Short story: I’m covering my ears like a kid

This afternoon I was working on a computer in the library. In the background there, were some kids playing with the furniture. They brought a smile to my face and they didn’t seem to disturb my focus so much.

But then, a woman came sitting next to me. A woman on the phone. She had plugged her USB-phone-charger into the computer next to me and was talking to – what seemed to be – a friend. She wasn’t using the computer, because she was focusing on her conversation.

I noticed that from this state of deep focus and flow, I started to feel a tension in my whole being when I heard her talking. There is something about only hearing one side of a conversation, that makes it hard to connect with someone. And actually, I hadn’t asked to connect with her or her conversation, I came here to focus on my work.

So at first, I tried to focus harder on my work.

Then I put my headphones in.

Then I put the volume of the music on my headphones to the max.

Only then I started checking in with myself.

What was I thinking?

“Shut the f*ck up! I’m working here!”

I felt my hands wanting to cover my ears.

What I needed was focus.

I already felt more peaceful. But she was still talking and I wasn’t able to focus.

So I connected to what she might be needing.

She needed to charge her phone.

By just connecting to that – pretty universal – need I completely relaxed. I thought:

“Of course, she sitting here at the only available computer; because she needs to charge her phone. Otherwise, she would’ve sat somewhere else.”

Or maybe she really liked me, but I doubt that. No, I think it was sitting next to me to charge her phone via the computer.

So instantly I grabbed my phone power adapter, the one that charges faster than a computer. I started walking around to see if I could find a place where she could talk with more comfort than next to me.

But as I was walking around I thought:

“No, I need to connect with her, I need her help to find something that works for both of us.”

So I walked around her, came down to a squat position so we were at eye-level and said:

“Excuse me, I would like to help you…”

She said to her friend:

Hold on one moment.

I continued:

I would like to help you have a relaxed conversation and charge your phone…

She smiled and her eyes lit up.

“…and I need some help finding a way that I can also focus.”

I showed my power adapter and she said:

“Oh, how sweet, yeah let me go find another place, thank you so much for helping me.”

I smiled, she smiled, we connected.

And we both got our focus back 🙂

What I really like about this situation is that I started with the sentence: I would like to help you get what you want. I think I’m gonna use them more often.

What about you, what do you take away from this story?

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