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  • 19 Dec, 2022
  • 2 Mins Read

Mistakes! Stress, communication, and this time of the year


As the year comes to a close we become super aware of all the things we need to get done. Sometimes stuff we haven’t even started but it was a goal that we do this, this year so better get onto it.

We want to not only get the job done but there are parties to go to, wine (or beer) to drink, food to eat, people to talk to that we’d rather not talk to (including family), presents to buy and the budget to contend with. Staff who get sick or decide now’s a good time to lay a complaint about someone or something.

This time of the year can bring out the worst in us and rather than process our issues, we like to blame others — criticise and name call as well. Other people wind us up. Other people are morons, idiots, muppets*. It’s their fault. I wouldn’t react this way if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t feel this way if they didn’t do that.

I take full responsibility for the mistake I made last week (actually, I made more than one but this particular one went out to over 1000 people). It was in my weekly newsletter that happened to fall on my birthday and I said, once more around the moon. As someone with more brains than me said – ummm, that’s supposed to be around the sun. Oh. Right. Of course, duh. Then I laughed and laughed, I hope you did too. What can you do? But very pleased that someone actually read the blog!

Taking a moment to either react or respond makes a huge difference to challenging times. One deep breath that clears our head and (remember) flips the coin from fear and frustration to courage and communication. The most effective breath to take inward and then out, takes around 3 -4 seconds. You can spare those 3-4 seconds  multiple times in your day. Taking 3 deep breaths at one time takes around 10 seconds. You can spare that too. Get this strategy into the forefront of your brain and start to reduce your stress levels. That’s the first step.

“Remove blame and criticism from your dialogue and you will build your integrity within your team” Dr Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap, 2009. Dr Hendricks goes on to say “Criticism is addictive. If you don’t believe me, try going a week without criticising anyone. Too much of a stretch? Try a day, an hour even”. This is one concept that is truly challenging but removing blame and criticism from your dialogue is the second step in effective communication.

Take these two strategies into this time of year and you will be going a long way to bring calm and peace to not only your life but also to those around you. May you and your family have a restful end of the year and here’s to 2023..

*words people have used during effective communication training with me.