The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur Reading: September 4
This is the first podcast in a series of episodes about my new book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, due out in October 2019. The book is structured as 366 daily meditations for entrepreneurs, with readings from famous Transcendentalist authors and commentary from me on how it all relates to the entrepreneurial journey.
In the weeks leading up to the release, I’ll be sharing a reading each week from that particular day’s entry in The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.
Today’s Reading: Into Silence
What are the great faults of conversation? Want of ideas, want of words, want of manners, are the principal ones, I suppose you think. I don’t doubt it, but I will tell you what I have found spoil more good talks than anything else;—long arguments on special points between people who differ on the fundamental principles upon which these points depend.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. – The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858)
Defending one’s position is a clear signal of a lack of trust – not in the person subjected to your defense, but in yourself.
Assuredness in a point of view sounds a lot like silence.
Yes, today’s call is to be still and listen.
This isn’t a knock on your ability to share or even the fact that you have brilliant ideas to share it’s just that when we choose to listen more, some beautiful things can happen.
In conversation, the economy of our words gives space for others to feel heard and valued. It invites people to find themselves and see you as a source of energy that allows rather than prescribes.
Listening draws ideas, relationships, stories, information, and clues that allow you to better understand the impact you have on others.
For most, but particularly entrepreneurs, this advice requires biting your tongue and reining in your natural inclination, but if you can ever allow yourself to embrace this and practice this, you’ll never give it up.
Today, try to speak only when spoken to and then listen with your entire body. Observe how silence feels and take note of your urges to burst out talking, but more importantly bask in the transformation of those who experience your active listening.
If you have a lot you need to say then write it down. Of course the sneaky little trick in this advice is that writing forces you to listen to yourself and for once observe just what you sound like.
I invite you to think about what you just heard me read—you may even want to go back and listen again.
The question of silence and listening is often tough for leaders. We get used to being the person that everyone turns to for the answers, and a lot of times, we want to share our thoughts and provide that guidance.
But there’s a valuable piece of advice I picked up from The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. His book really hammered home the idea for me that, when someone comes to you asking for the answer to something, more often than not, they’re not looking for you to be prescriptive. A lot of the time, they’re looking for you to validate what they think, and to invite them to think up the solution for themselves.
So I leave you with today’s challenge question: Who will you listen to today?
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