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An Unexpected And Effective Way To Find Your True Calling

An Unexpected And Effective Way To Find Your True Calling

“What is your true calling?” “What is your purpose?” “What were you meant to do in this life?”

However you wish to phrase it, these questions are all one in the same. For many of you, a disproportionate and unnecessary amount of time is spent trying to figure out the answer. You dwell, you think and you over analyze. On top of that, you fight yourself when really the answer to this question is deceptively simple.

On this journey, you’ve no doubt encountered several suggestions, ways, techniques – or whatever you want to call them – to discover this answer. You’ve scoured Google and been bombarded with post after post about the number of ways and the things you should do to discover the answer to this, from:

1. Writing down your dreams.
2. Delving back into what you did as a child.
3. Picturing your ideal life.
4. Considering what makes you come alive.
5. Been told to notice what makes you feel good.
6. Getting rid of distractions so that the answer can come to the forth etc etc etc.

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Not only this, but you’ve read self-help books. You’ve spoken to life coaches. You’ve spent a lot of money on this journey. While contemplating these questions is important, it can lead to analysis paralysis. It can be crippling. You end up on a massive roller coaster ride with no end in sight. This may lead you to follow the wrong path on your quest to find that one defining thing, or as some like to call it, your one true calling.

The reality is, some of you do not have one true calling. This is highlighted by Emilie Wapnick, through her website Puttylike, “Home for Multipotentialites”. In short Multipotentialites or polymaths are people with many interests and passions. They move between interests. They often have multiple jobs, professions, and careers over the course of their life or at the same time.

Much time then can be spent in search of that elusive answer. But this needn’t be the case:

“…the search for our purpose isn’t some impossible philosophical exercise. Nor is it something that you need to spend your whole life searching for and struggling to determine. Because you already know the answer, and you’ve actually known it your entire life. It’s right in front of your nose. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s within your nose, through your lungs and at the core of your central nervous system.” – Sean Kelly, Entrepreneur Contributor.

The answer is Energy. Huh? Yes. Energy.

Everyone has it, but it’s unique to you. You are born with it and cannot create this energy as it’s a part of who you are. You have always had it within you. When you are fighting this energy, life is difficult. When you are going with its flow, life is easy and you are fulfilling your unique purpose. You have “found” your true calling.

This may all seem rather vague and intangible at this point but bear with me here. This energy is hidden from plain sight because you have become domesticated and institutionalized. You chase the wrong things, you try and conform and you go against the energy as a result. You fight it.

“But how can I recognize whether I am fighting it or not?” You may be asking.

Sean Kelley suggests asking yourselves the following questions:

1. How painful are my days?
2. How hard and taxing is my work?

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If the answers to these two questions are in the medium to high scale, then you’re not fulfilling your purpose, because you’re going against the natural flow of your energy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if life seems natural, effortless, easy, then you’re going with the flow, you’re fulfilling your unique purpose.

You see, there are certain activities in life that know matter how much time and effort you put into them, they give you energy. You will expend a lot of energy, but the energy you create as a result far outweighs that which you put in.

Then there are activities that drain your energy. This is because these activities are not leveraging your core strengths or your unique abilities that form part of your energy, something that you were born with. Something that is part of who you are.

What are your core strengths?

Your core strengths are things that come so naturally to you, so natural in fact, that you take them for granted. However, when you’re engaging in activities that leverage these, this may seem immensely impressive to outsiders. In the words of Sean Kelley:

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“As human beings, it’s so easy for us to ignore our strengths because we don’t see them as strengths.Our strengths can feel deceptively insignificant, like everyone in the world possesses them.But they don’t. In fact, your most effortless activities will be the most impressive to others. And this has always been the universe’s plan. “

Simply put, when the work (or activities) you do resonate with your core strengths and energy you’re fulfilling your purpose.

I am going to do something which I was against at the beginning, listing things that help you find your purpose, but I do feel that a basic blueprint is necessary to help you find your true calling.

Blueprint for finding your true calling

1. Write down activities that leverage your unique strengths

Identify all those activities where you feel like you’re in a state of flow, where work is easy and identify your core strengths in the process. A great way to do this is to ask friends what they think. Tell them you’re doing an exercise and would like them to list all those things you are naturally good at. What impresses them? Be wary of asking family as they might be biased.

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2. Write down activities that don’t leverage your unique strengths

This requires you, to be honest with yourself. List weaknesses. List everything that falls outside the spectrum of your unique abilities.

3. Don’t fight it, obey your energy

Once you have the above figured out, then consider how you can start focusing on doing more of the activities that leverage your core strengths. This will not be easy at first; it involves breaking out of a cycle that you’ve known for a long time. It involves changing your life around. Be persistent and more importantly be patient. In the end, once you’re going with the flow, doing work that leverages your unique abilities, life will feel effortless and perhaps you will have found your purpose or true calling.

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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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