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Do These 7 Things To Make Sure Your Life Matters

Do These 7 Things To Make Sure Your Life Matters

We all want to make our mark on this world. But how many of us are actually doing it? Maybe you think you are, or maybe you don’t, but it’s never too late to think about how you can make the world a better place. If you really want to leave a legacy after you’re gone, but you’re at a loss for what to do differently, remember these 7 things.

1. Teach empathy.

Empathy is a lost art, unfortunately. We live in a world where we teach people to be self-absorbed. If you don’t believe me, just look at social media. In essence, a “status update” implicitly says “Look at me! Look at me! I’m important and you’re not!” Not that there’s anything wrong with social media. But when we are so focused on getting attention from other people that we forget to show love and compassion for their pain, then I think it goes to far. So try to reach out to others and recognize their grief and struggles. Help them. Love them.

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2. Spread kindness and positive energy.

People will remember you in one very simple way: how you make them feel. Do you lift them up? Do you make them feel better about themselves? Do they want to spend more time with you because they love your positive energy and outlook on life? Or, to the contrary, do people think you’re an “Energy Vampire” who sucks the life out of others? Do you whine, complain, nag, and repeat your negative “soap operas” over and over so much that you make people want to run for the hills and never come back? Hopefully you don’t do that. But even if you do, you have the power to change. Start choosing new thoughts and words. Make people feel happy that they know you—not the opposite.

3. Teach other people life lessons you have learned.

The older we get, the more we learn. When we are kids, we think we know everything—that is, until we really start experiencing life and eventually realize how little we actually do know. Did you have a phase in your life where you drank and partied so much that you almost flunked out of school? Or maybe you were in an abusive relationship until you woke up and decided to love yourself enough to walk away. If so, take those life experiences and pass down the lessons to the next generation. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be the next generation. Just pass them along to anyone who needs to learn what you did.

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4. Put people first.

Our world values money—a lot. And not that there is anything wrong with money! Everyone loves money! But if you are so consumed with money, or power, or success (or anything else) that you forget how important people are, then you need to re-evauate your life. Treat everyone with love and respect—even your “enemies.” Treat the janitor the same way you would treat the president of the company you work for. Realize that everyone really just wants to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. It’s pretty simple. So live by the “Golden Rule” and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

5. Figure out your passion and do more of it.

Do you love creating art? Do you love writing? Do you love fishing? Whatever your passion is, do it more. You might even be able to find a way to channel it into a career. Perhaps you write in your journal or keep a blog just for the fun of it.  But maybe you can find writer’s classes to teach you how to write that novel you always had in your head. If so, do it. There is nothing more beautiful when passion meets a life purpose. The more passionate people we have in the world, the better it will be.

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6. Spend your money on experiences you will remember instead of on things you don’t need.

As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” In other words, money is wonderful, but you can’t take it into the next world when you die. When you’re gone, all people will have is the memories they created with you. So if you’re using your money to buy huge house just to impress people, then maybe you’re channeling your money in the wrong direction. Instead, maybe you should downsize your house and take your family on vacations. Those are the things people remember, so re-evaluate your priorities when it comes to spending your money.

7. Keep a healthy level of social media interaction.

Sure, it’s great to re-connect with lost friends and keep up with long-distance family members. But if you find that you are literally narrating your life on social media for the whole world to see, then maybe you’ve gone too far. If you’re on vacation with your family in Disney World but you have to stop every 5 minutes to take selfies and upload them to your social media sites, then you are missing the point of a vacation. Instead, be in the moment. Enjoy the NOW. There will be time later to upload those photos. So try to disengage from social media a little bit and come back to the real world more often. You’ll be glad you did.

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Everyone’s lives matter. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that maybe you could change your ways just a little to make sure that you leave a positive legacy when you depart this world, then remember these things on a daily basis. That way, your life will have a positive impact for generations to come.

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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

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