Listening Through Change

There is a Chinese character called ‘Ting’ which reminds us that listening is a respectful, wholehearted, focused, present and meaning – making experience.  

A curious way of showing up in our conversations and life to open the doorway to discovery, exploration and connection.

Living through 2021 has been different in so many ways. We’re almost half – way through the year and the change waves keep rolling in. This has been a long haul, and reminded us that there’s never been a more important time to listen.

To listen to our emotions, our loved ones, our colleagues and our communities.

This week alone I’ve practiced ‘Ting’ with coach colleagues in Singapore, Melbourne and Nairobi who have been swept back into varying forms of lockdown. 

I sense a general weariness ~ the kind of mental, physical and emotional tiredness that comes from being ‘on alert’ for so long, and uncertain for so long. From navigating complex strategies and rapidly changing business models. From wondering when you’re going to be able to plan a celebration, a family reunion, and for many, to see your children again.

History has taught us that change is hard. 

Our brain is hardwired to dislike uncertainty, and as Michael Miller says in his article,  people would literally rather know something bad is definitely going to happen than face uncertainty.

I keep imagining the shifts taking place around the world as people start truly listening to their feelings and their situations. Wellbeing is declining in marginalized communities, and loneliness is increasing. A generation of backpackers have had their wings clipped. 

As some countries navigate their return to ‘office work’,  David Rock from the Neuroleadership Institute reminds us that listening to the experiences of the past year will help us to find a different and better way of working. 

Forging a path through change on this scale is going to require Ting on a vast scale.

It’s time to really listen, to help people feel respected, heard, understood, wholeheartedly supported and cared for as they lean into what is to come next. 

Cheers Alison