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20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities

20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities

Sometimes, things are hard. Whether the challenges are small or big, looming or present, or some stressful combination of all, adversities tend to pile up until we feel overwhelmed.

Get a handle on yourself and your circumstances with these twenty reminders:

1. Accept it.

Things happen, and sometimes they are really, really bad things. Sometimes you will eventually learn “why;” sometimes, you won’t. The faster you can accept that whatever has or is happening, has or is occurring, the faster you can channel your resources toward healing and finding a solution.

2. Know that how you react is what matters.

A quick internet search will turn up dozens of motivational quotations about how it’s the reaction that matters, not the incident. These quotes are correct, and not only because they were written by gurus. You can’t control how other people act, or the current situation, even if you did have control over the process that led you to this point. You can always control how you react. If you have not thought of it in these terms before, there’s good news: it’s never too late to start.

3. Allow these challenges to make you better.

No matter what lies before you, your current challenges present an opportunity to make you better. You have a chance to learn to react with positivity, grace, and creativity; to go through a process that will expand your mind, body, and spirit; and to develop lasting solutions from this new, stronger place that uphold the new, stronger you. Take this opportunity. Take all of these opportunities.

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4. Take a breath.

No matter what the circumstance, you have time to take a deep breath, pause, and think calmly about what your next move will be. Even and especially in an emergency, you will be more effective and efficient if you proceed deliberately. In the process of discovering how and why you got to where you currently are, you will likely ask yourself some “big” questions. Schedule and take time to explore and reflect during the healing process. If you neglect this stillness, not only will your solutions be half-baked, but you are more likely to repeat your mistakes.

5. Throw away the clock.

We live in a “quick fix” culture. We expect our problems to be solved overnight. Realize that even if your problems were created seemingly instantly, they may take some time to correct and fix. As you develop plans, be realistic about how long execution and implementation will take, and candidly asses how much change you can make in a given period of time. Are you thousands of dollars in debt? You likely won’t fix that in a month. Faced with a significant health condition? If it took your body years to manifest illness, it will take some time to right the course. Refer to #4, take another deep breath, and give the recovery process time.

6. Nourish yourself.

If you are confronting a challenge that is long-term, or will take time to resolve, it is important to nourish yourself during the recovery process. Eat well, rest, drink water, take breaks to get outside and pursue relaxing activities. Recovery is a journey, and you won’t be fit to trek the entire way unless you take care of yourself. You are your most powerful recovery resource – treat yourself accordingly.

7. Try something new.

You may, or may not, have the coping skills to deal with your current situation. Be proactive in exploring new options. Never tried meditation before? Plop yourself down. Always sneered at yoga? Pull up a mat. Always eat lunch at your desk? Clear 15 minutes to take a walk and get outside. You never know what will help you, until you try it.

8. Draw courage from others.

Spend some time talking to folks you know, seeking out support groups, or spending time online to connect with others in your current circumstance. There is someone out there who has been through what you are currently facing and has come out of it better than alright. Might some of their methods work for you? If not, at the very least their example will serve as a source of inspiration as you face your challenge.

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9. Surround yourself with positive people.

Like attracts like, and there is no substitute for surrounding yourself with positive people to buoy your own spirits. They’ve faced their own challenges, too, and they’re just fine. Even if they don’t have solutions, positive people have spirit, and sometimes, that’s just as good.

10. Praise what is going well.

Something in your life is going well. Do you have a beautiful child? Were you able to put food on the table today? Did you see anything that made you smile? Did you make some progress towards your healing goal? Uphold and celebrate every positive thing you can identify in your life, including the progress you make as you overcome your current challenges.  There is always something to be grateful for. If you’re alive, there’s energy and space for improvement and change; if you can’t cling to anything else, start with that.

11. Wrangle your emotions.

When the going is tough, you do not have time for grief, sorrow, depression, or wallowing, especially if you are responsible for children, animals, or other souls. Sometimes emotions must be pushed to the side while we buckle down and do what needs to be done. Be tough. Get the job done, and process once you are on safe footing again.

12. Fake it ’til you make it.

Having a hard time figuring out how to act positive when hard things are happening? Go to your mirror. Look yourself in the eye. Smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit of a grimace – do it. Then paste that look on your face and go about your day. At some point, you won’t be faking it quite as much, and that is called “progress.”

13. Acknowledge that you are responsible for your circumstances.

Time spent blaming others is wasted. You are responsible for your life and the way you live – the good, the bad, the joyful, the challenging. Finding and implementing lasting solutions is up to you, as well. Own it. When you own it, you can control it. When you control it, you can change it.

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14. Invest in yourself.

Developing tools for healing and change will likely require an investment in yourself. This investment could be financial, in the form of encouraging and uplifting books, audio tapes, or relaxation tools, or it could be measured in time, such as going to the library to check out a self-help book, then actually reading it. Most likely, the investment is a combination of both, but it’s worth making. Not only will you uncover new tools for success, but your confidence will rise as your psyche responds to the very tangible message that you are worth it.

15. Be gentle.

No matter what happened, no matter how much you believe you should have seen it coming – you didn’t. You did, or did not, do the things that created your present circumstance. Put down the whip of self-flagellation, and commit yourself to making progress and moving forward. If you need help with the concept of self-forgiveness, seek out friends, mentors or counselors, a psychiatrist, or the self-help section of your local library. Forgiveness of oneself is a big undertaking, but a vital one to complete before you can move forward.

16. Recognize patterns.

Are your challenges usually financial in nature? Health-based? Related to a particular emotion that crops up again and again? Spend some time in the self-help section of the library, with a journal, talking to a mentor, or whatever it takes to get some honest self-reflection accomplished. What part of your challenges can you control and head off before they grow? If you’re always late, for instance, and this is hurting you professionally, what processes can you put in place in your home to help you get out the door? Do you need to lay out your clothes ahead of time, or do you need to move so your commute is shorter and more predictable? There is an emotional component to the way we behave, the way we live, and the standards we uphold (or don’t). Are you dissatisfied at work and dread going to the office each day, subconsciously sabotaging yourself? Be honest during this process, and take as much time as you need to reach clear answers.

17. Ask for, and accept, help.

Everyone has had tough days, weeks, months, even years, and chances are there are people in your life who can identify to at least some degree with what you are facing now. Ask for help when you need it. Accept help when it is offered. You can and will pull through, but the bigger the challenge, the easier it is with a village.

18. Hang in there.

Healing, change, and recovery can take time. Stay at the path, and keep moving forward. While some days will still feel tough, you are moving forward. You are making progress. Eventually, that hurdle that seemed so huge will be in your rear view mirror.

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19. Keep looking forward.

Do you ever want to face this challenge, or set of challenges, again? No? Then cut it out! Kick the habits, lose the people, ditch the things that got you here. Rebuild a healthy life that works for you. Take what you’ve learned, and move on and upward.  Don’t look back.

20. Help others.

The “pay it forward” initiative is an increasingly popular one these days, and for good reason – it feels good to help others. Pay your wisdom, experience, and strength forward by helping others confronting similar challenges to those you have now overcome. Whether through a formal program or simply by encouraging the next person you meet who seems a bit sad, you will make a difference. Sometimes, that makes all of those challenges worth it.

Need more advice? Check out these thoughts on How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships.

Featured photo credit: so lovely may via flickr.com

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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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