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If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

A recent study reported that most people can’t get through a mere 25 seconds of close reflection about their life plans. They may start off with some idea of what they want to achieve, but when questioned about the real aspects of how they will do it, like how they will pay for it, they lose focus and get confused, often falling into complete silence. It’s not that people lack ambition. It’s that their ideas are still in their infancy and most never get past that stage to having mature and solid goals or strategies.

The issue is that life plans can become so complicated and overwhelming that most people just end up settling. Instead of having clearly thought out and planned goals with strategies and tools to achieve them, they let the concrete reality slip through their grasp and surrender to an ambiguous notion of an unpredictable life. While we can’t control everything that happens in life and don’t know for sure what tomorrow will bring; while living mindfully in the moment and focusing on the present is valuable, that doesn’t mean we should abandon our goals and neglect the quest for tangible methods to assertively and actively succeed in achieving our desires.

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One method to making concrete goals and establishing solid strategies is to use the “5 whys” method. This basically refers to a technique for solving problems by simply asking why. The answer is the basis for the next question.

Here are six steps to establishing realistic goals and firm strategies to accomplishing them.

Goals

1.What makes you happy?

Make a list and be honest. What are the activities that make you happiest. Don’t limit your answers by thinking whether or not you are good at it, or if you have any qualifications or experience. Think broadly. It could be that you love cooking or sewing; playing an instrument, reading. Think about the things that motivate you. Although most people may say laying in the sun doing nothing is what makes them happy, soon you’ll be bored. Think about something you would be happy to do every single day of your life. Be realistic.

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2.What are your strengths?

What are you good at. Maybe ask others. You may not enjoy cleaning your house or car very much, but you might be really good at it and feel satisfied after the task is done. Someone may have complimented you on your ability to grow plants or care for pets. Try to think of examples of when you were accomplished at something and the pride you felt, knowing you could do it again. Often it is hard to admit what we are genuinely good at for fear of appearing conceited. It takes courage to give ourselves credit for a job well done.

3.What do you need to do this every day?

Once you have established your desires and attributes, think about the things you may need to allow you to do this every day and perhaps even to make a living from it. Do you need qualifications? Testimonials? More experience? Materials and a work space? Time? Narrow it down. Don’t be too complicated and think too far ahead. Just start at where you are now and where you want to be tomorrow. Do this every day and step by step you get closer to establishing a concrete goal.

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Strategies

1.How much time do you have?

Time is very important. If you have a full time job, are a parent or carer and have lots of responsibilities, you need to consider where this new goal will fit in and where you want it to take you. Time is very deceptive. It is easy to think we have no time, but when you prioritize your life, you can easily find it. If you dedicate only a few minutes a day to the one thing that makes you happy, slowly that time grows and eventually it takes precedence over other things that are no longer as important as you thought they were.

2.How much space do you need?

Sometimes having a work space dedicated to what you want to do is a good motivator. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is a physical way to start to see a goal manifest. If you want to make clothes, establish a sewing corner. Buy fabrics and a machine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Get things second hand, look for free stuff. Make it known what you want and soon people start giving you things, everyone has junk that to you is gold. Set up a permanent space. Maybe put up an ideas or inspiration board to be able to visualize the activity. Make associations. Anything that corresponds to your goals and life plans can be included in this physical space to build your reality.

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3.What materials are essential?

Life goals are only manifested when we start to see physical outcomes. Do you need a qualification – a framed certificate? Do you need tools and books or guides? Is a substantial investment required and do you need to start putting funds away, take out a personal loan or build the investment a little at a time? Can you get help or crowd funding? Can you partner up with someone or a group of people? Can you barter or swap, give and receive in return to start to make this goal a legitimate exchange? Soon you will have a burgeoning business.

Helpful Guide

Having a goal without good strategies cannot help you achieve what you want. However, with Lifehack Goal Setting System, in which every small progress counts, you can efficiently attain the best result of your desire. For every goal you add, you will receive practical and useful articles that guide you through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.

To start with, you can try these health goals:

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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