April 9, 2021

Clients Love This Kind of Advice!

I cringe when I think of it now.
Even though it might seem like a small matter, as we sit here still mired in more globally worrying things.

I cringe when I remember saying something like, “I know what you’re going to say!”
I cringe when I remember interrupting each of our 5 children in their heated teenage outbursts…
because I was thinking,“Look, I know what you’re going to say!”

(Years later, I’ve learned that when I keep my mouth shut long enough, our children astound me with their insight and wisdom. By ‘eck…They’re smart!)

I cringe, not only because it highlights the momentary unadulterated swelling of my fragile parental ego.
But also because the very thought (that I do know what they’re going to say) borders on the ridiculous.
It hovers, dancing blithely on the outskirts of ‘bonkers’!

Cringeworthy is what it certainly is.
And just a little ignorant of the facts.

Why so?
Well, because the science (of this thinking-speaking thing) points out that we start to form thoughts at least 7 times faster than we’re able to package them and express them coherently. Seven times!

Which means that, until we’ve said it, we’re woefully unsure what it is we’re about to say!
Behind every word we say lies an ocean of words we haven’t quite grasped yet.
Unformed, muggy, swirling thoughts are floating in our skulls: like those foggy, sightless London evenings, when coal dust drenched the air.

If I don’t know precisely what I’m about to say.
Then how can you know?

And of course the answer is…
You don’t.
You really don’t.

And vice versa.

And yet…
And yet…
Almost ALL of us act as if we do know!

We all tend to behave like this.
In every human relationship.

In business, we assume we know what our client is about to say.
We assume we know what they’re already thinking.

And we simply cannot wait to make them the heart-swelling, grateful beneficiary of our pent-up wisdom, delivered to soothe their unspoken (and, of course, ‘uninformed’) thoughts.
Even though our assumption defies all the science. And all the reality.
Our behaviour (typical as it is) beggars belief!

What’s that word again?
Ah yes..

What to do?
Well, here’s a thought.

I’ve discovered that the most extraordinary meetings…
The conversations where ideas blossomed, bloomed, flourished with rich fruit…
The discussions where practical ideas flowed like oozing rivers of lavender honey…

Those were the meetings where I said the least.
Meetings lasting 2 or more hours…
where the only declaration that fell from my unbelievably-wise mouth was “I think it’s time for a natural break!”

I’m not sure I can make recompense for the hundreds (thousands?) of conversations where I squashed the unborn genius of others
But, I can make the future brighter by sitting forcefully on my own impatience.
Squelching my own desperate need to display my untold years of pure, distilled genius.

I pray that it doesn’t take you as long as it took me to discover the power of listening.
The power of keeping our mouths shut tight.
The power of devoting absolute cliff-hanging, breath-holding attention to the astonishing being in our presence.
Until the person with you has given birth to every morsel of their amazing thinking.

And, I promise you.
Given the chance…
They will introduce you to thoughts that would never have crossed your mind…
even had you lived another couple of lifetimes.