I’m just going to pretend I didn’t miss last week’s Grateful Sunday post, and focus on this week’s instead. I am also going to pretend it isn’t Tuesday, and that is really is Sunday…one of these days I will figure this out.
Grateful for Listening
This week I am thankful for my ears. And why would I be thankful for such a strange thing? The better to hear you with my dear! This week has been a big learning lesson about listening for me- in both my career and relationships. It’s funny how listening is such a fundamental lesson- it’s one of the first things parents teach their children. Yet to pay attention to how many people actually truly listen, well this week I’ve discovered its rarity!
I am currently taking hosting classes here in L.A. to hone my on-camera skills. Each week we tackle a different aspect of this world, some weeks we work on co-hosting, others entertainment reporting, and still others, we focus on our brand development. But the common lesson every single week deals with listening. This week, we each took our turn at the front of the room, with four other students to practice this completely underestimated skill. We were given a topic, then asked to discuss said topic “The View”style. The goal of the exercise is to see if your audience can identify who you are, what you are all about, while maintaining a cohesive and entertaining discussion without talking over each other. Sounds easy enough, but you would be surprised at how you naturally become more concerned with what you are going to say instead of actually listening to the other person. This narcissistic tendency prevents you from “getting the gold” in an interview or discussion, and when you actually stop worrying about what you are going to bring to the table, the conversation takes on a more organic flow that is a lot easier to listen to/watch.
This invaluable career lesson also carries over into the relationship department of my life. Things at home have been stressful to say the least. I attribute much of that to my husband’s demanding job, which has evolved from traveling from coast-to-coast travel every single week, to international travel with limited access to cell phone communication. You can imagine the toll it takes on my poor, over-worked J.P., who collapses into bed whenever he comes home, and has become extremely weakened by allergies, chest congestion, and most recently, and intense case of Strep Throat. Needless to say, romance has been hard to come by these days. Through it all, we are coming to realize the importance of communication more than ever. Our “situation” is evolving what our needs are, and in order to keep our relationship healthy, we have to communicate. But the most essential part of communication, is listening. Unfortunately, we both have fallen short in the past- an error we are both trying so hard to correct. This past weekend, in a cozy corner of one of our favorite restaurants, J.P. and I made some great strides as we practiced listening to each other. We were able to really connect for the first time in weeks, and both left the conversation feeling incredibly fulfilled. I am so grateful for the little thing called listening, for helping me to break down some significant barriers this week!