Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Learn to Listen

40 Tips To Re-Invent and Re-Launch at Age 40, 50, or Beyond. (Tip #8)

There are always clues on how to find success, if you listen.  This can be difficult for some people to do, especially when they are going through changes in their career. Most of us create the vision of what we want to accomplish in a re-invention, and often this is done with little research or understanding of the industry we want to enter.

Over time the marketplace will show you what it is willing to pay (be it a product, service, or even hiring you for a job), and no amount of wishing and hoping can change the reality.  If you have an idea for a business and nobody will give you money, it will fail.  To get to the answers you seek, you need to listen to people who are experienced in the field.  The ideas of others, while sometimes flawed, might be just what you need to spark your own brilliance.

Some people will give you direct feedback, others may be less forthcoming.  Watching and learning from others who have gone down a similar path is another way to gather information.  And then there is the gossip that takes place behind your back (which always has a way of finding its way to your ears).  No matter how you attain the knowledge, you must not get angry over critical feedback.  The ones who point out the pitfalls and areas you may come up short are providing you with valuable insights.  Nobody is perfect, and to bury your head in the sand and not see your own mistakes will hurt your chances for success.

Of course not all advice is good advice.  Some people are happy to share their opinions (oh heck, most people are willing to share their opinions), even if they have no legitimate experience or insight to a useful point of view.  Others get their own joy from bringing negative news to you or undermining your enthusiasm. Discerning whose input will be helpful and who can cause harm is an important skill.  But either way you are better off when you listen to everyone.

I have struggled with this, as I am one who has a lot of ideas, hopes and dreams. I have jumped to many conclusions in my day, and while often right, I am probably off target the same amount! Yet the more I listen to others, the more I learn and grow my own career.  I have worked hard at improving this skill over the past year, and it has paid off.  New ideas, new product offerings, new clients, new friends, and new experiences have all appeared from my efforts to be a better listener. 

  • When the negative people say your dreams can't happen, listen (but do not take them as the final authority, find a way to prove them wrong).  

  • When a client makes a suggestion, listen (it might be them giving you a clue on how to sell to them more services).  

  • When a competitor points our your weakness, listen (they might have shown you how to improve).  

  • When you get praise, listen (but don't let it go to your head).  

  • When a friend gossips about you or others, listen (and learn not to trust their confidence).

Always hear what others have to say, and do not get defensive if it is harsh.  Let people have their point of view, and then figure out what you can garner from their words that will make you better.  If they are way off base, let it got.  But if there is a nugget of truth in what they say, take actions to grow and improve.

If you are seeking to re-invent and re-launch your life you cannot do it alone in a vacuum.  Those around you can help you change directly and indirectly if you are tuned into their observations. 

Learning to listen to others can be difficult, as we all have an ego that makes us feel we have the power and understanding over our own situations.  But when you accept that hearing different points of view is how you expand your own, then you will seek out the opinions of others.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

**Artwork by my nephew: Artist Bobby Singer

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