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8 Simple Steps to Lead Our Life on Purpose

8 Simple Steps to Lead Our Life on Purpose

Are we living an authentic life?  Are we excited each day to engage and lose ourselves on the path of life that we are travelling?  Are we committed to mastering the path that we are on?

Many people struggle with finding a life purpose that is authentic, personally meaningful and a source of intrinsic value.  If you struggle with this, then this article is for you.  I’ll set out 8 simple steps that will help us lead our life with purpose.

1. Determine What We Uniquely Value, Who We Really Are

Is the path that we are on authentic?  Did we pursue a career because our parents wanted us to pursue it?  Does our heart yearn for something else?  We cannot live our life on purpose unless we determine what that purpose is. The first step in determining this is to determine what we uniquely value.  What is it that makes us come alive? When is it that we are most fulfilled?

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I found great clarity in my life when I literally wrote down my unique values, and I made sure that I didn’t get caught by the trap of only valuing what everyone else values: economic security and social acceptance.  These are important values, but by fixating on them, we often make decisions (particularly relating to careers) that don’t lead to an authentic purpose.

What else do we value? For me I valued freedom, and contribution, and challenge, and variety. That led me to leave a financially secure career (law) for one that many would consider risky (entrepreneurialism and writing). But once I did I was much happier because my actions were in line with what I uniquely valued as an individual.

2. Think Action, Not Rewards

It is really, really easy to get discouraged when we fixate on the rewards of our actions as the sole motivating force in our life. Here’s why: rewards can sometimes be elusive, despite our best actions. Also, rewards can seem unfair. We see in the media all the time examples of people who become rich and famous. and we wonder why? We wonder what they did to deserve it, and why we don’t get it?

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This line of thought is a recipe for discouragement, and it is a sure-fire way to cause us to pull away from our unique purpose. If we don’t see the rewards quickly, it is easy to quit. A better way is to adopt a habit of focusing on our actions, not the rewards of our actions. When we live each day, excited to give our very best in what we can control (our actions and our attitude) we are able to live a life on purpose.

3. If It Scares You, Do It

If it very unlikely (I would argue impossible) to live a life completely on purpose without ever confronting fear. It is often our deepest desires that scare us the most. They scare us because we want them, and we know that we should be pursuing them; we just don’t know how, and we are scared to fail. I have found that by doing what scares me, when it comes to what I believe is my purpose, I grow in complexity. I am happier, and I have a greater sense of personal fulfilment. If it scares me, it is likely that I should do it.

4. Commit To Mastery

Mastery is long term. Mastery is hard. Mastery take hours and hours of mundane repetition and practice. If we don’t truly believe that an activity is part of our unique life purpose, then we won’t put in the time to become a master. Also, if we don’t intrinsically enjoy our pursuit (independent of any rewards), it is likely that we won’t put in the practice to develop our talents and skills in a way that represents mastery. Commit to mastery in the things that are uniquely you. Take the long view. If you do, you will live life on purpose because you won’t become deterred by short term distractions. You will also have much more of an impact on others.

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5. Seek Guidance From Mentors

There are always people out there who are willing to help us, and many of them have tread the exact path that we are currently on. Many of them have felt the same anxieties and fears that we feel. All we have to do is reach out to them. Find a way to add value to the mentor you are reaching out to. They will be glad to reciprocate your value by teaching you important things that will help you on your unique path. Sometimes mentoring comes in the form of books, articles, or speeches. Find whatever you can that helps you on your path.  Don’t go at it alone.

6. Create Value For Others

A fulfilling life purpose is one that includes the creation of value for other people. Creating value for other people is also something that allows us to get paid for doing what we love.  In whatever it is the we value, that we want to make our life’s work, we will be most likely to sustain this action, and make money doing it if it creates value for others. Creating value often arises by an attempt to solve a problem, or provide an insight to another. Outward directed work, that helps others, also helps us because we are rewarded for the efforts of our creation.

7. Make Plans And Take Action

Be deliberate. Be intentional. Once we have determined what it is that we uniquely value, we make it real by making a specific plan of action to take our idea, or wish, and create its tangible counterpart.  Once we have a plan of action, simply take action, build our action into a habit, and continue. Make it our life’s work.

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8. Be Thankful And Appreciate The Moment

Ungrateful people are difficult to be around.  Don’t be one of them.  Don’t be one of those people who is always complaining, and is always looking for what is wrong in the world.  This is why focusing on actions, not rewards is so important.  If we focus only on rewards, and those rewards don’t come, it is easy to “vent.”  When we are venting, what we are really doing is just complaining (the word vent makes it seem okay for us). Resist the urge to vent, but rather just be thankful for the fact that we have a chance to do something that is authentic to us.  Embrace the moment of where we are.  This will go a long way to helping us live life on purpose, and it will also go a long way to ensuring our long term happiness.

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Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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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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