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Last Updated on March 28, 2019

32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

There is so much that is wrong with the society we live in. There is so much about ourselves that we wish to change. In an attempt to make ourselves better and to change our society, many times we forget to be grateful for the things we do have. We focus so much on the negative that the positive loses its place in our hearts. Here is a list of some things we all should be grateful for, for gratitude itself is a virtue.

1. Your Life

No matter how you think it is, it is a gift. So many individuals don’t get a chance to make it as far as you did. Disease, poverty, famines, and droughts claim thousands of lives each year, but you were lucky. You got to live, to survive, to exist and to be able to dream. Be grateful for your life.

2. Your Situation

Wherever you are, if you’re reading this you are already in a better situation than the hundreds of millions of individuals who are struggling to have two square meals a day. Be grateful for your situation.

3. Your Friends

They’re the family you picked. Think of the crazy inside jokes, the embarrassing memories, the late night phone calls and the fact that they’ve always got your back. Be grateful for that priceless relationship.

4. Your Parents

Your biggest fans and most honest critics. The only beings who could possibly love you more than you could ever love them. Not all parents are great, I agree, but they did choose to let you live and gave you life. Be grateful to your parents for their support, their encouragement, for their strength and undying love. Be grateful for the opportunity of life that they gave you.

5. Your Courage

You’ve lived so long, you’ve come so far. You made it despite heartbreaks and pain, though disappointment and failure. Yet here you are, alive, motivated and rearing to go. Remember to be grateful to whatever is giving you the will to drag yourself out of bed and face the world. Be it your motivation, your goals, your God, whatever, be grateful for the courage.

6. Your Strength

The fact that you didn’t break down that once. The time when you supported your friend in despair, that time you smiled for the family photo when all you wanted to do was to cry, but you didn’t. Be grateful for your strength to face your troubles and overcome your sorrows.

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7. Your Mind

A complex science, a firm friend. Your mind can wander to destinations unknown and yet be back to the present in a fraction of a second. It keeps you hoping, dreaming, thinking. It is in essence a part of what makes you, you. Be grateful for your mind’s ability to contribute to making you who you are.

8. Your Heart

Scared, wounded, healed, and still up for more of the same, your heart is like the spirit of a three-year-old. No matter how much it bears it bounces back. If it were to stop even for a second your life could be in danger. Be grateful for you heart for its mettle.

9. Your Senses

To touch, to smell, to see, to feel all the beautiful feeling we take for granted. Think of a day when you couldn’t feel. Think of the misery if you couldn’t taste. Think of the beauty that you would miss out on if you couldn’t see. Be grateful for your senses that make the world so pretty.

10. The Things You Love

Everything you love gives you joy. It becomes a part of you and can easily make you smile or tear up. Be grateful for its presence and its effect in your life.

11. Your Belongings

Your bag, your clothes, your couch, your table, everything that’s yours has a story. Even if it’s boring, it’s a story. When you got it, why you got it, how you got it, when you used it, every little detail works its way to make your life more complete. Each story captures a moment in your life that will never come back. Be grateful for those moments hidden in your belongings.

12. Your Tears

Remember that time you cried in joy? That time when you thought you couldn’t be happier? Do you also recall that terrible night when you thought you’re heart couldn’t take any more? Your tears bear testimony to the best and worst times you’ve had. Be grateful for the emotions your tears brought forth.

13. Your Mistakes

A clouded judgment, a tinted perspective, an unfair remark, that stupid, stupid, phone call. Some mistakes that were forgiven and some that weren’t. Some mistakes that warranted an answer and some that didn’t. Every mistake helped you grow, to learn, to understand. Be grateful for the wisdom that your mistakes enabled.

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14. Your Life Lessons

A lesson could be anything. Basic etiquette, the touch of a hand, the path back home, the stranger who helped, the little girl you learned to console. A lesson in life is one that only experience can enable. With every lesson learned, you’re one step more experienced than you were yesterday. Be grateful for the experience.

15. Your Mentors

Be it your family, friends, professors, or bosses, be grateful for those individuals who took time out of their lives to help you. To make you feel more competent and give you the cheat sheet of life that they never had. Be grateful for their guidance.

16. Your Happiness

Happiness is a misunderstood, often misquoted commodity. To be loved is to be happy, to be an artist is to be happy, to walk in a park alone with your thoughts is to be happy. Happiness is how you define it. Many people are robbed of their happiness for they often try to follow someone else’s definition of it. It’s a rare commodity today, one that the world is scrambling to own. Be grateful for your happiness.

17. Your Disappointments

With every disappointment that you encountered, be it academic, emotional, physical, artistic or mental, you got a little stronger. Your disappointment temporarily saddened you though, taught you to overcome the sadness and be happy again. Be grateful for the strength your disappointments gave you.

18. Your Job

For all the hard work you put in and for the job that pays your rent. It may not be the best yet, but it could help you get the best. It’s one door that will lead to another. It’s a door that you had to fight to get to. Be grateful the door opened.

19. Your Enemies

Your enemies taught you about the world the way that no book or reality show could. They taught you how to fight, how to be true to yourself and, most importantly, what not to be like. Be grateful to your enemies for showing you who you never want to be.

20. Your Teachers

They encouraged you, corrected you, motivated you and applauded you, asking for nothing in return from you. Some you loved, some you didn’t, yet they cared for you all the same. Be grateful for their time and effort that they spent on you.

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21. Your Heartbreaks

Each heartbreak made your heart stronger, wiser, more experienced. It gave you the wisdom to tell between loyal and faithful, a lie and a truth, and eventually between reality and expectations. Your heartbreaks taught you to bounce back and introduced you to your quieter side and your best friends. Be grateful for that knowledge.

22. Your Laughter

To be able to extract humor from a situation is nothing short of a talent, a gift if you will. To be able to look at something with such an eye that you couldn’t help but laugh. Be grateful for the talent that enables you to laugh.

23. Your Body

It’s able, it’s healthy. Be grateful that your body is responsive, healthy and yours. Your body is yours alone and for that be grateful.

24. Your Pain

The funny thing about pain is that when you feel it, it hurts so bad, but when it’s gone, you can’t remember how it felt. You have an idea that you hurt but not how much. Be grateful that it’s over, that the pain you once felt is no more. And the pain you feel will slowly die out. Be grateful for the pain for it introduced you to a greater joy after it passed.

25. Your Siblings

Your first and last friends. Your partners in crime, your shoulders in despair. Your siblings are the best thing that could ever happen to you. Whether it’s an inside joke, an anniversary gift, a heart break or even plotting a plan, they’re always there and always on your side. Be grateful for your siblings.

26. The Sun

Every day, it comes and spreads its light over all of us. Unselfish and kind, its warmth spreads in every direction. Be grateful for the sun, for without it food wouldn’t grow and your body wouldn’t experience its tender warmth.

27. The Trees

Ask any child, they’ll tell you why. But if there isn’t a child around, let me tell you. Trees make the world prettier, give us fruits and purify the air. Be grateful for the selfless trees that allow us to live so well.

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28. Your Privileges

No matter how few privileges you have, at least you have some. You may work towards a fairer society and that is awe inspiring, but don’t forget to be grateful for the knowledge of their existence and the power to utilize your privileges. Be grateful that you know your privileges.

29. Your Choices

Your choices — good or bad — were yours alone. You were lucky to have an opportunity to make your choice, to do as your heart desires and to be able to pick from among options. You were lucky that it wasn’t just one way. Be grateful for the opportunity to make your own choices.

30. Electricity

It’s hot, we have fans, it’s cold we have heaters, imagine those who have nothing. Be grateful that you have electricity to pamper yourself. It’s not a right, it’s a luxury.

31. Drinking Water

Everyday on the streets of my hometown I see children begging for mercy, for food, but even more so, for water. Be grateful for the water you drink. For the ease of the availability of that water and the purity of the water. Be grateful, for millions are dying because they don’t have water. For water, too, is a privilege.

32. Your Name

It’s an identity you were born with. Your name gave you a place in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you changed it, or kept it or hate it, it’s your first, not only, identity, but an identity nonetheless. Be grateful for an identity.

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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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