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Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

It’s easy to say “FML,” but every time yousay that, youare actually giving up your control over your life.

Even though we don’t have control over others and external situations, we do have control over ourselves and our choices. Blaming others and events for our misfortune is an easy way out, but it doesn’t help to solve your problems.

Taking responsibility and admitting you screwed up takes courage. But, once you own up to your mistakes and realize youare incontrol of your life, you willmake decisions that move you forward.

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When you come from a poor family, work smarterthan everybody else.

Ifyou come from a poor family, don’t blame it on life’sunfairness. Don’t ask why other kidshave an easier life than you or whytheir parents can buy them things while yours can’t.Everyone’s starting point is different. Don’t make your ending point the same as your starting point. Instead, work smartand believe that you have the power to makeyour life better.

Here’s how to work hard:

  1. Be grateful for what you have. Count the things that money can’t buy —happiness, talent, passion.
  2. Use what you have. If your parents can’t afford to buy you toys, use your imagination. Make games and toys out of scraps.
  3. Discoveryour strengths. Everyone has strengths. When you have the minimum, it is easier for you to know what your strengthsare.
  4. Work smart while working hard. Working hard comes after knowing what your strengths are, because you want to be able to leverage your strengths. Your parents could be working hard, but still earning very little. You want to work smart too, and not just work hard.
  5. Find your motivation.Work hard not just for yourself, but also work hard for the people you care about (for example, to give your parents a better life).

When you weren’t loved as a child, spread love to others.

It’s difficult to believe inlove when you come from a broken family or when your parents abused you. But blaming your parents for your childhood won’thelp you at all.Instead, take control of your life and stopthis vicious loop.Spread love instead of hate. You’ll find more joyin doing so.

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Here’s how to spread love:

  1. Love yourself first. You can’t love someone else when you don’t love yourself. You didn’t receive much love from your parents and you might doubt if you deserve love. So, find the good qualities inyourself and build your self-esteem first.
  2. Forgive your parents.Your parents have their own problems too. Manyparents don’t know how to be parents because they weren’t taught how to. Forgivingthem doesn’t mean you condone what they have done.
  3. Know you have the ability to love.Just because you didn’t receive love as a child, doesn’t mean you can’t give love. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind to others.
  4. Practice empathy. You know how it felt to notreceive enough love. Don’t let others feel the same way.
  5. Spread love withoutexpecting it to be returned. Not everyone will return your kindness, but that’s okay. You love yourself enough. Anything else is a bonus. Plus, the real joy comes from giving, not receiving.

When you hate your job, find a new one.

It’s tempting to blame your boss for giving you too much work, or your colleagues for making your life miserable. But, you have a choice. If you hate your current job so much, stop complaining about it and get a new one. You are responsible for your own happiness.

Here’s how to find a new job:

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  1. Know yourself well. The job you hate might be a job that another person loves.Some jobs donotfit your personality. It’s up to you to find out what fits you.
  2. Do an audit for your current job. Know what you like and dislike about your current job. For your next job, find something that encompasses more of your likes and less of your dislikes.
  3. Budget. Knowing your current financial status and expenses is important. Sometimes, you think you can’t change jobs because you are financially restricted.Doing a budget will help you find ways to cut your expenses.
  4. Buildnew relationship. You think it’s unfair that others are able to get jobs easier than you because of their relationships. The truth is that relationships are important. Most jobvacanciesaren’t advertised. They are filled by recommendations.
  5. Learn. Don’t be jealous of successful people. Learn from them.Understand what they do to become successful and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for your next job.

When your health gives you problems, care foryour body.

Don’t blame bad genes for yourweight issues or hair loss problems.You may not have the best genes in the world, but you can do something about your health.

Here’s how to care for your body:

  1. Listen to your body.When you have an illness or pain, your body is telling you that you need to pay attention to that part of your body. So listen carefully to these signs.
  2. Develop healthy routines. Don’t wait for your body to break down, then eat healthy food and exercise. Health is about maintaining, not about fixing.
  3. Understandyour system. Not all bodies are builtthe same. Everyone’s body works differently. If you know that you put on weight easily, be mindful about your sugar intake. You can’t choose your genes, but you can choose what you put inside your mouth.
  4. Accept your body.Love your body more than that piece of chocolate cake because it willbe with you tillyou die.
  5. Give it a break. When you are tired, sleep. Mediate or fast if necessary. Your body is working hard for you all day long. Schedule time to rest your organs.

When someoneyou love betrays you, let them go.

You deserve better. Don’t allow people who are problematic and mean to hinder your life. Let them goand embrace the future.

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Here’s how to let them go:

  1. Practice forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but forgiveness is the first step to being free. And it’s not just about forgiving them, it’s also about forgiving yourself for trusting the wrong person.
  2. Don’t be the savior. Your ego will make you think you areable to save them. No, you can’t. Only they can change themselves. And if you are genuinely in love with them, you won’t need them to change.
  3. Leave their life. Even though you forgive them doesn’t mean theydeserve your attention. Excluding them from your lifegives you a chance to heal.
  4. Raise your standards.Learn how to say no, especially topeople who take advantage of you. Choose who you allow into your life.
  5. Don’t losehope. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll find someone better in the future. They are just not the one.

Featured photo credit: Man/Avel Chuklanov via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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