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November 2013


Do you feel listened to?

"Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble."

… Frank Tyger

Nearly every human being seeks to communicate with other human beings. We speak to them or use signs or symbols to put across our view of the world, speak our desires, ask for assistance and so on. Apart from the most physically or mentally impaired, we all have some capacity to communicate with others. Yet, despite being an innate human activity, communication continually shows up as an issue in organisations and life in general. Why is this?

Admittedly some are better at communicating than others, however, regardless of our skill, when we seek to communicate with others, we live in the expectation that others will listen to us. If I speak and you don't listen to me, then I may well feel ignored. It seems that I am not worthy of your attention. As a result, my self worth may feel diminished. When we speak or signal others, at some level, our sense of self is at stake. No wonder poor communication is such a big concern. It is not just about a message being passed to another person, it relates to the heart of who we are as a human being.

Yet do we always listen to others? I reckon I am a pretty fair communicator, yet I know I am not always listening to others when they speak to me. Sometimes, I don't realise they are addressing me, sometimes my mind is elsewhere and sometimes, if I am being honest, I am just not interested in what they are saying. At those times, I am generally not even aware of how they might be feeling as I am more caught up with how I am feeling.

I don't think this makes me a bad person. It just means I am human. I cannot pay attention to everyone all the time. I would go crazy! I will do my best to listen to others and certainly do so when I assess it as important, but I cannot show everyone that I am listening to them all the time. Yet, I also recognise that I may be showing them a lack of respect and diminishing their sense of self. It seems a balance has to be constantly maintained.

How about you? Do you always feel that others listen to you? When they don't, how do you feel? Do you believe you always listen to others? I invite you to think about these questions. It may lead to you being a better listener and someone who helps alleviate the poor level of communication around you.

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.

Play Create Elevate

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

"From little things, big things grow."

… Paul Kelly, Australian singer/songwriter

Recently I have read many documents and articles about some alarming statistics about the impact of poor mental health in a broad range of segments of the Australian population and the world at large.

When are we, as individuals, families, communities, workplaces, social groups, states, private and public sector organisations, policy makers and holders of the purse strings at every level, going to take action that is sufficiently committed and large enough that we will see a shift in the mental health conversations, resources, services, policy and finances? Action that will dramatically improve those statistics.

I am on my journey to sufficiently raise my profile such that I can have a positive impact - particularly in the area of people being able to speak openly and comfortably about "head and heart" or mental health issues.

Actions I have taken on an individual level include:

  • I am willing to speak openly and comfortably to friends, family, clients and audiences about mental health issues based on my personal 'lived experience";
  • I shifted my focus on a business level to "Play Create Elevate" focussing on the importance of play and creativity as innoculators and antidotes to stress, anxiety and depression - recognising how many stressed, anxious and depressed people I meet in my organisational work;
  • I went to Brisbane to be trained as Victoria's First Black Dog Institute Community Volunteer Presenter and have subsequently delivered several presentation on behalf of the Black Dog Institute;
  • I launched a weekly radio show (Mondays 1-3pm WMAfm.com) called "But I Feel Good... talking pink elephants and black dogs", which is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the "black dog" of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the positive "pink elephant" strategies and practicesthat build emotional resilience and inner fortitude (www.facebook.com/butIfeelgood);
  • I invite other people to speak openly and comfortably about their lived experience; and
  • I encourage others to speak openly and comfortably about their concerns for those they know that may be experiencing mental health issues.

My invitation to you is to take ONE action to make a difference to the way mental health is discussed, perceived, supported and managed in your world... it might require you to step outside your "known zone" or require a time commitment, how ever small or regular, from you.

What is the one action that you will take to be part of the momentum to build the wave that will have us all openly and comfortably surfing the mental health conversation?

Some ideas you might like to consider:

  • Find a person who lives with a mood disorder or other mental health issue and ask them if they would have a conversation with you about their experiences;
  • With permission, tell others about what you learnt from having that conversation;
  • Surf the net and get educated on a mental health issue or mood disorder about which you are curious;
  • Tell someone you know about what you learnt investigating a mental health issue;
  • Become informed about the current and predicted future stats on mental health issues and see what it inspires you to do;
  • Learn some ways to help or support those that you see struggling with their mood;
  • Ask someone who looks like they are struggling if they are OK?
  • Organise a Black Dog Institute Community Presentation on Breaking Down Depression and Building Resilience; or
  • Volunteer to be a Black Dog Institute Community Volunteer Presenter on Breaking Down Depression and Building Resilience.

I am sure you could also think of some other actions...


Please check out the website, www.PlayCreateElevate.com.au, and let Jacqui know what you think.

More on PCE next month!

The Monthly Diversion

Things are not always what they seem again!

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber.

“That kid never learns!” Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?”

The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”


"It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to... The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures."

… Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890) Dutch artist


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Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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