Are you familiar with the Baader- Meinhof phenomenon? You know, the concept that if you learn a new word, you see that same word everywhere you look? If you buy a new car, you start to see that car at every stop light and in every parking lot?
Well I have had that phenomenon happen with the concept of active listening and where we focus our energy in daily interactions. The thing that Fred Rogers, Bob Goff and the Sun seem to have in common is this: in pushing their energy outward, they have this gravity about them that draws people in. The impact they make is based on the energy they’re pushing outward- not focusing on themselves button bringing warmth and light to others. I’ve been consuming a lot (like A LOT) of content lately that has really reinforced this theory that the most impactful people were not trying to be “impactful” they were seeking to understand the world around them by better SERVING the people around them. So here are 3 quick things that I’ve noted that we can use to focus our energy more outward:
1. Active listening. We learn the most when we’re actively listening and asking questions. Listen to understand instead of listening to respond. I promise the connections you make will be deeper and more meaningful. Seeking to understand will not only make an impact on others, but you will end up a more well-rounded person.
2. Using “I, Me, My” statements in conversation. I dare you: begin to pay attention to your side of conversations, both spoken words and text messages. The number of times that we use “I, me, my” statements will surprise you. When we pay attention to small things like the way we structure our sentences, the more we can take an active role in facing our energy outward and actively listening. If we’re making sales pitches, try using “we” statements.
3. Focus Your Energy Outward. It seems counterintuitive, especially when something like a crown or a sale is on the line. We want people to know what we offer so that we can prove ourselves as the most qualified. But to have anyone open to understanding you better, they must understand how much you care. If you’re in an interview situation where focusing on the interviewee isn’t as feasible, try focusing less on how great YOU are, but instead focusing on how great the THINGS you’ve helped to build and accomplish are— see the simple shift in focus?
These three simple things are easy enough to implement, but they require intentionality and a refocus of your energy. In short, we can notice, long term the difference in impact from those who focus energy outward and those who focus energy inward. There’s a long-term success rate and impact that I hope you’ll take into consideration when you Edit your people skills :)
Until next time,