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30 Things To Remember To Help You Become Successful In 2015

30 Things To Remember To Help You Become Successful In 2015

A single perspective, a quote, even a statistic, can be all you need to make start your journey to improvement 2015, the year when everything changes. Just one of these insights could point you in a new direction. Read with an open mind and ask yourself, “How can this idea move me closer to success?”

Attitude: Develop The Success Outlook

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl (1905–1997), author of Man’s Search For Meaning.

1. Know that your mind can be your greatest asset but you have to manage it.

It’s been said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. That’s true. If you have a bad attitude about life, your potential will be limited. Do you need encouragement? I recommend reading and studying John C. Maxwell’s book, The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset.

2. Remember that choosing a growth mindset – that you can grow and develop yourself – makes a huge impact.

Think about the last time you attempted to learn a new career skills (e.g. a new Excel technique). Did you see it as an opportunity to grow? If so, your growth mindset will help you to keep working longer and reach success. Read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

3. Treat every day as a fresh start.

Yesterday, good or bad, is over. It’s up to you to make the most of today. Set one goal for today – read for 30 minutes, write a list of 10 places you want to visit or three conferences you’re interested in – and achieve it. Achieving goals improves your attitude FAST.

4. Show gratitude all year ’round (Not just Thanksgiving).

Did you know that gratitude improves productivity? This simple action, which requires no money, improves your attitude. Make it a daily habit and you’ll be impressed by the results.

5. Take responsibility for your life.

“Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” – Viktor Frankl

From time to time, we suffer setbacks and frustrations. With enough disappointments like that, it is easy to slip into the victim mindset. Fortunately, you can choose the personal responsibility attitude right now.

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Truths about wealth

For many people, obtaining wealth is a key part of success. Given that we live in a market economy, this perspective makes a lot of sense. If you’re interested in attaining wealth, a few key principles make all the difference.

6. Most American millionaires are self-made.

What if your family is not blessed with wealth? Don’t worry. The majority of people on the Forbes 400 billionaire list earned their fortunes from scratch.

7. The immigrant wealth advantage.

You might wonder if starting over in a new country puts you at a disadvantage compared to the native born. Businessweek reports: “Immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley’s technology companies and contributed to more than 25% of our global patents.”

8. Own a business to achieve wealth.

Have you ever thought about starting a business? Owning a successful company is one of the best ways to become wealthy. Jaime Tardy interviewed dozens of millionaires to learn how they achieved their success. She found that starting a business is essential.

9. Think twice about that new car.

The way you approach and manage the money you already have makes a great impact on your success. According to The Millionaire Next Door, most millionaires purchase used cars.

10. Manage risk with an emergency fund.

As you work toward your improvement 2015 plan, experts recommend building an emergency fund for unexpected problems like unemployment. Author Dave Ramsey suggests by beginning with a $1,000 starter emergency fund, as described in 9 Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund.

11. The lottery is not a wealth strategy.

Did you know that many lottery winners actually go bankrupt? “The big winners who ended up bankrupt could have paid off all of their debts but chose not to,” explains economist Alex Tabarrok in Lottery Winners Do Not Avoid Bankruptcy.

12. Spend money on experiences and giving.

Researchers have found that spending money on experiences makes a difference. That could mean something like saving up and spending money on a long anticipated trip somewhere. For more insights, read The Atlantic‘s excellent article, Buy Experiences, Not Things.

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Health: The foundation for happiness and success

All the wealth in the world doesn’t mean much if you lose your health. You’ve probably read that idea before. Yet, what are you actually doing to maintain your health? Consider the following ideas to keep your health on track.

13. If the president can make time for exercise, so can you!

Are you one of those people who claim not to have time for exercise? Do you feel that your life is “too busy” for exercise? President Obama, who has one of the most challenging roles in the world, includes several hours of exercise time in his schedule (source: Obama’s Way).

14. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.

Sleep is the silent partner in your success. And it doesn’t cost a dime! Learn how to improve your sleep with Gretchen Rubin’s article Fourteen Tips for Getting More Sleep – and Why It Matters.

15. Start one new health habit this year.

Habits are one of the most powerful ways to pursue success in 2015 or any other time. Once an important behavior (e.g. bedtime or daily exercise) becomes a habit, you no longer have to worry about it. Learn how to avoid habit failure from entrepreneur James Clear.

16. Get more energy by taking a nap during the day.

A nap is one of the best ways to improve your energy. Author Michael Hyatt finds that naps of 10-20 minutes make a positive impact on his success: My Secret Weapon for Extra Energy at Work.

17. Maintain your smile for success.

Taking care of your teeth, gums and the rest of your oral health makes life better. According to The Daily Mail, sparkling healthy teeth make you look younger and even improves your employment prospects.

18. Visit your doctor!

When was the last time you visited your doctor? If you can’t remember, you’re probably overdue. A key part of success involves adopting a proactive stance for your life and that includes your health. Don’t be one of those people who only seeks medical care in the emergency room.

Learn the art and science of goal setting

Setting and achieving goals are one of the best ways to seek improvement. 2015 can be a blockbuster year if you implement these ideas and strategies.

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19. Dream big dreams for your life.

One of the most fun and exciting aspects of goal setting is to dream big dreams. Write down a list of 10 things you want to achieve in life. Get inspired with The Ultimate Bucket List: 60 Things You Should Do Before You Die if you’re not sure where to start.

20. Writing down your goals makes a HUGE difference.

Writing down your goals makes a big difference. “Writing down your goals you are 42 percent more likely to achieve them. Why? Because writing it down brings clarity and declares purpose” (Source: What the Science of Goal Setting Tells Us about Accomplishing More of What Matters Most)

21. Meet up with your friends if you miss them!

Learning makes more interesting and enhances your career. Find successful people in your field and ask about their skills. Then, you will know what skills you need to learn for career advancement.

22. Grow your network.

Relationships are a very important part of happiness. Set a goal to have lunch out each week with someone in your network.

23. Decide how much money you want to earn.

Like it or not, having more money makes many aspects of life easier. That’s one of the reasons why it matters so much to set money goals. I suggest by starting with a money goal that can be completed in less than a year (e.g. save $1,000 dollars or earn $5,000 in freelance income).

24. Track your Goals.

To stay on track, review your goals once per week and make notes on your progress.You’ll look forward to recording your progress!

25. Plan to celebrate your goals.

Celebrating your achievements makes success even sweeter. Set a budget (e.g. $50) or choosing a type of activity (e.g. dinner at your favorite restaurant with a bottle of wine) in advance so that you can enjoy the process.

26. Get resources on goal setting.

Goal setting is a skill you can learn. I have personally used resources by Brian Tracy and Michael Hyatt with good results.

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Books To Read For Success in 2015

“The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.” – Jim Rohn

27. Feed your mind with success books.

Our culture is filled to the brim with negative news. Fortunately, there are great books available to help you. Check out 25 Self-Improvement Books That Will Make You A Better Person for ideas. I’ve read several of the books on the list and consider this to be a good starting point.

28. Get work done with Getting Things Done by David Allen.

David Allen’s classic business book Getting Things Done is one of the most practical and useful productivity books I have ever read. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unfocused, this book will help! If you have read it before, consider reading it again for new insights.

29. Read Fiction To Understand People Better.

Reading fiction is one of the most leisure activities available. Reading fiction also supports your self improvement goals (and business – see The Business Case For Reading Novels from Harvard Business Review). Read non-fiction most of the time? Get ideas – The Top 10 Fiction Books for Non-Fiction Addicts.

30. Read About Successful People Throughout History.

The experiences of successful people throughout history is available to you. You can learn about how athletes trained for challenging competitions, how scientists came up with their discoveries and much more. Reading a well-written biography can inspire you for years to come.  Last year, I read Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr. by Ron Chernow – it was a sweeping, epic biography.

To get started, I have to recommend Ryan Holiday’s article 25 Recommendations For Life Changing Biographies For The Voracious Reader In You: pick a title and get started!

Featured photo credit: Success/Geralt via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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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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