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Last Updated on October 22, 2018

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

Ever heard the saying ‘Change is the only constant’?

Everyone without a doubt goes through changes in their lives whether it be a physical state of literal aging, or a mental state of emotional maturity, or regression in some cases. They all nonetheless signify change, yet some of us seem to embrace it better than others.

I have to admit that when it comes to change, I’m not the most accepting. Don’t get me wrong. I love a challenge and am not one to sit still and stay stagnant. Yet, the soothing feeling of being in my ‘comfort zone’ is also one that makes embracing change a lot harder, especially when the change I’m about to make is not easy, and perhaps even something that I dislike.

Fear of uncertainty kicks in and I start wondering if it’s too much sacrifice that I have to make. Perhaps I’m better off staying put where I’m at. Sound familiar?

Have you ever been in a situation where you know that things just aren’t working out? Whether it’s in your personal relationships or career development, you’re feeling somewhat stuck and unhappy with the way things are.

You need that change, yet you’re afraid to make the conscious decision to move because perhaps you’re not even sure of what it is that you need to change! Or you’re afraid it’s too late to have a fresh start, to begin again.

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You might have been with the same company for the last 5 years, in the same position, doing the same thing and it’s not that you dislike your work. But, the thought of doing the same thing for the next 5 or 10 years scares you. You want to do more or perhaps even something completely different altogether.

Or you could already be late into adulthood, where you’ve established a good career path and you’ve got a lot going on, such as a family to care for. You’re financially stable and could potentially be working towards your next promotion. But, somehow you’re not quite satisfied with what you’ve achieved.

There’s just something missing. And yet it feels like it’s too late to leave all that stability behind to embark on a completely new journey of discovery.

Why is that so many of us find ourselves limiting our windows of opportunity and potential because we think it’s too late to start afresh–or that we’re too old to start something? How to start over life?

Meet Jack

I have a friend by the name of Jack. At age 37, he’s a Senior Manager at one of the Big Four and has been working in Audit for over 15 years. He’s got a great salary, owns his own apartment and enjoys the finer things in life, but not without the heavy demands that his job brings.

On the surface it would look like he’s got life figured out. His next steps would be a promotion to becoming Director, or settling down with someone.

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Yet, when I asked him a simple question a few months back, I was not at all surprised to hear his response. I asked if he was happy with his work, as he had been complaining earlier about some work related issues. He hesitated before answering that he sometimes wished he could quit his job to do something less stressful. But he’s become accustomed to this lifestyle and feels that it would be too late to give it up to pursue a new career or ambition. The stakes are too high. So he might as well just suck it up.

The external struggles that Jack faces are financial stability, social influences from his peers, the lavish lifestyle he leads and status or recognition that he gets from continuing with this job.

Internally, Jack faces the risk of losing what he’s built over the years. Being an auditor also makes him a lot more cautious when making important decisions and it just doesn’t seem logical to give up this job for the pursuit of an alternative that would give more ‘meaning’ to his life.

How do you even quantify meaning? It just doesn’t seem like a smart move to make.

And this may be due to having a low internal locus of control, whereby you feel that external forces have greater control over your life than your own actions. You might feel that there are other much younger, more qualified individuals out there who will do better than you, so better not take the risk of starting something new. Or, maybe you don’t feel like you have the energy or time to start anything new at this stage in life.

You might have come across a similar scenario as Jack’s, or you might be a Jack. You’re now facing a wall. Whether it’s the stresses and demands of your job, the lack of satisfaction you get from your work, or the stagnant feeling of not being able to climb up the ladder of success, you have to decide if you want to tear down that wall or continue to let it enclose you.

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It’s Not Too Late!

Well the good news is, that as our society continues to develop at such a rapid pace, it also means we have more opportunities to do things that were previously thought impossible if you were of a certain age, or past a certain phase in life. These days, more individuals are pushing the boundaries and breaking stereotypes.

I’m not just talking about age. Sure, age is only a state of mind–a social construct that should not determine or limit your capabilities and ambitions. But there’s more. It goes beyond external factors like time and age. It’s about you, and your ability to accept challenges and having the determination to break free from your existing situation.

Perhaps why you feel like it’s too late to start over is simply because you’re comparing yourself with others. You’re comparing yourself with younger or more successful individuals when you should really only be comparing yourself to the older version of you.

Going back to Jack’s case, I offered him a solution to his dilemma. It wasn’t a dramatic solution, yet it was something that allowed him to go through total transformation in his life without having to risk time, effort or pain. It wasn’t asking him to quit his job or take a plunge. I simply introduced 7 Cornerstone Skills that would allow him to be in full control of his actions and life again, increasing his internal locus of control to make the necessary changes in his life that would break down that wall he was facing.

The Solution: The 7 Cornerstone Skills

These 7 Cornerstone Skills weren’t exactly new to him. He just didn’t know how to make the right connections between each skill, or he hadn’t dived deep enough in them to discover his full potential.

After going through the Cornerstone Skills, Jack realized there were many new dimensions to seeing and doing things! Something as simple as Learning how to learn, became an important skill that he was now able to use.

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Jack also never saw himself as being a creative person, especially in the industry that he’s working in, you would think that’s of least importance. However he soon discovered that there’s so much more to creativity than simply being a ‘natural’ talent. He was now able to harness his creativity to break down the wall that he was facing.

No longer staying stagnant or going backwards, Jack is now able to use creativity to move forward and suddenly, has options outside of his current job that could contribute to his current lifestyle.

Everything in your life–whether it’s your career, relationships or even health–is driven by 7 Cornerstone Skills. These are 7 qualities that, if you have them, can make you excel at anything in life. These 7 Cornerstone Skills are what’s going to help you get out of your rut no matter what your age.

Over 30% of adults experience a crisis like this. Don’t fall in this category. Don’t become that person who let’s life pass them by only to regret it when you’re retired or way into old age. Don’t let your life plateau and waste away in the daily grind for the next twenty years. Don’t give up on the potential you still have hidden and locked away by your current state.

Become ten times more effective at 40+ than you could ever be at 20. Start pursuing the things you wanted to do your whole life, without giving up on your current roles and responsibilities. Rewind your outlook and bring your energy and motivation back to when life was still full of dreams and possibilities. But this time, actually start to achieve them.

 

Featured photo credit: Pat Kwon via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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