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100 Tips to Help You Live An Amazing Life

100 Tips to Help You Live An Amazing Life

Over the last 31 years of my life, I’ve learned a lot through my experiences.

These experiences include:

1. Having my articles featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune and Inc.

2. Starting two companies and building 4 top 100 apps in different categories

3. 10 years in the technology industry at amazing companies like Cisco, VMware, Box and Optimizely

4. Writing a book on Amazon that hit #1 in the resumes category with over 40,000 Kindle downloads

And today, I’ll be sharing with you my top 100 tips on work, life hacks and life lessons.

To make it easier to read, I’ve categorized this into three categories for you:

Work tips – #1-34

Life hacks – #35-55

Life lessons – #56-100

Hope it helps you live an epic life! Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering, that person in the photo of this article is me!

Work tips:

1. Say no to 1 hour meetings – “I love 1 hour meetings,” said no one ever. 1 hour meetings are often unnecessary. You can usually accomplish in 30 minutes w hat you thought you needed an hour for. 30 minutes will force you to be concise and on point.

2. Do the Steve Jobs walk – Steve Jobs often did some of his most important meetings while going for a walk. I do this all the time. First, doing meetings in conference rooms can feel very stiff. Second, getting people outside of their everyday environment may get them to see things from a new perspective. Third, being physically active during your meeting could help you think more clearly. So open the door, get some fresh air and go for a walk.

3. Visualize your success – Imagine 3 groups of basketball players.

*The first group would practice shooting free throws 20 minutes a day.

*The second group wouldn’t practice free throws but would visualize themselves making free throws.

*The third group would not practice or visualize at all.

The results? There was a significant improvement in the second group. In fact, they were almost as good as the first group.

By the way, this is a real experiment that was conducted by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson.

So if you want to get that new jobs, imagine yourself prepping for the interview, nailing it and signing the job offer. Visualize what you want your future to be.

4. Listen first before speaking – Seek to understand first. How can you make an intelligent remark on something if you haven’t taken the time to observe what’s happening first? You have two ears and only one mouth. There’s a reason for that.

5. Keep your daily to do list small – Instead of writing up a huge to do list every day – focus on completing the 3 more important items every day. This forces you to prioritize your activities to ensure you’re getting the best return on your energy and time. Ask this question: “Do I really need to do this today?”

6. Set goals – If you don’t even know where you’re headed, how will you create the plan on how to get there? Set your destination first and then set sail.

7. Celebrate progress – The journey to your goal could be a long one. So make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress along the way. Eat a nice dinner. High five your teammates. Strike a gong. Do a fist pump. Yell out from the rooftops. Because success is worth celebrating.

8. Figure out your why – It’s a such a great question that isn’t asked enough. Why does it all matter? Figure out your why and that’ll be the fuel for your motivation. Whether it’s supporting your family or making an impact on the world, figuring out your why is critical to taking your work to the next level.

9. Understand your strengths and amplify those – You’ll be naturally talented in certain areas or you’ll practice a skill enough to become an expert at it. Focus your energy on amplifying those strengths rather than trying to be mediocre at everything. Better to be an expert at a few things than a mediocre jack of all trades!

10. Don’t burn bridges – I get it, we all work with jerks at some point in our careers. Who cares? Don’t let it get to you. There’s no need to say anything bad about them. If anything, try to find humor in it, learn from it and move on. You’ve got better things to focus on. Like being the most epic version of yourself that you can be.

11. View challenges as opportunities – Have you ever spent a long time waiting at the post office to ship something before? I know I have. What if instead of complaining of that process, you created an app that would allow you to request a driver to arrive at your house and to pick up and deliver your shipment for you? If you viewed that challenge as an opportunity, you would have created Shyp, an amazing app that does exactly that.

12. Shorten your commute – I used to travel over 3 hours on the freeway for work every day for a few years. I was stressed, tired and exhausted. I also wasted a ton of time sitting in a car. It’s absolutely not worth it. Work near where you live. If you can, make it within walking distance. Imagine 3 hours a day working on something you love. Time is precious. Don’t waste it on the freeway.

13. Test your assumptions – Did you know that A/B testing helped Barack Obama raise $60M by running a simple experiment? Optimizely has a great blog post that details this further.

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At the end of the day, all of us have an opinion at work. The only way to know the answer is to test your assumptions.

14. Dip your toes into the water – You never really know until you try. If you never try, you’ll always be wondering “what if.” So what are you waiting for? Want to explore a new career? Want to learn about a different department? Want to start your own business? Dip your toes into the water. Make it happen.

15. Give credit where it’s due – People can’t stand it when someone takes credit for something they didn’t do. Don’t be that person. Recognize others when they do an awesome job. It creates trust among teammates and will you further as a company.

16. Every person you meet is a potential door opener to a new opportunity – Be nice to people. You never know how you can help each other down the road.

17. Make data driven decisions – When in doubt, look at the data. What is it telling you?

18. Trust your gut – Data driven decisions aren’t quite as helpful when there’s little or no data to work with. In those cases, go with your gut.

19. Focus on the 80/20 rule – 20% of your clients will usually generate 80% of the return. Focus your energy on the work that matters.

20. 10 years test – You’re going to run into problems that might seem like disasters. Don’t freak out. Instead, use the 10 years test. Will this problem matter in 10 days? In 10 months? In 10 years? Probably not. And if it won’t, don’t stress about it. It’s not worth it.

21. Do what you love- Life’s short. Do you really want to spend 23.8% of your life working at a job that you hate? Didn’t think so. Do what you love.

22. Focus on making an impact – Don’t do work for the sake of looking busy or only because someone told you to. Think about the impact. And if it’s not impactful, have the courage to say so. Challenge yourself to do great work that makes an impact.

23. Lead with or without the title – You don’t need a big title to make a difference at your company. You can lead by driving a new initiative, coming up with an awesome idea or by coaching and encouraging your teammates to be at their best.

24. Build a personal brand – You have a living, breathing brand. Want to build a great brand? Dress the part. Act the part. Live the part.

For example, if you want to be perceived as a great content marketer, you’ve got to act the part. You could write a ton of Quora posts, LinkedIn articles and blog posts on the subject of content marketing. That way, when people have a need for content marketing, they think of you because they’ve seen 500 of your posts.

25. Invest in your LinkedIn profile – Nearly every single recruiter who has reached out to me this year found me on LinkedIn. Think about that for a second.

Time’s have changed.

We used to submit our resume to company websites to find jobs. While it can still work, it’s not the most effective way to learn about new job opportunities.

Once you submit your resume, it’s immediately outdated. LinkedIn, however, is brilliant because people are incentivized to update their profiles constantly. So what ends up happening? Recruiters find most of the best talent on LinkedIn.

It’s a new age folks. Invest in your LinkedIn profile. I have a ton of tips on this in my book “The Resume is Dead”(It would take us way too long to highlight in this post).

26. Leave your business card at home – Add someone on LinkedIn instead. It’s easier to keep in touch with them, reduces your administrative work in loading that person into your contact book and updates on each other are easily viewed. Welcome to the cloud.

27. Stay humble – You might be pretty good at what you do, but chances are somebody else in the world does it better. And even if you are the best at it, chances are you aren’t good at a million other things. So stay humble. Stay foolish. Stay hungry. And keep learning from others.

28. Embrace failure and learn from it – You are going to fail at some point in life. It could be a big event, like getting fired. It could be a small event, like forgetting to do the laundry. It’s all relative.

The important thing is to recognize that the process for dealing with big or small failures is the same.

Acknowledge that it happened. Deal with the situation. Learn from it. Improve yourself. And move on.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, went from being an unemployed single mother living off unemployment benefits to becoming one of the best selling authors of all time.

Failure happens. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

29. Embrace your champions – Along the way, you will find people that genuinely believe in you and your mission. They will cheer you on. Embrace them. Even if your only champion is your mom.

30. Embrace your naysayers – On this same journey, you’ll also find people who doubt you every step of the way. Embrace them too. Only this time, use that doubt as your source of motivation. I had 4 managers who ranked me second to last in interviews at a Fortune 100 company. I used that to motivate me when I finally landed a job. I ended up managing the #1 operation in the country. Thanks for the motivation.

31. Recognize the importance of transparency – People are more empathetic when they understand why things are happening. When they’re left in the dark, it becomes hard to build trust. Be transparent.

32. Invest in a standing desk – A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting increases our chances of getting a disease or condition that will kill us prematurely. Holy. Moly. Get a standing desk. Now. I did this for two years and felt way more productive.

33. Work smart – Why are we doing this? Does it have to be done this way? Is there a better way to do it? How can I get a better return in less time?

Keep asking questions like this. Working hard is great. Working smart and hard is a even better. #WinningCombo

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34. Find mentors who live your desired lifestyle – Want to work 5 hours a week and travel the world? Find people who have create a passive income lifestyle successfully likePat Flynn, Eric Siu and Benny Hsuand have them be your mentors. While they may not be able to mentor you 1:1, you can have them be a virtual mentor by following their website learnings.

Life hacks:

35. Freeze your fruits/vegetables – You want to eat healthy but your produce always manages to go bad before you can finish it. So here’s what you do instead: right before it goes bad, freeze it! Then you can use it in soups, stews or smoothies in a pinch!

36. Cut the cable cord and get Netflix – You still get awesome entertainment and just reduced your monthly bill a ton.

37. Clean your home once a month – De-cluttering your living space will de-clutter your mind. Here’s a simply way to determine what you keep: Have I used this in the last year? If no, donate it.

38. Utilize quick pick me ups – Sometimes you just need something to jump start yourself into a happier mood. Watch a funny Youtube video (Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles, Ellen Degeneres clips), sing one of your favorite songs outloud or dance like nobody’s watching. Life’s short. You may as well have some fun.

39. Buy a chap stick keychain – Have you lost your chap stick before? I’ve lost a ton. That’s why I bought a chap stick keychain. Problem solved. My lips have never been happier. Smooth like butter.

40. Host events- When all is said and done, relationships are what matter. Host an event for your friends, family and loved ones so that you get a chance to spend some quality time together. Want to do it on a budget? Make it a potluck.

Want to make it work related? That’s awesome too. Trust me, your coworkers want to enjoy life outside of the office too. They may not always remember what you did in the office, but they’ll definitely remember the epic get togethers you hosted.

41. Invest in an awesome mattress – You spend about 33% of your life sleeping. Why would you skimp on your mattress? Help yourself get the best sleep possible.

42. Iron your shirt without an iron b- Don’t have an iron? Your last resort: hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower and then blow it dry with a hair dryer. It works for me all the time!

43. Arrive at least 2 hours before your flight take off time – Especially if it’s an international flight. Trust me, I’ve flown to over 50 cities in a year. You don’t need the stress.

44. Pack food for your flight – You don’t have to pay a small fortune to have lunch at the airport anymore. Bring your own sandwich, fruit or snack.

45. Wiggle your body during turbulence – I use to hate hitting turbulence. It would make me a nervous wreck. The solution? Wiggle your tush when the turbulence hits. You’ll feel less of it. I don’t know why this is true, but it works. I’ve tried it a few times now!

46. Charge your phone faster – Switch it into airplane mode and it’ll charge faster.

47. Get an extra battery pack – Let’s face it, we use our phones for almost everything nowadays including directions, finding places to eat, communicating and entertainment just to name a few. When our phones die, we’re close to being incapable of doing anything.

I’m kidding of course. But life does get harder without a smartphone to help out. So buy an extra battery pack.

48. Stay away from processed foods – The more you eat whole, natural foods like vegetables and fruits, the more likely your diet will stay healthy. Stay away from the processed stuff.

49. Don’t live someone else’s life – Learn to build your own values, passions, opinions and personality. You are not anyone else. You’re completely unique and awesome in your own way. This is your life. Own it.

When I told people I wanted to build a blog called CEO Lifestyle (a motivational blog designed to help people be the CEO of their lives)some of them were skeptical.

Who cares? It’s not their life. It’s mine. If I get passionate about motivating other people, I’m going to make it happen. So I built it. Guess what happened? There’s over 500 subscribers already in two months. #FollowYourDreams

50. Skip the caffeine – You don’t need it. You can make yourself more focused and awake by doing things that are completely natural and free. Here are some quick examples: exercise, meditation, drinking enough water (your frequent bathroom trips will make you alert, trust me) and working on something you’re passionate about.

51. Slow down – We get it. You want to make a dent in the universe. You want to change the world. You want to create something magical. Slow down. Take a deep breathe. You don’t have to react instantly all the time. Sometimes, taking a moment to collect yourself and to think about the situation might drive a better outcome for you. I learned this from a special person I met in Spain and it’s improved my quality of life tremendously.

52. Color code your keys – My friends taught me this trick. Ever fumble through your keys to try to find the right one, only to try it and realize it’s not? There’s a fix for that. Color code your keys. For example, our garage door is the yellow key, the green key is for the main public entrance and the red key is for our front door to our apartment unit. You can buy colored key covers on Amazon or use nail polish / paint to make the keys color coded. #problemsolved

53. Put a small garbage bin in your car – Notice your car getting messy? Admit it, you’ve tossed stuff you needed to throw away into the passenger seat before. You don’t have to live that kind of life. Get a small garbage bin.

54. Hang a tennis ball in your garage – Speaking of cars, have you ever had trouble parking your car in the garage? Seriously, it’s not easy to make sure that you parked close enough to the wall so that you car doesn’t get crushed by the garage door. Hang a tennis ball in your garage so that you know exactly when to stop moving forward.

55. Stuff newspaper in your shoes – It’ll remove the moisture and some of the smells it’s picked up over time. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t tried this one myself but I heard it works.

Life tips:

56. Learn one new thing a day – This could be one word from a new language, a scientific fact, a life hack or anything else that you’re interested in. Over time, learning one new thing a day will shape you into awesomeness.

57. Remember people’s names – Did you know that a study has shown that if you call people by their name, they usually respond with more energy and engagement? Yup, I ran that study. And my sample size group has been the thousands of people I’ve worked with over my 11 year career in technology. When you say someone’s name, it shows that you care. It shows that you recognize their presence. It shows that you’re a nice person. Try it.

58. Focus only on the present- Stop regretting the past. Stop worrying about the future. Focus on the present. Focus on the now. Feel the sun on your face. Feel the wind behind on your back. Hear the wind as it blows the tree branches. Dig your toes into the sand. Listen when people talk.

If you read a page from the last chapter over and over again you’ll never finish the book. So stop thinking about the past. Be in the now.

59. Listen to your body – When you’re exhausted, don’t fight it. Take a nap or sleep. When you feel stressed out, take a break. When you feel sick from eating that 10th donut, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done that. Learn to listen to the signals in your body and respond in the right way.

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60. Learn to let go – Mistakes happen. Don’t drill on it. Life isn’t perfect. Think of any issues you run into as “speed bumps” – they make the ride a little uncomfortable but you’ll get through it.

61. Read before sleeping – Don’t let the blue light from your computer or phone keep you up at night. You can use F.lux, which is an awesome app that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day. This way you can use your computer to read an awesome book and learn something new. Or you can go the old fashioned route and buy a hard cover book. Getting into the routine of reading before sleeping will help you wind down the day and learn something new at the same time!

62. You are the 5 people you surround yourself with – A few months ago, I ran into what I thought was a disaster for my company. A part of me wanted to shut down the company (It’s called Collide). My good friend and co-founder Steve challenged me immediately. He asked what I wanted to achieve in life and why I created the company in the first place. After a long talk, I realized that I wanted to stay the course. Steve helped me understand that my desire to succeed was far greater than my fears. I’m telling you this story because I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with people that inspire you to be better can completely take your life to new levels.

63. Learn to say no – You can’t do everything for everyone. Stop spreading yourself thin. Learn to say no. Focus on a few things and be great at those.

64. Explore the world – Travel the world. It’s a great way to get a fresh perspective on life. Howard Schultz traveled to Europe and feel in love with the coffee shops there. Guess what happened next? He started Starbucks. #GetInspired

65. Build your own values – Model yourself after people that you admire. At the end of the day though, you’ve got to be able to make your own judgment calls. The best way to do this is to decide what your values are. Once you do, write it down and post it on your mirror. It’s the foundation of who you are.

66. Embrace change – You need to get comfortable with this simple idea: The only thing constant is change. Instead of fearing it, embrace it.

67. Clean along the way – Sure, you could let those dishes pile up for a month, but that would be pretty painful to clean up. Along the way, your home would start to smell, fill with fruit flies and generally make it less enjoyable to live in. So don’t procrastinate. Clean along the way.

68. Silence can be beautiful – You don’t always have to fill up silence with words. Sometimes there is beauty in being silent.

69. When in doubt, simple respond with “Let me think about that.” – Let’s face it, we don’t always have the right answer. Instead of rushing to answer, tell the person that you need time to think about things further. This shows that you’re being thoughtful and also gives you something to respond with.

70. Do your most important task first thing in the morning – Your energy will be higher at this moment. It’s why I workout first thing in the morning most days.

71. Use the “We’ll see” method – Even when it seems like something terrible has happened at the moment, there’s the possibility that it might lead to something good in the future. So instead of making up your own conclusions about the future, just tell yourself, “We’ll see.”

72. Meditate – You can use apps like Headspace that are free and can help you clear your mind. This is an awesome way to relax your mind and body.

73. Realize that most people don’t care about you – Sorry, people’s lives don’t revolve around your universe. Well, the exception might be if you’re a celebrity. But in all seriousness, stop worrying about what other people think of you. Most of them don’t even really care that much. Instead, focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

74. There are a few people in the world that really deeply care about you – Keep those people close to you in life. They’re the ones that can make your life amazing. They’re the ones that will stick with you through the good and the bad.

75. Roll your clothes – When you travel, try rolling your clothes to maximize packing space. I did this and can fit 2.5 weeks of clothes into a carry on now.

76. Only you are responsible for your own life – So own it. Take control. You have to figure out what makes you happy. What gets you inspired. What drives you.

77. Say something awesome to yourself everyday – Positive reinforcement can help you maintain an upbeat mood even in the worst of times. Treat yourself well.

78. Take a deep breath – Didn’t that feel awesome? Yeah, try doing that more. You should feel better.

79. Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination – Growing up, I used to tell myself, if only I had this specific thing, I would be happy. After 31 years of living, I can tell you that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is a state of mind.

My close friend told me that he feels happiness when the sun shines on his face. He almost died when he was in his early twenties. He was saved by a stranger who donated a kidney to him. He’s happy that he’s alive today.

You can find happiness now. It’s right in front of you, everywhere you look. It’s up to you to open your eyes.

80. Remember to have the time of your life – Remember that at the end of the day, no one lives forever. So while you’re here, remember to have the time of your life. Laugh, smile and have fun.

81. Promise only on what you can deliver – Reliability goes a long way. A ton of people over promise and under deliver. Don’t be that person.

82. Be fearless – Fear is just a feeling. Learn to take it head on. Have a bias towards action and be fearless.

83. Be insanely curious – Being curious will help you keep an open mind. By doing so, you’ll learn new ideas and help bring passion and excitement in your life. You don’t know everything, so learn as much as you can in your life!

84. Think about how you can help others – At the end of the day, your legacy will be who you loved, who loved you and how much you helped others.

85. Time is your most valuable asset – I had a family friend who spent most of his life saving up every penny to eventually live the life he always wanted. After years of saving, he was involved in a tragic car accident. He never lived the life he dreamed about.

Money is valuable. Time is even more valuable.

Utilize money to help you find more time.

Time with your loved ones.

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Time with your buddies.

Time with your spouse.

Time with your kids.

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How do you spend your time?

86. Someone else’s recipe may not work for you – Just because it worked for someone else means it’ll work for you. Learn from others but also realize that everyone’s situation is unique.

87. Have an idea jar – Whether it’s for love, friendships or family, an idea jar is a great way to ensure you have activities to do together. The next time you have an idea for something, put it into the idea jar. Each week, you can pull one from the idea jar and voila, you’ve got some fun in your hands!

88. Act exactly how you feel – Why the poker face? It’s unnecessary. If you’re upset, act and feel upset. If you’re happy, smile. Better to be 100% authentic than to live a lie.

89. Smile at people – It makes you happier. It’s contagious. It lowers stress and anxiety. It strengthens your immune system. It makes you seem more competent. It makes your look trustworthy. It can even be an effective management technique.

And yes, every single of these has been proven by a study. Every. Single. One.

By the way, it cost you nothing. That’s awesome.

90. Simple is good – Stuff has administrative debt. That new car you just got? Maintenance and insurance. Those 10 shopping sites you subscribed to? 100 emails in your inbox you have to go through. Keep life simple. It’s easier and more enjoyable.

91. Don’t get attached to stuff – Once you take care of your basic necessities, like your health, shelter, clothing and food, chances are that stuff won’t make you happy. Don’t get too attached to it. When we leave this world we can’t bring our stuff with us anyway.

92. Choose experiences over stuff – What you should value are experiences. A simple dinner with your mother talking about life. A vacation with your spouse to a place you’ve always wanted to travel. A long talk with friends over a warm fire on a cold winter night. Working late night with your teammates to build a game changing startup. These are the moments you’ll remember.

93. Don’t compare yourself to others – Just focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

94. Making something for someone to show that you care – It’s easy to buy something for someone. Making something with love, passion and care is much harder. Go the extra mile and make something for the person that you love. Need ideas? Check out Pinterest.

95. Love yourself first – Before you fall in love with anyone else, make sure you’re in a good place. Learn to love yourself, including all of your awesomeness and your flaws. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the better you can love someone else.

96. Your word choice matters – Your words have a lot of power.

Version #1: “We have a problem with our project.”

Version #2: “We have an opportunity to fix things on this project.”

I feel a lot better hearing version #2. What about you?

97. Learn to let go – Sometimes you can’t fix things. Let it go.

98. Marry your best friend -You want someone who’s going to be there with you through the best and worst of times. Someone you can talk to all night or have a completely comfortable silence with. Someone who loves you for who you are.

99. Everyone has a story – Maybe someone was mean to you today. That sucks. But what if you found out it’s because they just learned about a tragedy in their family? It changes everything, doesn’t it? Just remember, everyone has their own story to tell.

100. Love – When all is said and done, all that you’ll really remember are the amazing people you’ve connected with and helped along the way. Love your friends. Love your family. Love your spouse. Love is all that matters. Love more.

I hope this list helps you live the best life possible.

What are you waiting for?

Go. Start. Now. Because it’s never too late to be amazing.

Best of luck,

Nelson

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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