Would you like to know a secret for great success in relationships around you? It's an extremely simple secret that was revealed to me after having an epiphany at Super Regionals (a conference Shelly and I led locally) this last week. One of the key attributes of a speaker we listened to was his ability to ask great questions. Great questions create a moment for intense internal examination. This also creates a powerful moment that requires equally careful listening, which instills value to the conversation. A great question will generate a pregnant pause for meaningful interaction in life, but those questions must be discovered and asked with the intention of listening.
Everyone has an innate desire to be heard. In fact, just being heard often times creates deep foundations that can lead to friendships that go beyond the superficial "friends list" on Facebook. Great questions create those listening moments that tell people they are valuable and, to be honest, they ARE valuable. That is the single most important message we need to communicate to people around us, they are valuable. The problem is that valuing people enough to ask the great questions that create deeper relationships takes time, and makes us vulnerable. And not many people like to be vulnerable! We've been beaten and broken a lot in life, usually in the moments when we put caution aside and let our guard down. True strength is being willing to experience the pain of rejection to empower people to move outside of their shell and reveal themselves. I know that this is what’s consistently happening with me.
Some of the most treasured relationships I've had have been because I have listened to them and their hurt as they have honestly answered questions that go right to their core. I have cried with them, given them hope (as much as I can), and walked away carrying them in my mind and heart on a daily basis. I think that is the single greatest part of my job. It attacks the most broken part of many people's lives and brings them hope and transformation. I get to be the question person that listens and tells someone, who doubts their self-worth, that they are valuable and that together we can take their biggest hurt and make it their biggest triumph. This applies to everyone though, not just people in my line of work. Family, friends, co-workers and even the casual acquaintances need to know that someone is listening to their life story. Those moments are the things that will change and inspire a person, just like they do for me.