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Unavailable

3 Oct

We have all kinds of personal connections in our lives.  There are family members, trusted friends, lovers, partners, associates, co-workers and the list goes on.  In order to build our connections we must have contact with each other to create a strong and viable relationship.  When we want to talk to those near us or spend time with them, if they are continually unavailable the relationship will suffer.  Connections require continued contact to be healthy and vibrant.  If the door to them is always shut we will eventually grow apart and in time may lose the relationship altogether.  If we want to be close to others we must be present with them.  There is no way to have a lasting association with anyone if we’re never there.  Everyone is busy and it’s easy to get caught up in all the details we have to address every day.  But our relationships are important and help us throughout our lives.  When we share our lives with others and enjoy the give and take that meaningful connections bring, we are happier and more fulfilled.  It’s good to spend time with others and learn about them, get their input, and share our experiences.  Life can be complicated and sometimes difficult.  Having close connections will always be a benefit to us in any situation we encounter.  We can take the time we need to build strong relationships and nurture companionship and friendship.  We’re all in this together and are far more connected than we may realize.  Our lives are embellished and improved when we share them with others.  The world is a huge place and there are many who would value the friendship we offer.  We can share our lives with those around us and find great blessings going forward.

Intimate relationships don’t happen all at once and need time to develop.  When we’re close enough to someone else to share our most personal thoughts and dreams, our lives are enriched and we feel the joy of the connection.  If we want a deep and personal link to someone else, we must be willing to share our time with them.  If we aren’t available, are too busy when they want to be near, or are constantly distracted, there will be no way to build the close relationship we desire.  Wishing for a deep, rewarding relationship will not make it reality.  We must invest the time and effort needed to get there.

We don’t have to be close to anyone if we don’t want to.  It’s possible to go through our entire lives without building a single intimate relationship.  But the rewards of sharing our lives completely with someone else are great.  It’s easy to feel isolated and alone in the world but when we are completely accepted and understood by someone else, we feel validated and important.  Life brings us great blessings.  Those blessings are enhanced when we share our lives with others.

Today if you’ve been doing everything by yourself, think about engaging someone near you.  Open your heart and share your life with them.  Build a strong and close relationship and great blessings will follow.  You have so much to offer and we all want to know you.  Reach out and let us in.  Your connections will bring you great happiness and reward.

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Hand Off

18 Mar

We all do many things well and some things very well. We can learn new skills and become proficient at anything we like. But sometimes we might find ourselves in over our heads when we’re in a situation that is more difficult than we planned. Maybe we don’t have the experience to manage the issue or we can’t handle the demands it requires. We can’t be good at everything and it’s important to recognize there are times when we need to hand things off to someone else. Letting something go and giving it to someone who is better equipped to handle it doesn’t mean we’ve failed. The most successful people in the world are those who understand they don’t need to know everything, and if they don’t have the skills to manage a project, there is someone who does who can help. It’s wise and appropriate to hand off issues that are more than we’re prepared to take on. This is not the same as abandoning our everyday responsibilities when they get complicated. Those are ours, and we are must manage them. But when we get into situations we don’t have the tools to manage, the best we can do is let someone with the best skill set take over. That way the issue gets attention, we aren’t stressed out of our minds trying to do something we can’t, and we gain the best possible outcome.

Learning to delegate and let others do things instead of trying to manage everything ourselves can be difficult. If we have control issues we may believe we are the only one who can do the job right even when everything indicates that isn’t so. Control issues are a form of selfishness.  If we have to control everything we will inevitably fail at something.  It’s better to trust others more equipped to handle the issues we can’t.  Some people think if they delegate a difficult task to someone else, people will think they’re incompetent or they’ve failed. Opinions vary but we never fail when we recognize our limits and then do what is needed to move forward. We are capable of seeing the situation objectively and making any changes needed to ensure success. The successful resolution of the issue is the goal. If we keep that forefront in our minds it will be easier to delegate when we need to.

It’s foolish to believe we are good at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing them both and accepting them helps us understand where we are and what we can do best. We can accept our limitations, and do what is needed to work around them. Working with others and combining forces and knowledge makes everything easier. When we do, we can draw on many different strengths instead of just our own. Allowing others to help will move us forward more efficiently. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. We don’t have to be the one and only. We can collaborate and in doing so, we will win.

Today if you’re drowning in a situation above your abilities, reach out and get help. There are a lot of people around you and they all have talents and gifts you don’t possess. Trust them and allow them into the circle. Hand off the issues that are beyond your reach.  You’ll feel better and success will come more easily. Reach out and let others reach back. Together you’ll overcome anything.

Triangles

5 Jan

In an orchestra, every instrument has an integral part to play. Each is needed to make the piece being performed complete. If even one instrument’s part is removed or quieted, the entire sound is affected. If one section is more subdued than another, the main melody transfers to whichever is playing the most prominently. Directors use this to manipulate the performance and create the sound they seek. They choose the most beautiful parts of the piece to sing out above the other harmonies in order to bring the greatest beauty and depth to the music. But every instrument has it’s place and is needed to create the entire sound. Even the triangle has a role to play. It’s a small instrument with a very tiny voice. But when it is called on to sound out, its perfect placement makes the entire piece more complete. We are like the orchestra in many ways. We are all different and each of us has a voice that is unique and important. Even if we’re like the tiny triangle, and don’t say much or aren’t loud, what we have to offer is valuable and needed. Our contribution, no matter how small is integral in our lives and the lives of others. It’s important and precious.

We all have different ways of expressing ourselves. Some of us are clear and direct, and even forceful when talking with others. And some of us are more reserved, waiting until we are sure of what we want to say before speaking up, and then speaking more quietly and modestly. But our messages are all important. Whether we are loud or soft, each of our voices is necessary for our world to be complete. When we think of all the people around us and their contributions in our lives, it’s hard to imagine leaving even one of them out. None of them is perfect, and we sometimes wish some of them would fade into the the distance but when we look at the whole picture we can see that each is a necessary piece of the puzzle that is our lives. Each has a voice in our personal orchestra and we need to hear them all.

If we lack confidence we may find it hard to speak up and share our comments and thoughts with those around us. But what we have to say is important. Even the things we think are insignificant could be something someone else really needs to hear. We can feel empowered enough to share our thoughts and feelings with others, and recognize that we have an important role to play in our own lives and the lives of those around us. We are all far more connected to each other than we realize. If we open up, share our thoughts, and become part of the conversation, we will be embellished and we will bless those around us in ways we cannot possibly know. Sometimes one word from us changes everything for someone else. It’s possible that our one comment could change someone else’s perspective from lonely and unsure, to one of inclusion and acceptance. We have so much to share. We can be brave enough to share all we have, and be an integral part of the complete picture adding our own instrument and voice to the world around us.

Today if you’ve kept to yourself and not spoken up when you had the chance, determine to share who you are. You have so much to offer and your perspective is valuable and desired. Open up and let others know you more deeply and become part of the orchestra around you. Your voice is needed and we all want to hear it. Tell us who you are and let us grow from your influence. You are an amazing gift to those around you. Share yourself with them today.

Falling Up

3 Dec

When we’re busy and in a rush and focused on a goal, if we go too fast we can miss a step, and see nothing but the road ahead. We may ignore those around us, and even push them out of the way.  Maybe in an effort to get our point across in a hurry we interrupt conversations, or leave a situation too quickly. It might work for a while but eventually our negligence may catch up with us. In our rush to get done, or to finish first, we might fall down. There is nothing wrong with trying to accomplish things, or trying to move up in our lives. But if all we see is the destination and fail to notice what’s going on around us, if we don’t see the journey in our rush to get to the end, we’ll miss a lot. We might get done first, and we might beat the clock, but the damage we leave behind may hurt us in the end. Getting to the goal is only one aspect of where we need to concentrate. It’s important to get to the destination effectively, to pay attention, and not leave a trail of destruction behind us.

Nobody knows everything or can foresee the future. When we’re pushing forward, the person blocking our path may be the very one who has the answers we’re looking for. They may know exactly what we need to do and where we should put our best efforts. If we push them aside and rush past, if we don’t listen when they talk to us because we’re sure we already know what to do, the opportunity for their advice will be lost. We don’t really know where our paths will lead us or where we’ll be tomorrow or next week or next year. The very person who could advise us today, may be our leader, or co-worker, or benefactor tomorrow. If we haven’t taken time to notice them, or listen when they speak to us, and if we haven’t heard their advice, it may damage our relationship in the future. It’s hard for people to trust those who dismiss them. We all have something of value to offer. If we diminish advice when it’s offered, or ignore it completely, we may not get a second chance to benefit from it.

When we want to succeed, and really want to shine, we can try to do it alone, or we can include others in our efforts. If we’re overconfident, and determined to get it done by ourselves, we miss the chance to learn from others. There is more experience and knowledge out there than we’ll ever have by ourselves. It’s in our best interest to reach for it, and then patiently listen when it’s being offered. Most people are happy to share what they’ve learned. Since we only have our lives, and can only rely on our personal experiences, it’s wise to listen when others are willing to share theirs with us. They will be different than ours, and may contain the one piece of advice we need to succeed. If we stop rushing for a moment, and listen, we may be surprised by what we’ll learn. Then instead of falling down when we make a wrong turn, we can fall up as we go the right way. Up or down it’s our decision.

Today if you’ve been doing things your way, by yourself, perhaps take a moment to share your focus with someone else and let them share their experiences with you. Ask for advice. You may learn something that will get you to your goal more quickly and efficiently. Asking doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. It means you’re willing to learn. And learning new things is always a good idea. Be open. You have a lot of answers already. Today if you include someone else, you’ll get even more.

Spades

31 Aug

In this day and age we are strongly encouraged to be politically correct and go along, and there seems a constant suggestion of conformity.  Everywhere we turn there is the implication that if we don’t follow the currently approved norm we are out of step.  Along with this there is a seeming lack of appreciation for individuality.  Instead of being leaders, we’re encouraged to be followers. We are told to speak out minds but often only if what’s on our minds is what the group thinks we should be thinking about. When did it become distasteful to have our own opinions? We are certainly entitled to them, but it seems that expressing them, if they are different from the group, is more and more frowned on. It’s a sad situation, and it’s boggling.

There is great value in saying exactly how we feel and speaking plainly. Talking in circles, dodging the issue, and dancing around a problem afraid of being offensive never solves anything. But if our main concern is not offending others, we may find ourselves doing just that. The great people of history, and the great examples of today, are direct and clear in their speech. They know what they believe in and it doesn’t matter if others disagree with them. They say what needs to be said with focus and determination. They don’t care if they’re swimming upstream, and they don’t care if nobody else believes in what they’re doing.  They believe in it and that’s enough. It takes courage to say what we think is right.  We may certainly say whatever we think needs to be said, and we may say it boldly, and with conviction.

Our viewpoints are valid, our opinions are worthwhile, and our comments are meaningful. We don’t have to be followers. We can choose to be leaders and share our ideas, our vision, and our perspective. The greatest innovations of our time were created going against the norm. The greatest ideas were often initially laughed at. But innovation starts with a great idea to do something new. Some people are threatened by what they don’t know and they will always be followers. We don’t have to be followers. We can say what we mean and mean what we say. We don’t have to go along, we can call a spade a spade.  After all, that’s exactly what it is, and facing things as they are is critical when we’re communicating.

Today if you’re being encouraged to follow along and you aren’t comfortable, speak up. You are as important as anyone else, and your ideas are just as valid. Be clear and be courageous. You can be kind and polite, and still hold fast to your opinion. Being who you really are is important.  Be your best self, and always be your true self.

Guess What

23 Aug

When we talk to others and interact with them, we make judgments about what they say, who they are, and how they feel about us. We interpret their body language, the tone of their voice, and the phrases they use. Sometimes we understand the situation clearly and are able to effectively move forward from there. But because we’re dealing with assumptions based on our interpretations and not facts, we might guess wrong. And sometimes what we’ve assumed is not even close to what is real. When we try to interpret feelings, intentions, and meanings, we need to remember that we are only guessing. We may not, and probably don’t, have all the facts. Unfortunately, we sometimes act on our impressions, and make decisions based on them, and that can lead to problems and complications.

If we’re in a hurry, if we’re stressed, or we have a lot on our minds, we may sound irritated or angry when neither is the case. If we’re overwhelmed or distracted, we may sound bored. We might send out all kinds of mixed messages, and miscues. Instead of communicating clearly what is going on, we could send signals that infer the exact opposite of what we mean. It’s true for all of us. When we are talking with others, we may get an idea about how they’re feeling based on a misinterpreted response. And if we act on what we think is happening, we might get it wrong.

It’s important to clarify each situation before we make any decisions or move forward in any direction. We may ask the other party if what we think they are communicating is indeed what they meant to convey. In our own lives, if we think we’ve sent a confusing message, we can go back to those involved and explain the situation more clearly to be sure they know what we meant. Communication is the key. If we’re confused, we can ask for clarification, and we can offer the same. There is a lot of information being exchanged all the time. It’s important to take a moment to be sure what we think we saw, and what we think we heard was accurate.

Today if you feel confused about something someone said or did, ask for clarification. If you’ve been distracted and unclear in your message, be sure to explain it more carefully. Effective communication prevents a lot of complications and problems. That old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true. Be proactive. Clarify your message and ask for clarification from others. It doesn’t take much to clear up confusion at the beginning. Do your part. The guessing game can only take you so far. Be sure you have the whole story before you proceed.

In the Zone

5 Aug

The other day I lent my car to a friend to run an errand.  He called me asking how to open the gas cover door so he could fill my tank.  I explained that there was a little latch on the floor next to the driver’s seat that he could pull up to open it.  But he said he was looking at that area and there was no latch.  I was sure it was there and asked him to look again, to which he replied, “I’m looking at the floor next to the seat and there is nothing like that.”  Unable to figure it out, he returned my car and asked me to show him the latch.  To my utter surprise when I looked in the car, there was no latch.  What?  I have owned this car for several years, and have filled the tank hundreds of times.  And then it came to me – you just had to push on the door to open it.  The phantom latch I was remembering was on a rental car I had driven recently.

I was dismayed by this experience.  How could I have forgotten something so basic that I do so often?  Well, it turns out, it’s not that hard.  We do things automatically, without thinking, and when they are part of our regular routine, we can get so used to the action, we are hardly aware of what we’re doing.  We go on auto pilot.  If I had needed to fill my gas tank, I would have automatically opened the little door.  But trying to access that information to share with someone else outside of the situation didn’t happen.  I never paid much attention.  And so, it never really became part of my conscious awareness.

We can do a lot of things on auto pilot.  We can go through our lives, go through the motions, and basically zone out.  We have our routines, some things are pretty predictable, and we fail to pay attention.  It’s something we all do.  We can go about completing our mundane tasks like drones on a mission.  But if we pay attention, if we decide to be involved and aware, we will get more out of our experiences.  There are so many people who come in and out of our lives we may ignore.  The cashier at the grocery store, the guy who makes our coffee every day, the crossing guard at the school we pass each morning, and others.  They are part of our lives, and taking just a moment to give a friendly wave, say hello, learn their names and build a relationship with them, will enrich us.  We have become an isolated society paying more attention to our smart phones than those around us.  But we can change that.  Every person we meet has something to offer, and each one is unique and special in some way.  If we extend our hands, say hello, zone in, and participate, our lives will be richer, and we’ll feel more connected to our world.

Today try to zone in.  Try to pay attention to those around you.  Say hello, introduce yourself, get to know the people you interact with regularly.  Be aware, and open up.  We are all connected to each other.  Don’t ignore those you come in contact with.  Today, engage them.  You’ll make new friends, and your life with be richer.