“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Ambition is having a strong drive to do or achieve more in life. Unfortunately, a lack of ambition can be an individual’s own worst enemy. Un-ambitious people sabotage their own potential and happiness through self-limiting beliefs, bad habits, and negative thoughts.
Ambitious people, however, believe in themselves and their capabilities. They understand that everyone is capable of achieving far much more than they typically give ourselves credit for. You won’t find ambitious people speaking negatively against their own interest — you won’t hear them say stuff like:Advertising
1. “I can’t do this—it’s too hard.”
Ambitious people never limit themselves or undervalue hard work with these words. They tell themselves they can do it and press on until it’s done. Nothing worth having comes easy: you’ve got to work hard to for it. As Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister says, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
2. “I’m not good enough.”
Ambitious people never say they are not good enough. Saying you are not good enough holds you back and makes you vulnerable to quit when things get a little rough. And quitting when things get a little rough is never a good thing. The most successful people in the world are not quitters. They are hard workers who believe in themselves and their abilities. Be confident and believe in yourself, or no one else will.
3. “I won’t make it through the obstacles.”
Challenges and obstacles are tests of your resolve and desire to succeed. Ambitious people never say they won’t make it through the hard times. They say they will make it because they know better things lie ahead—the sun always shines after the storm. Besides, as an old Arabian proverb says, “All sunshine and no rain makes a dessert.” Gold is fashioned through fire.Advertising
4. “People won’t take me seriously.”
The only time people won’t take you seriously is if you don’t take yourself seriously. Period. Insisting that people won’t take you seriously is an excuse not to do what you know you should do. Ambitious people never say these words. They respect themselves and honor their work and that earns people’s respect. Start respecting yourself and honoring what you do and people will respect and take you seriously.
5. “I’m going to fail for sure.”
Failure is not entirely bad. It can teach you valuable lessons and redirect you to the right path. Ambitious people don’t say they are going to fail and let that stop them from trying. They defy the fear of failure by taking calculated risks because they know the only time you are truly defeated is when you don’t try at all. Jim Carrey says it best: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
6. “I can’t handle success.”
Ambitious people never declare they can’t handle success before they even achieve it. Dr. Jason Plaks, a social psychologist at the University of Toronto, and Kristin Stecher, a research scientist at the University of Washington, conducted studies and found that those who think their capabilities are fixed are the ones more likely to suffer disorientation and anxiety when faced with dramatic success. Those who think of their abilities as changeable handle success far better. If you think your capabilities are fixed and say you can’t, you’re right. Confucious said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” Say you can and you will.Advertising
7. “I’ll probably make a mistake and mess things up.”
Ambitious people never utter these words because they believe in themselves and understand you can’t please everyone. Some people will consider your effort terrible, others will consider it okay and yet others will consider it excellent. Don’t worry too much about it all. Give your absolute best each time in everything you do and learn from your mistakes. Ultimately, say like Cheryl Cole said—“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.” Say it because making a mistake is not the problem; the problem is not learning from your mistakes.
8. “I’m waiting for the perfect moment to start.”
Ambitious people never say they are waiting for the “perfect moment” because the “perfect moment” to do something is a myth. Moments are what you make of them. Ambitious people simply start and really focus. It’s never too late to do something. Start now and do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Stop procrastinating and wasting your life waiting for the stars to align. There will always be reason to procrastinate and wait another day, but only those who actually start get things rolling. Keep in mind the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is right now.
9. “I’m not as good as that guy/girl.”
As long as you are always comparing yourself to others, thinking you are inferior to them and not being your true self, you will always try to be what other people are and always fall short. Ambitious people know this and never think or say they are inferior to others. They work on being the best version of themselves. You are not that guy or girl. You are you, and that’s not bad. Everybody is unique and gifted in their own way. Situations vary and we all grow at our own pace. Check what others are doing only to learn from them. Don’t be jealous or resentful. Be happy when you see others succeed because it means you can too.Advertising
10. “I’ll never be successful.”
Words have incredible power. You won’t hear ambitious people say they will never succeed. That’s because they actually believe they will succeed one day. That conviction keeps them sufficiently motivated and driven to put in the hard work and time necessary for success. Say good words, think good thoughts, and do good deeds because what you say and believe is what you are destined to get.
Last Updated on April 11, 2019
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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- How to Work with Different Communication Styles in the Office
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com