This year, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary so I asked them to share the one skill to which they attribute their love and longevity of their marriage - they both said the ability to communicate effectively with each other.
If you are a business person, you probably know that the ability to effectively communicate with just about anyone - customers, employees, suppliers - is a pillar, if not THE pillar that enables success.
Communicating effectively is important
It's important to practice this skill because it informs so much of our life's purpose and, if you are Christian, your own mortality and entrance to Heaven. Yes, communicating effectively with others informs how your life will pan out and ultimately how you will be remembered after your death.
So how do we set about practicing?
A lot of people try to hack their decision and thought process with the idea of YOLO (you only live once). This is about quickly deciding to get out of your comfort zone and do things, try things, perhaps even give people chances. Thinking about sky diving? YOLO. Always wanted to open your own business? YOLO.
It might be a little too risky to think this way right off the bat (and likely a little unsustainable) so start much smaller.
- Chat with your significant other about how they got to where they are today
- Go volunteer to serve at a shelter, school night, sporting event
- Do you see the same person every day at daycare/school dropoff or Starbucks? It's time to reach out and say hello
These big and small ways of thinking will set you on a path no matter what - just get moving.
coming soon: Memento Mori Companion Bracelet
Memento Mori - Remember your death
Ask yourself: How am I living today? Am I living with a purpose?
Connecting with others can be difficult, and we all know people that are just plain unreachable.
But, connecting with others is fundamental to living a purposeful life, for loving your spouse more and more each day, for leading others, and for so many other wonderful things. The more you fulfill others needs the more you yourself become fulfilled.
Here are 4 simple questions that have made it easier to practice my communications skills with people:
- What's your story?
- Everyone has a story. Ask your friend how did they get to this point in their life? Sitting next to a stranger at your PTA meeting? Ask them how they got there (it might be a hilarious moment). Listen more than you speak
- This question is so much fun to ask, because it opens up the other person's deep, and sometimes emotional, "dream" or vision they have for their life. Let the imagination flow freely on this one, and again just listen.
- AÂ critical moment for truth and honesty - you can begin building a solid relationship from here and add real value to the other person's life
- Be careful with how you react to what is being said, as the answers may come out with negative emotions related to blaming others or "immovable" barriers. Note the barriers they talk about - are they perceptions or real? Maybe you can help them see a path over, under, or around
- Ask them what it is you can do for them, that would make their path to success come up to them and easier to see
- Maybe it's just meeting for coffee every Weds after carpool or being an accountability partner and showing up every other Saturday for a long run, or being in the audience at their next talk or sporting event
- This question is where all the talk above meets the road - do what you say you are going to do
Remember your death, live with purpose.