Communication – the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.
We live in a highly subjective world whereby each person’s unique features are accentuated with the idea that individuality is to be embraced. These facts lend themselves to the need for conversation and, more critically, communication. The more we discuss, the more we discover. Some experts have even said one of the keys to growing is simply listening. While that is a life lesson, humans, by nature, are instinctively pointed toward the need to speak to others. The heartfelt desire to connect drives each person in all facets of life. Personal relationships, workplace bonding, and even stranger-to-stranger swaps of pleasantries feel necessary for most. So what happens when those drivers are poorly received? Communication needs at least two participants but disconnect begins when a receiver isn’t in the same headspace. If communication fails us, what do we do?
Consider the highly discussed “mushroom zombie apocalypse,” but instead of end-of-world situations, let’s focus on the idea that suddenly, in this theoretical doomsday, the only thing that happens is that all humans can no longer communicate through any common form of language. How do you form bonds? The only viable answer is action. We would all have to rely on our efforts for others to observe as the way to connect and defiantly overcome the need for language. Objectively, we would offer food to those we cared about, share tools to form meaningful bonds, learn to celebrate achievements consistently, and embrace one another more often. It sounds almost utopic when you forget that we started the idea with an apocalypse. That’s the rub of the conversation, though: we need a drastic situation to empower what we, as humans, actually do amazingly well.
Values drive human beings, and with our instinctual development, it is in our nature to support, help, and, most of all, communicate with one another. Our goals should never be to speak disparagingly but rather to share what our values are first and foremost.
Values are a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is essential in life.
Reread that definition enough times so that it sinks in. Our values are what we judge to be necessary to life. Imagine the power they wield when we have them ingrained into our minds so much that our actions naturally follow them. Values would still drive our ability to communicate even if all language was lost. This is precisely why a robust workplace defines its values for staff and clientele. It’s a message that says, “If all else fails, these words represent what we stand for, and our actions will show it well before our words do.” The sentiment connects to our nature as humans.
In your mind, reflect on the values that you hold dear. What drives you? What do you consider to be important in life? Family, friends, communication, connection, compassion, respect, honesty? The options are endless, so consider your top four values carefully. When you narrow them down, you better understand who you are and why you do certain things or surround yourself with specific people.
In your workplace, consider the values your company has published. Your success is routed on the ability to connect to them wholeheartedly. The clients you service and your coworkers should see your actions representing the values so that if the “no-language apocalypse” happened, they would want to keep in your favor. After all, the more you let your actions speak for you, the more you build additional opportunities and connection. At work, and in life, those things are priceless.
Regardless of how many experts refer to it as “alignment in the workplace,” the truth is that our actions represent the values we speak, which is an element of human nature.
Be here in support of one another, in support of our clients, and support of connection, and you’ll see that words are only a piece of the skills we have to help conquer the mountains we’re climbing together.