How to be a good listener

good listener

I learned something really interesting about myself this weekend. Well if I’m being completely honest I actually already knew. So maybe I shall say that I confirmed something this weekend.

Mike and I attended a workshop this weekend, focused on love and relationships. We delved into boundaries, being ok with saying no, communication tools, conflict and the needs we are filling by re-occurring cycles. We learned about authenticity – how to be authentic and allow your partner to also be authentic because relationships deserve authenticity. And we learned how to listen.

Now throughout the weekend Mike and I were usually separated and always working with new partners on different exercises. But for this exercise we worked together. And this is when my confirmation finally processed.

In this exercise we looked at our partner while they told a story. And the point of the exercise was to be a BAD listener. To do all the things that irritate and frustrate us when we’re talking to someone.

You know them. The critical listener – when you correct them on their grammar, criticize their body movements. The ‘all about me’ listener – when you turn everything that they say into something about you. The distracted listener - when you look at the car driving by behind them, pick fuzz off their shirt, look down and scroll through your phone. And the constantly interrupting listener – where you aren’t leaving space to actually listen and always thinking of what to say next, maybe finishing their sentences off for them, not allowing them to fully express themselves.

And you know what was sad? Being a bad listener to my husband was actually really easy for me. I consider myself a good listener, except for when it comes to one of the most important people in my life – my husband.

Throughout the exercise, I interrupted him to tell him he had dry skin on his face. When he was excited about something, I interrupted him and told him something about myself that was similar. Because we were in a safe space, I actually laughed and said this is really easy and he replied, “I know you do it all the time.”

And I couldn’t argue. But I did wonder why. Why do I listen the least to the person whose opinion and support matters the most to me out of anyone else in my life. And I realized that it’s because I take him for granted sometimes. I think he’ll always be there. It’s his job to listen to me. He has to love me – all of me. But why would I expect that of him and not give it fully back to him?

So tonight I made a vow to myself. To my marriage. To my husband. To listen. To really, truly listen. To close the laptop, put down my phone, sit down, look him in the eye and truly take in what he wants to share with me. Because he deserves to be heard and one day I might find myself wondering why he never tells me things anymore.

- Laura

 

Top 4 Tips For Productive Business & Life

"Knowing when to stay in your lane". It's a saying that I've been using a lot lately. A lesson that I have recently learned while rebranding for larocque life. Knowing when to get a professional to come in and join the team to get an awesome result. The more I think about it, this lesson can be applied to a lot more situations in life. 

1. Save Time & Money - Sometimes it's hard to see this one right away. Professionals can be expensive, really expensive. Myself included have had the mindset that I'll just do this myself and save a ton of money. Meanwhile, I forgot the biggest life lesson there is, "time is the only thing you can't get back". No one can put a monetary value on time. In most cases - I say MOST - it takes twice as long or longer to do it ourselves. Between the huge learning curves and then getting caught up in perfection (in our minds anyway), we can lose track of time and waste it away. 

2. Save Headache & Heartache - Like I said with the huge learning curves there can be a lot of headaches involved that are easily avoidable. I have spent hours and hours doing something only to not liking what I created and never use it. Or the heartache side of things where I put countless hours into a project and really get "tunnel vision", only to have my creation torn to pieces by anyone I get to review it. 

3. Professional Touch - I really noticed this one when it came to our website. I made one site that I spent a ton of time on. Became so married to the site that I felt the need to defend it anytime someone had a criticism or suggestion. To be fair, I deep down knew it wasn't very good: certain things I couldn't space properly or react the way I wanted; fonts didn't always match from page to page and for the life of me I couldn't get it. Knowing what colors work together, where certain buttons should be, all these things are best left to a professional. After a short call and a bit of back and forth, she created something we are extremely proud of. 

4. Concentrate On What You're Passionate About - This one is huge!! With my energy and focus off creating a website & branding, I'm free to do a lot more writing (this for example), or taking photos and creating videos. This has been a big weight lifted from me; now having a great site to use as a centurial hub, I can concentrate on creating content & courses for our awesome tribe.

I'm a big believer and practitioner of learning everything I can and doing everything I can. So by no means am I saying "not to try everything", just be careful and recognize when your going down a rabbit hole. 

When it comes to building your business or improving yourself I can relate "stay in your lane" to my construction background. I was the general contractor so I needed to have general knowledge about the whole project, but if you asked me to pipe all the fire sprinkler system to building code I would be "out of my lane." I'm still there to help and support, but I would have the best fire sprinkler system company to do the bulk of the work for me. 

With these 4 tips I have freed myself up to do what I really love as well as having a brand & life that I'm extremely proud of. 

If you need anything or just want to talk. Don't be a stranger. Email me, message me on Facebook or come to London for a visit.  

-Michael