Check out the best of Mental Health Moment

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Mental Health Moment on break

It’s summer, and my son is getting married this month! 💞❤

So I’m taking a short break from new episodes of Mental Health Moment.

I’ll return with NEW EPISODES on June 24.

Until then, here’s a few early episodes you may have missed!

 

Episode 2: Sticky note wins the day

 

 

 

Episode 3: Don’t stress exercise

 

 

 

Episode 4: Deep breathing isn’t just “take a deep breath”

 

 

 

Episode 5: Five things (and also 20 things) to reduce stress

 

 

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Ep 61: The difference between thoughts and feelings

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How can you tell the difference between thoughts and feelings? It starts with the way you use the word “feel” when describing what’s happening around you. Reframing your thoughts starts with identifying your emotions.

Learn how pumpkin lattes can help you discover the difference. ☕❤

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 61: The Difference Between Thoughts and Feelings

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

If you’ve been hanging around for a little while, you’ve heard me say that your thoughts affect your feelings, which then affect your actions.

One of the most popular forms of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is based on this one principle.

How you think about and perceive the events in your life has a direct line to how you ultimately behave.

So your thoughts are the biggest enchilada in this stress-busting party platter we’re making here.

But sometimes we confuse thoughts and emotions.

What we may think is a feeling is actually a thought.

I learned this in my very first class in my master’s program with Dr. Henry Virkler, my advisor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. This was one of the first things he told us, and he mentioned it in every class I took with him for the next 2 1/2 years.

I never forgot it.

A feeling is an emotion. A thought is an evaluation.

So for example if I’m wondering if you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes, I might say to you, you know, I FEEL like you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

We use the word “feel” like this all the time.

But me wondering if you’re judging me isn’t a feeling, like anger or sadness.

In this case I am evaluating whether or not you were judging me for liking pumpkin lattes, maybe based on something you said to me or your behaviors.

I form an opinion or a perception about your actions.

So it’s more accurate to say, I THINK you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

I considered the evidence and formed an evaluation in my mind that tells me that based on your behavior, you just might be a judgmental foodie.

And now you’re looking down your nose at me for liking delicious, comforting pumpkin lattes.

But because it’s an evaluation from my perspective, I might be completely wrong about this.

For the record, if you were judging me for liking pumpkin lattes that would make me FEEL really sad.

Lori, why does this matter, and why do you like pumpkin lattes so much?

It matters because the way to change and challenge your emotions and feelings is to reframe your thoughts.

Your THOUGHTS get this whole cognitive train moving.

So it’s important to be accurate about the content of those thoughts so you can come up with more adaptive ones BEFORE you get to the train wreck emotions.

If you’re confusing your thoughts with your feelings, that’s going to be a lot harder.

Remember yesterday we talked about learning to identify and label your emotions. This is why it’s important to have a good emotional vocabulary so you know if you are dealing with an emotion or thought.

Continuing the pumpkin lattes analogy here, this is how it might go.

I think you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes. I think that’s the case because you just rolled your eyes when I mentioned pumpkin lattes.

What are my options here? What else could be going on?

Well, your face may not even have to do with whether or not I like pumpkin lattes.

  • Maybe you just saw someone behind me throw a cigarette on the ground and you rolled your eyes because you hate littering.
  • Or maybe pumpkin lattes give you heartburn and you rolled your eyes because just thinking about pumpkin lattes is so not enticing.

Neither of those things has you judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

There is always the possibility that you’re judging me, but I can walk away wishing you good luck with your heartburn and go on feeling good about myself.

Because I decided not to pick the one where you’re judging me.

Try to listen to yourself over the next few days.

See how many times you use the word “feel” in place of “think.”

If you’re paying attention, I guarantee you will find yourself doing this.

When you catch yourself, take some time to restate that evaluation as the thought that it is.

Then be a little detective and list all the possible reasons this thing you think is happening could be happening.

This will take you right down the line to more adaptive emotions and healthier actions.

And maybe while you’re there, you will find a delicious pumpkin latte! If you do, get me one, too!

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 




Ep 60: Why you should identify your feelings

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What does it mean to identify your feelings? Well, have you had those moments when you can’t quite put words to what you’re feeling? You may not have a well developed emotional vocabulary.

Part of handling your emotions is to know what those emotions are to start with. Here are some ways to identify your feelings and improve your emotional language.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 60: Why you should identify your feelings

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

When dealing with emotions, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you’re dealing with.

We don’t always have the right words.

We start learning vocabulary words in kindergarten to describe everything from trees to animals.

But we don’t get words to describe how we feel.

Part of being able to manage your emotions is to be able to identify what they are in the first place.

I’ve heard several teenaged clients tell me that they get so frustrated when their parents constantly beg them to tell them how they feel.

How can they tell their parents how they feel, they say, when they can’t even describe it themselves?

Being able to speak from an emotional vocabulary is an important step in understanding what you feel so you know how to address it.

Usually we group emotions into larger categories.

In the later part of the 20th century psychologist Paul Eckman identified five basic emotions that he believed were experienced by all cultures around the world:

  • anger,
  • disgust,
  • fear,
  • happiness,
  • sadness, and
  • surprise.

He and other scientists believed that these were the hardwired emotions that early humans needed for survival.

These five emotions helped early humans know if they needed to defend a territory or respond to danger.

Who knew that we would all one day live in a world where a device in our pocket would allow us to peek in on our friends Facebook page and get angry about their POLITICAL stance?

That’s a long way from feeling angry about the clan leader from the next village stealing the food from your last hunt.

We can get emotional about just about anything now.

Our lives now are lived on a full spectrum of emotions.

  • You may not feel angry but you might be annoyed.
  • Maybe you’re not disgusted per se, but you might feel suspicious.
  • Maybe you’re not necessarily happy but you do feel content.

Part of having good stress management skills is being able to identify and label exactly what emotions you’re feeling.

I don’t have to list them here. You can simply Google “list of emotions” and find some great lists out there.

Just like your teacher gave you a vocabulary list to study in the third grade, download one of these lists and take some time to define each of these emotions.

  • How do they play out in your life?
  • How do you typically respond when you feel, say, embarrassed?
  • What does it look like for you when you feel proud?

Become familiar with each of them so that you will know when you’re experiencing them.

Once you have a working emotional vocabulary, then you can use these words to quickly label how you feel in an emotional moment.

You can actually make a verbal statement right in the middle of your emotional experience that describes how you feel.

If you’re annoyed because you’re stuck in traffic, you can simply state to yourself, “I am so annoyed right now.”

The person sitting next to you might be like yeah, no kidding?

This is called affect labeling. And it is a physiological response.

This part is very cool.

Affect labeling slows down a part of your brain that’s responsible for your emotional responses.

That part of your brain is called the amygdala which is part of your limbic system and helps you manage your mood.

Functional MRI’s have shown this area of the brain quite literally cools down after simply putting feelings into words.

That almost sounds too simple, right?

Making a simple statement about the emotions you feel causes your physical body to respond.

It may not make the traffic any better, but it will take the edge off the annoyance you feel in that moment.

But in order to label that emotion, you have to know what you’re dealing with.

That’s why the vocabulary is so important.

This is a great little skill to learn to help you not feel so overwhelmed by the full range of emotions you might feel in a day.

Learning to identify your emotions is the first step to understanding what you’re feeling.

Articulating to yourself what you’re feeling helps you understand better what solutions you might need to look at.

And all of this forms a terrific foundation for better communication skills with others because now you can explain what you’re really feeling.

Take some time to explore your emotional vocabulary and find ways to increase your knowledge of your emotional experiences.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 47: How to Feel Better About Speaking up for Yourself

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Speaking up for yourself helps you get what you need. But that can be scary if you’re not sure how to go about it.

You don’t want to seem like you’re always the one with an ax to grind, right?

You can use “I statements” to help you find the courage to speak up.

Learn a little formula for speaking up for yourself in this episode.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series a couple of weeks ago on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 47: How to Feel Better About Speaking up for Yourself

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Are you one of those people who has a hard time speaking up for yourself?

If you think back on your school days, you may remember that one kid who always had something to say.

Even if the teacher wasn’t opening the floor for discussion, his hand would go right up anyway, taking extra class time for his stuff. And we would all have to sit and politely listen to his opinion on this or that.

That’s kind of how many of us conceptualize speaking up for yourself. If you’re good at speaking up, you have to be a bit showy and have an ax to grind, right?

If you’re not comfortable with that, well, it feels safer to just not say anything at all.

But not speaking up for yourself is one sure fire way to live under a lot of stress.

You don’t get what you need because you’re not asking for it.

This is one area I’ve really struggled with all of my life. I’m pretty tuned in to what I need, but until a few years ago, I thought I had to be combative to point out to others what I’m not getting.

I’m not particularly combative by nature, unless I feel like I’ve been really wronged. Then I have to work hard to get back to a productive place.

So most of the time I just sat on my hands instead of finding healthy ways to say, “This isn’t working for me. I’m feeling frustrated with this situation. Help me understand how we can work together to try to make sense of this.”

I wish I had learned sooner how to give voice to what I need. I missed a lot of opportunities because of it.

So maybe, for example, you feel like you’re not getting enough feedback on your projects, even though you’ve asked several times.

It might be tempting to chew on it and think about all the reasons why your company is trying to hamstring your work.

Instead you could have a small discussion with the powers-that-be to simply share your experience and hear what they might have to say.

I know, that still sounds super scary.

What would help you in that situation are “I statements.”

I’ve talked about these before.

Using “I statements” is simply sharing what you’re experiencing by stating your emotions and how the situation is making you feel. You don’t establish a motive for why this is happening or try to influence anyone.

It’s kind of a reporting exercise.

You simply say, “This is what’s happening. Here’s how I’m feeling about it. Here’s what I’d like to see. How can we work on this together?”

The focus is on YOUR feelings and YOUR beliefs.

This can give you courage to speak up in a couple of ways.

First, “I statements” keep others off the defensive.

You’re just describing your own stuff without assigning responsibility for what’s happening to anyone else.

Because you’re not coming to that person with accusations, you’re more likely to create a collaborative interaction.

Do you have an easier time speaking up when you feel comfortable collaborating with someone?

You can create this environment for yourself by focusing on what you’ve experienced and simply ask for help trying to figure it out.

Second, “I statements” allow you to speak from a place of authority.

They’re your experiences. Even if people don’t understand them it doesn’t mean they’re not valid.

No one can tell you that your feelings are wrong, though they will definitely try.

You own your feelings and they are important data in this situation. You can stand on that.

Third, “I statements” give you a formula to work with instead of just spouting off.

You can process your feelings ahead of time using a simple process you can plug some variables into.

  • First, describe what’s going on.
    When this event happened (state the event), I felt…frustrated, disappointed, angry, whatever.
    State the actual emotion you felt, not how THEY [that person] made you feel.
  • Then, simply state your needs.
    “It’s really important to me that I feel good about the work I do and that my contributions are important to the company.”
    At this point, you state what you need, not what you want the other person to do.
  • The last part is…Would you….
    And here’s where you make a request. What do you want them to do?
    “I would love to hear from you more often about what you think is working and how I can find ways to continue to improve my work.”

This is an actionable formula that allows you to be heard, yes, but also allows you to share in the solution.

Because ultimately speaking up for yourself isn’t just about being heard.

It’s pretty cool to be able to share your voice.

But ultimately, speaking up for yourself helps you generate solutions to the problems that may be holding you back.

And it allows others to participate in those solutions, too.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


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Ep 45: The best way to change others

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You know full well you can’t change others and what they do. But it’s hard to live this out in real life.

Instead of worrying about whether or not others are changing, you’ll feel less stress and anxiety if you focus on what you can change about you. Learn a few ways this might show up in your life.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

 Ep 45: The best way to change others

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

“The only person you can change is you.”

How many times have you heard that, or read it in a self-help book? We know this.

It even sounded super cliche to me when I said it just now.

It’s kind of a big duh. But it’s super hard to put this one into practice, isn’t it?

Deep down we like to think we can actually have some hand in others changing themselves for the better.

Because then we can take some credit for the change. Okay, we like that!

I hear this perspective every single day.

  • Marriages that are going off the rails because one person has zero insight into how badly they’re screwing this up.
    “If only they would just change how they talk to me I would be happier.”
  • Bosses that have blinders on to how their micromanaging work style is driving you nuts.
    “Why can’t they understand that if they would stop treating me like a child I would feel better about my work and do a better job?”
  • Kids that make unhealthy decisions no matter how much you try to help them.
    “I’ve been there already. How can they not see that what I’m trying to tell them will actually help?”

This is all a quick way to stress and anxiety.

  • First of all, you’re placing your happiness in other people’s hands, where you have no control.
  • Second, you’ve decided that you alone have the answer to the problem, even though you may not have all the facts. Are you a wizard or something? Most likely you aren’t even privy to all the variables that might help you understand what’s really going on.
  • Third, expecting others to change puts you slam dunk into that victim role. You get to throw darts willy nilly but you aren’t accountable for your own change simply because you’ve been so wronged.

You’re making a big, unnecessary mess of it if you’re in this place.

The offenses of someone else can so easily blind you to your own options. And that has nothing to do with anyone else.

That’s all you.

The answer is like making a good hollandaise sauce — simple but not easy.

Mind your own stuff.

The only way to feel less anxious about all the ways people are messing up your life is to simply decide what you will change about you.

That’s really all you have here.

Your ability to be thoughtful in your own responses or look for ways to improve yourself are the only things you own and have complete control over.

Your spouse may still talk to you in that tone even though you’ve already said you don’t like it.

They’re clearly not changing.

What is the healthiest way for you to respond so you have the best chance of feeling heard, not just so you can feel like you’re in the right?

There’s a good chance your micromanaging boss isn’t going to change.

I’ve never seen it happen, and I’m guessing you haven’t either. I don’t even think that’s a thing.

So why are you so focused on them making that change?

  • I’ve said before that micromanaging isn’t about controlling you, it’s about your boss’ own fear and anxiety.
  • So your boss has to wade through their own stuff to make that change — just for you. That doesn’t seem likely or fair.
  • Can you try to meet them halfway by providing a more frequent status update on your work to help them feel a little bit calmer?

I know, making them feel better isn’t your job but if you make this change to accommodate them, would it help you a little too?

If you look back on your own young adulthood, do you remember taking much advice from your parents?

Did you have any epiphanies about their great wisdom? Probably not and your kids aren’t any different.

So wasting time wringing your hands and fretting over what epiphanies you think they should be having is a big ol’ waste of time.

Epiphanies are highly overrated anyway. You know as well as I do that the best wisdom comes through small revelations over time.

Spend your time instead focusing on how you can find the healthiest ways to be supportive for those times when they do fail. They will need you to come alongside them in those moments and who knows, they might ask for your advice.

Be ready for that moment by learning how to change the way you show up for your kids.

All of this requires humility and some faith that the things you change about you will make a difference.

This is the hard part because there are no guarantees.

You might make some wonderful strides and still be left doing all the work. Was there value in improving yourself, though?

Please know I’m not saying to change for somebody else, or to overlook an abusive situation.

I’m speaking to those everyday annoyances that:

  • eat away at you,
  • occupy your valuable brain space, and
  • leave you feeling stressed, helpless and worn out.

Changing things about yourself may not make a difference in the behaviors you see from others.

It will absolutely change how you think and how you view what happens to you.

Minding your own change will change you.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


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Episode 26 – How to be a good listener

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Being a good listener is important in your relationships in all areas of life.

But being a good listener isn’t just keeping quiet when others are talking. There’s so much more to it.

It’s not that hard to be a good listener. Try these skills to improve your listening game.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes wherever you are! 

Full transcript

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Do you consider yourself a good listener?

Part of being in a successful relationship whether it’s at work or home or school is being able to really hear people well and help them feel understood.

Having good listening skills is one of the crown jewels of emotional intelligence.

But sometimes that seems easier said than done.

There are so many different ways that we can miscommunicate with each other even as we are trying to hear each other.

So what does it mean to be a good listener?

You’ve probably heard the saying God gave you two ears and one mouth so you do the math.

Well that’s a great Facebook meme. But listening really isn’t just “not talking” when someone is speaking. Although sometimes that’s pretty hard, too.

There is a whole range of other skills that come in to play that make you a good listener.

One of them is being physically present.

Let’s say someone comes to you and says, “Hey I have a question,” or “I’d like to run something by you.”

Being physically present means you:

  • put your phone down,
  • turn away from your computer,
  • pause the TV,
  • whatever it is you’re doing, and
  • physically show yourself ready and available to hear what they have to say.

This means you’re not multitasking while you’re listening to them but that you are committing to them all of YOUR physiological senses.

I think we all know those people who say, “Oh I’m listening to you,” while they’re doing something else.

The words may be going in their ears but they are not devoting their full cognitive capacity towards you.

Using your physical presence in this way is a huge way to communicate to someone that you’re listening because nonverbals are most of our communication.

So that one thing will go a long way towards making people feel truly heard.

Once you’re physically present with people, then you just use your natural curiosity to ask questions.

Questions that promote natural dialogue.

  • What was that like for you?
  • What ways have you solved that problem in the past?
  • How did you get through that?
  • How’s it going for you now?

Framing your questions like this reflects back to them that you were actually listening to the details of their story and you want more information.

You can’t ask good questions unless you’ve been paying attention.

This is the part that really makes people feel heard because you’re now invested in their story and what’s happened to them.

Notice that so far in being physically present and using your natural curiosity, you haven’t given any advice.

THIS is the most misunderstood part of being a good listener.

Listening doesn’t mean you have to give advice.

As you engage people in conversation they’re going to start finding their own solutions and solving their own problems.

It’s so much fun to watch people see the answer unfold right as the story is coming out of their mouth.

This is the one thing that really keeps people from offering a listening ear to others around them.

They’re afraid they’ll have to give advice or that they’ll give bad advice.

So here’s my advice.

Don’t give advice.

Just show them you’re listening with your physical presence, hear what they have to say and generate questions to help them put the puzzle pieces together.

I promise if you try this, people will brand you as a good listener.

And that will take you very far in work and in life.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

GET THE BE WELL DO WELL DIGEST!

Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!

Give yourself a Mental Health Moment every day!

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Amazon Alexa skill - Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller

Sometimes you need some encouragement right at the top of the day so you can stay focused on what will keep you energized and productive. 🌝

I’m excited to debut my Alexa skill, Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.

It’s a little shot in the arm to start your day.

Every day I’ll talk about small ways you can inject a bit of sanity in your day.

If you have an Amazon Echo you can enable Mental Health Moment in the Alexa store. You can also download the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and enable the skill there.

Check out all the details on my Amazon skill page.

Feel free to leave me a review. I’d love to know what you think! 🤔

Six ways to get to know someone at work

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How to get to know someone at work

Work can be one of the loneliest places around, besides maybe bars and Tinder (I’ve heard 😜). 

We weren’t designed to sit right next to each other in a gray maze and never connect.

That’s weird. 

But it’s never too late to start getting to know someone you work with every day. Even if you’ve worked with them in mostly silence for five years, you can start a connection today.

And you may find it changes your outlook on your own work.

Does that strike a little fear in your freshly-caffeinated heart? 😱

Fear not

Just remember a few things:

1. Never assume someone doesn’t want to connect with you

Everyone desires connection with others in some way, even if they don’t let on.

It’s one of the top yearnings I hear from clients. There are really very few people in this world who “don’t like people.” That’s a cover for their own fear of reaching out and being rejected.

This is why taking your initiative to reach out to others is so valuable. If you start it, the likelihood of rejection for them is greatly diminished.

And there’s a good chance that someone who thinks you’re awesome has always wanted to connect with you, in particular.

So just know that.

2. Keep it simple

Simply ask a question about their weekend, or just comment on that old standby — the weather. 

Maybe that’s not deep enough for you. But remember, Gandalf,  you’re merely trying to open the door and get an exchange going.

The goal is not to become their best friend or hold hands while running through a tulip field together. 🌷 

Yes, you may find that over time, these light exchanges may eventually turn to slightly deeper matters.

But that’s not your point today.

Building off of these seemingly old-school conversations simply starts to develop a little trust.

3. Be curious, George

Even better, use your natural curiosity to ask questions about something you may already know that interests them. 

Do they have pictures of themselves dressed in fly fishing gear inside their cubicle? Ask them about that. 

I can almost guarantee you will start something, because I’m guessing you are likely not to know much about fly fishing. (That just seems like a very niche kind of thing.)

Watch them come alive and share something with you that they may have learned while fishing in a remote river somewhere. 

Don’t you do this when someone asks you about something you enjoy or have become an expert in? 

4. Listen to understand, not to reply

This means that when someone is talking to you, you’re not having a conversation inside your own head about what you’re going to say next. 

Even if it’s super valuable and super witty. Shut it down for a minute. 

You’re listening simply so that you can get more information about the other person. 

Here’s a fun trick: summarize and restate back to them what they just said to you. They’ll quickly tell you if you got it wrong. 😳

Next time you’ll be eager to pay more attention.

5. When you do share, try not to offer advice

It’s tempting to want to provide advice, especially if you’ve already been there. But you may not have earned this yet. 

Remember, you’re connecting and building rapport. 

And if you’re not careful, it can seem like you’re trying to top their experience.

We’ve all met “toppers.” These are conversation assassins who seem to invalidate your story while telling you how their experience was so much worse (or better). 😒

Don’t be a topper.

Simply offer this: 

“I went through something similar once. It wasn’t easy. Here’s what worked for me.”

Sharing from your own experience has the added benefit of them maybe developing some empathy for you, too.  

6. Compliment them about one thing they do really well at work

As far as I know, we’re still allowed to give compliments at work.

We are awesome at so many things that just come naturally to us, and it’s nice to hear that others notice it.

All the career literature says that being recognized for your good work is one of the main drivers for employee satisfaction. And employees may not be getting that recognition from their management, quoth the same career literature. 

So you can totally boost someone’s day with one positive observation about their work.

You’ve now taken a simple connection and created more positivity in your sphere of influence.

Look at you being an agent of change!

Let’s get it started in here

We can’t always rely on instant rapport to drive how we connect at work. Connection doesn’t just happen.

In many cases it may require an intentional action that starts with you. 

If you’ve struggled to connect with others, know that it’s not a character flaw to beat yourself up with. 

Connection is a skill that can be learned and developed.

Just find simple ways to reach out and look for common interests.

Find a touch point that you can both share, and let it evolve from there.

What about you?

Have you struggled with making a connection at work? Share in the comments!

 

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How to be a good listener

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Good listening skills are a must in any relationship. But what does being a good listener look like in real life?

Here are some simple tips to boost your listening game.