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mike hess“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller [Tweet this.]

Mike Hess has an amazing vision for how to succeed in work and thrive in life.

He’s been recognized for his leadership and effectiveness at the various organizations he’s supported professionally.

He’s got a wonderful marriage. He relishes their three children. He’s healthy, secure financially and grateful for every gift in his life.

He’s also the most attentive listener I’ve ever met.

We met last week at a leadership conference in Colorado. What I noticed first about him was his laser-like focus on me. He never glanced away, never looked over my shoulder. He treated me as if I was the only person in the room. He leaned forward listening intently to what I said. He made me feel incredibly special and truly heard.

In the course of our conversation he reminded how important active listening is to real conversation and healthy relationships. [Tweet this.]

Most people hear, but they don’t really listen.

They’re easily distracted by the next phone call, the next email, the next thing on the to-do list, the next person who walks into the room.

Mike chooses not to focus on those distractions. He’s attentive, present, aware. He credits his concentration to another one of his gifts: Mike was born blind.

In the course of our conversation I asked if he viewed it as a disability. Mike laughed. He told me that it was people with sight that had the disability. He went on to share that sight is why there is racism, sexism, discrimination and various other types of nonsensical judgments.

It’s one of the reasons he left a great job two years ago to provide others like him with the opportunity to thrive professionally. Mike started the Blind Institute of Technology to connect those who are visually impaired with businesses seeking extraordinary talent. The employees Mike places are bright, passionate, amazing listeners and extremely inspirational. Both the employee and the business win.

My friends, where is your focus today?

Most of us are extremely distracted. We don’t see possibility because we’re focused on what we don’t have. [Tweet this.]

We’re not attentive to the relationships directly in front of us because we’re thinking of what we need to do next. We’re preoccupied with appearance, acceptance and miss the radical miracle of each moment.

So today I challenge you to really see.

Quit making excuses. Put the phone down. Look into your spouse’s eyes, listen intently to your kids, be present with your friends. Observe the splendor of nature.

Don’t confuse being out of bed and able to see, with being fully awake and actually appreciating what’s in front of you.

It’s time to be like Mike.

Live inspired.

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Showing 7 comments
  • cari hood
    Reply

    Love the article… siging up for the newsletter.

  • Jennifer Miller
    Reply

    Great messages. After pondering on them myself, I share with my work teams and my family members! Thanks

    • John O'Leary
      Reply

      Thanks for encouraging your family and friends to live an inspired life — and for ALL you do each day. J

  • Tina Bennett
    Reply

    Listening is not a function of the eyes and ears, but one of the heart. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story.

    • John O'Leary
      Reply

      Thank YOU for sharing your sweet words and for all you do, Tina! J

  • Leslie Mann
    Reply

    This is so inspiring! What an excellent message!

    • John O'Leary
      Reply

      Thx Tina! Spread the good news, message and challenge to others and have an AWESOME day! J

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