I Am Listening

It seems I talk a lot about making changes, changes in fitness habits, changes in church-going habits, in diet and exercise, in career, etc... and so on.

Sometimes I'm good at making those changes. Sometimes I get derailed in my efforts. Always, I'm trying. It may not seem like it, but I am. It's that good Catholic guilt. What can I say?

This week, I'm working on a change that should be easy, but has honestly proven to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I'm trying to spend as much time as possible just listening.

Yep. Just listening.

About 7:00 Sunday night I popped out my Blackberry and put up my first update of the day. For me.., well it's no secret that's a touch out of the ordinary. I'm usually plugged in and interacting all day every day and sometimes well into the night. The keyword there being interacting. I'm trying to be involved in the conversation and building relationships both old and new.

Only lately, especially on the weekends, I don't feel like I'm interactive at all. In fact I'm kind of a broadcaster - and my friends, I am not fond of the broadcasters.

Now it's true, I'm usually posting updates from football parties where I'm connecting on a face to face level, and I post about the Buckeye games and other similar topics, and sometimes big conversations get started from some innocuous comment about the kicking game, or a freshman running back. There are times when I'm involved in those conversations. More often I'm revisiting them on Sunday or even Monday morning - catching up as it were. Ultimately, I appreciate that folks are involved, and commenting, but I want to give something back.

So, this week the goal is listening. Everybody talks about two ears, one mouth and such right... I wonder how many keep that in mind on a day to day basis.

I'd like to think I'm not a bad listener, but I want to be a really great listener. I know some great listeners. I want to be like them.

I want to hear the things folks want me to hear.

What do you want me to hear?

And just for kicks - riffing off a series of Q&A posts my friend Cammie is currently working on, I am wondering if there are things you'd like to know or topics you'd like to discuss?

Ask away...

I'm listening.


Cat said...

Listening is good, but if you never speak, you're not really a participant. You might be an observer, a lurker and maybe even a stalker if all you do is listen.

You're an extrovert. I say embrace your exuberance and speak!

Jim Brochowski said...

I agree Cat. I don't think listening means not speaking at all, but it does mean speaking when it's appropriate.

I haven't completely shut my mouth this week - not by any stretch, and I don't plan on to.

I'm just taking a pause to be sure I remember that I'm not the only one talking.

largesse said...

Hey, Jimmer, as you know, I have always thought of you as a good listener. Part of what gives me that impression is that you respond with insightful questions or comments. Otherwise, I wouldn't feel that you had heard me or understood. So, I agree with Cat and add that good listening requires responding.

You asked about topics, too. I wonder if there were times you were impressed with a listener, and what it was exactly that impressed you. Or, conversely, what impressed you as really poor listening. No names in the latter case, of course. ;-)

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks largesse. That's a really nice thing to say, and I agree - responding is of the utmost importance.

By asking your questions, you've also made me realize that both of you have given me material for another post.

Here I was conjuring up a "Where I learn things" post, and I'm right here learning things in my own comments.

You ladies rock!

Anonymous said...

It is great to center ourselves from time to time with the admission that we are not the center of the universe. I think that one can only get to that point after they turn 40 (at least that's how long it took me).
The funny thing is that it is really quite liberating when you realize that you do not have to speak all the time. I tend to think that silence is a really effective mode of communication. Usually the less you talk, the more the other person does (nature hates a vacuum).
There was a certain "peace" to you post that made me imagine that this effort was restful for you...that is very good!

Cammie said...

it is good to listen from time to time. that is what I keep telling my kids.

What do I want to know about you....

hmmmmm. if you could be anything at all in the world (career wise, not like spider man or something) what would you be?

Jim Brochowski said...

"nature hates a vacuum"

I'm counting on that Perry. There was a certain peace when I was finished, and I'm very appreciative that I got the message across that I had planned on. The original drafts all seemed very narcissistic, which certainly is not my message at all.

I truly appreciate, (and agree with) your feedback.

Cammie - I preach the same to my girls. Be good listeners. This will make you an effective communicator. That is a good thing. They are good listeners, but they still seem to talk a lot. I guess that means they're also just like me.

Career eh? Okay, I'll start working on that answer. Thanks for asking.