The most important and challenging skill in coaching and yet the least explored is silence. What is silence? According to the Oxford Dictionary, silence is defined as ‘the complete absence of sound’.
A 2011 World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” How many moments each day do you spend in total silence? The answer is probably very few.
A 2006 study published in the journal Heart found two minutes of silence to be more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music, based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
Silence can be creative, gives rest, brings balance and focus. Silence can be restorative. Silence is an active presence.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How comfortable am I with silence?
- What is my relationship with silence?
- What does the silence mean to me?
- Whose silence it is?
- What has caused the silence?
- What is happening during the silence?
- What do I notice about myself when I am silent?
What if you decided to start with five minutes of silence per day? Maybe you could even scale it to two sessions of five minutes a day at some point?
Now think about it as a tool that you could use to make yourself more effective at your job and more understanding of others, and therefore more compassionate, wiser, and happier. Just think how the world could be different if we all spent more time listening. At the very least, it would be a whole lot quieter!
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