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10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

Are you feeling unsatisfied or meaningless lately?  Do you feel there is something you are supposed to be doing, but you just can’t quite figure it out?  The books below are filled with stories to inspire you and spark the idea you’ve been searching for.  If your schedule is too full to fit in another thing, you don’t have to, just load them up on audio and listen during your commute to work, in the shower, or while folding laundry.

1. Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert

You’ll be able to really enjoy this latest book by Elizabeth Gilbert if you feel you’ve hit a road block in your path to express yourself. Whether you are feeling bitter that the world hasn’t rewarded your creativity or you feel trapped in mundane tasks with no room for self-expression, the author will motivate you with inspiration and creativity promoted by her years of thinking about and observing them in herself and others. It enchantingly draws in all readers and reassures that there is truly enough room, reason and value for us all to create.  Since you are contemplating this list, you are already on the right path to open the floodgates of your unique expression.

2. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

By Jenny Lawson

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Known by her fans first as “The Bloggess,” Jenny tells her life story in this, her first novel.  It will have you laughing out loud at the truth. It’s so good you know she can’t make up the tales she shares.  Her sense of humor shines through as an anchor in her anxiety prone waters.  Her stories include her uniquely eccentric father, her job as a snow cone creator, a human resources worker, and a Texan.  Full of charm, awe and creativity she literally wrote the book about how to handle life when it seems to be throwing lemons, or in her case, raccoon carcass puppets, at you.

3. It’s Hard Not to Hate You

By Valerie Frankel

Valerie’s years spent trying to accept herself, put on a smile when she felt bad, and generally ‘flip her egg to sunny side up’ get turned on their head when she decides to own her actual feelings. This is packed full of dry wit and humor with deep golden insights about accepting all your emotions and making them work for you.  Some of her chapters titles include, Hate Your Way To Happiness, Why I Have No Friends Part I and II and I Hate Your Kids.  If books like The Secret were not your thing, check this out for a different kind of understanding.

4. F*ck Feelings

By Michael Bennett MD & Sarah Bennett

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This is also definitely not your mama’s self-help book. It was written by a father/daughter pair, he’s a psychiatrist, she’s a comedian. It is packed with advice from years of the Dr.’s work with patients in psychiatry in the lingo of a straight talking comedian. You’ll especially want to read this if you are dealing with chronic negative habits. The book will guide you about how to set standards to live by, regardless of your feelings.

5. Tuesdays with Morrie

By Mitch Abloom

This is a classic and warms your heart whether you are reading it for the first time or again, with a few more years of perspective. It is one of those timeless volumes that offers a dose of insight, touchingly delivered in a quick read. Like the main character in the book, you will have no choice but to expand your consciousness while listening to a mentor and his student navigating life and appreciating those who guide us.

6. Year of Yes

By Shonda Rhimes

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For Shonda Rhimes it is clear that telling a story is her thing.  She has been the Queen of Thursday night television, with hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, for some time.  This novel tells the other side of her life, the personal side, which is just as interesting as the tales she weaves!  The look at her personal life, including struggles to live both in and out of the basic life script we all have written in our heads, leaves you feeling very connected. The glimpse at her genius fills you with hope and motivation.

7. Breakfast with Buddha

By Roland Merullo

The is the story of an unlikely pair of men that take a road trip and toy with life’s big questions. The author enjoys his life and yet has an empty feeling that creeps up on him often.  The writing is a perfect blend of humor and wit, with just enough suspense and wisdom to help you get back on track. While it is fiction, you will find the characters so charming and believable you’ll be googling them on-line, just to be sure.  While this is not a heavy read, it does provoke a wide range of emotions.  You will defiantly laugh out loud, possibly tear up, and definitely reflect on the true meaning of life as this book evokes a feeling that you are discussing your world view with a wise teacher.

8. Uganda Be Kidding Me

By Chelsea Handler

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Chelsea’s style is definitely crude and unconcerned about political correctness, or correctness in general.  This is one of her many books and has a highly relatable base line theme of travel between friends as a show of support and adventure after some romantic relationship struggles, yet it is handled Chelsea style which is one few of us could relate to or ever pull off.  She will make you laugh, of course, but she will also inspire you to be true to yourself.

9. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

By Jen Hat maker

Is your material stuff or the daily scramble up the ladder getting you down? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the literal stuff of life, this book will offer you a plan to find a solution.  While the author’s scale of commitment to clearing her life of clutter (in multiple arenas) is admirable you could easily try a smaller scale mutiny to test the waters of this idea yourself.  Sometimes a little rebellion will shake up your perspective enough to get you back on track.  This book will make you consider possibilities and be worth the read.

10. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

By Tom Angleberger

If you are thinking that you’d like to actively look for and remind yourself of purpose, why not share a read with your favorite children.  Beyond an entertaining read for all ages, this is a heartwarming reminder about staying open to positive possibility and accepting the gifts you have to offer, even if you sometimes aren’t sure what they are.  In the cadence of the wise paper Jedi, “Master this also you shall.”   If you go the audio route for this book, you’ll have a cast of characters that create added depth, and on paper you’d get a graphic novel with great teen type sketches.

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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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