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15 Things You Should Stop Being Afraid of Right Now

15 Things You Should Stop Being Afraid of Right Now

Admit it: You’ve spent most of your life coloring inside the lines. You constantly justify your lack of action by blaming your responsibilities. Meanwhile, they’re not really in your way, but thinking they are means you don’t have to do anything about it. You’ve also used the word “should” one too many times, i.e. “I want to do X but I should do Y.” You know, even though Y makes you want to drink bleach.

But now you’re totally disgusted with yourself. You’re fed up. You’re bored. You don’t just want to step outside your comfort zone, you want to put in your 90-day notice and move the eff out – and you want to be a total badass and write your notice in pen.

Congratulations. You’ve just had your Scarlett O’Hara moment. You can finally stop living behind your denial. You can finally stop being afraid. You can finally transform your life.

Here are 15 things you should stop being afraid of. Like, stat. Unless, of course, you enjoy wallowing in regret.

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1. Being Yourself

This is a lot easier said than done, but it’s the most important thing to stop being afraid of. Otherwise, there’s no point in reading the rest of this article. You should be 100 percent who you really are at all times (like Sheldon Cooper, but charming). Think about everyone you admire and why you admire them: It’s not because they’re perfect or because they please others. That’s not why people will admire you either, but first you have to let them see the real you.

2. Standing Up for Yourself (or Others)

In order to have the life you want, you have to stand up for it. Others are going to resist the changes you’re trying to make because that means in turn their dynamic with you will change. You can stop being afraid of this by creating boundaries, stating your case, and not backing down. Tell them to take it or leave it. Trust me: You’ll feel so much lighter when you do!

3. Being Honest

To stop being afraid of being honest, keep in mind that doing so doesn’t have to equal hurting other people’s feelings. They might be shocked at first (especially if you’re not known for being candid), but you’ll quickly earn their respect.

4. Getting Rejected

Rejection is part of the package no matter what you’re going after. Know it’s not personal: They’re just stating the case for their own career/life goals. If you don’t fit the bill for them, it doesn’t mean you’ll never fit the bill. It just means you have to work a little harder.

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5. Being Criticized

If you don’t stop being afraid of criticism, you’re never going to accomplish anything. Ever. There are two different kinds of criticism: Constructive criticism, where someone offers you pointers on how to do better and improve, and pointless criticism from “haters,” where someone picks you apart just because they can. When being criticized always consider the source and discard the information that won’t improve your life. If Miley Cyrus can hack it, so can you.

6. Making Mistakes

Mistakes are mandatory: They’re the only way you’re going to learn, grow and evolve into the person you want to be. I believe it’s called “earning it.”

7. Owning Your Flaws

I’ve always felt that flaws should only apply to inanimate objects. We’re multi-layered and complicated, not flawed. The only way you’re going to stop being afraid and holding yourself back is to accept yourself in your entirety. It’s impossible to suppress certain aspects of yourself and pretend they’re not there. Not only that, but they’re part of your charm. Perfect is boring. Don’t be boring.

8. Going After Something Big

Seriously, what else is there? If anybody tries to poo-poo on what you want for your life, I order you to slap them (especially if they start talking about “responsibilities”).

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9. Sucking

As much as we strive to be amazing at everything we do, we should only strive to be amazing at what we care about most. For example, I gave up on my basketball career the first day of gym class. Do what you love amazingly well, admit that you don’t give a rat’s about the rest and stop feeling guilty about it. Besides, you’re going to become so successful you’re going to be able to outsource the foofy stuff anyway, right? (Hint, hint.)

10. Apologizing

You’re human. You’re going to screw up. Stop being afraid to apologize for your mistakes. It’s going to get really boring hiding under that rock all by yourself.

11. Failing

It’s actually easy to stop being afraid of failure since, you know, there’s no such thing. You haven’t given up, have you? You learned a lot, didn’t you? Then you haven’t failed.

12. Succeeding

A weird thing happens as you become successful: You’re so used to struggling along like a drunk person who can’t remember where they live that the better things go, the worse you feel. You end up constantly looking over your shoulder or waiting for an anvil to fall on your head. While I totally understand, what’s there to be afraid of exactly? You’ve succeeded once. If you had to, you’d succeed again. You know you’ve got the goods, so why worry?

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13. Letting Go

It’s really hard to let go of the habits that hold you back, especially since 99.99 percent of our everyday habits are automated by our subconscious. During stressful situations especially, we tend to revert back to our oldest and not-so-dearest habits since they make us comfortable – even if they’re self-destructive. If you focus on changing one habit at a time until they’re automated, you’ll have healthy habits to fall back on and will finally stop being afraid to let the bad ones go (because there won’t be any).

14. Taking Risks

There’s only one way to stop being afraid of taking risks, and that’s realizing you should be more afraid of not taking them. Seriously, picture the risk you want to take and bask in how the changes to your life will make you feel. Pretty cool, right? Now picture not taking the risk and everything staying right where you hate it…did Psycho Strings just start playing in the background?

15. Moving On

Okay, so you’ve known Whiny McAlwaysNeedsYou your whole life. So what? So many of us are way too loyal to people who don’t even deserve it. If there are people in your life who bleed you dry of energy, emotion, money, or all three, snap out of it. Please. You can’t see me right now, but I’m begging. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the train wreck that was my 20s: Nobody is worth your health and well-being. Not one person.

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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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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