Your Way to Greatness: ----By
Dr. Joe Rubino
you listen for determines what you get from your conversations.
Too often, we listen in a casual or unfocused way
and come away with little. We often find ourselves
listening to our own thoughts and internal chatter
instead of to what the person is saying. Let's examine
a few ways you can get more by listening for more.
for the greatness in others.
A characteristic that powerful people possess is the
ability to empower others to be their best. This is
the ability to see things in others that they do not
yet see clearly in themselves while creating the space
for them to recognize this potential and rise to the
challenge. It's about seeing others as great without
any attachment that they live up to your expectations.
We instead, typically listen from our opinions and
judgments. Listening this way filters out what is
actually said and impacts what we are able to hear.
How we see others - as powerful or ineffective, intelligent
or slow-witted, insightful or with little to contribute
- has everything to do with what we get from conversations
with them. When we hold others as great we empower
them to become so. Getting the most out of others
- our spouses, families, friends, co-workers, employees
etc. - is made more likely if we consider them to
have the potential to be greater than they see themselves.
This is the Pygmalion effect. By listening to people
as though they already are magnificent, those positive
qualities we expect to see in them readily show up.
As we champion them to excel, they become aware of
possibilities in themselves they did not previously
Listening to others routinely in this way enables
them to gain confidence and strength until they see
themselves as powerfully capable of producing whatever
effect they desire.
You have the gift to empower everyone who comes into
your life. Likewise everyone has the same gift to
contribute to you. Interact with others with the expectation
that they have come to receive this gift of empowerment
from you. Your job is to discover what that looks
Through your listening to contribute to others, they
give the greatest gift possible back to you. They
have supported you to become the person you have chosen
to be on purpose.
----Listening for what others
might contribute to you:
If you enter into each conversation expecting to hear
something of value you can utilize, you will likely
come away with that very thing. While generating this
listening is easy with someone you consider to be
powerful or insightful, it will require returning
yourself to your commitment to listen with a positive
expectation when his or her speaking does not reflect
For example, if you typically listen to others in
an impatient way - hurry up and get to the point -
you will need to remind yourself of your commitment
to stay present in a conversation with a slow and
deliberate speaker. Remember, someone's style of speaking
may have little to do with what you can garner from
----Listening for what is
important to others:
By putting yourself in the other person's world and
developing an appreciation for his or her values and
concerns, it is much easier to understand why they
think, speak and act the way they do.
Misunderstandings that might have resulted in confrontation
or lack of affinity are replaced with an empathy that
allows for exploration of common ground. When you
can hear the commitments of others, you act with a
compassion that results from your interest in what
it's like for them to be who they are.
----Listening with something
What we get from a conversation is often a function
of what we have at stake. To illustrate this point,
contrast how you typically listen to pre-flight safety
instructions given by a flight attendant before take
off. If you are like the rest of us, you're probably
not really paying attention to what is said. You're
probably either reading or distracted, figuring the
chances of the plane crashing are slim to none. Besides,
you've heard it all so many times before!
Compare this to a situation where, half way through
the flight, the attendant announces that the engines
have failed and the plane is going down. With your
life at stake, you listen to the instructions like
you have never listened before. Your listening is
directly related to what you are listening for.
To gain the maximum amount from every conversation,
listen from the viewpoint that everyone has something
to share that is of great value.
Your intent is to get it regardless of who the person
is, how powerful you consider him to be, no matter
what his style of speaking.
Listening for value in EVERY conversation will provide
you with unending insights that you would not get
from listening with less at stake.
for the good intentions of others:
Another valuable listening involves coming from the
assumption that everyone operates from what they consider
to be good intentions. I am NOT saying that this is
necessarily true. It is simply an empowering interpretation
to support you in your relationships. This can be
particularly valuable when the evidence strongly suggests
A highly controversial, extreme example is to consider
that someone as evil and deranged as Adolph Hitler
operated from what was to him the best of intentions.
This is not to condone his horrible actions. It is
merely to illustrate a point. When you step into another
person's world and attempt to see things as they do,
it is possible to imagine that they have acted from
Listening in this way allows you to come up with an
interpretation that supports the possibility of your
relationship with the person. This perspective may
support you at times and perhaps not at other times.
It is entirely up to you to use as just another tool
in your toolbox to maximize your effectiveness with
For the Greatness In Others
the next 30 days, practice any or all of the following
empower others to realize their greatness
hear how they might contribute value to you
appreciate their commitments and concerns and
what it's like to be them
something significant at stake (perhaps your relationship
to the other person)
hear the good intentions of the other person
your journal, note any insights or possibilities
that were created by listening to others in these
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