listen

When I was a young boy, I loved to listen. I would saddle up next to my Mom, eavesdropping on grown up talk, while cigarette smoke filled the air. I would hole away in my room, laying on the top bunk, listening closely to the lyrics of every song on a new album. Late at night, I’d strain to hear the static filled voices of talk radio hosts, broadcasting from AM stations hundreds of miles away, until I eventually drifted off to sleep. Listening was my chief method of learning.

As I reached my twenties, my desire to listen was overtaken by my need to be heard.

Born out of some blend of insecurity, ambition or righteousness, I felt compelled to prove to others that I was the smartest or funniest person in the room. Surprisingly, this served me well professionally as I proved adept at giving presentations or talks. At the same time, my talking over people or attempts at owning the room grew tired, even boorish. 

During one professional development session, the trainer introduced me to the concept of “already listening.” He described this as the process through which we stop hearing what others are saying because we are already listening to our own inner voice formulating its response. That was me in a nutshell.

With this self-awareness and a natural mellowing with age, I began once again to lean in and listen more intently to the words of others. As fortune would have it, my career now requires this skill. Over the last several years, I have been privileged to talk or interview hundreds of people about their work, struggles, achievements and dreams. Many suggested that I begin to capture some of these conversations and share them with others in the form of a podcast. And so I have.

Today, we are launching Attribution, a new podcast where people from all walks of life, reflect on who and what has contributed to where they ended up.

Our hope is after each episode, you feel a little more inspired, grateful, or supported, then when you first hit play.

If you like these Monday morning notes, and you enjoy listening, I hope you check out Attribution. I’d be especially grateful to anyone who also takes the time to subscribe on your favorite podcasting app, rate and review the podcast and/or share with friends

As with anything we do, this project was made possible through the support of so many others. I’d like to thank the team at  Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from PBS flagship station, WNET in New York, who is partnering with us to distribute the podcast.  Luke Robert Mason of No Troublemakers, Ltd has been much more than an editor but an indispensable guide in navigating the unfamiliar waters of producing a podcast. Douglas Rushkoff, Seth Godin, and Alex DiPalma were incredibly generous with their thoughtful advice on developing a podcast.  My friend, Jonnie Davis created the beautiful music for the show.  I’d also like to thank my first five guests, who were so generous with their time and spirit.

And of course, my final expression of gratitude goes to anyone who will listen.

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