If you’ve read the previous posts in the Loving Work series, you might sense a fresh, new way to look at common business issues. Now we'll explore what’s possible when you embrace communication as an act of Love and turn it into a powerful skill for optimizing the way you work. Let's apply Authentic Communication to a few challenges most business leaders face. First up: The technology we all love to hate – email!
Every day, you open your email, and you cringe when you see the number of unread messages in your inbox. You promise yourself you’ll get it down to zero, or at least hold the number where it is now.
Your vow to achieve a “net-zero inbox” or be “email neutral” is noble. It’s also, though, improbable unless you bring a different perspective to what’s possible with this ubiquitous business tool.
You may need to use rules, folders and a bit of ruthlessness with the “delete” button to dig out from under your email mountain. Over time, though, that little red number creeps back up, and, once again, your day starts with email overwhelm. Your heart races with the feeling that too much has been left undone, or maybe some part of you freezes in denial.
The thing is that, in the busyness of work and the daily barrage of email, you may not even recognize these basic feelings. That’s the place to start.
Who knew that the business tool we all love to hate could be a source of personal insight that can help transform the way we communicate?
Email as Jedi Master
“So certain you were. Go back and closer you must look.” ~ Yoda
When you click on your mail program and catch sight of the flood of new messages, you might say something to yourself like, “Oh, geez. Here we go again.”
Or maybe opening your inbox feels like falling into a black hole. You lose yourself and your sense of time and space as you scroll through and try to figure out which ones will get your attention, knowing a pile will be left for you to deal with on the 1st of Never.
Or maybe you’re supercharged to tackle your email every day, and you maintain a net-zero inbox. Bravo! If you listen deeply, though, is there a hint of resentment that you just receive too many emails? Maybe you just feel a bit angry at that one person on your team whose emails land in your inbox all too frequently every day.
I love Yoda for his simple and uniquely phrased pearls of wisdom. The tiny green sage from Star Wars encourages us to search a bit deeper. Looking within is as necessary and ongoing an exercise for all of us as it is for the movie epic’s heroic Jedis.
In addition to all its practical applications, your email inbox can be a remarkably helpful tool for cultivating loving self-awareness. Greater emotional intelligence creates a foundation for communicating with authenticity and opens expansive possibilities for expressing yourself, your potential and your leadership.
Take a breath and listen within to the feelings that are triggered by the pile of messages in front of you.
Maybe you read that and think, “What does how I feel have to do with communication?”
The fact is that you are at your best as a communicator when you are grounded in self-awareness. If you are not aware of your frustration, elation, distraction – even your hunger or lack of sleep – you are more likely to mis-communicate.
You might confuse – rather than clarify – a situation. You might use a tone that sparks discord. You might even inadvertently mislead a person or a whole group of people.
As you become more familiar with your own inner landscape, you feel more stable and more connected with yourself. Making communication an act of Love comes naturally.
Connecting with Love may not change the number of messages in your inbox, but it can change how you feel as you move through those emails. You’re able to answer them thoughtfully and completely, rather than shooting off knee-jerk retorts that can even create more work – and more emails.
“Closer you must look,” Yoda advises.
Cultivate personal presence that provides the foundation for communicating with Love.
Grounded in self-awareness, you may find that it’s easier for you to have courageous conversations that can create change in your office culture – maybe you can even ask that eager team member to reduce the number of messages he sends and stem some of the overall email traffic.
Of course email is a basic business tool, but what I’ve found is that it also provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself. When you apply that self-awareness to cultivate Love for yourself, for your colleagues and for your customers, the dynamics of work shift. You learn to respond rather than react, and you start to make communication an act of Love. “Closer you must look.”
#AuthenticCommunication #LovingWork #CommunicationIsAnActOfLove #EmailAsJediMaster