In my profession as in any profession involving assisting others, listening is critical. We can’t assume that we know what our clients want or need. To be successful, we must create a dialogue. We have to ask questions. We have to listen. We need to find out what really matters to them.
Everyone is experiencing so many different emotions as we struggle to process not just the senseless murder of George Floyd, but the long line of injustice and painful loss of life that came before him, and the passionate protests that developed as a result. We see that people are tired. People are angry. People are confused. In the midst of it all, we have one important thing in common. We are human beings. Each and every one of us. We all have our loves, our hurts, our fears, and life experiences that have shaped how we see the world today. Everything we see is viewed through the lens of our experiences. I believe based on that all, we each are doing the best we can as we struggle from our individual vantage point to process everything that is happening around us, right now; and regardless of where we are, when we know better we do better.
For better or for worse, I understand that I am the way that I am because of the experiences I have had and the life I have lived. I realize that a person who grows up cold, hungry and disregarded, may see and react to the world differently than someone who never wanted for anything. I also know that a child growing up has little control over the circumstances in which he or she lives and grows. However, as adults, the only way for these two people to understand each other is for them to listen to each other, without judgment. Listen without thinking that we know what drives the person we are listening to, because we don’t. St. Francis de Assisi said, “Grant that I may not so much seek… to be understood, as to understand…” This means putting down the need to be right. The need to make someone see things your way. Instead, just listen.
So, while we make sure to listen to the needs of our clients. While we seek to get a clear picture of their needs, let’s extend this level of care to each other, as well. We all know that this mindset contributes to our success in business. Imagine the difference it would make in contributing to our success in life.