Hi, Marilyn O’Hearne with some thoughts about curiosity (and wonder); force or gentleness. Every week I spend time with my toddler grandson, and I’m learning life and leadership lessons with him. I share the image of him holding his Easter bucket, waiting with curiosity and wonder; expectantly for all the good things that are going to to fill it. I want to live like that, too, to rejoice in the new creation of each day and the abundance of what’s given us, giving thanks for that.
We can do that as adults, as leaders, as coaches.
I always think of my friend since university, Emily, an artist, and how she would say, “oh, look at that sunset!!” just like it was the first time she’d ever seen one. What an invitation to soak in the beauty and rejoice in that wonder and curiosity about how she would paint it.
Curiosity is a cornerstone of my profession, coaching, as well as journalism. I’m appreciating journalist Monica Guzmán’s book, I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Curiosity in service of greater awareness and discovering innovative perspectives and new ways forward. “Curiosity is your super- strength!” I tell Theo now.
Grandson Theo learned the difference between force and gentleness and when to use each one, while awaiting the arrival of a new baby. He can really slam his bat against the ball and send it flying! And that’s great. It’s great to use force when it’s needed, in athletics, for example. And he’s learning that with when he asks to pet someone else’s dog, that he needs to be gentle like a butterfly and that that’s what he’ll need to do with his baby sister. My daughter Claire, his mom, created and illustrated a “Gentle Like a Butterfly” book that we read with him, as a guide. What guides do you and your team live by to choose when to use force and when to use gentleness?
The teams and leaders I coach look at different decision making models and agree, with trust, that when possible the leader and the team will make decisions together, and there will be times when the leader will need to make rapid, forceful decisions for the benefit of the team and organization.
For me, I think where this really shows up, when to be forceful and when to be gentle, is when we see things in our world that aren’t as beautiful as the sunset or the sunrise or the butterflies.
Then we have to decide, is it time to turn the other cheek and practice love and acceptance with people that we see as acting in unloving ways and unthoughtful ways? Or when is it time to stand up with force and to speak out and to say something and to take action? Those are my questions for you today: when are you and how are you pausing and giving thanks for the wonder of the creation around us? How are you staying curious, rather than jumping to reactive judgment? When are you choosing forcefulness and when are you choosing gentleness? How are you and your team putting these lessons into practice? How do you choose to communicate as a coach, parent, friend?
I’d love to hear from you.
I am known for my gentle strength. And I expect and request gentle compassion from others, even while I welcome direct communication. The two can go together! And I recently needed to communicate this with someone, using my Direct Communication Success Formula when their communication felt like a slap in the face.
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