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February 16, 2019

When You Listen, You Grow

My mother said the nicest thing to me the other day. I have been trying to get this publication called Valentine’s Weekly off the ground for months and I have of course had my moments of extreme frustration.

Some moments even turned into days when I just got a bunch of movies and just curled up in my bed in protest. Through-out this process, what has kept me going is my passion for this business, prayer and some really great mentors that God put in my path.

The brightest of these mentors has been my mother. Any woman can tell you that the mother-daughter relationship is complex even at the best of times.

We daughters like to think we are so much cooler than our mothers and at the same time we are horrified to watch ourselves turn into our mothers. We want to think that we know better but for some reason mum seems to be right most of the time.

Anyway, I was telling my mum thanks for her help and her mentorship and she said, “You have finally grown up and started listening. When you listen to others you grow.” It wasn’t the most poetic or beautiful thing but wah! It hit home.

Like all ‘know-it-all’s’ there is something that has perpetually escaped my knowledge: that I am a know-it-all. You would think I would know that… at least. I finally got that I am a know-it-all, that it has cost me things and opportunities because I am hard to talk to and teach anything and finally, I got that I have started to shed that.

Being a know-it-all comes from fear. Fear of being thought of as stupid or ignorant. Fear of failing and looking bad. Fear of the shame of failure and public humiliation.

Being a know-it-all has made me a journalist because for the life of me, I cannot stop reading and so I had to get into the knowledge business. Being a know-it-all has made me self-righteous and judgmental of others and their mistakes.

It has made me lack compassion and have a difficult time rebuilding trust when I have had to forgive others. So how am I shedding this ‘know-it-all-ness’?

Well, it all started with acknowledgement and acceptance of it so that I can recognise when I am being a ‘kimenyi’ (know it all) and choose to behave differently.

Compassion for myself as I fail, compassion for the fear of ‘not knowing it all’, this is allowing me to listen and be coached and mentored. I am also enjoying the freedom of not knowing and taking risks regardless. I am getting out of my own way.

I am now listening and can I just say I have acquired a whole new level of fascination in people. So that is the nicest thing my mum has said to me in a long time and she is so right. I have grown so much since I started shutting up about what I know and letting others share what they know.

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