"Communication Mishaps"
Your Success Thought for the Week of November 15, 2006

Ah, the holidays. At no other time of the year do we hold such high expectations of ourselves and those closest to us. And at no other time do we communicate it so miserably. Little do we realize the damage this creates.

The challenge is an old story—too much to do, too little time, too much sugar and fatty foods that make us feel miserable, too little sleep, expectations set too high to be perfect, to find that perfect gift, and wear that perfect dress or tux to the holiday celebration ~ arm-in-arm with that perfect date, providing the funniest jokes.

Before we get too far into the season, let’s take a moment out to strategize new solutions to this age-old problem. I believe that our problems manifest through unrealistic expectations followed by communication mishaps.

Unrealistic Expectations: There is no shortage of books and workshops telling us how to simplify our lives. Throughout the year, many of these techniques apply but then comes the nostalgic holiday season and it all goes out the window. This year, take time to outline what you truly desire, from your heart, in all aspects.

    Your partner or spouse? Do you want one romantic shopping trip to the city? Separate shopping experiences? If one of you has always taken on the heavy lifting for the season, what can you do to lighten the load? How can you create more intimacy this year?

    Your team and associates? Do you want a large celebration to show your gratitude and if so, what can you do to make this year more meaningful? Do you prefer one-on-one time to personally check in with each of them, or a genuine hand written note of appreciation that they’ll savor forever?

    Your family and friends? What will make this year different? We are never guaranteed another holiday season. What if this was your last? What would you like them to know? How can you best communicate it? Who can you contact that you’ve not found time for this past year?

Communication Mishaps: Then, the key is to communicate clearly throughout the season. Not only during your specific celebrations but during the stress that accompanies this time of year.

    Permission: Know the difference between talking to someone and talking at them. You may have permission from a friend or associate to talk about anything and everything; yet when you come at them with your anger or concerns, it’s entirely a different ball game. Your tone of voice may easily put them in a place of fight-or-flight. Neither option builds relationships; quite often, the opposite occurs.

    Respect: Realize that you are not the only one with an additional load this time of year. Aside from the myriad of tasks at hand, there are emotions that cannot be avoided--memories of loved ones no longer with us, damaging childhood events surrounding the holidays, etc. Respect those with whom you deal knowing that you do not know their entire story, and if they seem less than patient, there may be a reason for it. Irrespective of their mood, honor them with respectful words.

    Focus: It’s easy to get out of focus with so much whirling around you. A leader always maintains focus of what’s truly important. Heighten your awareness of your own focus during meetings and communications across the board. No one has time to spare. By narrowing your focus and keeping on task, you provide the much-appreciated gift of time.

    Acknowledge: Many people impact your world that don’t fall into any of the above categories. Look for excuses to genuinely acknowledge what they do for you, from pouring that perfect cup of coffee, to brightening your day with their smile and positive attitude. What you put out there will continue to spread. You acknowledge someone who is having a hard day, they in turn acknowledge the next person, and before you know it you have set the motion to improve the spirits of hundreds of individuals, all by taking that extra 30 seconds to pay attention.

This is your season. No one can create it but you. Go out there and make this season like no other. Create what you want and keep those expectations in line while you heighten your level of communication.

Enjoy your discoveries and have an enlightened week!


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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