I remember years ago my Dad said to me ‘you are a great listener Jojo’. It stuck with me. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, but sometimes listening can be difficult when we feel distracted, stressed or angry. There are also occasions that we feel an urge for our voice to be heard. I’ll be frank, if I am on national radio, talking about a subject I am passionate about, and I only have a few minutes air time, I will be cramming the words in. It’s important that we use our voice. But sometimes we can get a bit excited, which prevents us from listening as hard as we could or should. We can all be prone to becoming a stingy listener.
Listening is an art and it takes practise. But when we show up fully with people and listen in the moment, with an open mind, we have a more meaningful and fulfilling time. Running my own podcast and getting the opportunity to speak live on radio has given me a new found appreciation of how important it is to really listen. I’m talking some serious transformational dialogue. I have been exploring the many labels we take on and carry. A few months ago, an old friend sent me an image with the definition of what it means to be an extrovert and an introvert. Apparently the ‘extrovert’ is the life and soul of the party, more interested in surface level stuff and the ‘introvert’ is all about the deep and meaningful conversations. The image frustrated me because I love having fun and not taking myself too seriously, but I also love a deep conversation. I don’t like the way that society enforces a message that we have to be one or the other.
I often give talks about how we can listen harder and show empathy to others. This really matters because so many of us feel like we don’t have a voice. When we feel unheard in the workplace or at home, it’s not good for the mojo. In fact, a lack of connection is seriously dangerous for our overall health. If you are self aware,. you may feel your throat tighten up due to the mind, body connection. You may experience serious backache, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Perhaps you experience stomach pain due to the anxiety this brings. Don’t worry, it’s normal. I talk to a lot of people, this comes up time and time again. So look a little closer. Take the time out to do a body scan and think about your life and the areas that you feel could improve. Be honest.
When we take the time to listen harder, we are making a difference. If you listen harder to even one person, this could impact the mental health of an entire family. So let’s work together to create a ripple effect and listen harder. Let’s give more people a voice.
Here are my tips for listening all in. Because I don’t feel fulfilled when I am a stingy listener. We are made for more.