Indulge me for a moment. I want you to think about the last time you really felt listened to, or the last time you really listened to someone else. Was it today? Within the past week? Month? And most importantly, how did it make you feel?
Being truly listened to is easily one of the greatest and most comforting feelings we can experience as humans (it’s why I love therapy – take all my money!). It is also a gift to the person you are listening to – the best bosses and best partners in life are listeners. Sometimes you just want to be heard and not coached, coerced or convinced about someone else’s solution to a problem. According to the Capital One Listen In Survey, more than half of Americans (51%) feel they aren’t actively listened to by their friends, family members or colleagues, which means we aren’t doing a very good job listening to those closest to us.
We don’t talk much about “listening” and how important it is, and perhaps that’s simply because it’s just a part of our daily lives. We sometimes forget how powerful and empowering genuinely “tuning in” can be.
I recently went to an event hosted at the Capital One Café in Santa Monica featuring a discussion on the power of listening, between Capital One Money Coach Megan Lathrop and the talented artist, Phillip Phillips, followed by a memorable acoustic performance to close out the evening. (Make sure you check out the recap video at the end!) It was enlightening to hear Phillip Phillips answer questions on the experience of listening, from his perspective, and the impact it has had on his personal life and music career. I absolutely loved hearing what audience members had to say on certain topics as well. (It turns out talking about listening and listening to stories about listening is really fun – I highly recommend you try it sometime!)
But in all seriousness, after the event I really started to think about how listening has played a role in my life and I always come back to three things: how grateful I am to have such an incredible support system full of great listeners in my life, how important it is sometimes to listen to and look out for #1 yourself, and how I can and should work on being a better listener myself – something I am sure we can all relate to.
I think one of the most powerful moments I can think of when it comes to listening was when I was 2 years deep into building this here blog, Love & Loathing LA, and came to a real tough and scary fork in the road – it was either time to keep going or it was time to give up and move on. I was frustrated, confused, alone, overwhelmed, and tired of talking to friends/family members/peers and feeling like I was just going in circles. It wasn’t until I shut all the noise around me off, including the “monkey chatter” in my own head, and have a real moment to listen to what was in my heart of hearts that I was able to take control of my success and happiness.
Active listening plays such a meaningful role in our personal lives but what I didn’t realize before this event is the role it plays in our financial journey. You might remember that I had the pleasure of working with Capital One a few months ago, on a project that focused on finding ways to make talking about money more fun and effective. Before this job, I’d barely saved. In fact, I hadn’t saved at all. (It is so much easier to spend what you have and buy what you want.) And through talking about my personal and financial goals with my Capital One Money Coach I’d genuinely figured out a plan I could put into effect immediately.
I found the Money Coaching series to be incredibly therapeutic; the sessions served a multitude of purposes other than just with money. My Money Coach was exactly what I needed to help bridge the gap between “listening” and “taking action.” My goal was to be better about saving, and since that project and my money coaching sessions I have saved almost $15k in 6 months.
Following my passions may have required me to listen to myself the most, but in this case, listening to others proved to be incredibly powerful as well. Capital One’s complimentary Money Coaching program starts with listening, and takes what they hear to help you act on your goals and passions. I can’t tell you enough how much personal value I have found in taking part in these incredible and complimentary services. (Really though, is there a cooler bank out there?)
To me, listening means being able to place yourself in the other person’s shoes, to be empathetic, and with no hesitation, be the force that lets the person(s) know they’re going to be alright. Let’s make a pact this week to take some time to be mindful of the people who might need an ear. Put down the phone, turn off the TV, do what you need to do, and let’s listen in.
Thank you, Capital One for sponsoring this post! This is a paid endorsement. All opinions are my own and were not directed by Capital One. To learn more about Capital One, visit www.capitalone.com/LISTEN