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Seek First To Understand Then Be Understood

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After I did the book review on, The Business Of You: Hiding In Plain Sight, I received some comments; among others, along with the lines of; “You’ve Been hiding… You’ve been MIA (Missing In Action),” to name a few. First, I responded with a smiley face emoji, then there was the urge to be defensive. As more people made similar comments, I decided to reflect on the comments and then asked follow-up questions to better understand their point of view rather than dismiss it. In my moment of reflection, a book I had read came to mind; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. A specific line that flashed in my mind was “Seek first to understand then be understood.” So, with that in mind, I asked follow-up questions like; how do you mean, help me understand how I’ve been hiding. These follow-up questions led to responses like; there’s no picture of you on the blog or website nor do you feature on the podcast interviews, you haven't seen around as much...etc.

It did not occur to me that the absence of my picture on the SitMpod website or during the interviews was seen as me “hiding in plain sight” because my name was there and that to me was good enough! Since my name is there, those who know my name would know who I am. I felt that a picture of me was not necessary because of the nature/purpose of the blog. In my mind, pictures are only necessary for those who blog about fashion and post frequently. Then came an ah-ha moment; what about those who are seeing the name for the first time and can’t put a face to the name?

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About me!

I do consider myself a reserved/private person and truth is to a certain extent, I do like to remain anonymous. However; there are instances where readers/listeners/viewers will need to identify with you and or your story in order to connect with you because there is power in telling your story and doing that anonymously will not have the same impact. I believe my grand stepping into the light was when I decided to pursue a nontraditional career. Read about it here! But recently I learned that your purpose in life will require you to continuously step into the light on multiple occasions because your purpose will keep you awake and will continuously nudge you to act on it.

I must say I have a hard time talking about myself. When I meet new people and they ask the question; “tell me about you,” I usually respond with, “what would you like to know about me?” (yeah, I know answering a question with a question). I can’t tell you all about me in one day and I sure can’t do that in one blog post. I usually prefer people find out for themselves who I am because each experience with an individual is different.

Here we go… I am originally from Cameroon (West Africa). Parents are from North-West Province (Santa-Bamenda). I’m generally quiet, I tend to do more of listening and observing than talking especially in group conversation but I’ll engage in conversation if the topic is something I’m passionate about or if someone directly asks me a question. I enjoy conversations about books, research articles and discussing ideas or different point of views on controversial topics.

I enjoy writing and listening; both of which are therapeutic. I started writing my thoughts/ideas when I was 13years old and still do till this day. I have a collection of colorful sticky notes, varying paper sizes and shapes with written thoughts/ideas dating back to 2009. I used to write short blog notes when I was on Facebook. I enjoy listening to sounds of nature, to silence (yes! Weird I know!). Also, listening to people talk or sing, to music; I’m part of a choir and I enjoy listening more than singing. I lean more towards spirituality than religion, it is the center of who I am, it helps keep me sane and grounded.

I have a sarcastic side which I only express to those whom I think can handle it. Sense of humor; yes! There’s a kid in me too; the playful side which comes out especially when I have overdosed on chocolate. Care to know my favorite colors; white, sky/royal blue, gray and black. I like similar colors on men with a touch of pink! (Did I just say that?!). Talking about style; did you check out the recent podcast with StanLion?

What's a typical day like for me? I’m an early riser; up between 5-6AM. Start the day off with a quiet time (devotion, meditation). I try to get some workout done in the morning which is my favorite time of the day from dawn/sunrise till about 9 AM. During my spare time after work or during the weekend, I'll either read a book or an article or check out news updates. Visit family or friends or take my youngest brother to a game or group outing. I’m not much of a TV person; my interest in TV began fading in 2009 as my interest in reading slowly increased. I watch zero to two hours of TV on the weekend. I love the outdoors; long walks, hiking, Bikram yoga (aka hot room yoga) or go somewhere near water (nope I don't know how to swim). I have a list of new places I would like to visit and things to do, I’m open to trying out something new. Next on my to do list of adventure among other things is zip lining, iFly, and paintball.

About my flaws?! Hey, I’m human! Heard the saying “if you own your flaws, no one can use them against you.” I consider myself “flawsome” (is that even a real word in English)? I'm a work in progress and always open to learning. One thing I dread cooking is frying fish with the oil popping all over the place and the process of cooking ekwang feels like you are in the kitchen all day. Well, that will depend on the quantity you want to cook. I wonder how long it takes my Banso family members to cook Fufu Corn and Khati Khati (did I spell that right)? Moi Je Suis Bamileke Anglo (French) Je Suis Bilingue; yeah I know that is confusing after I said that I’m from the North-West Province. That's a story for another blog post.

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Back to books; over the years, as I have read and continue to read more books from varying categories, my point of view and approach to certain things continues to evolve. In the past, when people made a comment about something they’ve observed about me, I would either want to justify it and if I couldn't then I'll just ignore it. I've grown to be open to constructive criticism and practiced introspection. That is how I became open to reading books outside of self-help books such as The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People mentioned above.

The phrase “Seek first to understand then be understood” also comes in handy during a disagreement. Unless we understand where the other person is coming from, the people in a conversation will just be throwing water on a duck's back. We tend to listen to respond rather than listen to understand. The book; The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one I plan to read again because I've learned that each time you reread a book, something new stands out or something is refreshed in your mind. Such has been my experience with reading the Bible since I was introduced to it. No, I’m not trying to compare the Bible with other books!

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Too much information about me? Not enough? Got any question? Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram @ms_nanne. To the readers out there; what are you currently reading? Is there any SitMpodcast guest interview that reminds you of a book you read or has a guest’s story empowered you to get “unstuck?”

There's wealth and health in reading and there’s empowerment in putting into practice what you learn. If you aren’t into reading, I encourage you to grab a book today!
 

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