To be heard and listened to; to know that you are understood; to effectively have people identify with you. These are outcomes that we all desire and at times have difficulty realizing. What it takes is creating a space for others to listen into. We use too many words or attempt to provide multiple explanations to have things make sense for folks. Think about a person you respect and admire for being an effective communicator. Given that we all have our own unique way of telling our story; this will be the type of person you will want to model.
What do we do when “it” hits the fan? The distinction with regards to reacting versus responding has been identified to be one of the most crucial elements of self-awareness. The power to see what we do when challenged or put under pressure will make all the difference towards growth and the ability to impact the lives of others. Pay attention, be observant, watch what you are doing. People lose trust in someone that cannot handle difficulties effectively. A lot of folks avoid, hide out and plainly disappear when the going gets tough. How do you manage when being tested?
It’s been said that in life Pain is mandatory and Suffering is optional. I believe the same is true for Guilt and Shame. Often we hear individuals saying: “I feel guilty,” is that truly possible? In my experience, Guilt is about facts, just like Pain; Shame is about feelings, just like Suffering. Given that, feelings are simply what we make up; decisions and choices. We are going to have Pain and Guilt in life; this is how we learn. It is possible to never experience Shame or Suffering ever again; unless by choice. It’s easier to simply keep our word.
“When one is authentically committed, obstacles will shrink away as they are approached.” This is a quote from an article I wrote a few years ago. Likewise, when commitment is in doubt, obstacles loom large and potentially defeat us. It is crucial to be aware of commitments and honoring them. When a high level of integrity is brought to our commitments, we grow in ways previously unimagined. “My word is gold!” This statement is posted on the wall when I facilitate teen leadership trainings in my hometown. We cannot build anything that resembles having a solid foundation on broken commitments.
This is the title of an excellent book by Louise Hay. “Be mindful of your thoughts, for your thoughts determine your reality,” says a Jedi Master from the movie Star Wars. There is great wisdom in this statement. It is entirely possible to heal ourselves, starting with our attitudes and mindset. Another author, Dr. Bruce Lipton, suggests that cells have intelligence and act corresponding to the signals received from our thoughts. Dr. Lipton is doing extensive research to provide scientific data to support this idea. It really matters what we think, maybe to an even greater degree than we know.
How do we know if our communication is effective or not? The world will tell us. The feedback coming to us may be verbal or, more often than not, non-verbal. Either way, it is in raising our awareness to the feedback that the world gives us that we become excellent communicators. Should we choose to remain unaware, we will constantly be looking for the reasons and excuses for why our lives aren’t working. Opening ourselves to feedback and truly embracing it can cause us to raise not only our awareness, but our productivity, results and effectiveness. Try the feedback on.
We often ponder our mortality. “Live like you were dying” has become a battle cry for many modern-day warriors subscribing to the belief that urgency for the day and being present is paramount over everything. What do you believe? In my experience, with a few near-death experiences that I’ve encountered, I can attest to the value of living this way. The mindset that this thinking brings about can be rewarding, fulfilling and at times exhausting. What better way to live than to know, without doubt, that you gave everything you had. What kind of legacy would that leave for others?
Think about a person whom you admire and respect. When they make commitments, they consistently follow through and complete on those commitments. Just like everyone else, they also have conflicts. What they do with these conflicts makes all the difference. Successful, respected and accomplished folks use renegotiation as a way to stay in integrity with their words and deeds. The alternate way uses renegotiation as a back door, a way to avoid or dismiss commitments. This only brings a loss in credibility and disrespect from our peers. If you desire success and respect, renegotiate responsibly; you will solidify your integrity.
We sometimes will take a challenge from someone else personally. Other times we receive it as motivation. A great teacher once simplified life’s choices by filtering them through these words: “Does this serve me?” Let go of emotion about the challenge and ask this question. Bringing neutrality to the challenge will create a reasonable assessment. Once our choices are clearly determined, we can powerfully decline or access the necessary passion to an even greater degree. Thus, accepting the challenge, we can perform optimally and produce results far beyond what we imagined possible. Challenges owned as commitments cause us to grow.
I ask clients to put their hands together in a “prayer” position and slowly pull their left hand away. Let’s call the space between the Gap of Mediocrity. For some of us it opens for days, weeks, months, years and yes, even decades! The goal is to close the Gap, returning to the universal symbol for connection to God, Higher Power, Universe, Source, Higher Purpose, etc. Should the Gap open, it is a signal that we are now disconnected. The idea is to close the Gap, allowing the opening to last for only seconds, minutes and hours at the most.