you want to know what the best part about listening is?
that you can actually hear what someone is saying. the way each sound comes out of their mouth. and the words they decide to share with you. you can hear what they need, who they are, and the way they see the world.
and when you are truly listening, you focus more on what’s being said- rather than what you intend to say back. to me, that kind of listening is the real kind. and if i’ve learned anything, it’s that that kind of listening requires focus and presence. how many times have you half listened to a conversation (with the obligatory nod, and ‘uh huh,’ ‘omg,’ ‘really?’) while paying full attention to the conversation you are having with a person that is not there? wherever you are, be there. that’s presence. the focus comes in when pay attention to what someone is saying why that is important, and how it makes them feel. it requires spending time with the people that are there in front us, sharing this moment. it requires stopping the automatic thinking and construction of responses.
i had one of the absolute best experiences at work today. and trust me, it wasn’t really because of anything i said. it’s because of what i finally heard. sometimes people dont’ have all the right words, nor the best way to communicate something. and sometimes people say things in the best way they know how to. but i believe if you can find out how to listen, you can find out how to help. and then you can make progress.
today was meaningful because i did less talking. i heard requests in the form of questions, and needs in the form of goals. i heard insight and determination, a desire to accomplish a life long goal. i heard someone want to learn more about who they are and why they are that way. and i listened to someone start to regain control over their life.
and that really made all the difference.
i wonder what it would mean to listen more than you talk.