Curiosity to Castles (Part 1 of 3)

Many of my clients come to me feeling stuck in a corporate rut.  One of the first things they ask me is HOW to become even more successful at work, better understood, lead more collaboratively, and ultimately, become the employee every manager wants to promote!   In creating a system to help them move forward (and upward!) I came up with The Three C’s.

In this 3-part Blog series, I will give some juicy insight on just how Curiosity, Connections, and Circle of Influence have a dramatic impact on professional growth.  With these 3 C’s, my clients have experienced increased work satisfaction and a significant blossoming of influential relationships.

First, I would like to share how I got interested in combining the 3 C’s to build my own influential relationships.  I am from Montreal, Canada.  I’ve moved a dozen times in the last 25 years.  Around move six I thought there had to be an easier way to get reconnected in a new work situation.  Of course when we moved to the US the extensive network that I had developed between my family circle, work and University connections in Canada were not as available to me.

This made me aware that in order to connectin business I had to get into action!  I got curious about different business networking meetings and just started attending.  Although I was exercising Curiosity, having fun and success connecting, I wasn’t being strategic enough in making the connections I needed.  I realized that to grow my circle of influence, I had to get very clear on who I needed to have in this circle and how to take practical, specific steps to create it.

When I thought about curiosity on a personal level, I remembered summer vacations as a kid- our annual trip from Montreal to Old Orchard Beach, tent trailer in tow.  Mom and Dad would pack us up and point the car south to meet up with all our cousins and friends.  For me this meant one thing: the possibility to build extraordinary, complex sandcastles every day!


My sandcastle dream was insatiable and I learned much about negotiation at the tender age of 5 as I recruited siblings and cousins to help me build.  Soliciting extra hands to work with me was the key to my dreams!  Unknowingly, I was learning the fundamentals of Negotiations 101: I used my curiosity to increase the satisfaction level of the sandcastle support team.

Since then in my study of negotiations, I’ve learned that increasing other’s satisfaction level means fundamentally making people feel good.  Others avoid things that feel too risky, they want to learn, meet their needs without compromising values, be listened to, and be treated nicely. This happened at the beach.

I realized curiosity matters.  When I’m curious and ask really neat questions, from sandcastles to helping leaders build effective strategies, others get excited and engaged.  They not only answer my questions but ask me questions too.  Together we are able to create bigger, better sandcastles!

We all had this curiosity skill in childhood and it sparked our first massive learning curve, then one day we heard it…“Curiosity killed the cat.”   We perhaps stopped being quite as curious in situations and worried about what others thought of us.

Curiosity is a “use it or lose it” muscle.  It needs development or we miss the moments of excitement and discovery that it brings.

And remember the satisfaction level?  I invite you to revive your natural sense of curiosity from your favorite childhood activity to find out more.  Ask questions of others – they will enjoy the experience (so will you!) and it will start flexing their curiosity muscle as well.  Great sandcastles will result for both of you.

How do you know when your curiosity engages others?  The best indicator is body language!  Ernest Hemingway said, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never really listen.”   Really listen.  Look for smiles, body language of engagement, people connecting and interacting with you.  Then you will know your curiosity is heading you in the right direction.

Coming next: Connections.  Until then, take action, stretch, and make a leap of faith in powering up your curiosity.