3 Things That Prevent Us From Having Great Conversations

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of our core conversation on “Great Connections Lead to Great Ideas.” Yesterday, Todd Kashdan encouraged us to be open to role reversals, and today, Jennifer Louden shows three things that get in the way of us having those great conversations that would otherwise naturally occur.


Jennifer LoudenJen muses on the things that get in the way of allowing great conversations to create great ideas – and how to sidestep those issues to allow the great ideas to flow! For example…

* We think we have to compete to have great ideas.
* We feel we’re not worthy of the great ideas – or we’re too smart for them.
* We need a way to capture the ideas that come from these conversations.

And what if you start to get overwhelmed by all the great ideas? Jen’s got a great piece of advice for what to do to preserve all those juicy ideas without letting them overrun your life.

Note: If you’re reading this via email or a feed reader, you’ll need to click through to the post to see the video.

More about Jen: Jen Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of five more books on well-being and personal wisdom that have inspired more than a million women in 9 languages. Jen is also the creator, along with Michele Lisenbury Christensen, of Teach Now.

Jen has been a regular columnist for Body & Soul magazine, a radio show host on Martha Stewart’s network, and a spokeswoman for companies like Real Networks and SC Johnson, and sat on Oprah’s couch. She loves creative people who want to change the world to get to it, and that includes herself. She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all. Visit Jen at JenniferLouden.com.

We’ll be continuing this conversation next week when Les McKeown offers the introvert’s guide to making great connections. Have a great weekend!

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  1. says


    Thanks for your contribution here and to Charlie for featuring your work.

    Throughout human history, great people have stood to benefit from great conversations. Albert Einsten credited Sir Isaac Newton for stimulating his imagination; Mahatma Gandhi learned a lot from Leo Tolstoy; and Sigmund Freud from the European intellectuals.

    What shaped their work was the ability to listen with empathy. Invariably, they tried to keep an open mind. They wanted to ask questions; they wanted to probe for further information and they wanted to use rational thought for analysis. In order to see the light, you have leave your preconceived notions out of the realm of dialogue.

    Great conversations can also occur best around round tables. When the table is round, there are no inferiors or superiors; no bosses and no subordinates. The round table is a metaphor for our world, which is also quite spherical. There is symbolism here: everybody is welcome to share his or her opinions; everybody will be heard; civility means that you will be allowed to finish your sentences and you will be listened to with empathy. Initially, your ideas will not be judged, but later your ideas will be discussed in a balanced and mature way.

    Participants feel more comfortable in a round-table conference because they do not feel threatened. In fact, it makes them feel at home to share their views/perspectives. It is like a fellowship, where everybody feels trusted and supported. That can lead to mutual learning and exhange. That’s why round-table conversations are so popular. Cheerio.

  2. says

    This was so fantastic and adorable and delightful! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a video of yours, Jen, and I think now maybe I’ll start seeking them out. How much FUN!

    I love your insights here, too. “That’s how it starts…” This process is so dear to me, the way projects grow and connect and thrive. What do we know, who do we know, what resources do we have, which are the best pieces to use… and you’ve suggested wonderful ways to capture & feed them, thank you for that!

  3. Gwyn Michael says

    It helps Jen! I have been capturing ideas in notebooks for years. I have not been having enough great conversations, or even ordinary ones! I need a brain trust, master mind, whatever group and you inspire me to make that happen. I love what you say about not knowing and doing the work anyway. That is where I am.

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