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30 Things I Realized About Life Before Turning 30

30 Things I Realized About Life Before Turning 30

Where does the time go??? The dreaded 30 is just around the corner beckoning at me but instead of looking back and wondering what I could have done, should have done or shouldn’t have done, I choose to celebrate it. I think we take life for granted these days and we dread getting older. Getting older should be a celebration of how far we have come, the achievements we have made and the experiences we have had along the way. We can all agree we are better for it.

There are a few things I have learned on this journey of my life and I put together a list of things that I have come to realize are true and have stood the test of time. Turning 30 does not have to be a dreadful experience it can be an introspective one where you can look back and appreciate the person you have become. So take the leap with me.

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  1. Don’t settle. If it doesn’t make you happy don’t even try. You will end up wasting time that you could have been spending with someone else.
  2. Family comes first. Whether it’s you first family or your second family,  put these people first. They will always have your back.
  3. Friends are more precious than gold. A good friend is priceless. You can have all the things in the world but without people to enjoy them with it can get pretty lonely. You will need good friends more as you get older.
  4. A good reputation is worth everything. People may not like you but they will respect you and from where I’m standing respect gets doors opened for you.
  5. Find something greater than yourself to believe in. No revolution has ever been started without a belief in something greater than ourselves. Whether it is a god or belief system, just find something that centers and grounds you.
  6. Being debt-free is the best thing you could do for yourself. So savor those ramen noodles if you need to but get out of useless debt. If you are not debt-free yet, now is the time to work toward your goal.
  7. Travel when you can. Those are some of the best memories you will have and they make for such great conversation.
  8. Drop your prejudices. You are now old enough to form your own opinions about people without your parent’s influence. The world is such a better place without angry people.
  9. The important decisions don’t have to be made on the fly. Weigh your options, ask for advice and make sound decisions for things that will have a long-term impact on your life.
  10. Create a filter for your thoughts. You can’t allow everything you see or hear to influence you. In the same way, you have to know which things to let in and which ones to discard.
  11. Learn to love your own company. Some people are so afraid to be by themselves but sometimes you need to be alone to truly find yourself.
  12. Invest in your future. Maximize your 401K contribution, have an IRA, or another type of investment. Whichever avenue you choose just invest in your future unless you want to work forever.
  13. Make a change if you don’t like your job. If you don’t like what you do for a living now would be the time to make that change.
  14. Have one person in your life who will tell it like it is. We all need a reality check once in a while, we also need a voice of reason.
  15. Take care of your health. Exercise often and stay fit. See your doctor for that annual check up, you pay insurance after all USE it. Take care of your teeth. I can’t imagine having to wear dentures so visit your dentist at least two times a year.
  16. Spend your money wisely. Spend it on things that you need. Don’t be the type of person that has to have the latest model of everything. Is it really necessary? In that same line of thinking make sure you have a few nice things. You only have one life to live and this is no rehearsal so don’t save the best for last. You might not be around to enjoy it.
  17. People’s opinions are just that, opinions. As I said above have a filter for the things you let it and people’s opinions should not change who you are.
  18. Life isn’t fair, it just isn’t. Some people will always have more than you have and they’ll have better things. Teach yourself to be content with what you have. You will be so much happier for it.
  19. Be grateful for what you have. Nothing more to say just take a moment and just be grateful. Think of that song.
  20. Learn to let things go. Don’t hold on to your anger and to grudges. Anger and hatred are consuming and not in a good way. They eat at you and make you a version of you that is not pleasant. Forgive and move on.
  21. Never pay full price for anything. This is a fun one but I don’t ever pay full price for anything unless I can’t help it. I am not a couponer but I have bought $300 suits for less than $50 so…I definitely hate paying full price!
  22. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else is.
  23. Learn from your experiences good and bad. Don’t repeat the mistakes you made in your twenties over and over again. There is a name for that – foolishness. If something worked the first time then there is no point trying to re-invent the wheel keep doing what you are doing if its working.
  24. Don’t make decisions when you are angry. I have made big mistakes when I have made decisions when I wasn’t in a reasonable state of mind.
  25. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. I learned this from experience. If you think you deserve a bigger raise than what is offered, make sure you say it. The worst that could happen is they say no BUT they could say yes.
  26. You can’t make everyone happy so stop trying too hard. There are people who will never appreciate you as you are. You are not perfect so quit trying.
  27. Time is your greatest asset. It is the one thing you will never have more of. Your days are numbered, remember? So make the best of the time that you have.
  28. Be kind to people. Extend yourself even when you don’t want to. It will make you feel so much better. I promise.
  29. Know who you are and don’t let people try to define you. If you stand firmly in what you believe people learn to respect you. It doesn’t matter how trivial it may seem, when you stand for something you won’t fall for anything.
  30. NO is a full sentence. You don’t need to qualify it or explain yourself. If you don’t want to do something or whatever the case may be just say NO and leave it at that.

Featured photo credit: Long Road/paraflyer via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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