If you’re a fan and regular reader of Mark Nepo’s inspiring daily reader, The Book of Awakening, you may have read his October 26th entry on “The Effort to Listen.” It was, like many of his entries, perfectly timed and filled with powerful messages I needed to hear. A few highlights:
- “We all suffer, at times, from the effort…to fix or advise rather than to listen [which is] the first duty of love…
- “When I have truly listened in my life…it is receiving [the other person’s] simple truths that has made me a better man…
- ‘To truly listen is to risk being changed forever.”
The wise truths found in Nepo’s writing touched me both as an “ahhh” and as an “ouch.” To put it simply, being patient enough to listen (rather than to jump in and talk) isn’t always easy. But it can often be a very powerful experience. I have found this to be true, both in my everyday conversations and in the work I do as a consultant, presenter, and workshop facilitator. When I’ve taken time to listen, even when I’m certain that what the other person is saying won’t be important or will drag on and have no point, I am often surprised. And, I confess, I have made miscalculations here. As a result, I (and others present) probably lost out on some precious stories or priceless bits of wisdom.
The bottom line, when everyone who wishes to be heard has the chance to be heard, amazing things can happen. And haven’t you noticed that the best listeners also happen to be some of the most charming, interesting, and wise people you know. Coincidence? (Perhaps that’s why we love our pets so much: they are such good listeners!)
My challenge to you (and to me) today is to take a little extra time to listen to what others have to say. Better yet, let’s launch at least one friendly conversation. Offer a greeting and ask a question that might unearth something you need to hear, allow a story to be told, or reveal a profound thought that needs to be expressed. Maybe we can even be bold enough to say the three words that people today so rarely hear: “Tell me more…”
I can’t wait to hear what happens and how it impacts you and your day.
What are you up to this weekend? [Insert time for me to listen / read your response here.] I’ll be facilitating a workshop for a group of hand-picked association leaders and leaders-to-be. We’ll be covering several topics related to being a better, more “true,” and more meaningfully-connected person, professional, and leader. I can’t wait! I’d love the opportunity to put together an impactful presentation, program, or workshop for your and your team in 2020. Let’s talk soon and dream something up that will be a perfect fit for your organization or event.