Your Longhouse

In Kingdom of the Blind, author Louise Penny has her lead character observe:

“…that our lives are like an aboriginal longhouse. Just one huge room. …if we thought we could compartmentalize things, we were deluding ourselves. Everyone we meet, every word we speak, every action taken or not taken lives in our longhouse. With us. Always. Never to be expelled or locked away.”

Accepting some truth in this creative observation, one might consider how to apply the idea: 

  • You led a successful, difficult development conversation with a team member: you had a clear focus on both relationship and results.  It’s in your longhouse.  You can repeat the success.
  • You enjoyed that training program, practicing targeted interviewing skills until you felt confident and competent.  It’s in your longhouse.  You can repeat it and select your next team members.
  • You took a deep breath, focused on relationship and successfully talked with a friend, spouse or a child about a tough topic.  It’s in your longhouse, and you can repeat that success.

Faced with having a difficult conversation in your immediate future, perhaps a deep breath and a moment to recall how you’ve succeeded in the past will benefit both you and your colleague, friend or family member.