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Checked out

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to pay attention to when people are or aren’t receptive to communication.


There are certain times when people check out. They aren't present. Other things are occupying their mind. Or they've simply run out of bandwidth to pay attention. This phenomenon can be incredibly frustrating to encounter.


It could happen during a conversation for a variety of reasons. The usual signs include disengaged body language, looking at their phone, and only offering one word responses.


It also happens seasonally. The holidays are often a time when people check out. Same with the summer months.


Although, seasonal patterns don't apply to everyone - for some this is a great time to read a blog post from someone like me because there are less day-to-day distractions. BTW, thank you!


Whatever the reason, a wholehearted leader is perceptive to how receptive others are. Rather than fighting for people's attention, a leader observes and listens. When people are checked out, it's a great time to get curious and be compassionate.


Perhaps people's inner batteries are running low and they need to refuel. Or maybe there's a personal crisis that requires their time and attention. It could even be a timely opportunity that is utilizing their limited resources, like hosting a wedding or a holiday gathering.


Whatever the reason is, people might be checked out from your thing. But it usually means they're checked-in elsewhere. It's truly a matter of managing competing prioritize with the same limited resources everyone deals with - time, attention and energy.


Rather than taking it personal when other's are too checked out to be receptive, consider the likelihood that their attention span has nothing to do with you. And it has everything to do with the fact that we are all humans. Navigating life. Dealing with a complex inner world. Doing our best.


Instead of getting frustrated that others are checked out, you could choose to get empathetic.

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