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16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time

16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time

As a 20-something you are faced with many challenges and struggles. Whether those challenges are focusing on your career path, your relationships, your body image, or even your life’s purpose; no one can give you the answers to the questions you should be asking yourself. Asking yourself questions when faced with life’s complications can inspire you to re-think, re-analyze and re-configure the way you have been living life.

1. Am I Living Up To My Full Potential?

As a 20-something it’s easy to reach certain milestones in life, and slowly begin to plateau. The personal growth incurred by challenging your capabilities, can help you reach the best version of yourself that you have ever experienced.

2. Do I Compare Myself To Others Too Often?

It’s easy to get caught up in what your peers are accomplishing while living in their twenties. Comparing yourself to someone that isn’t you, may only bring discouragement. You may feel as if you are falling behind, when in fact you are the leader of your own life journey.

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3. Do I Live In The Present?

As a 20-something you begin to explore who you really are. In order to define your present, you need to keep the past behind you and the future in the horizon. Try living in the moments before they pass. Your past is the foundation to the present, and the present will shape the future.

4. What Are My Life Goals?

Building life goals strengthens the purpose to life. While living in the present is essential to happiness, having a bucket list can give you something to look forward. Achieving goals does not happen over night, so taking small steps that can be applied to your everyday life, can help build towards your future accomplishments.

5. What Triggers My Stress?

It’s important to understand your stress triggers, so you can recognize them when they are present in your life. Once you can recognize your triggers, managing how you react to stress becomes a lot easier, and you can deal with stress on a mature and manageable level.

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6. Do I Recognize My Weaknesses?

It can be easy at times to point out the faults and weakness of others, but have you ever analyzed your own weaknesses? Recognizing your weaknesses may open many doors for self-improvement and personal growth.

7. Do I Recognize My Growth Throughout The Years?

Life sure feels like a scramble as a 20-something, but stopping to absorb all of the incredible things that you have accomplished so far can really encourage and motivate you to aim higher with everything else that you do.

8. Do My Friends Reflect Who I Really Am?

As a 20-something you might hang on to friends from high school, from college, from university, from past work facilities, and so on. Not to say you should say good-bye to all past friendships and only focus on the new, but you should make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who also reflect who you are and who you want to be.

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9. Do I Make My Decisions Based On The Needs Of Others?

Whether it’s the need for acceptance or recognition, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what others want from you, for you. Making decisions based on the needs of others is a short-term fix to keep the people around you content so you can bypass endless questions. However, it’s you who ultimately has to live with your decisions.

10. Am I Spending Money On The Wrong Things?

Saving money can feel impossible once all monthly living expenses are covered. Making a practical budget and breaking down what you actually need and use can really help you see what you have been disposing your money on. Try looking at your wants verses your needs. You may want 2GB of data for your fancy new smart phone, but why not cut the cost of your data plan if you’re actually only using 500MB each month? Do this practice for your cable bill, your grocery list, or even your personal products.

11. Am I Ready To Begin Investing In My Future?

Knowing the lifestyle you want to live can determine how you should invest in your future. A part of investing in your future is deciding a career path. The rest of it is buying property and planning for retirement, which in your twenties may seem obscure.

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12. Do I Feel Like An Equal Contributor In My Workplace?

As a 20-something it’s easy to get looked at as the “rookie” in any job position. If you are putting in hard, honest work ethic and not receiving credit for the work you are doing, it can feel daunting. If you find yourself in a workplace where you are not seen as an equal maybe it’s time to find your voice and speak up.

13. What Do I Need From A Romantic Relationship?

You might have experienced a romantic relationship at some point during your twenties, and it may not have worked out, that’s okay. With each relationship had, you are constantly learning about yourself, as well as others, and what you need out of a life partner. Try taking all of your past relationships and picking out the qualities that you appreciated most, and all of the qualities that held no room for compromise. This will show you the characteristics that are most attractive and important to you.

14. Am I Too Dependent On My Parents?

Sometimes being a 20-something is doing things on your own without parental guidance. As a child, parents were usually there to help you as best as they could in all aspects. As an adult, your parents may be there to mentally support you, but they are no longer held responsible to pay your bills, drive you around, or book your appointments.

15. Do I Love Myself?

Self-love can be hard to wrap your head around when you’re a 20-something, but when you find it, you have a whole new appreciation for yourself. Self-love is about being understanding towards your own needs, as well as having the courage to stand up for yourself even when you’re standing alone. Self-love is knowing how to forgive yourself, and having the ability to live life worry-free from the thoughts others may have of you.

16. Am I Happy?

A question that trumps all; knowing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths, and ultimately understanding yourself as best as possible, will help you find your happiness.

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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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