Posts in Self
Less Advice, More Curiousity

The change of behavior that’s going to serve you most powerfully is simply this: a little less advice, a little more curiosity.

Michael Bungay Stanier, The Coaching Habit

If you’ve ever walked away from a conversation with someone feeling unusually elevated, it’s likely because that person was skilled in active listening. It’s likely because they made you feel heard, significant, & worthy.

You felt elevated because they made the conversation about you, not them — your ideas & your perspective, not their opinions & advice.

As a coach, empathetic listening is a skill worth developing, one just as important as seeing & correcting or group management.

It’s not easy. Offering advice feeds our ego & gives us status. It justifies our position as the coach charging good money to expound on our experience & expertise.

But it creates blind spots, too.

As coaches, we shouldn’t act like GPS, assuming the only goal of our students is to get where they’re going as fast as possible.

Some people want to take the scenic route. Some people just desperately want to avoid traffic, or tolls, or side streets. Some people are walking, not driving, opening them up to a whole new set of navigational options.

The context matters when it comes to how best to help our students. Leading with curiosity instead of ego is how we learn not only where they’re hoping to go, but the optimal way we might help get them there.

SelfPatrick Cummings

[W]hen we’re experiencing doubts on the way toward achieving a goal, whether we ought to look backward or forward depends on our commitment. When our commitment is wavering, the best way to stay on track is to consider the progress we’ve already made…Once commitment is fortified, instead of glancing in the rearview mirror, it’s better to look forward by highlighting the work left to be done.

Adam Grant, Originals

I had the pleasure & privilege of sitting in the back of the room over the weekend, listening to Greg Glassman talk to the 10+ year affiliates who gathered for a few days of connection in Whistler, British Columbia.

During his time on stage, Coach walked the group through some of the connective tissue behind the decisions CrossFit has made over the last year, working to show us how - though the changes may have felt sudden - they were building toward them for years. He talked about the three L's (legislation, litigation, lobbying) & the 5 Buckets of Death. He talked about big soda & CrossFit Health & how the Regional events never made any sense to him.

What he didn't do - what I've never heard him do - is perhaps the one thing many affiliate owners often look to him for: reassurance.

Reassurance it'll all work out. Reassurance that CrossFit is on the right path. Reassurance that we haven't all made some big mistake.

Honest leaders don't often offer reassurance. They know that when you're at the edge of uncharted territory, when you're pushing a wall no one's ever pushed, there's a better than good chance it won't work.

But when we learn how to replace our (very human) desire for reassurance with a commitment to continuing to dance with the fear, we take responsibility for what comes next. We recognize that there are things for which it's worth risking failure, just as there are plenty for which success isn't worth the effort.

We can step off the dance floor, or we can settle in & let the music play.

The trouble comes when we try to do both.

SelfPatrick Cummings
We Have Lost Our Awareness

We have adopted a style of “everyday media multitasking” - which is a generous way of saying that we have lost our awareness of what is necessary and what is simply reflexive responding as though prodded by a sharp stick.

Adam Gazzaley & Larry Rosen, The Distracted Mind

People say that time is our most valuable personal resource, given its non-renewability, but I disagree. Our attention is more important. Only when we learn to optimize it do we ever actually accomplish anything.

A simple example:

An hour spent on the couch with your significant other while you both watch Netflix & scroll through Instagram will do less for your relationship than fifteen minutes of conversation, listening, & eye contact would.

Just like in the gym, the number of minutes we spend on a given task matters less than the quality of those minutes.

It’s time we stopped patting ourselves on the back for 50, 60, 70-hour workweeks, & instead started taking pride in how effectively we’ve wrestled control of our attention back from the tools & industries that would rather we continue distracting ourselves to inadequacy.

SelfPatrick Cummings