Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

August 6, 2013

I'd Actually Have to Be Curious!

"I'd actually have to be curious," he said.

This highly-motivated team leader of a Fortune 100 company exhibited technical proficiency, dedication to his work, and high marks in every area but one: I was hired to help him improve his leadership communication skills so that teammates weren't left frustrated and offended.

basic-blend-aikido-techniqueWe were practicing the basic blend exercise from my workshops -- the Aikido technique called Morotetori Tenkan (see photo). The physical movement demonstrates what it looks and feels like to move to a different perspective, to ask questions and listen, and to seek to understand another's positive intention.

I played the part of an irritating team member. As my client moved from face-to-face confrontation to a more partering side-by-side stance, I asked him to pose a question that would help him see the world from his teammate's perspective. He said: "Can you tell me why you took that approach?" 

Actually Be Curious

The question was a good one. It had all the elements of Inquiry, except one: sincere curiosity. The client asked the question in that tone of voice that indicates disbelief, disapproval, or contempt. When I asked what he thought of his question, he told me honestly that it wasn't really a question. It would likely be received as sarcasm or criticism.

I asked him to say the same words again but to ask as if he really wanted to know the answer. This time he sounded as if he wanted to understand. I asked him what he did differently; what was required to ask the question the second way? "Well," he thought for a moment. "I'd actually have to be curious."

Are you smiling? We were.

on-this-planetOn This Planet

Inquiry - Curiosity - Discovery - Not Knowing. Why is it such a hard planet to find? From my experience, it's a wonderful place -- freeing, open, playful. I don't have to prove anything, I just listen and try to understand. It takes no time, only intention, to choose this place in mind and body.

I've written about this being-state in my book, Unlikely Teachers, when my husband Jim and I transformed a difficult moment in a restaurant into an unforgettably beautiful anniversary dinner.

What's Stopping You?

I know you can do it. In fact, I know you've done it -- decided to be curious about something that presented itself as a conflict .

  • How did you do it?
  • What were the obstacles?
  • How did you overcome them?

stay-curiousI promise to write again about "actually being curious" when I hear your answers. In the meantime, stay curious. Learn to love that land of "not-knowing!"


"Curious Kitten" Image via Wikimedia Commons

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