From problem solver to listener

I have a hard time seeing a problem and not trying to find a solution. It is as though my mind works in a different way, constantly filtering information towards a solution. I see a problem that needs to be solved and I go through the library card file in my mind to determine if there is a current solution, or if it is something that I need to bring others in to help solve. There are often problems that have an easy solution, and others that can be easily solved if you bring in your network of resources.

The problem with the way my mind works? Sometimes it is not my place to find the solution. Sometimes what I need to do is guide others to a solution. Take Chris for an example. He might share a problem with me and the last thing he wants me to do is try to solve it. He just wants me to listen. So I take my hands and sit on them, and listen. Or at least I try to. Deep down I am probably still trying to solve it, but keeping my mouth shut. Other times whether with colleagues or with friends, their problems again are not always ours to solve. We can make suggestions or ask questions, but we cannot always solve the actual problems.

As I write this I see how much better I could be at listening — to Chris, my colleagues, and friends. Coaching sometimes means asking questions such as: Have you thought about ______? Or, have you looked at the other side of the problem? Or, maybe even saying: Put yourself in their shoes, would you handle something differently? I know I can do better at listening, I can do better at formulating questions to get others to think more. Maybe that is part of going from managing to leading.

I love the spiral that sometimes happens when you start writing about one topic and have an “aha” moment that leads you to see a gap or a hole in your life that might be a good area to focus on. I could be better about being directive to solve each problem, and take a step back to allow those that have the problems to resolve them on their own. Listen more, ask questions, and reflect.

#problemsolver

How do you fascinate?

I recently came across a book that peaked my interest in the art of fascination. The title is what interested me and when I got the book and found that it was over 400 pages I thought, no way I am going to finish this book. I did. It is actually an easy read. It turns out the beginning part of the book explains the author’s process which describes her fascination test, the middle section defines all the different fascination types, and the last section describes how to create your mantra of sorts. The book? “How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination” by Sally Hogshead.

Hogshead talks about how we are basically 99% boring, and that we all have 1% in us that is unique to each individual and that is the part of us that fascinates others. She says:

“… every time you introduce yourself, you have about nine seconds to engage your listener. This is your window of opportunity for connection. If you earn their interest during those nine seconds, people will be more likely to trust you, respect you, and like you. But if you fumble—if you fail to fascinate—they’ll become distracted from you and your message. Or worse, they’ll ignore you entirely.” Page 121

I was “fascinated.” All we get is nine seconds, and we have to be our best self in that time to intrigue our listener. Do we talk about ourselves those entire nine seconds or do we connect with another individual? I will have to watch myself in the coming weeks and see what I do in those first nine seconds. You will want to take some time to explore her book. She discusses our first and second advantages and what is your highest, distinct value and that you should bring that to the first nine seconds of meeting someone. She indicates that when we share our highest, distinct value is when we most fascinate others, and when we are the most valuable.

Let me know if you want to know my results from her test. To learn more about Sally Hogshead, or take her test go to the How To Fascinate website.