For those of you who have listened to this podcast before, you’ll have heard me talk about an unhelpful belief that so many of us around the people who can and can not influence.
This belief is that only the extroverts, the ones who are completely at home in front of people, whose voices do not wobble when they speak, can really create change. And certainly owning your own voice on stage or in a meeting is a vital component of become an authority in your space, but it’s not the only thing.
In this episode, we are going to turn the volume down a little, and we are going to go deep on listening deeply.
Have you ever been in the company of someone who has mastered this skill? It’s magnetic. When someone truly shuts down their own ego, their own internal monologue, and focuses single-mindedly on your story, or your truth, it’s hard not to fall in love with them.
You walk away feeling seen, you bare things to them that perhaps you’ve barely allowed yourself to acknowledge until that moment.
Now imagine that skill being applied, not at a dinner party or at a boardroom, but in aboriginal communities with men and women who have experienced real trauma. Who have been forcibly removed from their homes and alienated from their culture, and their families.
That’s where my next guest started her journey, working with the disenfranchised, the over looked, who had been so deeply abused that the only way to communicate their suffering was through violence because nobody has taken the time or had the capacity to listen – deeply.
She found a way to connect to them in a trans formative way through deep listening – to heal, not just them, but their entire communities as well.
In so many ways, if we all became better listeners, we’d hear the problems that need solving, whether on a global scale or in our own families and we’d gain a clearer understanding of how to solve them.
I’m Julie Masters and Welcome to Inside Influence, the podcast where it’s my job to talk to interesting and influential people about what it takes to create change, a movement, gain traction behind an idea and then extract these lessons so we can begin to use these in our own lives and on our own paths of influence.
This week’s guest is Judy Atkinson – and it’s safe to say, and you’ll hear this in my voice throughout this conversation, I m in quiet awe of her. Judy is an expert in understanding healing and recovery from trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
At the core of her approach to healing is her focus on listening. She understands that, In order to heal, the stories behind the trauma must be heard.
Because of this skill she was an integral part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Task Force on Violence Report, for the Queensland government. She’s an author, a retired lectured, a TED speaker and she continues to receive humanitarian and academic awards for her transformational work including the 2011 Fritz Redlich Memorial award for Human Rights and Mental Health from Harvard University.
In this conversation – which, by the way, happened in a car park in boiling hot Lismore because this was the only way I could make this happen, and it really needed to happen, – I wanted to talk to Judy about the process of listening deeply – how do get yourself in the mindspace to absorb someones story.
· Once you are in that mindset – how do you stay there?
· How do you ensure you are creating a safe space for the other person to open up?
· And what do you do if you don’t necessarily like, or feel comfortable, or feel qualified to deal with what comes out?
· And what do you do next?