A Better Listener

Last year I had a side goal of emptying my draft folder. I got it down to two drafts, but just couldn’t bring myself to publish them. The timing felt off, and now I’ve begun to add to the draft folder again. I can have a goal, but it’s important to be in God’s timing to execute.

My main goal for this year is…

To be a better listener.

My environment is quiet, so I can hear every sound. I know where our cat is laying by hearing him breathe. Progress was made last year when I could tell the water in the kettle was ready, by listening to it heat up. I’d remove it from the heat just as puffs of steam were exiting the holes in the lid. There were times I was out of sync, and my daughter would say, “Your water is spewing!”

That’s where I want to improve.

To not allow my words to get to the spewing point. I was a witness to this over the weekend, and I’m not pleased by it, but there’s a solution at hand.

There’s been a lot happening with work, and it’s moving very fast. I’ve felt out of touch with the man I work with, and let him know I’d like to talk.

We tried to pinpoint a time, but life got busy. I know we’re running an empire, but communication is key to a smooth ride. On a whim, I dialed his number with the intention of leaving a rehearsed voicemail. It was over the weekend and late afternoon, so I didn’t expect him to answer, but he did! It was shocking to hear his welcoming voice.

I wasn’t prepared for our talk, and it had been so long since we had spoken to one another, we began talking at the same time. It felt like we were talking over one another, as I tried my best to pause and listen. This went on for an hour, and we covered everything, but I felt like it was a wreck on my end, and vowed to do better. This call revealed, there is more practice needed in listening.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t call on a whim. Schedule a time.
  2. Keep a notepad nearby of things to discuss.
  3. Ask more questions and pause to listen. I felt like he asked the questions and I spent a lot of time explaining.
  4. He tried several times to compliment my work, and said, “Keep delivering excellence”, but I brushed that off.
  5. Accept the compliment and give one in return.

After the call was over I knew to schedule time once a month to speak with him. My eyes and ears are all over his business and there are things we need to discuss. I’ll take notes throughout the month and be prepared for the next call. God offers endless opportunity to improve, and I’m not just practicing with people. God is in there too.

Success occurs when our preparedness collides with God’s timing. This is Barb, striving to be a better listener.