Stroke support Group

Recently, I sat in on a stroke support group. The group was for both the individuals who experienced strokes as well as their caretakers/family members. I had the blessing of the admin staff to do so. Was it uncomfortable? Yes did I feel out of place? Sort of. Did I learn something very powerful? Absolutely. I always do.

Comfort zone

We all stay in our comfort zones because they are, well, comfortable. Sometimes that discomfort is really quite a rush because it tells you you are in new territory and about to learn something. And I did.

The lesson

The powerful lesson I learned wasn’t from someone who had one, two, or even three strokes. It was from a dear lady who had had seven. Along with her support dog, she brought an iPad. She was clever enough to type up the things she wanted to share with the group a staff member read her experiences and they were shared. But unfortunately, those were quickly used up and she had far more to contribute. So she began slowly typing but then she noticed the room of silence waiting for her to finish. As her frustration mounted, she decided she would speak.

When she did, she did methodically, with a lot of effort, and with very few words. She seemed to make each one count, but for her she didn’t feel she was conveying thoughts in the same way everyone else did, so she apologized. She did so by moving her hand to her chest, then her mouth, and then her eye while she said “Sorry, talk hard.”

She needn’t have apologized for you see, I could understand her perfectly and I’m sure everyone else could as well. Despite what she thought, she was doing great! In fact, the problem wan’t that she wasn’t using enough words, it’s that we use too many.

Saying much with so little

So the next time you communicate with others—clients, your boss, your employees, potential clients, friends, and family and loved ones. Remember this lesson.

Phrases like:

“I’d love to help you.”

I’m glad you’re my client.”

“You’re important.”

“I’d like to get paid now

“I need help.”

and

“I love you.”

Those phrases convey so much with just a few words.

I’m Mark Bradford, I’m glad you read this, and you’re important to me.