Replace Judgment with Curiosity
Written by Suzanne Conroy, M.Ed., CTI, ICF
In my practice, I see people getting stuck in their one-way thinking about situations, other people, and themselves. These are the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck. And the more a person thinks about things in this linear way, the more one perpetuates it. This way of living is risky, as this narrow thinking will start shaping one’s identity and the way others see them. The person might pigeonhole themselves or be pigeonholed by others. This creates friction, disconnectedness and often inner critics. The work in leadership is to turn the flashlight back on yourself. You might want to judge yourself or others – but that judgment will not create a path forward. And there is always a way forward – even in the toughest of situations.
Replace all your judgment with curiosity and explore other ways to look at everything – yourself, people, and situations.
Curiosity is a desire to learn. With our curiosity engaged, we become interested in something or someone. We want to understand. Curiosity implores us to dig deeper and creates openings into a new way of thinking and being.
Start asking yourself questions. Inquiry invites us to learn more.
What story am I telling myself? What am I assuming about others? Do I think they’re difficult because I’m not sharing my ideas? Am I speaking up the way I want? Am I sharing my truth with them? Am I sharing my truth with myself? Working with curiosity and the power of questions creates an authenticity that otherwise might be skipped over or missed. Not every question will be the right one. Good ideas and clarity often can come out of a not-so-great question because they offer contrast.
Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am just passionately curious.” Leading with curiosity truly changes our inner and outer world. I urge you to add more curiosity to your leadership at work with your coworkers, clients and at home. Notice how it fuels your advancement and helps you guide and advance the people you lead. Curiosity creates connection, positive energy, confidence, and a new awareness of yourself and of others.
Curiosity is a path forward — always.
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