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Listening Is A Skill - Fridays with Ferne: Episode #49

Some people are naturally excellent listeners; they ask all the right questions and pause at all the right moments; they react just the way you want them to. Some people love listening to others and are genuinely curious about what they have to say. But even good listeners need someone to listen to them too sometimes. How do you find your audience? How do you find someone to talk to who is actually willing to listen?

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and I am the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. Today is Friday's with Ferne and I'd love to welcome my daughter Ferne to the podcast.

[00:00:19] Ferne Kotlyar: Hello, hello! How are you?

[00:00:21] Kim Ades: I'm great! How are you?

[00:00:24] Ferne Kotlyar: I'm great too!

[00:00:26] Kim Ades: What's up? What's new? What's happening?

[00:00:29] Ferne Kotlyar: It's really nice to be in Montreal. Summer is... I mean, hasn't started quite yet, but it feels like it's in full swing. There's so much to do in this city and I'm really happy to be back.

[00:00:41] Kim Ades: Good. Well, we are happy to have you back in Canada, back where there is running water, and a great toilet for you to use with unlimited toilet paper.

[00:00:55] Ferne Kotlyar: Wow.

[00:00:55] Kim Ades: So welcome back.

[00:00:56] Ferne Kotlyar: I'm spoiled. [Laughs]

[00:00:58] Kim Ades: You're so spoiled. You know, every time we travel and we come back and I get into my shower, I tell Allan, "you know? We have the best shower in the world. Nobody has a shower as good as us". But you know, it's important to count your blessings 'cause sometimes we just forget what they are.

[00:01:17] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:01:18] Kim Ades: All right. What do you wanna talk about today?

[00:01:21] Ferne Kotlyar: All right. So today we have a case study of sorts, but it's a bit more general. So there's the type of person that is a really good listener. Great at listening, super interested in what other people have to say. So someone tells them a story and they're genuinely curious and engaged in that conversation.

And this person loves listening and is very good at it and is really genuinely interested in what others have to say, but they feel like while they are constantly interested, nobody is as interested as they are in their stories.

So when this person speaks, they feel like they aren't getting the same engagement as they give off. And it's kind of exhausting because they feel like they are putting in a lot of effort and aren't getting the same energy back. So what do they do?

[00:02:21] Kim Ades: Yeah. You know, it's a very good question, because in a way, I can relate to this particular person.

[00:02:28] Ferne Kotlyar: I'm sure.

[00:02:29] Kim Ades: I'm a coach, I do a lot of listening, I am genuinely fascinated and interested in people's experiences in their stories, in their histories, in how they feel and how they view the world. Absolutely fascinated, I'm drawn to that. And I don't find that the world is drawn in the same way. Right?

But you know, in a way you are interested in plants, some kind of special plant called heliconia, and most of the world isn't drawn the same way. Right? Like, we've never even heard of that plant before. It's a unique plant, most of us aren't drawn to the same extent as you are, we might say, "oh, that's interesting, tell us a little bit about it", but we don't really wanna get into the science and background of the plants that you are studying.

So, what do we do when there's no one to talk to about the very thing that we're super passionate about? And so number one is, do we get mad at people around us 'cause they're not as good at listening as we are?

[00:03:42] Ferne Kotlyar: Not mad, but perhaps disappointed.

[00:03:46] Kim Ades: What does that do for us?

[00:03:50] Ferne Kotlyar: Makes us upset?

[00:03:51] Kim Ades: It leaves us disappointed, it leaves us with a feeling of disconnection from the people who love us, even though they're not as good at listening as we are. Right? Does it increase our connection? The very thing we're looking for? Or does it decrease our connection? It ultimately decreases our connection.

And what we're doing is we're seeing them in a way that says "you fall short", right? So how does that serve us? How does it serve them? How does it create the connection we're looking for? It doesn't. And so one of the things that I think is an important kind of all around lesson in life is that I think it's not a good idea to expect people to serve your every need.

So if let's say you're married to someone, can they be your everything? I don't think it's necessarily wise to expect them to be your everything. And I think it's very important to notice their strengths and their contributions and the ways in which they do show up for you and the ways in which they do love you, and be okay that in some cases they're not as strong in all aspects.

And if you do need to go and talk to someone, look elsewhere. So, is it true that there's nobody in the world who's a good listener? It's not true. There are some people in some corners of the world that are just as fascinated with your subjects as you are.

It is true that there are people who have different skill sets. And I think it's important for us to tap into other people with those other skill sets, to feel a sense of fulfillment.

[00:05:40] Ferne Kotlyar: So where do you go to find this person that's really good at listening?

[00:05:45] Kim Ades: You know, you can look to other people. So for example, for me, there's a coaching community. Other coaches, Frame of Mind coaches are amazing at listening, that's what they do. They're just as good, maybe even better than me. And so it's great to connect with people who have the same passions as you do.

But then also, you know what? Sometimes you just need to tap into someone who is a person who can help you when you need it. So I always have a coach in my life, someone I hire to coach me, where I can talk to that person and work out some of the kinks in my thinking. Everybody needs it, I do too. And so I think it's okay to do that as well.

It's also okay to do the following, by the way. It's okay to tell the person that you want to listen to you, right? It's okay to say, "Hey, I have some things on my mind. Will you just listen? I'm not looking for feedback, I'm not looking for advice, I'm not looking for guidance. I just need you to hear me out".

[00:07:01] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. It's tough, I think, for people to ask sometimes for that.

[00:07:07] Kim Ades: It is tough, but I will say this. There is no relationship where a person doesn't want to be a good friend or a good partner or a good lover or a good spouse or a good mother, daughter, whatever it is. Right?

So more than anything, what I want is for the people in my life to say, "wow, you were really great for me. And so if you can guide me and tell me how to be great for you, so that at the end of the day, we both walk away really happy, it's a win-win", but oftentimes people aren't given any type of idea about how to be great for another person.

And so the other thing we don't do is provide feedback to the people we love. And so let me take Allan, as an example. My husband, it's important for me to give him feedback. "I really appreciated the conversation we had. I really appreciated how you listened and heard me out. I really appreciated how you let me say everything that was on my mind before you told me what you thought about it". Right? So what that does is he learns how to win in this relationship, and everybody wants winning relationships.

[00:08:35] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:08:36] Kim Ades: Teach people how to win with you.

[00:08:39] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] Tell them what you appreciate.

[00:08:42] Kim Ades: Tell them what you appreciate, tell them what went well. Snap the picture when it looks good, right? You know how you pose for a picture, but then you wanna get it when a person is smiling and at their best. And what you wanna do is you wanna capture the moments where other people are at their best for you.

[00:09:04] Ferne Kotlyar: And highlight it so they can repeat.

[00:09:07] Kim Ades: Exactly, highlight it, because they wanna be at their best for you as often as possible. They like when you appreciate them, and just, we're not teaching people how to do that effectively. Are we?

[00:09:21] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. It's tough.

[00:09:23] Kim Ades: You're good at that.

[00:09:24] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] Thank you! I appreciate that. [Laughs]

[00:09:27] Kim Ades: See? In fact, that's something that you taught me, is to say, "thank you, I appreciate that".

[00:09:33] Ferne Kotlyar: [Laughs] Yeah, I think it's important. I think it's important to tell people, because, like you said, people like being appreciated, I mean, everybody does. And if you like what they're doing then, and you highlight that, they can do it again and you both win.

[00:09:49] Kim Ades: Right. And I'll give you a small example. In your own world, when your boyfriend makes you lunch, you are so appreciative, you're so grateful. And you always say, "he's so good to me", and he hears you say that. And what does he do? He makes you lunch the next day. 'Cause he likes that feeling of appreciation and he knows how to win. And so we need to teach people how to win with us.

[00:10:15] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, super important. I think everybody loves having lunch made for them. [Laughs]

[00:10:22] Kim Ades: Not everybody, but I think it's just genetic, just it's our lineage, you know?

[00:10:29] Ferne Kotlyar: Who doesn't love food?

[00:10:31] Kim Ades: You know, some people aren't as crazy about food as we are, it's just some kind of obsession we have. I don't know, that'll be a topic for another day. The obsession we have with food.

[00:10:42] Ferne Kotlyar: Deal. [Chuckles]

[00:10:46] Kim Ades: But does that answer your question about how to help people listen to you when you need it?

[00:10:53] Ferne Kotlyar: I think so. So, from what I gathered, you have to find the specific people for specific tasks. So if you like talking about plants, go look for your plant community and even an academic community, if that's the case for you as it is for me. And not everyone's gonna be great at everything.

And then the other key is to really appreciate people when they do the right things, because then they'll do more of that. And I guess the last thing is that, you know, sometimes you can just ask for that if that's what you need, because people wanna help you, especially those that really care about you.

[00:11:32] Kim Ades: You encapsulated that perfectly. Good job.

[00:11:35] Ferne Kotlyar: Amazing. Thank you. And thank you for your insight!

[00:11:39] Kim Ades: Thank you for bringing this question to the table today. For those of you who are listening, if you have a question or a topic that you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please reach out to us.

[00:11:51] Ferne Kotlyar: Please do.

[00:11:51] Kim Ades: I can be found at Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Ferne, how do people find you?

[00:11:57] Ferne Kotlyar: Please email me! So that's Fernekotlyar@live.com.

[00:12:06] Kim Ades: And we will see you next time. Please like, please share, please give us your feedback. We are dying to hear from you. We'll see you later!

[00:12:14] Ferne Kotlyar: Bye!

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