Ah, ‘tis the season of gratitude.
Just last week, we gave thanks for all that we’re fortunate to have in our lives – family, friends, food, shelter and so on. You need to look no further than your favorite social media sites to find countless memes that remind you of what to be grateful for and how to do it, especially at this time of year.
In fact, social media provides a never-ending parade of reminders about how to achieve higher levels of happiness, success as well as gratitude. I am as drawn to those reminders as the next person and I will admit, I agree with every beautiful, poignant saying I come across. I want to savor and save each one, but I rarely do.
Why are we posting, liking, and sometimes saving these images that 10 years ago would have been just a kitchy collection of refrigerator magnets? What are we striving for, feeling we’re lacking, or wanting to make better? Our lives, our relationships, our careers? If so, this is admirable, noble striving. But is it necessary?
Here’s my spin on this phenomenon: You’re drawn to these memes and you strive because you’re already good. You’re really good – you care, you make effort, you seek improvements, you’re on it. I bet you could make your own series of memes – based on your experiences and successes in your life, relationships and career – to inspire others. This is the thing: you’re already good and that’s why you are looking for more.
Because I’m a communications coach and not a life coach, let me translate this into relevant terms for those of you who are here for communication advice.
If you have worked with me, you know that my coaching is skewed heavily toward the content side (e.g. how to organize material, open and close) versus the delivery side (e.g. body language, voice). I have a fundamental philosophy about this, which is that if you are invited or expected to go to the front of the room, then you already have exhibited a certain level of confidence, competence and credibility. What you need, in that case, is to work on the finer points of grabbing and holding attention – and being really impressive. If that happens to require work on the delivery side, then so be it, but in my experience it usually requires more work on the content side.
Communication coaching, therefore, is not necessarily only for the ground floor level, it’s also for the top several floors. Working to up your game as a communicator or presenter is not something you do because you aren’t good or haven’t arrived, it’s something you do because you are good, you are successful … and you’re looking for that little bit more, that something extra to continue to set you apart.
Take a moment to turn your gratitude inward and appreciate who and where you are right now. Only then will you be ready and able to reach for more.