If I have back-to-back coaching calls, I always schedule a minimum of 15 minutes, and usually 30 minutes, in between calls. Why? Because I want to do a clean reset from being in conversation with my first client to becoming present with the second client. I make this clean break by finalizing my notes from the first call. That gives me a clear way to end it and not worry that I have any loose ends still hanging out. Then I do the exercise and breathing I mentioned above.

This mini ritual in between calls honors the ending of the first call while setting up the next call to capture my full attention.

You can do something similar by creating your own ritual, or borrow ideas from mine, that allows you to be present for your conversations, or effectively end one conversation and then be present for the next one.

Be Self-Aware
Joe Deitch is the founder of Commonwealth Financial Network, and on my podcast, I asked him if he had a blind spot that was eventually brought to light. He then shared the following story.

“I was in a three-year Harvard executive program and I took copious notes because I was literally just trying to save myself. And at the end of each year, we spent three weeks living on campus, and at the end of each three-week stint, I would try to summarize my notes. After three years, I ended up with 10 pages of ‘Do this, do this, do this, don’t do that.’ And that’s cumbersome. You can’t walk around with 200, 300 things in your pocket to try to remember. And so I distilled it down and eventually I got it down to one word. And the one word for me was…listen.”

He went on to say:

“Like a lot of people, I thought that I was listening but in reality, if I had a disagreement with anybody, I would politely wait until they were finished talking so I could explain to them why they were wrong. That’s not listening. And listening is just not listening to what someone tells you. It’s listening to the environment. It’s listening to trends. It’s listening to your intuition. It’s listening to what’s going on and why. Listening is a fairly sophisticated skill and I wasn’t doing it.”

Not truly listening was a blind spot that he eventually realized was limiting his awareness of reality.

One of the benefits of doing a podcast is the conversations are recorded. I always listen to each of mine and invariably, I notice missed opportunities where I didn’t follow a particular thread or failed to see the gold in something my guest said and, instead, I quickly moved to the next segment. And as much as I try to be present for every conversation, I know that I bring my biases, my expectations and my ego to every conversation. Oftentimes, they limit what could have led to an insightful “bringing forth” of an aha moment.

Just being aware that we have blind spots and using that awareness to be on the lookout for them (like me listening to my podcast recordings), is a good first step toward shining a light on what is currently blinding you. And by the way, one of my blind spots is I say “so” all the time on my podcasts! Not the biggest sin in the world, but even I get annoyed sometimes hearing it on the replay.