The moment I realised I’d lost my spontaneity and how it’s time to bring it back to business
I’m currently reading for the 8th time ‘You2’ by Price Pritchett (incredible book) and one of the key learnings is how our tendency is to default to our familiar behaviours and ‘what we do best’ vs. taking a quantum leap and breaking our patterns to create the extraordinary.
We are creatures of habit and routine, so when we are presented with a world of uncertainty and lack of clarity, it forces us even more to fall into those habits, which can be both productive and unproductive. The problem is even the productive one’s may not be the right thing to be doing.
“It really doesn’t matter how well you do something, if it’s the wrong thing to do”
So, why am I sharing this with you?
Breaking the familiar
It got me thinking, what are my familiar patterns that if I continue doing them will prevent me from reaching new heights of success.
A very simple one came up.
Email vs Picking up the phone.
I have defaulted to email vs. picking up the phone for years, and a very wise person asked me the question why?
Here’s my answer:
“I worry that I will interrupt someone’s schedule as I can’t remember the last time I phoned someone or someone phoned me and we hadn’t pre-planned a time, It almost feels impolite these days to just pick up the phone”
As I said this out loud it made me think how sad it was that communication and building relationships has become so scheduled and formal.
On a side note: I was also shocked (and then I wasn’t) to find out that: 81% of millennials feel they need to summon up the courage to make a call.
This is frightening as I think of all the skills that are being lost and ‘what if’ email suddenly didn’t exist (anything is possible), we would have a huge group of people who do not know how to communicate confidently with each other and businesses would plummet.
Bring back spontaneity
Okay, back to the story: the lightbulb moment struck and I realised that not only have we lost our spontaneity in lockdown, we lost our spontaneity years ago with email.
Ask yourself “when was the last time within a business context, did you just pick up the phone and check in with someone”?
We think we are maybe helping by emailing but all this is doing is clogging up an already overwhelmed inbox and potentially causing more stress as you have now added a ‘reply’ on their ‘to do’ list.
Also, do we really get to know someone over email? I know I’ve got at least 10 people I’m in contact with that I’ve never met or spoken to and yet we converse over email regularly and start with the wonderfully polite greeting of ‘nice to e-meet you’.
Now I’m not saying stop emailing and start calling. It’s finding the right balance, I just feel we have gone too far one way and I believe it’s time to bring some spontaneity back to life and business.
The benefits of picking up the phone:
- You make decisions faster
- You can pick up tone on a call and gain clarity of meaning
- You can actually solve things faster as it’s achieved in the call not back and forth on email
- Reduced anxiety as you’re in the space with the person. You’re not repeatedly clicking ‘refresh’ on your emails second guessing what is going on
- You build stronger relationships
- You can build on ideas
- You receive an answer in the moment
I do understand efficiencies and tracking conversations, especially coming from an operations background, however business was once achieved without email and I wonder for all we have gained, what have we lost that would right now be so wonderful and productive to bring back.
We are all searching for connection and community in these strange times, so how about you join me in my quest this week to phone at least 5 people and see how they are and how you could help.
I’d love to know how you get on.
Joanna Howes is an international award winning coach, behavioural expert, and No 1 best selling international author, who specialises in leadership and business operations. If any of these have resonated with you and you would like to explore how a coach can guide you to achieve your success, please book your free discovery session with Joanna here. Joanna also shares free resources on her website which you can access here.