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Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Practice These 10 Little Things If You Want To Step Out From Your Comfort Zone

Stay in your comfort zone and nothing will ever happen! There will be no changes at all in your life, no self-improvement, no gaining new skills and experiences. You have reduced stress to a minimum and routine is king. Just go back to sleep and enjoy the warmth and security.

Now, when you wake up again, think about this. If you were to move out of your comfort zone, how would you feel? Well, a bit scared, hungry, tired and downright uncomfortable. And what would you gain from all that? You could be happier, more successful and much more confident for a start. Then you would be able to get your fears into perspective, boredom would deflate like a burst balloon, and excitement would become your new power drug.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”- Brian Tracy

Now, let’s get started. Here are 10 small steps to help you get out of that stuffy comfort zone.

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1. Convert your anxiety into action

Too much anxiety can paralyze you. Too little can make you lethargic. Psychologists have identified the sweet spot which is somewhere in between. Practice identifying your fears and take action. The Nike slogan “Just do it” is a really great one.

2. Change your diet

Nothing drastic to start with. Maybe you need more energy and maybe you need to slim down. Get an app like My Fitness Pal which will tell you where you are going wrong. You can find a full list of apps here. Then eliminate the bad food gradually and start trying a new one every day or every week.

3. Try volunteering

Move out of your comfort zone and help others. Yes, it will be a bit strange and uncomfortable but the rewards are great. Watch the TED talk here by Mark Bezos who works in his spare time as a volunteer firefighter.

“If you have something to give, give it now.” – Mark Bezos

4. Break out of your routine

Look at how you do things and how you waste time. Is there a better way? Is the time you get up and what you do before breakfast set in stone by some merciless and fearful god? No! Start reading before you leave the house. That may mean getting up earlier but you will be amazed at the benefits.

5. Count the pennies

If you are on a tight budget, it may be time to keep a watchful eye on everything you spend. Leave your credit card at home and decide to pay for everything with cash. Try this for a few months and you will soon realize what you really need and what you can do without. You will be surprised at the savings you can make. These can go towards your next holiday.

6. Try not to be so shy

If you are like me, you will keep new social encounters to a minimum. It is the usual fear of venturing into new social territory. The next time, stay a little longer and you will discover that as you practice this regularly, the discomfort and unease will gradually disappear.

7. Set a new goal

If you want to get fit again, the enormity of the task will convince you it is just not worth it. Wrong again! Putting things off means they never get started, let alone completed. The secret is to write down some baby steps which will get you to that goal. Step one might be walking to the supermarket instead of taking the car. When you achieve that, move on to the next step. Celebrate each minor victory.

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8. Find a partner

No, not the usual soulmate till death us do part! This one is a bit more banal and you do not have to spend the rest of your life with them so it is a much more attractive proposition. Find a buddy to accompany you on those walks or visits to the gym. Find a friend to take along to a party when the socializing gets you down. If you do this, you have someone to share your goals with and also you have to be accountable. You will have to justify or explain why you did not achieve your goals. Your friend’s advice and support will help you to try again.

9. Do something scary

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear is locking you up and preventing you from discovering new opportunities and friendships. Make a list of your fears and then try to do at least one a week so that you are experiencing a little discomfort and anxiety. This can be anything from forcing yourself to speak up at a meeting (I hated that!) or offering to help someone with their errands. You will be glad you did and one of the rewards is greater confidence in yourself.

10. Time to get real

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”- Tim Ferris

Did you know that the more tough conversations you have, the more successful you are likely to be? I mean having frank conversations with a partner, friend or boss. This is the toughest one of all because we often build a wall of convenience around all our relationships. Deep down, there may be something that is making us unhappy or holding us back. Time to get real and talk this through with the person involved. This requires courage and when you do this, you are really moving out of your comfort zone.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”- John Augustus Shedd

Featured photo credit: Bungee Jump, Interlaken- Switzerland/Alan Light via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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