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In the pause: A lesson about listening from Tupac Shakur

“If you let a person talk long enough you’ll hear their true intentions. Listen twice, speak once.” ~Tupac Shakur

Less than two months into my 2017 resolution to pause every day and really listen, I’ve learned a lot. Much more than I expected. It’s fascinating to hear what people really say, and what they don’t say. It’s surprising to me to hear the narrative that plays in my own head during certain situations. These days we are subjected to all kinds of glossy marketing, slick slogans, and catchy soundbites. To really see what’s going on, we have to take a step back. Maybe even a few steps back. Let things come into focus. Listen rather than waiting to speak.

People are very adept at elevator pitches. We’ve got biases, lens of experience that alter our point-of-view, and objectives. That’s part of being human and having this massive cerebral cortex. It’s a blessing and it’s also a curse; we often get in our own way. I’ve found the best way to combat this is to just stop and listen. It’s a highly under-rated and rare skill. Our society doesn’t reward it, but life in general does. When we listen, we make better decisions because we have richer information. When we listen, we increase our sense of focus because our perspective is more comprehensive. And this combination of information  and perspective gives us the confidence to take action. The actions I’m going to take in 2017 are beginning to take shape. They’re exciting and a little bit scary, but I can handle it.

So far on my listening tour through 2017, that’s what I’ve got. I’m looking forward to what happens next.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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