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What You Should Really Invest In If You Want To Be Successful

What You Should Really Invest In If You Want To Be Successful

What do you think of when you hear the word “invest?” What do you think of the word “success?” Doing the first will lead you to having the second, but how?

What I Thought Success Required

As a child and early teen, my vision of success came from my parents and society. My parents encouraged me to learn all I could at school. So I did. I focused deeply on my studies. My grades were great and I was in the top three in my high school class. It didn’t matter the subject, over time I learned to enjoy them all—except gym class, I wasn’t really into sports. But I knew that was fine. Education would rescue me.

The odds are that you were given the same story: get an education, get a good job, stay at the company for 40 years and retire with a big pension. If we’ve learned anything since the Crash of 1987 and the 2008 Recession, it’s this: jobs aren’t stable.

Success Will Cost You

I know you want success. So do I. But the idea of coasting to success based on a degree (or multiple degrees) and a single company just doesn’t happen anymore. You know success is possible, but how? You have to pay the price. You have to make the investments. Not the investments in mutual funds, real estate, or the stock market (although those have their places). No, you have to make investments that will have a positive return—no matter what happens to the market, or your job, or anything else over which you don’t have complete control. Here are the five areas you should really invest in if you want to be successful.

1. Invest in Books

According to Pew research, half of all American adults read less than 5 books in 2013. That number is essentially unchanged from previous years. Five books in a year is a relatively low number. However, if they were books to help you succeed and you applied all of the principles, then you might benefit very much!

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Success Books

    What are people actually reading? According to author Tom Corly,

    People who make $35,000 or less per year read for entertainment 79% of the time.

    People who make $160,000 or more per year read for entertainment only 11% of the time.

    People who make $160,000 or more per year read two or more books per month in areas specifically targeted to help them grow personally and/or in their careers.

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    Among the $35,000 and below income group? 15% read the same number of books in those areas.

    It’s pretty clear that investing in reading the right kinds of books can make a great difference in your level of financial success!

    2. Invest in Events

    In one of my businesses, I went from a $500 investment to over $70,000 in monthly revenue—in seven months. My wife and I were working out of our home helping people to lose weight and get in shape. It was so much fun! But do you know what we did before we made much money at all? We went to an event to learn from people who had already done so.

    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

      No matter your industry, there are likely events that you could attend. In the automotive industry, there are the Detroit and Chicago auto shows. In electronics, there is the Consumer Electronics Show. Real estate investors have multiple conferences per year. When you invest in attending an event, you not only learn, but your vision grows. You see not just where you are, but where you can be. In talking about mission trips for people (a very specific type of event investment) best-selling author and pastor Mark Batterson puts it this way, “A change in place plus a change in pace equals a change in perspective.”

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      3. Invest in a Coach or Mentor

      Do you know why you are reading this article right now? Let me share two of the reasons: I attended an event and I hired a coach. You may know exactly what you want to do for success. You may have a vision board, a series of daily affirmations, and wonderfully specific goals. But do you know how to make it all happen?

      Mentor

        Do you know all of the small details, or the possible pitfalls? Do you know where making a tiny change could result in a huge return? Do you know where you are just beating your head against the wall and need to stop? No? But guess who does: someone who has already been there. When you hire a great coach, you will save yourself years of frustration and thousands of lost dollars. They will lead you, correct you, encourage you, and (like events) show you a vision bigger than your own. Take your money and invest in a coach, or suffer the consequences of trying to figure it out on your own.

        4. Invest in Relationships

        Success isn’t all about money. How happy will you be if you are making $10 million per year but have no friends or loved ones with whom to share your time? I’d rather be flat broke (and I have been) and happily married than insanely wealthy but all alone.

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        Relationship

          When you are climbing the ladder of success, don’t leave behind those you love most! Lift them into their own success and enjoy the climb together. Invest in relationships because they are worth more than the most precious of diamonds.

          5. Invest in Health

          When I was in my mid-thirties, I decided to take charge of my weight. In less than a year, I was down over 50 lbs. Overall, I lost around 72 lbs from my heaviest and am now in my target weight range. When I was 42, I took up running. I’ve now been a runner for more than four years (feel free to do the math). Do you know why I made these changes and why you should too?

          Running

            Investing in your health has three main benefits:

            • You’ll feel much better: greater energy, a zest for life, and finally enjoying how your body performs.
            • You’ll inspire others: my wife, son, his wife, and a bunch of people I mentor are runners now.
            • You’ll live longer: success does you no good if you are dead. When you invest in your health, you’ll be around for more years to enjoy and share your success with those you love.

            Conclusion

            The idea that a degree and a life-long job will bring success no longer rings true. If you want success, you have to make it happen yourself. Success IS attainable—if you make the right investments. Investing in books (print, electronic, or audio), events, a coach, relationships, and your health will get you the success you so greatly desire… and will help you to bring others with you along the way.

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            Troy Stoneking

            Troy is a coach and speaker who helps people develop amazing relationships and love their work.

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            Last Updated on June 3, 2020

            How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

            How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

            We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

            However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

            Let’s take a closer look.

            Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

            A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

            Builds Workers’ Skills

            Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

            Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

            Boosts Employee Loyalty

            Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

            If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

            Strengthens Team Bonds

            Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

            However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

            Promotes Mentorship

            There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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            Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

            Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

            How to Give Constructive Feedback

            Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

            Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

            1. Listen First

            Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

            Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

            You could say:

            • “Help me understand your thought process.”
            • “What led you to take that step?”
            • “What’s your perspective?”

            2. Lead With a Compliment

            In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

            You could say:

            • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
            • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

            3. Address the Wider Team

            Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

            You could say:

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            • “Let’s think through this together.”
            • “I want everyone to see . . .”

            4. Ask How You Can Help

            When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

            You could say:

            • “What can I do to support you?”
            • “How can I make your life easier?
            • “Is there something I could do better?”

            5. Give Examples

            To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

            What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

            You could say:

            • “I wanted to show you . . .”
            • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
            • “This is a perfect example.”
            • “My ideal is . . .”

            6. Be Empathetic

            Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

            You could say:

            • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
            • “I understand.”
            • “I’m sorry.”

            7. Smile

            Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

            8. Be Grateful

            When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

            You could say:

            • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
            • “We all learned an important lesson.”
            • “I love improving as a team.”

            9. Avoid Accusations

            Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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            You could say:

            • “We all make mistakes.”
            • “I know you did your best.”
            • “I don’t hold it against you.”

            10. Take Responsibility

            More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

            Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

            You could say:

            • “I should have . . .”
            • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

            11. Time it Right

            Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

            If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

            12. Use Their Name

            When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

            You could say:

            • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
            • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

            13. Suggest, Don’t Order

            When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

            You could say:

            • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
            • “Try it this way.”
            • “Are you on board with that?”

            14. Be Brief

            Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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            One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

            15. Follow Up

            Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

            You could say:

            • “I wanted to recap . . .”
            • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
            • “Did that make sense?”

            16. Expect Improvement

            Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

            By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

            You could say:

            • “I’d like to see you . . .”
            • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
            • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
            • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

            17. Give Second Chances

            Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

            You could say:

            • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
            • “I’d love to see you try again.”
            • “Let’s give it another go.”

            Final Thoughts

            Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

            More on Constructive Feedback

            Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

            Reference

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