I lost it again…. Replacing judgement with curiosity.

I admit it. I was seething.  Had you been standing beside me you would have felt the negative energy coming off of me like waves rolling up on the shore.

The problem was that I was seething at my boss and so I couldn’t really say anything about it. (I still work a day job and run my coaching business part time.)

 I was overflowing with judgment about something he had done first thing that morning and as the day wore on a few other issues came up that just added fuel to the already smoldering fire.  Hence by the end of the day that pot in my stomach had gone from a slow simmer on that fire to a pressure cooker ready to pop.

 My partner got the brunt of it, the swearing, the yelling and heaps and heaps of judgement.  After I vented and went for a walk with him I felt the weight of the day lift from my shoulders.  I made sure to thank him for being there for me.

Later that evening I had put aside time to write this month’s blog. I had already chosen the topic weeks ago, Curiosity is the opposite of Judgement.

Great.

Awesome.

How the heck was I supposed to write a blog about that when I had failed miserably to find even the tiniest bit of curiosity to give to my boss?

I had shared with a client a few weeks ago, as we spoke about judgement and how it hinders connection, that I believed the opposite of judging someone was to become curious about them. What was going on for them in this moment that was creating this strong response? What were they battling in their own life that had them lashing out at me? What life issue were they trying to deal with or make sense of while the rest of their world still demanded things of them? Were they really mad at me or was there something else going on?

I know that curiosity opens the doors for others to share with us what is going on for them, I experience this in every coaching session I do.  However judgment makes others feel defensive therefore slamming their inner door to vulnerability and sharing. Hence curiosity is the opposite of it because it actually has the other person now want to share and help you understand where they are in that moment.

 I’ve brought out my innate sense of curiosity many times in my life and my coach training has helped to sharpen that skill.  But today, with my boss, it was nowhere to be found.

As I have a chance to reflect now on my day, from a place of calmness, I realized that there are three things I should have told myself to do during this time.

    1.    Breathe.  Leave the room, go to the bathroom if you need to, and breathe through it. Calm that heart rate down and focus on my body.

    2.    Make a Generous assumption.   As Brene Brown says in Daring Greatly, make a generous assumption of others that they are doing the best they can at this time.

    3.    Find my curiosity.  While I am breathing push aside the strong emotions, which will begin to subside with the deep cleansing breaths, and ask those questions I listed above.

As I write this I find that judgement creeping in again.  I failed at the very thing I try to teach my clients.  I suck. What kind of coach am I?

But I know that deep down I need to have these lessons in my own life in order to be able to share with client’s what I learn.  Improving my communication skills doesn’t have an end date.  There is no, “ ok I’m perfect at this skill now I can move onto another one.” It is instead a constant striving towards improvement.  Two steps forward, one step back.

My hope is that both my clients and you, can see that in yourself as well. As long as we keep trying, recognizing where we fall down and getting back up to try again, that is what matters.

To quote Brene Brown, I’m going to keep working on “daring greatly”.

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