This week my friends, we're talking relationships. For a couple of reasons. No 1 pragmatically speaking, one of the keys to both succeeding in creating a business that positively impacts more people with your gifts and your unique message and one that generates enough income to support your lifestyle as well your life's mission, as well as keys to living a fulfilling life is your ability to connect and play well with others. The better you can get at connecting with others and communicating with others authentically, the more successful you will be in creative a supportive inner circle/support team, a tribe of loving clients and colleagues, who are genuinely aligned with and inspired by you. Not to mention how much more fulfilling your personal relationships of all kinds will be. And if there is one thing that lights me up like a Christmas tree and that i feel i was put on this Earth to help create, it is to help people connect with the love within so that they can live live's they love, but also so that they can experience more love and joy through their connections with others. All kinds of others, at work and at play, every moment we're alive..
So whether you'd like to improve the quality of your relationships with your staff or clients, or your family, partner or friends, here are 8 of my favourite practices that I've found over the years help create the conditions in which you and any other party you are in personal or professional relationship with can truly thrive in all the ways you wish to and are on this Earth to do..
1- Communicate Connected and Centered in your Soul Centre
Be Centred in your womb/soul centre/hara/tan tien. One of the fundamental underlying premises of all spiritual practices is connecting with the place within us where our soul is said to reside, or put another way, the place approximately 3 inches below your navel. When you connect to this place, you access your most authentic, truest self, as separate to the constructs and random chains of thought, scripts of thought, that run through our brains every day and may or may not represent the ultimate reality of things, depending on the lens of past experience, beliefs and perspective we're viewing them through. All great relationships start with honesty and learning to check in and communicate from this place. helps you speak your most integral and authentic truth.
To reference a great excercise from Rachael Jayne Groover's Fearless Feminine Presence series, have a go at having a conversation with all your attention focused in your head region and talk for a minute about your day. Then switch your focus to your soul centre and do the same. Most people find that, when you talk from your head, you talk problems and usually a whole lot of story. But when you talk from your soul centre, it's like you see the world through the eyes of your heart and talk meaning and appreciation and things that light you up like a Christmas tree. There's more whole body sensation and feeling behind it and it has a more profound quality that people resonate with. From that place we're pure divinity and creation in motion. When you communicate with another from that place, with that kind of raw. heat-felt, soulful truth, people are drawn to you because everybody longs to connect with this divine part of themselves and, by communicating with you when you're in it, you pull them into it too and they remember what's "real" and truly most important in life for them, amidst all the every day dramas we can get caught up and lost in.
2- Praise to the Eye Gaze
This one is all about getting comfortable with looking people direct in the eyes and holding their gaze. Sometimes this can at first feel a little uncomfortable and for good reason...the eyes as they say are the windows to the soul and there is a certain level of vulnerablity in revealing our true self, warts and all and hence there can be fear about what will be seen or you might glimpse in the other. But if one can go into such an experience with slight detachment of the observer, with a healthy curiosity about what you might see and excitement about what pure awesomeness and beauty you might see glimpsing into the soul of another, suddenly it's not so scary. Which brings me to my next point...
3- See the Divine and the Gift Within Each Connection
This one is about the intention with which you approach your conversations. To every interaction you ever have with another, show up to it expecting the best and knowing that, with each and every interaction comes a gift from the universe and knowing that you have one to give to them too. What is it? What are 3 things that make you so lucky to be in contact right now with this person? Look for what makes them unique and beautiful. Some call this seeing the divine in the other. Whatever you call it, i can tell you that all of your relationships become more free flowing, easy and joyful when you practice it. People want to be around you more. And if you think about it, think about how you want to be seen, regarded, treated and loved by others, who doesn't want to be seen and deeply appreciated and valued for who they truly are? We all crave it. Doing this one practice conveys this through your communications without you ever having to say a thing. But if you do want to share what you see every now and then, that will go a long way to building and deepening your relationships of all kinds, at home and at work too.
4- Be Fully Present
They also love it when you 100% show up for that conversation, with as much of your focus and presence as you possibly can pull in from elsewhere and bring to what's going on within and around the person in front of you. Have you ever been in conversation with someone and it was so obvious to you that they were distracted? Perhaps by someone elsewhere in the space, or not in the room, by their thoughts about them or some situation, or these days by some technological gadget they're playing with? How did you feel about continuing to tell them everything that was really important to you in that moment? You wanted to stop, right? No doubt. Because every one wants the people they are talking to to be genuinely interested in them and what they have to say, not just to be waiting for their turn to talk next, or until they can get back to whatever the other thing was that they were distracted by. So. by far, one of the practices that helps create the kind of quality communication that makes people want to know more about you and spend more time with you and that deepens relationships of all kinds is making sure you show up fully present to your conversations. My friends and clients alike tell me i take this one to a bit of an extreme, in that there have been several occasions in which i'm deep in listening to them, fully present to what they're saying and in the experience of that moment, while completely oblivious to the other 3 people literally screaming at me trying to get my attention from a few meters away. However, that kind of single minded presence and focus has a major benefit in that the people you offer it to, wether friends, family, partners or clients or colleagues, just open up like flood gates when they're witnessed by someone offering this level of attention. And authentic sharing and discovering all we have in common to relate to each other with or through, builds connection and deepens intimacy. Not to mention, the more present you are to the subtleties of non verbal communication, on all the levels at which it occurs, as well as the verbal communication, the easier it is to discern what someone is REALLY saying to you. And the more present you both are to each of your deepest, most authentic truth, the more likely relationships of all kinds with the right people will deepen and grow. And, as i often say, the ones that are based on bulls#@t or the times at which we are bullsh@$#ing ourselves will expose themselves/ be called out and we can all call each other back into our personal integrity and onto our "right" soulful path in that moment. But more than that, when it comes to those of us supporting clients, the more of their "truth" you can see and come present to, the faster you can support them to transform in all the right ways.
5- Bring Your Best Super Hero "I'm Totally Here for You" Divine Father Self
And speaking of supporting clients, or the people we love when they're going through it, one other skill that helps immensely to deepen connection by making it safe to trust and go deeper with that person, is the ability to bring your best super hero Father self to the discussion. Some call this bringing your masculine presence, or the divine masculine to the table. What is it that we all want our perfect Father or the modern day equivalent of the super hero, the E.D staff, the fire fighers, ambo's or SES volunteers and dare i say it...the coaches and therapists we love the most to do for us in our moments of personal crisis and vulnerability? Show up fully and make us feel safe and protected. It's like the more intense it gets, or the more you cry, the more they, or that masculine presence shows the f@#$ up even more to be there for you and support you in that moment. Try it when someone you care about, or a client is next having a moment. Imagine what that strong, masculine part of yourself looks like, feels like and how he conducts himself in life, feel how that particular masculine energy wants to express through you and allow it to start coming forward with its "i'm here for you, no matter what, i've got your back" level of presence and safety. Men, obviously you're more likely to be naturals at that. But to the sisters reading this, it's worth knowing that it is just important for us to learn to harness this part of ourselves so that we can be strong for and hold the space for the men we care about when they are going through their own moments of pain and vulnerability.
6-Bring Your Best Mother Mary Loving Empathetic Self
And then there is the part where bringing our Divine Mother self, along with her love, empathy and compassion to the conversation dynamic also helps deepen connection. Coming back to the eye contact exercise for a moment, it's normal at times to have some resistance or discomfort arise when you do this, so if it happens, know that's ok. It could be that something has stirred up in you that they just saw or projected at you, or that you're projecting onto them. Or it could be that, in doing this, you've glimpsed and literally experienced in yourself something that is going on within the other. Whatever resistance or emotion you might find in looking into another's eyes, go towards it with the intention to bring love, empathy and compassion and safety to it. If it's yours, maybe it needs some healing or reframing of an old experience or belief so that it resolves and this block to connecting with another can be resolved. The more of these intimacy barriers you can resolve in yourself, the more you'll be able to stay present when you're looking into the eyes of people you care about, clients or work colleagues and when their shit, wether fresh from that day, or wether a long held wound, reveals itself in the course of your interactions. The masculine and feminine aspects within us can work hand in hand to ensure that both you and the other are full able to show up for and participate in your interactions in ways that support you both to be more your amazing selves and shine, as well as both grow and expand through the every day challenges we all face on the journey of life.
7- Check What They Really Mean...
"That thing that you think it means. I do not think it means what you think it means". Finally, one of the best ways to improve your communication is to check in and ask the other person if they mean what you think they mean. In Counseling, we call that checking in and summarising or paraphrasing back to them our interpretation of what they just said and asking if that is right? Why is this important? Fortunately, yet unfortunately, they also taught us in Counselling school that over 60% of the time, when one person says "you know what i mean?" and the other person is all like "oh yeah, i hear you!" in actual fact, we actually DON'T know. But there are two ways to improve your accuracy stats on this and they are to both ask and, as mentioned previously, get really good at attuning to and reading the subtleties of non verbal communication so that you're hearing more than just the words they pick. Some people also call that developing your intuitive intelligence.
8- Noticed What They Love and How They Want to be Loved... And Love Them Like That
Finally, and perhaps one of my favorites...no wait...all of these are my favorites, are you still making time to notice in the people around you what lights them up like a Christmas tree, what they love, what is important to them, what they value? Make sure you make the time to notice and make a mental note, or a literal note on your Client file/CRM systems. If they love it when you bring them a hot chocolate because that makes them feel loved, if they like hugs, if they got all excited because you put a pretty ribbon and a chocolate in with that book, commit it to memory. Take note of their favourite hobby, their Son's name, what things you said or did that opened out into more meaningful conversation. Taking the time to learn these little or big things can be a way of demonstrating that you care and value your staff members, your friends, the potential business partner or client who now stands before you. And who doesn't want to be surrounded by more people who genuinely appreciate, value who they are and are motivated to make the effort to find out what they love and how they want to be loved?
I could go on...and on...but these alone should keep you more than busy for the next few months. Even implementing just one of these will improve your relationships at work and play at least 300% percent....less conflict, withdrawal, misunderstanding and struggle...infinitely more love, joy, ease, expansion and mutual growth towards your shared goals. They're powerful and with great power comes great responsibility, but keep practicing no's 1 and 2 and you'll use it wisely, in all the right ways that help you and others not only experience a successful and fulfilling business and life you love, but also experience more love ;-)
Until next time, have fun, take care.
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.