The phrase ‘sharing is caring’ was made popular by the 90’s TV show Barney & Friends. The question I would like to ask you today ‘is sharing really caring?’
Let’s have a look at the sharing of knowledge. For many years people simply gathered knowledge and those with knowledge generally kept it to themselves. This grouping of people became known as ‘academics’ and they also spoke a more high falutin language that only they could understand. Although this may have never been their intention, they spoke so that only their intellectual colleagues could understand them. Einstein observed these people and correctly said two things about these people ‘any fool can complicate things, but it takes a genius to simplify things’ and ‘if you cannot explain something simply, then you don’t understand your subject well enough!’
More recently a different school of thought realised that knowledge was not powerful unless it is actually shared and it is in this sharing of knowledge when we start to realise that the explanation we need to give is somewhat different to the way we are explaining things. In essence we only learn when we are able to share what we think we know, and this is when what we know becomes true knowledge and we potentially move into a space where we could be observed as somewhat genius.
When we simply start sharing what we know, we are seen as arrogant and opinionated, after all who wanted our opinion? How we share and when we share becomes more important than simply sharing what we know. The truth is people only want your opinion if they have heard of you and if you are recommended by people they trust. Therefore your reputation needs to proceed you and the question then arises ‘how do I gain the trust of others and build my reputation amongst others?
Relationships are the key to everything we do in life and the more people trust us the stronger our relationships will be. When we look at what we are trying accomplish here I am reminded of the now famous words of John Maxwell ‘people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’
Building relationships and showing people we care is about one thing and one thing only … Listening! If we want success in anything we need to learn the art of listening, in fact listening is 80% of our success. Here I am referring real listening to understand as opposed to the way most of us listen and that is to simply see when we have a opportunity to interrupt the other person.
Listening builds trust quicker than any other action in relationships, because our basic human need is to be recognised. When we ‘listen beautifully’ to people as Nancy Kline suggests, we recognise the other person and they begin to acknowledge us. Therefore by listening we fulfill their need to be recognised. The other person feels heard and they may just listen to what we have to say, therefore recognising us.
Life is about making things simpler, the simpler we can communicate the more people will understand us. Excellence after all is not about how we can impress ourselves, but rather in others observing that we have done something that it extremely meaningful in their lives.
Image : barney.com