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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.
Welcome to this month’s Tap Into Trust topic
Each month through 2021, I’ve made a commitment to Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around The World (TAA-TAW) to research and explore a specific topic that focuses on how trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal life.
I will be using the acronym TAP INTO TRUST which is an initiative from TAA-TAW.
Each letter in the acronym TAP INTO TRUST represents a one-word topic. Here’s the video for Episode 10 on Understanding (or … as you’ll see on one of my slides I like to spell it as Understnading … ooops. (If you’d rather read than watch, the transcript is below).
This month’s topic is on Understanding
Here’s an aspirational action-based statement for you to use this month as you think about and apply this information and strategies on the topic of Understanding:
I celebrate success. I acknowledge and examine my failures and learn from both with forgiveness and grace.
In the late Stephen R. Covey’s highly acclaimed book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, the fifth habit is this:
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Seeking first to understand is not as easy as it might seem.
Understanding from Two Perspectives
I like to consider this from two perspectives. The first is based on the ancient Greek philosophy encouraging us to “know thyself” and the second is to have a genuine intention to understand others.
To know oneself is to understand and accept that we are not perfect. We have certain strengths as well as weaknesses. We have skills and talents. We will experience success and failure and we will experience a range of human emotions.
The more we choose to understand ourselves, to reflect on our values, our intentions, our promises, our actions, and our results, the more equipped we will be to understand others.
Understanding and Character Strengths
Research into character strengths show that being aware of and understanding your character strengths, and importantly, looking for ways to practice and apply your strengths in your professional and personal life, is linked to increased progress toward goal achievement, and a wide range of positive impacts to your well-being and life satisfaction.
In particular, understanding and applying your character strengths has been shown to increase your sense of self-determination, which is a key ingredient for self-trust.
So, seeking first to understand starts with understanding ourselves, then it is also about understanding others.
Empathic listening is just one of the ways we can become more skilled at understanding others.
Just be careful here … empathic listening is not just listening to what the other person is saying so that you can jump in and say something like “oh… yes I know how you feel, I’ve experienced this too… let me tell you about my experience.”
Have you ever had someone do that to you?
Do you think you might have fallen into that trap of being that person?
Empathic listening means genuinely putting yourself out of the picture and trying very hard to understand as best you can, just how the other person is feeling … what they’re experiencing, given who they are and their specific situation.
Covey explains empathic listening in this way:
“In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart.”
Understanding and Intention
Empathic listening starts with your intention to understand others and your intention to want to help them find ways to make life better for them in some way.
Here the science is important too.
What we know is when you genuinely try to understand others, when you start with a clear intention to want to listen empathically, to understand them and to help them find ways to make life better for them, not only is the outcome going to be good for the other person, but reciprocity kicks in and ignites neural chemicals in your brain that make you feel good, increases your focus, increases your clarity and increases your creativity.
Understanding and Diversity
We live In a world where we are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of diversity and being able to tap into a range of cultures, experiences, ideas and perspectives to help solve problems both large and small.
It just makes sense to have a genuine and applied positive intention to understand yourself and others, and when you do, you’re clearly creating a platform where you can develop the confidence and control required for self-trust; you can develop your courage and collaboration that’s required to trust-others. And you develop your character, competence and consistency that’s required to earn others’ trust.
So, for this next month and beyond, set a clear and applied positive intention to understand yourself and others. Catch yourself when you find your mind wandering when others are talking and refocus your energy and intention with empathic listening.
That’s it for this month’s topic on Understanding. Next month’s topic is on Safety. So, until then, my very best to you.