When my brother and I took piano lessons as kids, we always fought over who would get to tell Ms. Beth their latest story. It didn’t matter what it was about — something funny our dog did or some dramatic piece we enacted with our Lego people — she always wanted to hear it.
Ms. Beth was no-nonsense about piano and let us know when we didn’t practice enough (which was most of the time), but she always listened fully to whatever we told her, accenting our stories with genuine questions or even a “Holy cow!” every now and then. We felt heard, listened to, seen.
Lend me your ear
People who clearly prioritize others inspire me. They’re easy to spot: the way they focus on whoever they are talking with, asking questions to draw out more from the person without seeming to want to air their own opinions. Prioritizing others starts with listening well. I have friends who are much better at this than I am. When a friend calls unexpectedly, all too often I find myself…