I told myself: “Don’t answer that email yet. It really can wait. Take a minute to listen, please.”
One of my coworkers was lashing out at team members when they were offering to help solve a problem. I could feel my blood pressure rising. “This is unfair! I’m not doing her ‘homework’ again!”
I paused. Took a deep breath. Then I asked myself, “Where can I listen better in this situation?”
My shoulders dropped – I could feel the tension melting away.
Most human beings love to be human doings.
We like to get in action to solve the puzzles that make up our lives, even if the action is “to plan” or “to engage,” like responding quickly to that message.
We detect a problem or an opportunity.
We get in motion.
But sometimes the best way to create intentional, meaningful change is to take a few beats to just listen.
Today I want to share one of my favorite change strategies:
I have a habit of asking myself, “Where can I listen better?”
For me and a lot of my clients, the simple act of asking ourselves that question can bring up a physical response of relief and, yes, self-connection.
Pause to consider what your own experience is.
How well do you listen to yourself, to all the wisdom that you have within?
Or are you too often “doing” your way to a solution?
Here are suggestions for practicing the art of exceptional self-listening:
- When you start your day, ask “What do I want to tell myself to prepare for the day ahead?”
- When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, ask “What part of me am I not paying enough attention to?”
- When you have a disagreement or you’re judging someone, ask “What are they trying to share that I’m not listening carefully to?” and “Is there something I want myself to know, but my frustration is blocking that wisdom?”
Listening is a powerful tool for growth.
Listening for your true, deep desires and values.
Listening for changes in your priorities.
Listening for wisdom that doesn’t need a Google search, book, or asking a friend to know what step to take next.
In fact, listening is demonstrating self-trust that you are fully capable of deciding each next step from moment-to-moment, when it’s required.
The more I listen to myself, the more confident I become and the better my decisions seem to be.
Try it. Try exceptional self-listening. You might discover your best, most trusted advisor is always within you.
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.