What???!!!

The best AND the worst thing in our lives is….

Communication! 

 

Isn’t that the truth? Besides golfing, communication is something none of us fully master, yet it is such a powerful tool, if we improve our skills!  Effective communication can rocket us to success or plummet us to a crash landing in our business or personal lives.  And the key to successful communication is understanding, to the best of our abilities, the audience or other person first.  This obviously takes time, so if we don’t invest the time first, there is a very good chance that our communication won’t be on target and may not be successful.

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CRASH LANDING

Sometimes we get so wrapped up with what is happening in our own business, life, relationships, world, etc. that we focus on ourselves instead of the audience when communicating.  We speak from our perspective, not from the audience’s perspective.  It’s easy to speak from our perspective because that is what we know, but it can be so much more effective if we take the time to get to know our audience, and speak from their perspective, in a way that they can best understand us and obtain value from us, actually hear and listen to what we have to say.

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Another hindrance to communication is fear.  Fear of the unknown, the outcome, etc.  Fear is a big problem, a huge deterrent in effective communication and acting out of fear produces regrets. Facing fear brings rewards:  success, honesty, understanding and maybe even new ideas, collaboration?

Being overly scheduled, committed, worked, not enough time, etc. also hinders effective communication.  This is probably something we can all relate to, but if your audience is a priority and important to you, show it by taking the time needed to communicate, because you may loose your “priority” person, client, etc. if you don’t make time.

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Interrupting is another way to have a “crash landing” in communication.  If we interrupt, we are not listening, we are talking and we can’t do both effectively.  Besides that interrupting is disrespectful and tells the other person what we have to say is more important than what they are saying; obviously this doesn’t “win any friends” for us.

SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION

Oddly, successful communication isn’t as much about talking, it is more about listening first and foremost!  We all know that feeling when someone is either engaged with what we are saying or they are in “la la land” thinking about something else; it’s easy to see.  If we are rushed, then we aren’t taking the time to listen, it’s better to slow down and focus on being mindfully present, not somewhere in the future on to the next event.  Time is precious, valuable and limited, so when we have it, it’s best to take advantage of it and make it count or we’ve wasted time.

'When I first started working here, I thought our boss would be a good listener. But, that hasn't been the case.'
‘When I first started working here, I thought our boss would be a good listener. But, that hasn’t been the case.’

Personally, I believe that successful communication involves honesty.  Most people can intuitively spot honesty and dishonesty even though we may not say anything.  If we are not being honest, there is a very good chance that the audience knows it, even if they don’t show it or “call us out” on it; and eventually truths become evident, so it’s just a matter of time. Again, it’s wasted time if we are not honest; both our time and their time. No one benefits and the dishonest person ruins his or her reputation in the process too.

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Successful communication involves being prepared, organized, thought through in advance.  Spontaneous communication sometimes misses some elements if we did not think it through in advance.

If we all work towards getting better at this:

  1. Get to know the audience
  2. Communicate from the audience’s perspective
  3. Face and overcome our fear
  4. Make time for communication, don’t do it when we are rushed
  5. Don’t interrupt
  6. Listen first, then respond
  7. Be honest
  8. Prepare and organize our thoughts first before communicating

Then we will be better communicators and avoid some stress in life!

 

Helping Frustration

We’ve all been there, on both sides, the giving or the receiving of a certain kind of “help” and I bet we can all relate to the frustrations that accompany it too.  Beginning as a toddler, we often hear “I do it” from them; and that doesn’t seem to change with age either, we all still want to do it.  We generally don’t look for help, because if we look for help, that damages our egos.  So then, when help is offered, we reject the help.

THE GIVING SIDE- OFFERING HELP

Avoiding frustration is easy if we recognize that we can’t change anyone but ourselves.  We often think that “our way” is the better way to do something, but is it?  We all learn from others because each person has unique qualities, strengths, talents and gifts; so “our way” isn’t necessarily the best.  We can offer resources so the person can help themselves, if they want it. The resources allow the person to help themselves and build confidence by accomplishing something on their own.  So don’t be frustrated if someone doesn’t accept help, understand that is a possibility before we offer it and accept that first, before offering help.

THE RECEIVING SIDE OF HELP

When someone offers “help” we need to be honest with ourselves and decide whether we really need “help” and if we do,  then we need to take action.  We were not born “all knowing”; we need accept that we are “life learners”.  There is always something new to learn in life, it never stops.  We learn from people of all walks of life, different cultures, ages, education, etc. there are no rules: old can learn from young and young can learn from old, the rich can learn from the poor and the poor can learn from the rich, basically anything opposite gives us a learning opportunity.  We learn from experiences and we all have different life experiences, so we all learn from each other.

If we accept help, then we need to remember that what we do with the help/the resource we receive is up to us.  Our future success or failure is our responsibility and depends on how we take action or inaction. There is no one but ourselves who is responsible for our success in life.  There are people who are tremendously successful who will be the first to say “I’m not the brightest, but I was able to get bright people to help me” and then created massive success. So in the public eye, the “not so bright person” ends up being the genius!

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS and “HELP”

We will all save ourselves time, frustration and pain if we remember to:

  1. Accept people as we are; don’t expect change, it typically doesn’t happen.
  2. Be authentic, be true, don’t pretend to be someone we are not, don’t ever change to “fit in”; only change if it is important to ourselves and our values in life.
  3. Be honest.  Destiny

 

Yes, It’s All About Me Right Now! Seasons in Life & Understanding One Another

Someone sent me a message today that made me stop and think:  The message started with a personal reflection from the sender, then said:  “I’m not sending this to you because I think you are self-absorbed, I’m sending it to you because I think we all need a reminder of 2 things,”  the message had an uplifting video link and shared the thought of living a “fulfilled life” by:

  1. helping others selflessly and
  2. taking risks to live life full, with no regrets.

My initial thought was: “Yeah, I completely ascribe to that!”  But seriously, would any of you just dismiss the “self-absorbed” part of the message?  Not me!  I pay attention to what people say and it made me reflect.  Ugh, I didn’t like my self-reflection, when I reflected!  I looked at my social media accounts (blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and what I’ve posted.  Yes, I hope that sharing my thoughts, experiences and stories might help others, but it seriously appears self-absorbed!  And quite honestly, it has been.  The past year has been a deep reflection period for me and writing was a release of what was in my thoughts, trying to clear my head.  But who cares about that?!  Well, if it helps someone, then it’s worthwhile, but if it’s not helping anyone, no one cares about that stuff! It’s kind of like an online journal.  Seriously!

This led me to recognizing an analogy between periods in our lives and the seasons of the year; we each have our own seasons in life; just like the year.  Our “seasons” in life are based on what is happening in our individual lives (and that timing is unique to each person’s circumstances), the person we portray at that time depends on the season we are in, but isn’t the complete picture of someone:

Our “Winter Season”

…consists of self-reflection or sadness – “the hibernation time”

Our Winter Season

Our “Spring Season”

…consisting of education and growth

Our Spring Season

Our “Summer Season”

…carefree, enjoying life, sharing with others, family and friends

Our Summer Season (2)

Our “Fall Season” 

…helping others and giving back, the holidays are even an example of this season:  Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas

Our Fall Season

It seems like we need to go through each season to arrive at the next, but if we stay stuck in one season too long and don’t experience the other seasons, it negatively affects us, or others, or both.

Throughout life we can’t avoid these “seasons”; and they ultimately help us.  We may be in a certain season of life when others are in a different season and then it becomes hard to relate to one another during those times in different seasons.

Because of this, it’s important to think of others and try to understand what “season of life” they are in, to relate to them better, to have empathy, to be able to help others selflessly.  For example, if we are in a “Winter Season” or “Spring Season” we may not be ready to help others; we need that time to focus on ourselves.

I believe it is important to take time to focus on getting ourselves in a “good” state before we can truly help others to the best of our abilities.  And yes, there are exceptions, as in being a parent: we can’t just quit that job to focus on ourselves, so it’s not always going to be easy, but hopefully our family and friends will recognize that season when it happens and help us have that personal time when it’s needed in life.  And similarly, we should help our family and friends when we see them in a certain season of life.  It’s not always all about us!  Living a full life with no regrets happens when we understand our own season in life:  if we are in one season, there will be others that follow; always think forward to the positive and don’t regret where we are in life, because it’s just a phase, a season and there are more seasons to experience.

Enjoy life’s journey and be compassionate to others!

Our Summer Season

Waiting

Thought and Questions on “Waiting”?

Personally, I’m not one to wait, “patience is a virtue” doesn’t  come naturally to me; I’m all about taking action. As time progresses, I’ve acquired more “tolerance”(the best descriptive word to me) for patience, even though it’s not natural for me and a continual struggle.

EXPERIENCES

Not waiting has given me some amazing opportunities: ones I wasn’t fully ready for, but worked out. On the other hand, it’s also put me in bad situations. So what is the right choice waiting or not waiting?

In 2017, I’ve made some changes, and realized that I probably need to work on patience and waiting.  For the first time ever, I searched “waiting” in the back of the Bible I bought and read the passages:

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Waiting and patience are not natural to me, so this is a change I will try.  Sometimes the application of what we read to our own lives is confusing…to me at least, but I’m trying!  I already heavily booked my weekends through mid June, so I’m going to try to hold back now and slow down.

WAITING

I can see “both sides” of this:

A) Patience and waiting can bring good things, like the examples in the Bible

however, I’m also a strong believer in:

B) If you want something, you have to get off your butt and work for it, you can’t wait for it…

So which is it?  Or does each one apply to different subjects?  Or is this taking it out of context?  Questions!!?

Pros

  • We get what we truly want; we don’t settle for something less.
  • Waiting means trusting in God’s timing; having faith…

it’s interesting that I bought this necklace awhile ago, maybe I was missing “a message” to me?

Cons

  • Experiencing patience: time feels like it’s slowed down, and not in a good way
  • Missing an opportunity (even though this is true, if we act on this, aren’t we are acting out of fear, which often leads to regret?)
  • Not taking action to achieve; Inaction – we aren’t using our time wisely if we wait? This is probably the one reason that I don’t often wait…

This past weekend’s message at The Crossing was about:  suffering > perseverance > character > hope ….maybe this thought I woke up with, on waiting, is something I need to explore more?  I don’t have the answers!

Trust & Obey

The past few weeks I’ve been posting on social media, on either Instagram or this blog, a summary of a Sunday message from church.  This past Sunday, the subject was “Trust & Obey.”  And yes, the second part is the hardest part, at least for me it is. This post is not a summary of the message, except for the Title, so if you want to hear it for yourself, click here.   The next few paragraphs are my self-reflection on this subject.

TRUST

I realized over time that I’ve had a strong faith, trust, in God throughout my life, even though I participated in different churches along the way.  I struggled to truly fit in at any prior church, but, in this past year I found that I connect most with Christian non-denomination.  For me, it’s because I believe that many Christian religions have commonality relating back to the Bible, but differences in interpretation and those differences in interpretation sometimes feel extreme to me so it was hard for me to fit in at different churches in the past.  This is a continually evolving experience for me and I intend to learn more as I proceed, but I finally feel comfortable at the Christian non-denomination church I’m attending, The Crossing.  The accepting and welcoming of all people from all backgrounds, religions, (even people who don’t believe in Christ are welcomed) is part of why I’ve continued attending; this appeals to me most at this church.  Accepting people as they are, but providing the means and opportunity, through the Bible teachings, to change, improve, take our relationship to the next level, in a non-judgmental way is how I believe God would want us to treat one another.  This doesn’t mean that anything we choose to do is okay or accepted, not at all, our recommended way of life is based on what is in the bible.  Acceptance means wherever our starting point is, it’s okay, even though it can be a very different place for each of us.

OBEY

Wow!  So true, this is the part where anxiety sets in for me. Rules and obeying are something that I’ve struggled with to be honest. I’ve always found a way to bend the rules a little because I’ve felt that rules are too rigid and not flexible enough for real life situations.  If I had to estimate, I would guess I follow rules 80% of the time and don’t follow rules 20% of the time.  Maybe the 80 percent would be a little higher, but I definitely struggle with rules, because I don’t see things as “black and white”; I see a lot of things as “gray” where different viewpoints have validity. Obviously this must be my next area to focus on growth and improvement in “obeying”.

I wasn’t going to share this, but it is relevant: earlier this year, I made, what I think will be, a life altering change.  I decided that I’m exhausted and confused trying to figure out life and haven’t always made the best decisions in hindsight, even though I felt like the decisions were appropriate at the time.  I give up! I’ve had good intentions and I’m not saying that I haven’t made any good decisions, because I believe I’ve made quite a few good decisions, and more good than bad decisions too.  But I still struggle with the bad decisions and don’t want to make more bad decisions if it can be avoided.  So because of my strong faith, I actually prayed asking Christ to take over my decisions in life, to lead me in the right direction.  I don’t know how this year will unfold, but I’m documenting things along the way, being honest about the good and the bad that happen around me and I intend to publish it at the end of the year, 2017.  All I will say right now is that initially after I prayed this, things improved, but then things began to fall apart and not go the way I preferred, but I’m sticking with this. I believe I will learn something from this experience and share it later.

FEAR

ALLOWING FEAR = A LIFETIME OF REGRET

The next time you feel anxiety, consider this:  Fear will give you a lifetime of regret!  What do you want?  There is a certain amount of fear that protects us from harm, but we should understand that limit:  Does it mean life or death?  If it doesn’t, then get over it, or we will regret avoiding fear, maybe the rest of our lives if we don’t get that second opportunity.

Facing fear translates to growth, learning new things, improving, becoming better, and experiencing life. Avoiding fear leads to life’s regrets.

My First Fear

I remember fear from very early in my life, my first memory of fear was pre-kindergarten. My parents enrolled me in swimming lessons because my dad had a fear of the water and neither of my parents were avid swimmers, so they wanted me to learn how to swim early. I remember standing at the edge of the high dive with the instructor and a couple other people in the water telling me to jump in. I stood there with my hands crossed, shaking my head “no.” (I’ve always been a little head strong.) It wasn’t so much the water that scared me, I always loved water, but for me, it was the fear of heights.  I stood there for some time at the edge of the diving board, the ascent up the ladder wasn’t bad, but the jump scared me more than anything.  I must have delayed the instructors long enough because someone was headed up the ladder to give me a push off the dive, which I didn’t want either, so I jumped!  Splash! It wasn’t as bad as I made it in my mind.  Because I faced this fear and jumped in, years later, at 17, I became a life guard.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

Pre-Teen Fear

My family visited my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in California and I fell in love with California, deciding I wanted to go to college there after that vacation.  I loved the ocean, the hiking, Disneyland and our camping trip to Yosemite National Park.

yosemite-camping-tripOnce again, my fear of heights surfaced.  We were hiking and my adventurous Aunt planned to hike to the top of “Puppy Dome,” of course I wanted to do it too, but knew I would be scared as well.  I can remember getting to the top, my heart was racing so fast, my body was lying flat practically glued to the granite, with my hands in the crevasses as we reached the top.  I don’t think I could stand, I was too scared, but I made it, with my Aunt’s encouragement and loved that I did that. The memory has remained with me my entire life.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

So later in life when it was time for college, fear set in again.  I had a boyfriend and I was afraid to leave my home state and pursue my dream of college in California because I feared the relationship would end.  I really liked this guy and chose to stay in town, rather than go away to college.  Big mistake!  My relationship ended with that guy and I’ve always regretted my decision of not going away to college and have thought about:  What would my life have been like if I had pursued what I really wanted, instead of acting based on fear?   I let fear take over me, and I regretted it, no second chance on this one.

Adult Fear

I still challenge myself by facing fear of heights:  zip lining, jumping off elevated ledges into water, scaling walls, climbing up the ladder to the roof hatch of a commercial building roof top, and by walking a parapet catwalk during a property inspection.  The fear hasn’t gone away, but each time, I’m glad I faced the fear; I don’t have regrets, and the fear lessens.

The physical fears I seem to face willingly, but often it’s the fear involving people that I don’t, and then regret it later.  In fact, there are several times where I’ve regretted not facing a fear, later in life, involving people. Facing fear is about becoming vulnerable; and when we become vulnerable, we are not protected; so, we are fearful.  This is not the way to live though, unless we want a life of regrets.  Just as any other fear, if we face it, we become stronger.

As an adult, I had the surprise opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve in Key West with a guy I really cared about, but I had planned a party with friends at my house and had sent invitations, not knowing about the surprise trip that was planned. I didn’t want to let my friends down, but being honest I preferred and wanted to go on that trip with him.  I stayed home out of fear of disappointing my friends, and believing I should stay independent, and I regretted that decision ever since.

Fear also leads to us to “Settle” for what we wouldn’t choose normally.  We begin to justify settling, to protect ourselves, so we don’t have to face the fear.  I believe lack of self-confidence is the reason we don’t face fear involving people. People with confidence face fear; they overcome the fear and therefore become more confident people. Don’t let fear be the reason behind decisions.

Being Independent to the extreme is Acting in Fear

Fear involving people is evident in those who want to do everything for themselves and don’t ask for help. I know that because I have been that person, most of my life: independent.  I still don’t like to rely on anyone, relying on someone makes us vulnerable, and being independent protects us:  we don’t need anyone!  I’ve always admired independent people, but there should be a balance in life, nothing to the extreme ever ends up good.  (This is continuous work for me, relying on others.)  If we let fear take over, we won’t grow, we can’t follow our purpose, or develop the gift we were born with. Fear sets limits.  If we limit ourselves, we can’t possibly be all that is possible, if we had no limitations.  Letting fear take over leads us to the:  “What if….?”  (Our regrets).

FACING FEAR = REWARDS

So next time, face fear:  stand up for beliefs, suggest that new idea, take a risk, say “no,” push ourselves to the next level, act with courage, speak your mind, be authentic/be you, go for it, ask for what we need, just do it,have that conversation, follow passions, take that vacation (work will always be there), ask “Will I regret this later, if I don’t do it now?”

I’m not saying be reckless, but if we want to live life to the fullest and be the best person we can be, don’t limit ourselves, don’t let fear control our actions:  Face fear and be rewarded!