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How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

The sad truth is that the people who are supposed to support you the most often don’t believe in your crazy dreams.

Your eyes are filled with wonder, your mind with potential, your heart full of daring. You approach your loved ones and tell them what you want to do.

This isn’t always the standard response, but their response could go a little something like this:

Parents: they hear your idea and are still for a moment. They sneak a glance at one another and try to communicate between their looks. They’re saying to each other:

“What do we say? Quick!

“I don’t know — you talk first.”

Then, as gently as they can, they start their spiel.

“OK dear/son/honey, that’s great! It sounds like an amazing idea.” They try to muster up the enthusiasm, but the statement falls flat.

Friends: you get an opportunity to talk about what you have been up to. Depending on how close they are to you, they’ll tell you outright, “what are you on?”

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If they’re not as close, they might just stare at you and try to figure out what to say to you. Like your parents, they might feign interest. They may be skeptical and say, “riight. And how exactly are you going to do that?”

This response actually isn’t that bad. They’re challenging you and forces you to come up with legitimate reasons and responses to their questions.

Spouse: they are your life partner. They love you for who you are and should learn to understand you as you grow and change… right?

It depends on their risk appetite. If you’re anything like my wife and I, one of us prefers stability and predictability. The other thrives in the unknown and acknowledges that stability and predictability are a facade that society creates.

Mentioning your dream can be awkward. Like your parents, they might try to be supportive of you. In the back of their mind, they know that as long as you persevere, you’re in it for the long haul.

No matter who it is, they have their reasons for not supporting you — at least not at the beginning.

maybe you’ve got a history of starting things and not going the distance, or starting and giving up as soon as the fire fizzles out,
perhaps they think you’re being naive and don’t want to see you get hurt or waste your time,
they believe that the best thing for you to do is settle and do what everyone else is doing. Wake up, force down breakfast, commute, 9–5 commute, force down dinner, sleep x 40 years.

Here are the key truths for you to understand if you are to succeed without the support of your loved ones:

#1 — you don’t need their approval to succeed

From an early age, our identity is molded by the need of approval and acknowledgement from others. First, it starts with our parents, then our friends at school, before moving out into the “real” world.

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Do you notice that the older we get, we seem to require more and more approval? This endlessly expanding web of insecurity binds us to the opinions of others, strangling our clarity of thought.

Ask yourself this:

What makes their approval more important than your own?

Sometimes the authority is self-appointed. Sometimes, it’s bequeathed by someone else. We are only accountable to ourselves. The moment you decide to strike out and do something that’s unique, you divorce yourself from the need for approval.

If you’re doing something for that approval, stop. You’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

#2 — you are different to them, but in a good way

Have you ever felt that the world you perceive is separate from the world that you live in? Like the world everyone you care about is a bubble and you’re right on the edge of it?

Or have you felt a greater sense of self beyond being caught up in hype and trends? Do you watch Game of Thrones? Do you play Candy Crush? Do you subject yourself to banal talk at the water cooler and pretend to like people?

It’s OK if you do — but the question is, are you aware that you’re doing it? Or do you do these things because you have given up and self medicate to detach yourself from reality?

The world around us is beautiful and if you want to do something crazy, you see this beauty. The beauty lies in animals, in friendly gestures, in humanity that’s still human. It lies in arts where dancers, painters, coders and entrepreneurs that turn lead into gold every day.

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If you see this beauty, you’re different. Embrace this. It might be hard to, especially if you like the comfort of the herd. But once you see this beauty, the seed has been planted.

You cannot go back.

#3 — you are responsible for them

You have acknowledged that you’re different. You have realized that you don’t need other people’s approval to proceed and succeed. The last step is realizing that you are responsible for them all.

They see you as being a bit crazy. You should feel sorry that they can’t see the world that you see. But don’t look down on them — it’s not their fault that they’re like this. Some people are just blessed with the gift of vision. Maybe something happened to you along the way that made you like this.

If your heart is in the right place, whatever you want to do will help many people. It will help your parents, your friends and your husband or wife. It will impact people on an emotional level and scratch an itch that they have had for years.

It might even help millions of people. Other non-believers like the ones you care about. All self-medicating and waiting for someone to come along and sweep them off their feet.

That person is you.

You’re responsible for everyone. Everyone will say you can’t do it. You have to look beyond this, look beyond their words and stare right into the sun on the horizon. It’s blazing and hurts to look at. But as your vision firms and you look through the mirage, you start emitting your own light. One that rivals the sun.

As you move closer to it, it’s not as big and powerful as it was when you were young. You have moved past your parents, friends and partner. They’re behind you, part of the crowd. They’ve seen with their very own eyes what you can do. They now support you.

You smile, not because of this change of heart, but because you feel the same way about yourself. You never let the faith in yourself waver. This has changed the behaviors of all the non-believers. Changing someone’s thinking and behavior is one of the hardest things to do —

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and you have just done it.

Once upon a time, there was a boy. In school, he was bullied — a lot. He was beaten and up came home bruised often. His parents broke up too, to compound the pain.

He was brilliant. He received his first computer at 9 years old and three years later, made $500 by selling a game he had coded himself.

17 years old: he had just graduated from high school and — without the support of his parents — decided to pursue the American Dream. From his home in Pretoria, South Africa he departed for USA. It would be three years before he would be allowed to set foot on her shores.

In the University of Pennsylvania, he realized that humanity had to expand the limits of its consciousness to ask the right questions. He also realized that wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.

Over the next 20 years, he held himself to this goal. He created PayPal and Tesla Motors. He recently landed rockets on platforms out in the middle of the ocean — something that had never been done before. He wants to save humanity by creating the first colonies on Mars.

You might know of this man as Elon Musk.

You might not believe it yet, but we are all Elon Musk. We have too much to live for, too many people to be responsible for and too many problems to solve.

That’s why if more of us realize that we are him, our parents, friends and spouses not believing in us will be the least of our concerns on the path to greatness.

What if you had the courage to only do the work you love?

How much happier would you be? What separates the people who have the courage and those who don’t? Vulnerability. Accepting that they’re good enough to do the work that gives their life meaning.

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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