There’s been a shift. I feel it in my core.
I went back to school for a week and initially thought, “It’s 4 days. What could possibly change in 4 days?”
The answer? Everything.
Everything or nothing can change in 4 days. It’s up to you.
In those 4 days, I learnt 3 key lessons:
1. Trust is not related to time. It’s related to being vulnerable.
I used to believe that familiarity was what was required to build trust. To build a rapport took time. To understand meant knowing everything. This is not true. All this comes from within. Being genuinely interested in the story of the person in front of you builds trust. Trusting comes from within. I used to believe that longer periods of time were always better to fully know and understand who the person in front of you was. But time is relative.
As I sat with these group of strangers in this class, I decided to throw myself fully into the programme. I would not receive any benefit from standing on the sidelines. I needed to show up. I needed to be in the dance. Playing the game. All of me needed to show up. Which meant trusting from the beginning. No sussing out how each individual is. No getting comfortable first. There was no time for any of this. It was four days of showing up. From the beginning.
And you know what?
I loved it. It was safe. And comforting. And bringing my whole self allowed others to bring themselves. I may not know what career they’re all in; I may not know who is married and who isn’t. But I know what drives them. I know how important this learning is for each of them. I know what makes them show up. Every single day. Magic.
2. Asking questions isn’t enough. Asking the right questions is.
I used to ask a lot of “Why” questions. A Lot. I am naturally curious and want to know everything about everything. But I learnt that asking questions doesn’t mean you’ll automatically learn anything. You may lead the person to confirm the story going on in your own head. Or you may try “help” the person by forcing them down a road to a solution. The wrong solution.
No, asking questions may not mean much in the grand scheme of things. But asking the right questions – now therein lies the magic. You put yourself on hold. The other person can be seen. No judgment, no pieces of them missed. You learn to see the whole. All. Magic.
3. Listening is more than hearing sounds. Listening is hearing the silence.
Repeating word for word what an individual says does not mean you’re the best listener. It may mean you have an incredible memory. And it may mean you’re on the right track to being a great listener. But there’s so much more than just that.
Listening is observing. Listening is hearing so much of the person in front of you that you know when to keep quiet. You know when to speak up. When to ask. When to pay attention to their body language. When to pay attention to the tone in their voice as it moves from live energy to sadness. As they tell their story you listen to all of them.
Listening means feeling their breath become rapid as their heartbeat increases as they try not to cry. Listening is everything. It’s all the senses wrapped into one. It allows someone to feel comfort without touch. It allows someone to be seen without sight. It allows someone to be heard without any words being spoken.
Listen. To it all. Magic.
My Butterfly Dream