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24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Everyone has those moments in life when you stop and evaluate where you’re at and where you’re heading. Most of the time those evaluations come because of a simple but powerful question. These types of questions can change our lives, turn us in another direction and open our minds to new experiences and people. Here are some life-changing questions that you might ask yourself one day:

1.Where will I be in 5 years if I keep heading in this direction?

Are you doing the things you want to be doing and becoming the person you want to become or are you heading in another direction?

2.What if today was my last day?

Would you waste your time playing games on your phone and commenting on your friends Facebook posts or would you actually call your friends and set up a lunch. Would you be more active or would you just relax. How would your day be different if it was your last one?

3. Do I volunteer enough?

Helping others is one the greatest things we can do. But do we set apart enough time for it? Do we donate to charities or volunteer at shelters, do we help strangers open the door when their arms are full? Service is good for all parties involved.

4.Do I want to have children?

Whether you decide to have children or not, both decisions will have a great impact on the rest of your life. Children are a big responsibility. Some people would prefer to adopt, others to not have children. There are many routes to take. The one you choose will depend on the goals and desires you have for your life.

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5. Should I finish my education or figure out what I want to do first?

Some people prefer to take time travelling or working before going to school. They focus on discovering who they are and what they have a passion for. Other people make the decision to finish their education and work towards finding a career. Yet others choose to forgo school and jump into a career. Each choice will help you learn about yourself, it just depends on the route that works best for you.

6. Do I see myself being married or would I be ok with a committed relationship?

Some people prefer to get married, others find that a committed relationship best suits them. It’s a choice that for some people is clear but for others it could depend on their situation in life or the person they are with.

7. Should I have plastic surgery?

Whether it’s health related or personal preference, this is a big decision for a lot people. Changing your physical appearance isn’t a little thing. Whatever your reasons for doing it, make sure you know it’s what you want.

8.Do I want t o settle down or have the freedom to move around?

Is buying a house the right move for you or do you want the freedom to travel and pick up and leave whenever you want? I’ve been in both situations in my life. Right now my husband and I are renting so that we can up and move if an opportunity presents itself. Other people prefer the security of a permanent home.

9.Am I who I want to be?

What kind of person have you always to be? Are that person? Or are you way off the path you thought you would be on? Do you still want to be that person or have things changed for you? All these questions can help you figure out who you are and who you want to become.

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10. Am I happy with my career choice?

Choosing a career can be hard for some people, for others it’s a no-brainer. Once you break into your desired field, you might find it’s not what you expected. Then you have to decide if you just push through it and hope for the best, if you change careers or if you should go back to school.

11. Should I ask my boss for a raise?

This can be really hard for some people, but what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss could say no. But it lets them know that you are serious about your job and that you’re working hard to move up.

12. Have I experienced enough of other cultures?

The world is full of people who have different traditions, cultures, languages, etc. You’ll find those differences all the way across the ocean and even down the street. Go out and learn about other people.

13. Am I dating/married to/committed to the right person?

Whatever type of relationship you are in, you need to make sure that the other person is the right one. Encourage open communication between the two of you and make sure you are both heading in the same direction.

14.Am I living with a positive outlook and passion for life?

Life should be exciting. You should be doing things that you are happy doing and that you have a passion for.

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15.Are the people in my social circle a positive influence on my life?

You are a reflection of the people you spend time with. Do they encourage you to be a better person or do they bring you down? This can be a hard change to make, but sometimes we all need to reevaluate the type of people we consider our friends.

16. Am I living a physically/mentally/spiritually healthy lifestyle?

Your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are all your personal responsibility. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Do things you enjoy doing that will help keep you healthy in all aspects of life.

17. Do I take time to stop and enjoy the simple things around me?

Small but important things happen to you every day. Take the time appreciate and acknowledge them.

18.What would I change if I saw the world through a child’s eyes?

Children see things through innocent eyes. They notice things adults tend to miss. Try to see what life is like through their simple eyes and maybe you’ll notice a few more things and be grateful for a lot more.

19. Have I set money aside for an emergency?

Money is something that you have to have but never seem to have enough of. Make sure that no matter what, you are budgeting so that you have money put away for a rainy a day. You never know when that day will come, but it always does.

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20. Am I financially prepared to retire?

So many people are focused on what they need now that they forget to prepare themselves for the future. One day you will want to retire, make sure you do everything you need to financially so that you can.

21. How much money do I waste a month on worthless or meaningless things?

My husband and I re-budgeted when he got a new job and found out that we were spending around $4000 a year on fast food. We were shocked. My husband was still in school so our finances were a little tight and yet we were wasting all that money on cheap burgers. We started spending the money on groceries instead of eating out and found out that we saved around $3000 a year. I understand that sometimes you just need a Dollar Menu. But, when you’re trying to save money and stick within a budget, you need to plan ahead and be ready so you can save money.

22.  Am I spending enough time with the people I value the most?

Life is short. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Make sure that no matter how busy you are with work, school or other activities that you make time for the people who really matter.

23. Have I accomplished the dreams and goals I’ve set for myself?

Whatever point you’re at in life, you should have been able to accomplish some or most of your goals. Achieved goals don’t just fall into your lap; you have to actively pursue the things you want. Work hard and make things happen for yourself.

24. How have I improved as a result of my experiences?

Every experience you have, whether good or bad, becomes a part of you. What you learn from those experiences is up to you. Take what you can from them and become a better person because of things you have gone through in your own life.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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