The Best Weapon Against the Unexpected

Communication is key
Captain Picard has it right!

Unexpected things are the greatest destroyer of consistency.

But life isn’t wrapped up in a neat bow.

It’s messy. Unpredictable. Less than ideal.

It took me a while to understand perfection wasn’t possible.

But you know the best weapon against stress and inconsistencies at work is?

Communication.

Excellent communication between boss and employees and coworkers is the single best way to defeat employee burnout.

It seems so simple yet why don’t more companies do this?

Because communication requires empathy, organization, and teamwork— and that’s not always easy (especially if you aren’t hiring the right sort of people).

Excellent communication also improves your mental health.

Would love to get your thoughts on this topic!

How important is communication in battling unexpected things?

Drop your comments ⤵️

Thank you for sharing!

Communication is the Most Important Life Skill

Communication is the most important skill.

It’s the root of every other ability needed to succeed in life and business.

I love the written word.

But over the years I’ve learned the value of improving verbal communication skills.

Communication is key

My Communication Journey

Working at Wells Fargo in the mortgage and student loan departments helped me develop my ability to listen and tailor my message to customers in various financial situations.

In 2016, my son Josiah was born. He was our rainbow baby (after Jeremiah died in 2015). Josiah was diagnosed with autism in 2017. He has been in speech and occupational therapy ever since.

In home and out patient therapy has taught me how I took for granted my ability to communicate.

My son went from 20+ meltdowns a day and self harm because he couldn’t tell me his needs to talking in full sentences.

Examples of his recent success:

  • Learning the blended sound of “st” he used to call my brother Uncle Teven
  • Telling me precise things he wanted: “I want to go to Arrowhead Park and watch duckies with Avila.”
  • Being creative: “Dad, let’s be excavators and dig!”

Communication is a need not a preference.

What’s your “communication journey” look like?

Related Links

Communication Hack—Tailor Your Message to Your Audience

A Humble Hue: My Story about Autism

Thank you for sharing!

Communication— the Key to Success

💡Communication is the most essential skill to learn for success in life.

It’s a skill that everyone can learn to improve no matter your age.

My kids have special needs (sons diagnosed with autism-a social/communication disorder) and my older daughter has partial hearing loss.

I’ve had to adapt:

✨ Learn sign language

✨ Advocate for special education services

✨ Take my son to therapy sessions

Today this little girl starts speech therapy!

Yesterday she had a hearing screen done at school for the deaf (we wanted to rule out that her ears weren’t an issue for the speech delay).

At one time I contemplated being a speech pathologist.

💬 Communication is my passion and I love learning new ways to help others.

My experiences helping my kids communication delays helped me improve my ability to tailor message to my audience (writing) and my employees as an assistant manager at a grocery store.

❓How have you improved your communication skills?

#writing #communication #speechtherapy

Thank you for sharing!

The Power of Listening

Listen

Listen to understand not to reply. 🤯

It’s not a mind blowing truth.

But the way some companies treat customers and employees it would be information to shatter their worldview.

Silence is something dearly missed in regular routine.

Here are a few tips to improve your ability to listen and limit ‘noise’

🔶Set aside one day of the week to rest.

Sunday is a great day to pause from work.

Go to church or use it for family time.

🔷 Take micro-breaks during the work day

Strategic 2-3 minute breaks to get water or step away from a stressful situation will do wonders for your perspective.

🔶 Be intentional with regular prayer or meditation

My family started praying one decade of the Rosary a night.

It only takes 5-7 minutes but I find myself much calmer (and who doesn’t want to have more peace before going to sleep).

Silent time leads to an improved ability to listen.

❓What would be a fourth tip to add to create more silence in your day?

Share your thoughts 👇

Related Links

The Importance of Listening, and Ways to Improve Your Own Skills

5 Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills

Thank you for sharing!

Communication Hack—Tailor Your Message to Your Audience

Communication

Everyone learns and communications differently. Changing how you talk with others will be the difference between a positive or a negative experience.

Everyone learns and passes on information in different ways

You may be a thinker, director, socializer, or empathetic worker.

Or even a combination of those communication styles.

🤔I am more of a thinker. I need to understand the process step by step.

Clarity and accuracy are prioritized over speed or small talk.

🗣Directors—I know I need to talk faster and limit my explanations to a high level.

😃Socializers— it’s important to chat about the topic they are talking about.

❤️ Empathetizers—discuss feelings more so be open to utilize that type of language when interacting with empaths.

❓Which of the four communication styles fits you best?

❓How have you tailored your communication to someone with a different communication style?

Share in the comments below?

Thank you for sharing!

Toy Cars, Farewells, and Door Knockings

Originally published 09/01/2017


Concluding a fast-paced morning at work, I headed to the lunch area to heat up my lunch. Famished and tired from the busyness of the day, I reached into my pocket for my cell phone to call my wife. Instead, I pulled out a green hot wheels car named Ballistik— I forgot to send this toy with my youngest son when I dropped him off at daycare this morning.  Not being able to reach of my wife, my thoughts wondered as I waited for my macaroni and cheese to cool down.

hot wheels.jpg

The mind is an interesting place. It is the gathering place of ideas, thoughts, dreams, concerns and sorrows. Today, my mind meandered about my son’s early childhood therapy he started receiving at the beginning of August.  The plastic toy car reminded me of the immense strides that he has made toward improvement on his developmental delays. My son is a joy of my life. His high pitched giggles and funny mannerisms infuse life into me daily. I was experiencing a brain barricade when it came to writing. I lacked motivation, inspiration, and endurance to pen my thoughts.  Toy cars, farewells, and door knockings unexpectedly lifted me out of my stupor.

Playing with Toy Cars

Infants typically begin playing with toys around 5-6 months. My son was a unique case as he only played with toys cylindrical or round in nature. He has a fascination with circles—currently he goes into our bathroom and nearly dives headfirst into the empty tub looking for the round drain cover! Don’t worry. I made sure to disinfect it in time.

My child has idiosyncratic interests that make him a distinct, and cute, individual. To get back to the topic of toy cars, the reason why it is significant is that this past week was the first time I captured him playing with cars. He played with them as toys instead of flipping them to look at their circular wheels or chucking them in the kitchen! Progress is visible.

As a father of a child with autism [my oldest son was diagnosed a couple years ago], I noticed hints of autism spectrum disorder with my youngest. I want to give him the best tools to succeed in life and to improve his communication as well.

wave gif.gif

Goodbyes Can be a Good Thing

Regarding, farewells my son was not able to communicate verbally during tantrums he banged his head against the ground. Since the start of his therapy, I have noticed a tremendous growth my son’s social-communication skills. Last week he waved good—bye for the first time. Since then, he has been waving to our daycare provider upon my picking him up. These seem like simple achievements, but to a parent of a child with a developmental delay I was overjoyed with my 18 month old’s budding skills!

knock.jpg

Knock and the Door will be Answered

Jesus tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).  Knocking on educational “doors” was a common experience that past few months as we sought after help for our son. Through the grace of God we got therapy to help him improve his communication. Continual asking for help was a sign of our hope in the Lord to provide for our child in need. Patience and persistence bore fruit in the form of my son knocking on doors recently. His tiny knuckles clinking the side of a front door was one of the most beautiful sounds I heard this week.

If you are experiencing a stressful situation with anxiety or struggle with communication the best way is to continue ask for help. Ask professionals, your friends, and ultimately God for help. It will take time, but do not be alarmed—help will always find those seeking aid and refuge from worry!

door knock gif.gif

 

 

 

 

 

***For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened***

Thank you for sharing!

5 Ways to Overcome Bias

According to Cardinal John Henry Newman, “It is very difficult to give resentment towards persons whom one has never seen.” I have seen and experienced this phenomenon before. In those moments you are driving and someone suddenly cuts you off. An immediate reaction is anger or annoyance. Another instance of frequent prejudgment occurs when we first meet a new person. Sometimes our instincts are correct. Sometimes our initial bias is wrong.

Let us try a short experiment. Listen to the following quote. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg states, “I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at”.  What thoughts popped into your head when you heard her name? Perhaps this name meant nothing and that is certainly fine. Actually, that is good because that means no bias exists now. If you know of Ruth Bader Ginsberg then it is likely depending on your past experiences, worldview, and or morality whether you view her positively or negatively.

Whether you agree with her judicial decisions or not, I hope we can all agree that her statement is true. Unconscious bias is tough to overcome. While bias acts as a predictive element for various situations in our life, we all have suffered saying something dumb or making an assumption that makes us look foolish. Even today I had to battle  my preconceived notions and even slipped up in assuming something at work that later proved me wrong. I don’t want you to fall into the same foibles as me so here are five ways to overcome bias and make your relationships smoother.

Be Humble

According to Thomas Merton, “Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” Pride clouds our perception. It limits our purview. The days where I struggle most with prejudgment are the days that I struggle the most with the sin of pride. Listening to the news, regardless of your political affiliation (IT HAPPENS ON BOTH SIDES) the bias is so obvious it almost jumps off the television.

Humility

Humility widens our ability to emphasize with others. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. When that happens, our past prejudices are forced to change. Our skewed perception meets reality. St. Vincent de Paul plainly wrote, “Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.” Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or truth. If you want to begin to overcome bias—start with being humble!

Never Assume, Ever!

I assume you know that old adage about assuming—right?!  The one that says: “You know what happens when you assume?” Or should I clarify? In case you never heard that saying refer to the meme below

don't assume

Too far? Perhaps. Basically, we should never, ever assume because you could make an a** out of you and me! In all seriousness, assuming occurs when we use past patterns or behaviors of events or people to predict something that will likely happen now/in the future. While assuming does lead to being right sometimes, I have learned that the benefits of being right don’t outweigh that awful feeling learning you are actually wrong (JUST THAT 1 TIME). Assuming more often than not perpetuates and deepens prior bias. Be safe. Never assume!

Education, Reeducation, Continuing Education

“Prejudice is the child of ignorance,” purported English essayist William Hazlitt. Learning more about the item or person that you are prejudiced towards will naturally lead to a broadening of your understanding—so long as you approach education with an open heart and mind.

don't assume

As a parent of special needs children, I hold a special place for children (and adults) with disabilities. While our society is definitely making gains in mental health and disability awareness, many prejudices still persist—especially regarding autism spectrum.  Some of the remarks people have made when hearing my sons have autism include: “You know vaccines cause autism!” or “Are you looking into a getting your son cured? These comments are biased and uneducated.

Initially, I let this bother me. Ironically, penchant for special needs children is a bias as well. I need to separate my personal view on the matter sometimes and realize that some people  may not be aware of autism. Without that awareness and education it definitely makes why others may have a prejudiced view on an important issue dear to you.  As George Whitman put it, “All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.”

Put Priority on Individuals and not the Collective

Along with seeking humility, avoiding presumption, and continuing education, another way to overcome bias is to view people as persons. I see this all the time at work—many times I fell (and still fall) into this habit. My toughest interactions with clients, customers, acquaintances, and even my children happens when generalize the group instead of understanding the individual’s needs. Failure to place priority on the individual leads to generalizing.

Generalizing is not necessarily bad in and of itself. Reducing individuals to the collective gets problematic when it is done hastily and without thinking. Treat the person before you (whether that be your spouse, customer, neighbor, etc) with the utmost dignity. That simple attitude will go a long way in broadening your viewpoint and limiting bias.

Talk it out

The fifth and final way to overcome bias is arguably both the simplest and most overlooked—talking. Twentieth century psychology Rollo May wrote, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” When all other methods fail just talk. Communicate. Learn from others. You don’t have to adopt others’ belief if it is contrary to your own, but to overcome bias talking helps you better understanding their viewpoint.

communication meme

Prejudice exists because we live in a fallen world. We are blessed to be living in the unique age of social media. No other time in human history has information traveled as quickly nor connected as many people as now. This is both a good and bad thing. There are more opportunities for learning about others, but also there are a ubiquity of opportunities for prejudices to persist and worsen. Prejudice can be overcome. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of humility, avoid presumptions, be open to learning daily, treat everyone with dignity, and be willing to communicate. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that one day my children will not be judged by their disability or other outward appearance, but by the content of their character! Do you believe as well?

 

 

Thank you for sharing!