I recently attended an event where the topic of discussion was around stress and how everyone seems to be preoccupied with coping with the day to day challenges in life.

There were a number of stories shared about friends and or colleagues who seemed to be acting out of character.  Whether they were folks we knew well or simply passing acquaintances. People just seemed to need a little more space than usual.

This had me thinking, not about the reasons why folks may be acting out of character, but, what do we do about it? 

What skills do we need to navigate and support each other?

How do we be respectful of someone else’s opinion while being true to our own values and beliefs?  

How do we create an atmosphere that is non judgemental? 

As an entrepreneurial coach, one of the tools that I use to start a new conversation is Emotional Intelligence.  This individual report reviews the 15 soft skills that drives our behaviour and creates a roadmap to how we function in our personal and professional life. 

There are three skills from the report that I believe contribute to our ability to be supportive and non-judgemental:

1) Empathy
Empathy ensures that we have an awareness and understanding of the people around us.  It is one of the leadership skills that contributes to our ability to connect with friends and colleagues using sensitivity and understanding. It is often linked with compassion. 

2) Impulse Control
Impulse control is like taking a deep breath before we react to a situation or provide feedback.  This skill allows us to reflect not only on the current circumstances but various solutions that are available in any given situation.

3) Self Awareness 
A great benchmark to understanding both our strengths and weaknesses so that we may apply our skills and create solutions that are both fair and equitable.

How do we be respectful of someone else’s opinion while being true to our own values and beliefs?  

Consider creating healthy boundaries…

I think this is an effective tool when we are looking for ways to navigate change while maintaining our integrity and authenticity. When we create healthy boundaries we are able to take a step back and reconsider the options available before we take action.  They provide an opportunity to establish a personal and professional safe zone that allows us to be most effective when we face trials and tribulations.

It creates an opportunity to be non judgmental. 

Healthy boundaries give us permission to take a position without judgement.  They allow people to handle themselves positively by creating an atmosphere of mutual respect.  It gives us a point of reference so that when we feel uncomfortable we have a game plan that supports our next move.

We all know that life is hectic. We are all juggling lots of issues in a day that may contribute to being preoccupied or feeling overwhelmed. When we develop healthy boundaries it supports our neutral zone and creates an environment of support.

I often use this visual when describing the concept.  It relates to gardening.  We all plant seeds that eventually grow and flower contributing to a visual display of colour in our gardens.  No two flowers are exactly the same and we celebrate their individuality. We don’t have any control over the height or width of each plant but we do take a proactive approach to the colour and type.  When mature, it creates a visual display that in some way represents our own creativity, our authentic self.  We welcome slight imperfections in the garden because we reply on Mother Nature to do her part in contributing to our success.   

So true with each other…when we come from a place of no judgment and create our own healthy boundaries, we support each other and our varying opinions as part of starting a new conversation.

It takes practise and a lot of water but eventually it contributes to living a life with no judgement.

Trish Tonaj is a Master Coach Practitioner, using Emotional Intelligence as a tool to navigate change and transformation. She provides keynotes and workshops on Mentorship…breaking barriers and starting new conversations.