There are times when I seem to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t understand why these things continue to happen to me. Or what is getting in the way of my success. I feel out of sync with who I think I am – or who I am trying to become.
Does that ever happen to you?
I have a wonderful little ‘pity-party’ – – but that doesn’t seem to help. At least not for very long! So, I mope around for a bit and then finally it hits me: I’m encased with ‘stuff’ that is no longer serving me. The weight of the world that I am feeling is really ideas, beliefs, people or practices from my previous life experiences which are no longer relevant!
Why do we hang on to all that has-been? You know what I mean – – when we do what we’ve always done, the saying goes, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten!
Is it possible for me to release this stuff that is no longer serving my needs, wants and desires? What if I did that? How would that be?
Let’s look at a few things we can let go!
That stack of business cards from networking events … for people I will likely never call, our businesses do not mesh.
The books and magazines on my shelf I will never read.
The clothes in my closet that no longer fit and are out of style. The shoes that are scuffed and worn.
The fear of picking up the phone to make a coffee date with someone I’d like to get to know or who may be a business connection – possibly a new client!
The trinkets that I continually need to dust around – and can’t even remember where they came from or why they were once important!
Here is what I am willing to let go: the guilt I feel – the fear of change – the excuses – the justification – the misplaced rational.
And for what, then, have I room in my life? Space! I have opened a place to fill with the freedom and opportunity to assert my personal identity and fulfill my personal needs!
Once I engage the courage to let go – I create the possibilities of wonderment of what is yet to come!
What is it that you see would open that space for you? What are you willing to let go? Start small – with things you see in front of you and then experience the freedom and openness of where you are.
Next, choose something a bit larger to let go. Notice the breathing room you create in your life! The weight is shifted and all is well! Celebrate each letting go.
Shift the focus of your attention to the open freedom and anticipation of better things to come!
This quote reminds me of one of my favorite authors – Stephen Covey. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this is Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
It also brings to mind a training class I took several years ago in which the visual was a stick-figure who was shouting through a megaphone. And the message was directed to another stick-figure who was listening through many filters. The third picture showed the two figures with their backs to one another and the emotions of confusion, frustration, discouragement and borderline anger.
Have you ever seen two stick-figures angry with each other? Quite a sight, I’m telling you!
What about two individuals in confusion, frustration, discouragement and near anger? I think we have all had that experience!
Communication. Why is it that when we see or hear that word, we immediately go to the vocal area of communication? It only takes a few more seconds for communication to move into ‘evaluation and response’ mode. This, dear friends, is where the communication path becomes challenging. We are so quick to formulate a response; we have likely not even heard what is being said!
What is getting in the way of the art of listening?
For most of us, when we speak we want to be heard and we want our message understood. Right? And, when we are not speaking – we are expected to be listening. Seems simple enough; however, we are listening with our filters. We are listening from our own personal perspective. These are the experiences, what has influenced our lives and our understanding of how life operates. It is our frame of reference and it is what we ‘know’. And then, our minds (liking to be busy) begin to formulate a response based on our filters.
The problem is: have you really heard the message? Did you hear the ‘underlying’ message, the meaning, the intention, the unsaid, and the conversation from the speaker’s point of view? IF you were formulating your response, you likely missed the message!!
How does one intentionally communicate – for genuine understanding? What is really involved in: Seek first to understand?
Intentional listening involves these five steps:
1. Be Present; give the speaker your undivided attention
2. Be Open; consider different perspectives and ideas
3. Be Observant; perceive emotions behind the words and respond to the emotion as well as the words
4. Be Quiet; silence allows breathing space and calm and time for reflection
5. Be Certain; restate your understanding and ask clarifying questions.
It really is about how you are intending to BE as a communicator!
Communicate in the capacity of understanding what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, with attention and the willingness to fully engage in the exchange, to listen actively, absorb the point(s) and to seek understanding.
One final thought from Ralph G. Nichols: “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”