Much of our lives has to do with addressing challenges. If we have the skills to successfully meet those challenges, we experience greater success and wellness in our lives and relationships as individuals and as a society.

Click to hear Willow introduce today’s Wellness Wednesday topic.

A few things have been consistent for our Top 20 team. One of these has to do with listening. We have never created a problem with each other when we have truly listened. Yet we have frequently created problems or misunderstandings when we haven’t listened. Even if we disagree with a team member, listening has a positive impact on our relationship with that person. Truly listening communicates a powerful message…’You matter’…and manifests a desire to mutually welcome each other into our lives.

When someone is speaking and we are not listening, we are often operating in three ineffective levels:

  1. We have our life on our mind. We are listening to ourselves, not you. We are paying attention to what is important to ourselves and to what we have going on in our life.
  2. We are being judgmental. This can take the form of jumping to conclusions, over-reacting, interrupting or finishing the other person’s sentences, being critical, or agreeing or disagreeing.
  3. We are being distracted. We shift our attention to the television, our emails, or to the kids in the backyard.

Being able to listen and focus not only avoids problems and misunderstandings, but also enhances our ability to learn, perform, and develop healthy and meaningful relationships. This happens when we are in the Zone, when we are present in the moment and neither living in the past or the future.

How can we do that? Although it takes practice, here are two tips for improving our ability to listen and focus:

  1. Be aware when you’re not there. We need to know when we are not in the Zone. We need to be aware when we have our life on our mind, are being judgmental, or are being distracted.
  2. Say, “Not now.” Our mind’s natural state is to be present in the moment. It’s like a hot air balloon that is meant to rise into the sky, but is prevented from doing so by sand bags keeping it on the ground. If we untie the sand bags, the balloon will rise. By saying “Not now”, we stop the three ineffective levels and shift into listening and focusing.

As we experience these difficult days, listening can provide us with a way to understand each other and find a way to more peacefully share our journey together.

Best wishes from our team that wants to listen to you.

Paul Bernabei               Kevin Brennan               Willow Sweeney               Tom Cody