Every once in a while I realize that I am sliding out of line with my primary conversational practice. I suppose that I could blame my lapse on being a guy or any other excuse but the reality is I discovered a blind spot in my practice of conversation.
Now that I have started my doctoral program at Fielding Graduate University in Human and Organization Systems, our larger cohort is organized into small anchor groups for ongoing support and collaboration. It is a wonderful concept. In a very short period of time, we have shared more than is probable given that we still are learning who we are as a group and who we are as friends, associates, mentors, and confidants. Herein lies the discovery of my blind spot.
Given the stress of starting a rigorous doctoral program and given that we all have lives, work, families, and responsibilities outside of the doctoral program, it is natural that each of us experiences some uncertainty, fear, and doubts. I pride myself on listening, a critical aspect of conversation. What I found myself doing to my dismay was offering solutions to people right out of the shoot rather that just being there to listen and support. I remembered in this setting that offering critique and analysis is pivotal to this level of doctoral work, however I also remembered that I do not need to solve everyone’s problems. Each of us is a professional, intelligent, competent, and accomplished, who am I to try to solve problems for everyone else.
I am now more aware of this blind spot in my practice and will doll out advice more sparingly or when I am asked rather than immediately offering solutions when someone voices frustrations. I will be a better listener and in the end, I will be a better conversational practitioner.
Keep those conversations going.