It’s been awhile… I’ve been stewing in my thoughts and I have a giant black morass of noise in my head as a result. To attempt to coalesce it into a logical thought I came up with my Three C’s of Living Healthy. I’m totally making this up as I go so I hope no one else in the Great Lady Google-verse has already coined this… but, this is what I’ve decided are the key tenants of living.
1- Communicate, 2- Choose/Choices, 3-Commit
Most of us have the ability to do one or two but it’s those of us who can execute all 3, (in the right order, of course) that -in my worth(y/less) opinion- actually move forward toward success in life. Why? Lets break it down, and I’ll try to flesh in what support experiences I’ve garnered to get to these conclusions, as I go through them.
This term is complicated. Its root comes from Latin “Communicare” meaning -To Share- and has evolved to become defined in a lot of different ways. We Commune, Communicate, and connect with Communication in so many ways that it’s difficult to define exactly WHAT communication actually is. There are definitions for types of communication, as well as definitions for types of communicatORS. Because, if you’re speaking to latin to me and I’m speaking french to you, both of us are communicating but neither of us are receiving the message.
If you ever get a chance — take the class “How to Communicate with Tact and Professionalism” through Fred Pryor. It’s a 2 day class and really very valuable in terms of what you learn by the end. They go through the 4 types of communicators as well as talk about the various types of non-verbal communication cues that we hand out for free on a daily basis despite what we’re thinking or saying out loud. It’s important to understand not only your own tone, word choice and delivery, but your physical stance, what you’re doing with your hands, your volume, whether you’re leaning forward or back, and what you’re doing with your eyes which all can make or break your communication effort.
Even more complicated than that, are the 4 communicator styles which speak to not only how you offer but how you RECEIVE communication. I know I tend to be a Director. I like to receive bullet points, and if I want more information on a bullet I’ll ask. I get mentally agitated and oftentimes lost in my own thoughts when someone fills a simple statement with 2 dozen unneeded fluffy words. I don’t know why people do this… maybe they feel they’ll be taken more seriously if they sound smarter so they pepper in all these extra SAT terms? Or maybe they simply don’t get how annoying they sound…? I literally lose the plot when people drone on and it’s not meant as a slight to them as individuals; I certainly do not lack for respect or love or compassion for people who communicate poorly but there is always a loss of message to some degree when two completely different communicators are out of sync. It couldn’t hurt to take a minute to get to know HOW your closest confidantes want to receive information, and then try to shape your delivery of crucial information to suit that, so that there less chance for miscommunication. Also, just in case, make it a habit to repeat the message back so that if there are missing pieces, that can be fleshed out and corrected before issues arise from it. Here are some examples of this…
- Professional Example.
- Former boss hands me a project. Says, “Go and get ALL the directors to respond to these prompts and bring me a summary.” She said ALL. I attempted to query ALL, which nearly included a chief that should have been left off. He did interface with the tool we were working on but not in a direct hands-on way so we could just use the input of the admin. However, that wasn’t my instruction, and is not my way. She knew I am detail oriented and goal-focused, and did not fear getting directly to a source which is why she gave me the task, but didn’t consider what her word “ALL” mean to someone like me. I heard the word ALL and I worked through it.. just like that. We had to have a follow up conversation to clear that up.
- Personal Example
- Father says to me circa 2000 “We’re a state facility so we can’t have guests for longer than 30 days.” which stops me from pursuing any further inquiry on wanting to come home and leave Texas back pre-Houston. In my mind that was crystal clear and black and white. To him, he had no idea he just told me I couldn’t come and live with him while going back to school. He didn’t know for another 18 years that his words had been taken as a rejection. If we’d taken the time to exchange a bit more about that, discuss it more fully, and really hear each other, our whole lives might have been very different as would have our relationship. He isn’t a Director like I am, he’s an Expressor. He needs to interact and have that social back and forth in a conversation for all the facts to be spoken clearly. I was LISTENING as a Director, which isn’t fair to the Expressor. In that, I was at fault. Things we learn as we GROW through our experiences, yea?
A final statement on this before I move on… Communication is complicated. It’s not just about “I spoke these words, let them just mean that.” because all people are different, and all things can be misunderstood quite easily. Taking the time to repeat, clarify, and by all means SIMPLIFYING the message will go a long ways towards making sure your communication is on-point.
All of life and the experiences we have are based on the choices we make. Good choices, bad choices we make them— and stuff happens. Good stuff, bad stuff, generic stuff… stuff happens and we all have to live with it— but if we get better about making good choices, then bad stuff will happen less often.
I have an example… a family I used to know very very well, used to regularly cite how FATE just hated them. Bad things always happened to them, and no matter how hard they worked to do the right thing, life just always shit on them. When I heard them say it the first time, I thought it was one of those things you say at parties to be witty; some kind of self-deprecating humor that was just meant to disarm, or de-escalate the emotion around a sad story. Naw… they really believed it. I found I heard it time and time again, and it was always after something bad happened, which stacked on something else which just crashed their entire card-house and forced them to beg for help. It all seemed totally reasonable that “…since they just bought a new set of tires, which they needed because of “His” job, they didn’t have the money when they suddenly realized “Her” meds were due and neither of them had insurance so she was paying cash-out-of-pocket and the meds She needed was horribly expensive because, you know, the Pharmaceutical Companies were in cahoots with the insurances which were paying off Obama and everyone was at fault for their predicament…and oh can they borrow some money for meds??” So, in my estimation, over time, I began to realize a very important key element in their “Fates hate me” belief system. They never took into account their poor decision making, poor planning, poor thought processes. For one, it’s not as though the meds were a suddenly new thing. She had always needed these meds and they knew that would be a part of the budget. Knowing she had a chronic illness that required constant maintenance and meds, him having a job that didn’t carry insurance and required him to travel constantly was a terrible idea. I get you can’t always control that but one thing people do… is they get complacent. He got that job, he needed that job, and he couldn’t afford to quit, but that doesn’t mean you quit job hunting. He should have been spending every moment he had free, scouring all the job hunting resources at his disposal try to better his situation. He would say that he was, but he had plenty of time for ren fair, comicon, and other expensive social habits that he should have been using instead for bettering his families situation. And in light of all of that, did he have to get the chunkiest tire, and all 4? I’ve been a broke single parent before, who commuted better than 2 hours a day. I know the demand vehicular maintenance can be, but you work the budget first… you make sure the MUST HAVES are handled, then you take what you have left and you figure out how to make one or two new tires fit into it. One new tire per check over the course of 2 months is fair, while you make sure your rent is paid, kids are fed and your wife has her meds. You really shouldn’t ask for help if your choices are bad to start with.
Think through a scenario before you take any action. This is how I raised Taylor. I joke to people about how she often punished herself, but it’s not a joke ya’ll. This how that would play out.
Me: “Another message from the school about you not turning in your homework. Why? I see you doing it!”
Her: “I don’t know “
Me: “That’s not acceptable. Think about it. I go to work every day so that I can bring home money and pay rent so that we have a place to live right?”
Me: “Tell me what would happen if I did all that work, but never “Turned the rent in” i.e. paid the rent.”
Taylor: “You’d get in trouble?”
Me: “What do you think that kind of trouble would be like?”
Taylor: “We couldn’t live here.”
Me: “That’s right, it’s called being EVICTED. Which means being kicked out because you didn’t pay. Where would we go then?”
Taylor: “I don’t know!” – her little eyes welling up, lips all full-a-frown
Me: “Neither do I. We might end up living on a street, or under a bridge somewhere.”
Taylor: “That would be terrible!” frown extending, pretty much wrapping around her little dimple chin at this point
Me: “You’re right. That is terrible. Life is full of these kinds of choices. Do you want to be the person who ends up living under a bridge?”
Taylor: “NO!” She yells full of emotion and teary eyeballs.
Me: “Good! Neither do I, so I go to work every day, I make sure the money is turned in where it is supposed to be— rent gets paid, bills are paid, food is bought, and you get to go to school NOT living under a bridge.”
Taylor: *pouts more furiously*
Me: “What do you think I should do? Should I let you continue to build these habits that may lead you to living under a bridge? Or…”
Taylor: “I need to be punished. I need to get better.”
Me: “I’m so glad we agree.”
To this day she has a more developed ability to think through a situation than most people her age, shoot, most people of any age, and the older I get the more I see what a significant value that is. That ability alone is so rare, and to be able to extrapolate it into a wide array of application gives her a huge advantage over her fellow competitors in the race of life. I’m proud of her and of myself for pushing her to think that way. I taught her something I learned from someone else (My sweet darling “H”) and it’s been invaluable for both of us.
Making choices can be as easy as taking a step forward, but oftentimes it is so much more than that. Life is complicated, we need complicated thought processes to achieve good choices but if we can learn how to make a habit out of that, habitually think through scenarios from A to Z with a wide array of variables, we can generally LEARN how to foresee our day to day.
I can’t tell you how many different individuals have messaged me privately about these choices I’ve made. Divorcing Dave has been one of the hardest decisions to make. It’s not as though he did a single big-bad that ruined our marriage. It was nothing like that. It was a lot of little choices that rubbed me the wrong way repeatedly. It was not feeling like he was in my corner when the pressure was on. That’s a big thing for me though, and for many I know find it hard to frame that into a DIVORCE conversation unless people really understand me, and my background. More than anything it was just that house… that house and his mother. I used to make light of it but it was a harsh reality for me which made it impossible to breathe. It wasn’t until I received a stark reminder of my past that I realized. I honestly felt like I woke up suddenly and looked around as the fog of dream was slowly receding. I had inch, by inch, sunk into a hole and was no longer growing or even living for myself. I complained about it a lot but what was I actually doing about it? Nothing. No one can be blamed for that, but me. It became clear that there was no change coming unless I made my own, and so … I Communicated, then I made a Choice… and I Committed to that choice.
Communication and Choices are all important aspects of living but if you aren’t capable of committing to that choice and going forward with it, there’s no point in living anymore. You’ve become those two old men Muppets in The Muppet Show who just sit there and complain and make grand declarations. Its all for naught unless you get up and move. You have to put a foot out in front of the other and commit to the steps.
Most people would see it as a blind act of desperation for someone to just quit their job and move across the country. I see it as a commitment to myself. I’m standing on my own behalf, communicating my needs and desires, making choices that are right for ME, and committing to them with actions, and I’m not sitting back and waiting for the world to get on my bandwagon. I’m forging my way through. One step at a time. I’m committed to it.
For you, the readers of this odd little blog— look at your life right now. Are you EXECUTING all 3 C’s? If not, do you know why? What is the root cause of your indecision? Can it be altered and if not, why? How? Think through at least 12 variables to each of those Why’s and How’s and use it to map a viable course from A to Z. It sounds complicated but once you make a habit of it, those 3Cs will become your best friend and your life really becomes your own after that. I want this for you.