The only way to really learn about someone is to listen to them. Listening to a person isn’t just sitting back and waiting until it’s my turn to speak. Nor is it about lazing around letting them talk at me. Listening is about taking a genuine interest in someone. It is investing time and energy into their life so I may get something back. I’m learning about them.
People are the most important thing in the world to me. I dedicate each day to talking to someone. I want to learn about everyone. I have been a listener since the day I was born. I have found no better way to lead someone, than by listening to them. I am a listener. I’ve listened to people all of my life. When I was growing up, my father used to tell me, “You need to treat people with respect.” My mother would say, “You should always shake hands and be polite when you meet someone new.” two principles which are often lost in the hustle of life. I will tell my children though, “Listen to what people are saying; they deserve it.”
I’ve been a listener to all types of people. Everyone needs someone to listen. Sometimes it’s many, sometimes it’s few, and some have too many while others get too few. Everyone deserves to be listened to. While everything they say isn’t necessarily King’s “I have a Dream” speech, they do have something to say. Listeners are needed in all groups, not just in my circles, the popular people, the jocks, the emo kids, the drama dorks, the band geeks, the choir nerds and even adults who have come through and grown out of it. Listeners aren’t always the center of attention but they make an impact. I can always find a few genuine listeners. They’re the ones who people talk to. They’re also the ones everyone quiets for when speaking.
Everyone has seen it. The character in the movie who’s said nothing until the final scene. Everyone suddenly quiets as he speaks some profound insight into the lives of everyone around them. This is the power of a listener. They see the world through the lives of everyone else because they’ve heard everyone.
When I learn about someone, I discover what makes them tick, what excites them, what they want to do or be. My hope is to have the ability to excite people into action. I lead people by listening. I look for who people think they are and compare it to who they actually are. I want to help people realize their potential. I’m always looking for the next time someone is ready to speak and I believe that they really do have something for me to learn.
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