“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak… It is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill 

Have you ever been too preoccupied to tune in to life?  Did you miss your daughter’s first words because your mind was elsewhere (even though you were physically in the same room) or drive all the way to your destination only to arrive and forget how you got there? When we are merely going through the motions and ignoring the humanity of our experiences, conversations and interactions we miss the (not so) subtle wisdom of everyday life.

For most of us, the majority of beings with whom we deal every day are human.  Living, breathing creatures complete with their own set of ideas, emotions and experiences.  We are all capable of adapting – that is what nature has bred us for.  But it seems as though we’ve adapted too far beyond the realm of humanity, reaching for the company of our 6-inch touch screens instead of each other’s hearts and hands.

At emBOLDen Alliances, we know that to produce powerful, viable outcomes together we must actively encourage mutual respect, adaptability and presence. We consider ourselves a partnership rather than a consultancy because we have the courage to truly listen and to engage in collaboration that transforms organizations and communities alike.

But these concepts transcend emBOLDen.  For all of us, to truly engage with our experiences we must embody the presence of mind necessary to practice the very listening that will transform us.

So, next time your mind wanders to next week’s agenda while you’re having that once-a-year coffee date with a dear friend, remember to be mindful of your mutual role as listeners.  You owe it to yourself and each other to truly tune in.  The quality of your relationships, partnerships and life overall will expand right along with your mindful practice of engaged listening.

Remember that human connections are worth cultivating; faces are worth reading and their mouth’s spoken words are worthy of your listening.  Be attentive. Be present. Imagine the steps forward humanity could take if we begin to truly tune in to one another, every single day, as people and as partners.

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