Welcome Contestant #1

If you were offered $1,000,000 to explain to someone how to do your job from the moment you “clocked in” to the moment you left for the day, how hard would it be?

Probably not very. You know what needs to be done, and you can express what needs to happen by speaking.

Now, one rule, you have to do it without using the letter “A” and all sounds stemming from that letter.

How would you do?

How well would you articulate messages and meanings with a pillar of language taken from you?

You would quickly find that verbal expression becomes a battle, not only with your new protege but within your own mind as you continue trying to adapt to the situation. “How do I explain this next task, better than the last one?” Verbal communication seems similar to an electrical circuit missing the ground wire. It just doesn’t work.

You would become a more visual communicator and start demonstrating what you want by waving your hands, pointing at objects and people.

Being the best at charades at the family reunion finally pays off!

Ok, it’s going a little better but you know you won’t cover it all in time, and the 5 o’clock hour is coming up. As you learn that visual directions can only get you so far, you would move on to experiment with tactile coaching. You physically (and calmly) take their hand and place it on the trackpad of your laptop and begin directing their hand through guided touch, how to send a proposal that needs to reach your client’s inbox with only seconds to spare.

You win! The job is done! You now have enough money for a trip to Whole Foods!

The more tools you have, the less you will be hindered by a change in conditions. Part of being effective at “adulting” is being able to adjust on the fly and quickly find new ways to express yourself.

Forgot to bring breakfast at work? Let’s see what floors in your building have a restaurant with a healthy option.

Have a pulled muscle in your arm? Time to find out how many good legs exercises you can learn in an hour.

Have a new client who showed up and is deaf? Now you can learn how you can coach her to squat without using any words. (one of my own experiences).

“Seeking the unknown”, focused practice, and being “outside your element” are all ways of saying something similar. Sticking to only things you know and can already do will limit the tools you could gain through solving problems in new conditions.

Explore new territory. Find new and more bountiful resources. Exploit the local populations– ok don’t do that, but you get the idea.

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