Saturday, October 26, 2019

Put it on the bike rack

This is about LISTENING for your distractions.

bikes are hard to draw.  Lots and lots of practice...
Often times, one of the best practices in meetings is to have a bike rack (aka parking lot) to park anything that side-tracks you from your focus.  This not only helps the conversation/project/your thoughts or work stay in the forefront of your attention, AND it enables you (and the group) to honor the side-track as a potentially meaningful topic that you can spend time thinking/discussing when it is YOUR intention rather than allowing constantly distracted thoughts or conversation topics.

During my innovation training, I learned that it's important to honor these connections that happen in the brain, it's called "in and out thinking" and part of your natural creative thinking process, don't try to shut down distractions or connections, but rather write them down because there is often great genius in these connections.

If you are one of those "constant interrupter" listeners, this will be especially helpful for you to stay focused when you are listening to others, park the random thought with a simple word or doodle, it lets you come back "in" to listening, and honors your brain's

Use your bike rack, it's there for you!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Listen to yourself: Explore 3 paths to building your Masterpiece

The most rewarding and creative masterpiece you can work on is YOURSELF.
creative projects bring me joy

Keep sculpting, weaving, adding colors, kneading as you fine-tune the best possible version of yourself you can create.  This is like exercise for your spirit and soul.

Here are 3 P's as paths to explore and cultivate your best possible gift to the world.

1. PASSION: Listen to yourself when you describe your very best day, what were you doing?  How did you feel?  Why did you feel the passion on that day?  This question can help you identify the activities and environment in which you can thrive and grow, also known as being in the FLOW  (as I learned from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)  How can you invite more of this passion into your life where you can tap into that magical feeling of flow?

2. POWER: Listen to your strengths to borrow from the talented and inspirational Marcus Buckingham, "do you have the chance to use your strengths every day?"  First of all, can you acknowledge and list your strengths?  Which strengths are the ones that people come to you for support, guidance, and mentorship?  Which strengths are ones that you enjoy using the most?  There is such power in focusing, amplifying and using your strengths vs obsessively focusing your energy on your gaps or weaknesses.  Find opportunities to share your strengths in your profile, headlines, online information, and when you are networking.  The more you get to use these, the stronger and more motivated you can fuel your masterpiece.

3. Listening to PURPOSE - Most of us these days are seeking opportunities to find greater purpose in our lives, work, and actions.

  •  Seth Godin, "instead of looking for your purpose, live your purpose"
  • Julia Butterfly Hill, “We call it ‘finding your own true north’– like on a compass. In production-driven societies, we’re tricked into believing that true north is outside of us. So we’re constantly looking outside ourselves to figure out if this is the right job, the right house, the right relationship, the right subject to be studying. But our true north is invariably inside us …if we do what we love to do, what we’re inspired to do, what we believe in, it creates an entirely different response.”
  • "What unique gift in this universe wants to manifest itself in or through me?"  15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

Above all else, be open to listening to, learning from, and noticing about yourself.   
Use this compassionate self-awareness to fuel the ongoing growth of your perfectly unique masterpiece.
  • Susan Sontag, “I must change my life, so that I can live it, not wait for it.”

Friday, October 18, 2019

Responsive Listening is letting go of CONTROL says M.Nichols

I just finished the book The Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols and while I was not crazy about his rambly writing or therapy-patient-heavy anecdotes, I did find it to be full of truths about the challenges we have in being good listeners.

The core concepts in this book are solid and his activities to try at the end of each chapter are worth looking at to find practical ideas to try to shift your behavior.

The title of this blog post is one of M.Nichols' comments about listening during conflict/debate/disagreement.  He talks about how we tend to go back and forth to defend our position, often cutting the other person off.  When we are in debate, do you try to win?  Do you try to convince the other person to change their mind because of your brilliant forceful reasoning?

M.Nichols suggests that we can first listen and fully hear the person out, even when we don't agree or can't relate.  This is more about conveying curiosity, genuine interest in where the other person is coming from, and it is NOT EASY!  He describes this as Responsive Listening which requires relinquishing control over the outcome/conversation and staying open and curious.  This requires taking a GENUINE INTEREST in the person.

The next time you are in a debate/disagreement, consider trying to ask more open-ended questions to increase your understanding and compassion for the other person's perspective, opinion, and position.  The author suggests we even wait until another day to convey OUR position....I'm not sure I would be capable of this, but I have been working on debating from a place of personal passion and conviction, without having the goal of "winning" or convincing the other person to change their mind and the result has been less elevated emotions and more personal connection, even when we vehemently disagree.

Who will you try this with?  (Warning: partners, offspring and parents are extra-credit challenging for most of us!  I find that casual friends or work colleagues have been where I've had better initial success)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

L.I.S.T.E.N...why is Listening for Everything???

Listening for Everything

Who comes to mind when you think about a really good listener in your life?

This blog is dedicated to those of us who want to work to become this person, and we know that we are far from it.

I thought about calling this "listening for narcissists" but then I didn't want to:

a. admit to being a narcissist

b. discourage thoughtful and compassionate and empathetic people that might think that this was written for them.

c. Miss the opportunity to reach as many humans as possible

I realized that listening skills were going to help EVERYONE with EVERYTHING!

Try this out:   
Think for a moment about something ANYTHING (death, love, parenthood, leadership, traffic, taxes, exercise, siblings.....seriously think of something.....)  now, think for a moment about how an improvement in listening could improve the outcome of this thing......if you are arguing or struggling to make this connection, perhaps you are not listening.

Early in my career as a buyer, I was presenting at a product approval meeting in front of 100 of my colleagues and leaders.  My CEO challenged my ideas and strategies, and each time, I was quick with an answer.  After a couple of back-and-forth challenge/solve volleys, this CEO interrupted me with, "Tres, L.I.S.T.E.N.,  I just want you to listen"   I finally got it.  

I hope that you don't need to experience this kind of demoralizingly impactful feedback, but I hope that you find your way here (and back here) if you are willing to embark on this journey with me.

I am eager to bring this topic via interactive public speaking to a group near you.  I haven't yet met a group, team, community, or partnership that hasn't benefitted from improved listening skills, and I am ready to do this work with you.

With a promise to bring energy, enthusiasm, research, and my own stories as a living witness to this work and the beautifully rewarding benefits of improving,

Tres Jiménez
Facilitator, Coach, Public Speaker

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Questions are tools that enable you to LISTEN

One of the best tools for listening can be a collection of great open-ended questions.

The guy on the right is a great listener (when he is not lost in jacksplaining)
Consider having a go-to question to use when you first meet someone that is a break from the typical, "how are you doing?" or "what do you do?" 
Designer colleague Patrick Robinson asked me, "how's your world?" and it was just enough to shift away from cliche.

Share your go-to in the comments!

Here is a sampling of questions to spark your creativity:
  • What brought you here?
  • What excites you right now?
  • When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?
  • What are you reading currently?
  • What’s the first concert you attended?
  • Where do you most hope to visit?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What's your favorite word or number (or animal) and why?
  • What was your first job?
  • What's one thing you're excited about that's coming up next year?
  • What was the worst job you've ever had?
  • What was your favorite subject in school?
  • What’s your little-known talent?
  • What’s the most important thing I should know about you?
Below the Surface:
  • If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?
  • What's one thing your family taught you that completely changed your life?
  • What’s been on your mind lately?
  • What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
  • What's one of your favorite memories?
  • What's one thing about you that surprises people?
  • Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?
  • What was something you've done that made you feel extreme happiness?
  • What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
  • If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  • Where is your happy place?
  • What energizes you and brings you excitement?
  • What qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time?
  • For what would you be famous?
  • What does your dream day look like?
  • If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
  • What’s your guilty pleasure?
  • At what job would you be terrible?
  • If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose?
Going Deep -
  • What is a dream you have that you’ve yet to achieve?
  • What's something you say you'll do, but never will?
  • Has anything ever happened to you that you could not, and cannot, explain?
  • What is one thing about you that people misunderstand?
  • For what are you most grateful today?
  • If you could have one 'do over' in your life, what would you do differently?
  • Of what are you most afraid?