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I just finished a coaching session with a new client. Throughout the whole time we were out in the field and I was having him approach and talk to women, he kept asking me questions about what others (the women he was approaching and the “bystanders” who were in earshot) were thinking about him.
This raises such an important issue, and I want to share with you what I told him about this issue. I bet many of you have the same concerns as my client did.
How many times are you in a conversation with somebody and you start thinking these thoughts:
When you start on this train of thought, don’t you actually find yourself lost in your own head and not present in the moment?
When you do this, as Eckhart Tolle says, you are not being present in “the power of now.” That, by the way, is a great book.
The reason why someone is asking you questions is not to publish the information on the front page of The New York Times, nor are they going to tell all their friends via a massive email about what you told them while waiting in line in Whole Foods.
The reason why someone is asking you questions is because they are interested in you. The minute you start thinking about what to say next, you’ve lost the power of being present in the moment.
They are not evaluating you. You are evaluating yourself.
Every time you get lost in your head and all your fears and insecurities come up, it’s just you missing another connection with another person.
The minute you start thinking your negative thoughts is the minute you stop connecting with that person.
“It’s time you started listening to the way you communicate
instead of listening to the negative voice in your head.”
Do you ever wonder why when you are talking to somebody sometimes the conversation has an abrupt end like someone just put a stop sign up or you were driving on the 405 and the traffic stops for no reason?
The reason why this happens is you stopped being present in the moment.
The person who is talking to you sees your body language freeze up. That’s usually the moment where the conversation dies and you hit the eject button.
That eject button is basically your fears consuming your mind and allowing you to eject from a conversation that could have gone many directions.
The reason why you eject is because you like to stay in your comfort zone. Your negative thoughts have conditioned you, and they have protected you from connecting with people on a deeper level.
So how do you uncondition yourself from the damage this conditioning has done?
For one, you need to master the art of listening…not to the idle negative chit-chat in your brain, but to the words the person who is talking to you is saying.
Take an improv class. That is something I tell a lot of my students to do. Improv is staying present in the moment.
If you take an improv class where a person says “white” and you say “palm trees and the rent is so low and the feeling is laid back,” it basically means you are in your mind listening to Neil Diamond instead of Neil Leftkowitz in your class.
So by taking an improv class, you learn when someone says “white,” you say “black.” Someone says “Labrador” and you say “seeing eye dog.”
Improv will teach you how to be present in the moment.
Another way to learn how to listen and learn the power of now is to tape record a conversation you have with a stranger.
Walk around with a digital recorder, and the minute you talk to a stranger press play.
You can leave the recorder in your pocket or, if you really want to feel like James Bond, you can go to the spy shop and wire yourself for sound.
Go out on a Saturday and record 10 conversations, and then go home that night and listen to yourself.
Where did you eject from the conversation? What caused you to eject from the conversation? How did you feel during the conversation?
If you go out and practice this (which is something I have my clients do) and you evaluate this, you will start to understand how to communicate and relate better with people.
It’s going to be really hard for you to listen to yourself. I know when I hear myself talk into a microphone, I swear I sound like Peter Brady when his voice was changing.
Do you remember that episode of “The Brady Bunch” when the Brady kids entered a singing contest and they called themselves The Silver Platters?
There was also that one where they were going to record Greg’s song and they were afraid Peter’s changing voice would ruin the song, so Greg wrote that song called “When It’s Time to Change:”
“When it’s time to change
You’ve got to rearrange
Who you are and what you’re going to be
Sha Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na…”
You know what? It’s time you started listening to the way you communicate instead of listening to the negative voice in your head.
Until you do that, you will never connect with people on a higher level.
So as Greg Brady said to Marcia (before he slept with her in his trailer), it’s time to change…and you better rearrange those negative thoughts in your head.
Another day we’ll talk about Carol Brady and the power of Wessonality.
Here’s something else that’s weird about The Brady Bunch: America’s father was gay.
I always found that very funny.
Photo source: freelance-enterprise.com.
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