I believe life whispers to us and occasionally it shouts.
Life whispers to us in many of the roles we play throughout our lives and when we hear it enough times it somehow provides the final nudge that shifts our behaviour.
Sometimes a small shift - I’d bitten my nails for years and knew I shouldn’t do it but couldn’t quite stop. A stranger made an unsolicited comment “Yuck, look at those nails” and I never bit them again.
Sometimes a serious shift - I knew I had a sweet tooth and was prone to over-eating but I couldn’t quite change my habits. My mother had a heart attack on a trip to Australia and a triple bypass 2 days later. The very next day I changed my eating habits and lost 15 kilos over the following 2 months.
Sometimes a respectful shift - As students living in rented accommodation, we knew we didn’t pay any attention to the garden despite the weeds reaching the height of the lower window. One morning we noticed our neighbours on either side were in our garden chopping the weeds down. From then on, we paid attention to the state of the garden as it was respectful to our neighbours.
Sometimes a necessary shift - I’d been procrastinating about sharing some of my own whispers for years and 2 days ago a soul buddy of mine delivered my 21st whisper and nudged me not to be so selfish! This is my first LinkedIn article.
Sometimes fortunate enough to contribute to someone else’s shift - I facilitated a coaching program for an organisation helping them understand how to coach their direct reports. Helping them understand the difference between ask and tell and when and how to move along the ask-tell spectrum. I was face to face with them for 5 full days over the course of 12 months.
Nine months later I was with the entire organization and the same group that I had facilitated in coaching skills where part of the audience. One of the participants from the coaching program – someone who hadn’t really stood out and nothing had suggested anything profound had happened - came marching up to me when she saw me, stepped right inside my personal space, looked me directly in the eye, pointed at my chest and said “You changed my life you did, thank-you” and walked off.
I remember standing there on my own, surrounded by people, feeling 10 feet tall and humbled by the exchange I’d just had. “Me? me? Really, me? What had I said that could have possibly affected someone’s life so significantly? Did I have the right or be so deserving of contributing to changing someone’s life?
I can still feel the goose bumps as I re-write the story all these years later. Apparently, something I’d said had landed at the right time for the right reason for this individual and she was ready to hear it. I’m sure her life experience up to that date had been whispering to her but for some reason she wasn’t ready to hear it. I’ve no idea how many previous whispers she’d had or in what format, but something was ready to blossom on that particularly random day.
Life has been whispering to me in many forms but when I hear it as a shout, I tend to find myself doing something about it. However, until it shouts, I’d hear the whisper but tended to ignore it. I would regularly put off until tomorrow what I could have done today.
What were you hearing as a whisper last year that this year you’ve heard as a shout?
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