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  • Writer's pictureLaura Roeven

Having a goal transforms relationships (even the difficult ones!)

Think of someone that is easy to be with. Imagine your time together. What is the goal you have in that time together? To have fun? To let them know you care? To share connection? Now think of someone that is difficult to be with. Imagine being together. What is the goal you have in that time together? To get your point across? To be right? To get through the time without letting them get under your skin?

Here’s the Magic: Change the Goal, Transform the Relationship

Approaching a conversation with a goal in your heart enables you to listen for that goal and connect around it. The goal helps with focus. It’s like a seat belt that keeps you safe and snug while navigating uncertain terrain. When I have the goal of compassion… my mind, heart and gut are 100% invested in showing up in a space of compassion. No matter what happens, the goal of compassion guides my presence. My thoughts, “compassion” become my words. My words framed with “compassion” become my actions. Having a goal keeps the string of events aligned around my goal. I have control over that.

When I listen with a goal, I listen differently. I hold a depth of listening that does not include my ego or my response to what is said. I focus my whole being around being centered in my goal. This causes me to respond differently. Almost refreshing, I can leave my thoughts and wants at the door and hold space for who I am listening to in a more stable and kinder way.

Goals can be:

  • To listen without judgement

  • To find one idea that you can find in common

  • To appreciate something about them and tell them

Results can be:

  • To really hear what is said

  • Peaceful stability

  • To find surprising ways we are alike

  • To get to know the other more intimately

Why Do This?

My goal is what I can offer to the other person. It allows my focus to self-manage in order to listen and ask questions relevant to my focus. It can be a way to guide the conversation. A goal helps me to show up the way I ideally want to. Patience, listening, supportive, affirming are all great goals to help grow a relationship.

Case Study: How to work together on a project with someone who seems to know where all my buttons are to push.

  • Step one: Pick My Goal: I want to understand what my colleague thinks the next steps in the process are.

  • Step two: Show up with that goal in mind.

Questions to Orient the Conversation:

  • What do you think the next steps are?

  • How do you see that working?

  • What do you think is most important about these next steps?

  • What are you valuing in the process? Speed? Accuracy? Quantity?

When the conversation steers off track or feels out of line, refocus on the goal. Ask a new question. Begin again around the goal. Having a goal can reorient a conversation by giving stability and clarity around a topic.

Goals in Action

I want to connect. I will listen and be curious.

I want to understand the other person’s ideas. I will ask questions to understand.

I want ease. I will allow the other to have their say without need to change or alter their words.

It is easier to stay present in the moment and be the person you want to be when having a goal.



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