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7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life

7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life

We should never regret too much in our lives. However, there comes a time when we realise there are things that, if we had known them earlier, could have benefited us a lot in our younger years. Maybe we only come to these realisations through personal growth and experience, but sometimes we can go through life not being fully aware of situations until we hit a crisis point that leads us to question whether we truly did or cherished things to the best of our ability.

How often have you thought to yourself I wish I’d known this when I was younger? There’s an overwhelming feeling that if your younger self had just been more enlightened or aware, then you could have dealt with emotions and situations more readily or just moved forward with a more knowledgeable mindset and perspective on life.

With this in mind, here are 7 important life lessons that will change your perspective and mindset to enhance your experience of life for the better.

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1. Be Present In The Here And Now

We spend so much time rehashing the past or planning for the future that we forget to experience the present moment. The present moment is what is happening to you right now. Happiness can only exist in the present moment ‒ the past has gone and the future hasn’t come yet so the present moment is all we have.

Our minds have a habit of running at a hundred miles an hour and this means we are rarely just being in the here and now. Try stopping and looking around you, see what is happening right now, be mindful of where you are right in this moment, or simply be aware of your breathing. Once you do this, your mind will start to open up and appreciate what you have right now and you will even start to feel like time is no longer slipping away.

2. Don’t Rule Your Life By What You Think You Should Or Shouldn’t Do

Society, or our family’s expectations tend to make us think there are things we should do ― I should go to university and get that degree or I shouldn’t pursue my dreams because I won’t make the same money as I would working in this dead-end office job. We all have these niggling ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ circling our minds, but when we make these statements, who exactly are we making these statements to? Who exactly are we trying to get permission from? And why is this acceptable? Living your life the way you want to is the only way to be happy. Stop limiting yourself because of other people’s expectations. It’s your life and no one else’s.

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3. Don’t Make Things Bigger Than They Are

Our minds can work against us and through mindsets we develop and fears that take over. We can often make problems much bigger than they actually are. It’s all about perspective. How many times have you thought something was a huge deal but a day, week, or month down the line you don’t even think about it anymore? That’s because your mind likes to focus and blow-up worries and problems that aren’t actually problems.

Next time it happens just take a moment to ask yourself: realistically, will I still be thinking about this tomorrow, next week, next year etc.? Most of the time the answer will be “NO” so eliminate all the unnecessary worry you put yourself through.

4. Face Your Fears More

We all have fears ― some are justified and some are not ― but to grow and really get as much out of life as you can, you need to face your fears more often. Remember that many of your fears are only a product of your mind; they don’t actually exist. When you start to realise this, doing things you find intimidating and scary will actually become easier. The feeling you’ll get from facing your fears head on will be the best and most rewarding feeling you will ever have and, 100% guaranteed, it will always never feel as scary as your mind thought it was going to be.

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5. Slowly But Surely Wins The Race

When we’re younger, we tend to aim high and want everything quickly. When we set ourselves goals, we can give up easily when we don’t get the results immediately. Our modern world has conditioned us to expect and obtain anything in a blink of an eye which has led us to believe this can be the same for our dreams, goals, and ambitions.

The secret to success is small steps for big changes. Our goals are there to help us achieve and grow and we can’t do this if things happen quickly with no area for learning or getting a sense of achievement from it. Remember to set yourself small attainable goals that will help towards your dreams and know you are on the right path no matter how long it will take.

6. Stop Assuming What Other People Are Thinking

We can often make huge assumptions about what others are thinking whether they are judging you for something or thinking badly about an opinion you had. The bottom line is the world doesn’t revolve around you. Everyone around you is dealing with their own problems, worries, and insecurities and the chances are, they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you may think. So stop caring and, even worse, assuming what others are thinking. You wouldn’t want anyone to assume what you’re thinking so why do it to others?

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7. Appreciate Everything In Your Life

One of the most important life lessons is appreciation. The older we get, the more we appreciate the things in our life including people, experiences, lessons we’ve learnt, and even our possessions. Establishing this habit early on the better, because gratitude and appreciation is the true key to happiness. The sooner you can be enlightened to this and integrate this into your everyday life, the more you’ll be able to live in the present moment and be thankful for what makes your life a good one―no matter how small the thing is you’re appreciating.

So, whether it’s the shower you get to take every morning, the nature around you, your pet, that one person who you can talk to about anything, the food in your refrigerator―appreciate it all and realise the abundance that’s really present in your life. This will transcend into the rest of your life and establish the positive mindset needed to live a happy and healthy life; your older self will thank you for it!

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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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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