I got so much “food for thought” from the listening message Margie shared last week, and while I was chewing on and digesting it, a related thought was triggered. A tiny voice inside my head was saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger!”
I didn’t understand that at first, and as that voice became louder, the meaning became clearer. Many times, I’ve actively resisted listening to what someone was saying because I already had an opinion about the subject, didn’t like the person, or rejected what was being said. With all that noise in my head, I cannot possibly listen with much objectivity, let alone ask any questions or learn from a different point of view.
When I heard something new that didn’t fit into my way of thinking, I tried to be accommodating, giving time and space to reflect on it. I worked hard to let go of my own preferences enough to actually listen carefully and research the facts presented. I asked questions respectfully and asked myself questions:
- How much do I really know about the subject?
- How reliable is my source of information?
- Have I considered other ideas?
- Do I think my way is the only way just because it always has been?
I struggled to give the new thoughts and myself time before responding and reminded myself that I always have more to learn.
At the end of the week, I realized that working to keep an open mind while listening gave me a huge opportunity to consider doing things differently. I was reminded, as my Dad loved to say, “If you think you know it all, you probably don’t!”
I look forward to continuing to hone all of my listening skills.
Learning as I go, Barb