Most of us are supervising something or other much of the time. To “supervise” means to “oversee” something, and most of us oversee about a million things every day, like our credit card balances, household and office chores, and email in-boxes.
Supervising is a way of paying attention to three things at once. We frequently give our attention to:
- Some kind of goal or concern, like making sure we can make a deadline, that our clothes fit properly, or whether the dog has fleas.
- Other people around us or associated with the matter, whether they are nearby – in our home or workplace – or if they are remote, reachable by phone or email. Are they competent? Do they look busy? Are they in a good mood, or still crabby from what happened yesterday?
- The environment we’re in – Are phones ringing and people talking? Do we have access to wi-fi? How long will it take to get someplace during rush hour? And what is it that smells so bad?
We’re on some level of alert most of our waking hours. But none of that mental activity is visible. All we can reliably see or hear is communication.
I watched this mother duck supervising her babies last weekend. She may have been thinking, planning, or worrying, but all I could see was the way she let those babies know they needed to stick close to her. She also let several much larger Canada geese know to keep their distance. And she clearly let me know that if I came any closer with my camera she would take those babies off to the other side of the pond.
Too often we live inside our heads, listening to our million thoughts and feelings instead of putting our attention on whatever communication might connect us to our goals, to other people, and to our environment. So here’s a couple of communication tips for reaching whatever goals you have at the moment:
- Ask for what you want. Find someone who can help you resolve a problem or take a step forward, and ask for what you want.
- Clean up things with people who matter to you. Say what’s happening with you, ask what’s happening with them, and be generous in your listening and your speaking.
- Talk with someone about trying something new and different, or taking some project or activity in a new direction. Add some zest to your life by inviting someone to step outside your boundaries with you.
FYI, Mrs. Duck Supervisor sends you her best regards. And, I’m sure, she advises you to adopt her family management practices too.