I find myself talking a lot. I know, that sounds funny…but it’s a simple truth. Whether I am a speaker at an event, working with a client, networking, or out to dinner with friends, speaking is an inevitable expectation.
What about you? Ever feel like you are talking more than you want to?
Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours talking to someone—and that someone could be yourself even, right? Like when you go back and forth on a decision or when you start to tell yourself how behind you are or contemplating how you are going to squeeze lunch in or all the ways your leadership team is lacking and how your kid ought to know better—and you are probably doing all this in the same moment that you are hitting “send” to an email on your phone, and rushing to a meeting for which you are already 5 minutes late (while your colleagues pick up on all your less than pleasant nonverbal cues)!
And in-between all this communication happening all day long, you squeeze in time to meet your ambitious goals, have an incredibly positive impact on your team and clients, love your family, enjoy your hobbies and take care of your health. Right?
After expending all that energy communicating, did you really make a dent in meeting your goals, having an impact on your team and clients, loving your family, enjoying your hobbies and taking care of your health? Not getting enough done in a day, feeling totally distracted in meetings, getting home and pressing the power button on the TV remote for mindless activity, isn’t what you really had in mind, correct?
Well, what if the simple answer is communicate less? And I don’t mean don’t talk.
What I mean is create more opportunity to communicate less.
Wouldn’t that open up more space to focus on what really requires your attention?
Some eyes are rolling right about now. Thoughts of how impractical this is are surfacing. All the extroverts reading this have decided they are going to stop reading this post! I get it. Communication is the way our society lives, breathes, and thrives. So, I am not suggesting that you eliminate conversation.
What I am suggesting is that the following aspects of communication require a change.
- Indiscriminate, unruly attention to anything and everything—which interferes with one’s ability to prioritize.
- Not having boundaries in a day’s schedule of meetings, and overstimulating the mind—and then being left with an inexplicable feeling of dissatisfaction.
- Well-intended goals to support one’s team (Ex: open-door policy) causing interruptions which create a distracted mind and less focus (and more irritation).
- A cultural and/or societal over-emphasis on cooperation and collaboration resulting in saying yes to things, which means saying no to things that really require one’s attention.
- Expecting the “noise” in one’s own mind to subside without deliberate intervention.
And why shouldn’t you feel the satisfaction for completing some aspect of your work each day…feel like you have more control of your day…and have the freedom to make choices that don’t make you feel rushed or exhausted?
There is no reason you should feel like satisfaction, choice or well-being are beyond your reach.
Once upon a time I did feel like that myself. So, I get that it isn’t easy to believe that there is a solution. And with commitment, courage and consistence, you can transform this once and for all…even though the truth is this isn’t for everyone.
To conclude, I leave you with one of the most powerful quotes I know: Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. ~Viktor E. Frankl (neurologist, psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor)