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a blog by Chris Barrow

The business family

My “listening” goes on. Yesterday I endured a 5 hour drive to position myself for this week’s workshop tour and decided to use the time to chat with my business family on the telephone (hands-free I hasten to add). I’m turning over a new leaf at the moment and recognising that trying to be a business-owner, leader and recluse all at the same time isn’t working. It’s just that, over the years I have developed a real dislike of the mobile/cell phone as an intrusion into one’s privacy. It drives me mental when other people are in restaurants, movies, shopping malls – and meetings with me – and their phones start to ring. I swapped accountants a few years ago because he insisted on taking endless calls during our meetings and either told the callers he would get back to them or asked me to wait. It made me feel like one of his least important clients. So my dislike of that 24/7 interruption has caused me to go too far in the opposite direction and just keep my own phone switched off the majority of the time. Result? My business family feel neglected. So my new leaf is to start becoming more approachable, more sociable and to make the effort to call as often as I can. Actually, there has been a turning point in all of this. Looking back, part of the problem has been that when I call, I ask “how are you/things?” and then they tell me. I’m a coach – and after a day’s coaching I don’t want to coach any more – so asking “how are you/things?” is actually setting up more coaching. That’s why I haven’t done it – duh. So I’m going to change my approach – make the call but ask them how they can help me. It fits in with my listening campaign of the last 7 days, which has been immensely helpful. I’m going to explain my challenges and choices to my business family every day I can – and ask them how they can help me. We’ll see how that goes. The recluse is going to pop his head out of the shell a little. I’m nervous.

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