I have been looking forward to having this conversation for a long time with my good friend Adam McHugh. Interestingly enough, Adam and I have known each other online for approximately 10 years, but have only met each other one time in person. But talking with Adam is pretty easy (not only because he's a good listener, he is super thoughtful and reflective in his responses), so I enjoyed this sprawling conversation on the topic of Adam's new book, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction. Adam's first book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, was a game changer for me, especially in not only helping me better understand myself (I am a borderline E/I in the Myers Briggs), but how important the role of introversion is in our faith communities.
Adam's new book has also been a game changer for me as well. So much so, that I have been referring it relentlessly to clients in my therapy practice, and quoting passages of it as well in session. It's definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time, and it has really shifted my perspective on listening. Not only did I realize that I am not as good of a listener as I thought I was, but it really showed me all the potential growth that lays ahead of me in this area. And honestly, I found that super exciting. To know that I can grow in this area and continue to transform the relationships that I am in is compelling. I cruised through the book in a couple of weeks and already started implementing new listening practices in my own life, as well as helping my clients work towards becoming better listeners in their relationships.
In this episode we explore:
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Every year as we turn the calendar from one year to the next, people are strategizing what goals they want to achieve for the year ahead. For years I used to make a list of "New Year's Resolutions" for myself, sometimes 30-60 items deep. But what would inevitably happen is that the moment I started falling behind on one of the resolutions, or I missed a day or two of working on them...I would feel down, like a failure, and I would just stop working on them. Some I would still stick with, but since I felt like a failure I would just wait and push those other resolutions off another year. You may even do this yourself.
So in the last couple of years I have been just focusing on one to two goals for the entire year, rather than this long list of resolutions, and that seems to have shifted things for me. Last year I focused on one main goal which was training for and running my first every 50 mile trail run...which I did accomplish with the support of my family and friends.
And what ultimately shifted things for me in this area of life was something I read in the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. If you haven't read it, check it out as it's a great book. But more than anything, one particular area of his work stood out to me. In the book he talks about the power of "keystone habits." These habits are the habits that if you do them they tend to set off a chain reaction of habits or movements in other areas of your life. In some ways, achieving a "keystone habit" will catalyze habits in other areas. In the podcast I describe it this way. A "keystone habit" for me is getting up early to work out. When I get up early to work out I have more energy for the day, my body feels better, I feel more alert, I tend to eat better throughout the day, drink more water, am more engaged with people, etc. So that one habit triggers other healthy habits for me. With this in mind I realized that all my training last year for the Palo Duro 50 Miler spawned a lot of other awesome habits for me. And then when I achieved the goal I had been working for, that shifted a lot of other things in my life helping me achieve other goals that I wasn't necessarily focusing all my energy on.
My "keystone habit" last year was running. That changed so many other things for me. But I also realize that my keystone goal (the 50 mile race) also changed so many things for me. So in this podcast I explore "keystone habits" which Duhigg writes so eloquently on, but I also talk about keystone goals, which I haven't really heard anyone else talk about before (but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist).
In this Episode I explore:
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