How seriously do you take the aliveness of your conversations? Your meetings?
When you don’t pay attention to aliveness,you can easily find yourself in the midst of a conversation that’s long since dead. You go through the motions, doing what one does, nodding and agreeing or arguing and debating, long after aliveness left the room.
Perhaps you do this most of the time. Do you even know?
When you engage in dead conversations, you’re causing yourself trouble in all kinds of ways.
(1) It’s much more effort. Do you have any idea how much energy and force it takes to carry a person that’s become rigid and immobile? Conversations are like this too.
(2) You poison your own whole-heartedness and commitment. Trying to stay in a dead conversation brings about a toxic cycle of attrition in which you wear away your good intentions and capacity to contribute.
(3) You smother your ability to discern what’s important. Aliveness and mattering go hand in hand, and as you head deeper into dead conversations you’re strengthening your ability to keep on doing what doesn’t really matter.
Dead conversations can span minutes, weeks, or years.
And yet we seem to accept them as the norm in many situations.
Much can be freed up when we pay attention to this, when we track aliveness as we go, and call out to ourselves and others as soon as we notice that a conversation died so that we can find another path rather than ploughing on.
Because we’re so used to accepting dead conversations, particularly in work, this can take some courage.
But it’s necessary, because we all have important work to do.
And none of us can afford the cost of sleep-walking into the dead zone as often as we do.