“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” - Winston Churchill
I have always loved this quote because it has inspired me to be a better listener, a listener who is respectful and truly present. It has also inspired me to overcome my anguish in situations where I needed to speak up and take the lead. Of course, in trying to absorb the true enormity of what Mr. Churchill is suggesting we do, and actually doing it, I came up with my own metaphor. I feel that sometimes bringing big thoughts into tangible, personal situations helps makes them more applicable.
So, for me… Courage to speak and to listen is like making a great béarnaise sauce. Yes, my foodie friends, ‘tis true. In order to make a great béarnaise sauce you need to be aggressive, but you must also be gentle. A mix of WWF (wrestling) and ballet.
If texture, consistency, and the subtle tang of champagne vinegar and tarragon are not found in the Goddess of sauces, then…no béarnaise. At first you must reduce your flavorings fairly aggressively (speaking-up, if you will), then you must finish the sauce gently, quietly…reacting to the point where eggs and butter create a sublime, cloud-like consistency. I feel like the sauce is actually saying… stop. I am done. (Listening)