On Listening (Part 8)

"Someone said to a friend recently, 'I know you're a great listener because, when we talk, I surprise myself with what I say. it's like I have permission to go deeper than I usually do.'"
(Jillian Richardson @thatjillian)

Have you had a friend like this?

Do you get to be a friend like this?

If we've had the opportunity to be in the presence of a really great listener, we emerge changed.

And, we'll be shocked.

Because -- if someone were to observe us -- they'd see one person doing a lot of talking.

And, one person not doing much of anything.

So, how is it that transformation happens when we are witnessed by a really great listener.

Great listening is a partnership.

The listener is in it with us.

Their murmers, mm-hmmms, "what was that like?", and "how did you know"'s led us on twists and turns and deeper into the forest of our subconscious.

Their embodied hug was the belay rope to let us climb to new heights, turn a page we didn't know was there, and taste-test a truth we avoided for quite some time.

A truly great listener gives us the space to unfold. To become. To reconstruct and assemble the separate bits flying around. They allow us to emerge with a clearer vision for who we are, how we ended up here, and where we go next.

But, how do they do it?

  1. Mindset: there can be no rush.
    A truly great listener needs to understand that they must embody all-the-time-in-the-world energy (even if they don't have it). This doesn't mean they can't put some clarity on the container. If a truly great listener (TGL) needs to get to a meeting (or get on with life), they simply state that up-front. "I have a hard-stop at 10am but you have me...fully...until then."
  2. Expectation: that the listener's truth will emerge and they will have the gift of witnessing it.
  3. Knowledge of their role: realizing they play an important part on this moment's stage.
  4. Absence of judgement: judgement is heavy and can be identified by the receiver instantaneously. Nothing shuts another person down faster than a giant dose of judgement.
  5. Authentic curiosity: there is a drumbeat for TGLers. They're looking for the inroads to how to support the speaker. To encourage, to lift, to witness (NOT to give advise, help or a fix). Like a fascinated anthropologist, the TGL

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