…And what I learned about the art of listening
When asked in a writing exercise to articulate what my greatest challenge was this week, I almost yelled “No one listens to me! No one hears what I am actually saying!” This seems to be the theme in my professional life over the past few months, and this was a week of reactions and reacting, and in my mind, trying to MAKE OTHER PEOPLE LISTEN. I spent most of this week on my soapbox, touting my agenda and chiding those that were too ignorant to join my cause. Needless to say I didn’t get very far outshouting my fellow soap box-ers. It was a tumultuous week that was filled with interpersonal bumblings, professional friction, and ultimately, a life lesson.
In a suitable bookend to the week, I finally took pause long enough to truly take in the humanity and not just the words, striving to hear with compassion rather than through my own filters and agenda. I realized that my challenge was not so much being heard, but my own resistance to hearing anything other than what I wanted to hear. Further, I noticed that I often listen just long enough to respond, tuning in only to hear what I want or need in the moment. Needless to say, neither of these superficial approaches was serving me in my efforts to diffuse tensions and truly get to the heart of the situations I was dealing with this week.
In short, I realized that when I am not being heard, it is actually a call to listen more deeply, more sincerely, and to adopt the intent to understand. As a conductor I often joke that I am a professional listener, and I am constantly working to improve my awareness and the sensitivity of my ear to better serve the orchestra. Truly receiving and hearing those around me is a necessary and humbling art that I will strive to perfect going forward as well.
Lesson learned…until next time:)
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Blog Post Challenge Day 1: http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/10-day-blog-challenge/10dbc-day-1