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Published on June 12, 2018

How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Pay Off in Your Career

How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Pay Off in Your Career

Want to expand your career potential? It all starts with the thoughts that we have and our self-talk (the stories we tell to ourselves). Negative and limiting beliefs will contract our potential; positive, and affirming thoughts will help it expand.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before but you might think that this is easier said than done. You probably tried at some point to shift things around yet the results were not the ones you expected.

In this article, I’ll share basic concepts of positive thinking, the common stories that people tell themselves that limit their potential, how the power of positive thinking will improve your career and ways in which you can start applying positive thinking in your life so you can start seeing a positive difference in your life.

What is positive thinking

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you live in a world of rainbows and unicorns, where you ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking means that you respond to uncomfortable or unpleasant situations in a more positive and optimistic way.

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. ~ Zig Ziglar

Our mind is our greatest tool and ally or opponent when it comes to achieving our success goals. We all have a constant flow of thoughts in our minds, which is basically the self-talk that runs our lives. If the majority of our thoughts are negative, it means that our outlook on life is more pessimistic. On the other hand, if our predominant thoughts are positive, we are optimistics.

The good news is if you think you’re not that optimistic, positive thinking skills can be learned!

Common stories that people tell themselves that limit their potential

As I mentioned before, the stories we tell ourselves will determine our experiences and could open or close doors to opportunities we have both personally and professionally.

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When we choose to tell ourselves stories using the lens of negative or limiting self-talk, we will limit our career’s potential. Here are some of the most common stories:

“I can’t”

When people are facing a big decision like applying for a promotion, considering a career change or even leaving a job to do work that feels more fulfilling, they will come up with a lot of reasons why they can’t make that decision. And these reasons will feel absolutely authentic and true.

But if they allowed themselves to dig a little deeper and see what’s behind the “I can’t”, they would find that one of the true main reasons behind it is fear – fear of stepping outside of their comfort zone, fear of taking a risk, fear of not having what it takes, fear of losing the security of what’s known.

This could stem from previous events. But here’s the thing: just because we had bad events that happened to us in the past, it doesn’t mean that it will be pervasive and that making a new decision will undermine everything we do.

“I don’t have time”

A quote by Steven Covey says,

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

Many people struggle with time management and the truth is that we can’t manage time. We can, however, manage our choices, priorities and energy. Maybe they’re telling themselves “I don’t have time” because deep down they don’t want change due to fear. Or maybe they need to get clarity on how satisfied they are with their situation and how that’s affecting their capacity to move forward.

We all need to take personal and energetic responsibility because at the end of the day, the lives that we’re living now are the direct results of our own creation.

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“It can work for others, not for me”

This thought comes from thinking that “They are not enough”. By believing this they are catastrophizing and anticipating the worst without even giving the opportunity a try. Fear of failure is behind it and they could be thinking about how their life would change and what would other people say or think of them if they failed.

When they think “It can work for others, not for me”, it really relates to low self esteem. But even if they don’t have the skills or tools to achieve what they want now, they are always good enough and worthy of what they want.

The truth is that we all face fear of failure at some point, it’s natural. But we have to understand that there is no learning if there’s no failing. Failing is part of success and growth. We just have to face the fear, take a step forward and be open to see the lessons from the experience or situation.

How the power of positive thinking improve your career

A study conducted by Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, indicated that people should cultivate positive emotions and thoughts in their own lives and in the lives of those around them; not just because doing so makes them feel good in the moment, but also because doing so transforms people for the better and sets them on paths toward flourishing and healthy longevity.

When positive emotions are in short supply, people get stuck.

You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. ~ Joyce Meyer

Many experts agree that those who cultivate a positive attitude greatly enhance their chances of professional advancement. Here are some of the most common benefits of positive thinking on your career:

  • It will help you engage with others more effectively and get along better with your colleagues.
  • You will get support more easily for your initiatives.
  • It will highlight you as a role model (positive attitude is a magnet).
  • It will inspire others around you to shift toward the positive.
  • It will help you be more productive.
  • It will help you see possibility where others only see problems.
  • It will help you see your achievements and accomplishments rather than focusing on your failures.
  • It will help you manage stress at work more efficiently.
  • It will help you become more resilient and bounce back faster.

How to start applying positive thinking in your life

When we start to have negative thoughts, it can be hard to stop them. We have all been there at some point. Shifting our focus to positive thoughts is the only way to avoid going down a spiral that will not bring positive results.

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Here are some of the things I have done to shift my negative thoughts that you can also try:

1. Meditate

Meditation helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels and will help you stay in the present moment and find peace within. Meditation is a great practice to have in the morning, so you can start your day grounded and present.

If you have never meditated and would like to give it a try, here’s The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners.

2. Start the day on a positive note

Besides meditation, reading or listening to something inspirational helps set the tone to the rest of your day. You can also do some affirmations like “Today is going to be an amazing day”.

3. Create a list of at least 3 things you’re grateful for

Gratitude helps you realize all the good and positive things you already have in your life (it doesn’t matter how small they are). Feeling grateful helps you stay grounded in the present moment. There is no way you can be grateful and negative at the same time.

Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude if you need some ideas to feel grateful for.

4. Surround yourself with positive people

If you ever feel stuck in a negative loop, call someone you trust — someone who can help you put things into perspective and will not feed the negativity.

You can spot out the differences between positive people and negative people easily. Stick with the positive people and get rid of the negative ones.

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5. Shift negative self-talk into positive self-talk

Our negative self-talk can be so engrained in us that it can be hard to become aware of it. It’s easy to dwell in our mistakes and beat ourselves up.

When you catch yourself doing this, just pause for a couple of minutes, take a couple of deep breaths and start replacing those negative stories with more positive ones.

For example: replace “I’m so bad at doing _____ with “I’m getting better and better everyday”, or “I know that the more I practice, the better I’ll get at it”, or “It didn’t work out as planned but if I try again, I will see improvement”.

Practice positivity consistently

Here’s the thing: No one is perfect, we are all peers in this human experience, and we’re always learning. The only thing we can do is learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward.

If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight. I can assure you that with practice and consistency, your self-talk will start shifting to more self-acceptance and acceptance of others.

Additionally, when you’re optimistic, it will be easier to handle stress in a more constructive and productive way.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

Patricia Young

Certified Professional & Holistic Coach, bestselling author, host of the Awakening to Life podcast

How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Pay Off in Your Career How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide) Why Some People Have a Lack of Empathy (And How to Deal with Them) The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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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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