During a recent session, one of my clients brought up the concept of nutrient-rich conversations. Not only did I love the idea, it also made me think more about what that would look like.
I guess that in itself it was a nutrient-rich conversation! Hopefully, what follows is too…
As human beings we live in conversations… conversations with ourselves (what we call thoughts), conversations about ourselves (which tend to not be very nice), conversations with others, conversations online (for the sake of this article, let’s say all our social media activities are conversations).
Conversations are a great part of our social fabric, with which we establish, maintain and break relationships, we make things happen or not, we share ideas, we create or destroy. Unfortunately, not all the conversations are equal, and definitely not all the conversations we engage in are nutrient-rich.
A nutrient is defined as a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.
Think about the conversations you had in the last 24 hours… Were they nourishing? Did they provide anything for your growth? Did they make a difference in somebody else’s life?
If we look in our life, most of the time we are engaged in conversations that are not nourishing, on the contrary they tend to be toxic. Certainly, politics and daily news don’t help, and then all the “juicy” gossip not only about celebrities, but about our colleagues, friends, family members, neighbors. Why?
A few years ago, when I realized how strong the gossip culture was in my workplace and its impact, I initiated an internal campaign to reduce gossiping amongst our team. Unfortunately, that didn’t go far! I came to realize that gossip is like a glue that “helps” to bond, to fit in, to belong, to connect, unfortunately it normally is at cost of somebody else. But we all LOVE gossip, don’t we?!
My intention here is not to judge or to make anyone feel bad, on the contrary, my intention in writing this article is to invite you to look in your life and assess your conversations as an opportunity to reframe the way you engage in them.
What are the ingredients a conversation should include to be considered nutrient-rich? That is definitely a personal choice! From my perspective these are some of the elements that represent a nutrient-rich conversation, and of course you can make up your own list!
- Authentic – people participating are genuinely engaged in the conversation and sharing openly
- Trust – no judgement; what is discussed stays within the group present, unless otherwise agreed upon
- Uplifting – people are left feeling better, more powerful, shifting moods
- Commitment to influence and make a difference – no whining, not complaining, no gossiping
- Fun and laughter – people have a good time
- Thought-provoking – people leave the conversation thinking, inquiring into new possibilities
- Contribution – the conversation brings something of value to the participants
- Respect – there might not be an agreement in perspectives, but there’s always respect
Nutrient-rich conversations have a way of feeling good in the pit of your stomach and often are extra noticeable in contrast with conversations that leave you feeling a little out of alignment or wishing you hadn’t partaken. Nutrient-rich conversations may be those belly-laughs you have with old friends remembering past experiences, or ideating a new project with colleagues at work, or exploring possibilities of collaboration with a new acquaintance, or telling yourself in the mirror that you’re proud of yourself.
What are the nutrients you will bring to your conversations?
What if at least once we had one nutrient-rich conversation with another person? Who would you have it with?
What if we changed gossip for this kind of conversations?
Which new nutrient-rich conversation can you have about yourself every day?
Let’s have nutrient-rich conversations in this space!