate through your challenge and come out the other side kicking ass.
Meeting someone where they are means putting aside our desires for an outcome, and endeavoring to understand where they are in their present journey. It begins by listening without judgment, asking qualified questions openly and honestly, and above all recognizing that they are their own self.
One of the first steps is to understand that we have different choices in how we are listening, and what we are listening for.
When we react to external stimuli quickly, or sometimes even instantaneously it is because we are listening reflexively. A fire alarm goes off and we become alert. We learn that a product launch is going to be late and our heart rate increases, along with our anxiety.
We may also listen for problems. In fact, this may be the most common way that many people listen, especially in businesses where we are constantly solving problems. When we listen for problems and how to solve them we are pattern matching, comparing what’s happening now to what we have experienced in the past. We are looking for established patterns we have seen work before in order to deal with what’s in front of us now.
These two listening choices share the common goal of fixing or solving a problem. Problems are concepts. They exist outside of ourselves. They can be discussed & debated, and logic can be applied to how to think about them, resolve them, and get to a new outcome. It’s important to understand what a problem is, and what it is not. A problem is not a person, and we can limit ourselves when we confuse the two as interchangeable.
When we are interacting with another person, complete with thoughts, feelings and their own uniqueness, what becomes paramount is the ability to empathetically connect with them. Seeing the world through their eyes, understanding their experience, by asking questions so as to see and hear how they see and hear the world. Suspending our own assumptions and conclusions in order to discover a new perspective, different from your own, we begin to find authentic communication.
Awareness of these listening choices goes a long way to meeting someone where they are, understand what they are struggling with, and help to build connection, trust, and empathy.
We may not be where we want to be. It’s vital to reveal what we want for ourselves, so we can begin discovering our authentic desires, and move in the direction of eXperiencing them.
This is where we turn to inquiry, asking, “What’s possible here?” or “What are we not seeing?” Communicating as beings who encounter obstacles, and overcome them, we become self-empowered to create new outcomes & opportunities.
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