When I started this challenge to listen or read to positive, life-changing, mindset-shifting content for 30 minutes a day for six months, I admitted I might take Sundays off. I might still listen to or read content, but I would probably take a break from too intensely worrying about a direct application.
That said, I still read today with an eye toward application. When I read any content, I desire that it reads me. A good book should reveal our weaknesses or strengths and teach us how to leverage who we are toward greater success in some form or fashion. (That would be nonfiction – fiction can do the same thing at times, but I often just want a fun read).
I read a few more chapters in John R. Stoker’s Overcoming Fake Talk in addition to volunteering in my children’s Sunday School class.
Here’s what I learned:
I love ideas, but I need to strengthen my follow through: Stoker’s book on communication has a chapter reviewing four personality styles. I happen to be a ‘Builder’ in Stoker’s parlance. And Builders have a weakness: “…they always have a lot of ideas for getting things done. Being long on ideas, however, sometimes leads them to be short on follow-through or finishing a task.”
It’s absolutely vital that I develop greater trust and respect among my colleagues by executing the ideas I put forth. One key here is to keep my dang mouth shut about ideas if it’s not feasible to execute at a given time.
I’m good at ideas, so I need to exploit that strength: Way too often we try to fix our weaknesses instead of leveraging our strengths. While Stoker’s book reminded me where I struggle, Sally Hogshead and her “How to Fascinate” message makes it clear: it’s more important to work in your strengths than it is to spend your whole life trying to improve on weaknesses.
I’ll never be a decent accountant. No matter how I try, my mind just doesn’t work that way. And my soul dies a bit when I try to work with numbers and details. While there will always be part of my job that doesn’t jive with my strengths, I need to make every effort to do work that is bolstered by my strengths.
Listen long and listen closely: If I had to pick an action item, it would be to listen to the other person in my conversation until they were done and even wait a second or two before responding. I’ve noticed that I’m one of those guys (apparently in keeping with my being a ‘Builder’) who looks forward to giving my two cents.
It’s vital that I learn to listen attentively and that I refrain from responding until I’ve fully heard the other person. It’s a much improved area, but this week I’ll pay close attention to my listening.
Stop, Look, Listen, Write: I was glad to sit in with my boys during the introduction to the theme of their children’s programming this year.
- Stop: Take time everyday to stop and have some quiet time.
- Look: Read something good (in this case, your Bible).
- Listen: Pray and be quiet and listen for how the passage or other words speak.
- Write: Take notes and write what it seems that God is saying or what the passage says about how to live that day.
Can’t beat those four simple steps. That’s what this challenge is all about.