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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 April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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