I’m pretty sure it’s a universal law that we all love the sound of our own voice… I mean I know I do. I love hearing my sweet sweet tumbra as I drone on about things I’m passionate about. As true as this is, I also realize it is the worst thing for me to do to build relationships and really be able to share in people stories.
I have recently been challenged to shut up and listen, and I’m doing my absolute best to heed this advice. Side story: One of my greatest fears is to have silence in a conversation. I mean I literally used to pray Proverbs 29:25 “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust in the Lord means safety” over and over again as a mantra. I would pray that over conversations saying to myself that it is dumb to worry about silence or lack of conversation, and that I could trust that the Lord would bless our time and make it beneficial. I still deal with this fear to this day.
Back to the post: I have had some great advice given to me that I believe will help me conquer the above mentioned fear and make me a better human being, father, husband, friend, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. To put the advice simply, it is to ask an intriguing question and to shut up and let the other person talk. If I really want to go one step further, it would be to take a vow of silence for a day, or at a networking event, so I can give the other as much runway as they need to talk. One last thing that I have started doing is bringing a little notebook and pen that I can jot down thoughts that come into my mind so I don’t have to interrupt. Please, if we ever have the opportunity to talk, hold me to this.
A couple questions to end on. Are you a fellow interrupter? Do you equally love the sound of your sweet sultry voice? If so, take up this challenge and start to listen more. Lean into the silence. Create better questions. Learn to listen, actually listen, and give the other person the gift of hearing their own voice / talking about themselves and what is interesting to them. When you give them this gift, it’s actually quite amazing how much you learn about them and figure out how you can both benefit from the relationship.
Ok ok… this title is kinda click bate because I don’t actually mean you should say no to networking, but that you should say no to the networking events that don’t work for you.
When I started my first job search I felt that I had to go to all the events I could find and talk to as many people trying to show how amazing I was. As I’ve experienced more and read some interesting books, I realize that that was probably the worst thing I could have done for myself in that season. When I just went to events and chatted up everyone, I wasn’t comfortable or in my element. Yes, I love people, building relationships and sharing in stories, but I was not in a good place to do that. Every conversation I made it about me, and as wonderful as I think I am… that was a big turn off for others and pushed them away from helping me.
Again, it isn’t about saying no to networking, but just saying no to networking in a way that doesn’t work for you. That doesn’t mean never getting out of your comfort zone, but it does mean figuring a way to be the most conferrable at those events. Bring a wingman / wingwoman and don’t fly solo. No reason to take on the sucky world of networking by yourself. Figure out the events that bring you life. That may mean you say no to the cocktail hour and say yes to a business book club, toastmasters, or local crew you get brunch with and gab about the latest industry trends.
Whatever puts you in the best state of mind and puts you most at ease is what you need to do. When you are anxious and out of your comfort zone, people sense it and instead of remembering you for something good, they remember to stay away from you and end up never helping. Please, do us all a favor and get to know yourself so you can say no yourself to those opportunities that would do you more harm then good.
I had surgery earlier this year and because of that I got out of my morning routine. That was nice for a season, but it was not going to work long term. I wasn’t waking up early enough to get all that I needed done before I headed off to work, and I also didn’t feel as ready or energized for the day even though I was technically getting more sleep. I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things and here are the two ways I did it.
1. I stopped hitting the snooze and just got up.
2. I started keeping the same wake up time, even on the weekends
The best thing we can do in the mornings is to just get up when our alarm goes off. I know, it feels soooooo good to push the snooze button and get ten more minutes of shuteye, but hitting the snooze is actually bad for you. When you “go back to sleep” for those extra few minutes it starts up a new sleep cycle, one you won’t finish, and it actually puts you in a groggy state of mind. Do yourself a favor and just get up.
This second tip is a tough one. I mean why wouldn’t you want to get more sleep on the weekends? You don’t have to get up for work, so what is the point? Our bodies are built for rhythm and schedule. When we break patterns and routines it can throw us off of our game. Plus, when we hit Monday and have to wake up a couple hours early, it throws us out of wack and it takes us a day or few to get back into the swing of our mourning routine.
If you start implementing these two small tips, I know that you will be more refreshed and be better prepared to crush the day ahead of you. These are two tough ones to implement because I know how much we all love our sleep. When we start implementing these steps, we feel more refreshed and our mind is ready to start going from the moment we get up. This allows us to hit the day running and go after our to-do’s instead of rolling around our bed wiping the crusties from our eyes.
I recently went to my first Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals event. It turned out to be a much better networking event then I had expected, which was pleasantly surprising, and I was able to meet a handful of pretty awesome folks. There was a handful of great things about the event and I may post about those things another time, but for today… I wanted to talk about my expectations going in.
Let me ask a question before I go further. Have you ever been to a movie and had extremely high expectations going in, only to in the end leave the theater disappointed? Yet, when you talked to your friends about the movie the next day they were blown away. One of the main reasons for this is because of expectations. I have gone into movies with low expectations and been pleasantly surprised and I have gone in with high expectations and been sorely disappointed. Last night was more of the disappointed for me, but that is on me.
I was connected to this group by a friend and I went in with the purpose to talk to a few key people about an idea that I had to add value to the group. I know… stupid. That thought process is against all that I always talk about, but sometimes impatience and our past lives can get the better of us. The one saving grace though is that I was texting a friend before the event and as I was doing this I caught myself about to make a big mistake… going in looking for the sale. Since I caught myself having too high of expectations I was able to temper them a little, but not fully, and that is why I walked away a little disappointed in the whole thing.
No matter the event you are going to, even if you are the keynote speaker, make sure you temper your expectations. A guardrail that I am going to have in place is to go in wanting to share in at least one persons story. That doesn’t mean that I will do business with them eventually, it just means that I will pay attention to them and actually let them be heard. If I can offer advice, fantastic. If it leads to us connecting later on, great. If I can offer a smile, awesome. The outcome doesn’t really matter. I just know that from now on I am going to go in expecting to share in at least one persons story and let the rest fall where it may.
I am glad that I had that conversation with my friend beforehand because if I would have went in hot with barrels blazing, I would have missed the opportunity to connect with two pretty awesome guys that work five minutes from where I do.
Remember to check your expectations at the door because you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good experience.
Whether you are on the job or behind the wheel, put away those distractions. One of the areas I am most guilty of is having my cellphone out on top of my desk while at work. Yes, my job requires that I have it with me almost at all times, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be in plain view.
Now I can hear some of you thinking and mumbling right now, “Well he doesn’t have my job.” “He doesn’t know all that I do and I need to see my phone at all times.” Let me just stop you right there can call bull on that. Most people reading this blog are not saving lives, so let me assure you that your phone doesn’t need to be in view at all times. Even if you are saving lives, your mind needs time to rest and relax. If it is constantly on and looking at that glorious screen, it will never be able to recharge.
When we are constantly distracted and are minds are always going, it makes it so that we are never giving anything our best. We find ourselves tired and stressed because our minds are constantly wandering. Oftentimes we complain that we never have enough time to complete big projects, and a huge part of that issue is that our concentration is constantly being broken up by buzzes and dings from our greatest addiction. Once we are distracted, it takes time to get our focus back and be fully engaged. When we are constantly being distracted and drawn away, it adds unnecessary time to our projects and puts us behind on all that we do.
Please, do yourself a favor and store your phone in a drawer on silent during those big tasks. Keep it out of view for the bulk of the day while you are working. When are distractions are put at bay, it is amazing how much more we can get done and how we actually feel refreshed because our minds will have a moment to wander and recharge.
What are some of the tips you use to stay focused and keep the distractions at bay?