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How to Love Mondays

How to Love Mondays

It’s possible to absolutely love Mondays. It’s possible to love them so much, that when your alarm clock wakes you up before the crack of dawn every Monday morning, that you jump out of bed on fire to start your work day. Now before you think I’ve had too much coffee and have gone totally crazy, I want you to know that I’ve been in your shoes.

I’ve had the Sunday night blues. I’ve had the nervous, dreadful feeling while getting ready for work on Monday morning. I’ve felt trapped in the 9-5 daily grind, hamster-wheel life that I thought I was ‘supposed’ to live. That was before I took massive action, over and over, to find and do work that I absolutely love, and create a career that lights me up.

It takes a lot of work, but it’s possible to do work that ignites your life and makes you feel incredibly on fire. Here’s how to love Mondays:

1. Streamline your life

One reason some people feel stuck and dissatisfied with their lives and careers is that the 9-5 isn’t exactly 9-5. In fact, it’s more like 8-6. Then, after work, it’s the daily responsibilities of life before lying down, exhausted, at the end of the day. And then repeat. Day after day, for 40 years.

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One of the best ways to start making your life more enjoyable is to streamline your life. Start getting rid of the empty activities: those time-sucking activities that don’t add any value to your life. Start making your daily tasks as efficient as possible, and delegate what you can hand off to someone else. When you streamline your daily tasks, you can create more time in your day to do the things you love. By maximizing the time you have to do things that light you up, life feels much more fulfilling and less like a hamster wheel.

2. Become a self-expert

In order to love Mondays, it’s important to have a strong understanding of who you are. When you really know what lights you up, what your innate strengths are, what type of work environment your personality type thrives in, and what kind of work schedule makes you feel energized, then you can choose a career path that aligns with these traits.

On your quest to become a self-expert, it’s important to know that clarity comes from taking action. Experiment with the parts of your work days that you have control over at in your current job. Can you vary your work hours, your work location, the order in which you accomplish your tasks, or who you’re working alongside? Take action and make some little changes in your work days.

Then pay attention to how you feel. Are you more energized, or feeling more drained? The more you take action, the more you’ll understand what type of work environment helps you feel fulfilled.

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3. Do work you’re passionate about

It’s hard to love Mondays if you feel like you’re doing meaningless work. When you’re passionate about your work, however, your job becomes much more than a paycheck. When you feel on fire about the work you do, your career becomes very fulfilling and you can make a big impact. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, check out this free workbook to help you find your passion.

4. Choose a career that fits into your ideal life

Most people choose a career path, then try to fit their lives around their career. They cram their personal lives into the few hours they have outside of work during evenings and weekends, and this time gets whittled away as they climb the corporate ladder.

I want you to do things differently. I want you to think about your ideal life, and choose a career path that fits well into the lifestyle and schedule you desire. Do you want a flexible schedule, or a set schedule? Do you want to go to work at a big company, surrounded by a lot of interesting people every day, or do you prefer to work somewhere smaller or independently?

Do you want to work at a set location, or do you prefer to travel for work, or even be able to work from anywhere? In your ideal career, do your work duties vary significantly and you work as a jack-of-all-trades, or are you an expert at one specific topic? In your ideal life, how many hours per week are you working?

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When you choose a career that aligns with your overall dreams about your life, Mondays become a lot more awesome.

5. Use each day to become the best possible version of you

Maybe your work isn’t incredibly enjoyable. As you’re working toward an exit plan, use the time at your current job to become the best possible version of you. Do you want to develop your leadership skills? Ask to be in charge of a new initiative, plan an upcoming company party, or become a mentor to a newbie.

Do you want to get in better shape? Start a walking club at lunch with your coworkers. Use that time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and enjoy non work-related conversations. Do you want to improve your communication skills? Practice speaking up during meetings, and work on being an active listener.

When you start focusing on being the best possible version of you during your workdays, you start creating a positive environment, which can affect others around you too. This can lead to better Mondays for not only you, but your coworkers too.

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We spent many hours of the best years of our lives at our jobs. When you follow these strategies, it can help make your Mondays, and your entire weeks, much more enjoyable.

Featured photo credit: Eli DeFaria / www.unsplash.com via hd.unsplash.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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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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