Come With Me, Not At Me

My biggest struggle in trying to come up with something to write about wasn’t so much a topic but the way in which I go about it.  I constantly struggled with the right tone.  Anyone who knows me, can probably agree that I’m not a fluffy person, not touchy-feely, no BS.  With that being said I didn’t want to write about a huge, grandiose idea on a really heavy topic that was so serious it would be taken as just verbal diarrhea…and I didn’t want to write something so unimportant for the sake of not being serious…and didn’t want to get too personal for fear of being unprofessional.

Oops.

In the last 2 years, part of my role has taken me on the road to different locations.  I drive about 700 kilometers, Monday to Friday.  A lot of time in the car makes for a lot of time to fill….*insert selected podcast/audiobook*.  Honestly, I hadn’t given either much thought until being involved with SYL and hearing what all the cool kids were doing.  One of my favorite podcasts is ‘Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard’.  An interesting character who is honest about his own personal struggles with addiction, childhood trauma, fear and anxiety, toxic masculinity, fame and money.  I find that he is able to talk about himself and his guests without seeming too out of touch with his listeners.  He’s had a number of episodes called ‘Experts on Expert’,  featuring guests such as Dr. Phil, Gwyneth Paltrow, various psychologists and other ‘expert-in-their-field’ guests.  The last two Expert Guests that he had on, I found incredibly engaging and intriguing, John Kim (The Angry Therapist) and Johann Hari (author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections), a researcher in the areas of addiction and mental health.

I had a teacher in elementary school, Mrs. Paton, my music teacher.  She and I did NOT get along…even though I loved her class, one of my favorites.  Until one day (after sending me out in the hallway and then to the principal’s office, for something I can’t even remember now!) she said to me; “Christine, it’s not what you say…it’s how you say it.”  Mind you it took a while for that to really sink in and to internalize it so that it was my first thought when communicating, not an afterthought.  Soon after this interaction with her, our teacher/student relationship was much better.  I have never forgotten this lesson, but John Kim said in his interview regarding his own interactions, “Come with me, not at me”, and I immediately returned to that childhood memory.

Come with me, not at me.  This statement, for me, works on so many levels.  How do I talk to my husband?  My kids?  My coworkers and peers?  My boss?  Friends?  How do I use this to provide solutions instead of just looking to others to provide answers?  I think of my daily interactions (with my kids…getting them out of the house!)  How does their behavior and attitude change when I work with them (sometimes more time consuming) instead of demanding they get ready?  How does a conversation flow in a coaching session, if I come prepared with possible solutions, instead of ‘there is a problem, how is it going to be fixed?’  Working together and speaking together to create a feeling of ease, inclusion, and value, goes a long way in building trust and respect…important in every relationship.

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