413. Being an Interested Listener Opens Doors
Dr. Sharon Livingston
It was like hundreds of focus groups that are used for research every day. Sharon was leading a dozen moms in a discussion about a healthier alternative to a popular, sugary kids’ drink. Then, the women began crying and expressing guilt about what they fed their children. It was not your average focus group, and not your typical moderator.
Sharon Livingston, “Dr. Sharon”, has a PhD in psychology and has consulted on brand marketing for more than a third of the Fortune 100. She has developed proprietary methods to perform qualitative analysis with business and personal applications. She has coached hundreds of people in a variety of niches to build their own coaching businesses and to live and work in alignment with their passion. Sharon is president of The Livingston Group for Emotional Marketing as well as co-founder of the International Coach Certification Alliance (ICCA).
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“When I was three or four years old and would ask my mother questions about myself, I would usually get one-word answers. But then, I figured out if I said, ” Mommy, what were you like when you were a baby?”, then I would get stories. So, at a very young age, I learned how to invite people to give me attention by asking them about themselves. Across my career in marketing research, I’ve interviewed 62,000-plus people, since I was 19 years old! And that was the turning point: that little interaction with my mommy when I was a child.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Very recently, I went through a ‘surprise divorce’—did not expect that to happen! You know how sometimes things are a blessing in disguise? I hadn’t realized it, but even though I was doing things I love to do, I had been holding back my voice and my growth to be present for another person. I decided it was time to let myself Roar and to really be out there with what I do. So, I created a program called Roar, which is intended to help you find your voice, your passion, and let it out. It’s so relevant to what you talk about on this podcast, because all of us get into jobs where we make money. Then, there we are. We’re stable and financially secure, but it’s like we have one foot in quicksand and a broken heart because we’re not really living our passion.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
While moderating a focus group of mothers, talking about a popular, sugary kids’ drink and a fizzy, vitamin-enriched drink, they started crying! They felt so badly about loading up their children with sugar. I thought to myself, ‘Wow! Look what just happened here!’ I came to discover that I have a way of connecting with people that can make a difference in their lives. I’ve learned that a warm, embracing demeanor says, ‘I’m really interested in you.’ After years of learning, I don’t have to do a technique now because I live it. It comes naturally.”
Steps to Success from Dr. Sharon Livingston
- Have a conversation with yourself and ask, “Self, what do you want to do, what do you want to be?” Then do it.
- Be careful not to give up your voice, not even for a person or a job you love. Don’t lose the ability to Roar!
- Learn about yourself, your personality and temperament. Use tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, mentors and coaches.
- Practice the art of listening, of really hearing what is being said.
On Her Bookshelf
Get Lost, Girlfriend!: How I Found Myself When My Best Friend Dumped Me, by Sharon Livingston, PhD
Connecting With Dr. Sharon Livingston
Mobile Phone: 603-505-5000
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