Monday, February 1, 2016

#Mondayblogs: #New Month, New Challenge #BetheChange

So it's February and in keeping with my 2016 Power Project, it's time for a new challenge. This month's focus will be The Power of Listening. Again you might be thinking, "Kory, you just did the Power of Letting Go, why another passive power? Where's the ass kicking?!?"

Well, my ankle is still sprained little padawan, so the ass kicking hasn't commenced yet. Okay? OKAY? But really, if you don't see the value in listening and still think that living powerfully is all about the knives and black belts, then this Power Project is for you!

You may want to start with the Power of Letting Go though, as it seems like you might still have some assumptions about what power truly is.

So back to listening and why I'm dedicating a whole month to it.

First of all, as people we are pretty terrible listeners. We only hear about 25% of what is said to us and as you can imagine this leads to a lot of problems. More interestingly, a lot of people believe that listening is very important, but also suffer from the delusion that they don't need to improve their own hearing because they are so awesome.

I am not one of those people. While I've been told I'm a good listener, I think I can be a lot better, so I've decided to dedicate February to learning how to listen to people. 

As you can imagine there are a lot of benefits to listening well:

*Great listeners make great leaders (power!)
*Great listeners are better at resolving conflict in a way that benefits all those involved (power!)
*Great listening fosters cohesive bonds, commitment, and trust. It makes you a better friend and partner. And is an aid in forming lasting alliances. (power!)
*Listening more than you speak puts you in a powerful position. (power!)
*Listening really well helps you to understand people and their motivations, giving you the upperhand in many situations. (power!)

Now I know those last two in particular seem a little malevolent, but I'm only advocating that we use our powers for good, padawan! So for this month, I intend to do a lot of reading of articles, books and watching of TedTalks to get a sense of listening techniques--and of course PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! 

Since I have 85 students that I talk to five days a week, a partner, and a circulating group of friends, I will have PLENTY of opportunities to practice.

But I'm not focusing on verbal listening as well.

I also intend to throw visual listening into the mix. That's right! I want to also learn how to be a good "listener" (reader) of body language and nonverbal cues. In this regard, I'm starting with two Paul Ekman books, Emotions Revealed and Telling Lies. 

And there's a third component too, behind listening to others' words and "listening" to others' bodies--I also want to explore listening to one's self.

People can be as dismissive of their own voices as they are other people's. So I'm hoping that as I learn to listen to others better, I also get a little better at listening to myself.

This seems like a very ambitious challenge for the shortest month of the year, but I think it's absolutely important to The Power Project.

So let's get started!

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