Conversations that Count

In the mid-1800s, in Concord Massachusetts, USA there were a group of people who came together at the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson to talk and discuss and ask big questions. It was a period of time that became known as “the flowering of enlightenment” in the United States and the people involved were huge contributors of their time and since: Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Alcott family (remember Little Women?!), Henry David Thoreau, to name a few. Essentially, they were a group of people who exercised a practice of intentional thinking, thinking beyond circumstances and asking big questions. Their conversations became known as the Concord Conversations.

Just last weekend, a number of amazing men and women joined me in our version of concord conversations. At the Vision Workshop, we came together and practiced intentional thinking, choosing to design a life we love and not be dictated to by circumstances. We asked big questions, perhaps the most important being ‘What would I love?’ We explored and, for many, exercised the power of Decision, being intentional about the choices we make that can take us in the direction of the results we’d most love to experience. And we learned that we have to live our decisions, as Thoreau said “What I began by reading, I must finish by action.” Nothing changes until we are in action.

From the feedback on the day, everyone present was so excited to be having this kind of conversation! It’s not so typical! In life, we mostly have people who will join us in our misery and agree with us about how hard things are. As one participant at a previous Vision workshop said, “this kind of thinking is a revelation to me”.

It is a qualitatively different experience to be with people who are future focused, who are not tied to their conditions and circumstances, who are willing to design and decide for a live they’d love. Yes, we all have conditions and circumstances in our lives, many of them unpreferred, but we are not bound by them and we can change them.

So I wanted to share some ideas today about how you can continue or commence your version of concord conversations, conversations that count and make a difference in your life.

One of the best ways you can do that is to join a mastermind group or coaching community. If you are unaware of how my coaching groups work, I encourage you to schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session and you and I will have a conversation that counts! We’ll explore what’s going on in your life currently, distill the life signals you are receiving and design the life you would love. And if we both feel we’re a good fit for each other, I’ll share with you the details of my coaching programmes and how the weekly coming together for a conversation that counts can support you in changing your results with greater ease and success than you’ve ever before experienced.

If you would love to be regularly exposed to new thinking and perspectives and the tools and strategies to apply them in your life; if you’d love structures of accountability and people who celebrate your progress and support you during setbacks; if you’d love to have a community of partners in believing who cheerlead you on and engage you in conversations that count, this is the best recommendation I can give you.

Whether you are in a coaching mastermind group or not, here are some additional ways you can create opportunities for conversations that count, that cause you to think more intentionally and act more deliberately and create results you love:

1. Talk with the people who lift you up. We all have people in our lives whom we feel inspired by, who lift us up and build our confidence and we all have people in our lives who weigh us down. This is not about getting into judgment but about being aware of how you feel after being around the people you regularly hang out with. Take the time to actively seek out and engage with the people who build you up. Some of these may already be friends and family but you can also expand your circle through e.g. networks like Network Ireland and my local branch Network Cork. For the men amongst us, you could explore professional networks or your local Chamber of Commerce, both of which are open to men and women alike.

2. Read a poem together with a friend or partner every day and explore and discuss what it means

3. Share a book from the original Concord Conversations contributors or any writer who inspires you and explore it with a community of people who are also interested in intentional thinking and expanding their awareness. Essentially this is a book club of sorts but it is one where expanding your perspectives is at the heart of the activity. Tamsin Omond talks about the power of book clubs in her book: Do/Earth/Healing strategies for humankind. Follow these steps and you’re on your way: “The most important step I took when creating {a book club] was to decide what it was I wanted to learn about and then to find the people who wanted to learn about that thing with me. It began because a friend and I decided we needed a better understanding of social theory. We Googled for a reading list, chose one, posted on social media that we were starting a book club and anyone was welcome, and then created a WhatApp group for the people who were interested. Then we began.”

4. Flip a challenging scenario. Whether with family members or team members or a group of friends get curious and ask “how can we flip this over and see it very differently?” You could write out the challenge and put it on the table. Then walk around the table, viewing the challenge from different positions and see what it opens up in your thinking.

5. Ask What would I/you do if I won the lottery? What then?

If you find it challenging to start to look beyond your circumstances and explore how life could be different for you, this is a great question to start with. For most of us who haven’t previously engaged in dream building and visioning for a future we’d love, we usually don’t really think winning the lottery is actually going to happen for us. As a result, when faced with this question we get playful and actually start to entertain expansive ideas and options. And of course, as soon as you do that, you’re on your way.

You’ve mostly likely heard me say before that the starting point of all successful achievement is having a vision and knowing where you want to get to. It is only fair to acknowledge that there is a pre-requirement that supports such visioning and that is a shift in thinking about what’s possible. Having conversations that count creates that kind of shift. I encourage you to pick one of the options above and start one of those conversations now!

If you are reading this today and feel that you have no one in your life to have that kind of conversation with, let me be the first. It’d be my honour and privilege to support you to create a vision for a life that you’d love. Book your complimentary strategy session here today and let’s have a conversation that counts.