Deep listening used to be an issue for me. If I’m honest, I would listen just enough to confirm that my preconceptions and presumptions were true. This was especially true in my professional life.
As a coach, I would often, like most rookie trainers, only hear the parts of a client’s conversations that I could ‘fix’ for them, whilst ignoring any that didn’t match up to my ‘truths’ about the world…
“I hear that you want to fitter and healthier, so my recommendation is that you count calories, workout, and lose weight”. Job done. But the bits of the conversation I rarely heard were, “I don’t want to lose weight”, or “I don’t want to restrict my diet”, “I’m already very healthy, I just want to be fitter”, “gyms are boring, what else can you suggest?”.
Those parts weren’t important to me at the time, and not worth listening to. They didn’t match up to what I, at that time, assumed to be true. My professional bubble with its walls made of ‘calories in calories out’ advice was safe and comfy. But those parts were the life-changing parts; life-changing for both the clients and for me, and I just didn’t hear them. They contained the truth of the conversation, and I missed them because I wasn’t prepared to surrender and be wrong about my ‘truth’.
It’s ok though, I eventually learned how to hear. Each conversation is a chance to surrender to the potential of being proved wrong, and therefore the opportunity to change for the better, and I know that now.