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I recently applied for a Communications teaching position, and heard back that I'm qualified to teach less courses than anticipated—based on the transcripts from my Master's program. Though I have 23+ years experience in marketing communications, my higher education training isn't in traditional Communication studies. I'm excited to continue the conversation and prepare to teach the subjects I am qualified for, AND—that conversation brought up a value that has been transformational and has impacted what I've studied and why. It's the Power of Listening.

I went against the grain with my Master's degree. Most folks in the marketing communications space get an MBA (Master of Business Administration). It's the "gold standard," and referred to as such. I love higher education, and any training can be transformational and beneficial (I'd love an MBA!). What I chose, however, was a Master of Education—Adult Learning. For me: underneath all communication is meaning-making. A learning journey. Ideas being shared. How communication brings and bridges depth, cultivates community—creates shared language and alignment on shared values. I worked with my advisor to use program modifications where I could to stack up Listening classes. "Basic Counseling Skills," "Career Counseling," "Leading with Emotional Intelligence" (the latter from within the MBA program).

In our culture, we talk about "Active Listening Skills" as "soft skills" and approaches to apply social intelligence in order to be more effective. The challenge I see in that we've normalized the "Active" part. Our Listening has a goal from the start.

There's so much to unpack with this topic of Listening, and let's start here. (Go team! More to come.) What would it look like for us to explore what Listening is? Listening has transformed the way that I "be" with myself, people and my work—AND how I do what I do: my work, my decisions, actions in general in my life.

More soon.

PS The tree rings' image speaks to me about what Listening is at core (no pun intended).

Cheers to real life—the messy and the beautiful.


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