Your first obstacle, is your ego. You may not like the idea of someone you don’t know intimately telling you to get your head out of your ass. If I were in your shoes, I might feel the same way. The question is, however, what are you defending…and why?

This resistance you feel can stop you from reading further or simply direct you to read through whatever I share with a “disqualification lens.” If you read or listen with the intent to disqualify, you’re not on the hook to consider, embrace, or take action on anything new or different.

Now what would have happened had I started out with empathy? “I know you’ve been working hard. You’ve taken risks and tried to embrace uncertainty. You’ve had your share of hard-fought losses.”

Would you have read or listened differently? For most of you, the answer is yes, but I’m actually saying the same thing. Both statements have truth in them, but if your ego attaches itself to the first statement, it will resist improvement and doing the hard, risky listening needed to succeed.

There are two types of listening:

  1. Safe Listening—Most human beings listen from what I call a “safe” zone. Their listening is intellectual; an effort to decipher, understand, critique, and judge what and how something is being said. This listening filter is nothing more than a shallow thought commercial. Your ego will be distracted by the first statement you hear. As you listen, you look for other words, thoughts, and ideas to interpret and support your disqualifying efforts.
  2. Uncomfortable Listening—As you listen, you have to mindfully remove the distractions and filters of your ego in order to think through and let go of what you think you already know. It takes courage to listen without ego attachment. You have to void the protective intent of judging and critiquing and be willing to question the validity of how you do things and the outcomes.

Many of you reading this are married to the risk, sacrifices, energy, and humiliation that comes with reaching the level of success you’ve attained. Your ego wants you to hold onto those extremes and experiences so that you don’t do anything too different or crazy. Your ego holds you back by dictating how you listen, learn, and judge ideas, which interfere with improving. For many of you, your ego is in full control.

Why should you even care?

The first step in getting better starts with how you listen. How you listen is the difference between the safety of taking notes and gaining some knowledge, versus putting that knowledge through the test of trying and applying.

Your prospects do the same thing. Much of their listening efforts are used to disqualify you and your expertise. How do you know? You can always tell by the kind of listening to your prospect is engaged in and the type of questions they ask or don’t ask.

If you want your prospects to get their heads out of their asses and make better and obvious decisions to improve, it starts with you first!