Weekly Brief – What the Voice is Saying

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Several years ago a supervisor told me that some of my coworkers felt overwhelmed by my effusiveness in meetings.  I left my supervisor’s office hurt and angry. Back at my desk, I wrote a less poetic, more resentful version of the poem below on a page in the portfolio that I carried to every meeting.  From that day forward, I would arrive at the meeting, open my portfolio and read the words.  When I had a point to make during the meeting I would read the poem instead.

At first it was an act of rebellion.  Hah, I’ll show them. I just won’t say anything.  But the quieter I become, the more I heard.  I discovered that often other people were thinking the same things I was thinking, just saying it differently.

Being silent is not a natural state of being for me. I like to be heard and my tendency is to repeat what I said if I think my point was missed. My supervisor had the courage to point out my flaw, and this poem has helped me grow into a better coworker.

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I still speak up with questions and ideas.  But this little poem prevents me from thinking my own voice is the most important.

Today,
I will listen,
I will think,
I will refrain from speaking.

Today,
I will pause,
I will reflect,
I will avoid interrupting.

Today, as I listen,
I will not guess what you are saying;
I will hear it.
I will let you speak.
I will respect your words.

I will be patient,
and I will let your words
gather strength
until they pour forth
what you wish me to know.

I will not push you to a bottom line;
Instead I will guide you with silent support.
I will be calm, serene.
Anxiety will hold no sway.

I will recognize
that I am not always right,
that my way is not always best,
that my agenda is one of many.

I will laugh at your wit,
and keep my humor kind.

Today I will practice this
at home,
at work,
with family,
with friends.

Today I will slow down,
listen,
discern.

Then, and only then,
I might speak.

By Barbara Rath (May 23, 2013)

Note:  “What the Voice is Saying” is from the song “Discern” by Phish.

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About Barbara Rath

Enjoy reading, writing, hiking, hangin' with family, friends and my dogs, watching soccer (Go Breakers), baseball, football. Favorite foods are coffee, chocolate, and artichokes. Always thinking of new stuff to do and then not doing it.
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