My daughter jumps into the car. I ask, “How was your day?” She starts talking. Within minutes, my mind trails off.
Years prior, I made myself a promise that I would always ask about her day. I worked and traveled extensively. She needed to know that she was my number one priority. However, leading up to that moment in the car, work and worries filled my mind.
A few minutes into her story, she asked, “Mommy, are you listening?” I immediately snapped back and realized the answer was, “No.”
I remembered this event after a recent coaching class where we discussed the three levels of listening.
Level 1: Focuses on me and what’s going on in my head.
My thoughts: I can’t wait to jump in and tell her why she’s responding that way.
Level 2: The focus is on the other person. I am truly listening to their words.
Other person: I am not a happy camper. I didn’t make it to the gym. Work has me swamped!
Me: It sounds like you wanted to go to the gym but had to complete some tasks at work.
Other person: Yeah. We had this big project come down the pipeline.
Level 3: Focuses on the energy.
I enter a room where I will conduct training for 10 new hires. They recently graduated from college and this is their first job. Each person is nervously fidgeting with their pen or looking down at their phone in boredom. We start. As the first person introduces himself, I notice his nervous laugh and inability to look at others in the room. Also, his voice seems to crack and lower with uncertainty as he explains his new role and all it entails. He is nervous.
Listening on all three levels takes practice. Although some may perform better at level 3 than others, we should take into consideration our present situation. If you’re stressed at work, can you be fully present for your friend who wants to talk about the terrible day they experienced?
Just remember, listening at level 3 not only allows you to tune into your listener, it gives you the opportunity to be present.
With you in physical form or not, the world will still turn and the job will still get done.
If you find listening and being present a challenge, show yourself some grace. Simple awareness brings a new opportunity in this area of personal growth.
If you got your workout in today, FUNUW! I hope you Found-U-N-Ur Workout.