- Do you ever get to the end of the day or week feeling dissatisfied, frustrated, upset or annoyed?
- Does it sometimes feel like you’re walking through treacle in terms of achieving your goals or living your best life?
Sometimes those unwanted feelings are down to our needs not being met.
Sometimes we haven’t clearly stated our needs — so it unsurprising that others haven’t met them. Worse, sometimes we’re not even clear ourselves about what our needs are, so we must take full responsibility for those feelings.
Being sufficiently self aware to understand our own needs is a great strategy for living an intentional and purposeful life.
For example, if you’re fed up with wasting your time in directionless meetings, you might implement a process that means people can only book meetings in your diary if they’ve provided you with a named meeting leader, an agenda and a clear desired outcome. How might you sell this process to your team (which, frankly is going to mean more work for them up front)? Talk in terms of their needs e.g. “I’ll have all the information I need to prepare and be more ‘present’ in your meeting so you’ll get more out of me.” Actually this can have far reaching effects in terms of your own time and diary management, and effectiveness. It can also prompt a culture shift in your team towards a more considered approach to each other.
In a work situation — especially if you’re the boss — it can be fairly straightforward to state your needs and have them met. What about with family or friends, though? Enrolling them in the behaviour change you’re requesting is an important step. If they understand why you’re making this request they might be more likely to comply.
For instance if you simply say to your partner, “Can you stop buying those gigantic packs of loo roll and stick to the 9-pack, please?” they may or may not comply. If you follow that up with, “I understand it’s more cost-effective to buy in bulk. Because our cupboard is so small though, when you buy a big packet we have to remove the loo rolls from their packaging and then they get dusty. Worse still I once found a big spider in one of them, which scared the living daylights out of me!” they might be much more likely to do as you ask.
Notice where uncomfortable feelings might be the result of your not having your needs met.
- What’s the situation? (e.g. there are 24 loo rolls loose in the airing cupboard)
- What’s the thought? (e.g. when he buys the big pack it shows he doesn’t care about my request or my feelings, which essentially means he doesn’t love me)
- What’s the feeling? (e.g. being misunderstood, unheard and unloved)
- How could I state my request clearly, explicitly and without emotion? (And by without emotion I don’t mean like a robot I simply mean without yelling, whining, crying, etc.)
- What are my options for enrolling this person into this behaviour change?
- What are my options for meeting my own needs (without the need for any change in others)?
Sometimes this self-awareness exercise is sufficient to discharge a lot of the emotion and make us feel significantly better. It can make the way we approach someone and express our request a lot less emotionally charged, a lot more ‘adult’ and a lot more persuasive.
Of course, just because we’ve stated our needs clearly, explicitly and without emotion, doesn’t mean people will actually meet them. But, the act of using an adult approach can open up an honest dialogue. And it can make us more aware of others’ needs, too. From this awareness there is choice about how we interact with and respect each other.
Doing these exercises can help you to move closer to your goals and improve your life. Sometimes we all need a little help, though … and self-coaching may not be enough. Friends and family might not always be able (or willing) to give you the support you need, and they may also be resistant to change.
A session with a professional life coach can help you to figure out what you really want … and how to go about getting it. Having someone on your side who will gently hold you accountable, and root for your success, can boost your confidence and make the process of change faster and more satisfying.
Whether it’s one-to-one or group coaching you’re drawn to, please get in touch with me to discuss options.