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How to train for a happy life in 7 easy tips

How to train for a happy life in 7 easy tips

Every serious athlete will tell you that in order to compete with the best, you have to train. It takes hours upon hours to just get into the same league, let alone be the best at something. If we really want to excel at anything, we must prepare for it and make it part of our daily lives. It is not something we can just “wing” and see where we end up. It takes dedication, perseverance, and commitment.  It requires effort (lots of it) and a daily dose of attitude.

Isn’t life just as important?

Shouldn’t we be gearing up for bringing our best self to every moment, every experience, and every person we meet?  With all of the negativity in the world, we are bombarded with hate and anger, accompanied by misunderstanding and distrust.

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But we all want something better, don’t we? Maybe we won’t say it out loud, but we are all thinking it.

We all want to be happy. We all want to feel alive and that our days here mean something. We all want something to look forward to and to believe in.

No need to get on your latest running shorts or sneakers… you might not even break a sweat, but this training is serious stuff.

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Shake it off

There are always going to be things we cannot change though we want to and the past will always haunt us if we let it. If we really want to be happy, we have to move past the stuff that isn’t there anymore or the stuff that isn’t so happy.  Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting — it means, “I’ve accepted it, but holding onto it weighs me down or it makes me better.”  People are going to say bad things regardless of whether or not you are in their favor or not.  You know in your heart if it’s true or not.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.”

Positive vibes only

It’s easy to get sucked into the mindset of the “Debby Downers” who lurk around, just waiting for someone else to join their group.  Be mindful of those that sap your energy and those that restore it. ONLY spend time with the people who encourage you, who support you, and make you better.  It may mean saying “goodbye” to people you really care about, but no one can keep from drowning when people are constantly trying to hold you under water.  You can tell when you are with good people — you naturally gravitate towards them and find yourself removing yourself from those who just don’t have the “feel-good” vibes you need.  There is nothing wrong with putting your own needs before someone else’s.

Listen to your heart

Too often, we let our minds get in the way of our hearts.  We do what makes sense instead of trusting the path we already know we must take.  Listening to your heart can be difficult when people try to talk over it.  They tell you that your heart is wrong and that everything you love and want is just a waste of time.  Ignore them!  Your beating heart pounds its echo loud when it wants to be heard.  Your only job is to believe in its message and allow it to guide you where you really need to be.  No matter where it takes you, you will have followed your heart without a single regret.

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Believe in magic

Who doesn’t remember being captivated by the circus or “The Wizard of Oz” or even Tinkerbell and her Pixie Dust from “Peter Pan?” Too often we search for a rational explanation and refuse to believe in something until we find the answer why.  Accept that some things don’t have an explanation and no amount of logic will make it so.  Things that seem random really might not be all that random and when we believe in something a little more than only what we can see, touch, and hear, it’s just the magic talking.

Sing out loud

I know it sounds corny, and most people don’t understand why singing makes the list.  The next time you are sitting at a stop light and the person in the car next to you is belting out whatever top 40 hit that’s on the radio, look at their face.  Do they look unhappy to you?  Nope.  They are having a ball.  They don’t care if you laugh or sing right along with them.  Don’t just hide out in your shower or when no one else is at home with you… sing! Try it now! See? Feels good, right?

Find joy in every day life

The negative is always upon us. It’s there — in the news, in the schools, in the political arena.  We can’t escape it, but we can put joy in its place.  The secret is to look for it, buried beneath all of the other crap.  Look for the joy in a laughter of a baby.  Look for the joy found in old friends being reacquainted with one another. Look for joy in the warm cup of coffee you now hold in your two hands.  Look for the joy in a simple “hello” between two strangers.  Joy is everywhere… you just have to find it.

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Give yourself away

It sounds boring, but it works.  We cannot feel unhappy when we give of our talents and gifts to someone else for no other reason that we can.  Give to someone without being asked to or for any kind of recognition.  Leave parts of you with unsuspecting people who never even learn your name.  Create a legacy that will long be remembered long after you are gone.  Most importantly, give your time away unselfishly and never request it to be returned to you.  Create value in your message, in the way you live, and how you inspire others to fall in love with life.

The constant pull between just existing and really thriving is where our free will comes in.  Being happy is a choice.  It must be made every day.  Just like the athletes who train for their one shot at something exciting, we need to start “training” for our best event yet… life.

Featured photo credit: Ismael Nieto via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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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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