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10 Reasons Why Today Should be Your Someday

10 Reasons Why Today Should be Your Someday

When you imagine your future, what exactly do you see? Do you see someone in rapid pursuit of their goals? Or do you see someone who wanted to achieve a lot in life, but never really did much to make it happen?

If you’re reading this right now, I know you’re that first person, not the second one.

There’s no better time than the present to take action. I want to inspire you, and light a fire inside of you. I want to create some urgency and remind you that putting things off for tomorrow, isn’t always the best course of action.  Below are few reasons why today is the best possible day you can choose to start chasing those dreams and goals you want so bad.

1. You’ll never be “ready”

It’s true, sometimes and in certain situations you actually can be “ready”. But for the majority of things that really matter, the experiences and challenges that will change your life, you can’t be 100% ready. And if you keep waiting for that readiness to appear, you’ll wait forever and before you know it, you’ve missed your chance.

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2. Your competition started yesterday

While you were waiting to get ready, your competition was working, which means you’ve got some ground to make up. The longer you wait, the bigger that gap is going to get. Don’t get discouraged and say, “Well I’m already behind, why bother now?”. It’s tempting, but if it’s something you really want to get done, you’ve got to get moving.

3. Planning is pointless when it’s not followed by action

You know all those lavish, detailed, calculated plans you’ve been making? They’ll be nothing more than an absolute waste of time if you don’t act on those plans. Isn’t that the whole reason for planning, to actually do something? You’re wasting valuable time by not executing on those plans today.

4. You deserve to happy

Happiness is something we’re all entitled to. But many times, happiness is a direct product of you taking life by the horns and making something happen. Today  should be the day you make something happen. Today should be the day you get happy about life again.

5. You deserve to be excited

So many people dread Monday mornings. Is there something inherently wrong about Monday? Is Monday plotting an evil scheme against you and your dreams? Of course not. You deserve to wake up every day with an excitement to take on the day. Why make yourself wait for that?

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6. There’s no refund for lost time

Time is the one thing that you can never get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. The last thing you want to do is to wait 20 years, then look back and wonder “what-if?” It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to stumble, but to never take action isn’t something you should accept. The longer you wait, the less time you have to reach those goals.

7. You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

You know that warm fuzzy place where life is so easy and everything makes sense? That’s your comfort zone, and nothing amazing happens there. If you want to make progress towards achieving things that matter in life, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

All of your growth and progress is going to happen right outside of your comfort zone. And the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to break out of your comfort zone.

8. Your excuses suck

A lack of time, money, resources, skills, and knowledge are nothing more than excuses that are preventing you from achieving those goals you want so badly. If you’re productive and prioritize correctly, you’ll easily find the time you need.

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Money is often a self inflicted barrier. There are ways to start now, with the money you have, you just need to look deeper. And if the money turns out to be a necessity, I’m sure that with 100% focus, you’ll find  a way to get it.

Resources, like money, can be found when you really focus on getting them.

Skills and knowledge are easier to find when you’re taking action.

9. You’re more than a passenger in life

You can’t live life with a third person perspective. No one else in charge of your life except for you, and that’s a good thing. That means that you have all the permission you need to steer your life in a direction that moves you closer to those goals that really matter.

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10. Practice makes perfect

Chances are, whatever it is you want to achieve, it’s going to take some practice to get it done. But you won’t get that practice if you don’t take action. And the sooner you take action, the sooner you’ll start making progress.

Featured photo credit: photosteve101 via flickr.com

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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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