I listen too much.
Or, I should amend, I listen to other people too much.
I’m forever losing my own voice, in that, it doesn’t get exhausted; it just doesn’t get used.
I’m in an industry (world) where everyone is shouting. So many opinions, so many thoughts. So much “do this”, loads of “don’t do that”. Back at the end of 2013, I stopped listening to them, and completely listened to myself. Lo and indeed behold, my beloved business brand was born, with a logo I adore, styling I understand, and a business that is me.
And then I started listening to everyone else again.
And promptly everything died a horrible death, and now I’m having to work pretty fucking hard to pull everything around again.
Stupidly, whilst doing so, I carried on listening to people. I didn’t listen to myself. (Will I ever fucking learn?) And I’m still trying to pick up the pieces, as a result.
It’s my own fault.
Last week saw a turning point. A realisation, if you will, when someone told me a bunch of stuff I should do to fix things. I didn’t respond any further, because I was absolutely fucking livid with them for so many reasons. Contradictory info, mixed messages, questioning things they could never possibly understand at this time, or for a few years down the line.
And then I got pissed off with myself, because I realised I didn’t actually have to listen to them. I didn’t have to listen to anyone. I had been doing so well, for so long, following my instincts, being myself, and doing what worked. And then I got lost, because I stopped fucking listening.
I’m pretty screwed at the moment. I’ve threatened several times over the last few months to quit the business, because I got really fucking lost. And of course, no one else’s suggestions were working. I can’t quit though, and that’s the irony. I can’t quit, because I fucking love this job so much. It’s like a drug. Every time I say “that’s it I’m done, I really don’t think I can keep this going”, I fell the shakes come on, I can’t sleep, and I feel like I’m about to lop off an arm. Which is ridiculous…but it makes perfect sense.
It feels the same as when I quit cello.
(And look what happened there; not only am I playing again, but I’m doing a double cello concerto in concert in 2 months. I’m back in a full symphony orchestra, and lately, not a week goes by where someone doesn’t ask if I’m available to play for an up-coming concert. I couldn’t quit. I’m a shitty quitter.)
I never quit cello.
Just like I couldn’t quit this.
However, it’s time I (inwardly) told everyone else to STFU, and start paying attention to myself, again.
I went to a wedding show recently, to see if there was any prospect for me. After being told that wedding shows wouldn’t be good for me, I sure had my doubts. But I went anyway (because the venue was fucking LUSH.) And from a conversation that started with “oh my days your baby is GORGEOUS!!!” I booked a couple.
They hadn’t even seen my work yet.
I just talked to them. Chatted with them. Talked about their wedding dreams and plans. What they were hoping for. She showed me her dress, he talked about his suit. She showed me photos of her baby, I babbled about traveling the world for weddings.
They hadn’t even seen my work.
When I stop listening to everyone else, and remember WHO I AM, things seem easy again. I forget just how easy things can be when that happens.
Soooooo I’m done listening for a while. Or at least, I’m now going with “Selective Listening”. Because I also seem to have had an influx of people looking for a business coach and life mentor. And they’ve either come to me directly, or been referred to me. So that’s awesome…and it means I go back to remembering how to do the RIGHT kind of listening. The listening where it’s about them, not about me.
There are people who will listen to me, and I love them to bits, and they know who they are. They are literally my immediate family, and I’d be lost without them. But I listen to them, and they don’t tell me what to do. They just…respond to what I say.
Not everyone is asking to be “fixed”. Many people just want to be heard.
I’m one of those people. And that’s really ok with me.