Don’t Forget to Listen

When was the last time you listened, really listened? Some people go through their days and never listen at all. They talk. When someone is talking to them, rather than really listening, they’re only preparing to respond.

They forget the #1 rule of listening. To listen is to be silent.

Listen. Silent.

Interesting that the two words are anagrams of one another. We can’t do the first without the second.

Talking is easy. Listening is difficult. Yet, it is only by listening that we really learn — learn what our clients’ needs are — learn to be a better friend, better spouse, better parent, better human being. And, by listening, we learn to truly appreciate the world around us.

As a musician, I’ve learned that listening makes me better at my musical craft. When I listen, really listen to my fellow musicians, on or off the stage, that’s when I really learn, really improve.

And, by truly listening, I am able to understand more about my favorite composer, J.S. Bach. Each and every time I listen to a work by Bach, I learn something new.

Don’t forget to listen.

Breathe New Life Into Your Writing in 5 Easy Steps

Writing.jpgDo you feel your writing getting stale? Or that writing isn’t as fun as it used to be?

If so, here are 5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Writing:

  1. Get out of your usual workspace. New ideas often sprout from new environments. Deliberately mix it up by hanging out at a different coffee shop, outdoor park or ‘drop in’ co-working space. Even in these uncertain times, most of us have a multitude of spots from which to choose.
  2. Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Yeah, schedules and routines are wonderful, but for creative new ideas to happen, we often need to disrupt our normal circadian rhythm.
  3. ‘Write’ using a different digital device. Just the feel of a different ‘touch’ under our fingers can allow for content to flow in a lively new way.
  4. Write first; edit later. Rather than immediately editing yourself as you write, just let the words flow. Don’t be concerned with misspellings or grammar issues — just write. Creation and editing should be two separate activities.
  5. Write with abandon. Write more than you need. Just let the words and ideas flow. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself with enough content to fill multiple blog posts, instead of your intended single post.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am practicing these tips as I write this and, I have to say, it feels a bit radical…simple, even.

by Rebecca Cochran

Life Editing: 2022

This New Year, I’m vowing to continue with some “Life Editing.” I’ve re-tooled my list from last year a bit with a goal of making room for even more good stuff !

A      Adverbs: Because life is short, isn’t it, Ernest ?

B      Babbling: Small talk is over-rated; quietude is better.

C      Cheap French Wine:  Où est le point ? Taste is the point !

D      Drama: Because no one wants to be around a drama queen !

E      Exaggerating: Less is more.

F      Following: Lead, instead.

G      Giving Up: Keep going, even when I think I can’t.

H      Hurrying: If I’m constantly hurrying through life, I may miss out on some of the good stuff !

I        Good Intentions: Don’t just plan, act !

J       Junk Food: It’s January. No explanation needed, right ?

K      Knickknacks: Curios, collectibles or clutter? Again, less is more !

L       Lonely: The ‘2021 Word of the Year’, right? Learn to enjoy time alone, which is so different than being lonely.

M      Moderation: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth going all-in, right ?

N      Nightclubs: Hmmm… what’re nightclubs ?

O      Overthinking: Again, life’s too short.

P      Perfectionism: It doesn’t really exist, so why bother ?

Q      Quitting: Success is partly about not giving up. (See ‘G’ above.)

R      Retirement: Research shows that those who continue to engage in meaningful work enjoy longer, healthier lives.

S      I’m Stumped: Can’t think of a single “S” word worth giving up. You ?

T       Television: Except for PBS, of course.

U      Utopian Ideas: See ‘P’ above.

V      Very: My least favorite adverb. (See ‘A’ above.)

W      Worrying: Why bother ? Be happy !

X      :-x: Emoticons have never been my thing !

Y       Yes: Instead, learn to say “No” at least once a week.

Z       Zoom: Need I say more ?

What would you add to this list ?