You wake up, scurry around the house to get the kids ready, make yourself presentable for the day, and shove random food into bags for everyone’s lunches. You kiss the hubby goodbye, rush out the door with the kids in tow, drop off, and head into work. You work, and work, and work long into the night and make it home just in time to tuck the kids into bed, and snuggle under the covers to rest a few hours before doing it all again. Your stomach is about to eat itself from starvation, your body is aching because you have not had time in weeks to make it to your workout class, and your friends think you fell off the face of the earth.
In the back of your mind, you know what is important to you, and your friends and family know too… Don’t they? You just have a lot on your plate at work lately, well okay, for the last two years. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but everyone understands it is just the way the world of work is.
Cue harsh reality.
Yes, sometimes certain situations are unavoidable. We have to embrace them, commit, and power through; but these should be the exception to the rule lovely lady, not the norm.
However you choose to spend your time and whatever you fill your schedule with also becomes the characters in your life story and what you want people to see as your narrative. What if I were to tell you the story of “Romeo and Juliet” was actually about Juliet’s desire to run a seamstress company? You would laugh right? Why did the playwrights not include that in the story if that is really what it is about?
The same goes for your life narrative. Whatever you allow to consume your time is EXACTLY what your life is filled with. You are making those things more important than others. What story are you communicating?
If you feel like you are sharing a narrative that does not match who you are and what you hold to be important, here are a few ways to get started in changing the story:
Physically Write Down What is Important to You
Pick your top three things that are absolutely, without a doubt, most important to you. Remember you cannot give 100% of your energy to 100% of the people 100% of the time. By selecting your top three ways you would like to show up for your priorities, you are able to physically see what should be taking up most of your time.
Declutter the Schedule
Print off a blank weekly schedule, and write in how you want to show up for your top three things. For example, if family is something you consider to be important, put them in your schedule as you would like to show up for them. This might include carving out time for breakfast, being home for dinner, or creating family time during the weekends. Write out how you want to show up.
Continue this process with all of the pieces of your life you hold to be truly important, and then look at how your current narrative lines up with the schedule you created. What needs to give? What are some active steps you can take to remove the other “fluff” from your schedule? Be honest and intentional when decluttering.
Commit to Your Narrative
Once you have a schedule that is more in line with who you are and what is important to you, resist the urge to take on that extra project at work, schedule in too many extracurricular activities, or being the “yes girl” that EVERYONE can count on.
Whenever you choose to adjust your schedule, remember that when you commit to something, you are saying “no” to something else. What do you want to communicate to the world? What is important to you? And is what is most important truly being reflected in your life?
If you would like to change the narrative you are communicating with your schedule and want guidance along the way, I would love to help you navigate the process of adjusting your schedule. Simply contact me to get started!
The struggle is definitely really ladies. I know, because I have seen it creep into the conversations I have with my closest friends, clients, and even in the whispers of a coffee shop. As women, we are finding it difficult to communicate. We discuss the annoyance of one word answers, receiving the silent treatment of friends, or even the heated disagreements shared between significant others. What’s the deal? Why is the art of conversation so difficult when it could be such a gift?
Think of it this way, if we could learn to communicate more effectively with one another, we would have the gift of understanding (not necessarily agreeing), of listening and our words being received, and a place to move forward from. Add to this the nuances of learning new ideas, exchanging experiences, and being fully immersed in a single moment of conversation; and it makes me wonder why some find themselves trudging through the process of conversation as if they were marching into war. What gives?
The realization of this struggle among women made me think about my own conversations. What makes me drawn to a conversation, what makes the communication shared between my husband and I successful, and what do I appreciate about the people who communicate well? What is this art of conversation and how do we embrace it?
Then it occurred to me-
My husband and I communicate about communicating; this is what makes our conversation feel more like an art and less like pulling teeth. Let me explain.
Black-and-White Conversationalist (The Concise)
My husband is a black-and-white kind of guy. He likes to give an answer clear and concisely in order to provide a solution, voice an opinion, and give direction. Not a bad quality to have as the man of the household. If your husband possesses this quality, respect that he wants to be clear and concise, not fuzzy, with his answer. We could use more of the “let your yes be your yes, and your no be your no” mentality today.
Colorful Conversationalist (The Expansive)
I, on the other hand, love a deep conversation. I like the color in a conversation that threads in between the black and the white. I want to know the “why’s”, share all the stories of the day, and explore an experience fully through words. Just like the black-and-white conversationalist has their strengths, the colorful has perks as well.
However, when you get a concise and an expansive type together, the conversation may lead to frustration if you do not recognize the value in each.
Communicate about Communicating
My husband and I have found the trick to communicating well with one another is the simple idea of understanding why we communicate and the value it holds for each of us. If I mention a thought I was mulling over throughout the day, Tanner might respond with an “I can see that,” or a “Yes, I agree,” or even a simple “Let’s do that”. If I was expecting an exploratory conversation- you know, those ones where you share a glass of wine, enjoy a few appetizers, and watch the sunset on the patio kind of conversation- his short answer responses may be a bit frustrating at first. However, being the expansive communicator, it is my job to speak up. When I want a deeper conversation, all I have to communicate is “I want to create a conversation. I want to explore this idea with you.” This lets my husband know I appreciate his response, but also gives him the signal that I simply want to explore it further FOR FUN.
I want to embrace a passion of mine- the art of conversation- with him, just as I might want to visit a museum, take a walk, or watch him play billiards. The conversation, for me, is the activity.
My husband knows this about me; I enjoy a good conversation, but he would not know this if I did not communicate it. If you find yourself talking with someone who has a different conversation style than you, simply talk about that simple fact, and what it would mean to you to have the type of conversation you would like to have. Often, it is about acknowledging the value you place on conversation for you to have a truly beneficial and positive experience with communication.
This is just one situation in the world of communication. Whenever you bring two different conversation types together, how the conversation takes shape will be unique to the people entering into it. The takeaway is whether you need more or less from a conversation, communicate it; and be willing to listen to what makes a conversation meaningful for the person on the other end. With respect, compromise, and appreciating the value of the art of conversation for everyone involved; you will be well on your way to embracing the conversation well.
Enjoy the art of conversation lovely lady. It can truly be a beautiful experience.
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