One-on-one conversation is probably my most preferred form of communication. Especially if there’s coffee involved! And many such conversations have had a lasting impact and provided opportunities to learn and grow. Here are such 10 conversations that have changed me.
1. My mum telling with great empathy that there were ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ – after I’d been unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend. She was right – but most importantly, she was kind.
2. Over coffee, Indigenous leader Paul Briggs providing me with a glimpse into what it might be like to grow up with people crossing the street to avoid you – a child.
3. My psychotherapist telling me I was ‘lovely’ at my ‘final’ session (turned out to be a break). Wow, if she truly meant that after everything she’d heard about me – maybe, just maybe, I was! Lovely is now one of my very favorite and intentionally frequently used words.
4. A young woman telling me the best thing about working with me was ‘the confidence I’d shown in her’. It’s given me more confidence to be a better manager and mother – and reinforced my understanding of the value of promoting self esteem in both myself and others.
5. Confirming with my son when he started making inquiries that he had Asperger Syndrome – and ending the conversation with a High Five!
6. In another recent conversation, helping him understand that it was okay to be a “round peg in a square hole” (his words) – that he wasn’t alone in feeling or being this way – and that my job as his mum was to shape a world that fitted better around him – not the other way around.
7. Not exactly a conversation – more an ‘inner dialogue’ – taking on board deeply the Dalai Lama’s message to Never Give Up. I often reinforce this message with my kids, and they seem to get it.
8. One of my last conversations with my mother a few months before she died – tackling the tough stuff and not running away from it. Leaving nothing unsaid. No regrets.
9. My CEO telling me “I’d changed the way we communicate as an organisation,” – which has given me more courage to keep on trying to make it better.
10. Too many conversations with my husband David to single out just one. I often forget to take advantage of his great capacity for deep conversation and insight. When I do it’s always enlightening, always honest. Always, ah ha!
What conversations have changed you?