My sweet sister-in-law, Leah gave me a beautiful necklace for Christmas. It has “Be Still” engraved on it. I’ve been wearing it almost daily ever since. It’s a precious reminder to be present in the moment and acknowledge God’s faithfulness throughout the day.
With the ringing in of 2015, my “resolution” was pretty simple. This year I want to spend as much time as possible with my husband and kids; really connecting with them and enriching these relationships that are most important. I’m also committed to excelling at my day job. Everything else will take a backseat.
To that end, I’ve been practicing stillness and being present in both my workplace interactions and home with Dennis and the kids. Today at the office I took my team through a “guiding principles” discussion, which basically consisted of talking about 6 of the 13 behaviors in the book: Speed of Trust. All of the managers recently went through a two day seminar on this content, so I was anxious to share some of it with my team.
A very fruitful and team-building conversation unfolded. I was so happy with the response and enjoyed being the leader by encouraging participation and allowing the discussion to grow naturally. I had no sense that I needed to control or overly moderate; instead I listened and tried to hear the contributions of each person.
In my intro to this session, I read a few passages from Habit #5 in Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The habit is: Seek First to Understand then to be Understood. What I found most insightful was the idea that we should listen empathetically. Covey says that most people listen with the intent to reply or are actively formulating a response while the other person is talking. Often we just overlay our autobiography on the thoughts and ideas that the other person expresses. Instead, what if we listened with the intent to truly understand the other person. What if we tried to get inside their head and see things from their perspective?
I’ve been trying to do this with Sienna. She tells me stories all of the time, and often I’m tempted to jump right in with an answer or to change the way she thinks about a situation. Instead, I’m trying to practice empathic listening and try to understand her perspective. She has a tendency to tell me stories that start off sounding plausible, but then take a turn toward the fantastic. I’ve been known to question whether something really happened or not. Maybe I should just enjoy the story sometimes.
It seems to me that practicing stillness and being present with my loved ones and teammates goes hand in hand. By being still and surrendering to God’s perfect will, my mind is calm and I’m able to be in the moment and open to whatever that moment holds. Therefore, I’m present with other people and can listening with the intent to understand them.
Life truly is so much richer when you’re present and able to connect with the moment.