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Episode

A Conversation with Lindsay from All Ears English

May 23, 2022
Language Learning
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14
minutes

An interview with Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English.

We discuss why learners should focus on "connection, not perfection", why this can be difficult for people, and Lindsay gives three practical tips on what you can do about this.

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[00:00:00] Okay. Hi everyone and welcome to this special bonus episode of English Learning for Curious Minds. It's a bonus special episode because we have a special guest and that is Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English.

[00:00:14] Hi Lindsay. 

[00:00:15] Hi Alastair. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me on your show.

[00:00:20] It's absolutely awesome for, for you to join us. 

[00:00:23] Lindsay, can you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself, about All Ears English and about three words in particular that that you think will resonate with any English learner? 

[00:00:37] Oh my gosh. Absolutely. So All Ears English is based on, what we want to do with All Ears English is to help our listeners, our students around the world understand how to use English, not just to learn it.

[00:00:50] We believe that there should be something higher than just learning the grammar, learning the vocabulary, and that is connection. So everything we do, everything we teach is about human connection. You know, how can you maintain eye contact and not get nervous despite making mistakes? How can you connect despite your mistakes?

[00:01:09] And so I think a lot of our listeners feel inspired by this having gone through school and made mistakes and been locked into a cycle of perfectionism. So that's what we focus on at All Ears English.

[00:01:22] How do you see the right balance between connection and perfection? Because I think lots of learners really struggle with this because, yes you want to connect but you want to be as as accurate as possible. Could you talk me through your thoughts on that? 

[00:01:39] Of course, it's so true. That's a good point, Alastair. It doesn't mean that we don't care about being correct. Right. We still practise. We still work hard. We still try to learn the finer grammar points and we try, right. We, we work in integrity. We try to be the best version of ourselves as an English speaker.

[00:01:58] But the whole point of this phrase is at the end of the day, you're still gonna make mistakes. And, and under this idea of "connection not perfection", we know that and we make the connection anyways. Does that make sense? 

[00:02:11] It does. It does, I guess, does this come from some kind of personal experience that you've had or or that, yeah, where does it come from? 

[00:02:22] Well, I would say so. I was just chatting with someone last night about this. I think it came from, well, of course, years taking French classes in middle school and feeling frustrated. Feeling embarrassed that I was making mistakes, being in that position that our students have been in. But then it also came from a year of travelling in south America.

[00:02:40] I was on a beach one night in in Colombia. I was travelling with just Spanish speakers and so they were really buddy, buddy. Right. They could connect, they could laugh, they could tell jokes. And we were all sitting in a circle on the beach and I was kind of on the outside. And in that moment, I felt really alone to be honest, like really lonely.

[00:03:01] And in that moment, something like lit a fire in my belly. And I said, I don't want anyone to feel disconnected because of language. Like no one should feel this. Right. So that's kind of where it came from, that moment. And I have a hunch that a lot of our listeners have either been in a situation like that, or we want to avoid those situations.

[00:03:19] Language should never come between people. So that's where it came from.

[00:03:25] Interesting. Yeah. I think everyone's been in that situation where you feel like there's a conversation that you're excluded from, and you perhaps feel that it's because you're not able to communicate in the right way or you're afraid of being judged or making mistakes, but, but once you kind of throw yourself in at the deep end you realise that connection is not about language it's about it's about humans. 

[00:03:49] Yeah, exactly. And even though we're all speaking different languages, we can still connect. So again, it's not about ignoring grammar, it's not about being lazy. Right. It's kind of more about what you do in the moment of conversation. In the moment of face-to-face of interfacing with someone. What we do before is hard work is like I said, integrity is dedication, right?

[00:04:12] But it's what we do in that moment that actually matters the most, or it's the combination of the two. So 

[00:04:21] I understand, that is a super interesting perspective. Why do think this is a particularly important message for, for English learners, particularly now, and particularly people are who are trying to learn or improve their English for professional reasons? 

[00:04:40] Yeah, I think that, you know, with globalisation and right now in this very moment, people are speculating that globalisation is going backwards. I don't believe that. Right. That's not going to happen. You know, globalisation is a force that's going to continue. We are going to continue crossing cultures, the economy is global forever. And I think along with crossing cultures, there's a certain pragmatism that we need to have achieving the connection, achieving the goal, which let's talk about it. Right. If we're doing business across cultures, it is getting the deal done or getting the project done with our product manager in Paris when we are from Tokyo, so at this moment because of globalisation, because of crossing cultures, because everything is so fast, we don't have any time to dwell on our perfection actually, no one cares, right? We just don't care. Again there's a certain quality that we want to achieve and strive for. But at the end of the day, did you get the deal done?

[00:05:37] Did you complete the project? Did you get a handshake? Right? Did you do the business you need to do in a peaceful and you know, a good way that has built that relationship? So it's focusing on the relationships. So it's because of how fast the economy is now. Yeah.

[00:05:55] I'm sure lots people listening to this are kind of nodding quietly as as I am as well. But when it comes down to putting it into practice, when it comes down to actually having that conversation, quite often, you, freeze up, right? You, you can't remember how to, say that particular phrasal verb or you can't kind of conjugate that particular sentence and you think, ah, and, and either you've just missed the missed the moment and the conversation has passed or you, you still feel afraid.

[00:06:29] How, what would your advice be to a learner on how they can get over that a practical basis? 

[00:06:37] Yeah. 

[00:06:37] So I have a couple of tips for how to kind of take on, and this is very possible, we've had our listeners write into us and tell us that they have, by listening to the show, by just believing in this, they have been able to take this on, you know, as a new way to be with English in the world.

[00:06:55] So a couple of tips, I mean, the first thing. Is ask yourself, like, do you really want to make this change? Because I think that a lot of people hide in perfectionism. It's a great place to hide.

[00:07:07] It's really easy to say, I'm not ready. I'm not perfect. Therefore I'm not going to go out and speak. So does your desire to connect?

[00:07:16] Is that more? It should be, and it actually is, right, because the mind is just confused. I mean, I study meditation and Buddhism and like learning about the human mind. If your mind is stuck in perfectionism, it's trying to protect you. It's just confused. What you actually want as a human being is to connect in like your heart of hearts, at least that's what I want.

[00:07:38] Right. And so ask yourself as a step one, do you actually want this and how can you kind of get to the place where you are ready, and you do want to go for it? You want to go for connection and kind of leave perfection in the rear in the rear view mirror. That'd be my first tip

[00:07:55] Okay. Do you do you have other tips?

[00:07:58] For for sure. Would you like to hear them? 

[00:08:01] I think we're getting a lot of gold here, so I want to keep 

[00:08:05] Keep it going. 

[00:08:06] Okay. All right. So tip number two is set new definitions for failure and success. So now, up until now, failure has been, I made a mistake, right? 

[00:08:16] And of course you curled up and you walked away, you retreated into the safety of, I don't know, know, just not connecting. 

[00:08:24] Your new, you know, your new definition of failure is now, right, that you basically, you made the mistake. Yes. But you broke the connection. It's what you did after you made that mistake. So it's okay to make that mistake. It's actually part of success. But if you, the way that you've, if you fail, it means that you have, you know, maybe you have, again, dropped eye contact or your voice cracked or in your mind something switched.

[00:08:51] And that person saw that and you were no longer in connection with them. All right. So that's failure. Success is that you, you made a mistake and then you maintained that connection despite, or because of that mistake. Maybe you made a joke about yourself. Why not, right? A little self-deprecating humour? Okay.

[00:09:11] Cause we've all been there. I lived in Japan for a year and a half. I mean, you're living, are you living in Italy? Is that 

[00:09:17] I live in Malta, which is just south of Italy, yup. 

[00:09:21] yeah 

[00:09:21] We've all lived abroad. We've all been in these situations. Yeah. So what do you do after you make the mistake? That's tip two and then I have some tips, some more practical, linguistic type tips for tip three.

[00:09:34] We'd like to call this the brain box. So open your brain box and what this means, this is a practical thing you can do before you enter a situation. It means that you actually linguistically prepare your mind for certain words that you may need, or that you may hear for listening. So if I'm going to go to a day at the beach, my friends, again, my friends in Colombia, all Spanish speakers have invited me to go back to that beach that I was on in 2007 for a day at the beach and hang out

[00:10:04] This time, I'm going to connect. I have my Spanish, I'm going to open my brain box before I go. Maybe even write down some key words and phrases that I think I'm going to hear. And this has been proven in linguistics that it prepares the brain. You know, even when you write a subject line and you read the subject line first, you'll have an easier time understanding the email. 

[00:10:25] You prep your brain for what's coming, so you'll hear things, you'll understand things, and the vocab will be ready for you. 

[00:10:33] So that's kind of on the practical side of what you can do and then just a sub tip for that would be thinking in English as much as possible, you know, around your house. When I lived in Japan, I tried to think in Japanese all the time, I never made it past high beginner. But even, yeah, we don't have to be in the country to think in that language. Just what is the dialogue? What language is the dialogue going on in your head? Is it in your native language or in English? 

[00:11:02] So my, my final question actually is for people who are learning English, who are improving their English, but are not living in an English speaking country. And I know we've got lots and lots of listeners who live in places like Spain and Italy and Germany who don't often have the opportunity to, to speak with native speakers or even speak with people in English. How would you apply the the idea of connection not perfection to people in situation. 

[00:11:39] Yeah, it's a good question. So I would push back on the idea that if we're living in our home country, we have no opportunity to speak.

[00:11:48] Well, two things I'd push back on

[00:11:49] So, you know, our students, our listeners often say that they, they feel they need to speak with a native speaker. I don't agree with. Right. I think speaking with another learner who's at your level can be just as valuable. So I want us to try to get out of this mentality that it has to be a native speaker, right? 

[00:12:07] Cause that's a tough place to be. That can be impractical at times. 

[00:12:11] And number two. We all have access to the internet now. 

[00:12:15] There are so many online marketplaces that have free exchanges or paid exchanges where you can buy 15 minutes with a tutor, right. With a native speaker or, or with a non native speaker to just practise as a language exchange.

[00:12:29] So with the internet, I have, I have a hard time believing that we can't put ourselves into that moment where we can actually speak or interface with the language in one way or the other. We just have to make a little extra effort. It's not going to walk into our, our house. Right it's not going to knock.

[00:12:44] English is not going to come knocking on your door and show itself in, you just have to take a little extra have to take a little extra effort to go after it, right? 

[00:12:54] I think that is, that is very nice way to think about it. English is certainly not going to come knocking at your door, but there have never been more opportunities to to engage with English and to put Lindsay's idea of connection not perfection into practice. 

[00:13:10] So, thank you, thank so much for your time today, Lindsay. 

[00:13:15] Can you let our listeners know where they can go to find out find more about you and about All Ears English? 

[00:13:21] Absolutely. Thanks for having me on Alastair. I appreciate it. Yeah, guys. So you can go ahead and just stay right where you are and type in the search bar, All Ears English podcast.

[00:13:31] So if you're already a podcast listener, it should be very easy for you to find that show. It's the All Ears English podcast and you can hit follow wherever you listen to podcasts. 

[00:13:43] Awesome. Thank you so much, Lindsay, and have a great day. 

[00:13:47] Thanks so much.

Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
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[00:00:00] Okay. Hi everyone and welcome to this special bonus episode of English Learning for Curious Minds. It's a bonus special episode because we have a special guest and that is Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English.

[00:00:14] Hi Lindsay. 

[00:00:15] Hi Alastair. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me on your show.

[00:00:20] It's absolutely awesome for, for you to join us. 

[00:00:23] Lindsay, can you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself, about All Ears English and about three words in particular that that you think will resonate with any English learner? 

[00:00:37] Oh my gosh. Absolutely. So All Ears English is based on, what we want to do with All Ears English is to help our listeners, our students around the world understand how to use English, not just to learn it.

[00:00:50] We believe that there should be something higher than just learning the grammar, learning the vocabulary, and that is connection. So everything we do, everything we teach is about human connection. You know, how can you maintain eye contact and not get nervous despite making mistakes? How can you connect despite your mistakes?

[00:01:09] And so I think a lot of our listeners feel inspired by this having gone through school and made mistakes and been locked into a cycle of perfectionism. So that's what we focus on at All Ears English.

[00:01:22] How do you see the right balance between connection and perfection? Because I think lots of learners really struggle with this because, yes you want to connect but you want to be as as accurate as possible. Could you talk me through your thoughts on that? 

[00:01:39] Of course, it's so true. That's a good point, Alastair. It doesn't mean that we don't care about being correct. Right. We still practise. We still work hard. We still try to learn the finer grammar points and we try, right. We, we work in integrity. We try to be the best version of ourselves as an English speaker.

[00:01:58] But the whole point of this phrase is at the end of the day, you're still gonna make mistakes. And, and under this idea of "connection not perfection", we know that and we make the connection anyways. Does that make sense? 

[00:02:11] It does. It does, I guess, does this come from some kind of personal experience that you've had or or that, yeah, where does it come from? 

[00:02:22] Well, I would say so. I was just chatting with someone last night about this. I think it came from, well, of course, years taking French classes in middle school and feeling frustrated. Feeling embarrassed that I was making mistakes, being in that position that our students have been in. But then it also came from a year of travelling in south America.

[00:02:40] I was on a beach one night in in Colombia. I was travelling with just Spanish speakers and so they were really buddy, buddy. Right. They could connect, they could laugh, they could tell jokes. And we were all sitting in a circle on the beach and I was kind of on the outside. And in that moment, I felt really alone to be honest, like really lonely.

[00:03:01] And in that moment, something like lit a fire in my belly. And I said, I don't want anyone to feel disconnected because of language. Like no one should feel this. Right. So that's kind of where it came from, that moment. And I have a hunch that a lot of our listeners have either been in a situation like that, or we want to avoid those situations.

[00:03:19] Language should never come between people. So that's where it came from.

[00:03:25] Interesting. Yeah. I think everyone's been in that situation where you feel like there's a conversation that you're excluded from, and you perhaps feel that it's because you're not able to communicate in the right way or you're afraid of being judged or making mistakes, but, but once you kind of throw yourself in at the deep end you realise that connection is not about language it's about it's about humans. 

[00:03:49] Yeah, exactly. And even though we're all speaking different languages, we can still connect. So again, it's not about ignoring grammar, it's not about being lazy. Right. It's kind of more about what you do in the moment of conversation. In the moment of face-to-face of interfacing with someone. What we do before is hard work is like I said, integrity is dedication, right?

[00:04:12] But it's what we do in that moment that actually matters the most, or it's the combination of the two. So 

[00:04:21] I understand, that is a super interesting perspective. Why do think this is a particularly important message for, for English learners, particularly now, and particularly people are who are trying to learn or improve their English for professional reasons? 

[00:04:40] Yeah, I think that, you know, with globalisation and right now in this very moment, people are speculating that globalisation is going backwards. I don't believe that. Right. That's not going to happen. You know, globalisation is a force that's going to continue. We are going to continue crossing cultures, the economy is global forever. And I think along with crossing cultures, there's a certain pragmatism that we need to have achieving the connection, achieving the goal, which let's talk about it. Right. If we're doing business across cultures, it is getting the deal done or getting the project done with our product manager in Paris when we are from Tokyo, so at this moment because of globalisation, because of crossing cultures, because everything is so fast, we don't have any time to dwell on our perfection actually, no one cares, right? We just don't care. Again there's a certain quality that we want to achieve and strive for. But at the end of the day, did you get the deal done?

[00:05:37] Did you complete the project? Did you get a handshake? Right? Did you do the business you need to do in a peaceful and you know, a good way that has built that relationship? So it's focusing on the relationships. So it's because of how fast the economy is now. Yeah.

[00:05:55] I'm sure lots people listening to this are kind of nodding quietly as as I am as well. But when it comes down to putting it into practice, when it comes down to actually having that conversation, quite often, you, freeze up, right? You, you can't remember how to, say that particular phrasal verb or you can't kind of conjugate that particular sentence and you think, ah, and, and either you've just missed the missed the moment and the conversation has passed or you, you still feel afraid.

[00:06:29] How, what would your advice be to a learner on how they can get over that a practical basis? 

[00:06:37] Yeah. 

[00:06:37] So I have a couple of tips for how to kind of take on, and this is very possible, we've had our listeners write into us and tell us that they have, by listening to the show, by just believing in this, they have been able to take this on, you know, as a new way to be with English in the world.

[00:06:55] So a couple of tips, I mean, the first thing. Is ask yourself, like, do you really want to make this change? Because I think that a lot of people hide in perfectionism. It's a great place to hide.

[00:07:07] It's really easy to say, I'm not ready. I'm not perfect. Therefore I'm not going to go out and speak. So does your desire to connect?

[00:07:16] Is that more? It should be, and it actually is, right, because the mind is just confused. I mean, I study meditation and Buddhism and like learning about the human mind. If your mind is stuck in perfectionism, it's trying to protect you. It's just confused. What you actually want as a human being is to connect in like your heart of hearts, at least that's what I want.

[00:07:38] Right. And so ask yourself as a step one, do you actually want this and how can you kind of get to the place where you are ready, and you do want to go for it? You want to go for connection and kind of leave perfection in the rear in the rear view mirror. That'd be my first tip

[00:07:55] Okay. Do you do you have other tips?

[00:07:58] For for sure. Would you like to hear them? 

[00:08:01] I think we're getting a lot of gold here, so I want to keep 

[00:08:05] Keep it going. 

[00:08:06] Okay. All right. So tip number two is set new definitions for failure and success. So now, up until now, failure has been, I made a mistake, right? 

[00:08:16] And of course you curled up and you walked away, you retreated into the safety of, I don't know, know, just not connecting. 

[00:08:24] Your new, you know, your new definition of failure is now, right, that you basically, you made the mistake. Yes. But you broke the connection. It's what you did after you made that mistake. So it's okay to make that mistake. It's actually part of success. But if you, the way that you've, if you fail, it means that you have, you know, maybe you have, again, dropped eye contact or your voice cracked or in your mind something switched.

[00:08:51] And that person saw that and you were no longer in connection with them. All right. So that's failure. Success is that you, you made a mistake and then you maintained that connection despite, or because of that mistake. Maybe you made a joke about yourself. Why not, right? A little self-deprecating humour? Okay.

[00:09:11] Cause we've all been there. I lived in Japan for a year and a half. I mean, you're living, are you living in Italy? Is that 

[00:09:17] I live in Malta, which is just south of Italy, yup. 

[00:09:21] yeah 

[00:09:21] We've all lived abroad. We've all been in these situations. Yeah. So what do you do after you make the mistake? That's tip two and then I have some tips, some more practical, linguistic type tips for tip three.

[00:09:34] We'd like to call this the brain box. So open your brain box and what this means, this is a practical thing you can do before you enter a situation. It means that you actually linguistically prepare your mind for certain words that you may need, or that you may hear for listening. So if I'm going to go to a day at the beach, my friends, again, my friends in Colombia, all Spanish speakers have invited me to go back to that beach that I was on in 2007 for a day at the beach and hang out

[00:10:04] This time, I'm going to connect. I have my Spanish, I'm going to open my brain box before I go. Maybe even write down some key words and phrases that I think I'm going to hear. And this has been proven in linguistics that it prepares the brain. You know, even when you write a subject line and you read the subject line first, you'll have an easier time understanding the email. 

[00:10:25] You prep your brain for what's coming, so you'll hear things, you'll understand things, and the vocab will be ready for you. 

[00:10:33] So that's kind of on the practical side of what you can do and then just a sub tip for that would be thinking in English as much as possible, you know, around your house. When I lived in Japan, I tried to think in Japanese all the time, I never made it past high beginner. But even, yeah, we don't have to be in the country to think in that language. Just what is the dialogue? What language is the dialogue going on in your head? Is it in your native language or in English? 

[00:11:02] So my, my final question actually is for people who are learning English, who are improving their English, but are not living in an English speaking country. And I know we've got lots and lots of listeners who live in places like Spain and Italy and Germany who don't often have the opportunity to, to speak with native speakers or even speak with people in English. How would you apply the the idea of connection not perfection to people in situation. 

[00:11:39] Yeah, it's a good question. So I would push back on the idea that if we're living in our home country, we have no opportunity to speak.

[00:11:48] Well, two things I'd push back on

[00:11:49] So, you know, our students, our listeners often say that they, they feel they need to speak with a native speaker. I don't agree with. Right. I think speaking with another learner who's at your level can be just as valuable. So I want us to try to get out of this mentality that it has to be a native speaker, right? 

[00:12:07] Cause that's a tough place to be. That can be impractical at times. 

[00:12:11] And number two. We all have access to the internet now. 

[00:12:15] There are so many online marketplaces that have free exchanges or paid exchanges where you can buy 15 minutes with a tutor, right. With a native speaker or, or with a non native speaker to just practise as a language exchange.

[00:12:29] So with the internet, I have, I have a hard time believing that we can't put ourselves into that moment where we can actually speak or interface with the language in one way or the other. We just have to make a little extra effort. It's not going to walk into our, our house. Right it's not going to knock.

[00:12:44] English is not going to come knocking on your door and show itself in, you just have to take a little extra have to take a little extra effort to go after it, right? 

[00:12:54] I think that is, that is very nice way to think about it. English is certainly not going to come knocking at your door, but there have never been more opportunities to to engage with English and to put Lindsay's idea of connection not perfection into practice. 

[00:13:10] So, thank you, thank so much for your time today, Lindsay. 

[00:13:15] Can you let our listeners know where they can go to find out find more about you and about All Ears English? 

[00:13:21] Absolutely. Thanks for having me on Alastair. I appreciate it. Yeah, guys. So you can go ahead and just stay right where you are and type in the search bar, All Ears English podcast.

[00:13:31] So if you're already a podcast listener, it should be very easy for you to find that show. It's the All Ears English podcast and you can hit follow wherever you listen to podcasts. 

[00:13:43] Awesome. Thank you so much, Lindsay, and have a great day. 

[00:13:47] Thanks so much.

[00:00:00] Okay. Hi everyone and welcome to this special bonus episode of English Learning for Curious Minds. It's a bonus special episode because we have a special guest and that is Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English.

[00:00:14] Hi Lindsay. 

[00:00:15] Hi Alastair. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me on your show.

[00:00:20] It's absolutely awesome for, for you to join us. 

[00:00:23] Lindsay, can you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself, about All Ears English and about three words in particular that that you think will resonate with any English learner? 

[00:00:37] Oh my gosh. Absolutely. So All Ears English is based on, what we want to do with All Ears English is to help our listeners, our students around the world understand how to use English, not just to learn it.

[00:00:50] We believe that there should be something higher than just learning the grammar, learning the vocabulary, and that is connection. So everything we do, everything we teach is about human connection. You know, how can you maintain eye contact and not get nervous despite making mistakes? How can you connect despite your mistakes?

[00:01:09] And so I think a lot of our listeners feel inspired by this having gone through school and made mistakes and been locked into a cycle of perfectionism. So that's what we focus on at All Ears English.

[00:01:22] How do you see the right balance between connection and perfection? Because I think lots of learners really struggle with this because, yes you want to connect but you want to be as as accurate as possible. Could you talk me through your thoughts on that? 

[00:01:39] Of course, it's so true. That's a good point, Alastair. It doesn't mean that we don't care about being correct. Right. We still practise. We still work hard. We still try to learn the finer grammar points and we try, right. We, we work in integrity. We try to be the best version of ourselves as an English speaker.

[00:01:58] But the whole point of this phrase is at the end of the day, you're still gonna make mistakes. And, and under this idea of "connection not perfection", we know that and we make the connection anyways. Does that make sense? 

[00:02:11] It does. It does, I guess, does this come from some kind of personal experience that you've had or or that, yeah, where does it come from? 

[00:02:22] Well, I would say so. I was just chatting with someone last night about this. I think it came from, well, of course, years taking French classes in middle school and feeling frustrated. Feeling embarrassed that I was making mistakes, being in that position that our students have been in. But then it also came from a year of travelling in south America.

[00:02:40] I was on a beach one night in in Colombia. I was travelling with just Spanish speakers and so they were really buddy, buddy. Right. They could connect, they could laugh, they could tell jokes. And we were all sitting in a circle on the beach and I was kind of on the outside. And in that moment, I felt really alone to be honest, like really lonely.

[00:03:01] And in that moment, something like lit a fire in my belly. And I said, I don't want anyone to feel disconnected because of language. Like no one should feel this. Right. So that's kind of where it came from, that moment. And I have a hunch that a lot of our listeners have either been in a situation like that, or we want to avoid those situations.

[00:03:19] Language should never come between people. So that's where it came from.

[00:03:25] Interesting. Yeah. I think everyone's been in that situation where you feel like there's a conversation that you're excluded from, and you perhaps feel that it's because you're not able to communicate in the right way or you're afraid of being judged or making mistakes, but, but once you kind of throw yourself in at the deep end you realise that connection is not about language it's about it's about humans. 

[00:03:49] Yeah, exactly. And even though we're all speaking different languages, we can still connect. So again, it's not about ignoring grammar, it's not about being lazy. Right. It's kind of more about what you do in the moment of conversation. In the moment of face-to-face of interfacing with someone. What we do before is hard work is like I said, integrity is dedication, right?

[00:04:12] But it's what we do in that moment that actually matters the most, or it's the combination of the two. So 

[00:04:21] I understand, that is a super interesting perspective. Why do think this is a particularly important message for, for English learners, particularly now, and particularly people are who are trying to learn or improve their English for professional reasons? 

[00:04:40] Yeah, I think that, you know, with globalisation and right now in this very moment, people are speculating that globalisation is going backwards. I don't believe that. Right. That's not going to happen. You know, globalisation is a force that's going to continue. We are going to continue crossing cultures, the economy is global forever. And I think along with crossing cultures, there's a certain pragmatism that we need to have achieving the connection, achieving the goal, which let's talk about it. Right. If we're doing business across cultures, it is getting the deal done or getting the project done with our product manager in Paris when we are from Tokyo, so at this moment because of globalisation, because of crossing cultures, because everything is so fast, we don't have any time to dwell on our perfection actually, no one cares, right? We just don't care. Again there's a certain quality that we want to achieve and strive for. But at the end of the day, did you get the deal done?

[00:05:37] Did you complete the project? Did you get a handshake? Right? Did you do the business you need to do in a peaceful and you know, a good way that has built that relationship? So it's focusing on the relationships. So it's because of how fast the economy is now. Yeah.

[00:05:55] I'm sure lots people listening to this are kind of nodding quietly as as I am as well. But when it comes down to putting it into practice, when it comes down to actually having that conversation, quite often, you, freeze up, right? You, you can't remember how to, say that particular phrasal verb or you can't kind of conjugate that particular sentence and you think, ah, and, and either you've just missed the missed the moment and the conversation has passed or you, you still feel afraid.

[00:06:29] How, what would your advice be to a learner on how they can get over that a practical basis? 

[00:06:37] Yeah. 

[00:06:37] So I have a couple of tips for how to kind of take on, and this is very possible, we've had our listeners write into us and tell us that they have, by listening to the show, by just believing in this, they have been able to take this on, you know, as a new way to be with English in the world.

[00:06:55] So a couple of tips, I mean, the first thing. Is ask yourself, like, do you really want to make this change? Because I think that a lot of people hide in perfectionism. It's a great place to hide.

[00:07:07] It's really easy to say, I'm not ready. I'm not perfect. Therefore I'm not going to go out and speak. So does your desire to connect?

[00:07:16] Is that more? It should be, and it actually is, right, because the mind is just confused. I mean, I study meditation and Buddhism and like learning about the human mind. If your mind is stuck in perfectionism, it's trying to protect you. It's just confused. What you actually want as a human being is to connect in like your heart of hearts, at least that's what I want.

[00:07:38] Right. And so ask yourself as a step one, do you actually want this and how can you kind of get to the place where you are ready, and you do want to go for it? You want to go for connection and kind of leave perfection in the rear in the rear view mirror. That'd be my first tip

[00:07:55] Okay. Do you do you have other tips?

[00:07:58] For for sure. Would you like to hear them? 

[00:08:01] I think we're getting a lot of gold here, so I want to keep 

[00:08:05] Keep it going. 

[00:08:06] Okay. All right. So tip number two is set new definitions for failure and success. So now, up until now, failure has been, I made a mistake, right? 

[00:08:16] And of course you curled up and you walked away, you retreated into the safety of, I don't know, know, just not connecting. 

[00:08:24] Your new, you know, your new definition of failure is now, right, that you basically, you made the mistake. Yes. But you broke the connection. It's what you did after you made that mistake. So it's okay to make that mistake. It's actually part of success. But if you, the way that you've, if you fail, it means that you have, you know, maybe you have, again, dropped eye contact or your voice cracked or in your mind something switched.

[00:08:51] And that person saw that and you were no longer in connection with them. All right. So that's failure. Success is that you, you made a mistake and then you maintained that connection despite, or because of that mistake. Maybe you made a joke about yourself. Why not, right? A little self-deprecating humour? Okay.

[00:09:11] Cause we've all been there. I lived in Japan for a year and a half. I mean, you're living, are you living in Italy? Is that 

[00:09:17] I live in Malta, which is just south of Italy, yup. 

[00:09:21] yeah 

[00:09:21] We've all lived abroad. We've all been in these situations. Yeah. So what do you do after you make the mistake? That's tip two and then I have some tips, some more practical, linguistic type tips for tip three.

[00:09:34] We'd like to call this the brain box. So open your brain box and what this means, this is a practical thing you can do before you enter a situation. It means that you actually linguistically prepare your mind for certain words that you may need, or that you may hear for listening. So if I'm going to go to a day at the beach, my friends, again, my friends in Colombia, all Spanish speakers have invited me to go back to that beach that I was on in 2007 for a day at the beach and hang out

[00:10:04] This time, I'm going to connect. I have my Spanish, I'm going to open my brain box before I go. Maybe even write down some key words and phrases that I think I'm going to hear. And this has been proven in linguistics that it prepares the brain. You know, even when you write a subject line and you read the subject line first, you'll have an easier time understanding the email. 

[00:10:25] You prep your brain for what's coming, so you'll hear things, you'll understand things, and the vocab will be ready for you. 

[00:10:33] So that's kind of on the practical side of what you can do and then just a sub tip for that would be thinking in English as much as possible, you know, around your house. When I lived in Japan, I tried to think in Japanese all the time, I never made it past high beginner. But even, yeah, we don't have to be in the country to think in that language. Just what is the dialogue? What language is the dialogue going on in your head? Is it in your native language or in English? 

[00:11:02] So my, my final question actually is for people who are learning English, who are improving their English, but are not living in an English speaking country. And I know we've got lots and lots of listeners who live in places like Spain and Italy and Germany who don't often have the opportunity to, to speak with native speakers or even speak with people in English. How would you apply the the idea of connection not perfection to people in situation. 

[00:11:39] Yeah, it's a good question. So I would push back on the idea that if we're living in our home country, we have no opportunity to speak.

[00:11:48] Well, two things I'd push back on

[00:11:49] So, you know, our students, our listeners often say that they, they feel they need to speak with a native speaker. I don't agree with. Right. I think speaking with another learner who's at your level can be just as valuable. So I want us to try to get out of this mentality that it has to be a native speaker, right? 

[00:12:07] Cause that's a tough place to be. That can be impractical at times. 

[00:12:11] And number two. We all have access to the internet now. 

[00:12:15] There are so many online marketplaces that have free exchanges or paid exchanges where you can buy 15 minutes with a tutor, right. With a native speaker or, or with a non native speaker to just practise as a language exchange.

[00:12:29] So with the internet, I have, I have a hard time believing that we can't put ourselves into that moment where we can actually speak or interface with the language in one way or the other. We just have to make a little extra effort. It's not going to walk into our, our house. Right it's not going to knock.

[00:12:44] English is not going to come knocking on your door and show itself in, you just have to take a little extra have to take a little extra effort to go after it, right? 

[00:12:54] I think that is, that is very nice way to think about it. English is certainly not going to come knocking at your door, but there have never been more opportunities to to engage with English and to put Lindsay's idea of connection not perfection into practice. 

[00:13:10] So, thank you, thank so much for your time today, Lindsay. 

[00:13:15] Can you let our listeners know where they can go to find out find more about you and about All Ears English? 

[00:13:21] Absolutely. Thanks for having me on Alastair. I appreciate it. Yeah, guys. So you can go ahead and just stay right where you are and type in the search bar, All Ears English podcast.

[00:13:31] So if you're already a podcast listener, it should be very easy for you to find that show. It's the All Ears English podcast and you can hit follow wherever you listen to podcasts. 

[00:13:43] Awesome. Thank you so much, Lindsay, and have a great day. 

[00:13:47] Thanks so much.