Rhett Smith Podcast 51: The Power of Listening to Transform You and Your Relationships — with Author and Spiritual Director, Adam McHugh
I have been looking forward to having this conversation for a long time with my good friend Adam McHugh. Interestingly enough, Adam and I have known each other online for approximately 10 years, but have only met each other one time in person. But talking with Adam is pretty easy (not only because he’s a good listener, he is super thoughtful and reflective in his responses), so I enjoyed this sprawling conversation on the topic of Adam’s new book, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction. Adam’s first book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, was a game changer for me, especially in not only helping me better understand myself (I am a borderline E/I in the Myers Briggs), but how important the role of introversion is in our faith communities.
Adam’s new book has also been a game changer for me as well. So much so, that I have been referring it relentlessly to clients in my therapy practice, and quoting passages of it as well in session. It’s definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time, and it has really shifted my perspective on listening. Not only did I realize that I am not as good of a listener as I thought I was, but it really showed me all the potential growth that lays ahead of me in this area. And honestly, I found that super exciting. To know that I can grow in this area and continue to transform the relationships that I am in is compelling. I cruised through the book in a couple of weeks and already started implementing new listening practices in my own life, as well as helping my clients work towards becoming better listeners in their relationships.
In this episode we explore:
- why Adam decided to write a book on listening.
- the role that Adam’s work as a chaplain and pastor had in shaping him into a better listener.
- how we aren’t as good of listeners as we think we are.
- the translation of a “listening heart” in 1 Kings 3:9.
- some suggestions for better listening.
- obstacles to good listening such as technology.
- the overwhelming amount of times that listening is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.
- the awareness that is created when we listen to people’s pain and track our own feelings/emotions and coping behavior.
- a new listening exercise that I have been using with couples.
- and much, much more.
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Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam McHugh
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam McHugh
Listening to People in Pain by Adam McHugh (at Conversations Journal)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson