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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 February 20, 2019

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

Possessing effective communication skills is a powerful tool to have. Effective communication skills are essential to success in many aspects and areas of your life. There are a lot of jobs that require you to be a good communicator.

Strong communication skills help you enjoy better relationships with friends and family. Being an effective communicator will give you advantages in more ways than you can imagine.

Conversely, being poor at communicating will negatively impact your life.

Let’s take a look at how to master effective communication skills at work and home.

What is Effective Communication?

Probably a good place to start is to paint a picture of what clear communication is.

Effective communication is defined as verbal speech or other communication methods to get your point across. Sounds pretty simple, right? It does but there’s more to it than that.

It’s really about how all of us interact and communicate in every aspect of our lives. It’s the ability to say something at the right time; to be able to get multiple people on the same page in a group decision. It’s how that one friend of yours who plans most of the activities is able to get everyone to the same place at the same time.

Non-verbal communication is key to being effective as well. It’s the ability to have your body language say the right thing so the person you’re speaking to knows your listening.

Effective communicators don’t react to situations with high emotion. It means not having to say something all the time in every situation. You are even being an effective communicator when you show up to pick your daughter up from the mall when you say you will. You are communicating to her that she can rely on you.

Are You a Poor Communicator?

Before we get too deep into how to be a master communicator, let’s take a look at your communication skills.

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If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of these, you might want to sharpen your communication skills.

  • You’re constantly interrupting – Hey, I know, we all want to be listened to. We all want to get our point across. Most importantly, we want to be understood. If you find yourself interrupting all the time you aren’t listening enough.
  • Doing too much – Many of us are master multi-taskers. It’s not good if you are communicating with someone. When you try to do too much while speaking with someone, you aren’t paying attention to what they are saying. Lack of focus is bad.
  • Rambling – I know of several people I work with who do this constantly. I honestly dread having to speak to them. The worst part is even though a lot of words are coming out of their mouths, they really aren’t saying anything. I’m more confused after they answer my question.
  • Not being direct – Nothing wrong with emails or reports. However, if you can convey the same information quickly and directly to someone, it is much more effective. Why write a 2 paragraph email when you can pick up the phone and say the same information in 2 sentences?
  • Always talking about yourself – Everybody likes to relate things to their own experiences. It draws us together and helps us create a feeling of sharing and community. If you are always coloring someone else’s conversation with a similar situation in your life, people will think you are making everything about you. Don’t be that person!
  • Using a lot of qualifiers – Qualifiers are fine for the most part. When you use them as a crutch most of the time when you speak, it’s not helping your communication. Sometimes, we do this to makes things seem “softer”. Saying things like “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way but…” or “I know what you’re thinking but…” over and over doesn’t help you communicate.
  • Your ears don’t work – If you don’t listen well, you can’t answer someone correctly. In order to be an effective communicator, you have to understand what someone else is saying to you. If you don’t listen with purpose you will only have part of the picture.
  • Bad body language – The importance of body language is well documented. If you don’t look at someone when they are speaking, it appears that you don’t really care what’s being said. This makes people feel like you don’t care what they are saying and it’s not important to you. Other bad body language examples include always crossing your arms and not looking someone in the eyes.

What Effective Communication Can Do For You

Let’s take a look at how being able to effectively communicate can help you at work and in your personal relationships.

Work

  • Better client relationships – You certainly want a great communicator to be handling your client relationships. Strong communicators represent both the client and your company is the best manner.
  • Higher employee engagement – Pretty critical if you are a leader or a manager of people. An engaging and interactive communicator in a leadership position is wonderful for employees.
  • Getting better buy in from others – This is great whether you are a manager or individual contributor. Strong communicators tend to get people moving and working towards a common goal.
  • Helps mitigate conflict – Good communicators are able to help resolve conflicts quicker and easier. This helps smooth things over and keeps projects and initiatives moving forward.
  • Builds trust – You want to be able to trust who you work for and with. Effective communicators are good at establishing and building trust between people and groups.
  • Solves problems – Problems are solved by people with the ability to communicate clearly between groups and people. Those without good communication skills many times add to the confusion of a problem because they are unable to articulate their thoughts and ideas.

Personal relationships

  • Creates closeness – A good communicator is able to help foster a feeling of closeness with his or her partner.
  • Makes conflict okay – It’s actually better to fight with your partner from time to time instead of never fighting. We all have differences of opinion and points of view. When we don’t express these and bury it inside by not communicating, it just comes out later in a more negative form.
  • Provides support – It’s nice to know that someone cares about you and supports you. A strong communicator will ask how you’re doing and be a good sounding board for what you’re going through.
  • Expressing feelings – People who are not effective communicators tend to be not very good at expressing how they feel. This makes it tough to share your feelings with you partner.
  • Get the loving you want – In order to get the physical, mental, and emotional love you want and need, you have to be able to communicate clearly and appropriately with your spouse or partner. This is done through effective communication.
  • Eliminate mistrust, doubt, faithlessness, and insecurities – Many times these seeds are sown due to a lack of communication. If your partner rarely tells you where he or she is going, you will tend to start coming up with your own ideas. Often these aren’t true but how would you know if you aren’t told?

Can You Improve Your Communication Skills?

The short answer is yes, of course you can improve your communication skills.

Improving or changing anything in your life takes some work and effort but it can be done. You have to keep in mind your starting point and your goal.

If you are not a very good communicator now and you want to be able to give a motivating speech to a large graduating class, you’d better get working.

On the other hand, if you get along fairly well in general but want to be able to improve your relationship with your boss or spouse by being able to master effective communication, you may just need some guidance and practice.

Either way, if you want to master effective communication skills at both work and home, it will take a little work and effort. Doing so will benefit you in many ways.

How to Master Effective Communication Skills

In general mastering effective communication skills will help you at both work and home. Let’s look at how to improve verbal, written, and body language communication skills. These will help you create better relationships everywhere you go!

1. Learn how to listen

Speaking is only half of the communication equation. Sharpen your listening skills so you are able to process what the other person is saying. You can then respond it a well-informed manner.

Check out these active listening guidelines to be a better listener.

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2. Make eye contact

Having regular eye contact with someone while you are having a conversation shows you care what they are saying. When you are looking at the floor or out the window it gives the impression that you aren’t paying attention.

Take a look at this advice on how to make engaging eye contact.

3. Ask questions

When you ask someone questions, you are able to clarify what they are saying to ensure you get the whole picture. If you don’t understand it fully, ask questions.

Do you know that it takes some skills to ask questions too? Here’s how to be good at asking questions.

4. Watch body language

Watch both yours and the other persons.

We all know if you have a conversation with your arms crossed the entire time, it gives off a bad vibe. Have open, engaging body language when speaking with someone.

On the flip side, if you see someone’s eyes glazing over while speaking to you, it’s probably a good idea to wrap it up.

Take a look at these top 20 body language indicators to learn more.

5. Speak confidently

Sometimes this is easier said than done. If you communicate in an open, direct, and clear manner, it subtly shows people that you are confident in what you are saying.

It doesn’t mean you always have to be right but delivering your thoughts with confidence helps your case.

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These tips will help you speak more confidently.

6. Keep it simple

You don’t always have to be succinct in your communication. There is a lot of value in being able to tell a great story.

That being said, there are many instances where keeping it simple is very helpful. This is especially true at work in both verbal conversations as well as written like emails.

7. Know your audience

You should have a certain style when communicating with your boss. Another style of communication is better with your spouse and probably others with your kids or friends.

Know your audience to help you communicate the most effectively.

8. Be empathetic and understanding

There is a massive amount of power in being empathetic. And I mean that in a very positive way.

Showing that you are empathetic and understanding to another person goes a long way to creating a great bond with that person. We all want to be understood. It’s that simple.

Think it’s a challenge for you? These 5 tips for empathetic listening will help you.

9. Pause before reacting

There have been a number of times when I’ve read an email that just came in and had an instant reaction to reading it. And I don’t mean a positive reaction. My less effective ways of dealing and communicating has been to send a scathing email back.

When I’ve communicated more appropriately, I’ve waited a while before I responded. This is true in verbal situations as well.

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10. Over communicate

You’d think if you tell someone something that should be the end of it, right? Done deal. Not so fast.

I’m not recommending you tell someone the same thing 10 times in a row. With as many distractions as we all have these days, it’s generally a good idea to follow up on something you’ve communicated a few times if it’s important.

Conclusion

Having effective communication skills at both work and home will help you immensely.

At work, it helps you in your career in many ways.

Communicating well with your boss leads to a solid, symbiotic working relationship. You’re able to clearly articulate what you need to do your job well. You can share your vision and strategy with your boss and others. Good communicators are needed in management roles and leading others. Fostering an environment of effective communication leads to a great work environment.

At home, having effective communication skills will help you achieve the type of relationship you want with your spouse.

You are able to speak freely and openly about your feelings. You can share your wants and needs in a manner that your spouse understands. Your spouse will feel understood and supported by you which is a wonderful feeling to have. And being able to have a disagreement and work through it due to strong communication skills is amazing.

Look at how you can master effective communication skills at work and home to help create more satisfying relationships in all phases of your life.

More Resources About Work Communication

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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