I’m All Ears
I have to admit the inspiration behind my kickoff blog is from a tried and true source: my dog. You see, my dog, Walter, is a “found dog.” He’s a mini Wild Boar Dachshund with two ears the size of those old, first-generation satellite dishes that could pick up Hungarian soccer and Indian parliament at 3AM. Needless backstory: he was found under a guardrail one day six years ago in my neighborhood.
I am fascinated by him though. He’s always listening (and watching the ground for dropped goodies) and listening and listening. Sometimes for survival, sometimes to understand or acknowledge a command. And, I’m convinced that he also listens because he’s curious. Being curious takes practice. At a recent holiday party, I committed myself to asking each person I came in contact with THREE curious questions. What was really interesting was not whether my questions were any good. Frankly, at times I cringed at the questions I asked. No; what I noticed was how very few questions were asked of me! Hey, maybe they weren’t generally interested in me, my life or my plans, or maybe I’m just a boring dude. Still I considered how lacking in listening we really are!
So…….I am resolute to listen even more for 2018. To really, really listen to whomever I’m connecting. This is important stuff yo! We deserve and demand to be listened to at any given moment. I want to be that agent for change to bring more listeners to the world this year. So, how do I/we make this happen? Here’s my plan. You are welcome to embrace it, or make changes to make it your own. All I ask is that your plan be truly about the one you are connecting with and that you leave your judgement on the sidelines.
- Tune In: When I connect to you, I am going to truly focus on you. Not in a creepy way, just closing out background noise and becoming one of those satellite dishes Walter displays with pride and prowess.
- Drop the ME: It’s human nature to think about and do things around ourselves. First law of survival: me first. We call this 1st-Level listening. As a result, we think about what the other person says in our terms, how it affects us. So, drop it. (this is also a term Walter hears when he’s once again picked up something on a walk)
- Engage intuition. Why? Well, we all have intuitive skills, some of us better than others. However, we may repress or refuse to listen to our intuitive voice for fear of being impolite. Others, as we know, have no governor on that at all (think mothers-in-law…). By engaging our intuition, to land the next question with complete curiosity, gives us the opportunity to continue connecting with our fellow conversationalist exploring new ideas and directions to co-create something.
- Listen to my heart. Neuroscience teaches us that the heart can be the first line of decision making in terms of whether a person or situation is one that we can trust or one that promotes some level of harm or conflict. Often the hardest trip we travel is the 18 inches from our head to our heart. I am going to continue to make this journey often.
- Listen to my body. Bodies talk. We all know about body language. And bodies listen too! My body tells me things about my health: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When things are going well, I “feel” physically better. As a frustrated endurance athlete, I know that I’m prone to less injury when I’ve got my “life game” going. And it’s not just the physical nature . When something connects to us adversely via another conduit, our bodies react. So, I will ask myself “Why does my back really hurt?”
That’s a lot to listen to — and for — right now. 2018 is going to be truly amazing for me (and you). I know it. I also know it will take work; more than just rolling up your sleeves and “doing stuff.” Because, frankly, we are do-ers and we’ll lean that way because it’s what we know and it allows us to avoid stretching ourselves and growing further. By committing to listen, my goal is to also be more in 2018. I am inviting you along on this journey with me. So, where is 2018 taking us? Go ahead, I’m listening.
Be big. Be cool. Be hippo.
Ready to get started?