I’m Coach Nancy, and I am glad you made it to Lesson 3, Develop Supportive Relationships with Gratitude. You can listen to the audio, read the text, or both. You can pause the audio to watch the videos when you get to 3.2 and 3.5.
We connect with family, friends, and colleagues every day. Whether it is at the grocery store, in important meetings, in person, or remotely we have a different level of communicating depending on our interest and need.
The casual acquaintances we come across in our regular activities may just need a friendly nod or smile. A wave or hello from across the street takes little effort. Communicating with colleagues, customers, or clients take you to a different level of interaction. Communication skills are often taught in relation to leadership and conflict, but the most important interactions often begin with people you know and then branch out from there.
Meaningful supportive connections often start with a neighbor, friend, or colleague and expand to new relationships for friendships, networking, or career development. Taking a few minutes to really listen and participate in a casual conversation can lead to learning better communication skills and developing important networks for career development and job search. Since communication takes effort, it’s important to know who you want to connect with and why.
3.1 Why would you want to take the time and attention to listen.
We hear so much about the importance of being an active listener. We can learn active listening techniques, but why would we want to intently listen to someone? There are so many people we interact with every day. There are casual relationships where we connect only as needed with information useful at the moment, and then relationships we want to develop more deeply. Reasons for connecting might be:
- Need in the moment
- Emotional connection
- Mutual interests or values
- Fun and entertaining
3.2 Active Listening Example
Active listening takes an interest in listening and then practicing listening skills. It may not be easy but coming to a conversation from the perspective of curiosity rather than just thinking about what you want to say, could be very rewarding. You never know when you will learn something or hear something you find interesting and then make a connection.
Watch this humorous video, The Big Bang Theory Active Listening, with Amy and Sheldon. Go ahead and laugh a little, a smile is good for you. Humor used prudently is good for relationships.
3.3 Know who you want to connect with.
Make a list of people or groups you would like to connect with or deepen relationships with. Consider which ones are there to support you with a need such as networking or job search and which ones are meaningful supportive relationships that you build connections with through your strengths, interests, or values. You can download the About Me page of the LifeWork Success Portfolio to create your list of 5 people to connect with and continue building your portfolio.
3.4 Build connections with gratitude.
Building relationships from a perspective of gratitude is one way to take the focus off yourself and consider the perspective of another person.
I, Nancy, enjoy the solitude that can take me to a place of introspection. Too much researching and thinking just makes me want to share what I have learned. Taking a walk, appreciating what is around me, and living in the fullness of being thankful helps me reach out and listen to people who are important to me as well as building new relationships.
“Gratefulness not only changes your life, but also extends beyond your intimate sphere. It gives rise to compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy, and thus informs how we treat others and how we act in the larger world.”~ Kristi Nelson, https://www.habitsofmindinstitute.org/with-an-attitude-of-gratitude/
3.5 Challenges to communicating
Are you a natural communicator? Some personalities are natural communicators and others need to work harder at it. Sometimes the situation is difficult. Challenges to active listening:
- You are discussing an emotional hot topic.
- You are wanting to accomplish something and move the conversation along.
- You or the person you are talking with has emotional or trauma issues around the topic.
- You are a personality who likes to stick to the facts and get through the conversation quickly.
- You feel like you are not being heard, or you are being judged.
Sometimes you or the person you are speaking with is not interested in active listening. I laughed watching Ray and Patricia in this video, Everybody Loves Raymond Uses Active Listening – from Parent Effectiveness Training.
Sometimes I feel like one of the characters in this video. I just want to talk or share what I feel is my knowledge or wisdom. When I reflect back on the conversation, what I could have done better, I can forgive myself, and apologize if needed.
3.6 Challenges to active listening.
Everyone is at a different place when it comes to relationships. You may be talking to someone who is dealing with a crisis, past trauma, a personality that would rather do something active than talk, or a culture that is not expressive. You can value them as a person and their contribution to the conversation, use active listening, and show gratitude with your attention to what they want to share.
Practice gratitude in your daily life to better prepare for building supportive meaningful relationships, networking, and career success.
- Take a gratitude walk and observe a detail in nature that you hadn’t noticed before.
- Use a gratitude journal to write down things you are grateful for (works well to write after your gratitude walk).
- Send a thank you email, text, letter, or card to someone (even if it has been a while since you experienced what you are grateful for).
- Say a prayer of gratitude that you can read, breathe, and build more supportive relationships.
Need support, accountability, motivation, or assistance for completing or getting the most out of the course? You can sign up for Email Course Coaching at a cost of only $50 for a month (sign up again if desired).
Links can change, contact course creator Nancy, with questions, comments, concerns, or if you would like to discuss relationships. This course is not in any way advice, coaching, or counseling.
Copyright Nancy J. Miller @ 2021 Content is covered by copyright. Share the link to this course with anyone who might be interested.
Next Lesson 4 Build Community with Caring and Support