Creatures of habit…
On our Fresh Air Fridays sessions this month the theme we’re exploring is habits – I’ve looked at my habits three times already!
From the first two sessions I noticed some tendencies had slid in that weren’t serving me – a bit of vegging out in front of the television even when there was nothing I wanted to watch, and going for some quick wins work-wise, meaning the important stuff gets left too late.
As always, awareness is key and because I noticed what was happening, I’ve made some changes – including spending more quality time with my husband (aka TLM, the lovely Martin!) and writing this blog early in the morning, which suits my natural rhythm better. All good, practical stuff which is great.
But on our session this week, there was a shift from the “doing” – perhaps the sort of things we think about when considering our habits, either “good” or “bad” – to a more reflective aspect. What came up is how we are habitual thinkers too. And that got me thinking about how we often have a habit of listening to people a certain way.
I came across the concept of having an “already, always listening” when I did a programme with Landmark Worldwide and was amazed at the difference it made when I changed a generally negative listening habit for a more positive one.
As an example of this from many years ago, I was preparing for a business meeting with a woman I’d never met but many of my colleagues had. No-one had a good word to say about her – the consensus was “she’s difficult and fixed in her views” and I wasn’t really looking forward to the meeting. In this situation I thought that there was nothing to lose by trying a different way of listening. I put aside all the judgements I’d heard and listened to her as open and accommodating. Amazing! We covered what we needed and agreed a mutually beneficial way forward.
Now that was a business meeting and, if it hadn’t gone well, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have had to see her again – so, not the end of the world. But what if it’s your nearest and dearest, or colleagues that you do need to see regularly?
If there are people that you think: “Oh, they’re always irritable and disagreeable”, perhaps you could try listening differently and see what happens. It’s still useful for me to remind myself to listen to my son as a 23-year-old young man – the last time I did that I was gladdened by how mature he is!