The world got turned upside down in 2020. The way we work, the way our children are schooled, the way we play. The things we have taken for granted, like a hug, walking in the park with a friend, or meeting our colleagues in person, are now on hold.

We soldier on because that’s what there is to do. But for me and many of the people whom I have spoken with, that soldiering on comes with a cost, and one of the costs, is the art of listening.

Yes, I am defining listening as an art form, as a quality. It is an art to be able to listen to one another without distortion. Art, to be able to listen to another without comparison. Art, to be able to listen to our children, our parents, and spouse, without adding our own interpretations and meanings to their words.

Can you consider that we rarely listen to anybody? Our listening is full.

Full of conclusions, opinions, and knowledge that distort what’s being said for the people we are there for, for the people we love.

I am not here to give you another technique. I am here to remind us that if we listen with an intention to really “get” what the other person is saying — to not add, prescribe, or solve –  but just to get them, then something becomes available in those moments.

This kind of listening, which we all have demonstrated at one time or another, requires care, attention, and affection.

We have survived 2020. Yet, we know that the new year will bring challenges, questions, and opportunities that our businesses have never faced before. How will we greet them? How will we respond? How will we rebuild, adapt, change? In 2021, in order to transform our work and our lives into something bigger and more meaningful than we could have previously imagined, let’s start by making this kind of listening a priority for all the people in our lives. Who knows what might emerge?

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