Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga

Listen…do you hear the leaves falling, the autumn winds blowing?  Things are changing again.

It is two and a half weeks after Hurricane Sandy and for the most part, things seem back to normal. The reality is, they aren’t for everybody. Many homes in Long Island, the Rockaways, New Jersey, and along the eastern coast still don’t have electricity or heat. People are still displaced and losses are still trying to be recovered. Many of us are compelled to help. Many of us are wanting to move on. And many more just want things to be the same as before.

At Leadership, we focus a lot on the importance of communication skills in our curriculum. There is such an emphasis on listening in what we do. I learned a lot from Sandy just by listening. So here are some of my lessons:

* listen to your family's and friends' concerns and worries
* listen to your own instincts and intuition
* listen to official safety information given to you
* listen to the sky, the wind, the trees, and the waters
* listen to your body's needs (especially if you're pregnant, like me)
* listen to reason
* listen to the silence
* listen for your neighbors
* listen for the cries of help
* listen to what people tell you they really need

* listen to your heart

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and all the other holidays tailing behind quickly, I wanted to encourage people to try something as we embark on the season of giving: just listen.  In the spirit of generosity, it is just as important to give what is truly needed than just to give for the sake of giving. For Hurricane Sandy's victims, that could be food, warm clothing, a helping hand to clean up or rebuild. And for them and many others in life, it could just be the simple gift of listening.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I will be participating in the National Day of Listening by Storycorps. We have all lost something or someone in our lives, but we at least have a story or memory to share with others. All is never lost.

If you are interested in honoring a friend, loved one or stranger by giving the gift of listening, please go to

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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."