Comm 101: How Effective Communication Has Positively Impacted My Life
One thing that I've noticed during the past few months is that in todays age of social media, we've all become hyper social however we've somehow lost the ability to effectively communicate. After having this realization, I started thinking: What areas in my life can I do a better job of communicating my thoughts? After giving it some serious thought, I came to the conclusion that there are 5 main pillars that could benefit from practicing effective communication.
Most people would say that a long distance relationship presents challenges, however, I would say that it certainly has its benefits. One of which is that it forced me to work on my communication skills. Something that I learned is that in order to effectively communicate my feelings to my girlfriend, I had to be extremely vulnerable with myself. I had to completely own the feelings and emotions I was going through before I could communicate it.
Once I owned my fears and made myself vulnerable, I was able to speak on it in a way where my girlfriend could receive it.
I would talk about my flaws, my ambitions, my goals, my desires. I would express things I learned from prior relationships and things I wanted to work on.
For example, one of the first disagreements my girlfriend and I went through happened because I was triggered back to a very unhealthy moment in a previous relationship. I shut down and clocked out mentally because I felt completely helpless in that moment much like I was in that previous relationship.
After owning up to my emotions and expressing my fears in that moment I realized that the two events were mutually exclusive, but my brain processed them as if they were the same. I was triggered back to that moment in my past and unfairly projected it onto the present. This is a conclusion I wouldn't have analyzed on my own had it not been for my girlfriend empowering me to communicate what I was going through and why I was shutting down. Because she was open to actively listen, she was able to fully understand what had happened to me because she had also dealt with similar issues in her past.
Had it not been for that open line of communication, the argument could have steered into the wrong direction.
Effective communication allowed us to understand each other on a deeper level and I am grateful to have someone in my life that fosters the same kind of mentality that I do.
On boarding is always a peculiar time when starting a new job. You're the new kid, and don't really know the true culture of the company. Out of everything I was learning during the on boarding process, the main theme I quickly picked up on was how many times every employee and mentor I met mentioned "over communication" as the key to success. Over communicate with the team, the members, and management. Every time I seemingly had no idea what I was doing, I would over communicate how lost I was to my team and ask basic questions to get a better understanding of what I was doing.
For example, I would present a specific question to the team, other colleagues who worked in my region, their bosses and even to the directors in my market. I gathered answers from all of these sources and implemented my own baseline of knowledge to come up with the best possible solution.
Taking this practice a step further, I reached out to my manager and asked her for feedback during my short time with the company. What are some things you think I should work on? How would you grade my performance up to this point? I also asked to sit with her 1 on 1 to discuss my short term and long term goals. From that point, we came up with a plan for me to achieve those goals within a specific amount of time. I know this sounds generic to any corporate job, but having access to open conversations with my boss was such a huge stress relief for me and enabled me to expedite my progression.
This built my confidence quickly and I was able to build up a rapport with existing and potential members which turned into successful closed sales. I continued my communication practices by reaching out to new members and giving them updates with events that were happening in the building that they have access to, providing solutions to help grow their business, and ways they could get more involved with our community. I would personally stop by their offices just to ask how their day is going and whether we can do anything to enhance their experience with us.
During my short tenure with the company, I've realized that I don't measure my success by the amount of sales I close, but by the impact I have on those around me: mainly through over communicating.
The holidays just past and as many of you can relate, being home for the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful. For me, the holidays were always a challenge growing up with trying to navigate logistics of how to get from the train station to my moms house. And how long to stay at my moms house before leaving to go to my dads house. And then figuring out where to stay the night and who's car to borrow for the weekend. I'm sure people with divorced parents can relate.
However, what I've come to find out is that as I get older, my relationship with my family has grown in tandem with my ability to communicate.
As I continue to put more effort into effectively communicating with my family, the more I've been able to appreciate our family dynamic.
Updating them on my personal and professional life is something I've been practicing more regularly, but the beauty of a divorced family is that I don't have to play the role of son or brother every time I come home. I get to reinvent my relationship with my parents by asking them tough questions about our relationship.
What's going on at work? How did that promotion go? What challenges do you have right now? Applying the same tactics that I've practiced in my relationship and in the workplace, expressing vulnerability and over-communicating, has changed my perception of what my family dynamic was.
Moving to a new city was an exciting time for because I get the opportunity to rebuild my friend group.
Everyone here has been absolutely amazing. There's a misconception that New Yorkers are vile human beings, are self centered, image driven and materialistic. A lot of the stereotypes stem from tv/media outlets and imagery from social media platforms. However, in my experience what I've come to learn is that you receive back whatever energy you're personally seeking out. I'm a true advocate of the fact that you are an aggregate of the 5 people closest in your life.
With that in mind, during my first few months in the city, I went to as many social events as possible to meet new people. Extracurriculars and a lot of late nights out ensued. I joined as many social and sports clubs as possible to help construct the circle of friends that I envisioned. I continued to operate in this way and took advantage of the ways my new friends could help me get to where I want to be and vice versa.
One thing I started focusing on as of late was communicating how grateful I am to have such amazing people in my life. That's one thing that was very important to me because like all things in my life, I wouldn't be in the position that I'm in without the help of those around me.
I've somehow been fortunate enough to have a great crew surrounding me and expressing gratitude towards your friends is something I feel everyone should practice.
I alluded to energy earlier and the affects that you have on the universe. I want to start by saying that I'm not a particularly religious person, however, I do think it's crucial to acknowledge some sort of belief system. Whatever that case is for me may be different to someone else. You may ask yourself, what does spirituality have to do with communication? And to that, I say this:
I had to really have that conversation with myself on what my definition of religion was and how to practice my beliefs in my day to day. I had to really dig deep and communicate to myself the things I valued and how I view the world in terms of religion. How do I want to live my life? How do I want to treat others? What are some things I've learned through conversation with people; things that I can apply to my every day life?
These were the type of questions that I would ask myself on any given Sunday during a morning run. I would write down in my notes, I would challenge people around me to answer, and I would express these questions to my parents who raised me to be catholic. What I've determined after all of these practices is that:
I acknowledge that there is a super consciousness that oversees all life. That we are all inherently powerful beings capable of good and evil. That we always have a choice to do one of the other, but if things lead to the latter, it's not because we are inherently evil, but because there are those who are misinformed, misguided or misunderstood. And that communication is best tool to help lead those individuals to be informed, guided, and understood.
My goal for this article is to inspire people to take a break from being social and to try and focus on communicating the things that you would usually keep to yourself. To take what I've learned about myself over the past few months and apply it in as many of the 5 mentioned pillars as possible. Express vulnerability, over-communicate, inquire, actively listen, express gratitude and above all else,