Listen – How To Change the World #7

List

Ever attend a party and suddenly think, how the heck did a person like ME get invited to a snazzy shindig like THIS?

That’s how I feel this week.

I’m one of 10 veterinarians attending the first in-person training session of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Future Leader’s group for 2015-2016. Since I’ll be in sessions all morning today (on Friday) I’m writing this a couple of days early.

My fellow attendees are amazing. Reading through their biographies it is clear they are changing the world and are yet simultaneously humble and gracious. I have pretty much no idea how I made the cut, but I’m trying to believe I am worthy.

I cannot wait to meet these wonderful people. Wanting to learn from them reminds me that sometimes the best way to change the world is for us to stay quiet and listen.

With know-it-all, loudmouth tendencies this is EXTREMELY hard for me. So, as you read this I am probably sitting with my mind racing a million miles a minute, with the fast track from my brain to my mouth desperate for all those words to come pouring out of me.

Someone I recently met had a stutter and told me that it doesn’t bother them or make them self-conscious at all, but the effort it took to not stutter felt like constantly flexing a muscle and using that muscle took up energy through the day.

Since they mentioned that, I’ve found it a helpful way for thinking about stopping the flow of my own thoughts and mindfully listening to the people around me.

Listening is especially vital when we are trying to help others. It is so easy to just tell people what to do without really hearing them first.

As a veterinarian it is easy to get caught in this trap. Why can’t that pet owner just come in for the recheck exam, give the medication, or stop feeding their pet Egg McMuffin Sandwiches?

It’s when I really listen to my client’s stories and that I hear what is going on in their heart. Then, I understand their confusion, what struggles they are having at home, or what emotions are standing in their way. It is only then that we can work together to find a different solution or realize something isn’t going to work for them and their pet.

Do you find it easy or hard to listen? What helps you to listen even better? Share your tips, I’m all ears.

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