People Skills for Geeks

So you’ve landed a career that requires skills – serious skills.  You busted your butt in school getting yourself a degree, and now, a well-paying job working hard at something you enjoy.   But something doesn’t feel quite right.  You do your very best coming up with your smartest solutions, but it doesn’t seem like other people notice.  You feel misunderstood and under appreciated.  You feel frustrated that you can’t seem to get others to agree with your thoughtful and intelligent views.  You feel irritated and perhaps secretly angry that other people wield more influence even when you’re sure you’ve got the better answers.  Does this sound familiar?

Believe me, I have been there too.  I saw myself as intelligent, but misunderstood.  I thought the most clearly argued logic should convince other people that I was right – but that is not what would happen.  I felt frustrated, irritated, and under appreciated in the workplace.  And my personal life was not so different.  I thought the best way to be interesting was to have the most knowledge to share with other people – and yet I would notice people’s eyes glaze over as they lost interest the more I continued.  In my intimate relationships, I behaved as though the best I had to offer was my ability to tackle and solve problems – only again to experience the disappointment of feeling  unappreciated.

How natural it felt to form connections with other geeks.  I felt understood and my intelligence appreciated!  We could carry on fascinating discussions full of philosophy, science, technical topics, and obscure references.  And still, there seemed to be a little something missing.  Whenever conversations would drift into more personal or emotional areas, it just felt a little uncomfortable, even awkward at times.  So we would keep to the kinds of discussions that felt comfortable – approaching personal topics in only abstract and indirect ways.  And that geek pride fueling my enthusiasm would deflate in low moments when I noticed how my tight association made it difficult to relate to non-geeks.

Of course, there were the geeks who were so much more geeky than me that they were difficult to work with.  They seemed distant, awkward, arrogant, and irritating  despite our similarities.  Working with them would be a mixed experience because their lack of personal skill would outweigh their technical brilliance.  And then there is the type who gets promoted into management due to their technical excellence, but ends up making terrible managers because they don’t have the personal skills.

If you feel like you’ve been reading pages out of your own life story, then read on.What if I told you that I have found some simple skills and new ways of thinking that can help you experience the respect, satisfaction, and influence you have been wanting in your professional and personal relationships? The key connection I realized was that relationships are not a rational or technical matter.  More significantly, I recognized that even though I may understand intellectually that relationships were not a rational or technical matter, I was still acting like they were.  Years of academic achievement and fascination with the technical and intellectual had trained my mind to look for answers that could be logically and rationally proven.  It took me years to notice that using this approach to create understanding, persuade others, resolve conflict, or relate to people DIDN’T WORK!

Eventually I could see how all the hours spent cultivating the logical, rational part of my mind was actually to the detriment of the emotional and relational part.  There wasn’t something wrong with me, I had just developed in an imbalanced way!  So I set about learning as much as I could about communication, relationships, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, influence, persuasion, and psychology.  It is easy for me now to see how “being right” or winning an argument created distance between myself and others.  It communicated to others that I cared more about achieving some kind of correctness than in understanding them or connecting with them.  I can see so clearly now how others want to be respected and understood before they are willing to be persuaded.  People want to feel cared about regardless of any issue at hand.  The seeming paradox is that letting go of attachment to being right and just genuinely connecting with others actually makes it more likely that they will listen!

Now, instead of feeling frustrated and irritated with other people, I feel curious and interested in them.  Rather than feeling misunderstood or under appreciated, I regularly enjoy respect, understanding, and appreciation with all kinds of people.  Rather than blaming relational difficulties on others, I am taking responsibility for creating mutually enjoyable connections with them.  Now all that motivation I felt behind making such eminently rational but ultimately unpersuasive arguments is directed towards much more satisfying outcomes.

If you have read this far, you are probably curious how you can learn more.  The most powerful opportunity I have to offer you is in a coaching relationship.  We will focus specifically on developing the skills and knowledge enabling you to create more rich and satisfying connections with others.  You will experience the respect, understanding, and trust that will make you more effective and influential in all your relationships. People will listen to you and find you persuasive.  They will turn to you for your advice and your opinions.  You will feel more confident and cool when difficult situations come up, such as conflict.  You will naturally move into leadership roles.  To top it all off, you will relate in fun, playful, and intimate ways with a wider social circle – and you’ll do it with more confidence and ease!

My enthusiasm for personal development has prompted me to study and practice a wide variety of skills specifically in these areas.  And I deeply value honesty, integrity, and authenticity because I recognize that outer success is meaningless if it requires sacrificing being true to one’s self – and ultimately ones happiness.  You will find coaching with me to be supportive and challenging.  You will clarify your connection with what is most important to you and experience genuine fulfillment and success.

If you are interested in what I have to offer, please sign-up on my email form now and I will contact you soon!

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One Comment

  1. Sarah Severson says:

    Great job Michael! I wish you immense success with your coaching!

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