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What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life

What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life

Unfortunately, we all deal with loss in life. No matter what form or severity, coping is rarely easy. The lack of healthy coping measures can exacerbate the pain, especially when the loss is as drastic as a loved one dying.

There are some crucial things to remember when dealing with loss. A good place to start is understanding that…

You’ll never completely get over your loss. Instead, you’ll adapt, learn, and become a stronger you.

It is difficult to relate to any kind of pain. Even if there are similarities between occurrences, everyone deals with pain differently.

That’s okay. There’s no “correct” or “appropriate” timetable towards healing. Everyone’s will be different. Friends and family may encourage you to “get over it” by occupying your mind and staying busy. While healthy distraction is positive (as I’ll elaborate on in a bit), there’s no need to rush how you think you should feel. Your feelings are meant to be felt as they occur in the moment and no one else knows them better than you. Cry if you want to. Scream if you want to. Flail your arms madly in the air if you want to.

Be kind to your mind and realize that there is no “normal” when it comes to dealing with loss. Plus…

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It’s okay to not want to talk about it.

Again, everyone handles pain in a different way. Many experience a “roller coaster” effect of feelings, where your emotions vary from day to day, or even minute to minute. One moment could feel like the healing process is working, the next could feel like a deeper regression into sadness. There will be days that you feel like going out and about with friends and days where you won’t feel like emerging from the pillow fortress in your bedroom. These varying emotions are also okay, but listen to them attentively. There’s no need to pressure yourself into coping in a way you think is “proper” because “everyone else does it that way”.

Do what you feel is right and when you finally feel up to chatting about it, remember that…

Your friends are friends for a reason. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Many of us do not voluntarily ask for help when faced with uncomfortable struggle. We all consider it a burden to our friends, family, and other counterparts when we ask for help. When the shoe is on the other foot, and friends ask us for help; there is no false sense of burden. Even if your friends are not well versed in loss or particularly gifted at giving advice, they will always listen. Even the worst friend has two ears (in most cases). If you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to put your guard down and open up about your pain, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Also, it’s a really nice reminder that there are people who will always have your back, because…

Opening up doesn’t make you weak.

I’m an eternal optimist, almost to a fault. Despite that, I understand that life just flat out sucks at times. And, frankly, there won’t be a suckier time in any of our lives than when we deal with loss or death. It will be the low of the low for most of us. But, as previously mentioned, it’s unavoidable. Embracing your feelings honestly and being willing to talk about them is the first step towards healing and empowerment. Emotions are a lot like a bad infection: You can pretend it’s not there, but it’ll get a lot worse before it ever gets better. Spiritual strength and emotional growth happen when we don’t hide from our feelings, but learn to manage them.

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You can’t outrun pain. It’ll always catch up to you. So…

Be kind to your body.

When cloaked in a veil of darkness it’s easy to forget about personal hygiene and appropriate eating habits. Neglecting showering, eating, activity, and regular sleeping habits is detrimental on all fronts to your health and well being.

Activity of any kind takes your mind off the negative, so it’s especially smart to…

Do the things you love most.

There’s no easier and mentally healthier way to remind yourself that good things still exist than doing things you truly love. It doesn’t matter what it is, staying active towards your dreams and immersed in your deepest desires will do wonders when dealing with loss. Wouldn’t your lost loved one still want you to keep doing the things that make you happiest?

But if you suddenly lose interest in a passion, why not…

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Explore something new.

Travel. Cook. Try a new hobby. Take some time off “work” to work on yourself. Even if it’s just exploring a new neighborhood or trying a new food, incorporating new stimuli to your environment will keep things fresh and remind you that there is a lot of life to still experience. My grandma (may she rest in peace) always used to tell me, “Life is for the living.” Some of the most substantial breakthrough moments exist slightly outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to explore that, even if you’re in pain. But whatever you do, I strongly encourage that you…

Don’t mask your pain in external variables, particularly substances.

There’s an idiotic association in our culture of sadness and substance abuse. In film, television, and other mass medias, we see characters who’re experiencing death or heartbreak drinking heavily in some dank bar alone or getting wasted on heroin in a back alley. This has effectively desensitized us to the real life threat of alcoholism that can be kick started by a tragic life experience. Many people mask their pain in drugs or alcohol, but it never works. It has literally a zero chance of successfully helping you cope. Your problems are still very real when the high wears off, and the high always fades. Don’t prolong your grieving process. You deserve more.

Instead of looking at as a means to an end, remind yourself that…

You’re a richer person because of them.

Instead of dwelling on memories of yesteryear, be thankful in reminiscence that you had them in your life. Cherish the memories instead of refusing to let go of them. Celebrate their life by continuing their legacy and making them proud. Do good by them by celebrating their life more, opposed to constantly mourning their death. It’s good to be thankful for the time and memories you shared together.

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Because when you really get down to it…

The end of anything is a new beginning.

Stories end, relationships end, personal preferences end. No matter what ends, we always go on. Whether still in mortality, or something ethereal beyond our comprehension, there’s always more to be written of your story…

Featured photo credit: Calmly / Hiroyuki Takeda via albumarium.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.

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Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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