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Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For

What you think, you become. Your thoughts create your reality. What you believe, you will achieve. We have all heard of these famous quotes at some point in our lives, and some of us may be aware of the “Law of Attraction.”

I for one am a firm believer. Even though we may be aware of these ideas, life can get tough and things can happen outside of our control. It can be hard to always stay positive, especially during the rough times.

Not long ago, something happened to me that was actually a blessing in disguise. It was the universe giving me a slap in the face, telling me to snap out of it and get my life together. As small as it may seem to some, this experience was actually quite significant to me, and I wanted to share the story.

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Manifestation

It was 7 am, and I was walking back to my apartment after an intense gym session. I felt great after my workout, but I was dreading having to go to work. I really didn’t want to go. There were so many other things I would rather be doing. As I was walking, I started thinking up excuses for why I didn’t have to go. “Maybe I could call in sick? No, that’s going to be so obvious, seeing as we just had a break from work and the weekend has just ended. What else can I say?”

As I was pondering and contemplating what I could tell my boss, a thought came into my head. “What if I said my bank cards got compromised, and that now I have no way to get to work because I don’t have access to money?” I thought about it for a while, and then I started imagining all of the things I would be able to get done if I didn’t have to go to work. I imagined taking my time to shower, have breakfast and get ready, instead of rushing every morning after the gym to be on time as I usually do. I started visualizing how good it would feel to be able to do things at my own pace.

Then I started writing a checklist of all of the things I could accomplish in my day. “I could get the next couple of modules done with my online course. I could start developing my landing pages and click funnels for my online business. I could also work on my social media pages and my blog page.” The things I could accomplish in those 8 hours!

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After a bit of daydreaming, I decided I just couldn’t call my boss and lie to him, so I started getting ready for work and went on with my day. I was doing my usual routine, eating breakfast while I checked my emails and notifications. I then saw an email from PayPal stating that a transaction had been approved. I looked back at the email and immediately knew that I had not made any recent purchases for that amount and then proceeded to the “dispute this payment” button.

Our Thoughts Become Our Reality

I won’t get into the finer details of this dilemma, but long story short, my accounts were actually compromised and I had to cancel all of my cards. I then had to let my boss know that I couldn’t come to work because I was dealing with my accounts being hacked. I spent all morning on the phone dealing with the changes of passwords, automatic payments that were due that week, and just the headache of making sure all loose ends were tied up.

It wasn’t until I could finally breathe and process what had just happened that I realised that I had manifested this. I thought this up, and the universe conspired to make it happen. I know this because the universe has also helped me in so many ways in the past by conspiring to make great things happen to me. My thoughts literally brought this to life.

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I thought of what I wanted and I actually envisioned myself achieving what I wanted and how I would feel. “Ask and you shall receive.” In all fairness, I did get all of the things I had planned done and it did turn out to be quite a productive day. In a roundabout way, I really did get what I wanted and I didn’t have to lie because it was actually the truth!

This is when I realised that I was off balance. I knew the “Law of Attraction” worked and I simply just forgot to be aware of my thoughts. Instead of dreading going to work and thinking up silly things like getting my account compromised, I realized I should be looking at things from another perspective. I should start to imagine the things I do want and only focus on that.

Be Mindful

The universe is a funny place, and our thoughts really do create our reality. So why was I thinking of the things I didn’t want and bringing things upon myself that are less than ideal? I took that minor setback as a blessing in disguise. The universe was gently reminding me that I needed to be conscious of my thoughts.

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We need to nurture our minds. They are extremely powerful. We need to feed our minds good thoughts and push away the negative feelings of doubt and insecurity. We all have them, we just need to choose whether we want to entertain them. There is a reason why so many successful people talk about the law of attraction. It’s a universal law. We create our realities, so why not make yours a great one?

When you start to think about the things in your life, take a second and evaluate whether what you are thinking is really what you want. Is this thought productive? Is it hurting anyone? Do I really want this to happen? Is this thought necessary? The universe has mysterious ways of delivering. It can be a magical place if you let it. It can also go the other way if you allow it. At the end of the day, it is really up to us. We have a choice. Be careful what you wish for.

Featured photo credit: Lupine Photography via facebook.com

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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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