10 Benchmarks for Listening to the Right Voices
“Hey Mom! Turn right! No: I mean turn left.—Oh, I guess you have to turn around and go back.” Those were the instructions my children were calling out to their mother from the Observation Deck of the Human Maze. Our family was enjoying (well the children were enjoying it) a family night of fun together.
My wife had been convinced this would be a great “bonding” event, but the children quickly scattered, found their way back to the deck, and proceeded giving their mother wrong directions. They thought this was quite humorous! I quickly made my way to the deck and began giving counter instructions. Now, she had to decide which voice she would listen to…mine or her “evil” children.
In life, we are confronted daily with competing voices. The difference is this is not a game; it is real. We are pulled in a plethora of ways by people and philosophies demanding our attention and compliance.
How can we discern the right people to listen to? Who should get our attention and who should we shut down? What are the Benchmarks for Listening to the Right Voices? There are ten characteristics that mark people who are the right “voices” to listen to for influence in your life.
They have . . .
- A personal track record of success. – They speak from experience and you can point to strategic accomplishments in their lives.
- Earned the respect of other respected people and seasoned leaders. – If no one else in leadership is listening to this person…beware!
- No hidden agendas. – You can usually tell if someone is giving you advice only because they stand to gain from your decision. It is great if both of you can win; but beware of the person who uses you to simply advance their own agenda.
- A track record of making right decisions. – A person who is the right voice will not be a novice to right choices.
- An ability to listen. – It is interesting to note that the best counselors are the best listeners.
- A humble spirit. – The right people to listen to are willing to share an idea and allow you to take it or leave it. Their idea does not always have to be the best one.
- The best interest of other people in mind. – When giving you advice, the right people will be sensitive to how this affects other people.
- Counted the cost of implementing this advice. – A trusted confidante will often think about the personal or physical cost of this decision on your behalf.
- Measured the advice against your vision and focus. – A true friend – one who truly knows you – will take your personal vision and focus into consideration as they advise you.
- Consistent patterns in their lives. – People who are the right voices to listen to are not constantly changing; their lives are defined by stability and quiet strength.
Don’t listen to the “spectators” of life who want to tell you how to live.