Given the hype online and in workplaces around the world, there appears to be a great appetite for ‘life changing’ conversations and for single attempts at interventions in the lives of others that ‘save’ them.
In reality “Life-changing” conversations are usually borne out of high levels of trust, understanding and care. People who need help rarely lean-in to advice given by complete strangers, even if it is good advice. I’m sure we’ve all shrugged off well-meaning, but seemingly irrelevant advice from a complete stranger before.
There are several ways to have life-changing conversations, but the most consistently successful way is outlined below. Note, it takes time, it takes care, it takes understanding another person’s situation and it takes trust. This is why parents, teachers, old friends and sports coaches often feature heavily in stories about building confidence, ‘saving’ people and having significant, insightful impact in the lives of others. They take the time to build trust, understanding and care.
While you can shortcut some of these elements, some of the time, getting the opportunity to change someone’s life usually requires investment on your behalf in their life. Whether you are a boss, a friend, a parent or just an associate of someone, taking the time to listen, care and understand them over time, is the most sure-fire way to get the chance to have a life changing conversation when they most need it.
So here it is; One Way To Have A Life Changing Conversation.
Step 1: Stop trying to have a life changing conversation.
Step 2: Have lots of conversations, make an effort in these conversations.
Step 3: Cultivate appropriate levels of care, trust and understanding.
Step 4: Understand that you can’t ‘fix’ everyone. Listen, encourage the people you speak to open up and tease answers out of them, answers that they perhaps already are thinking about.
Step 5: Keep going. Not to drastically change lives, but simply because you care. Over time, through many conversations, through many insights and opportunities for honesty, you may just have a life changing conversation… Even if you don’t know it just happened.
In the meantime, just look for opportunities to have conversations. Human interaction is a necessary part of being a human and it is an absolute privilege to have the chance to share a moment in time with someone else and improve their life by moments. Make every moment and interaction with you positive, and you’ll be improving the world around you, even if you aren’t dispensing regular, earth shattering, life-changing insights to everyone that you meet.
Keep paying attention, keep showing up, keep caring and as always, Just Be Nice.
If you are looking for ways to build more effective communication, trust, care and understanding into how you and your organisation operate, get in touch regarding our workshops and presentations designed to help people, help people.
Just Be Nice
A collection of articles relevant to pursuing the effective execution of altruism in the search for equality of opportunity.