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8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

Rites of passages have been around since the early humans formed tribes. They’ve been ways for us to tell stories and initiate youth into adulthood, ascended adulthood, and beyond.

Some rites of passages were, and still are, intense. Some involve a quest. Some are about celebrating life, some are about honoring the dead. Some have been going on for centuries, and some are just starting now, as humanity realizes the need for the gifts of these experiences. Ultimately, a common pattern I see with many of them comes down to instilling these 8 gifts into a person’s life.

1. Discovering who we really are

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    A modern-day rite of passage that many high school students today are experimenting with is a gap year—an extended period of time to travel, work, and experience life outside of the traditional academic system. Some of the primary benefits the students gain from taking a gap year include realizing what they really love (before they jump into any major and start studying), being more adaptable to a variety of cultures, learning new languages faster, making amazing friends, and experiencing lots of adventures. Imagine how big of a difference it can make if you already know what you want to master in your life before you dive into a structured path of study. It’d surely save you lots of time and money.

    2. Discovering what we’re made of

    Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

      Me after a somersault, dodging a gladiator at the finish line of a Spartan Beast Race, 2013.

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      In the Amazon of Brazil, there is a tribe called the Sateré-Mawé. If you’ve ever heard of a rite of passage where boys wear a huge glove filled with angry bullet ants for 10 minutes, this is a Sateré-Mawé tradition. It initiates boys into men as their endurance is tested to see how much pain they can tolerate. This is definitely an extreme example of a rite of passage for discovering what we’re made of, and if you notice parallels in the other rites of passage, you’ll often notice a trend of breaking through limiting beliefs and showing youth that they are capable and stronger than they think.

      The benefit of experiencing and enduring pain is knowing that we can move through it. Now, I’m not recommending or suggesting anybody stick their hand in a glove filled with bullet ants, but we can definitely realize that we’re much more than we thought when we experience and move through physical challenges—be it a Spartan Race, triathlon, a mountain backpacking journey, or going through an intensive group experience like what Garret J. White has created with Wake Up Warrior.

      One powerful mental challenge I set for myself a few years ago was a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. To meditate 14 hours a day, not speak to anyone, and be in silence was really challenging by day 2 and 3, but afterward there was a profound peace where I learned to be even more comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the silence or noise around me.

      3. Discovering our purpose in life

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        Perhaps one of the strongest long-time rites of passage that have supported many people for thousands of years to discover purpose in their lives is the Native American Vision Quest. The Vision Quest has four primary elements to it: solitude, immersion in nature, fasting, and community. People to this day still embark on Vision Quests and speak of how they enter a sacred space and time, where the questions that call to them often are, “Who am I? What do I have to give? How can I heal my wounds?”

        Living in a state of consciousness, like the merging of the dream world and waking world, many people throughout time return from these experiences with powerful insights about who they are, what they are called to do and contribute in their lifetime, and, ultimately, they return with a more open heart, bringing their unique gifts with enthusiasm to their family, friends, and community.

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        4. Developing life skills

        Rites Of Passages Tony Robbins

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          When met with challenges during these rites of passage, people are required to access many different resources within themselves, like courage, creativity, innovation, and relationship-building skills. Take the modern-day rite of passage Claire Potter challenged her son to. He was coming close to his 13th birthday and wanted more freedom. As a test to expand his identity into adolescence, Claire sent him out on 10 challenges that included performing a 13-bar blues piece in public, taking the train alone, and cooking a three-course family dinner from scratch. Not as intense as some of the more ancient rites of passage, but these challenges empowered Claire’s son with confidence and an expanded sense of resourcefulness in life.

          Today, we have the fortune of going to immersive seminars, like those of Tony Robbins. At his Unleash The Power Within event, one of the breakthrough rituals everyone is invited to participate in is the fire walk. For hours before the legendary fire walk, Tony guides the audience in mastering their mindset and conditioning their bodymind to be in a state of peak performance and fearlessness—the state needed to walk on 2100-degree Fahrenheit coals and walk off without the slightest blister. At the event, I learned many powerful life lessons, 10 of which I shared in a previous Lifehack post.

          5. Honoring our family lineage

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            In most ancient rites of passage, the whole family and community came together to participate in the boy or girl’s experience. The elders led the experiences from the wisdom that was passed down to them from their ancestors. The fathers, mothers, and older siblings would prepare and initiate the participant from childhood to adulthood. Throughout the entire process was honor for one’s family lineage and community. The boy or girl would come back to the community as a new, evolved human being with a new role and responsibility to greater contribute to the community.

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            In today’s western world, there’s been a disconnection with honoring our family lineages. Most people don’t even know who their great grandfathers and grandmothers were and what they did. We have made our elders into folders, putting them into a sort of solitary confinement we call “seniors’ homes,” rarely visiting. The gift of re-incorporating rites of passage in today’s world will bring the tremendous amount of wisdom our elders have to today’s younger generations.

            6. Expanding our sense of identity

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              Photo Source: An exercise from UPW with Tony Robbins used to expand one’s identity

              With the transition and transformation through the rite of passage, one takes on a new, expanded sense of identity. They realize they are more than who they thought they were. They now have a greater sense of responsibility to contribute to the community, and with that comes a greater joy to be of service.

              I remember a time where I secretly signed my dad up for a Spartan Beast race. At the time, he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery, and before that he was, to say the least, in a funk. I knew the cancer was a wake-up call in his life for him to reorganize and become a greater version of himself, and I knew he had been habitually eating a poor diet with no exercise. So, I inspired him to do a Spartan race. I told him it would be about 3 miles. This one was 13 miles with over 25 obstacles along the way. At the time, the most my dad had run in his life was 5 miles.

              When it came to race day, he saw what lay ahead of him. Anger, stress, and anxiety took over as he was concerned with whether he could make it through with his state of health. And guess what? He did. In fact, he finished 12th place in his age division. This was such an extraordinary accomplishment for him that when he crossed the finish line filled with joy, he realized he was capable of so much more than he’d thought before. He carried this through his life with greater confidence than before, winning the fight and kicking cancer’s ass.

              7. Transitioning to a new stage of life

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              Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

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                From boy to man, girl to woman, adulthood to an ascended level of adulthood, rites of passage have been a marking point of a person’s transition from who they previously were to who they must become to claim the next level of life that has been waiting for them. The courage, faith, determination, trust, inner-guidance, and resourcefulness we develop through experiencing rites of passage make transitioning to new stages of life so much more effortless.

                8. Celebrating the gift of life

                Rites Of Passages Lifehack

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                  Life is a beautiful gift and rites of passage remind us of this blessing which we’ve been given. They also remind us of the gift we’re here to give back. The celebration kicks off full-tilt as the new hero returns from their journey, being initiated and cracked open to love, growth, service, and the realization of their infinite potential.

                  So go on, experience a rite of passage and, with it, experience all 8 of these gifts and much more!

                  Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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                  Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                  How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                  How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                  Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                  I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                  I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                  Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                  How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                  Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                  Create a Positive Experience

                  Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                  When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                  What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                  Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                  As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                  Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                  Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                  Help Leadership Skills

                  It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                  Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                  As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                  Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                  If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                  Build Better Teams

                  Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                  In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                  If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                  When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                  Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                  How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                  There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                  Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                  1. Listen

                  Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                  Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                  People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                  Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                  Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                  2. Know Your Audience

                  Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                  Here is a good way to think about it:

                  Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                  You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                  3. Minimize

                  I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                  He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                  Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                  State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                  The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                  4. Over Communicate

                  So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                  What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                  Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                  Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                  Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                  There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                  5. Body Language

                  The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                  When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                  In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                  When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                  Conclusion

                  Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                  Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                  There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                  Now go communicate your way to success.

                  More Resources About Effective Communication

                  Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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