Last Sunday evening my daughter and I went to the Opera House to watch Spartacus, Katchaturian’s famous ballet. Towards the end of the first Act, Spartacus and Flavia, his wife, bid farewell to each other in a powerful and emotional scene, like in many ballets.
However, this farewell was different. There was silence, dead silence. The orchestra stopped playing and the audience dove into total and complete stillness. The only sounds we could hear were the dancer’s ballet shoes softly brushing the floor and the couple’s heavy breathing. The calmness must have lasted a minute but it seemed much longer. At first, this silence felt awkward but as it amplified this dramatic farewell, it allowed the audience to process what they were seeing, hearing and feeling.
Silence is a powerful and effective communication tool that can be used both at work and at home, when the timing is right. It does take some courage to use silence and it’s not always easy to do. It feels like stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
In a world where speed seems to be a dominating factor and information is given and received to us by the touch of a finger, the idea of slowing down can be challenging. Whether you are asking a question to a colleague, want to make an impact in a speech or confront your partner with an issue, allow 15 seconds of silence and notice the impact it has on them and on you.
Yesterday I was invited to speak on “Living and Thinking Out of the Box”, one of the foundations of Life Coaching. It is fair to say that most of us have a box or boxes that we choose to live in, retreat in, create in. It can vary from a house space, to an office space, to a mental space.
In Life Coaching, we use a lot of visualisation. I asked all the participants to take a moment and to visualise their box and to describe a feeling, in one word. Mixed reactions; “safe, happy, familiar, prison, mine, limiting, boring, peaceful, predictable, grounding, suffocating.” I then asked to describe the feeling of stepping out of the comfort zone and the reactions were also mixed; “freedom, risk, uncomfortable, adventure, inexperience, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, scary, butterflies in stomach, unknown.”
Leaving one’s comfort zone is not always easy and for some it simply is daunting and a huge challenge. Others, may not even be aware they are in a box. How many colleagues do you know who seem stagnate or stuck and have difficulties moving forward at work? How can you encourage them? Sometimes that is simply what they need, encouragement, another foundation in Life Coaching.
Five Tips to Empower Your Colleagues:
Curiosity: visualisation is a great tool to understand emotions and thoughts, become curious about their box and listen to their reactions.
Transparency: by sharing with them the big picture and goals, you provide encouragement and energy for them to take the first steps out.
Practice Risk: instead of them focusing on the outcomes, highlight their awareness of working in THIS moment, now.
Creativity: allow your colleagues to be creative and find new ways of solving problems. This will give them a sense of ownership, confidence and they will feel value.
Authenticity: set the example by doing it, not just saying it. Be yourself.
Ask yourself, what is it to be encouraging?
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.