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You’ve Had A Difficult Past, But You Seldom Talk About It And Just Smile, Here’s Why

You’ve Had A Difficult Past, But You Seldom Talk About It And Just Smile, Here’s Why

If you had a deprived childhood or have survived a divorce, you will probably not want to talk about it at all. You may have been neglected as a child, bullied at school, passed over in promotion at work, abandoned by your partner, or been subjected to violence, abuse and other traumas. Yet, you have put your difficult past behind you, continue to smile and look on the bright side. Here are 8 reasons why you took this empowering and inspiring pathway.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”- William Shakespeare

1. You refuse to play the victim for life

We all have battle scars and they hurt at times. But you have decided that the painful past must not lame you for life. The rationale is simple. You will not play the victim or let people know the awful truth because that means you are somewhat addicted to your pain. You were exploited and defenseless. Instead you have decided to forgive, forget and move on.

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2. You can start afresh

We all make mistakes and I could list a few horrific ones where I took the wrong turning in my life. Like me, you have decided that mistakes are for burning or burying. You have taken your inspiration from Thomas Edison whose workshop exploded in 1914 and all his work was lost. He had to start over but he was glad that all his mistakes were lost.

“Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start again fresh.”- Thomas Edison.

3. You have stopped blaming yourself

You have stopped all the negative mantras about how foolish and gullible you were. Psychologists will always tell us that blaming ourselves is a natural defense mechanism in the post traumatic period. It is also a manifestation of the powerlessness you feel. You have taken the high road to recovery and healing. There is no stopping you and that is why you are smiling now.

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4. You refuse to let obstacles stand in your way

After a traumatic past when every obstacle imaginable blocked your progress, you may have thought that life is just one long struggle. Ryan Holiday has written a book called The Obstacle Is The Way in which he praises the people like you who have the mental strength to overcome things they cannot control. You are the living testimony to that because you still have plenty of grit and resilience, even now. Obstacles are part and parcel of life’s journey.

“May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.” – Jane Lotter

5. You have buried the memories

You have cultivated successfully the concept of mindfulness so that the moment is now. You are in the zone. Memories are exhausting and they use loads of negative energy.

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“Remember? Ohh, I wouldn’t do that! Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place.” – Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke

6. You keep daydreaming to a minimum

Who doesn’t daydream? It can throw you back into imagining all the “what ifs” scenarios. Or it can trap you into daydreaming about the future. You have dreams of course, but you manage to steer the daydreaming into keeping to your agenda and empowering you in the best possible way.

7. You have worked through your grief

We have all grieved loved ones and mourned their loss. But there are other losses such as financial stability, pets, good health, and loving relationships which can take time to heal. You have coped with the anger, despair and the rollercoaster of ups and downs. When all that has taken its course, you are ready to face life again and enjoy it to the full.

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“Loss has no friend, no allies, no benefit to the human spirit.”- Asa Don Brown.

8. You are traveling light

The traumas, disappointments and wrongs tend to be very heavy. You know the people who always manage to drop these into the conversation or worse still, mention them as excuses, justification, and to evoke pity. But wisely, you have decided that there is no more heavy baggage and you are travelling light from now on.

“Everyone you meet comes with baggage, find someone who cares enough to help you unpack.” – Ziad K.Abdelnour

Not only are you mindful, strong, caring, and confident but you are the best person I know to help other people unpack.

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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