“Listen, or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.”
~Native American Proverb

Have you ever been in the midst of a conversation, and realized you were just waiting for the other person to take a breath so that you could share your next thought, or dispute their last statement? Have you ever spent time with a good friend, a family member, or someone on your team at work – and when you walked away from them you found yourself wondering how they were or what they said…because you spoke so often that you didn’t give them a chance to share anything with you?

Maybe you haven’t had these realizations, but I have. I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s true. When we’re flapping our tongue, we’re not listening. Even if we think we are, we’re not. We can’t be truly, fully listening when we’re talking. We have to actually stop talking and listen to not be deaf to what’s around us.

It’s not just that we can’t hear what others are saying when we’re too busy saying something ourselves. It’s also that when we’re caught in our own thoughts and perspective, our own “truth” of what is, we’re not only deaf to the words others are speaking, but we’re also deaf to their point of view. Our words reinforce our position and attitude – we’re deaf to what matters to them. We’re blind to what they’re trying to share with us. We’re stuck in our own minds and our own words.

For some of us it can be a huge challenge to stop talking and listen. To others it might be easier. Either way, it’s a challenge worth taking because if we don’t, we are deaf to those around us. And that won’t build relationships that work.

How are you, at times, deaf?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in truly listening, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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