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If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

In the last week I have had quite a few conversations with people who have told me their business ideas. The conversations between them all were consistent, they all admired that I had started my blog page and YouTube channel. They all admired the guts it took to start something that was in the public eye. It was also stated that they would not have the guts to do something so public in case they were to fail.

When they said this, I thought to myself, “There is that possibility that all my hard work may not go anywhere–and yes, everyone would know as I have posted, shared and publicly announced my page, blogs, website and YouTube channel.” That tiny voice of doubt attempted to creep into my head. Then, I realized I was being like everybody else. “Maz, stop doubting yourself, you know that gets you nowhere.”

The Process of Doubt

I experienced my first case of writers block when it came to writing for another Motivational Website that had approached me. I jumped onto their site, had a look at some articles and thought, “Yes, this is aligned with what I like to write about.” I then jumped onto their YouTube channel and the first video I saw had over 20.5 million views. I hadn’t even come close to experiencing this kind of exposure. I felt a lump in my throat as I tried to gulp.

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“What am I supposed to write to get this many people engaged? What if nobody likes what I put out there? I have only been blogging for a month, what if people think I don’t have enough credibility?” Various questions of doubt started to speak to me. I had no clue as to what to write about and I started to feel nervous.

Faces of people smirking at me reappeared in my head. There were people that smirked when they found out what I was doing. People that thought I was crazy starting my new venture and actually thinking I would get somewhere with it. “You really need proper camera gear if you are going to film on YouTube, You need to take tutorials on editing, You should work on your grammar. You need to stop twitching your face or making those expressions you do.” All the voices of everyone telling me what I was doing wrong floated around me.

I stayed home all weekend to work on The Fitness Freedom Flow, yet didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. Since I have started my blog page, writing came so easily. I would be inspired by an idea and an hour later, it was online and published. Things just seemed to flow. Now, here I am struggling to even think of the first sentence or even a topic to write about. Frustrated, I decided to give it a break and sleep on it.

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When I woke up this morning, I had my green tea as per usual. I then had some breakfast and was drilling my head as to what I should write. “Maybe I should just write for my own page for now”. I still had no clue as to what I should write about. I was at a dead end. I decided to meditate and calm my mind as it was racing at a million miles an hour.

This is why I have decided to write this blog. I realized that I finally came to a road block because for the first time since starting my blog page, I stopped and started thinking about what others thought of me. I started listening to the people that doubted me. I started to doubt my own ability and was questioning if what I was doing was even going to be worth my time.

Clearing the Flow

Sometimes our minds get so cluttered and are filled with too many thoughts. For me, it helps if I calm my mind and slow down. This is where meditation has helped me. I find when I do this, my intuition tells me things and helps to guide me in the right direction. I gain a sense of clarity and it helps bring me back down to earth. Meditation keeps me grounded. If you don’t practice it, I highly suggest you give it a go. It really does work wonders.

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I must say, since starting my blog page, I feel it has given my life great purpose. I jump out of bed and the first thing I do is start working on my page. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I thoroughly enjoy being able to speak of my experiences and talk about topics that I am passionate about. It is also an amazing feeling when I receive emails from people all of the world letting me know that the blog they just read has inspired them. I absolutely love hearing their own stories that I am lucky enough for them to share with me.

My goal is to be able to help motivate and inspire others through my own experiences. There are a lot more topics I want to discuss in the future that I feel can make a difference and maybe, just maybe help the right person at the right time. That possibility excites me. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am following my purpose and it is the very reason why I have experienced some of the things that I have in the past. If I can do something that gives back goodness to the world, why not?

If you are reading this and there is a business venture, a relationship decision or a creative idea that you have always had but have been too scared to take action towards, I encourage you to take the first step. If you are dwelling on a decision and the only thing holding you back is failure or what other people may think of you, take a second and really think to yourself. Does it make you happy? If you were doing whatever it is you are currently wishing you could do, can you see yourself happy? If the answer is yes, then my question to you is, why would you hold yourself back from happiness?

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What is the Role Happiness Plays?

We all deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be able to follow our passions. If it makes you smile, if it changes your life for the better, then go for it. You really don’t have anything to lose. What’s the worse that could happen? You end up back where you started which is right at this very moment now. If that does end up being the case, you really didn’t lose anything did you? You actually got the chance to open yourself up to new experiences and I bet you would’ve learnt a lot along the way. So in hindsight, you still gained something.

I am still learning along the way and there is a great deal more that I have to learn. I am absolutely blessed that in the month I have been doing this, I have gained so much traction with my blogs. It is an absolute privilege that I have been published on Lifehack.org and it makes my heart sing to know that already in such a short time, there are people out there that appreciate my work.

A month ago, I didn’t even know how to build a website, let alone make a video. I didn’t even know that I could write. So fail or not, I have still gained. I have learnt so much already and am excited for all the things I will learn in the future. This journey has been so much fun and I really do enjoy it.

I really do hope that if you’re not already, that you start your journey towards your passions. Life is short and we can’t take it for granted. Tomorrow is never promised. Do whatever it is that makes you smile. What’s life without those moments of happiness?

So the real question is, if it makes you happy, does it really matter what other people think?

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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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