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Everyone Can Be Great, You Just Need To Know How.

Everyone Can Be Great, You Just Need To Know How.

Whether you want to be a great student, a brilliant researcher, a stellar parent or a highly successful entrepreneur, you will have the same mindset. You have a goal, your values and ethics are rock solid, you persevere, and you keep victory in sight. Sounds simple, right? Well, not really. Here are some things you need to focus on to make sure you know how to be great.

1. Set big goals to empower you

If you have minor goals or objectives, you will never be great. Keep your main goal always in your mind and you will feel empowered. No harm in writing it down. You also know what your strengths are and that is key. There is also a healthy dose of self-criticism. What are your weaknesses? Can you gain new skills to deal with these?

2. Never forget your values and ethics

Above all, be aware that certain values and ethics are always the foundations of being great. You will not cheat in exams, you will not invest in shady stocks. The financial world is learning a very hard lesson in regards to toxic funds. Honesty and fair, ethical business practices will stand the test of time and are a vital component in achieving greatness. This was the conclusion of a three year study at the University of Birmingham called the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.

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3. You can handle setbacks

Read any book you want on all the great success stories of our times from Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, to Bill Gates. They all had one thing in common. They had to face setbacks and failure but they did not quit. The Harvard Business Review quotes a study where almost half (43%) of failed CEOs just did not bother to learn, refocus and carry on. They simply left. But you know that failure is simply not an option.

“Consider the postage stamp – its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing to get there.” – Josh Billings

4. You are disciplined

You know what steps to take to get things done. Set your daily goals which are steps on the ladder which leads to the top with that glittering prize. That requires dedication, hard work, patience and no short cuts. If you need any encouragement, read Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth where he will show you how to achieve greatness. He did so – imagine being on a postage stamp or coin while you are still alive! Hadfield’s inspiring message is basically that you need determination and discipline to reach your goal.

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5. You make friends, not enemies

In the tough world of business and the rat race, you will be tempted to seek revenge to get even. The negative fall out from that will rebound and cause you harm. The ancient Greeks were well aware of the value of kindness and helping each other. Kindness helps you and the beneficiary. It is a sound investment and is better than status or power. Enemies will never phone you but your friends will.

6. You know how to invest your time

Time management is not just a fad, it works. How many books do you need to read to keep up in your field? How can you find time to read them all? You may be tempted to take a speed reading course, like Woody Allen.

“I took a speedreading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” – Woody Allen

Technology can help you to become great. There are apps which can give you all-you-need-to- know summaries on any book in your field, like the one listed here. A great way to fill in that extra 10 minutes while waiting for a client.

 7. You know how to manage your work-life balance

In the pursuit of greatness, many people neglect to look after the emotional, spiritual, and wellness aspects of their lives on this planet. Work takes over 95% of their lives. But with small changes, you can transform the quality of your relationships and regain work-life balance. You can listen to Nigel Marsh outlining some of these small changes in the TED talk here

 “Greatness is not a destiny, but a decision.” – Byron Reese

You have decided to be great. There will be lots of decisions to make along the way which will determine your success. Above all, you have mastered the art of living a great life en route.

Featured photo credit: David Shankbone via Flickr via flickr.com

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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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