This week was a metaphor for me.

Yes, I too did not avoid the flu/laryngitis thingy that’s going around. At first, I was surprised I caught it, because I am truly never, ever sick.

And this one was weird cuz there was no fever, no warning… just woke up Monday morning and couldn’t speak one word.

Normally, this might really upset me, but because it was still technically a holiday week, I was actually super calm and chill about it. I just flat out didn’t even try to talk for five straight days.

I had to cancel all my private clients, couldn’t make some really important phone calls, and had to bail on some social events when I finally admitted this was more than just a hoarse voice. But in general, I was pretty chill… that is until I started hacking up my lungs, but that’s a whole other conversation. TMI? I digress…

BACK TO THE POINT: Being the actors and singers that we are, NOT being able to speak or sing is usually close to, well, death! Communicating is WHAT WE DO! In fact, every day as performing artists, we are screaming to be heard. All the time. “HEAR ME!” “LOOK AT ME!” “PICK ME!” And once we are picked or chosen, our job is still to COMMUNICATE. Normally, this little problem would have set me off! #screamingtobeheard

But for some reason, this time was different. I just went with it, staying calm, drinking lots of water and not talking AT ALL!

Suddenly, where I was was perfect. I couldn’t say a word, but I could listen. I was present. I was listening. Hearing.

In fact, not being able to talk also shut down the voices in my head that are usually talking so loudly. (No, I’m not crazy… you have that voice, too. Yes, that voice that just said, “What’s she talking about? I don’t have voices in my head!” Ha!)

We spend SO MUCH TIME talking and trying to be heard in this business that we rarely truly listen to anything or anyone. And #communication is nonexistent if no one is listening.

Are you truly #listening? And if you are, what are you listening to? Life is communicating with you at every second. Tune in and you shall hear something glorious. And once and for all, you will truly grasp the beauty that silence brings!

Here are some new ways to listen, and if you have other ways that you “tune in,” share them below.

1. Smile, then listen to how that makes you feel.

2. Take your earplugs out and be present to what is around you.

3. When someone shares a story with you, don’t jump in, try to finish their sentences or rush to the end. Just listen.

4. Sit near water and focus on all the sounds you hear.

5. Instead of turning on music, TV or YouTube, just sit in silence for 5 minutes.

6. Dance around the room with no music on.

Did you avoid the nasty flu bug this year? If you didn’t, share your remedies for getting over that nasty cough that comes with it!!!

Leslie Becker is an award-winning Broadway actress, writer, and creator of The Organized Actor® and is passionate about inspiring, entertaining and educating others. Sign up below for more tips for workin’ your acting career and your life.

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