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Why Personal Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

Why Personal Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

Having been on my own journey of self-improvement for the last two years, I have learnt that personal development is an endless journey with no final destination. The results of this journey are important, but the aspect that is most important is the journey itself. But why is this journey so important?

Every so often, we all have those moments where we strive to do better, to be better. Maybe it’s something as small as becoming more punctual, or something that takes more time and effort, such as changing your behaviours, your attitudes. But that journey often feels like a dead end, like nothing is improving. Sometimes it makes you ask yourself, ‘What is the point?’

This article aims to explain the purpose of personal development, and hopefully encourage you to keep pursuing this route to a better version of yourself. I believe that it is important to know why personal development is important in order to stay motivated on your journey.

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So, why should personal development be a goal of yours? What are the benefits of self-improvement? What will this journey give you?

1. Your own ‘mission statement’ and life purpose

Personal development can allow you to see what you want from life and what your values and beliefs are. From my own journey, it has shaped what I want to do with my life, and has made me more passionate about my beliefs. I am starting to realise what I want to do with my life by becoming more self-aware.

2. A sense of direction and motivation

Once you have figured out your goals and mission statement, you are able to pick and choose how you want to develop yourself to achieve these goals. This will give you motivation, as it will give you a starting point. For example, if you would like to help human beings, empathy may be a good skill to start working on. It will also give you more motivation to undertake the personal development journey as you will be able to see a clear end-goal.

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3. Happiness

By understanding yourself, you will be able to appreciate yourself more. You can learn about overcoming your weaknesses, and feel proud of your strengths. You will realise that weaknesses aren’t a bad thing; rather, they show you self-awareness. You will learn to find happiness on this journey by looking back at how much you’ve achieved in a short time, and how much you have changed.

4. Opportunities

When you start to develop yourself, you will be able to see all your potential and this will open the doors to numerous opportunities. When you strive to be better, you are more likely to push yourself out of your comfort zone and seek out opportunities that would usually scare you.

5. Resilience

Personal development will unfortunately not stop obstacles or undesirable things from happening. However, it will allow you to build resilience and deal with whatever life throws at you. It will give you the strength to power through. Like the old saying says: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

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6. The ability to handle change

Similar to the point above, personal development will allow you to build the skills and qualities to overcome hurdles and difficulties. Before I started trying to change myself, any small change in my life would create an impending sense of doom and dread. But now, I have come to realise that change is inevitable. I have learnt to realise that I can work through change.

7. Confidence

As you aim to improve your personal limitations you will become more confident in the person you are becoming, along with how much you’ve changed. I feel more self-confident as I look back on how shy and timid I was a couple of years ago, compared to now. I still have a long way to go, but I can see how much I’ve changed. This will give you the confidence to keep going and keep improving yourself.

8. Better relationships

Self-improvement can improve how you build relationships with people and will also allow current relationships to thrive. Being more self-aware will allow you to be more open with people. You will feel much more confident in yourself, and be able to let people see you for who you are. You will be true to yourself and to others.

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Finally…

Personal development will allow you to learn about yourself and what you want from life. When you’ve invested in personal development you will want to keep going. Personal development in itself will change the way you live your life – you will always be strving to be better. It will allow you to flourish and live in the moment. It will give you the feeling of wellbeing and happiness, and will help you to succeed and reach your full potential.

More by this author

Tema

Author and blogger

Why Personal Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

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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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