“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy
Most of us hope that by the time we turn 30, life just magically falls into place. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. We can’t just blow the candles out from our thirtieth birthday cake and hit the fast track to life. Success when turning 30 is all relative to personal perspective, and finding that path means identifying what success actually looks like to you.
If you’re turning 30 and have yet to feel successful, don’t be alarmed because you’re not alone. To build a successful future for your thirties and beyond, forget about comparing your life to others, and start putting your energy into mastering theses 15 habits.
“Great people, no matter their field, have similar habits. Learn them and use them in your own quest for greatness.” – Paula Andrew
“I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation…I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire.” – The Oprah Winfrey Show
If you are searching for validation from others before you take your first steps to success, you may never get there. Finding validation from within means that you are freeing yourself to trust in your life’s purpose, when no one else does. Once you begin to trust yourself, more people will want to hear what it is you have to say.
Successful people seek self-validation by embracing their own self worth, even when someone is trying to tear them down. While some negative comments can be very constructive for their personal growth, others can be just plain rude. Successful people always remember their life purpose and they always believe in their abilities.
- Don’t take negative comments too seriously
- Do remind yourself of your strengths daily and experiment with daily mantras
2. Body Empowerment
“Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” -C.S. Lewis
Your body can be a great tool for success. People tend to base first impression on appearance, so something as subtle as poor posture can really damage your alpha composure, no matter how well dressed you may be.
Successful people empower their body by treating it like a temple. They eat balanced meals with fruits and vegetables to keep a strong mind and a healthy body. They stand tall and confident, insist on eye contact, and they shake hands firmly to debut their confidence. Taking care of their body also means exercising regularly, avoiding fast foods, and dressing the part.
- Don’t let physical limitations determine the rest of your life
- Do know success is not about what you have, but how you use what you have
3. Living In The Now
“One must simply take the days of their lives as they happen. If you spend time worrying over what is to come, which may or may not happen, then you will only be wasting precious days you will wish in the future you could have cherished a bit longer.” ― R.J. Gonzales
You want to live in the present because you can’t change the past and the future is yet to come. Moments can change on a dime, and over planning anything can ultimately become a waste of time. It can be easy to remain stagnant or stuck on an idea, but the goal is to move onward and upward with the present to achieve success.
It’s rare that you will ever find a successful person bogged down from their past. They tend to always express and address all of the skeletons in their closet. Successful people are also always prepared for the unexpected, but continue to keep a strong momentum for the present in order to reach their goals ahead.
- Don’t believe there’s only one way to achieve your success
- Do use past experiences to make wiser decisions in the present
“Order is the sanity of the mind, the health of the body, the peace of the city, the security of the state. Like beams in a house or bones to a body, so is order to all things. – Robert Southey
Organizing your sleep schedule, your work schedule, or even your workout schedule, can help keep you on a productive track. Starting each day with goals and objectives to complete, can really give you something to work towards. Setting aside time for each individual project allows you to feel fulfilled when you see work actually being accomplished.
For successful people, it’s all about schedules and lists. It’s not about planning every second of every day, but simply outlining priorities and listing the steps that are needed to meet deadlines and complete projects on time.
- Don’t navigate around everyone else’s schedule
- Do make time for hobbies, reading, traveling, and relaxing (this is important for your creativity and well-being)
5. Time Management
“Successful people make their decisions quickly and change their minds slowly. Failures make their decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.” ― Andy Andrews
The older I get the more I realize how valuable time is. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and to make the most of that time, we have to make quick decisions, we have to do what we love, and we have to stop complaining if we are not willing to make a change. To use your time wisely ask yourself, “Am I doing anything right now that is amounting to my life goals?” If not, ask yourself, “What can I be doing right now to help myself succeed?”
J.K. Rowling is a prime example of a successful person who made great use of time. Although she struggled to find work after her divorce, she used her free time to write while her daughter attended school. Creating the “Harry Potter” series, Rowling went from welfare to best-seller because she made use of her unemployment.
- Don’t multitask; this leads to holes in your work
- Do turn 6 individual tasks into 1 bigger task by creating flow in your schedule. i.e Avoid the back and forth commutes to the city and make one big trip, checking one thing off your list at a time.
6. Separation From Technology
“Learning to power-down technology is an important life skill with numerous benefits. It is becoming a lost art in our ever-connected world. But the wisest of us take time to learn the discipline. And live fuller lives because of it.” – Becoming Minimalist (Website)
From personal experience, I’ve been addicted to social media, checking my followers, my likes, my comments, and my messages. It’s strange how quickly it can become a full time job. I soon realized that I needed step away from social media because it was actually more of a burden than it was worth. The trick is to find balance and to not forget the reason why you began your path to success in the first place.
Technology brings much convenience to successful people, but success does not mean being held captive of your own devices like a GPS system. Successful people are people who recognize when they should turn their phone down or off. They understand how important it is to step away from technology to spend time alone or with their family. This is because mental breaks are important for their sanity, and a great way to declutter their active minds.Advertising
- Don’t let your phone and social media notifications own you.
- Do make designated times throughout the day to check yours devices so you can avoid checking for notifications every 3-5 minutes. (wasting time)
7. Selecting The Right Relationships
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
It’s not about cutting everyone out of your life who has ever done you wrong; it’s about surrounding yourself with like-minded people who will put in as much energy as you.
Successful people avoid others who are negative, disabling, and manipulating. It’s easy for a successful person to cut someone out of their life if the relationship does not add up to 50/50.
- Don’t think that you owe anyone your time if they stump your growth or drain your enthusiasm
- Do give time to the people who deserve it
“Critical feedback is the breakfast of champions. Defensiveness is the dinner of losers.” – Dharmesh Shah
Sometimes your feelings can be hurt when someone points out one of your flaws, but it’s part of the territory when you become successful. Being open minded allows to you take criticism and apply it in positive light. Sometimes the judgment of others can just be their fear of the unknown, and you have to just open your mind to their world and understand that they have different thoughts, ideas, belief and values from you, and that’s okay. If not, feedback can really wear you down.
Successful people are accepting to new ideas and have mastered compromise and colabering. They have no expectations of others, other than the truth and respect. By keeping an open mind they put more energy into their self, rather than the business of other people.
- Don’t gossip, spread rumours, or stretch the truth of others.
- Do confront people in private if you hold concerns for their actions and/or words.
9. Supporting Others
“You were born with the ability to change someone’s life – don’t ever waste it.” – Dale Partridge
“Before you dismiss a beginner’s work, remember how much you sucked when you started. You probably sucked worse, actually.” – Jason Fried
Turning 30 means that you should be getting out of any selfish ways to help make a difference. It takes teamwork to be successful and now that you are coming into your own, this is the best time for you to not only surround yourself by mind-liked people, but also encourage them and build lifelong partnerships.
Successful people don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of comparison. They want to inspire, build, and network with like-minded people that they believe in. It’s all about building unity and working as a team to become successful together. Often they make kind gestures to help others excel without expecting anything in return, however, when a pay it forward gesture is made they are grateful.
- Don’t lead someone for solely your own benefit, be respectable
- Do feel proud to see someone achieve success knowing you played a role in their greatness.
10. Getting Uncomfortable
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
“Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” – Henry Ford
To be successful in life, you need to take risks. In order to take risks you need to stop worrying about what might happen if it doesn’t work out. Yes, it can mean being in an uncomfortable situation, but instead of looking at something like a financial burden, think of it as an investment in your future.
They are successful because they try new things, and they know that there’s an exception to every rule. Vera Wang, once known as a professional figure skater, moved into fashion with no formal experience. She spent 17 years working as an editor for Vogue, and when she was denied the editor-in-chief position she left the company. For the next two years Vera worked as a design director for Ralph Lauren, but after struggling to find the right dress for her upcoming wedding, she left the company to open “Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd.” The rest is history.
- Don’t stay stagnant if you are not growing
- Do understand that as long as you are not hurting anyone in the process of success, taking risks will help you rise above
11. Letting Go Of Perfection
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
To let go of your type-A personality, sometimes you have to just remind yourself that this will not be your last and only chance. Success is to follow your passion, and passion needs to be implemented into your lifestyle. If you think you will nail everything in one go, you might be fooling yourself.
The main ingredient to success is failure, so it’s no surprise that most successful people have the capacity to let go of perfection to take their first steps. They know that success is ongoing and learning never stops.
- Don’t think that perfection exists, it doesn’t
- Do know that you can make something perfect for you, for the moment, but like time, everything eventually evolves, including your idea of perfection.
12. Addressing Problems
“Telling people ‘no’ does not need to be an act of rejection. Learning to say no the right way can prove you’re an attentive teammate.” – Brian de Haaff, cofounder and CEO of Aha! Labs Inc.
When you address a problem at the root, you are buying yourself time and energy. Whether that’s admitting a mistake before the mistake has even surfaced, keeping open communication with the people around you, or using a strong “No” to avoid unstable situations. None the less, being proactive in every situation will be beneficial to you.
Before anything gets out of hand, successful people like to source the root of their problem as soon as possible. This helps them bypass hours, days, or even weeks of troubleshooting a situation.
- Don’t bush problems under the rug, that’s where problems go to manifest and marinate until they become unmanageable.
- Do be aware of high-risk potential problems (like knowing the fire doors on a airplane), keep a close eye without obsessing.
13. Being A Leader
“If you are honest, truthful, and transparent, people trust you. If people trust you, you have no grounds for fear, suspicion or jealousy.” – Dalai Lama
To be a leader, you mentor the people around you instead of having expectations of them. Success is teaching, rather than barking demands and reminding people why you are the one barking.Advertising
Most successful people are successful because they lead and encourage, rather than bully others around with their “superior” status.
- Don’t gloat, people wont respect that quality
- Do your part, get in the action, get messy, and have fun with the people around you, you’re a team player
14. Working Hard
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’” – Audrey Hepburn
“I will not waste time on second thoughts. My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.” ― Andy Andrews
To make success out of the impossible you have to believe that you can make something out of anything. You have to always go that extra mile, and no matter how crazy of an idea you may have, just go for it. It might just be the next best thing.
At 36 years old, Julia Child, had moved to Paris, France with no experience in great food. It didn’t take long for her interest in French cuisine to spike, steering her in the direction famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. By the age of 50 she had published the book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, and went on to have her own TV show. Successful people don’t always know what they are going to be successful at, but with healthy lifestyle habits anyone can find success in new or old passions.
- Don’t discourage your ideas because it hasn’t been done before
- Do see opportunity in the untouched field
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
“Failure is a prerequisite for great success. If you want to succeed faster, double your rate of failure.” – Brian Tracy
The goal is to not let any hiccup or roadblock discourage your passion to dream big. Turn that dream into reality and never give up on yourself.
Successful people can’t be stopped once they start. They might not always know what they are trying to achieve in the moments, but all of their failed attempts usually lead to a form of greatness.
- Don’t see failure as a dead-end but as an opportunity to grow
- Do learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others
“For the most part, “naturals” are myths. People who are especially good at something may have some innate inclination, or some particular talent, but they have also spent about ten thousand hours practicing or doing that thing.” ― Meg Jay
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Featured photo credit: Man Looking At Sun Whilst Hiking At Red Rock Man/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com
Published on May 18, 2021
How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.
The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.
Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.
Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.
Table of Contents
Listen to Understand, Not to Speak
There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.
Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.
Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.
We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.
Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.
A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.
The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.
Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event. And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.
Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.
Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!
Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words
While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.
Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved. When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.
These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.
Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.
Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?
Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.
Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.
Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons. These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.
Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.
Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All
As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.
This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.
Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption. Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.
Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.
These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.
Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.
Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!
More Tips Improving Listening Skills
- 11 Tips to Help Improve Your Active Listening Skills
- 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home
- How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com
|||^||NCBI: Listening Effort: How the Cognitive Consequences of Acoustic Challenge Are Reflected in Brain and Behavior|
|||^||NCBI: The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory|
|||^||NCBI: Brain Mechanisms Underlying Human Communication|
|||^||NCBI: Body language in the brain: constructing meaning from expressive movement|
|||^||NCBI: The Role of the Human Mirror Neuron System in Supporting Communication in a Digital World|
|||^||Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences: The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress|