Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Remembering that we don't know

A few times recently, I’ve agonized over canceling or postponing a meeting only to find out that the other person was thinking of doing the same.

When I hear back that they also wouldn’t be able to make it, or that it would be better for them to reschedule, I sense a wave of relief that the feeling is mutual, while also noticing that the time and energy I spent trying to decide what to do was unnecessary. I could have just asked at the beginning.

We need to remember how much we don’t know. We don’t know if our car is going to break down next week, or if our dream client is going to call us today, or if there is going to be another pandemic in three months.

Most of all, we don’t know what is going on in another person’s life, their thoughts, and their feelings unless they tell us.

Conversation with an open mind and an open heart is the best way to create clarity between people. Asking questions with curiosity, and listening with compassion to hold a safe space helps us to learn about each other, and sometimes even to learn about ourselves.

But the step before the step is to keep reminding ourselves of what we don’t know, and to notice when we’re struggling with a decision by making guesses about another person, when we could just ask.

30 July 2022

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