Fear is self-created when we visualize future negative outcomes. Maybe you think your spouse or partner doesn’t care about what’s happening in your life, or your boss is only concerned about his job and looking good.

Is fear stopping you from taking action on important things in your life, in your job or career, or relationships? Maybe you fear something you don’t know how to do, but are afraid to ask anyone, and you don’t know who you could ask.

For the longest time, I didn’t have a daily or weekly conversation with my husband about how things were going for him, and he didn’t ask that of me. Only when obstacles occurred did we discuss things. At times during dinner, we would talk, but TV has been a major distraction. Often I would hear, “we’ll talk about it later.”

We overcame this much needed conversation by having a Heart Talk. When we realized it would be better to know how things were truly going for each other and seeing areas where we might be able to support each other, things started to change in our relationship.

On Saturday mornings, as soon as breakfast is done and before we dig into weekend chores, we get a heart talk going.  Sitting at the kitchen table, we give each other a safe space to talk and offer a deeper sense of listening to each other.

Heart Talk Setup

Here’s how you can set up a heart talk. You will ask this question of each other. Someone elects to talk first.

Ask, how was your week?

The first person talks freely while the other person listens only. Take about five minutes or longer. Focus on your successes and challenges.

What to Talk About

To keep the momentum going, it is important not to get bogged down in details. Although you want to include the challenges, which I will explain further on, spending too much time on stumbling blocks will derail you from focusing on successes and positive outcomes.

Some easy and simple suggestions to include in your heart talk are to start with what happened during the week, possibly an individual goal for exercise and how you were or not making progress, how you are feeling if you’ve had a health challenge, talk about your work, whether there are new projects and goals you may have set for yourself and team members together, and you may want to include people important to the elements of these summaries.

Remember, once you get in the practice of doing a heart talk, you will learn to summarize all of this and what’s most important.

Active Listening

The listener doesn’t interrupt, and doesn’t ask questions. The listener should not be distracted by anything, thus giving the person who is speaking your full attention.

Once you see how the heart talk is progressing, you may be anticipating what you want to talk about. To avoid straying from actively listening, before the heart talk make a list of what you want to talk about and then leave it aside until it is your turn.

After 5 minutes or longer, when the first person is done, the other person will have a turn to talk about the week. The first person who finished will ask, how was your week?

Offering Feedback

After both partners are finished, then offer each other feedback. First ask, would you like feedback?

When one person signals to the other to begin, first thank the person for sharing their successes and challenges. Always give praise before feedback.

Offer feedback where you can give specific suggestions. For example, when my spouse said he had difficulty getting to the gym to work out, I suggested carrying a gym bag in the car to work and changing his clothes after work.

If there are challenges the person needs additional feedback elsewhere, you may suggest, who may be able to help take the next step?

Results, Results, Results

My heart talk with my spouse has grown now giving us more understanding of how each other is feeling.

I am happier knowing that my spouse wants to know about the successes or challenges I’ve had in my week when we sit down for the heart talk. So this simple heart talk turned out to be a form of encouragement for each other and deeper awareness of how each other is doing and feeling.

Try a heart talk. You’ll even love the greater awareness of your own successes and challenges. You’ll overcome areas where you may have been stuck.

Before long, you’ll be feeling more at peace with yourself and your spouse or partner. You’ll open your hearts to each other through sharing, listening, and feedback.

Once you see the benefit of having a heart talk at home, you’ll want to have heart talks with your team. Through my professional and facilitated training programs, we create a powerful method to improve engagement and workplace experiences. Contact me at 561-414-6503, or ann@annmaugustine.com.