We live in a world where many things are said with great certainty, as a proclamation of “truth.” Yet, in our work, we find that people in all their various roles often have more power if they can show up as curious rather than certain. One of the things we ask of our clients is to engage with a spirit of curiosity instead of certainty.
We know, staying curious when you are stressed or in a hurry is easier said than done. So, how do you get back to being curious when you find yourself feeling quite certain? There are a number of ways:
1. As always, pause. Over the years we have described our development of The Fundamental Pause© because it is the best way that we have found to interrupt automatic or habitual reactions. In order to interrupt reactions and accelerate your ability to respond in new ways, pause and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to do and say in alignment with my goals?”
2. Go into conversations or meetings with questions as well as ideas. Write them down ahead of time and use them to engage in a more curious exploration or discussion. Don’t read them like an interrogation, instead weave them into the conversation to broaden and deepen the discussion.
3. Pay attention to how your body feels when you are claiming certainty or proclaiming truths. Once you know how that feels, you can be pretty sure that when you feel that way, you are caught in certainty. Sometimes paying attention to how you are moving physically in the world gives you clues as to how you are relating with others.
Spend a few minutes this week thinking about your relationship with being “certain” and with being “curious”. Play with it in interactions and see if you can move from being certain to being more curious. The ability to step back and be curious is a powerful way to show up in relationships and will often led to better dialogue, more innovation and deepened collaboration.