I was running recently with a friend, talking about I don’t even know what. And then she said something that struck me as brilliant. And potentially life changing, for me and for my clients.

“When someone says something to me, and I am so irritated that I can’t even listen to what they’re saying,” she said, “I remind myself to hear them in a different voice. A voice of someone I respect, or love.”

My only thought – and response – to what she offered was “Wow.” And that I was so taken by her idea that I would probably blog about it, because I thought it was gloriously excellent.

I wish I was so evolved that I was never irritated by what people said, or how they said it. Or who they were. I wish I didn’t have buttons that got pushed, and triggers that set me off. But I’m not that good. I’m still human. And now I have another tool in my toolkit, to pull out when necessary. And to suggest to my clients.

That colleague who drives you crazy? Imagine their comment coming from someone you admire. The boss who seems to be intentionally goading you? Remember that boss who still is your mentor after all these years? Imagine she’s giving you the same advice, or feedback, instead. Your sister, father, partner, brother, spouse, mother, whomever – simply picture someone whom you can easily hear things from saying that thing that’s hard for you to hear.

This tactic does work wonders. I realized recently that I’d tried it once, without fully naming what I was doing. I was in a situation that I had to make work, for myself and my business, and I was trying to work with someone who was, most likely unintentionally, setting me on edge. Completely on edge. Each time either one of us opened our mouth to try and work things through, the other got more tense and agitated.

So I remembered my daughter, whom I love and love to talk with and can always make space for, no matter what. I thought of her and thought of her, and approached this person from a space of compassion and ease…and we got through our task. Well.

Hearing in a different voice is so simple, and yet so effective.

How do you hear when you can’t hear?
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For support in hearing, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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