How to be a better sharer

So I’ve been reading “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. Her insights and writing are noteworthy both on the personal and professional fronts. Yet she has this habit of embedding unexpected gems. The section titled “Clarifying intentions, setting boundaries and cultivating connection” is great.

She sets the tone in the first sentence of this section. Stating “much of the beauty of the light owes its existence to the dark.” She’s talking about our willingness to perform and think in ways that challenge our own entropy, apathy and fear. Times when we allow ourselves to reinforce disconnection rather than seeking to connect on a personal level with those around us.

While I am not anti-social media, I did close most of my accounts save for LinkedIn and the AHA Support Network. I have noticed that my own habits have changed when it comes to networking with people. Even with my writing on my simple blog. Less screen time, for me, has meant that I find ways to connect with others in more meaningful ways. It’s funny, because some of my family members have lamented that they miss seeing my “goings on” within the Facebook app. While I am flattered, it becomes something akin to broadcasting rather than spending time, face to face, with someone else.

She talks about oversharing as a mechanism to turn vulnerability into a shield. Which defeats the purpose. This made me think about how “good” of a Facebook user I was. Broadcasting. Everything. Well not everything, but sometimes, looking back, I have ample opportunity to laugh at myself. Driving this thought further, on the professional scene we often times seek ways to share our successes and lessons from failures. This is great but it sets me to wonder about… are we doing it right?

I’ve spoken and written about active listening. This is a great technique for when someone around you is broadcasting, or as Brené says – oversharing and thus “floodlighting.” But what do we do when we find ourselves broadcasting? She provides a suggested checklist to help from doing this. And it’s awesome.

Vet your stories with close allies, friends and mentors first. Share only experiences that aren’t “fresh wounds.” Perform the following self-questionnaire. Hone your message. Choose the right time for delivery.

  • Why am I sharing this?
  • What outcome am I hoping for?
  • What emotions am I experiencing?
  • Do my intentions align with my values?
  • Is there an outcome, response, or lack of a response that will hurt my feelings?
  • Is this sharing in the service of connection?
  • Am I genuinely asking the people in my life for what I need?

These thoughts all line up with making us better communicators. Friends. Colleagues. They also provide us with a caution to not misuse vulnerability, sharing, in ways that push people further apart than closer. I once worked with a man who had a great philosophy. He actively helped others to network and find jobs that brought like minded people together. For the simple fact that they enjoyed each other’s company. I loved that thought. His idea is all about being brave enough to share things in a professional capacity. Sometimes too much. But always there for one another driving toward a common business goal. I learned a lot about people from him. And in the process, myself. Brené’s suggestions in her amazing book about vulnerability ring true. We should all do what we can to choose to share, not over broadcast, and constantly invite others to share with you in safe, empowering effective ways.

The benefits of taking the time to review how we share may be realized both in the personal and professional arenas. Who knows, like my old colleague, the two may actually merge… making everyone the better for it.

Posted in personal, professional

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