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 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?