For years I had the tagline “Writing: It’s All About the Numbers” on this blog. In the latest iteration, I changed it to “My Varied Interests.” Like all of us, I’m on a lifelong journey to be the best me I can be. For this reason, I think my recent change in perspective is significant. It’s been a few years getting from “Writing: It’s All About the Numbers” to where I am now.
I am a writer, currently on writing hiatus. The “All About the Numbers” phrase came from the emphasis on word count and the “numbers” that go into planning to meet a deadline — either internally or externally imposed. Yes, words matter, but getting the right number of words in the right order at the right time is crucial to success as a writer. What it boils down to, though, is Life. And life, whether we think we like it or not, boils down to relationships. Relationships with self or with others. And successful relationships, either to self or othes, boil down to effective communication. No matter how well or how clearly you believe you’ve communicated something, if the recipient did not receive and understand it, your relationship is negatively impacted.
I spent my entire adult life in the communications field. For the first 12 years of my career, my responsibility was to maintain secure communications equipment, a TOOL for effective communication. Critically effective communication. But it was a tool. Just because the path was there, doesn’t mean the content on the path was successful. Since that time, I’ve been responsible for computer networks (also a tool for communication), the worldwide communications systems one of our intelligence agencies uses to communicate information vital to national security (again, tools for communication), and our international and national standards for electronic messaging (again, the foundational product to ensure we communicate effectively, but also a tool).
I’m now at a stage I want to be more effective in my life, and I’ve learned it’s critical to be able to use my tools (be they inorganic or organic) to effectively communicate and build relationships. Because, that’s what I need to level up in life. I’ve always needed it. I’ve resisted. Hey, I can write a good, technically correct sentence. But that’s a tool. I have a huge toolbox full of tools, but apparently, I don’t know how to use most of them.
I can be discussing a topic with my husband, but for whatever reason, I make what must be quantum leaps in my thinking and I fail to communicate with any effectiveness how I moved from Topic A to Topic Aa. This happens far too often to be an outlier. My husband is not stupid (but if we’re both honest, he does the same thing to me sometimes without realizing it). I want and need to build relationships. Walking it back, this means I must shift my perspective to become a more effective communicator. It can’t be just “All About the Numbers,” it must also be about learning to use the myriad of tools in my toolbox at the right time and in the right place.