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10 Signs That You’re Leading A Life That Is True To Yourself

10 Signs That You’re Leading A Life That Is True To Yourself

Growing up, many of our parents told us what they wanted us to become in life. Maybe it was a doctor, a lawyer, or a politician. Whatever the expectations, at some point in life we need to realize that we are in control of our own destiny. So it’s important to get to a place where we can honestly say that we are leading a life that is true to ourselves – and no one else. Here are 10 signs that you are leading that kind of life:

1. You are not afraid to make mistakes.

Mistakes are inevitable. But I don’t even like the word ‘mistake.’ I like the term ‘learning opportunity‘ much better because it implies that no life experience is ever wasted. Every single, solitary thing that happens to us can be viewed as a way to improve ourselves – or at the very least, a chance to figure out what we do want as a result of having what we don’t want.

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2. You follow your intuition.

When you make a decision, you pay attention to the feeling in your stomach. Does it feel good? Great. Then go do it. But if you suddenly feel like you are being suffocated or that you want to vomit, then that is your intuition telling you that it’s wrong. When you lead a life that is true to yourself, you pay attention to those feelings on a regular basis.

3. You don’t care what other people think.

When you are a ‘people pleaser,’ you can never make yourself happy. Now, I’m not suggesting that we stop making other people happy. We should absolutely do that. However, when you are living a life that is true to yourself, you put yourself as a priority. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that honors your self-love. When you do that, what other people think about your life doesn’t matter anymore.

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4. You follow your passion.

People who dread going to work on Mondays are not living a life that is true to themselves. Of course, we all need to make a living, but it is possible to turn your passion into your life’s work. Many people have done it. It may not always be easy, but it can be done. And when you’re true to yourself, you try to find a way to make that happen.

5. You don’t waste time.

People who are living in alignment with their true selves don’t waste time doing things that aren’t productive or enjoyable. If you find yourself indulging too often in things like television or social media, maybe you’re not living a life true to yourself. However, if that is what you truly enjoy doing, then go head and keep doing it.

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6. You always dream big.

You don’t settle. You know that there are big things out there for you and you go after them. You don’t sit on the sidelines of life. You know that you have a purpose on this earth and you continually seek to fulfill it.

7. You know that little things matter.

Sure, making millions of dollars a year sounds awesome. But money, fame, and power are not the only things that matter. In fact, the ‘little things’ like spending more time with your friends and family are what really matters the most – not only today, but at the end of your life.

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8. You know what you want in life.

You have goals. You have a plan. You take steps every day to make those things happen. You don’t just sit around and wait for life to happen to you. Instead, you make life happen.

9. You are not afraid to make decisions.

Decisions can be scary, but without them, you can’t really get anywhere in life. Instead, you become stagnant, and there is no growth or truth in being stagnant. In order to move forward in life, we need to continually make good decisions – sometimes even tough ones. But you don’t shy away from doing that.

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10. You don’t remember the last time you got bored.

You love life! You think life is good! You think life is fun! You think there is always something to do – always something to accomplish. You don’t lay around complaining that there is nothing to do because you know that there is always something you can do to keep moving forward in life.

Being true to yourself is vital to happiness. If we deny who we are, then we become suffocated by life, and that’s no way to live. So break the chains that are holding you back and make sure you always keep these 10 things in mind.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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