Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!

One day I was just minding my business and this old song popped in my head and then….

-This idea just randomly grabbed ahold of me tightly……

Stop, Collarborate and Listen…turns out that wasn’t just some random advice from the late 80s rapper Vanilla Ice. Uh yes, yes I did….just “bust a rhyme” (I wonder if “kids these days” have any idea what in the world that means? Well then, we will just LOL & SMH about it for good measure;)) And for now I will keep my day job! Because, I’m certainly not here to rap or to engage in apologetics; unless of course we count much needed & anticipated apologies that might would be provoked from the thoughts following this writing. Now, back to our antiquated philosopher friend…Vanilla. No, we are not baking…or rapping…please stay focused…Help a sista out. For focus is obviously not one of my temperament strengths; rather a weakness that I must work on daily. Hmmm…come to think of it…principles of that would fit in nicely here as well. Now, where were we? Ah yes, the philosopher. I mean, the brother totally had a point. Seriously, let’s break this down…

STOP…I mean that’s heavy….and the more we think (dear heavens I know that is a toughy in this day and age) about it we realize how heavy…and deep. In the song, he pauses here for dramatic effect. Noted? STOP….I mean, really, when do we ever? And the times you are examining the back of your eye lids hardly qualifies. We are a society who almost never stops. Forget the roses…have you even smelled yourself or your children lately? What is the “aroma” that we infiltrate those around us with? Are we oozing with overwhelmed-ness & irritation and close to burn out because we just go through our ever chaotic schedules somewhat robotically and never stop? When we are caught off guard daily by the insignificant irritating inconveniences that inevitably cross our path, do we keep charging through, leaving a “piece of our mind” in the aftermath, or do we stop and consider the source of frustration in others that caused it and how we might could help put out the fire instead of heaping more fuel onto it?  Do we have a clue about the state of affairs and the gaping wounds of our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, & nation? No. Because we never stop to really see. Not look; see. Not judge; see. A great book I read proposed the challenge to “seek first to understand then to be understood.” I love this. It is my desire to live that out and succeed more often at it. I could certainly camp on this first point a while but I would rather you just STOP and contemplate it. The Bible, for thousands of years has been whispering sound advice such as “be still” and “have a day of rest” but it often gets drowned out by the noise and the ever growing pace of our techy world.

Oh how we must STOP and cherish the time. For time is truly our most precious commodity and the only one we can never acquire more of.

COLLABORATE: to work together with someone or a team to accomplish something.

In a world where social media & texting are all the rage, where has the team work and true community gone? At an alarming rate, people are struggling to keep the skills of face to face conversation and communication. Nothing replaces this. For we were not meant to live in isolation; in a pseudo dichotomy where true feelings,aspirations, and dirty laundry are aired on public display and sent into cyber space for some hopes at feelings of relief and justification, maybe a few comments of sympathy, and enough “likes” to feel validated & affirmed in our thoughts and actions. When what we really desire is an empathetic hug and a “live” word of praise or affirmation; people sharpening one another and building each other up. We must collaborate. When minds that think alike, even with some opposing views, come together synergy happens and benefits everyone. It is truly amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

LISTEN. Good grief; to what? There’s so much information and noise out there, the skill of filtration is an absolute necessity. You could scroll for days through social media feed. The struggle is real.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a very influential book that has been 70 years in print. One skill set discussed in it is the “six ways to make people like you.” At first I thought this to be such a strange title, it sounded to me like manipulative techniques were fast approaching. However, deeper review proved the intention to be the opposite: a brief list of sincere character traits that can be developed to make one a good friend, thus naturally attracting others to like you.  Being a good listener and encouraging people to talk about themselves is one of the six. Not in the way of following some technique, but rather genuine listening. Truly listening is such a beautiful quality to possess. For we all want to be heard and know that our opinion matters. Everyone has a story if we take time to listen to it. The gift that we give to others when we truly listen really is valuable. It’s priceless, and for everything else there’s MasterCard;) You knew something was coming….we were getting way too serious. If we take ourselves too serious in this life, we really get in trouble;) Seriously though.. I once heard a great speaker say “when talking to a friend, dig as if you are mining for gold!”I love this!!! Ask questions sincerely and then listen! For everyone has gold inside of them!;)

I challenge you to look for situations that can be made better if you simply Stop, Collaborate, and listen! I would be willing to bet there’s at least one situation daily that could be made better and put a smile of accomplishment on your face for handling it in such a manner. And hey, you can even rap while you’re doing it if you wanna! Some of you may want to do so silently though;)

Leadership Application:
Positive recognition is one of the most powerful motivators there is. Therefore, if we Stop, check out the situation in our world & arena of influence, Collaborate and work as a team, and Listen to one another more we would be amazed at the results. It is truly amazing the enormity of what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

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