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Active listening

This week we watched a TED Talk titled “How to build (and rebuild) trust” presented by Frances Frei. About halfway through she discusses how empathy is a mainstay of trust. She explains how we get so busy, we start to look at people as a distraction. But when we start to view people with a focus, we can build trust towards others, and they can build trust towards us.

*Que an Adam back in my day flashback’ with wavy lines… (upside down triangle)

I was a sophomore at WT, I was working at an Amarillo tourist trap as a limo driver. I remember one night I was talking to one of the owners, and then without saying a word, he just turned around and walked away. That stuck with me in life. I never trusted him after that. Years later, he ended up showing up at the restaurant I was working. I found myself going through the regular motions of small talk, but I had no interest in talking to him. I understand what that one experience did to me. I used to find myself hyper-focusing on my projects when people were talking to me, and even though I used to be good at doing both, I now wonder if it made people feel shut out. As I have gotten older, it’s harder to do that. I must stop what I am doing to listen to people, or I don’t hear the spaces in between the words they say.

Because of my past experiences, I know how important it is to live in the now and feel how our actions can affect others. At the same time, I have learned to put a boundary on my time at work and speak up to say, “You’ll have to excuse me, I need to get back to work now.” I feel like a jerk when I say that aloud. No matter how much I try to smile when I say it, it rarely comes out nice. And other times I must remind myself that the ‘inbox’ to my left is no one else’s responsibility but my own. So, after watching the "Ethics in Leadership" video, I understand that I’ve had to grow into setting my own ground rules about my own time.

I realized a long time ago that if I’m having to stay late to finish work, then I need to zero in on what is keeping me from completing my work during the time I am scheduled. It’s great to have a culture that values spending time with one another, but for me, I notice when values have shifted to getting my work finished so that I can go home and do ALL the things I need to do there …. ugh, I’ve truly become my parents.

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