Today I was with a client, Chris, in a session who wasn’t feeling heard, despite being a high performing senior leader in a top management consulting company.
He shared, “I keep asking my work colleagues for the report we agreed on, and they don’t get back to me. I’ve asked 3 times and I’ve heard nothing!”
I could sense the level of frustration through his furrowed brow, and also the confusion.
Aren’t people at work supposed to cooperate?
Or at least respond?
Instead of venting endlessly which was entirely an option to let off some steam, we took a more constructive route to reframe his thoughts into more positive and actionable outcomes.
I reminded him that when we redirect to be more positive, we can see the best in people, situations, and events.
I went on to share that people who frequently experience and express positive emotions are more likely to function better, connect more, and bounce back better from setbacks.
Yet 80% of leaders focus on what’s not working or what’s wrong - a very non-productive path.
We discussed what I’m calling the 3 keys of feeling heard - especially when you don’t feel like you are heard at all.
You’d think it would be about how to get others to listen - but NOT SO! It is more about you, and not about anyone else.
The next time you aren’t feeling heard try these 3 simple steps:
Notice and name a feeling. Chris was feeling frustration and disappointment. These emotions can carry a lot of anxiety. However when he noticed and acknowledged those feelings, a weight lifted - not all, but some. Some space was created to think differently, which felt lighter, and more open.
Solution: Name how you are feeling (outloud helps) in real time, then pause to reflect. When we allow the space to feel and process that, we bring our thinking brain online which helps us get out of trigger moments and stuck feelings.
Have a few “go-to” listeners - if Mary isn’t responding after a few pings, or Joe isn’t following up with his action item status, don’t stay fixated on them. Replaying negative thoughts just doesn’t go anywhere
>> Research shows ruminating on the same thoughts makes your brain more likely to think those types of thoughts and let the negativity seep in since it’s already working so well.
Solution: Reach out to a good friend to say hello, or a loved one. Journaling can be great for this as you reflect and connect with your deeper desires to be heard and seen. Through your own writing, you are actually validating yourself and acknowledging that’s happening inside…YES!
Don’t force relationships - and be ok to move on. Like dating, you don’t have to make sure you know every single person or hear back from them. In reality, it not about you, it is about them; and whatever has prevented them from responding doesn’t warrant the anxiety stirred up by my making up a story.
Solution: Instead be intentional with what you want and move on if you need to. Find your peeps who will respond - there are plenty I’m sure around where you work or in your network!
These 3 steps to feel heard are game changers.
Over the course of the next week, things for Chris changed. He wrote a blog post highlighting what we discussed, which others responded - He felt heard.
He heard back from 2 out of the 3 people he was waiting on - he felt heard and knew he was respected and valued (bonus!)
His post was picked up in a corporate newsletter and shared with thousands of others on how helpful it was as steps for fostering better mental health - he felt a whole other level for feeling heard!
The next time you aren’t feeling heard, try these 3 simple steps.
So many of us spend waaaay too much energy and time managing others, or seeing how we can get heard. Next time you aren’t feeling heard, try these 3 simple steps!!
Yours in pausing in service to your leading,
PS BTW, helping women, tech & healthcare leaders feel valued, respected and heard so you avoid spend countless hours and energy spinning out and frantic is my jam! If you want support in this area, let’s hop on a call and come up with next steps that will get you feeling more confident and/or sustained, period!