Archive for Listening

Self Growth – This Too Shall Pass

ProvsToday I am selling my deceased parents house. This was a retirement home for them–not a house I ever lived in. If there is an emotional connection to this closing it would only be because it wasn’t done sooner.

I’ll be glad to close the book on this saga–it wasn’t a happy series of experiences. Yet, it does cause a nagging feeling about some situations that could have been handled differently. Not regrets so much as evaluations from a different heart.

The more time passes the more such events (deaths, job losses, moves) become internal growth rings rather than external turmoil. Criticism folds into itself and evaporates leaving just a misty hint of what all the fuss was about. It’s time to go.

Rest in peace.

Success – Listening for Answers

587980_snailSuccess skills for life are found in the listening. Pay attention to the silent messages that can not be heard on the surface. Listen around the noise and you’ll hear a richness and resonance that can’t be found in the chatter.

The answers are all there. Everything you have done, felt, seen, tasted and touched holds a moment of truth.  Success is in that moment and the next. Each moment savored.

Listen and learn. Look back at the options you had in every circumstance and evaluate them now–not from a critical eye but from a kind heart.

Look inside yourself and decide what will be right for you now. Follow that path.

The answers are already in us—we just need to listen.

Communicating with Relatives and Others

1000269_question__markYour communication skills, especially listening, are tested the most with family.

I’m in Indiana this week visiting relatives of my main squeeze–the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach.

Good communication requires listening and staying present and engaged in the dialogue.  Asking sincere questions is the best way to gentle nudge a conversation along.

To keep the conversation from sounding like an interrogation try repeating the last word or two spoken with a question mark on the end.  It invites more information in a gentle way.

For example, if Aunt Shirley’s last few words are . . .”Bob’s sister used to live in this area.”  You reply  “…in this area?”

This is enough for Aunt Shirley to expound. . .”yes, this area  was quite beautiful before the flood.  You…”the flood?”

Are you getting the gist? It’s quite simple and takes the angst out of trying to find something in common to talk about.

Try it. You might be surprised at how interesting YOU become when you haven’t spoken more than a few  words and phrases.

Non-Verbal Communication…a Hug!

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Intuition–The Decision Making Difference

The best decision making involves three elements–logic, common sense and intuition. 1108003_say_what1

Most decision making involves weighing the pros and cons related to possible outcomes. While this involves both logic and common sense it fails to consider the most critical factor-intuition.

Insight, Instinct or Intuition. Call it what you will but without involving the natural ability of our minds and bodies to indicate what’s most important we fail to honor who we are. Intuition is the barometer for what feels right and what we know without knowing why we know.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, examines how choices can be made in an instant and why the best decisions are often those that are unexplainable to others.

Here are five things to practice if you want to add insight to your decision making:

  1. If you regularly make a pros and cons list, practice adding a third column labeled “what I know” to prompt your inner knowing.
  2. Give yourself permission to practice and to be wrong. Information overload can easily confuse a feeling or message.
  3. Carve out quiet time. Meditation sounds like work but ten minutes of quiet, non-activity time sounds like relief. Release the pressure to quiet your mind.
  4. Practice being present rather than trying to quiet your mind. This practice works well while you’re performing a mundane task.
  5. Don’t dismiss anything you feel or hear or see or smell. Notice what comes up first. Take note of it–write down any images that flash. Ask for more clarity. Become a student.

Imagine that you already know the answer. Have some fun with this practice-don’t make it another item on your to-do list. Our sixth sense has a sense of humor, go ahead and enjoy it.
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I Wonder What I’ll Learn Today

I wonder why everyone wants to talk but no one wants to listen. Just watch Celebrity Apprentice to see the perfect example.1108003_say_what

I wonder why interrupters “know” what someone is going to say but aren’t very intuitive about anything else.

I wonder why communication “breaks down” everyday. Is this the grand lesson we never get to master?

I wonder why “the first, most important thing to do” always follows the thing you’re actually doing.

I wonder where interesting words have gone. Is ennui too lazy to make an appearance?Is lugubrious too grief-stricken to rise from the dead? Does oracular feel too shrouded in mystery to grace us with its presence?

I wonder if we’re here to hear.

I wonder if “presence” is really the present.

 I wonder why, when I’ve immersed myself in “self-growth,” I’m still not five foot tall.

What the Heck are Soft Skills and Why are they so Important?

heart-snowSimply put, soft skills are the abilities  to get along with others. Okay, they include a lot more than that but I’m painting with a broad stroke.  

Good soft skills make the world go around. Poor skills create misunderstanding or unfavorable impressions.

If no man is an island then soft skills are the mainland. Think of the cell phone  commercial featuring a customer with his service team behind him. That team represents all the skills you need to ensure you stay connected. And staying connected is the key to everything you hope to accomplish in this world.

Why-because everything you do, you do with or through other people.

Much like Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten or Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends & Influence People, the principles are simple. The execution-not always so easy.

A quick review of Fulghum’s lessons learned reveals the simplicity. Consider these. . . Read more

“The Success Principles” a Reference Book for Life

photo_3494_20090110open-bookI’ve been a fan of Jack Canfield before he became a super-star in the “Achievement” market. Yes, Jack Canfield is the co-creator of the “Chicken Soup Series” phenomenon, but that was never the source of my enthusiasm.

What initiated my fervor was a book published in 1995 called ‘The Aladdin Factor’ , written by Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. The premise of this little tome is about asking for anything-something I struggled with at the time. My now yellowed copy is dog-eared, highlighted and post-noted to this day. Every now and again I pull it off the shelf as a reminder that I don’t have to know everything; I only have to know that it’s okay to ask for help, for support, for money, for the sale, for anything.

Ten years, many books and mega-fame later, Canfield wrote The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be with Janet Switzer. Equally dog-eared and post-noted, this voulume is stashed close-at-hand as a life resource. The sixty-four principles are supported with stories an dhow-to’s.  A random pick of any page and something  I read is going to give me an a-ha moment.

Right now I flipped open to page 157 (dog-eared) and the topic is “the most valuable question you may ever learn.” Wonder what that is? . . .

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Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

33395_mouthThere are two kinds of people in the world. People who focus on solutions and people who take delight in expanding problems. You can tell the difference by listening to what they say.

Solution-oriented people rarely spend time assigning blame. They are forward thinking and take actions that move things along. These creative problem solvers use both logic and random input to work out challenges.

Personally or professionally, solution types use language that is distinctly positive without being Pollyannaish. You’ll hear them say, “What’s another possibility?” or “How about this option?” They tend to be collaborative in an effort to generate ideas. Overall, they are more optimistic and enjoyable to be around.

Problem-oriented people love Read more

Listen . . . A Thought is Just a Thought

baby1Over the years, I have encountered people who have said to me, “That’s just how I think, I can’t change overnight!”

Of course, my first reaction to that is-“Of course you can.”

I might suggest that a good chunk of your day is spent changing your thoughts. For instance, you might be thinking about pizza for lunch until a co-worker suggests Chinese pot-stickers.  Miraculously that pizza thought switches to fried and steamed dumplings dipped in fermented black bean sauce. It didn’t take days, hours or even minutes to make the switch. You did it in a moment.

So what happened? Were you less committed to the pizza idea than to the thought that says “I hate my job” or “I don’t like that person?” Maybe . . . or maybe you were given an alternate choice for the pizza but you can’t see another choice for “I hate my job.” 

But a thought is just a thought- Read more