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Collaborating Well Requires Centering and Connecting

I had some bad news last night.  My mother moved to hospice care about two weeks ago, which means each day has some ups and downs. I try to hold it all in stride, but in some moments, I am more affected than others.  

This morning, when I called a colleague about a work project, I began with my usual, “How are you?” After he responded that he was good, I jumped in quickly with questions about work.  When he joined me in working through the project logistics, the back of my mind thought, “Whew, I made it through without having to talk about me. I don’t have to fake that I am good (which I am terrible at) or share what is really going on with me. Good!”

Except it wasn’t.  As we discussed the project, I felt tight, and my responses probably seemed curt. I could feel he was working hard to remain open and curious about my project concerns. Our whole conversation was much rockier than our usual easy problem-solving.  

After I got off the call, I realized I had done a disservice to myself and my colleague.  Not showing up as my whole self meant we were trying to Collaborate without Centering and Connecting first. The We Are Resilient approach reminds us that Centering and Connecting are integral to Collaborating. All our meetings start with a quick check-in so we can use Resilience Skills of Noticing Myself and Noticing Others to get Centered. Often we begin with 30 seconds of the Centering Skill of Breathing Mindfully. Spending one to three minutes upfront Centering and Connecting is the best time saver for any Collaboration. Years of experience have taught me that. 

After my call this morning, I realized I needed to call my colleague back and explain what was really happening for me.  He was so appreciative. And sharing my worry lightened it, if just for a little bit. Then, the rest of our work conversation—our collaboration—was back in our normal easy groove. 

May you find ways to Center and Connect in all your Collaborations. 

With Resilience, 
Meri and the Dovetail Learning team