Allow Others To Be Your Teacher

Not Knowing Everything
In our profession, we tend to believe we should have all the answers. While intellectually we know this is impossible, we can get defensive if someone tries to tell us something we are not quite ready to hear.

Defensiveness Harms Us All
It is this same defensiveness others have when we try to "enlighten" them. When we tell others something or try to get others to change, we meet resistance, and we return their defensiveness with our defensiveness.  All of this happens in micro-seconds and often, without our awareness.  But we transmit our feelings with our body movements, microscopically, that the other person picks up subconsciously.  It can be a series of minute body movements of the eye, lips, shoulders, breathing, hands . . .

I have digressed a little - but I know you've read enough about psychology that you know what I am referring to. It's just that we forget these points when we are meeting with clients, peers, manager and even our family members.

Becoming "Enlightened"
We have to become even more "enlightened" in our jobs and roles. The ability to listen is one thing. The ability to suspend judgement is quite another.  The ability to suspend judgement and not leap to labeling this item as good or bad, true or false, expensive or cheap, etc., can be critical to becoming better in our roles and work.

If you can walk away from this with the thought "I will listen deeply and allow new contradictory information to flow into my mind without judgement or evaluation, so I may learn something new" is the critical thought pattern that allows you to go from good to great.

Suspend Judgment
We should allow others to be our teachers.  This doesn't mean that we have to accept everything they say, but it truly is to our advantage to listen to them and see if what they are telling us is important and of value.  And determining if this is important and of value does not have to be decided right then and there in the moment as they are telling us this.

A Side Benefit
A side benefit of listening and suspending judgement other than that of learning something new which in and of itself is of great value is the fact that it makes the other person feel good. Yes. When we listen, the other person's self-esteem goes up. They will want to communicate with us more, they will feel better about themselves and therefore be more confident in their work. And when we listen, the other person tends to listen to us.

Amazing. Can it be that simple? Yes. Most of the time it is that simple.

Allow others to teach you. It is usually when we are in a rush and can't listen that we cause harm. Or it is because our self-esteem is low (permanently or just for that moment) that we refuse to listen and evaluate the information as wrong, bad, incorrect, etc.

I hope you listened and suspended judgement upon reading  this today!

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