Communicate How You Would Like To Be Communicated To

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Let’s say you interviewed for a job or you are collaborating with someone on a project. You meet, you hit it off, and you end the meeting with the other person saying they will get back to you by a certain period time. You say “Ok sounds great,” and you part.

Now you are waiting, and you hate waiting, but you understand that the other person is busy, so you continue to wait. After all the designated time in which they said they would communicate by hasn’t arrived yet. Matter of fact it’s only been one day. You know you need to chill out but you can’t help it because you are so flippin’ excited for the possibility of what could come.

Then it happens. The designated time passes and you hear nothing. Not a single word. But you don’t sweat it because, again, you know they are busy and things happen so you just keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting, until you’ve gone from excited, to worried, to annoyed, to pissed off, and finally you begin to wonder if maybe it was all in your head and the meeting wasn’t as great as you thought it was.

So you decided to shoot them an email or give them a call to “see how things are going”. But they either don’t respond or they respond with a vague reply that does nothing to alleviate your pain and you are so close to losing it that you express to everyone (even that poor barista) just how frustrated you are with the whole stupid situation. 
But then you calm yourself down and decide to give it a few days before contacting the person again in hopes of getting a more concrete answer. You ask yourself just how many times you can call/email a person before they really hate you? 
Finally, after who knows how many times, you get an answer that says “Oh yeah we filled that position some time ago” or “Yeah I got really busy so…” or “I found something better so I decided not to do it” (yes that is a legit response I was sent). You then proceed to smash whatever digital device you have in your hand into tiny microbial bits so that Sherlock could not even decipher what it used to be.
Here’s the thing: we’ve all been on both sides of this in which we’ve wished someone had communicated more or in which we probably could have done more communicating. Sometimes when we are on the side of the communicator we forget what it is like to be the person waiting to hear back.
Nobody can see what the other side is doing and even if we become busy and are just swamped, it doesn’t mean that the other person knows that. And even if they do know that, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop for a moment to acknowledge that they are waiting.
So if you say you we’re going to do something by a certain time and it’s not done, communicate that. If something is taking longer than you expect, communicate that. If the person reaches out to you and you realize that you have not been communicating: respond promptly, apologize, don’t make excuses, and assure them that you are working on it.
Even if things don’t work out in the end, you will have left a better taste in their mouth, knowing that you were open and honest in your communication with them.
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Currently Reading: Pitch Perfect

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Have you ever had a moment where you said something and wished that it didn’t come out of your mouth? Or have you ever walked away only to come up with the perfect response just a little too late? Or maybe you gave a speech and it turned out horrible? That is what this book, Pitch Perfect is about, those moments.

In this BIll McGowan breaks down the how you can effectively communicate in your personal and professional life. He introduces seven principles that you can apply.

What originally drew me to this book was the fact that my communications skills are somewhat lacking. It is not the fact that I do not communicate, it is more about how I come across. Many times I am viewed as cold or blunt when I don’t try to be. Also I have a RBF. Which essentially means that I always look angry even when usually I am happy. Sometimes I think that if I was just born with a happier looking face things would be a lot easier, lol.

The other thing I wanted to work on is pausing before I speak. I tend to stumble over my words, especially when I am excited. This is covered in his book under the No Tailgating Principle.

The speed in which you talk should be directly proportional to how certain you are about the next sentence coming out of your mouth.

He also covers how your posture, stance, facial expressions (especially when listening), tone of voice, and gestures play a part in how you come off either in a conversation or a presentation. And if you need to know how to graciously turn someone down or congratulate someone you don’t like, the book goes over that too.

Overall I think this is a great book to read. Each chapter is filled with funny anecdotes and real life stories that puts the book’s principles in perspective. The knowledge in it is easy to follow and you don’t feel overwhelmed chapter after chapter.

If you are looking to improve your communication skills this is a great book to add to your repertoire.

 

 

 

Make Your Own Adventure

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I am a person who loves to travel, experiencing new things, and try new food. I get excited when something new crosses my radar. Just a few days ago I tried purple squash in a spring roll with mango Habanero sauce. It was delicious.

Then, this past Saturday, I went with a friend to Red Bull Crashed Ice. It was awesome. We were out in the cold and muddy ground (mud in January? What?!?!?!) and drank hot cider as we watched the US go up against other countries.

Sometimes we place such significance on going somewhere big (like Florida or Mexico) when we can easily have an adventure of our own right where you are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t leave your state, because you most certainly should, but when you can’t get away for days at a time or need to save time you can find many things to do right where you are.

But what if you don’t have anyone to go with? No problem, go by yourself. This is another big thing for me. I am always waiting to find someone else to go with me in order to go somewhere. I’ve decided that I am going to let people know when I am going to events and if they want to join me they can and if they don’t I’m still going to go. So should you.

So far I have up the Red Bull Crashed Ice event and look forward to doing much more. And it was seriously awesome cheering on the US. There is something about standing in a crowd, on a cold day, sloshing up mud, and yet cheering loudly that just gives you a sense of camaraderie. Got any cool travels you are doing on our own? Let me know I always love seeing what people are up to!

Currently Reading: Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable

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When I began my new year I wanted to find a book to start off with, something that would get me going and help me to grow. I had gotten a couple of gift cards for Barnes and Noble so I started there. There were two books I got, the One Year Bible (one of my goals is to read it all the way through, so far so good) the other is Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable by Valorie Burton.

What initially drew me to the book was that I was stuck and I continually get stuck, and I needed to figure out why. It also doubled as a devotional AND it was 50% off, so how could I lose? Turns out I won big time.

You know a book is good when the intro messes you up and calls you out. I was reading it and was like Does this woman know me? How did she get in my head?

“If you ever found yourself avoiding what needs to get done in favor of something-anything-else, even other stuff you’ve been procrastinating on that now seems easier by comparison, then I bet you can relate.”

If that quote sounds like you then you know exactly how I feel. It was like a serious gut check. I ended up super highlighting this passage because it spoke so loudly. In this book Burton breaks down the different ways we can get stuck, in what areas of our life, and how we can overcome them.

She lists three reasons as to why we get stuck: Fear, Overwhelmed, and God’s will and your will don’t match. My reason? I get overwhelmed.

“The project that needs to get done feels so big you don’t even know where to get started–so you simply don’t start. you analyze it, talk about it, and even strategize. But for some reason, you don’t actually do it.”

Boom. That’s exactly it.

The great thing about this book is the realness of it. It has workbook areas where you can apply things learned in the chapter, short chapters so you don’t get bogged down with too much information at once, and scriptural references with prayers.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is stuck and not sure why. This is a great helpful tool and I am sure I will be reading it again and again.

The Easy Way Out

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I once had entered this submission contest where you had to submit a short video and the top five videos would be picked and you would receive a prize, which was to go on a really cool trip. Now when I first saw this contest I wasn’t so sure about. I had heard about it kind of late in the game, three days before it was due, and wasn’t sure if I would get it done in time. So I mulled it over and over and finally decided to submit a video.

Now I have to say the video I did put together was actually pretty awesome and definitely reflected my style and personality. As I submitted I thought “this is it” I thought that I was going to win and that this would start to turn things around for me. However I didn’t win, but what I did do was realize something about myself.

If you notice in the last paragraph I had written that I thought “that this would start to turn things around for me,”. That’s the part I learned about myself, that was revealed to me by my mentor, and that I really need to change.

You see my life up to this point hasn’t been what I wanted it to be. I seem to keep moving but I get nowhere fast. With this contest I was throwing my hopes and dreams at it and thinking that if only I were to win this than things would be better, my life would be better. Would it? Or would I just end up back where I was? And what if I didn’t win? Then what?

You see this is called taking the easy way out. It is throwing your hopes and dreams at one thing and expecting that one thing to turn your life around. But it is also coping out because if that one thing fails you can just say “well I guess it wasn’t meant to be” or put the fault onto the failure of that thing.

Examples of this could be: trying to find a publisher for your novel and not getting a hit, or pitching an idea to your boss or investors and it not taking, or going for a promotion or raise and not getting it, or saying you need a friend to do something with you (like going to the gym) and when you can’t find one you just don’t go. You get the idea, but these are taking the easy way out.
It’s saying “Oh well the door closed on that so there must not be another door,”. When it reality you could publish the book yourself, pitch the idea to someone else or fund it yourself, go for another promotion, and just go to the gym anyways.
We can’t just throw our dreams at a situation and call it quits when it doesn’t work out. When one avenue isn’t the right one, find a different avenue, even if that means creating your own. So then the questions become how much is your dream worth, what will it take, and are you willing to do it?
Like I said, this is something I need to do myself but the first step is just knowing the problem is there.

Eating Better

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One of my resolutions this year is to eat better. I want to cut down all the unhealthy food that I take in (especially after the holidays) and find substitutes that fill me up and satisfy my cravings. The big part of this is cutting gluten down (I eat a LOT of bread, more than I realized) and do very little or no dairy (I’m lactose intolerant so it doesn’t really agree with me). I also want to pack more vegetables into my meals and of course save money!

The big thing to help change my eating habits was to plan out my meals for the week. When I don’t plan my meals, and not just dinner, I would eat whatever was available. Sometimes I would cook, go out to eat, or just eat a bunch of random junk. But I also like to snack and had to find healthy things I can just grab and snack on without feeling guilty about it, usually while I’m eating it.

Now of course there are a lot of “diets” out there that you can try and for every fad there is an article that tells you why it doesn’t work. But ultimately it is up to you and your body needs. So for my “diet fad” I decided to go with Paleo. Mostly because it already offers the big things I’m looking for which is gluten and dairy free.

So far I have found some really awesome places to find recipes (my pinterest if filling up) and discovered new vegetables and ways to eat them. Here are some things I cooked so far, along with my lovely instagram pictures.

Lettuce Wraps

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These are quick and easy. Lettuce is an awesome substitute for bread. Basically anything you can put on a cracker or on bread you can put in a lettuce wrap. Okay well… maybe not peanut butter and jelly, but you get the gist. For this a made fresh mango salsa, pan seared salmon, and turkey bacon. Here is a recipe for the mango salad and the wraps.

Stuffed Peppers

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Delicious and super healthy and colorful. These were stuffed with Italian sausage, cauliflower rice, basil, red onions, tomato paste, and garlic. I had a bit more fixings than peppers but that was okay because it tasted great. Also the recipe I used calls for a crock pot but I ended up starting late so I just baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for 1:15 minutes. Here is the recipe for this. Note: This would have been a lot easier if I had a food processor to chop up the cauliflower. I really need to get one of those.

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Prior to this I had never heard of spaghetti squash before but I found out it is a great substitute for pasta, which is great because I love pasta. This was baked with spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and goat cheese (yes I know, it is dairy but it is more mild and my stomach likes it better). Here is the recipe for this. My only disclaimer was it turned out a little dry for me so I had to add a little oil and vinegar dressing to it.

I already got next week planned out and I am super excited eat it!

 

Video: Why Bother Going Outside

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Sure with our technology today you could make the case that you don’t need to go see or do everything. You can simply experience it from your computer screen. But why should you?

In this video explorer Ben Saunders talks about why you should go outside and be out there more often. There are things you can’t experience just by watching someone else do them. And don’t just do the things that everyone else does. Take on a challenge and get moving! I couldn’t agree more.

What are you listening to?

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There is a constant feed surrounding us. Sometimes is music, a conversation, the radio, or the TV. In all of these things are words. Words are a powerful thing. They can lift you up or tear you apart. A single word from someone can cause your whole day to be ruined or give you that breakthrough you’ve been looking for. The question is: What are you listening to?

You see we hear a lot of things throughout the day: gossip at work, an argument on the street, lyrics of a song, things people say to us, and things that people say about us. All of these things have words and words can bring life or death.

You see a lot of people say oh I don’t care if they talk to me like that I know they don’t mean it, or it’s just a song, or it’s just a show so it doesn’t matter, or their words can’t hurt me. But the thing is words have a way of burying deep inside of you, compounding and hiding in plain sight, until something happens and those words that have gotten inside of you suddenly come to life. And you’re left wondering how you got this way, where did things go wrong? Words.

The funny thing is, I can always trace a good outcome to the one moment something good was said to me but when it is a bad outcome isn’t usually one moment of bad words but several. I think that one good word out weighs several bad so for something to be so wrought inside of us it has to have been said not just once but several times. How many more times than will it take then for the good to come back and negate the bad?

So again, what are you listening to?

Are you listening to the person who tells you that you’re dumb and tear you down, are you listening to that song makes light of cheating and objectify the opposite sex, are you watching that TV show that promotes unhealthy relationships and stirs lust, “beauty” campaigns that tell you you have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable, and that random stranger or customer who treats you with serious lack of respect?

Or are you listening to people who lift you up, music that rises you up to the challenges of the day, show that make you laugh and hope, and brushing off those that get no say over you and your life? Words are a powerful thing but YOU can choose to listen to them, to let them get inside of you, to take you where you need to go. If nobody is saying the words you need to hear, than say them yourself, find music that says it too you, find a book that will encourage you, and find those people who do cherish your worth and in that same instance use your words to lift others up. Just as others have the power to tear someone down with their words YOU have the power to lift them up. So the question is:

What are you listening to?

Are you Journaling? 5 Reasons why you should

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One of my bigger accomplishments of 2014 is that I kept a journal in which I wrote every night before bed. Each day I would do bullet points of happenings that day and at the bottom I would write tasks for tomorrow. No entry would be longer than a notebook page (in this case mine was 8×6) and each one was concise and summarized the day.

This year I will be doing the same again. If you are not journaling I urge you to on a routine business and if you are not sure why here are a few reasons:

1. It is a good way to evaluate in a timely fashion

Writing in it every night forced me to look back on my day and see just where I could have changed things or how I could have been more productive. It also helped me to reflect on things that happened relational, emotional, and spiritually. Why did I argue with that person? Hmmm I probably could have spent less time on social media. Wow, when I sum it up, I really didn’t do much of anything today. These are some thoughts I have at the end of the day when journaling and assessing how I acted during the day helps me make better decisions for tomorrow.

2. Keeps you on task

Part of my daily journaling is putting down the things that I had accomplished that day and things that I will need to do the next day. For instance when it comes to my writing, I would put what my progress was for the day and what I was expected to accomplish tomorrow. Also have you ever just gotten into bed and realized ALL the things you forgot to do that day? Yeah… now you have a place where you can write all those things down so you can remember to do them tomorrow.

3. Baggage lifter

Ever have something happen to you and you just need to get it off your chest. This is a good way to do that. “Never let the sun go down on your anger”. You don’t have to go into super details when writing about it, you can simply just write down that you are angry and frustrated. Just doing that can sometimes make you feel better.

4. Looking back

Going back now and rereading my journal entries allows me to see myself almost from the outside. I read entries of things I have gone through that seemed so consuming at the time but now I am over. There are events in it that I have forgotten have happened. And mostly there is a running theme of thoughts and actions that I didn’t notice before. It is like I am giving insight to myself. It is kind of like one of those look back videos they have on Facebook only this is far more detailed and personal.

5. It can be fun!

I use multicolored gel pens and alternate between them so at the end of the year it is like a rainbow of colors. Sometimes I will even paste something in it or doodle. At the front of the book I usually start it with a meaningful quote, then accomplishments for the past year, disappointments, and then what I am looking forward to this year. You can do whatever you like, get creative, it is your outlet.

So give it a try and start journaling, it is definitely worthwhile.

Also here are some tips for journaling:

  • Find the right kind of notebook whether it is spiral, leather-bound, or digital. Make it a format that will be readily accessible and comfortable to use. For instance I prefer a spiral or soft-bound notebook usually by the company miquelrius.
  • Make sure the notebook is thick enough. If you want to write everyday then you need a notebook that has about 400 pages/200 sheets.
  • If you are keeping a digital journal I suggest using a word processor (word or pages) and saving the entries to a special folder if you are doing separate documents. A great app to use for this would be Evernote or Day One . Check out this article for good iPhone apps and this one for android apps.
  • Put the date at the top of the page. I usually put the time, the day of the week, and the date.
  • Leave space at the bottom to put tasks for the next day. I will help you look forward to tomorrow and when you look back you can see how often those tasks were completed.
  • Do it everyday or just once a week but make sure you are consistent.
  • Be open. This is about you and you shouldn’t be closed off to yourself.

Happy journaling!

Hello to a New Year of Possibilities!

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! I got to ring in the new year with an awesome church service and then spent the next day hanging out with friends. I hope you also had nice time ringing it in, even if it was just a relaxing evening at home.

There is something about a new year that brings with it the feeling that anything is possible. That your old slate of disappointments, hurts, and setbacks are behind you and before you is an open window of possibilities. That this year is going to be great. That this year is going to be better than the last. It is as if all of time is stretched before and your reach is infinite.

And yes 2015 can be this and so much more but don’t get ahead of yourself too quickly.

Take a moment to pause and reflect on last year and the things that have happened. Reflect on how you were in those moments of triumph and despair and think of what you have learned from them and how you have grown. And then think of how you can apply those lessons to this year.

Sure this year itself is a blank slate but we are a series of marked slates that have been stacked upon each other and even though we now have a new one, there are still the old ones underneath. These slates make you who are, and you may not always like what is written on them but congrats because you just got a new one. This new slate is blank and waiting for the possibility of what you will put on it.

What will you write on your slate this year? What are the possibilities you will reach for? And if you don’t think you have any, think again. Just by you being here today means that your possibilities are endless even if you can’t see them, even if you have no idea how to reach them. So pick up that blank slate and start writing.