What fuels great connection? Do you need to understand yourself to understand others?

These are the questions top of mind for the last few months.

What spurred this?

Our Mind Canopy offsite in September 2022. My first in person get together with Emer, Abigail, Sharon and Tom since I joined the team almost a year ago.

We traveled from around the globe to converge on a beautiful part of the South-West Coast of Ireland, Kenmare. Our intention was to learn more about each other, develop as coaches, and set next year’s goals as a team.

The week started with a workshop facilitated by our incredible Master Coach, Penny, interspersed with meals, walks, and yoga with our wonderful well-being expert, Costanza. There was even a photo shoot.

It was all fun and meaningful.

But what stays with me is a moment when I felt deeply moved. It was during a team-building exercise where we learnt what was important to each of us, how we viewed the world, and shared what we appreciated about one another. While listening, I noticed feelings of understanding, being seen, and of deep connection.

Turns out the latest research confirms this. One of the most powerful things we want is for there to be real understanding in our relationships: be it as a manager, teammate, family or friend. (For a deeper dive, listen to this episode of the podcast Hidden Brain).

We often assume we see ourselves and the world around us as others do, but the fact is our perceptions are filtered through our mindsets.

Bestselling author, Esther Perel, is recognized as one of the most insightful voices on modern relationships. As a psychotherapist and organizational consultant, she says that to build Relational Intelligence (the set of skills for navigating relationships and connecting with others) self-awareness is key.

A great start is to get to know what she calls your “Alternate Resume”. This is everything not normally found on your work resume. It includes “experiences you have accumulated, your expectations around relationships, and preferred communication style”, and also “influences of cultural background, gender specificities and messages, generational elements” plus more. All of this informs your mindset, assumptions and blind spots. Being aware transforms your ability to see the other person, and to imagine what is going on for them.

After the offsite, I spent a day in Dublin exploring the city and wandered into the National Art Gallery. On view were works by Picasso, Giacometti, El Greco, and many more. I was struck by how unique and different their expressions were of familiar scenes and objects. And yet all these interpretations are valid and real.

Transforming how you see has the power to transform your relationships and your life.

And, to me, that is the beauty and the complexity of who we are as human beings.

Dedicated to the memory of Scott Krueger.