Recently, I had the privilege of making a new friend just by chance. Another friend invited me out on a boat trip in South Florida over Memorial Day weekend, and I thought…all day on a boat in the FL sun…I’m in! I didn’t know anyone else on this huge boat, except for my one friend who invited me out. So as a ‘High I’ personality, this trip was going to be great! I get to meet new people, learn from them and hey… maybe even make another friend out of the fun day in the sun. Score! I learned this strength of mine from the FOCUS Tool. You can learn yours HERE.
When we arrive at the dock everyone went through their usual introductions. “Hi my name is______. What’s yours? What do you do?” and so on. This new group of peeps were great! Diverse backgrounds, races, occupations and ages. Everyone was united under one common goal: to make the most of their day on the water. I was loving it! Needless to say, we all became friends quickly under the South Florida sun, and we all learned something from each other that day.
I learned a lot from one new friend in particular. We hung out multiple times after that boat trip. As we became better friends and built up trust with one another, he entrusted me with some information about his previous serious relationships. We started talking about relationships and why he was “taking a break” from the dating game. We’ve all been there at some point. One of our relationships didn’t work out, we are tired of working on it, so we join the “I’m not dating brigade” for a while.
Since he was sharing some personal hurts I knew then and there I only needed to ask questions, specific questions, that helped him out more than helping out my curiosity. It wasn’t about me at that point in time. He needed something, so I shut up and only asked quality questions. I could tell immediately that he hadn’t shared this deeply ingrained hurt with anyone before because of the way he just opened up. All of his frustrations, hurts, feelings of hopelessness came out right in front of me. This went on for a while. It’s sad that not many people had given him the freedom or safe place to share what was going on. I remember thinking, “wow this is an honor he trusts me to share this with.”
As I’ve learned from being around Stephen Scoggins and the Journey Principles Institute, my role at that point was to LISTEN ONLY, until he was ready for my input. I knew when he was ready for my input when he said “What do you think man?”. Even then, I only responded with questions to gain more understanding and knowledge about him and his specific relationships because we are all from very unique and specific paths. Just like our fingerprints are unique to only us, so are our experiences. This time spent talking with him on relationships could not be treated like mine or any I’ve heard about in the past. I also knew that by asking him quality questions, he would begin to see the answers on his own. His discovery of new answers is a powerful opportunity because he owns them, not me; this is his relationships so the solutions must be his.
Dale Carnegie once said, “If you want to have a great conversation with someone, ask them about them.” What wise old Dale is getting at is we as humans love for other people to show interest in us, some more than others, but we are all similar in this nature. Mr. Carnegie is also teaching us a valuable tool in relationship/trust building. If we can fight the urge to speak up too quickly or respond with our strong bias opinion statements, then we can actually get more out of the conversation because we are giving that other person the freedom to share more.
Stephen taught me this extremely valuable thought process when it comes to coaching someone through any situation: “Statements close hearts, questions open them.” Why is this so important to understand? I’m going to close part one of this blog with a series of question for you to ponder before you move on to part two…
Have you ever felt like someone, whom you were talking through some stuff with, wasn’t telling you everything that was going on or maybe wanted to share more but something was holding them back?
What were your previous conversations with that person like?
Were they full of statements or layered with quality questions?