Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Listening Walk

Lately I’ve noticed my increasing loss of direction. I used to think I knew exactly what I wanted, and how it would happen.  Now, I doubt more.  Much more.   As I approach what may very well be the median of my life, this can be unsettling.  It may be from the many distractions due to the variety of roles, and my desire for each of those roles to be performed flawlessly, at least in the eyes of others.  But so many roles in a day…a spouse, a parent, an educator, a leader, a friend, a person…how can I reach my goal of becoming the servant leader I desire to be?

Removing myself from the many roles may be what is needed to remind myself of my true compass.  Not permanently, of course, but momentarily, if not for just minutes each day.  And during that brief moment of self-preservation, the best action I can take may be to assume the role of one that listens.  A recent quote I heard was “listen to understand; not to reply.” 

Sure, listening to others may be a part of that.  Empathetic listening, just for the sake of acknowledgment, does wonders to lift the soul of another.  But the listening I’m referring to is setting time apart to withdraw from the noisy, distracting world.  It requires the need to slow down, and in reverence of your simple being, listen less of what you say and more of what you hear.

Discerning an inner guide is not as difficult was we might believe.  And when we take such an opportunity, we become more aligned with our true compass.  The blurred lines become clear, the everyday challenges become opportunities, and our priorities become evidences of our purpose-driven existence.  The search for meaning and understanding turns our tacit beliefs to explicit behaviors.  With this comes a greater understanding of servant leadership.  To serve others and to lead others, we must also serve the need to connect and be lead by our inner voice, our leadership compass.