Quick Tip

Video: Where’s Your Curiosity?

Instead of Getting Furious ...

Do you ever get so mad at your kids, teens or young adults that you just don’t know what to do? Or maybe (just maybe) at your spouse, or partner?

Maybe you lose it or retreat. Maybe you yell or cry. Whatever the situation, what you're doing doesn’t feel good... for anyone!

There’s one coaching tool that can actually help immediately. It's one that parents have told us, over the years, is one of the single most helpful tools they've learned. I know it sounds simple, but hey -- sometimes the most effective strategies are simple. So here goes...

Get Curious

When you just don’t know what else to do, instead of getting furious, get curious. Or as one of my clients said recently -- before you  get injurious, get curious.

What does that mean? It means pay attention to what's happening before the behavior. Pay attention to what you're feeling, and what others might be feeling. Notice when someone is hungry, or tired, and how that might contribute to their behavior. Notice when someone is scared or angry, and how that might be impacting the situation. Really notice not just what's going on literally, but what is going on for the people involved emotionally.

Curiosity is an amazingly helpful coaching tool. It invites you to shift your focus from "what do I think about what's happening?" to, "I wonder what's going on with her?" It's amazing how everything can change when you shift your focus to the person you love who happens to be driving you nuts at the moment.

So when you find yourself noticing a tendency to judge the behavior of your kids, your spouse, your colleagues -- whomever --  ask yourself, "what's motivating that behavior? What might be happening to influence that kind of action?" If you're really contemplating it, you might even wonder, "is she okay? Does she need my help?" Curiosity is a stunningly helpful tool for helping us connect to our compassion for those we love.

I know they say curiosity killed the cat, but look at it this way, she's got nine lives anyway. One life may not be such a sacrifice. So whenever you get confused, or you get so mad you don't know what to do or say, or you cannot believe how someone else is acting – get curious. It works – almost – every time.

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