Skilled communicators can have a profound impact on others and experience a greater level of interpersonal and professional success. One of the key aspects of communication is being aware of others’ nonverbal cues and being mindful of our own to ensure they are congruent with the messages we want them to convey. After a recent conversation with a friend who wanted to learn more about interpreting nonverbal cues, it made me question how intentional I have been in developing skills in this area. This question led me to identify what experts in the field of communications say about this topic and to pass along what I learned.
Do you have a long-standing relationship with perfectionism? Is there something new you want to try, yet the thought of putting yourself out there before you have perfected it seems impossible? Are you afraid that when you start at the bottom of the learning curve and perform in front of others, the thought of them judging you or being disappointed in you prevents you from moving forward? I, too, have struggled with these thoughts, particularly when they create barriers to what I want to achieve and who I want to become.
There was one point in my career where I was at the top of my learning curve and wanted to seek other avenues to pursue. I needed help processing my thoughts that had no pattern or form. I was stunted in moving forward, so I met with my mentor numerous times during this season of unrest.
There is a popular saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet I also believe that a degree is worth a thousand words. The two images that embody my experience of going back to school are a cocoon and a marathon.
When I was four, I remember being in the kitchen with my mom when the milkman came to the door to make his delivery. My mom had her hands full, so she asked me to have him also leave some eggs. I walked up to the screen door and watched quietly as the milkman placed the fresh milk in the wire container. However, as I watched, I became increasingly fearful. So fearful, in fact, that I remained silent as I watched him finish up his delivery and walk away.
Looking back, I feel like much of my life has been living with this fear of speaking up. I always felt like there was something wrong with me because of my quietness. This seemed to be perpetuated in high school.