Am I Listening?


I was just out on the porch looking at the fog that has settled into the valley. As time passed, I could see more of what is across the road. The field emerged, then the trees on the other side of the field, then the foothill just beyond the trees. By the time I came upstairs, I could almost see across the valley.

While this was happening, I was reading the end of chapter 5 in The Starfish and the Spider. What made me notice the fog clearing was their description of people who are catalysts. Good catalysts listen to people. Great catalysts hear what people are saying and draw them out. I want to be a great catalyst but wonder if I have the disposition for it. Let me try a test with those of you who are my readers. Send me your results if you like. I will post your comments if you want, and if they make sense.

Here we go:

7. Think of a significant goal in your life. Write it down on the left side of a blank piece of paper.

6. Under that, write down one thing that hasn’t been done that would be a step in the direction of achieving the goal.

5. Under that, write down one thing that other people are doing that would build a foundation for doing the one thing  that hasn’t been done.

4. Under that, write down one thing you would have to do away with to be able to do the one thing other people are doing.

3. Under that, write down one thing you would have to improve to recognize the one thing you had to do away with.

2. Under that, write down one thing you would have to do the right way before you could understand how to do it better.

1. Under that, write down one thing that was the right thing to do, that would get all the previous steps going.

0. Under that, write down one thing that would allow you to make a commitment to doing the right thing that would get things started.

What happened? Did your view of that significant goal change when you saw there was at least one path to one small piece of it? What would your future be like if you had a way to look at every problem as an opportunity you could tackle with gusto? How would people react when you were the one who took on jobs that had been ignored for weeks or months? What would they think of you when you went out and did things they thought were impossible? How much of their reaction would have been a reflection of their own perspective, and not a true reflection of what you were capable of doing? Did they say it was impossible for you because they didn’t want to try it themselves? Did they put you down because they needed to be looking down on you as someone who was inferior, because they had appointed you as scapegoat?

Guess what! They won’t be watching if you decide to do things differently. They have a perspective on you that won’t recognize the change in your attitude or behavior. Their radar is set to a frequency that will ignore your little quirks. Their opinion of their opinion of you is so high they won’t notice you aren’t playing a role in their game anymore. By the time they notice you aren’t believing what they say about you, you will be somewhere else. And oddly enough, that somewhere else might not be where you thought you wanted to go.

Try the exercise above again, only this time, use the right side of the page, and start from the bottom:

0. Write a few words that capture the commitment you are making to your goal.

1. Write one thing that would be the right thing to do to honor your commitment.

2. Write one thing about the right thing that would be the right way to do it.

3. Write one thing about doing the right thing the right way that would make it better.

4. Write one thing about the thing that you could do away with once it is improved.

5. Write one thing about the thing that other people are already doing.

6. Write one thing about the thing that hasn’t been done.

7. Look at the goal you started with. Is it enough of a stretch, or could you do something even more impossible.

I think this approach is how I need to interact with people in the future. Instead of telling them about my method or my the tools I am building, I need to ask them leading questions and then listen to their answers. I need to talk them through the first 8 questions to wake them up to the possibility that their current outlook on life could change. I need to listen to them and get them to listen to themselves, so they want to do the second set of 8 questions on their own. If they want my help, that would be fine, but it wouldn’t be necessary. I think I can write a book that would help people get through some of the preparation for what we could do together. In fact, the whole point of what I want to do is developing other people who wanted to work on really tough problems. Getting people to make a significant change in themselves would be their audition.

I think we all need to listen to each other. Is anyone listening to me?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: