The Elements of “Listen Well”
Think of the relationships in your life as stories. Each one has many settings, characters, challenges, and victories. All these stories have a beginning, middle, and end. For example, when you were in the 6th grade, there were many stories happening at the same time. One, is how you related to the kids in your class. Another is about the interaction you had with a teacher. There is even a story of how you related to your parents when you got home from school, which influenced the outcome of your 6th grade year.
A moment in your story could have been about how you learned to master long division, how you struggled in science, the kind of friendships you made with the other students, or how you reacted to some feedback you had from your teacher. Each one of those moments had factors that contributed to the successful or not so successful outcome.
If a story has a successful outcome, then we call that a story of BREAKTHROUGH, and if the story has an unsuccessful outcome, then we call that, a story of BREAKDOWN.
Everyday we might have multiple moments of BREAKTHROUGH and BREAKDOWN. For instance, when a student reaches a grade where they’re issued a hall locker for the first time. A challenge they face is to learn how to open the locker. That story reveals how simple and often we experience the opportunity for a BREAKTHROUGH vs. BREAKDOWN moment. These moments are all around us, all the time, and some of them have much greater significance than others, such as when a family’s story comes to the moment of BREAKDOWN known as DIVORCE.
Learning to “Listen Well” helps you to hear and see the details that played a role in the outcome of your story. It also, invites and empowers you to play an interactive role in your own story, so that you are not a passive bystander. It equips you with tools that use the information you heard in your story as a means to make effective adjustments, and increases the likelihood that your story will be a story of BREAKTHROUGH, instead of a story of BREAKDOWN!
We have tried to synthesized the process of learning to “Listen Well” into three simple overarching elements, which you can find listed below:
Commit to Reflection
- Your main goal when you’re reflecting is to slow down long enough to think about who you are and what is most important.
- Spend time asking questions that help you clarify your priorities, personal values, and try to visualize your future.
- This can be done in many different ways. For example, reflection can be done by brainstorming, talking with a mentor, or keeping a journal.
Define your Targets
- Take the insights from your time of reflection, and use it to establish clearly defined targets that you think will help make your vision come to life.
- Spend effort trying to hit the targets you’ve established.
- Create a method to track your successes and failures at hitting your targets.
- Use the feedback you got from your reflections and the effort you spent attempting to hit the targets you were aiming at.
- Look for patterns in your behavior, the behavior of others, and the environment your efforts took place in to see what factors influenced the results you got.
- Look for any strategic adjustments that you could make, identify potential barriers, and make a breakthrough plan to help you achieve or maintain the intent of your vision.
To “Listen Well”, it is not a three step, one and done procedure. It is a process of ongoing personal development. This looping process will refine you over time and help you live a life of continual growth. In it you will learn to discover who you are and why God made you.