“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Have you ever been faced with a challenge that seems like a brick wall that is too ridiculously high to climb over? In these moments we can often feel angry, scared, frustrated, alone and think to ourselves: “Why me?” “Why now?” “I can’t do that!” “There’s no way I can get past this!”
I totally get it. We all get it, because we’ve all been there. The thing is that there are plenty of people making it over to the other side, some of whose walls are even higher than yours. It might take them a while, they might have to get creative on how they do it, but they still make it over eventually and if they can, so can you.Advertising
Instead of filling your mind with thoughts that keep your feet glued to the ground, try telling yourself these 10 sentences and start climbing that wall one little step at a time. The grass is greener on the other side.
1. “I am stronger and more capable than I think I am.”
You have deep wells of strength that you don’t even know exist. Sometimes our brains try to hide these from us in an attempt to keep us safe and within our comfort zone, but you don’t have to believe everything you think. I promise you that you are physically, mentally and emotionally stronger than you think you are.
2. “I have faced and conquered many challenges in my life and I can do it again.”
Take a moment to think about a time in your life that was really hard. A huge challenge that you didn’t think you could get through but you did. You fought, you pushed through the fear and in the end you achieved the seemingly unachievable. You did it then and you can absolutely do it now.Advertising
3. “I know there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, even if I don’t understand what it is right now.”
We are not meant to live in our comfort zone. If we did we would never do anything, we would never experience full lives or grow or evolve. Life gives us challenges to test us and push us further than we ever thought possible. Often we look back on past experiences and see why they happened or what we learned from them. There is something to learn from this one too, even if we don’t know what it is right now.
4. “I can find happiness in any situation.”
Your life will never be perfect. There is no moment in the future where everything will line up and you will be blissfully happy. “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank).” That moment doesn’t exist. Happy people choose to be happy now by finding something to be grateful for in any situation. It can be as simple as your morning coffee that tastes so delicious. Think through and focus on the positives more than you do the negatives.
5. “I have made mistakes before but I am not my mistakes. I believe in my ability to change and be better.”
We all make mistakes, it’s a part of life. It’s also the way we learn and grow. You have no control over the things that have happened in the past, but you do have control over the decisions you make in the future. Choose to believe in your ability to make better decisions. Sure you might make a few more mistakes along the way, and who cares? Learn from them, grow from them and move on.Advertising
6. “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
We think more clearly and have better judgment when our minds are calm. Take a few minutes to yourself. Breathe in and out slowly. Let any thoughts that come in float away (I actually picture mine as little butterflies floating into the sky) and say to yourself, “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
7. “I trust myself in making great decisions.”
Sometimes challenges can leave us feeling torn and completely confused. Trust that deep down you know what the best answer or approach is. Whatever you choose and whatever happens will eventually work out and be OK. So take the pressure off yourself and trust in your intuition.
8. “I have the ability to solve problems creatively.”
You have the ability to think outside the box and get creative when it comes to solving your own problems. Trust in yourself and this creative power. If you’re doing something that’s not working, try a different approach. The worst thing that could happen is that it stays the same as it is now.Advertising
9. “I am not expected to do this alone. I can ask for help if I want it.”
Whatever the challenge is, you are not expected to do it alone. Reach out to people who love and support you or seek the assistance of healers, counselors, whomever and whatever you think will help you get through this. It’s amazing how simple our problems can seem when we start working through them with others.
10. “I choose to see this challenge as an opportunity.”
It can be hard to be positive in times of struggle, but a huge challenge is only one because we let it be. Force yourself to look for the opportunities you are being given because of this challenge. It could be that it has brought you closer to your family and friends, or that you have learned a valuable lesson. See your challenges as opportunities to grow and be better.
You can do this. You are strong enough.
“Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up but kept going no matter what.” — Spryte Loriano
Featured photo credit: Life is hard/D. Garding via flickr.com
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.
If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:
You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.
You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.
In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.
You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.
People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.
You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.
You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.
Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.
Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:
- Understand your own communication style
- Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
- Communicate with precision and care
- Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger
1. Understand Your Communication Style
To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.
In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.
Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.
2. Learn Others Communication Styles
Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.
If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:
“How do you prefer to receive information?”
This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.
To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.
3. Exercise Precision and Care
A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.
Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.
I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.
I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.
In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.
The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.
Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.
4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger
Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.
In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,
“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”
Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.
Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.
It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.
It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.
It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.
Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.
Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.
The Bottom Line
When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.
I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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