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17 Important Life Lessons I Wish My Daughters Knew Earlier

17 Important Life Lessons I Wish My Daughters Knew Earlier

As a mother of two girls, there are many things that keep me awake at night. Our world is becoming smaller and increasingly artificial, reducing the chances of children learning life lessons that are so vital to them. If children don’t learn these lessons on their own, I take it as my responsibility to impart as much wisdom while I still can. And, here are 17 life lessons that I want my daughters to know before it’s too late.

1. Be Content

We live in an age of instant gratification, with the latest mobile phones and clothes becoming a statement to the world. Learning to be content from early on will help as your daughters grow up. They won’t always get what they want, and that’s okay.

2. It’s Okay To Make Mistakes

Firstly, everyone, no matter how perfect, has made mistakes, even your mother. Mistakes are part of growing up. The important thing is to learn from them. The bigger the mistake, the more there is to learn.

3. Life Isn’t Easy

Anyone that has ever achieved anything in life has done it with steely determination and without expecting anything to come for free. The only way to get what you want is to go out there and take it.

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4. Your Opinions Matter The Most

What others think of you doesn’t matter as much as what you think of yourself. People may try to impose their ideas of perfection on you and try to get you to conform to their ideals. As long as you know who you are and what you stand for, it shouldn’t affect you.

5. You Look Great As You Are

There will be pressure on you to look a certain way. There will be people that judge you based on your body, on how fat or thin they think you are. As long as your healthy, what they think doesn’t matter. Everyone is made differently, your beautiful just as you are.

6. Food Is Your Friend

Being skinny is not the same as being healthy. You may feel pressure to stop eating, or only eat “diet” food. These bad eating habits that will only spoil your health. You don’t need to starve yourself to lose weight. A balanced diet and a little exercise will go a long way.

7. Cherish True Friends

You’ll have plenty of friends that will come and go. But, there are a few that will stay with you through all the ups and downs life throws at you. Never take them for granted, true friendship is a valuable commodity.

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8. Kindness Is Key

A little kindness goes a long way. Even in situations where you have every right to be rude, maintaining your attitude and being sensitive to the situation will help define who you are.

9. Learn To Accept Change

In life, there’s only one thing that’s constant, and that’s change. The sooner you accept that fact, that faster you will be happier. Change can be used as fuel, to grow and become who you always wanted to be.

10. Have Fun

Having fun is one of life’s greatest gifts. Don’t get too caught up in things that may seem like the world now. They will become inconsequential in a few years. No matter what the situation, or how dreary it may look, find a way to have a little fun.

11. Set Goals, Work Towards Them

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. A personal or professional goal, don’t be afraid to set lofty aims. Once you’ve decided what you’re aiming for, make sure you work towards them, even if it’s one small step at a time.

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12. Keep Your Faith

When times get hard, get on your knees and pray. Your faith is like an anchor; it will keep you grounded and help you overcome difficult situations.

13. Family Is Everything

As you grow, you’ll feel the need to stand up on your own. Especially in your teens, your relationship with your family may strain. It may seem like a burden rather than a blessing. The truth is you won’t find the same level of acceptance and love anywhere else.

14. Your Possessions And Your Values Are Separate Things

Having expensive clothes, the latest electronics, and fancy cars isn’t the answer to life’s problems. Things you own or the money you earn are not what should define your value. Those are easy come easy go, what will last is your character, your relationships, and your self-worth.

15. Love Isn’t Like The Movies

Know all those fairy-tale relationships where the princess live happily ever after? It doesn’t always work that way. Relationships need to be cared for and nurtured. Compromise and understanding are the core of happy families.

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16. There Isn’t Much You Cant do

The sky WAS the limit. You define your limits, not your situation or your environment.  If your focused, and willing to put in the hard work, there’s nothing that can stop you.

17. I’ll Always Be There For You

Whether you live next door or in another country, if you feel like you’ve made a mistake or just want to talk, I’ll always be there for you. Daughters are a precious gift; they seem to grow up so much faster than little boys. Life can be full of ups and downs; there is no way you can foresee what it’s coming and try and prepare for it. That’s why I hope these life lessons will help them when they need it the most.

Featured photo credit: http://freephotostags.com/ via freephotostags.com

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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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