Can you change your life by changing your communication?


Published: 8 Dec 2020


Of course I’m always going to say yes to that one.

Let’s dive straight in. What are the issues?

Communication. Lack of it. Poor execution of it. Avoiding it. Doing it at the wrong time. Doing it at the right time in the wrong way. Up until now, you have mostly got it right, and sometimes got it wrong?

Either that, or you feel you’ve never got it right and it’s affected your life? Got it right in one area of your life and severely stuffed it up in another?

You are not alone. I call communication my own personal Everest. It’s like getting up every morning and climbing a mountain all over again. Some days you get it right. Some days you get it very wrong. Compassionate assertive communication can help you get it right more often.

So how big an issue is it?

Huge. Massive. Life changing. Life threatening. Soul destroying.

I’ve worked with thousands of people and businesses over the past few years, and one thing I have found to be true in all cases. Talent counts for nothing. Money counts for nothing. Ideas count for nothing. Self-belief counts for nothing………if you can’t communicate effectively.

“Define effectively Steph”, I hear you say?

Where the other person understands your intent.

Where you feel respected and valued and considered.

Where there are no ‘ripple effects’.

Where there are no lasting resentments, need for revenge, or passive aggressive mumblings behind the scenes.

I have come across so many people who are paralysed by the communication they receive from others, and their life becomes impacted at every turn upon this incoming communication.

I personally know about as much as anyone ever needs to know about living with a narcissist in a relationship. The daily struggle of keeping your sanity, fighting hopeless thoughts off, surrendering when you can’t take any more. I knew instinctively there must be a way to manage narcissists………and I found it in compassionate assertiveness too late for me, but early enough to help others through it.

It was obvious to me at the time, and even more so today why compassionate assertiveness is needed on the planet?

You don’t have to look very far. Check your Facebook (I can’t – I’m not on it). Observe people in city traffic, in grocery queues, walking on the sidewalk. It is dog eat dog, every man for himself, nano-second attention span, near zero patience, tolerance, consideration.

Some days it’s bad, really bad out there. You question your place in the world. Wonder what the f#$% happened, and wonder about the sanity of some people. The odd time someone is genuinely nice to you while you are out and about in the world – you get suspicious, or you are over grateful.

Ok, I paint a pretty bleak picture. But, I’ll bet anyone reading this has had something weird happen to them at least once this week in terms of human behaviour or communication. A car parking space stolen from right under your nose when you were already indicating? Someone shouting abuse at you in traffic? Tutting when you were going too-slow for them. Rolling their eyes when you dared to express your opinion?

Have you been putting things off? Disengaging with ‘scary’ people? Have you lost your voice? Living or working with a narcissist? Feel like you’re failing at leading people? Choose aggression and then regret it?

In its simplest form compassionate assertiveness is about present-ness. Being extra aware about what is being said, and going into ‘see, it, say it’ mode in your response. It’s about really listening and considering what has been said, not just seeing it from your perception – which will nearly always be different to the other persons point of view in some way. The reason for this is that you are not them, you have had different pre-conditions and biases (upbringing, environments, triggers, traumas, influential people – good and bad in your life) and so have they.

Truly great communication isn’t about trying to get someone to align with your point of view – it’s about being genuinely curious. It’s about considering all of the options and listening to points of view (which may just be better than yours)?

At its heart it’s also about kindness. Why wouldn’t you choose kind? Go figure? And yet people don’t. They undermine others, correct them in front of people when they could keep it private or let it go. This one thing alone is an eventual relationship ender – not merely my opinion, but fact gained from my years of coaching people and couples.

Why do people badger, nag and snip at the people they profess to love? I’ve heard the most common ones regularly over the years – “I’m stressed” “No one realises how stressful my life is” “I don’t get any help so I get frustrated and snippy.” My answer to all of that and more is: communicate your way out of it, don’t nag, shout, or undermine.

If you’re stressed then address why you’re stressed and change something. If no one realises, then that’s probably your fault for keeping it to yourself – tell someone how you feel. If you don’t get any help – then start getting help, if that’s not from the people who should be helping you, then out- source it, re-negotiate terms with the people who should be helping, or bif those people out of your life.

The distance between where you are now, and where you want to be lies in three things:

The communication you use.

The communication you choose.

The communication you enable.

Which is it that you need to work on right now?

Do you need help with it?

Book a one-off session with me here.

Buy the book that explains how compassionate assertiveness works with examples.

What’s new this week? Posters with all the favourite quotes on.

The image above is of the cards I use sometimes in my coaching to get things moving or help exploration. These questions might be a good starting point for you if you’re trying to change your communication.