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7 Reasons Why Experiencing Grief Makes You A Better Person

7 Reasons Why Experiencing Grief Makes You A Better Person

Grief can be all-consuming. I’ve lost both parents and can tell you it leaves you lost and broken. Grief comes in many forms not just in death, but it can also present through the significant loss of a relationship, marriage or job. When you’re suffering through grief you feel like you are living in an alternative universe. It’s horrible.

It can leave you barely functioning and curled up on the couch in shock. You move forward because you have to, it’s the circle of life. People try to be kind and tell you that as time passes things will get easier, and it does to some extent, but you will never be the same person that you were before. Your reality and world has been altered and you have to learn to live in this new world, minus the loved one, significant relationship, or career.

When I looked back on my life and how I dealt with grief before, I realized that I had changed significantly in ways I would have never expected or have experienced, had I not gone through such a loss. I was surprised at the life lessons that I’d learnt in such a short period of time. Through grief I’d learnt to look at life differently.  Here’s why experiencing grief changes your life and makes you a better person:

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1. Your relationships become stronger

When grief strikes, you really do find out who your real friends/family are. I’d always hear people say this to me, but never thought much else about it. When tough times come, grief sorts out who is there for you and who isn’t. This can have a further grieving effect on you through the loss of friends you thought would be there to help support you. You now see your relationships in their true light. If you didn’t realize it before, you realize now what amazing people you have around you, and you aspire to be the kind of friend that they have been to you: a brilliant one. Every relationship you have becomes more important and valuable. It changes how you and makes you want to become a more invested, attentive, giving person in relationships.

2. You get your finances in order

This is a weird one. After going through probate after a death, or even through a divorce situation where finances are divided, you learn how important it is to manage money. You find yourself paying off debt quicker, wanting to prevent negative consequences if something ever happened to you.

You manage your budget, realize that your savings account needs to pumped up in case of emergencies, and you are to become more financially savvy than ever. Grief teaches you that monetary issues don’t stop upon death, divorce, relationship breakdown, or career loss, and it’s important to put yourself in a good financial position in case anything unexpected was to happen.

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3. You become healthier

Before I went through my experience of grief, I thought I was 10 foot tall and bulletproof. Life was awesome. Yes I had extra pounds, yes, I needed a dental check up ,and yes I definitely should have been exercising more, but hey, I’ll get around to it, right?

Watching a loved one pass from the effects of their deteriorating health, makes you realize the importance of looking after your own health. Keeping healthy has never become more important in order to keep disease and sickness at bay. Grief kicked my butt hard, and I found myself spending more time in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket, and getting regular check ups at the doctor to keep everything in check. The need to focus on becoming healthier was immediate; it changes how you think, feel, and treat your body.

4. You become more spiritual

When you are faced with grief, you tend to look inside yourself more to seek answers. When we can’t find those answers we look to our higher power for comfort and solace. You re-evaluate your values and responsibilities. You meditate, you pray, you seek calmness and soothing. You become much more in touch with your spiritual side and incorporate that more into your daily life.

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5. The little things don’t bother you anymore

This was actually a godsend for me. I am a worrier. Pre-grief I used to get hung up on the little things, worrying constantly about the small details. When you lose a significant person in your life, you realize that the only things that really matter are the relationships you hold with other people. The decision about whether to buy a black car or a white one, or travel from Sydney to London via either Bangkok or Hong Kong, doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. You don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. You make an effort to make more memories

Sitting, watching someone pass or walk out the door and leave you, leaves you with only one thing to hang onto: memories. Memories are an important part of grief. They allow us to keep the loved one alive in our mind and hearts. In time you are able to sit back and remember all of the great times, funny moments, and the life you shared together. You realize the importance, therefore of creating more memories, of working less and holidaying more, of life experiences and spending more time with those you love. Making memories becomes a very high priority and one that will change your life significantly.

7. You love more completely

The significance of the loss you feel through grief would make it understandable if you never wanted to love again. Ever. Why love when you will lose eventually? It shows you pretty fast that your love for people is worth every second, so you tend to love more completely, more freely and deeply. Grief is born out of love, and to love someone so much that you are consumed with sadness is only a testament to the love you felt for them. You find yourself showing more love, and falling in love a bit more easily, because you know now just how worthy you feel to have been blessed with it.

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I know from experience how difficult it is to wade through the grief process. The longing for the person or situation to return, the sadness, the unanswered questions, the ‘some days are better than others’ feeling, and the advice people who try to comfort you without experiencing the situation themselves. I’m not going to tell you that it gets better with time, but what i will tell you is that grief changes you. You look at life in a new light,  you value it so much more, and become a better person because of it.

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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