Why questions and silence are important

Andi Lightheart Enrol Yourself

Ever had that moment where someone says something and it’s such a profound truth the room goes silent, but filled with presence?

That happened to me on Monday, and I was the one speaking.

I had been guiding the Enrol Yourself Birmingham team through some exploration of how to grow our capacity to deal with complexity. We’d moved through extending timelines, increasing the breadth and depth of empathy, and pattern-spotting.

Then it came time for me to get the brains and hearts of this really smart group on my area of inquiry.

The moment came when we had been talking about a circle I’m holding twice a month for humane leaders and deep thinkers. I was feeling a strange mix of pretty sure it was a good thing, as well as holding back from committing.

We’d been talking through a bunch of stuff and then Rachel asked me the pattern-spotting question we’d been practicing: ‘What does this whole situation remind you of?’ I closed my eyes and felt into it.

And suddenly I got it. ‘It’s like when I’d be in school plays that I was convinced were amazing, and when I look back they were awful. I’m scared that I’m going to think the circle is great and then later find out that everyone was rolling their eyes at me.’ Profound silence.

Luckily this group is, as my friend Jane identified, an amazing mix of both smart and vulnerable. We aren’t scared of silence.

Everyone made eye contact with me, smiled gently. 'When you look back now, do you feel the same?’ I realised that of course I looked with much more compassion. ‘I was just a kid. Plus… I wasn’t the director…' Then Mikayla asked the killer question, the one that pulled a whispered reaction out of me. ‘What did everyone else in the play feel?’ ‘We all thought it was great.’ ‘SO the people it was FOR thought it was great?’ Oooooh.

That was the one.

The people it was FOR thought it was great.

The circle will be great FOR THE PEOPLE IT'S FOR. 

Such a beautiful confluence of the right group, the right questions and the capability to listen in silence. 

First circle is tonight at mine, btw. Email me for details. 😊