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  • Writer's pictureLaura Schaefer

How Did Your Culture of Origin Shape Your Communication Muscle?

I talk *a lot* about being from the Midwestern part of the United States...Wisconsin, specifically.

Sometimes I imagine that the people I regularly see here in Florida have a bet amongst themselves. It goes something like this:

"I wager Laura cannot make it more than four minutes into this conversation without mentioning Wisconsin. I put a hundred bucks on it."


(Yay Madison, I love you!)

I am really proud of where I am from.

I love, love, love my Midwestern roots because I maintain that this particular place on Earth is full of people who care about others, who work hard, and who don't put on airs. You know what I mean.

But the Midwest has its faults, too.

Sometimes I notice, for example, that Midwesterners aren't the best communicators.

😟 We don't want to put anyone out, you see.

😟 We don't want to be a bother.

😟 We are here to get 'r done! (Without too much discussion!)

This humility and selflessness can be lovely and useful for so many reasons, but in too high of a dose, it is a real problem.

A huge problem.

A problem that harms marriages, families, and entire careers.

Good communication begins with self-knowledge. With curiosity about the status quo. A willingness to dig deep and own one's personal role and ongoing cooperation in this culture.

To change things for the better, we Midwesterners (and other too-meek, stubborn, or stymied folks) can begin by asking ourselves questions like:

👉 1. What do I want? (From this job, this relationship, this experience, this time in my life?)

👉 2. What am I willing to give or change or learn or ask for to get it?

👉 3. What are my blind spots? What are my core beliefs? Are they even true?

👉 4. Am I willing to hear "no," "not yet," or, "how about this instead?"

👉 5. Am I willing to explore why I am the way I am?

Good communication skills are muscles we build over time...and I am interested in getting stronger, even when it is uncomfortable. We were not taught this in school, so we need to commit to the goal on a personal level.

Are you ready?

Let's do it!

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