Active Listening is an important part of a mindfulness practice.
She taught me the art of active listening! I have an amazing young woman I have been working with on and off for the past 2 years. She inspires me and has taught me so much! She is deaf, and as such, I have had to learn to do my work in a whole new way.
Anyone who has ever worked with me knows, I’m constantly saying “now close your eyes…” I can’t do that with her – she is “listening” to my lips, not my voice. Even my mentor hadn’t worked with a deaf client. So when this young woman first contacted me (through the phone translator service), I answered honestly that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to help her, but please come in for a consult.
I listened to her – not just the issues she wanted help with, but how she processes things, how she learns and experiences things, how she listens. If I hadn’t used effective listeningl If I had been afraid of “what if I can’t help her”, racing ahead in my mind, I may have never figured out a very unique way of working with her and we’ve had some great successes!
One of the many things she has taught me is the difference between hearing and listening. Without the gift of hearing that many of us take for granted, she has to work very hard at listening. So often, those of us with hearing are actually in our own heads preparing a response, so that we are not really listening to the other person. She has really taught me that listening is an integral part of a mindfulness practice.
Recently, at a workshop I was presenting on practicing mindfulness and coping skills for stress and anxiety, 2 women came in just as I was starting. One of them shared that she was only there because she needed to bring her friend who needed to be there. As I began to teach EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)/Tapping), she interrupted and started saying how she knew EFT worked, etc., etc. She wasn’t trying active listening, she was trying to position herself as the expert – and I understood her – I’ve been her!
This is a very common way that fear shows up. We are afraid of losing our authority, so we feel like we have to “talk over” people instead of active listening.
Rather than judge her, I asked her to suspend what she already knew and to practice effective listening skills and experience it “as if” it was brand new information. Soon enough, she was smiling and her head was bobbing YES! She was absolutely beaming as I worked with her friend and she saw the shifts her friend was experiencing.
I trust that God, The Divine, Creator, Universe (or whoever you want to name her) knew what she was doing when she created us with 2 ears and only 1 mouth. When we are talking, we are saying what we already know. Same thing when we are only hearing another person, we’re formulating our response based on what we already know. This almost always is rooted in self-esteem issues.
We are afraid of being rejected or ridiculed or judged, so we race ahead in our mind to be prepared. The sad part is, that then we’ve lost our connection to the other person – perhaps missing out on some really meaningful information. In a sales situation, perhaps missing out on really hearing what the potential client can tell you about how you can help them.
I’ve been guilty of this and of being like the woman in the workshop. However, once I embraced the true art of listening, I have richer conversations, richer relationships and miraculous results in my client sessions.
My invitation to you is to really practice the art of active listening this week and add that to your mindfulness practice. When you find yourself in your head formulating your response to your boss, your spouse or whomever, see if you can pause and turn on your “listening ears”. I think you will be quite pleased with how differently your conversations go!
Are you practicing active listening and mindfulness? What have you been missing by just hearing?
I practice mindfulness and active listening on my morning walks with Maggie – listening to the sounds of the highway off in the distance, the sound of the birds close by, how Maggie reacts to things!
BTW – I am even more proud of my gorgeous client!! She recently “walked” to receive her Ph.D.!
PS… I’d love to help you use mindfulness to transform your life and business! I offer a complimentary 15 minute call that gives you an opportunity to get real with me and yourself about what’s been preventing you from creating what you really want in your life (and career). By the time we’re done, we’ll both know if we’re a good fit for one another! (And I promise- I WILL use active listening! 😉
Are you ready to experience freedom from the past and embrace what’s possible? Click here for a free 15 minute consultation.