Making meaning of the conversations in your life - 6th Dec 2016

Making meaning of the conversations in your life Often when I’m delivering keynotes and seminars I tell the tale of the conversations that have helped shape and guide my career and life in general. Some refer to these as turning or tipping points; others call them pivot-points – those pivotal moments when we are faced with an opportunity or a need to make a decision that will affect the direction our lives take.

I purposefully refer to the actual conversations rather than the event itself, because I believe all decisions require a good old chat – either with ourselves or some other person or people. My consulting practice goes by the tagline Thinking·Talking·Doing because I believe success starts as an idea, which of course needs action to turn that idea into value, but that value is clarified and brought to life through the conversations had about the idea. Essentially, conversations are the conduit between delicious ideas and beautiful execution.

What does this have to do with the conversations of your life?


Well, think back through the pivot points of your life – those points when you were presented with a crisis or an opportunity, or you needed to choose one way over several others. What was going on?

Chances are those opportunities came about through a conversation with someone of influence (at least they were at the time), or the decision you made was influenced by someone similar or the conversation you had in your head. Even rash decisions include an element of conversation – in the heat of the moment you and some other person or people decided to take some action. Maybe the consequences were glorious; maybe they were horrendously regrettable. Either way, I bet they eventually led you towards several other pivotal conversations closer to the present time – creating a conversational journey.

Maybe you reflect on these events from time-to-time, in effect having another internal conversation with yourself. Imagine how magic it would be for some clever-clogs to develop an App that records and links the thread of these conversations, which you could then replay and see for yourself the real link between how you got from there (wherever that was) to here. Awesomeness abound, and I dare say it’s not far-off with the advances in AI going on around us.

Often we’re not ‘in the moment’ when these pivotal conversations take place, and as a result require some level of hindsight to recognize they have occurred – sometimes many years after they took place. This is likely a coping mechanism to allow us to remain on-track and productive, otherwise can you imagine how distracted we would become if we were constantly looking for and reflecting on the conversation as it happened? Talk about exhausting, not to mention incredibly annoying!

My point here is that there is magic in each and every conversation you have, regardless of the value you see at the time or connection you experience with the people you’re talking with. So, my advice is to take stock of the interactions you have each day or week. The best way to do this is to flip the evaluation  from ‘what did I get out of it?’ to ‘what did they get out of it, and where does that leave us?’ This way, you don’t have to wait so long to recognize when the magic happens. Try it out.

Let me know how you get on.

Cheers
Callum
 

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@KirrynZerna You're welcome - I love your posts @KirrynZerna! Super relevant and on-point. I hope all's well across the ditch!?
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