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Don’t Let Their Smile Fool You

Don’t Let Their Smile Fool You

We are all connected. We are all human beings with souls going through our journeys of trials and tribulations. We are all experiencing life in our own ways and on our own different paths. We are all experiencing emotions of happiness, laughter, love, loss, pain and everything in between.

If you stop and look around, notice the people that walk past, notice the people you work with or even the people close to you. If you look close enough, you will see that each one of us is fighting our own battle. Whether it be a battle of overcoming a loss or even a battle to achieve our dreams. It may even be a battle to just be able to get out of bed each morning and make it to the next day.

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No one’s life is as perfect as it looks

Even the successful, the beautiful and the well-known people that seem to have it all, think about it, do they really? We all have problems. The truth of the matter is that we will always face problems in some sort of manner. It’s a part of life and it’s what makes us grow.

We tend to judge and compare our lives to those that seem to have what we want but do we really know what they’re feeling? They may even have an illness we don’t know about. They may have some sort of addiction or experiencing abuse we don’t know about. They may be going through some tough circumstances. What people show to the public is not always necessarily the whole picture..

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There is more to life than the glitz, glamour and what is shown on social media. Not everyone will post their problems. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. We shouldn’t compare our lives to others. We don’t know what it took for them to get to where they are and we don’t know the battle they are fighting themselves.

I have never met a strong person with an easy past

There are people that seem so confident, seem to have it together and when things get tough, it seems to not affect them as it would others. Their smile lights up the room and their presence is felt wherever they are. How can they be so happy? How can they be so strong? We start to wish we had their confidence and use the excuse that they can do it because they’re confident and it’s just not in our own personality.

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In my journey thus far, some of the strongest, most confident people I have met have gone through the worst pain and struggles. Once I got to know them and learnt of their past and their stories, my heart felt for them. I wanted to cry. They weren’t just naturally tough. They weren’t born with confidence. These people are the way they are because life gave them no other choice.

Comparing ourselves to others

We really shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. If we look deep enough we will find that we all are messed up. We all have issues. We all have fears. Some just hide it better than the others. The strongest and happiest people have been through hell and back. The only thing that kept them sane was the faith and hope that they would make it through the end of the dark tunnel.

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Those people that seem to always be happy, always be laughing, always be smiling – take a deeper look. Don’t let their smile fool you because behind every smile, every laughter, every person is a story yet to be told.

Featured photo credit: Lupine Photography via facebook.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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