Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Audir means “to listen”.
I met an inspirational woman, Laurie Morgen #differentbydefault, Autism trainer, author and consultant in the UK. Laurie discovered she was Autistic as an adult, following her young son’s diagnosis. She kindly invited me to Skype with her so I could learn more about her experiences in the workplace as a neurodivergent woman.
Nearing the end of our conversation, she commented that she “could talk to me forever”, because I was the first person who really listened to understand her life experiences.
On reflection, I realised this perspective is one that has been reflected to me by clients, employees and friends over the last few years. And it became clear to me, if there is one thing I do well, it is Listen.
It hasn’t always been this way – I’ve been a chatterbox and “teller” for many years. With the benefit of life experience I’ve come to realise how much more enjoyable and effective listening is.
I know for sure that our children are sent to us to gift us with learning opportunities. My learning trajectory moved into a steep incline when we learned of our daughter’s Autism.
In the last 4 years, a new world has opened up – one where I’ve been learning about the neurodivergent brain, sensory processing disorders, co-morbidities of anxiety and depression (to name just two), positive Autistic identity and a world of gender fluidity, discrimination, appreciation, understanding and unconditional love. During this time, I’ve also started to discover and peel back the layers of my own neurodivergence and a whole lot of life experiences, challenges and strengths now all make perfect sense.
This new path of learning both by myself and alongside my daughter, has been exciting, sad, challenging and rewarding. My community has widened to include beautiful new friends, professionals and online groups.
And I have learned and continue to learn so much. The biggest lesson I have learned is to LISTEN, really listen, to a person to truly understand their life experience. In doing this and following my daughter’s lead (she is wise beyond her years), I have learned so much. In embracing our own uniqueness, life has become calmer, richer, and way more interesting!
As a Human Resources professional, I have moved from my early beliefs of “why can’t people just get along and do what’s asked of them” to “what is happening for this person that they are not thriving in the workplace?” My eyes have been opened, my beliefs and (dare I say it) judgements thrown away, and the complexities of dynamics in the workplace and life in general has become so much more apparent.
And because of this, I choose to LISTEN. Listen first to individual experiences, perceptions and fears. Listen to ideas, listen for strengths and listen to understand.
In listening, we find the answers.