Strengthening Others

Everybody is resilient. Resilience is hardwired into us but sometimes the software is corrupted and our brain and heart are out of sync. This is where community and friends make a difference.

If you believe in the inherent strength of resilience, then it is easy to support someone who is in a shaky place by helping them discover their own inner gifts. The key to that is to be a good listener. Allowing others to explore their own thinking and receiving validation or affirmation of their ideas usually leads them to the wisdom of the best solution for them.

Here are some reminders on how you can be an amazing listener who makes a real difference in people’s lives.

  1. First and foremost, believe that the person you are talking to already has the answer inside them and that they just need your help in uncovering it.
  2. Be an active listener:
    1. Summarize and paraphrase (I hear you saying…)
    2. Acknowledge that you are listening (eye contact, nodding of your head)
    3. Help the other person continue their thought by restating the last few words of their sentence (“I’m concerned about my team’s ability to deal with failure.” Your response can simply be “failure?”) which will encourage a deeper explanation
  3. Let the other person continue their thoughts until conclusion.
  4. If someone seems stuck, consider presenting 3 alternative options on how to view the situation (“It seems to me that there might be at least 3 ways to think about this situation, Option 1 could be….)
  5. Don’t obligate your friend to a specific solution. Sleeping on ideas is a great way to let them mature and encouraging some thoughtful follow-up time could be just what the doctor ordered.

The power of listening is that it helps others to see their own strength and capacity for growth. There is no greater gift that a friend can give.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2018


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