We’ve all been there in different moments, waiting for someone to finally make a choice one way or another, “get it” or “get over it” or “get on the bus,” right? Torture.
Sometimes this is more drawn out than other times. In a coaching conversation yesterday, my client was struggling, having to wait for another’s internal, painfully glacial-paced process of working out their own issues so they could ultimately choose to be fully present in their relationship together.
Actually- this happens all the time, every day- by us, around us and seemingly to us, and it can absolutely fell like being prisoner of another person's process, bound there by what they're doing and how they're doing it. Yet you don't have to be so controlled by it... In there might be something to call out and something to see which you're not seeing.
1) I’m not a morning person. Normal mornings most of my life= alarm, snooze, alarm, finally up after threat of lateness or another person insists, first awake hour grouchy, often not speaking, sour disposition. After the first 5 years of our marriage, my husband called me out on it. My grouchiness in the morning was getting all over him and the rest of our family, and starting their morning off negatively every day. Never really occurred to me! So, for the last 12 years since that day, I’ve woken up every day with the same grouchy impulses I’ve always had, but making a choice to be pleasant. Not really so hard to change, but the impact on everyone in my family is huge.
Who might you talk with about their process to request a change for the sake of others?
2) I like to take action on things and get them out there, often a bit earlier in a process. A new business partner of mine is much more inclined to think and noodle over ideas for a long time. Usually these impulses balance one another out for great results, but sometimes it’s irritating and puts the brakes on our progress when I’m acting too fast or he’s thinking too long.
What about your process messes with the progress of others?
3) One of my kids is a particularly brilliant and focused imaginer, yet slow and reluctant to transition. When the whole family is getting into the car, she’s still nibbling breakfast or finishing one last pencilstroke of a drawing, still without shoes even on. Our “let’s go” rhythm and her “just one or two more minutes” rhythm often clash with her feeling jarred out of her flow and us exasperated by having to ask her to take the next step for the 5th time.
How might you try a different take on someone else’s process to make it smoother?
4) A community member dealing with an upcoming big change in an organization I led, chose to air his concerns in public mass-email forums where he argued, rallied people in opposition and planned confrontation. His concerns were seen, but it also caused fear, division and more upset for many people. After I had an actual conversation with him about it, he calmed a bit, yet his justification of his email ranting was “this is just how I handle things -I know I may make enemies in the process or offend people, but so be it.”
What natural inclination might you have which negatively contaminates others?
1) I get to brilliant insights and awesome work created when I stay up late at night. (focus there) AND I if the negative impact I was having hadn't been called out, I never would've realized, or altered my default morning process (not that hard to do, now everyone's happier).
2) My business partner gets to inspiring layers of ideas during that long, deep reflection which will make real change in the world (focus there), AND I learned how to choosily call out the need to move on an idea faster than he might otherwise, in a way he could flex with.
3) My daughter produces stunning artwork from her default state of creative muse and imagination (focus there), AND we've begun to give her time warnings earlier with multi checks for all the things she'd normally scramble to do.
4) My fellow community-member surfaced important issues, details and questions which may have never been discussed, AND we needed to call out the ramifications of his tactics in how it impacted the whole community, which truly gave him pause.
Our unconscious, natural processes are what make us genius and unique from everyone else. These are the very things that make us stand out in the world. The challenge may be in preserving the genius and talent of our process while also checking the unintended costs to others. Possible?