To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. -Tony Robbins
We are so bombarded on a daily basis with all types of communication. From phone calls to texts to emails, it feels like an endless stream of communication. The biggest challenge in all the communications I receive is understanding intent and where the person is coming from. It is so easy to misinterpret or add tone to something being said. The saying “people only hear what they want to hear” comes to mind.
I have recently observed a few interactions where people are hurt or upset because of either something that was said to them or how it was said. The original intent of the person was somewhere lost in the mix and feelings got in the way.
So how do we make sure we communicate better? Here are my thoughts:
Clarify or restate the question- if you are not sure what is being asked of you, or you are not sure the other person understood what you were saying, clarify. Sometimes giving an example or making sure you are on the same page by saying the same thing differently can help. Many times people don’t understand your intent or you don’t understand theirs and the blanks get filled in on their own often times incorrectly. Clarifying can prevent this.
Let it rest before you hit send- Never text or email mad. Same goes with responding to a heated situation. I used to always say (and still do) that I need to wait to respond when I can take the emotion out of it. This does not apply to friendly passionate debates, but those should be face to face. Words that are written or spoken cannot easily be taken back. Be careful what you say and how you say it. You might even ask someone else to read your reply before hitting send.
Don’t raise your voice- You always have to love the person in the room who just talks right over you or doesn’t let you get a word in. The best practice for dealing with someone who is loud or mad is to lower your voice so they have to stop to listen. This is a great technique with mad customers. Many people are trained to come out yelling. Watch 5 minutes of Pawn Stars and you will see what I mean. If it gets too crazy, there is always 911.
Listen- This is probably one of the hardest skills to master. We are always so quick to want to have input into any conversation which makes listening difficult. I always have to stop myself from thinking I have the answer before the question is asked. Stopping to hear what the other person has to say and really listening makes the person you are speaking with feel valued and can keep you from misunderstanding what they say.
Of course, all of these tips are still a work in progress for me and I need to practice what I preach, but I really work on listening and understanding where a person is coming from. Adding tone or intent never goes well.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart
One of the things I have become pretty good at (not quite perfect, but I try) is following through on commitments. I always strive to get back to people and get things done as quickly as possible and to do what I say I am going to do. For me, it is easier to give an answer right away, make the phone call or schedule a date as soon as possible rather than leaving things in limbo or potentially forgetting.
One of the keys to following through, for me, is keeping a list. I use a style similar to the bullet journal which my sister introduced me to a year ago. It is a homemade version of the Franklin Covey system. Even though I have a good memory, I find that it is easy to get distracted and forget. Writing thinks on my to do list insures they get done.
Every morning, I go back through the previous day’s list to make sure that whatever is still hanging out there gets done. I find my biggest frustration is waiting on other people. In the age of email, texting, and other instant communications it is amazing to me how many people procrastinate and put things off. I understand people are busy. There are days when I have back to back meetings and I barely have time to breathe, but I can’t imagine every day is that way.
Getting in the habit of answering people right away has made my job actually easier. If something does not have to get flagged for follow up or go on my to do list it is a win for me. I used to have a saying posted on the wall in a retail store I managed that said something to the effect of…”If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it right?” The less touches I have to give something on my list, the better.
I want to encourage others to develop the habit of answering quickly and following through as soon as possible. For those of us who organize events, this means don’t wait until the morning of the event to RSVP. If you are waiting to see if something better will come along, well then…
People appreciate when you get back to them quickly. It shows them they are important and you care.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman
Many years ago one of the Vice President’s of a company I worked for described me as intense. I believe passionate is a better description. I am a dreamer, but I am also a doer. I want to not only hear about change, but be knee deep int he middle of it.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. Our goals and mandates are huge, but the idea that we really can be part of making a difference for the homeless in Central Florida (an maybe even beyond) is for lack of a better word, amazing. There has been so much ground work laid and now I get to step into the mix and be part of a great team working towards tangible solutions.
I look forward to sharing the goals, the action steps, and how you can help with the process of ending homelessness as we know it. Stay tuned!
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Yesterday, I spent the morning at a prayer breakfast where the theme was ending sex trafficking. The event was well done and I saw people I knew, but the topic was horribly ugly. It is hard to wrap my mind around the evil that exists in this world some days.
At the same breakfast, I spoke with a police officer who was proud that his city didn’t have a homeless problem because they have an ordinance against people holding signs and they arrest them no questions asked. He was proud that the word got out and they only have about 10 homeless people who he says want to be homeless.
He is not a bad person. Quite the opposite, but we had a good discussion about how research and evidence suggests that the homeless really aren’t happy on the streets and recovery starts when they have a home. I was encouraged that he listened and even started to question his thought process.
Matthew 5:16 tells us to let our light shine. We have to stand up and be the good in the world. The only way to combat darkness is to let our lights shine. Indifference and apathy are not an option.
What are you doing to shine your light?
God is so good.
As I look forward to the new season of my life, my heart is so full with all of the wonderful things people have said and done
during this transition. I had the opportunity to watch the new director of Christian HELP in action yesterday and I feel such a sense of peace that God has just orchestrated and ordered my steps and hers.
I am jumping in with both feet on this new adventure
and I can’t wait to see the doors God opens as I work with a new team and the community to make a real difference for the homeless in our community.
I hope you will be part of this journey.
I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of my season at Christian HELP. What a journey and a privilege it has been to serve there. I have seen so many lives changed and met so many wonderful people over the past 7 1/2 years.
I have turned in my key and tomorrow my computer will belong to someone else. The desk and office I have been in will no longer be mine. The people I have become accustomed to working with will now be working with a new leader. It seems a bit surreal.
I will miss so much about this job and this place. I will miss working with the team and the volunteers the most. I know they will be in good hands with the new leadership, but I will miss the interactions, the passion, and I have to admit it… some of the drama.
So, tomorrow will be my last day but it is important to me that I leave well. As many i’s that I can dot and t’s that I can cross will be dotted and crossed. I will leave knowing I did the best I could and hope that when history looks back at my tenure that it will be positive.
My heart is full for all we have accomplished. The passion, the drive and the commitment of the team will continue on.
I will miss it though.
“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” – Unknown
Yesterday I couldn’t write. I have to admit I was a little nervous waiting to hear from my husband about the results of his medical tests. After 2 CT scans and an MRI to look at his appendix, we were playing the waiting game. The day before we has heard the sad news about Stuart Scott passing away from cancer which had started in his appendix. We really didn’t talk about it, we just waited, and I prayed. After news of colon cancer rocked our world last year, we take nothing for granted.
Very happily I can report that the tests all came back fine. An answer to prayer for sure. It is just another reminder though that life is short, and we need to cherish every minute of it.
I see so much negativity, drama, and hurt in the world. I make it a point to avoid it when I can and to be positive. Sometimes, though it is easy to get drawn in especially when someone hurts you or says something you disagree with. I have to be careful not to let it affect me. Recently, I have realized that a few things in my world do have the ability to take me down a path of bitterness if I am not aware of my reactions to what they have said or done, and my reaction to it.
We can choose how we react to a situation, and I am determined not to let the negativity of the world draw me in. Life is short, and I want to focus on the good.
Yesterday I spent a good part of the day learning about my new job. It was a great meeting and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead. I know I should probably be a little nervous about the change and all of the giant goals ahead of me, but if I will be it has not hit me yet. There is so much to learn and so much to do. I am so excited about the direction of the organization and what the future holds.
Leaving your comfort zone can be difficult. I have loved the job I have had for nearly 8 years. Leaving the people and the environment I know is hard, but I also feel strongly that this was a season for all of us. I am also excited for the new director to come in and put her mark on Christian HELP. Knowing that if God had a plan for me, He also had a plan for the organization has made it a little easier to let go.
I keep seeing verse 43:19 from Isaiah. As I look to the future, the issues I will be working on with the team at the Commission and the community through collective impact are overwhelming. Homelessness is tragic and the wilderness needs to end for so many people who are suffering. As I drive to work each day, I pass by a homeless camp in the woods. I can see it from the road. I look forward to the day when we can offer the people who live in these tents a place to go that is more stable.
This is a new year with new challenges and new hope for the future. I am excited about what the future holds.
Yesterday I was concerned about my son getting his driver’s license. I had no doubt he would pass the test, but another teen on the road is a scary thought for any parent. There are just so many things to keep your eyes on and so many distractions. It turned out that he was not the one I needed to worry about yesterday.
I slipped away for the afternoon to the mall for a leisurely shopping trip to unload this Dillards gift card I have in my wallet. As I made my way through the racks, I received a hysterical phone call from my daughter. I had a hard time understanding what she was saying and thought I heard words like “the car exploded”. Really she was letting me know that she had been in a car accident. All I wanted to know was if everyone was ok.
Fortunately she was fine. The car had to go to the hospital and we will get the report on that sometime in the near future. Cars can be replaced. People, not so much.
I needed to be a calming voice on the other end of the phone to get her to a place where she could start to take the steps she needed to to move forward. After I knew she was ok, I could give her instructions on what to do next. I made some calls on my end and arranged for her to be picked up, my husband talked to her, and she was able to make it home safe.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of a crisis or storm, it is hard to think straight. We feel panic and become almost paralyzed. Having someone to rely on our reach out to is so important. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am also very thankful for my faith. When times get crazy and the storm is brewing around me, I can stop and pray. God reminds us that he can calm the storm. “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” -Mark 4:39
It is not even noon and today has been a crazy day. Maybe it is because we ate chicken on New Year’s Day (a superstition), who knows. My youngest got his driver’s license this morning, my middle child has strep- thank you Publix for free antibiotics, and my oldest is threatening to sleep in her car if her school does not fix her dorm situation. She ended up with the crazy, bully roommate who steals and breaks her stuff.
As a parent, I just want to fix everything. I want to make my daughter feel better. I want to shake someone at the school and ask them why they are acting helpless when they knew there was a big enough issue to put her in temporary housing until Dec 28. I want to be able to protect my son from crazy drivers out on the road. The lack of control I have in these situations makes me realize how much I need to let the control freak in me let go. I have actually made lots of progress on this over the years, but it still creeps up every now and then.
My husband has been a great mentor to me in this area. He has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and let me know that not every moment of my life has to have a plan, and I need to relax a bit and just let things happen on their own. As a parent, I have to let me kids succeed or fail on their own, and as a boss, I have to let my team learn and stretch so that they can grow. It is hard, but in the end it pays off.
So as a person who needs to “Let go, and let God”, the verse I am meditating on today is Proverbs 16:9 – “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”