When we meet in person, I may not look in your eyes
When I was seven, I passed out. Understandably my parents and doctors were concerned so they ran a battery of tests. Eventually I was diagnosed with ADHD because I didn’t make eye contact with the doctor.
Luckily my parents and teachers made sure I got the help I needed to do well in school and business.
A leader I respect recently gave me the feedback that I don’t always look in someone’s eyes. It was not the first time I’ve heard that. I’ve heard it from my parents, teachers, friends and colleagues. I just haven’t heard it in a while and I haven’t focused on it. I’m grateful for the reminder because I hate the idea of putting people off.
If we meet and I don’t look you in the eyes. If I seem to be looking to the side of you or above you, I’m sorry. It is by no means my intention. I think I’m looking right at you. I can’t tell when my eyes stray off into another direction.
I have to actively focus making eye contact for it to work and that’s hard for me to do when I’m mentally tired or in a busy environment.
It’s something I’m working on. I’m starting by telling people so they don’t take offense. I’m also going to think more about managing the environment and avoiding distractions. If I start to stray away from your eyes, just give me a little sign and I’ll fix it.
Hopefully, I will have the same courage to give tough feedback so that people I work with can grow their careers.
Image: A display at a store in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida