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13 Of The Loneliest Moments That Everyone Experiences In Their Life

13 Of The Loneliest Moments That Everyone Experiences In Their Life

Although we might be surrounded by people, enveloped by countless possessions, and bombarded by information all around us, there are still times when we end up feeling lonely and disconnected.

While feeling lonely might be undesirable, this is what makes us truly human, and it is also important for us to be upfront and honest about this because we all will encounter such moments in our lives. Here are a few of those loneliest moments.

1. When you are in a crowd but can’t connect with anyone

There will be times when we are surrounded by countless individuals but still feel lonely and disconnected from the many around us. You might feel this when you just arrived in a new country, stepped into a new culture, started in a new workplace, or enrolled in a new university.

Similar feelings might arise during your everyday commute. You may be packed in a crowded train like a canned sardine but still feel isolated from the crowd.

In these times, don’t worry because it’s alright to have our own moments of solitude.

2. When you lose loved ones to death

What makes us human is that we face health and sickness, life and death.

The older we get, the more likely the people around us — our friends and loved ones — are subjected to sickness and death. People might fall sick and people might perish because of natural or unnatural causes.

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It’s terribly sad to let go of loved ones and not be able to see them again. They might be gone physically, but they will always remain in our hearts and minds and we get to continue their legacies. Like someone once said, “Don’t be sad that it’s over. Be glad that it happened.”

3. When you lose loved ones to busyness

When friends and loved ones move on to different stages in life, there is no doubt that they might get busier with work and respective life commitments.

I used to spend a lot of time hanging out with my close group of friends in university, but when we graduated, got work, and when some got married and had kids, the amount of time we spend together plummeted dramatically.

This doesn’t have to be the end of the story because it’s all about being proactive and intentional in building and maintaining relationships with others. If we don’t have time, we can always make time for the things and people who matter to us.

4. When you move to a new country

Packing your bags and shifting into a new country means that you might be leaving your friends, family, comforts, and community behind and starting fresh. You might feel lonely when you are suddenly immersed in a new environment and culture which you have no idea about and you are in a new place where you don’t know anyone.

But don’t worry — this is all part of a new adventure. Give it time and you will get to know your surroundings better and making good friendships there.

5. When you have a great idea but no one listens

Imagine if you have a great idea for a dinner location, a business solution, a birthday party, or a holiday destination. You share this excitedly with your peers but your ideas fall on deaf ears. How would you feel? And how would you feel if after your sharing, they simply move on to the next topic of discussion?

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Don’t worry, because it might be that you have yet to find a group of people who are truly interested in your ideas. Keep being open to new people and you will eventually find friends who truly appreciate you.

6. When you have a great dream but they don’t seem to get it

Similar to the previous point, I have shared my dreams with countless people and there are occasions where I am met with blank stares. It is as if I just spoke to them in a different language, or that they think that my dreams are simply ridiculous.

That’s fine. It’s not my problem to convince or persuade them to believe in my passions. As long as I’m the one taking charge of my life and destiny, that’s more than enough. I don’t need permission, approval, or validation from others to live the life that I want.

7. When you have “succeeded” but you still feel empty

Many people climb the corporate ladder and some say that it’s really lonely at the top. Professionals who have invested a lot in their careers might excel in the corporate world but feel lonely when they finally get the coveted corner office.

The harsh truth is that sometimes, when you really strive to pursue success and excellence in your life, you will leave some people behind. But success does not have to end this way. Instead of sticking to your ivory tower, get back on the ground and help others out in their struggles for success.

8. When you struggle but no one gets you

In the pursuit of your passions, not everyone is going to understand where you are coming from, and not everyone is going to get it when you break down, struggle, and burn out. Some might ridicule you for pushing the boundaries while others might just question what in the world you are trying to accomplish.

Don’t let this stop you. There are people out there who have or are going through what you are facing right now. And they will understand.

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9. When you missed an opportunity that will never come back

I know how it feels to let a golden opportunity slip through your hands. It might be a career opportunity, it might be a friendship, it might be a business deal, it might be the chance to have a much-needed conversation, it might be asking someone out.

It’s sad that the same opportunity will not come back, but do take heart in knowing that new ones will definitely come your way.

10. When someone leaves you for something or someone else

There are countless people in this world who might be cheated on, betrayed, or left behind by someone who simply chose to let go of them for something or someone “better.”

Such situations cast a shadow of despair and loneliness on a person. They might even doubt and question their self-worth. They might shut themselves out from the rest of the world to prevent getting hurt in the future. But this is a slippery slope.

You must pick yourself up and move on. Even though you can’t choose what life throws at you, you can still choose how you respond to it. Don’t focus on the lemons being thrown at you. Focus on making awesome and world-changing lemonade.

11. When you have to leave for something or someone else

You might be stuck at an impasse — a stifling and oppressive relationship or a stagnant job situation.

In such a case, there might be a need to pack your bags, move on, and not look back. Life is short and you deserve better. For a moment, you might feel attached to your previous circumstance and feel a little lonely when you step out of it, but keep moving forward — a better world awaits you.

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12. When you confront your deepest issues

Honestly, I do feel lonely when I take a hard look at my deepest worries and issues. I’m tempted to feel that not many would understand what’s going through my mind.

Many years ago, I was utterly lacking in self-confidence. I trembled when I had to look at someone in the eye to engage in a deep conversation. I even used “being an introvert” as a convenient excuse to keep myself from having to deal with people.

But I knew deep down that even though I felt lonely at times, I needed to overcome my fear of speaking to people and reach out to the friends and peers around me who loved me for who I am. Thus, I slowly stepped out of my shell and now I am a confident public speaker.

13. When you step out of your comfort zone

Our comfort zones are called comfort zones because they are comfortable and familiar to us.

It might be made up of a culture and environment we grew up in, friends who we have known for ages, and a community which embraces us for who we are.

A sense of loneliness can strike when we step out of our comfort zone. Suddenly, we are in a space which is foreign to us and we are doing things which are tough and uncomfortable.

On the other hand, the best opportunities in life lie outside of our comfort zones. It is when we step out that we are truly alive, truly living, and truly doing things which are meaningful.

So, take heart when you do go through seasons of loneliness in your life. This is what makes us human and the good news is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t have to go through this alone.

Featured photo credit: Roxane Clediere via unsplash.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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