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What I talk about when I’m talking about HtWW(A)A

By June 20, 2023December 15th, 2023No Comments

In the flow at the House of Beautiful Business

What I’m talking about when I’m talking about HtWW(A)A

One of the reasons Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I’m Talking About Running is considered a classic is its brilliant title. It promises vulnerability, surprise, layers, depth. About running but also not about running.

When I talk about How to Work with (Almost) Anyone – and, as you’ve noticed, I’ve been doing that a fair bit recently 🕺– I’m talking about more than a book, or book sales, or fabulous-one-week-left-bonuses, or even the Improve 10 Million Working Relationships mission that fuels my work.

What I’m really talking about is love.

In the end, the love you take / Is equal to the love you make.

Esther Perel nails it. Again.

When I think about the relationship I hope to have with the people I work with – whether as part of a team, or coaching them – I aspire to “fierce love”.

“Love” because I want to see them fully for who they are now and who they are becoming, and be a champion for that.

“Fierce” because I don’t want my own timidity and lack of courage to get in the way of that. I want to fiercely celebrate, challenge, embrace, encourage, and provoke them.

On a tactical level HtWW(A)A is about the ideas of safe, vital, and repairable; and the Keystone Conversation and its five questions; and the fifteen self-awareness exercises.

But really, it’s about being present and seeing the other person, and being seen in return.

It’s about what Martin Buber calls I-Thou relationships: “mutuality, directness, presentness, intensity and ineffability … a bold leap into the experience of the other while simultaneously being transparent, present and accessible.”

It’s about giving and taking love.

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.