Really successful, women—those who enjoy high performance and experience great peace and joy in their lives—have learned the skill of listening.
They learn how to recognize and manage their automatic reactions to conversations, and then they learn how to replace those automatic reactions with new reactions—reactions that serve them and the people in their lives.
Most of us have automatic thoughts when someone starts talking, thoughts like:
“Oh, here we go again …”
“See? I knew they didn’t get it.”
“Yeah, yeah … I’ve heard this before. Geez, is he ever going to stop talking?”
And I get it. I think we all get it—because that kind of thing just sort of snaps into focus the second we hear or experience something that feels familiar.
If you were to look up “What is listening?” on Google later today, you’d find answers like:
“Listening is an active, purposeful process of making sense of what we hear.”
“A good listener doesn’t talk when others are speaking. They let others know they’re listening through facial expressions and verbal sounds like ‘Mmm-hmm.’”
Or my least favorite, “A good listener can repeat what other people say word-for-word.”
Right … like reciting something means you understood it. We all know that’s not true.
And sitting there silently nodding certainly doesn’t mean someone is listening.
My point? Listening is a skill, something we can actually learn. It’s not an ability everyone is born with.
I’m sure you have been on both sides of that fact too—either feeling like someone didn’t listen at all when you were sharing something, or tuning out when someone else was speaking.
Or perhaps you’ve felt like someone was listening to you so they could find flaws in what you’re sharing … as if they were waiting for you to finish talking just so they can tell you how you’re wrong. That might make you an excellent debater, sure, but it doesn’t make you a good listener.
You may have heard this before, but I love it, so I’ll share with you again now:
There’s a big difference between listening and waiting for your turn to talk.
You can feel that, right? So cool.
But at the end of the day, you might be asking, “What the heck is in this for me?”
And to that I’ll answer:
Learning the skill of listening can help you make more money.
It can help you grow your relationships. It can make you an incredible negotiator. And if that’s not enough, it makes you an awesome human being. (And right now, we could use as many awesome human beings as we can get.)
So, in this episode, I’ll walk you through what great listeners do, according to The Harvard Business Review studies.
We’ll also talk about how you can stop your automatic thoughts in the moment so you can listen effectively to those you love. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can use this skill of listening to become the most powerful version of yourself.
Pop in those earphones, and we’ll get to work!
Don’t miss last week’s Episode 47: How Small Wonders Can Change Your Life