How you FEEL determines how you communicate. It doesn’t take a scientific study to know this or to watch your emotions play out on social media. Think about how your feelings translate into actions, reactions and the words that come out of your mouth (or the words in your tweets and/or your Facebook posts). If you’re an optimist, then you will communicate as such. The same goes if you’re the opposite. As a pessimist, your communication would reflect this too. Take on any mood and it is likely your communication relates to how you feel. Now, think about this statement: Why wouldn’t you want to study, understand and improve your feelings, so that they play out positively in your communications and the relationships that result.
Optimism Helps Your Communication
As I sit here with the book, The Optimist Creed and other Inspirational Classics by Christian Larsen, both his book and his Optimist Creed (which is pinned to my wall) remind me of all that’s positive in my daily thought process and interactions. Being positive about others, having peace of mind, finding health and happiness, letting go of mistakes and moving forward toward future achievements are just a few of the elements of the Optimist Creed. Many of these ideals are learned early on in childhood and through years of life experience, family guidance, an educational system, and societal norms, they are adhered to or not. Hopefully, the former is true and you are a living testament to the Optimist Creed.
For Your Relationships: A Pledge for Better Communication
However, what about your communication? Do you pay close attention to what you communicate daily, from the time you wake up in the morning until you lay down at night? Do you have a responsibility to yourself and to the people around you to care about the consequences of your words as they travel through your favorite channels, in any given moment? To my knowledge there is no Communication Checklist or Communications Pledge that you can print out and hang on your wall or post on your refrigerator. If there is, I haven’t seen it yet. Having the Optimist Creed on my wall is a reminder to me every day to strive for better and to keep a healthy and positive attitude. Having a Communications Pledge on my wall would be just as helpful.
I’ve been working on the FEEL First model for well over a year. My team has been diligently gathering data from a FEEL First test online that is scoring how much or how little professionals Face Fears, Engage with Empathy, Live with Ethics and Unleash Love. There are well over 6,000 answers in our database. From everything I’ve learned from my research journey, when you FEEL First you have a better opportunity to understand and manage someone else’s emotions too.
Of course, your ability to FEEL takes constant work … it’s a journey to be more open and to face what makes you uncomfortable. It takes a clear and present mind and heart to be more inclusive of others. It’s harder than you may think to be empathetic when sometimes you may only be touching the surface and you don’t even t know it. It’s not as obvious as you think to live with ethics and good judgment, when little white lies are a way of fooling your brain into larger transgressions. Lastly, if you’re not a demonstrative communicator it may be difficult to let the passion lord or the love flow.
However, the more you practice and also make a commitment to yourself that you can and will FEEL First in your communications, you will slowly move closer to this approach through all of your channels as you deepen your relationships.
The FEEL First Pledge
I mentioned earlier not having a Pledge or a Creed in communications until now … I’ve created a FEEL First Pledge as a reminder that collectively we need better communication. Practicing or saying a pledge daily will help you to move toward greater purpose through your thoughts, words, and actions to create positive impact. Having a Pledge, during an election year, the Coronavirus pandemic, and racial injustice that’s playing out across our county is necessary and needed now. If relationships are based on trust, then your communication is either the bridge that can help others or hurt them.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Words matter more so now than ever. So join me in a Pledge to FEEL First and a commitment to share communication that helps your neighbors, family, friends and colleagues and takes your communication to a new level so you can make a difference. You can download the the FEEL First Pledge below.