Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are feeling tongue-tied, scared, or alone. We know it is important to speak up, but we forget how to do it. We forget that speaking clearly is linked to knowing what we want and sharing that message with another person.
Children are born with a natural ability to communicate. They lift their cup to show mom they want more juice and they snuggle their stuffed animal while smiling and showing pure glee. We know what children are saying, at least most of the time. Then we grow, experience challenges, and we become more complicated.
At some point, adults must be articulate enough to communicate their needs with the important people: their boss, their spouse, their aging parents.
But the reason we must articulate our needs and communicate openly isn’t linked with our success. Anyone can survive by going it alone, albeit, it is not the easier or most fun path, but it is a path. Most of us desire relationship. We want to be connected. We want to experience the joy of knowing someone else, working together very well, and making plans together.
So, regardless of our situation, we must have the courage to communicate.
I once worked for a woman who had a little start up company – I thought it would be fun to have a female boss – but I quickly learned that she was not much of a communicator. She would tell all the members on the team when we performed badly or how we must speed things up, but she was virtually incapable of sharing her vision for the company, her dreams, the goals she was setting for the team. She was not open with us. She was merely correcting us. Eventually, the company closed its doors.
Without the courage to communicate, our relationships become extinct. They have no life. They have no support. They die.
Someone has to take the first step. Someone must be on the high road and say, “I have a vision, here, and it goes like this….”, or “I am aware that we need to make some changes and I am here to share my ideas and hear yours,” or “It is clear to me that you have some unmet desires and I would love to learn about them. Will you share them with me?”
Remember, courage is not something to try out once everything is going well. We act with courage when we are in a state of fear, busyness, or transition. Taking action while we are scared is the essence of courage. We do one thing – one foot in front of the other. We share openly, thoughtfully, honestly.
No doubt, communicating is a courageous act. Yet communicating is our birthright. It links us to those we love, the jobs we love, the life we love. We cannot let the life we are creating be void of relationships and meaning simply because we failed to speak. Survival is a quiet, lonely journey. Add a little communication, take a little risk, and the path expands. The fog lifts. The heart opens. Two are joined. Life is possible.