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What is Conscious Listening?

Updated: Feb 1

Written by: Teri Swope, Founder of SwopeLight

What does it mean to listen consciously and why is it important? Could it go something like this?

I deeply want you to know me. I want you to understand the emotions that underlie my words. I want you to set aside your thoughts and judgements about what I have to say and focus all your attention on trying to understand me, to empathize with me, to relate to me, to connect with me. So that you are not focused on how you are going to respond to what I am saying while I am saying it, I ask that you save your response for another time, when you’ve had a chance to thoughtfully process what I’ve said.

This doesn’t mean I’m trying to make excuses for my actions, performance or behavior. It means I want you to understand the source of them. I know I am accountable for my actions, performance and behavior. I know that when I am not at my best, it is my responsibility to identify the underlying cause and remedy it. I am asking you to help me with this.

In order for you to help me, you have to consciously listen to me with the intent of becoming aware of my truth. Maybe this will awaken you to your truth as well. Even though we have different titles, you and I are not that different. Maybe this will create a pathway where we both can share our truths and understand each other on a deeper level. And maybe from there, we can acknowledge our unique gifts and use those gifts to create from a place of connection and consciousness.

This is my desire. To create, with you, from a place of conscious connection.

This sounds nothing like how we normally communicate in the workplace. This level of raw vulnerability doesn’t show up at work. We typically show up guarded leaving the deepest and most vulnerable parts of us at home, where they’re safe from the battlefield of work.

But what if we did bring our whole selves to work each day? What if we felt safety at work? Safe to bring all the parts of us to work, not just the parts that put together widgets and complete tasks. What if we were actually encouraged to explore who we truly are at work? What if we were invited to develop an inner awareness at work?

What would we unleash in terms of connection and innovation? What are we leaving on the table in terms of untapped potential with our team members, teams and organizations? What if creating this type of workplace is in fact, the path to organizational greatness?

As a leader, does this make you slightly uncomfortable? Are you willing to dig into that discomfort? Because beneath that discomfort is growth; growth that will inspire a higher version of you, a more conscious leader, to show up at work and in the world. And both of those places desperately need more conscious leaders.


Teri Swope is CEO and Founder of SwopeLight Consulting, a leadership coaching/consulting firm. She has 27+ years of experience developing leaders and organizational cultures.

Her leadership style is inspired by the teachings of Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, Adam Grant, Stephen Covey and many other mindful, heart-led authors and leaders.

“At SwopeLight, we believe there is tremendous untapped potential in organizations; potential for deep human connection, collaboration and innovation. We believe in inspiring leaders to pursue the highest version of themselves. We believe conscious leadership is the key to this inspiration and to accessing an unlimited well of creativity and innovation.”

Teri has a B.B.A in International Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She holds leadership certifications from the Inner MBA Program from MindfulNYU - New York University/Sounds True/Wisdom 2.0 as well as The Leadership Challenge program.


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