Be Willing to Listen


Today’s episode is the final episode of Season Three – so it’s going to be a little different in that there is no interview. Instead I will be closing out the season with some reflections and thoughts.

This is the 51st Chapter Be podcast episode. I like the idea of taking a pause on an uneven number like that. There is something hopeful about it. 50 seems more finite.

I started interviewing people for this past season’s episodes in June – so while episodes did not launch till September, I have been working on this season for 5 months. Each season I have prototyped a new way of doing the podcast. This time around I thought I would try interviewing everyone and then editing as I release each one vs. interviewing and editing all at the same time.

There are definite pluses and minuses to both, and I’ll take some time to pull out the best practices of each as I move forward. I’m still working out how everything works best together, and it is important to me to find ways to make it more efficient without losing the personal touch and connection that I love so much about the process.

With that said – I am very proud of this season! I loved the guests that I was able to highlight and think that they are a great addition to Seasons 1 & 2. I want to thank Nora, Doug, Kayla, Bobby, Lisa, Saira, Chris, Janis, Eddy and Michelle for being willing to share their Chapter Be stories with me. Listen on…

The theme of Season Three was change. I really wanted to highlight different stories of change and how people navigate that change within their life. Some were forced to make a change, others knew a change was inevitable, some embraced change from a young age, and yet others actively made the choice to make a change.

The bigger message being – LIFE IS CHANGE. If you resist it, all you do is cause yourself more issues and angst.

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said it best with “change is the only constant in life.” I believe that all Chapter Be stories speak to this truth.

And here’s the thing – I do not believe that you can identify, embrace and accept that change if you are not willing to listen.

Willing to listen to those around you.
Willing to listen to your environment.
Willing to listen to yourself.

If you are listening to this you probably deem yourself a relatively good listener. I say this because I would think that most podcast listeners are good at listening – otherwise you would not chose this platform as a way to get content.

Yet there is a real difference in listening to receive information versus listening to learn about yourself.
Listening to learn about yourself is a much more vulnerable place to be.

It is rare to find someone who will be honest with us – truly honest. Some of you might have a life-partner who does this for you while others might find it in a sibling, friend or parent. It is the person who will tell us what others might be afraid to say. It’s a special relationship, and if you have someone like that in your life – value it. We need cheerleaders as we create our own path of being, but we also need truth-tellers. I find that when I get angry at a truth-teller in my life, it is usually because s/he is telling me exactly what I need to hear.

If you are struggling, feeling stuck, approaching a change, or battling a change – seek out that truth-teller in your life. Create the space to hear what they have to say – even if it is uncomfortable. Do not feel like you need to react right away. Take some time to digest what they are saying. Sit with it and think about it.

In the same vain that listening to a truth-teller can teach us, so can our environment. And environment can mean so many things. It can be your home, your city, your community – it is the spaces with which you exist.

We have become so good at blocking all of these out. We are so busy and rush through our days – not always taking the time to just be within our environments. Listening to your environment can actually tell you so much about how you are feeling, which then helps you take the next step toward making a change.

It can be as simple as committing to really listening when you ask someone how they are doing? The more you truly listen to the answer to this simple question, the better idea you have about who is a part of your community – and as you become more aware of this, you see your environment in a new way. It opens your eyes to new ideas and experiences.

Marc – one of people who I interviewed at Denver Startup Week for The BE Storiestalked about this when he sat with me:

I’m German and one of the things that still bothers me to this day is that the phrase, ‘How are you?’ is used as a greeting and not actually a question of how I am. You could ask me how I am as a greeting and I may say that I am terrible and you might say, ‘Oh, well it was good to see you.’ and just keep walking. If you don’t care then why do you ask? Just say, ‘Hello.’ It is okay. I would actually appreciate it. Being aware of those kinds of things is just one start. Then being aware when you do those kinds of things is another start.

If you ignore listening to your environment, then you’re in a self-created bubble – and while that can be comforting at times, it does not help you when you are in a space of change or looking to change. So, make a commitment to choose one small thing that you can do – each day – that will help you be more aware of your environment. I guarantee that it will draw you out of being in your own head and move you forward in ways you might not even be aware of in the moment.

chapter-be_land-before-time_quoteThe last one is the hardest, but probably the most important – and that is being willing to listen to yourself. Yourself refers to that quiet voice inside of you – often named as “listening to your heart/gut/intuition.” Depending on your level of negative self-talk, you might have hushed that voice down to an almost inaudible sound.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from the movie The Land Before Time: “Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely.”

When is the last time you allowed yourself to listen closely to what that quiet inner-voice was saying? It is not necessarily something that comes easily, but with practice and intent we all can get better at it.

If you want to make a change you HAVE to listen to it, because, whatever that quiet voice is whispering to you – that is what you need to do.

I recently – as in this week – admitted to myself what my inner voice has been saying for a long time:
I want to write a book, and I want to be a speaker.

Shit – I said it out loud!

The truth is that I have so many fears attached to these two things. But…in listening and learning from Michelle Poler’s Chapter Be story, I need to expand my comfort zone and say YES to the unknown. I know this is not going to happen overnight, but I am putting the intent out there!

So – if I can share what my inner-voice is saying with all of you…you can share yours with yourself!

Now, in order to listen to your truth-teller, your environment and yourself – there is one piece of advice that I can offer up in order to do all of these. And that is – BE STILL.

To hear – one must be silent.

In a world where we are rewarded for speaking and sharing, it can be hard to create the space for silence. Yet, silence is so powerful. Stick it in your toolkit and be liberal with pulling it out when you need it.

And, as I talk about change and listening, I would be remiss if I did not mention the overwhelming change that the United States and much of the world has been experiencing. It has been so disheartening to read online the hate that is being thrown around over the last few weeks, and the separation that so many people are feeling from one another. I struggle to understand it, but I do believe that if we listened more, it might improve.

This episode will be airing the day before Thanksgiving here in America. Many people have expressed the fear they have in seeing relatives due to current political issues that have caused them to feel divided and disconnected.

I have always thought myself to be a good listener, but I realized recently that I am very challenged when it requires listening to a different opinion about something that I am passionate about.

On one of my Facebook groups, a woman wrote a post seeking out advice on how she should approach a conversation with a friend who voted differently then she did in the past US election. I loved some of the advice that she received and wanted to share it…

Jessica responded with:

My advice: Be very, very curious about everything they say – as an anthropologist would – and don’t personalize anything. If they do say something that’s hurtful or harmful, speak to what it brings up/triggers from your perspective. In this way you’ll be able to share your human-ness.

And Dorothy wrote:

Authentic curiosity is the key. If your intention is to learn about his perspective, bear that in mind and make sure that you don’t have the agenda to change his mind or fight what he says. If the objective is really to open up your mind, have empathy and understanding. Go and just listen with an open heart.

So, as you work to be willing to listen – approach it all with the curiosity of an anthropologist. Ask questions and truly listen. The more you do this, the easier it is to navigate any change that might come your way.

I feel so very lucky that I get to listen to amazing people as they share their Chapter Be stories, and love being able to share them with all of you.

Listening to this past season has taught me so much and reminded me to…

BE what you say you are.
BE in love with what you do.
BE who you are, as you are.
BE exactly who you are/were/want to be!
BE brave.
BElieve you can do it.
BE unconventional.
BE love.
BE myself.
BE the person you’d be if you had the courage.


*Images via Chapter Be

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