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10 Things You Should Say “Yes” to More Often for a More Fulfilling Life

10 Things You Should Say “Yes” to More Often for a More Fulfilling Life

In this busy, fast-paced world of limited time and attention, a lot of us are quick to just say “no.” “No thanks!” “No time!” “Over-booked!” “Not one more thing!” But here are some common “no” areas that you might just want to say “yes” to. They’re worth the time, and they can improve your life.

1. Say “Yes!” to travel.

Any travel is good. It’s a chance to see some great scenery, mix things up a little, maybe even get out of a rut. If you really want to experience some growth and a new perspective, I recommend traveling outside the country (and not just for a touristy vacation).

My eyes were opened when I moved down to Mexico for a semester in college through a student exchange program. Not only did I meet people who talked differently and did things differently, I learned how people looked at things differently. Suddenly your world looks a little different when you’re on the outside looking in.

2. Say “Yes!” to fundraisers.

“Quick!” “Close the door!” “Walk the other way!” “Don’t pick up the phone!” Does this sound like your response to fundraisers? My family hated fundraisers. When we had band fundraisers, we’d buy up all the chocolate so that we could make the minimum quota without having to “bother” anyone else. (And then no one would else would have an excuse to hit us up, too!)

This seemed to work just fine, until now—I’ve realized that I am now a grown adult who is afraid to ask anyone for anything! Just like that chocolate experience, I feel I’m offering something others wouldn’t want—that I’m imposing on them—even though I have wonderful, valuable services to offer!

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Fundraisers are an opportunity to experience the cycle of giving and receiving. When we block ourselves off from participating on either side, we lose the opportunity to practice asking and to practice giving. We lose the chance to offer value and to receive value from others. We are also asking for their help, for their support or we are offering it.

I’m not saying that you should buy things you don’t want or even support every fundraiser that comes your way. But I do recommend giving where you can and participating when you can. And involve your kids in it, too, so they can get comfortable interacting with others while they have you by their side.

3. Say “Yes!” to farmer’s markets, fests, and fairs.

Are you the type to shy away from booths? From getting out and moving among the throngs of people? You’re probably missing out! This is a great way to meet people, bump into old people, and support the local community.

Do you know your neighbors? I’m one of those who has lived in the same town for years and who doesn’t know my neighbor, nor my town. Markets, fests, and fairs give you a chance to get move involved in the community and meet the people that make your town tick. Are you short on time? These city events give you many of the local businesses all-at-once, within steps of each other!

4. Say “Yes!” to talking with new people

As kids, it isn’t safe to talk to strangers. But as an adult, avoidance can cost you some of the most wonderful experiences of your life. People have made friends, found future spouses, and made great business contacts by opening themselves up to people in everyday experiences. Start with a smile—and if you get a smile back—see if you’re inspired to spark something up. Even starting with the weather can turn into a short heart-to-heart exchange that will brighten that person’s day and leave you all fuzzy and happy, too!

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5. Say “Yes!” to volunteering.

Many hands make the work go faster! Organizations can’t function without volunteers, and if you’ve been the solo volunteer for an event, you know how frustrating that experience can be. Money does help the world go ’round, but so do the things that are free.

Besides that great feeling of giving back to somebody or something, consider the other benefits. Many activities and events wouldn’t be possible without volunteers; others would be much more expensive without volunteers. Volunteering can also give you free experience. Volunteer to help with food prep and take some recipes home with you!

Do you miss playing games and other childhood activities? Volunteer at the park district or library to experience them again with new eyes. Don’t have much time? Narrow down your volunteering to an organization that you care about and offer them a one-hour block.

Do you like to do things your own way? Lead up a volunteer effort or create your own volunteer opportunities. Offer free tutoring at the library or offer your time to a local nursing home. Your action may mean the creation of something new and wonderful!

6. Say “Yes!” to the favor.

As in fundraising, you do not want to say yes to every favor. But think carefully before you say “No.” If you can make the time, you can really make a difference in another person’s life, and it will come back to you positively in one form or another. Just as Tracy Lawrence sings, favors are how you “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” In a busy world of multi-tasking individuals with their heads buried in cells and tablets, your time and attention may be the most precious gift you can offer, making the greatest difference. (And you’ll also feel great when you’re in a fix, and you’re friends do the same for you!)

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7. Say “Yes!” to that awkward thing (that pushes your comfort zone)

Of course we don’t want to do it—it’s awkward! If it’s making you squirmy and it’s continuously nagging at you, it’s probably time to take action. You’ll feel better when it’s done, and you’ll have grown in the process. If this thing is a skill that you haven’t gotten yet, practice, practice, practice! And don’t be afraid to get some help from others. Over time, the practice will become a part of you; you’ll become a master, and you’ll be able to help someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

8. Say “Yes!” to listening to your body.

Say “yes” to your body’s needs—it knows best! With all of the new fads, diets, food options, and new chemicals and preservatives out there, we can lose sight of what our body actually needs. Unfortunately, some of the things that we intake are designed to trick and confuse the body. Therefore, a period of detoxing/raw food dieting, etc can be beneficial to refresh your system and re-accustom your body to what it knows is best.

How often do you listen to your body? Look to the thoughts behind your cravings and learn to differentiate between your emotional cravings and physical needs. If you’re feeling thirsty, you are overdue for some water. If your stomach tells you it’s hungry, you’re hungry! If it feels full, you’re full! Every body is different. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for health!

Get to know your body type and what foods and eating patterns work best for you. If you’re craving certain foods, look at the nutritional content of those foods to see what your body might be missing. Also, remember to chew slowly and try not to multi-task while you eat. This will give your body the time and attention it needs to communicate to you what it needs. Don’t neglect the body! Keep it happy, healthy, and satisfied to ensure an enjoyable, fulfilling day!

9. Say “Yes!” to “me time.”

Some of us are very good at giving ourselves “me time.” Others of us are terrible at it! The key is balance. Extremes can ruin your life. The easiest evidence of this is “burn out.” This can happen to parents, workaholics, volunteer-aholics, exercise-aholics (________-aholics), obsessives, and over-achievers. No one wants the “burn out” teacher. No child wants to face the snippiness of the “burn out” mom or dad.

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Putting in lots of hours can look like a great service, but you’re doing no one a favor. Take some time to think about the things that make you happy, just you. Pick at least one—no matter how small—and do it. Frequently! If not every day, every week. Excitement is contagious! So find your passion, let yourself go, and get re-energized with life! You’ll have fun, be happy, and you’ll inspire others in your life to do the same.

10. Say “Yes” to date night.

This applies to everyone. Don’t have a “date”? Take yourself out. I love watching movies by myself. Instead of dragging my partner to my favorite chick-flick, I can enjoy it in all of its mushy glory, minus the mumbling from the seat next to me! Or else invite your friends, your niece, your kids! Take some time out to have fun and show some special attention to the ones you love.

If you do have a regular “date”—girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, spouse, whatever—do not put this on the backburner. It can be the key to a happy relationship. Make it frequent and make it special! Put it in your planner and take your partner out. If money is an issues, go to the park or check out the local free events—or stay in and make dinner together and watch a favorite movie. Sit out on the porch or in the backyard, enjoy a favorite drink/snack, and talk while holding hands/cuddling. Whatever you choose, keep that time sacred. Treat it as an appointment. If you have to miss, make it up to that person, and reschedule immediately!

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

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:

Example 1

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.

Example 2

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.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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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.

Example 4

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.

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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.

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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,[1]

“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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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