The success of every team is the accumulated skill of its players. I had the pleasure of watching my daughter and her teammates compete in a tournament this past weekend. They won the championship and the comment most noted by coaches from the opposing teams was that the girls passed to one another constantly. They dominated the tournament because they synergized their talents and considered how to use each other well.
Like an orchestra with many instruments or a family working together for the well-being of all, synergizing just makes everyone a better version of themselves. When our children realize that they are a critical player, yet only one of the players, they begin to work interdependently and are willing to listen more carefully to other points of view.
The word humility may best describe the point of synergy. Humble means grounded to the basics. “Humility” is derived from the word “humus”. Humus is the soil of the earth. It is the fertilizer that makes things grow. When we act with humility, we recognize our role to fertilize with what we have and to appreciate what we don’t have, but someone else does. Humility means to appreciate how all things work together and that, “I don’t have all the answers”.
Together, we can come up with the best solutions for growth. I realized this truth recently while I was quite distraught. My bride helped me to recognize that I needed to put more trust in the people around me to take care of my own personal ground and should retreat for a few days to sharpen my saw. I took her advice and went to a quiet place and became grounded again 🙂
I am so grateful for the people in my life who want me to be the better version of myself and will give of themselves to help me thrive. Sometimes one plus five can equal ten. When we are feeling weak and unable (a one), those we trust can assist (a five). It’s not always equal quantities in the synergy formula. Thank goodness 🙂
Humble enough to know that I am far from perfect. Confident enough to know that together we can change the world.
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Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

“The deepest need of the human heart is to be understood.”- Sean Covey

This week we are studying Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then be Understood.  Specifically, we are practicing the skill of empathic listening. Think about a time when someone didn’t listen to you. How did it feel?  Often without realizing it, we listen autobiographically, which is filtering what others say through your own story, experiences, prejudices, biases, and values. We probe by asking questions from our own frame of reference or agenda. We evaluate by agreeing or disagreeing. We advise by giving counsel, advice, and solutions to problems. We interpret by trying to figure out or analyze the other person.

The Leader In Me teaches us to listen empathically. Empathic listening is listening with the sole intent to understand another person within his or her frame of reference. It requires both intent and skill. The key is to truly, honestly desire to understand the other person. If you have the right attitude but not the skill, you will be fine. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Here are a few ways that could sound:

“You feel ___________ about __________.”
“It sounds like you feel…”
“So what you’re saying is…”

When to Listen Empathically: Watch the Signals

Stop talking and listen empathically when:

  • Emotions are high. 
  • You must get to the heart of an issue.
  • You feel that you don’t understand. 
  • The other person doesn’t feel understood. 

Slow down.

  • Watch and be ready to listen empathically.

Go forward and seek to be understood when:

  • The issue is clear and mutually understood.
  • The conversation is casual and unemotional.
  • You’re asked to give counsel or advice.

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