Last night I was chatting with my favourite clients. I like to call up former clients or ones who are on hiatus just to keep up with the things going on in their lives. He has been busting his hump trying to balance running a fairly demanding IT startup, frustrating contract work, spend time with his grandkids, and keep semi-pro sports career going all at once. While we were talking, he mentioned a new time-management book he had started to use to keep him grounded.
“You know what?” I said to him, “I can always use new material for my clients, and I would like to have something recommended to me on Amazon that is not another book on potty training. I will buy it, red it, and get back to you on what I think about it.”
“You see, Brian” he said with masterful snark, “Adult conversation is under-rated. There’s your next blog entry”
That made me laugh pretty hard. And it got me thinking.
Few things mke me feel sane and grounded quite like a client call. To some degree that is because, like any good coach, I carry out my calls in an altered state of consciousness – I shut down my own genda, my own motivations, and I just listen with honest curiosity. I have no motive but helpng my client plan and explore – it is a bit like being a kid in a sand box.
But I hadn’t realied jut how much it is also because these days I can miss just talking to an adult about everyday adult concerns – work, business, creativity, finance, politics, philosophy – they engage parts of my brain that are hungry for stimulation.
When you are taking care of a small child, you are always focusing on teaching them something you already know how to do, whether that is pouring your own drink (my son’s accomplishmentof the day!), doing basic math, or judging whether or not you want to ut up with another kid’s behaviour. While you have to expend some brain power figuring out how to teach them well, you simply aren’t challenging yourself in the way your brain wants to be challenged. You are not engaging with people about the things that worry or engage you.
When you talk to your spouse or partner, you will find most of your energy is just spent talking about the kid (especially when they are very young,) or about the everyday operation of your husehold. You have to make an effort to raise th conversation to a higher level – and they might be too tired to engage.
Sometimes one of the best things you can do for the well-being of your own mind is to take time away from your child and go out and just talk to someone about wht’s going on in their lives – or bout what’s going on in the world. Just to feed and refresh your mind. It will make you feel more ready to engage with your kid again.