know how to listenFor many years, I convinced myself I was a good listener.

I sincerely believed I deeply listened to what people were trying to say— I dug in between the words and into the their body language and I packed up what they said, along with all the non verbal stuff and formulated a story line.

I thought I often knew better than they did what they were trying to say.

I thought that’s what a good listener was.

Often, the story was what I needed it to be– adapting it to my point of view, making it conform with my personal judgements about things regardless if that was actually true.

One day, I was listening to someone and I realized that all I was really doing was waiting my turn… patiently looking for my entrance, formulating what I was going to say, how I could get noticed, how I’d sound interesting and engaged and impactful.

As awareness often does,  it allowed me to see “listening” happening everywhere– people waiting for the opportunity to be heard…   SEE ME!  NOTICE ME!  HEAR ME!

In many conversations, all involved are each just waiting their turns to be recognized.

Awareness is such a life altering gift— I immediately, intentionally practiced listening and not trying to be heard, not formulating what I wanted to say, how I could get involved. I worked at just surrendering myself and being present in the moment, to really recognize what was going on and allow things to reveal themselves more naturally.

With lots of practice, I made an authentic shift.  It was a powerful transformation personally and professionally.

But that only got me so far….

After great personal exploration, I recognized the next battle was with my judgement—  instead of really listening to people, instead of sincerely validating what they were saying and recognizing the importance of whatever it was, I would sit and listen to them and judge nearly everything they said.

Judgement isn’t entirely bad– in fact, I rely on it heavily.  As my leadership skills grow, I learn to trust my judgement more, not less..

But judging is a delicate thing…and depending on the situation, my judgement of a person interrupts or alters my ability to hear them almost instantly.

I can’t help it–  the way someone looks, they way the carry themselves, how they present themselves–a million things determine my opinion of someone.   I will hear them differently depending on if those million things are in alignment with my personal version of awesome.

I think this is a universal truth, however I’ve been wrong enough times to recognize that judgement can come with a hefty price tag.

I once had what I thought was a homeless guy walk in and spend millions of dollars with me over the next decade….  I’ve had countless people I chalked up as complete jokes blow me away with their wisdom, devotion to service, incredible genius.

My judgement ALWAYS guides me.   Often to a great place, and, nearly as often, having me miss a bunch of beautiful things and people and vibe along the way because of bullshit assumptions my mind just makes up.

Deep listening for me came when I set aside my judgement for a period of time to ensure my judgmental mind wasn’t misleading me.

That pause, even a brief one, has opened up the entire world….. incredible people I’d never have found, beautiful places I would have never seen, wild adventure and deep joy I would have missed.

I know God’s in the people, even though I forget all the time.

And, I know everyone is a teacher, everyone is my Guru.

Seek and ye shall find, right?


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  • Kim13

    I’m so afraid to admit that you just described ME to a tee…I guess we are all a work in progress.

  • Jenny Wolf

    Thank You so much, really needed to hear this from another point of view. I’m a TV host and realize I do the same thing….I need to actually listen to who is speaking and what they are saying then I don’t need to plan my next line. The conversation will flow naturally. I’ve noticed I’ve been tuning in more, since I’ve been more aware lately switching from vegan to raw vegan:) but step two is vital…non judgement when we do listen. Thank you again….made me a better host and person! Sat Nam

    • Tyler Lewke

      Hey Jenny- I’m so glad. A friend recently taught me a mantra he uses to begin his everyday: Through me, not from me. Makes all the sense in the world to me _/_ Wishing you all the merits.