Heather Hansen

Tell Me What You Want Me to Know

The Elegant Warrior-How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself comes out on Tues. Chapter 3 is “Be Curious”.  And in that chapter, I share a little bit about Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.  Judge Aquilina presided over the Larry Nassar case, and I was changed by watching her.  She approached each women who came before her to testify with compassionate curiosity. And she used one phrase that has changed all of my relationships. “Tell me what you want me to know.”

Judge Aquilina didn’t say “What happened?” She didn’t say “Tell me what I need to know.” Instead, she put the ball in the women’s court. Judge Aquilina gave them the power to decide what was important. And by doing so she allowed many women to being the process of healing.

Now I use that request as often as possible. At work, with my clients, I no longer say “what happened?” or “what do you remember?” I say “tell me what you want me to know.” And I learn so much more than I ever would have if I went in with my interests in mind. These 8 words have enormous power outside of work as well. When a friend is sad, when a partner is angry, when a child is frustrated, “tell me what you want me to know” opens doors I didn’t even know were there, much less closed.

You can use these words too. Whether you’re in real estate, education, medicine, customer service or law, you can use these words to gain insight and take action. Once you understand what your clients want you to know, you can begin to advocate for them. But remember, before you can be a good advocate for anyone else, you need to advocate for yourself. So use these words with yourself as well. When you’re confused, frustrated, upset or angry, give yourself the gift of these words. “Tell me what you want me to know.” There’s a little voice inside of you that just might give you exactly what you need.

Heather Hansen

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