Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say

Kitchen 8063Are you working at your best together?
Are doing more of what you love?
Or are you finding yourself procrastinating, resenting or even blaming yourself or others for things not quite being how you would like it to be?
If when you try to speak up you end up with a knot in your stomach with courage cowering behind it or you find yourself editing every word trying to hard to say it in just the right way and yet no matter how much you try you never seem to quite get our tone or pace right and someone is always upset. It can be difficult to keep trying and some people do quite literally stop communicating and others start screaming and shouting. I use to be the screamer – I know not pretty and I am not proud but it is what it is. Before I could manage my critic everything would fester inside and then erupt like a live volcano and it was usually my loved ones that got it.
It is amazing how we can keep our control all day with clients and yet family it seems like we just let go and it can be a free for all.
No matter how much you ponder it, as soon as you utter the words you know you have got it wrong. The energy the velocity and the tone result in a response you so didn’t want.
When you have tried several times to express yourself it can be exhausting and many of you might be like me. I had been trying to be heard for years. It is heartbreaking to live life feeling like no one really understands you. And yet at work you spend your whole time listening to others and meeting their needs and often exceeding their expectations but home you just want someone else to be able to predict what you need or at least listen when you ask.
This process can destroy marriages and businesses alike if you communicate from this place of frustration.
I bet you really do mean well but no one seems to get that.
You feel constantly misunderstood and all you want is for everyone else to be happy.
Not everyone can be happy all of the time
You see that is the problem.
You are saying you want everyone else to be happy and there is two things wrong with this statement.
One it doesn’t include you. A statement like I just want us all to be happy would be more inclusive.
And not everyone can be happy all the time. So you need to be more specific, when do you need them to be happy, and what do you need them to be happy with.
Without clarity you will rarely actually get what you want because without knowing it you are not actually asking for it.
Worse thing is that you genuinely believe you are asking for what you want and when you don’t get listened to you start to believe your needs don’t matter.
And the way you manage your critic will determine how you listen to criticism and compliments and that will impact the response.
If you want to say what you mean and mean what you say then first of all you need to check in with yourself what you are you actually saying and is that what you actually want.
I have worked with clients who told me what they wanted, then they got it and complained that wasn’t what they wanted. When we went back to what they asked for they had in fact got exactly what they asked for.
And other times we are not really saying what we mean we just think we are. Take this dialogue recently on Facebook:


“Hi , I didn’t request to join the clarity group ? X
Okay – hope your account hasn’t been hacked – did make me think what’s changed ??
Nothing’s changed ? Not sure if it’s been hacked but I definitely didn’t request to join xx
Okay well I didn’t add you and I can remove you sorry if this has caused offence x
It hasn’t caused any offence and I’m not quite sure why you feel it has , just asked to be removed from a group I didn’t ask to join , that’s all xx”
If you notice the start of the conversation the person is saying they didn’t ask to join and thinks they asked to leave. 
On reflection I get it, but I took it literally as a statement – I didn’t ask to join.
Now normally I would have asked “What would you like to have happen?”
In this case I wasn’t managing my critic – I can tell because I said ‘Okay well I didn’t add you” that ‘well’ has attitude and I am being defensive.
I soon realised that I had done that and I removed the person without any further conflict inside me.
This happens all the time and you might not even be aware.
By being curious about what you are saying when you don’t get the response you want.
I use to say “Oh I am dying of thirst” which was my ‘hint’ that I would like someone to make me a cup of tea. Now to be fair it often got me the response I wanted and Mark is rather good at looking after me if I have my head down working. But there were times when I was frustrated that they had not responded and I noticed I had not actually asked “please can you make me a cup of tea”
I soon discovered that I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help and that was a behaviour I had to change. With the help of my peer support network I received feedback when I dropped hints and celebrations every time I asked for help.

Peer support without peer pressure is in my opinion is key to personal growth. And educating those peers to give you feedback for when you get it right and when you get it wrong is vital. All too often people only ask others to pull them up if they get it wrong.

Classic example is the person on diet who says to their partner “Don’t let me eat chocolate” The reality is that when you turn to the chocolate you are probably doing it because of stress as it is not what you want and therefore you are not setting your partner up to support you successfully. In fact if anything you are likely to bite their head off and eat even more chocolate.

And if you want to keep helping your clients and your family I do believe you have to give yourself permission to ask for help. The key is to make sure you have absolute clarity of what you want, how you want it, when you want and who you want to provide it and why all that matters.
This takes time in the set up but it is so worth the investment of time.
Being sensitive to criticism and compliments can result in you dropping hints and avoiding difficult conversations and you will miss opportunities. Check out Manage your critic and join a peer support group that are just like you.


Feel free to share below or join us in the Facebook group Clarity confidence and change.
Need to manage your critic? Want more clarity? Book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will happily set you up to know your next best step.


About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

how to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.

That was until she conquered her sensitivity to criticism and her fear of not being liked.

Today, Sheryl runs safe to speak retreats where you can develop resources and skills to gain clarity and confidence of what you want and how you want to be and all the time you will be improving and changing the way you respond to feedback.

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Published By

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult when criticised even when she knew they meant well and found it difficult to respond rather than react. A series of 3 events in her personal life exaggerated her emotional overwhelm and forced her to address this problem and conquer her sensitivity to criticism. Today she shares every day stories of every day people and inspires you to discover ways to gain clarity and confidence to change the way feedback and criticism impacts your performance.

View all posts by Sheryl Andrews →

2 responses to “Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say”

  1. Tom says:

    Fantastic blog Sheryl! I’ve started getting clarity from other people of what they expect from me, but I’ve never really thought about giving clarity when expressing what I want. You’re absolutely right you can’t expect people to know what you want if you don’t specify. There’s always the hope that loved ones know you well enough to get what you’re thinking, but that feeling when they don’t is horrible. So I will start being more concise and understand exactly what I want before making a request. xxx

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