Priorities and active listening

It might be a bit early for resolutions.

Given how this year has gone though … maybe I should start now. But why am I thinking about resolutions in November? Well, it’s something I read this weekend. I’ve been mulling over its importance. Worrying it, like a dog with a bone, actually. Is it really applicable to me? Why can’t I get this thought unstuck in my head? And today, a TED Talk – of all of things – turned on the light bulb.

But let me back up. This weekend, I was flipping through the December issue of SELF (mock me if you wish, it’s less intimidating than Women’s Health...) when I stumbled upon a quote in a section on a featured yoga workout.  

When I exercise, eat well, and get enough rest, I thrive.  Repeating those things every day is how I show myself love.”

-Mandy Ingber

At first, it seems a bit … something… for me. I’m practical. Logical. Perpetually in motion. I exercise. Attempt to eat right. Think longingly about sleep. Close enough, right?

Yesterday, I had the day off. Sweated my way through my first-ever Spin class. On the way home from the gym, I thought about how much better my workouts are when I’m not trying to shoe-horn them in between 70 other things. They feel good. More effective, even. I enjoy them, rather than stressing because it is just one more thing on my to-do list.

That feeling stayed with me, as I spent a couple of hours in the art studio, putting handles on mugs. And while I went to the library. These are some of my favorite things, and yet they are always relegated to a lesser position, and a lesser priority, in my life. There are so many other things to juggle, to keep moving in the air, and these things … well, I don’t get paid to do them.

But in case I was not getting the  message clearly enough (and in fairness to the universe, I’m occasionally a bit obtuse), an article posted to Livestrong.com crossed my path today.  Entitled “Is fitness dead?,” the blogger considers why December is so hard on our health, and wonders what could be done if only we didn’t give up only to start over in January. 

And these are the words that stuck with me, echoing what I had read in SELF:

When you’re interested in something, you do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed, you accept no excuses; only results.

For me that’s applicable not just to working out, but to all things I should prioritize.  [Writing, mug-making, and running all seem to fall under that  “deserves commitment” umbrella]. While I’m thinking about what a nice quote that was, but generally still not getting it, I stumbled across a recommendation for a TED Talk* on one of the work-related blogs I read for my “professional developement.” This one was titled “5 ways to listen better,” and given that “listening” is a key skill to what I do in my day job, it seemed worth a listen [har har.  :)] 

Active listening is a skill, the speaker Julian Treasure says. And it’s a skill that’s endangered. A skill we are losing. A noisy world. Gadgets to cover our lack of attention.  Impatience and desensitization. 

Is it any wonder that the universe is shouting at me? So I’m listening now. My life could stand some reorganization. Prioritize the things that will make me happy, fulfilled … challenged. I’ll be more effective for it. Better at work and in my relationships. But I’ve got to commit to it.

I’ve got to remember to stop and listen.

*The interesting codicil to this story, is that I knew nothing about TED conferences or TED talks until this weekend.  And, but for the friend who introduced me to them serendipitously, I might not have felt that link worth the effort.  Sometimes, I think the universe realizes just who it needs to send a message to, and adjusts the volume accordingly.  It must get tired of the ham-fisted approach I force it to adopt…

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About bethanyrgrimm

Traveler. Coffee addict. Nerd. Fashionista. Baseball aficionado. Bethany Grimm (née Rein) is a twenty-something professional living in sunny and warm St Paul. She drinks too much coffee and reads too many books. But in her defense, she can explain the in-field fly rule and change her own oil, so at least she's a well-rounded nerd. An avid runner, Bethany also plays recreational sports with more enthusiasm than skill. You may find her telling the men in her life to put on a tie already.
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2 Responses to Priorities and active listening

  1. fdprobie says:

    Another really good TED talk, this one more appropriate to thinking about stepping up and taking action (whether it seems like a “worthy” item or not) – although I think that you will like his catchphrase (“save the shoes!”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAQfzHBpRsc

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