Thursday, November 29, 2012
From The Observation Tower
I can work a room like Oprah, but the difficulty would come in talking one-on-one. I'd developed some bad habits and I've been working hard at "being interested not interesting". Oh, and to stop interrupting. On the whole interrupting thing, well, I'm doing better. And I know notice these behaviors more in others than I have before. Take the holidays, I now know where I learned these habits - we all talk at once and we step all over one another. That gives me hope that these tendencies are just habit and that I can stem the tide. In addition to working on changing my behavior, I'm also working on cutting myself a lot of slack. I try not to spend time beating myself up over what I might have said or what I did say.
All of this to say, when I shut up and listen rather than do all the talking, people tell you who they are. I think they've always done this, I just never listened. A conversation with me in the old days was like taking a drink from a firehose. Once I started, it was hard for me to rein in and I just kept going and going. Case in point, I'm hosting a surfer for a couple of days, a traveling artist whose work, it turns out, I really like. He (yes, it's a man of my age and he comes with all sorts of references) is traveling throughout the west doing a photo-book on cowboy culture and I practically live in the mecca of such. So I got to practice one-on-one communication without pressure last evening. I practice making and keeping eye contact, listening and asking questions and not having any of it be about me. I could see/feel the progress I am making in this area.
Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. People will tell us who they are/where they are if we listen.