How do you tie a shoe? You could probably show someone. Maybe you could even write down detailed instructions. But I’d struggle with that.
“First, cross these two laces. Then, make a loop… Oh, forget it. Let me just show you.”
That’s the great thing about our bodies. Over time, we can build habits where we are able to do important things without thinking. We outsource complex tasks like driving to our bodies every day with remarkable success.
Like any repeatable pattern, listening is a set of habits. We get really good at how we use our minds and bodies, our emotions and relational antennae until we outsource listening to our bodies. That works well when those habits are helpful. It gets in the way when the habits stink.
The good news? Like any set of habits, we can learn pro-level listening habits. It takes practice. It takes intention. That means you have to know why it’s worth it. You have to learn the inside-out habits of listening, of turning toward others with your whole person.
But once you do, you’ll light up. People around you will feel like you have their back. They’ll engage with you and your ideas more. You’ll get more good stuff done. And we’ll be cheering.