Angeles Arrien wrote a wonderful book years ago titled “The Four Fold Way” detailing the wisdom of indigenous peoples for creating healthy relationships for community. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Arrien a few years ago and received her permission to use a modification of her model in the business world to give leaders a framework for their coaching and creating high performing teams. I have seen this model work for leaders and teams around the globe. Over the next four entries, I will describe the Four Fold Way as it applies to business leadership.
Part One: Show Up!!
This may seem like a simple thing, and I challenge you to try it! When done well, “Showing Up” will have a huge impact on your personal effectiveness as well as improve the outcomes of meetings and individual interactions.
“Showing Up” means more than just arriving on time or being physically present in a meeting or conversation. It means being mentally present and focused as well. When you “show up” you are not replaying the conversation you just had in the prior meeting; you are not wondering if your admin put the international conference call code in your smartphone for the meeting after this one; you are not wondering if you’ll be out of this conversation in time to catch the last quarter of your child’s soccer game or make it to the dry cleaner before they close. You are definitely not checking your iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop for messages.
So what are you doing?? (This list is not exhaustive and not in order of importance!)
- You are making eye contact
- You are listening to what the other person is saying without formulating your response in your head while they are still speaking. (Hint: if you’re formulating, you’re not listening!)
- You are attending to their body language and seeking to understand all of what they are saying.
- In a larger meeting you are looking around the room to see what other dynamics are going on–who is paying attention, who is grimacing, who looks surprised …?
- You are paying attention to your own reaction to what’s going on–”am I feeling defensive, suspicious, relieved, intrigued, engaged, invited …?”
- You are demonstrating to the other(s) that you have “shown up” by reflecting back your understanding of what they’ve just said and gaining clarity on their view before moving forward with your own response.
- You are focused and present to the people and situation you are in.
- You release the distractions of what came before, what’s waiting for you after, and all the people and tasks vying for your attention in order to pay full attention to what is in front of you. Now.
As Stephen Stills sings, “Love the one you’re with!”
So try really showing up at your next conversation or meeting and feel the difference your full and true presence can make.
And by the way, this is one you CAN try at home! I’d love to hear about your experiences with “showing up!”