Communication is fundamental to everything that we do. We like to think of it as nourishment. It nourishes our relationships, our connections with others, and ultimately our lives. Without the use of proper communication skills, relationships breakdown, connections are lost and our lives suffer as a result.
This was the topic at a recent workshop we did for Children’s Hospital’s Center for Young Women in LA. We focused on looking at communication from a place of abundance, how it can fill you up and how it affects everything you do. At the workshop we shared with them a passage from Lynne Twist’s “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life” (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003 pg 44) who addresses the myth of scarcity, which we would like to share with you:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time’. Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.
We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or educated enough or successful enough, or rich enough – ever. Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already loosing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack… What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”
How many of you can relate to this?
Since communication is fundamental to everything that we do, and the above is the lens so many of us are taking from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, how can we nourish ourselves, our lives, and our relationships with the foundation of not enough? Think about how this affects every conversation that we have, every decision that we make and ultimately how we show up to everything that we do each day. If ‘not enough’ is the lens we have in what we listen for, in the questions we ask, the boundaries we set, how is this serving us on a daily basis?
One of the many things that struck us with this exceptional group of young women at our workshop was their ability to reframe. Looking at our lens of not enough, how can we reframe it so that we can nourish ourselves and hit the ground each morning with a sense of fulfillment, of abundance, of joy and gratitude? What would it be like to remind ourselves of all the things we do get done in a day, the myriad of accomplishments that we completed successfully, and the people that we served?
Reframing is a powerful tool that enables us to challenge the status quo and our beliefs to create new possibilities for the future. We can easily become our own saboteurs with the thoughts of not having enough constantly depleting ourselves. Reframing allows us to challenge that belief and look at it from another perspective that can serve us from a place of nourishment and abundance.
Thought: That looks like a really interesting job and I know I could do it well. They will never hire me because my experience is limited in that area.
Reframe: That looks like a really interesting job and I know I could do it well. How can I describe my experience and skills so they fit with what they are looking for?
Reframing allows us to look at an experience with a perspective that nourishes us and fills us up. Looking at the example above, when completing a resume feeling like you will never get hired because your experience is limited vs describing your experience that fits with what they are looking for, which resume is going to successfully reflect your abilities ultimately getting you closer to the job you want? Which mindset is going to nourish you and fill you up in the interview process?
If we become so focused on completing the things that we need to do with a lens of not enough, how are we ever going to complete the things WE WANT to do that nourishes ourselves and fill us up?
Tips for nourishing your communication, your relationships, and ultimately your life:
Be aware of your inner saboteur. We all have one and it’s up to us how to choose how we listen to it. When someone pays us a compliment, so many of us are quick to dismiss it- the not enough saboteur takes over. When looking at communications skills as a source of nourishment, how is this voice serving you (as a leader, a partner, a parent, a friend, a colleague)? How is it serving your relationships with others?
What stops us from accepting the compliment or praise and trusting the perspective of another, allowing ourselves to fill up? The moment you hear your inner saboteur take over, stop yourself and ask ‘Where is this coming from? And how can I reframe this in a way that nourishes me and fills me up?’
Reframe: Allow yourself to challenge your “not enough” belief and explore a new perspective that can serve you. Ask an open question to begin to look at an idea, a thought, or a belief in a different way. eg. How is this belief serving me? How can I look at this differently? Who is this really about? Where is this belief coming from? What would it take to serve me well and nourish me? Open questions start with who, what, where, when, and how.
How are you currently nourishing your relationships with your communication?
What does your inner saboteur say to you and how is it affecting your life and your relationships?
We want to hear from you. What’s working, what needs help?
Want to learn more about nourishing your communication skills? Check out 3 Levels of Listening, How to Nourish Your Child Through Communication, Are you a Teller?, Judgement Day “It Makes Me Feel Better”, The One Trait All Innovative Leaders Share