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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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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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