What’s In There?
Last week we turned our focus onto the importance of connection – a key enabler to Expand Your Influence. One way to forge connection is real curiosity – to genuinely be interested in understanding and knowing more about those with whom we interact.
Most of us glide along the surface at work … talking about the weather, sporting events, and TV shows. We miss the opportunity to create deeper connections through being curious about others. Part of this is fueled by our priorities to get work done, our fear of engaging in a political discussion or other divisive topic … a variety of reasons come to mind. What also comes to mind is what we are losing by not being curious.
Type “the benefits of curiosity” into any search engine and you will find tons of research to support the value that curiosity brings to ourselves and to others. Being curious opens unexpected dimensions in our perspectives, beliefs, and attitudes.
Shirzad Chamine coined the term “Fascinated Anthropologist” to explore and “become a keen observer of what simply is, without any other influence over the situation.” As a “Raider of the Lost Ark” fan, this brings to me a sense of play and lightness … and a bit of danger, too, as I never know what I will learn that may rock my world.
Note that curiosity isn’t about asking a lot of questions. It’s about:
- listening to the answers
- seeking to dig below the surface talk
- hearing different perspectives
- finding common ground
- strengthening connection.
I have sat on park benches and had strangers fascinate me with their life stories. This practice shattered many assumptions I had made about folks at the surface level. It has me stopping in my tracks when someone randomly asks me, “How’s it going?” and I ask them how they are doing. There’s often a look of surprise that someone has actually stopped and listened for more. I genuinely want to know, and they respond.
We are all connected. Let’s strengthen those connections with genuine curiosity.
This Week’s Challenge: Carve out the time to have a real conversation with a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or a stranger. Note how you feel and what you’ve learned afterwards.
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