Posted February 4, 2015 by jimhigley
(This is the fifth week of a six-month journey of self-discovery. Thanks for joining me. Earlier this week I shared Chapter 4 from my book, “Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew.” Today we take the topic presented in that chapter a little deeper – and I share some thought questions for you. Tomorrow, I hope you’ll come back for a new story about receiving – and giving – advice.. Thanks for being here.
Every time I read chapter 4 of my book, I feel grateful.
There’s an interesting parallel between Coach A and Karen, isn’t there? I didn’t know either of them well yet they each gave me some of the most important advice of my life.
Important and life-changing.
How easy it would have been to ignore, dismiss, or just forget either of those messages. Thank goodness I didn’t. The truth is, with each of those stories, I actually remember thinking to myself, “This is big stuff. Don’t blow it.”
And trust me, I’m not tooting my own horn. I miss a lot of life’s signals and messages because I think I know more than I actually do. And, often, I don’t like to hear the advice of others because, in doing so, it means I need to work harder at some aspect of my life.
Tuning out is easier. Selective listening, right?
Tuning in is hard.
So what does one do?
I actually work hard at listening. There’s a term called “active listening” – which may or may not describe my approach. But I like the name. I try to be actively engaged in my listening. I ask a lot of questions and I try to clarify what people are saying. The funny thing is that I’ve discovered that some people are offended by my question-asking style: they view it as me not trusting them. So I’ve come to accept that sometimes you just can’t win. And I plow ahead with my questions.
Because questions give me clarity.
The second thing I do is size people up. Gosh, that sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But I do. Everyone in my life – from my immediate family to people I casually know – has an informal rating from me when it comes to the “wisdom meter.” It’s my way of identifying who to stop and pay attention to. And who I just merits politeness and courtesy from me.
Call it my “Tune in, tune out” filter.
It works. And it’s constantly being adjusted.
Because I never know where the next bit of good advice is going to come from.