Self Awareness

I’ve taken several soft-skill classes pertaining to communication and personality types, and the one thing I have learned from each is how much room for growth I have. Call it ego or immaturity, but in my 20s, I could have sworn to you I knew exactly who I was and how to communicate with anyone effectively.

I WAS WRONG!

I’m approaching my 30s swiftly, and I am finding myself reflecting on my communication skills and personality type in ways I’ve never taken the time to consider before. Am I a details or big picture seeker? Do I like small talk or getting down to business? Am I competitive, or am I collaborative? I’ve never stopped to consider any of this in my communication style. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself and am working on the parts of me that can be improved.

For example, to answer the small talk versus getting down to business questions, at work specifically, I loathe small talk. I have a job to do, and I only have so many hours in a day to complete my tasks. When communicating with coworkers, I want to get to the point and move on to the next.

What I have realized this says about me and how it translates into my personal life is my amount of patience. I have a five year old daughter, and I try to summon all the patience in the world sometimes when I am talking to her. Otherwise, with anyone and anything else, my fuse is short! This is one area in my life I want to badly to work on. I want to be more patient. I want to take the time out of my day to stop and smell the flowers rather than plowing through life like a bulldozer.

I’ll get there one day, but for now, I’m just glad I have become more self aware. The first step is acknowledgement, right?

Active listening – does it exists?

Do we ever go into a conversation without expectations of what we are hoping to hear?

Think of a time you wanted to have a conversation without any other purpose than just talking. Can you? I don’t think I can either. No matter the circumstance, we always have a reason behind the conversation. We want answers. We’re lonely. We need stimulation. There is never a time you look at someone and just decide to say hello without an expectation of being responded to and for no other reason than to just say hi.

We’re wired for conversation. We crave discussion, debate, and just down right acknowledgement. We have a side to share, a story to tell, and we’ll be damned different we don’t say it, especially if we believe it is relevant to the conversation.

We aren’t programmed to listen to understand; we’re taught to listen and respond. We aren’t mentored to speak without reason; we learn to talk to our point.

If we listened more without formulating a response in our heads as the speaker is talking, we’d understand better. Active listening is paramount in any conversation, but all too few of us actually go into a conversation without finding a way to make a point out of our side of the discussion.