I noticed an interesting dichotomy in my behavior yesterday. I’m quiet and I’m oh so loud.
There are times when I prefer to just listen and observe. I don’t feel that I have to speak just to show that I know something. I can sit and enjoy a conversation without having to be heard.
And then there are times when I can’t stay quiet. I feel so strongly about something that I must speak.
But, what I don’t enjoy is being part of the conversations where it’s less about listening and more about eagerness to say something that is forced just to belong. I have to say, I’m much less interested in those conversations. Not because I don’t want to learn something, but because it feels awkward and uncomfortable when you know the participants are just waiting for their turn to speak. It’s small talk’s annoying brother.
I find myself in these situations every so often and it’s got me thinking…
One example: I was surrounding by gifted and talented entrepreneurs and I had nothing to say. I had nothing to say because all I could do was hear the loud search in their brains that didn’t allow them to actually listen to the person speaking, but instead focus on what they would say next and what they could contribute. Now, I know their intention was to contribute, but I also know that there was ego involved and ego likes attention.
I left the table wondering, do they think I’m stupid because I didn’t say anything? And then I answered ego and said, well you’re not stupid and it’s okay to just be in the moment and listen without having a response.
Later that same night, I couldn’t stop talking about something that induces a passion inside. I was loud. I probably interjected many times when others were speaking and it was…. Awesome. A real conversation. People going back and forth on what they believed and what I believed and how we completely differed and yet listened to each case and responded with appropriate rebuttals.
And when all was said and done, I realized why I sometimes I find myself getting loud in my brain too, searching for the “right” thing to say that will make me look “smart” and then give up because really I have nothing to say and it’s just fine.