L.I.S.T.E.N.— S is for Service
“Human-centric leadership skills, used daily, brings out the best in everyone.
Human-centric leaders believe they can learn from others,
no matter who they are or what position they hold in the organization.”
Every week, for the next six weeks, we are sharing one of Someone To Tell It To’s values, one for each letter in the acronym L. I. S. T. E. N. These are values that we do our very best to model for and share with others. We believe these values hold the power to brighten our lives and to bring hope and reassurance in healing and helpful ways.
Today’s value is the letter S: Service.
We are who we say we are and are consistent in providing excellent service
- We do our very best and let our best speak to the world’s needs
- We are consistent so that others will be able to thrive and be well-served
When we asked her how she would like to meet, her response was incredibly profound and insightful. We’ll never forget it:
I’ve decided that initially, I would like to just communicate via email … because the things I have to say are so awful and I’ve never told anyone most of it. I think I would try to make you like me on Zoom, and if I did that, I would not be able to tell the truth.
Just about all of us want to be liked, accepted, respected.
We’ve had an email and private Facebook messaging listening relationship with this ‘Someone’ for more than eight years. It has been extremely meaningful and fruitful. She has been able to tell us some of the most personal and painful things about her life through her writing. She is deeply articulate, vulnerable, and wise. We know it’s helped her to communicate the way she has. She’s told us over and over again. Here is one of those messages:
Your caring means the world to me. I’m hoping that I may be entering a period of peace after a few really awful weeks. The sun is shining, it is warm and pretty outside and such a day has to give one hope.
From the very beginning of Someone To Tell It To, we made a commitment to meet people where they are most comfortable and feel the safest – physically, emotionally, and relationally. In coffee shops and restaurants, in their homes or hospital rooms, on walks or hikes, for example. Wherever and however they feel safest. We listen to others in-person, over the phone, via Zoom or FaceTime, through email or texting. We’re willing to travel if we can. Whatever works best for them. We ask everyone how and where they’d like to meet, and do our very best to meet their needs and to respect their needs. We rarely meet in our office, as the vast majority of people we’ve listened to prefer a more casual and less formal interaction. If we’re out at a place for a snack, a meal or a drink, we will often pay for what everyone eats or drinks, as we know that many people struggle financially and truly appreciate a small burden lifted from them. It goes a very long way.
Someone To Tell It To’s listeners have learned of physical, sexual, spiritual, and emotional abuse, listening in church meeting rooms and over the phone.
People have “come out” to us about their sexual orientation in hotel bars, and through FaceTime and Zoom.
Addictions have been shared and processed via texting.
Deaths and grief have been processed in emails, private Facebook messaging, and over many meals.
Loneliness has been expressed in all the possible forms, virtually and in person.
We’ve stood beside the caskets of a stillborn baby, of those who have taken their own lives, of those who died from addictions.
We’ve sat by beds in hospitals, in nursing facilities, and in the homes of those who knew they were dying and met them in their final days.
We’ve traveled by car and on planes to other states to help find healing for families who were broken apart.
Rail trails, community parks, and mountain hikes have provided safe places for painful stories to emerge.
City sidewalks have been favorite places for sharing about the lives of loved ones who have passed, as landmarks have been pointed out, marking places significant to their lives.
We’ve been invited into living rooms to hear all about regrets, longings, and dreams.
Meeting people where they feel safest. Going to them, when we can, where they are most comfortable. Using all the possible technological tools at our disposal to not let distance, time differences, fear, or embarrassment be factors to sharing openly or freely. Each of these ways of connecting make a difference in the service Someone To Tell It To offers.
We try our very best to filter everything we do in service to others through the lens of what is in the best interest of the people we serve. That is paramount and it’s a value we hold in the highest regard. It’s not always easy to hold to that value. Sometimes it’s inconvenient for those of us on the team. Sometimes it’s a sacrifice to meet at certain hours or in certain places or in certain ways. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But all the time it’s what helps others to know that they are valued, that they are safe, and that their needs matter in every situation.
We are always asking ourselves:
How can we best serve the needs of those around us?
Service is paramount to us. We believe in modeling that service in every way we can. We believe that we cannot expect others to do things that we are not willing to do ourselves. From the CEO’s to everyone on our team, we try our best to provide the service that lifts people up, shows them they are valued, and reminds them that others really do care about their well-being.
And in our offerings, lives are transformed, relationships begin to heal, pain begins to subside, answers begin to become clearer, and loneliness is diminished.
And it’s because of this that we hear:
I’ve never told anyone else this before. You’ve made me feel far less alone in my situation.
And in that, we know we’ve done something right.
Read more about our L.I.S.T.E.N. values in this series: