In a moment of reflection, I found myself connecting the fundamentals of interpersonal communication skills to hiking.
Our group hikes a lot here in Cape Town (no surprises there, right?), I've always thought hiking is a great way to clear your head and connect with nature, so it often serves as a self-care tool for me personally.
More importantly, it is my best to see people in their natural environment. With this in mind, I realized that hiking serves several different purposes, both for individuals as well as for the context at the time as well.
Whether it's for:
time connecting with nature,
the opportunity to think through thoughts in peace,
time to disconnect from the chaos and rush of normal life,
a chance to share an experience with close friends or family,
bird watching (it happens!)...
Quite often it serves as a reminder of the power of nature to bring people together and create community and connectedness.
My recent a-ha moment | it was pointed out to me that I also love hiking as a time to connect with my friends or family. I find people are more present, sharing happens a little easier when we're moving and, quite often you can only talk to the person ahead or behind you, so it means it's an excellent time for listening. Actively listening.
As you can probably tell, quality time is my love language!
You can make a conscious decision to listen in a way that goes beyond the words and helps you understand the message being shared. You have time while you're navigating the path ahead to process the information and respond with something more meaningful.
In addition to talking, you can also observe body language (I was reminded that not everyone is a chatty hiker, but can walk away with a whole lot of info!).
So for me, the ability to transfer the skill of active listening to our everyday lives is a fundamental component of interpersonal communication.
That's how we build trust in our relationships; and that's how we build meaningful relationships.
What do you think of my a-ha moment?