There is a lot that we simply do not know in the world today. In fluid situations, we find ourselves (willingly or unwillingly) with a need to have more flexible boundaries, to pivot, to shift priorities and adjust plans. In the workplace, many of us are operating under Plan G after four months of the current pandemic. In our households, many have exhausted the alphabet at this stage in the game.
Despite the uncertainty, however, there are strategies we can utilize to remain steadfast communicators during a time of crisis that can bring a sense of stability to a world that is floundering around us. What may surprise you is that not all of these strategies are actually directly related to communication. Some of these strategies have to do with improving yourself and your daily rhythms in order to bring enough clarity to the table to discuss.
Here, we will discuss strategies for (and the value of) transparent communication in two parts. First, what can we do to arrive at a sense of clarity and stability within ourselves? Next, once that clarity is achieved, what does it look like to communicate it to those who matter most?
Cultivating Clarity in a Changing world
To cultivate clarity in a changing world, we must first do that which is hardest - look within. There are a few ways to get a grip on what's currently going on in your day-to-day. What patterns have emerged since this quarantine began? How are you coping? How are you healing? For some of us, the changes have occurred so rapidly and yet so subtly that we know not what we do or what we have done to lead us to where we are today. Here are a few simple ways that you can become more introspective and "notice what you're noticing," as my favorite yoga instructor says.
Once you have take some time to reflect on the state of your soul, some changes to your daily rhythms and routines may become more obvious. For example, you might find that you are waking up feeling depleted before your day even begins. You might realize that you aren't drinking any water to start your day, or that you simply wake up and drag yourself immediately to work. You might consider implementing a morning routine such as The Miracle Morning or simply making a nourishing smoothie the night before so you have breakfast ready when you hop out of bed. If you feel agitated after the work day and short with your children or spouse, perhaps you need a work day shutdown routine to support the transition from work to home. Maybe you incorporate a walk or a yoga session to dissect the time in between. Whatever you determine, make changes that provide you the chance to achieve greater mental clarity in your day-to-day. You can't communicate effectively with a fuzzy brain just like you can't give from an empty cup.
Communicating Clarity to your Constituents
Now, let me be the first to tell you, just because you are working on improving your mental acuity does NOT mean you are going to arrive at a state of Nirvana and have all the answers your greater community needs to hear. In fact, it will probably not be that at all. Just because your mental clarity has started to improve does not mean that the pandemic has subsided or the political climate has calmed or that your kids have suddenly stopped smacking each other upside the head. You may not even have better answers today than you did yesterday. But what you do have is the ability to better communicate with clarity and competence. Let's take a look at how.
Cultivating clarity within ourselves allows us to become more effective communicators when it matters most. Do some soul work. Then, say what you know. Admit what you don't. Don't forego competence for false confidence. It's okay to be a human, but be willing to a be a human who is humble enough to dig in and do the work. Your entire community will thank you.