Yes, I’m opening this can of worms.
Ahhhhhh, where to begin.
Active listening is complex. It’s a skill. It takes patience. It’s knowing when to shut your mouth and when to fucking listen.
Surprisingly so, not many people have this skill.
And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – sales, fitness, accounting, medicine – you need to listen.
And do so actively.
Even strength coach Mike Boyle reminds us, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Too often, I see strength coaches talking about how their car got an oil change to their athletes.
Too often, I see personal trainers venting to clients about their divorce.
Too often, I listen to a man on a date about his accomplishments and can’t get a word in edge-wise.
Too often, I hear people take what I say and frame it into something that relates to THEM.
Excuse me, but everyone shut the fuck up.
Admittedly, I’ve ended Tinder dates because of this bullshit.
I’ve broken hearts because of this bullshit.
I’ve turned down guys who are a 20/10 on the sexy scale because of this bullshit.
If you can’t listen to me and take what I say and empathize, we’re done here.
The only guy who I loved actively listened.
He would listen to my traumas and past shenanigans, and instead of connecting them to his traumas and responding with what HE had been through, he would ask, “wow, that is amazing. How were you able to overcome that? What gave you the strength to do so?”
Active listening is taking what people say, and diving deeper into an abyss of what they were feeling, thinking, or seeing in the moment, and ASKING about it.
This ain’t rocket science, people.
Sure, we can all relate this to the modern dating world, where people try to impress, showcase their accomplishments, and validate themselves by talking about themselves, but you know what?
Active listening – whether this is through dating, training, coaching, selling – will get you a HELL of a lot further than talking about your stupid ass life and achievements.
No. One. Cares.
As a strength coach, I’ve found that my athletes appreciate when I shut my mouth and simply LISTEN.
Because sometimes, you’re the best part of their day. You’re the sound board. The comfort. The role model. The person to vent to. The coach to complain to.
And listen more.
By listening, we give space to hear others’ stories. To understand. To empathize. To give ourselves a break from our own bullshit. To actually help someone out. To give someone else importance.
After all, you’re not that fucking important.