Ever spent time with someone and there were so many things you wanted to talk about? Sometimes what you want to discuss isn't crazy vital or anything: they're just nice things to ask about or talk about.
Other things, though, are important. These are the conversations that are often times most important...
...yet they can happen so infrequently.
Well, here's a way to make them more frequent: bring a list.
I do this mostly with my friend/boss Eric Bryant (whose funny, insightful and spiritually nourishing blog can be found here). He's super busy but still makes time for me and so I try to honor that time by-- you guessed it-- bringing a list.
The list keeps me focused. The list keeps me asking the questions I REALLY want to ask or may be afraid to ask. It's paper clarity and paper courage and (occasionally) paper humility. It also shows that I thought about our meeting ahead of time.
And it feels really good when people I serve with bring a list as well.
I was hanging out with Ryan Gilmore-- one of my best friends and one of Mosaic's great treasures-- the other day downtown. We took the Metro to eat at this market he recommended.
Now, Ryan and I can hang and talk about anything. But this particular time Ryan jumped right in and started asking me great questions about some leadership issues he was facing. Because Ryan thought about it ahead of time we both got to move forward with who we were and how we were impacting the world.
Compare that with the occasional time when I get an email or phone call or text from people saying they want to meet with me. We show up at the Starbucks or Pete's or whatever and then...there's a long lull. Often times it turns into me asking them 20 questions for the next hour until our time is up. We hug and I leave wondering why in the heck we got together.
This isn't about being busy. This about being wise. It's not about time management but about leaning into important conversations instead of avoiding, ignoring, or (most likely) simply forgetting that face time can be the most powerful time in your week.
Bring a list. And watch your work relationships, friendships, and personal development go places you didn't know lists could take you.
Posted on Tue, December 22, 2009