The Art of Intentional Listening

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About a year ago Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss made we aware of a writer and inspirational speaker named John O’Leary.  Since this discovery I look forward to reading his weekly blog at
Today I share his message and challenge you to be an intentional listener and honor the person in front of you.  It’s an area I try every day to improve.

The Power of a Hug
“The best and
most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they
must be felt with the heart.”  –
Helen Keller [Tweet
Mike Hess has an amazing vision for how to
succeed in work and thrive in life.

He’s been recognized for his leadership and effectiveness at the various
organizations he’s supported professionally.

He’s got a wonderful marriage. He relishes their three children. He’s
healthy, secure financially and grateful for every gift in his life.

He’s also the most
attentive listener I’ve ever met.

We met last week at a leadership conference in Colorado. What I noticed
first about him was his laser-like focus on me. He never glanced away,
never looked over my shoulder. He treated me as if I was the only person in
the room. He leaned forward listening intently to what I said. He made me
feel incredibly special and truly heard.

In the course of our conversation he reminded how important active
listening is to real conversation and healthy relationships. [Tweet

Most people hear,
but they don’t really

They’re easily distracted by the next phone call, the next email, the next
thing on the to-do list, the next person who walks into the room.

Mike chooses not to focus on those distractions. He’s attentive, present,
aware. He credits his concentration to another one of his gifts: Mike was
born blind.

In the course of our conversation I asked if he viewed it as a disability.
Mike laughed. He told me that it was people with sight that had the
disability. He went on to share that sight is why there is racism, sexism,
discrimination and various other types of nonsensical judgments.

It’s one of the reasons he left a great job two years ago to provide others
like him with the opportunity to thrive professionally. Mike started the
Blind Institute of Technology to connect those who are visually impaired
with businesses seeking extraordinary talent. The employees Mike places are
bright, passionate, amazing listeners and extremely inspirational. Both the
employee and the business win.

My friend, where is your focus today?

Most of us are
extremely distracted. We don’t see possibility because we’re focused on
what we don’t have. [Tweet

We’re not attentive to the relationships directly in front of us because
we’re thinking of what we need to do next. We’re preoccupied with
appearance, acceptance and miss the radical miracle of each moment.

So today I challenge
you to really see.
Quit making excuses. Put the phone down.
Look into your spouse’s eyes, listen intently to your kids, be present with
your friends. Observe the splendor of nature.

Don’t confuse being
out of bed and able to see, with being fully awake and actually
appreciating what’s in front of you.

It’s time to be like Mike.

Live inspired.

John O’Leary

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