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9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

Life is like a road trip without a map; as you travel along the highway of life, you stop at different places, veer off down unknown roads, change direction every now and again and sometimes, although you hate to admit it, you get lost. Sadly, there are some of who insist on taking the map with them, making sure that nothing is uncertain, that all roads are clearly mapped out and getting lost is never a possibility.

Merely existing in life is like being on automatic pilot; eyes wide open yet not seeing anything, arms out in front, yet never really feeling or experiencing anything and you travel one foot in the front of the other going in only one direction. There is no feeling, no challenge and certainly no excitement you simply go through the motions doing what you have always done, yet expecting something different.

Except you have this feeling in the back of your mind that life isn’t meant to be like this, that there is more to it and you need to make some changes. I’m all for change so I’ve come up with a few actionable pointers to help you live a great existence, so that you can start loving every moment of your life again!

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1. Invest the present and do what matters most to you.

Life is short—there I’ve said it, but it’s true. You can’t waste a single drop of it, so while you are here on this wonderful planet, why not make sure you do right now what matters to you most. What you do every day matters more to you than what you do every so often, like, for example, what you do for work or your daily routine. It’s time to really decide if it makes you happy or not. Ask yourself what makes you really come alive and start to invest time in being able to do that.

2. Live the way you preach.

If you harp on all the time about being kind to other people, giving to charity and helping the needy, and yet you are grumpy all the time, moan about having to give to charity and are selfish with your time, it might be time to rethink how you live your life. The best way to live is to live with purpose and being true to your word, you’ll not only gain respect from others but you’ll also respect yourself too. What you’ll also find is that you’ll live your life in a more meaningful way, you’ll feel more fulfilled and you’ll become an inspiration to others at the same time. Wonderful don’t you think?

3. Write your own story of your own life.

Guess what? Your life is in your hands and nobody else’s, so it’s up to you how the story of your life goes. Once you understand that no matter what happens to you, no matter what people think of you and what other people are doing with their lives, your life is your own responsibility and if you want to enjoy it, it’s down to you. Start the new chapter of your life today; create, dream and then take action. Step into your own life and make an intention to re-write, start over and live rather than exist!

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4. Appreciate all the wonderful people and great things already in your life.

How often do you not even notice what you already have in your life: your family who loves you, your partner who adores you and your home, which you are so lucky to live in? Be ever so grateful for all those people that care about you no matter what you do, and appreciate them every day as you’ll never know when they might no longer be around. Remember, the more you are grateful for the more you will receive things to be grateful about.

5. Be who you really are.

There is really no point in pretending to be someone you are not or hiding that unique and special person behind someone else. You were made as you and there is, after all, only one of you. If you were to believe what people say in this crazy world, being like everyone else is better than being who you are, don’t you dare believe it!  Hold onto your individuality and wear it with pride. Embrace your differences and brush off any criticisms, those who criticize are only envious of you, so be brazen about it, step forward and be you!

6. Embrace change and love watching your life unfold.

So many times, I’ve seen people struggle, complain and moan about things in their life when stuff doesn’t go the way they want it to go. Life is meant to be ever changing, ever growing and it can be tough to let go of how things used to be and move forward with something new. Here’s where you stop worrying, fretting and trying to control. It’s time to have a little bit of faith in the unknown and start trusting that life will unfold on its own whether you like it or not. Believe that what’s around the corner is the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way, and laugh or cry but live consciously from now on and see how wonderful life can really be.

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7. Always listen to your heart.

There is no doubt about it—this is the most important step. Life can be an exciting, spontaneously exhilarating journey if you let it be, or it can be nothing at all. You can learn new ways to live. Begin today by making some changes and listening to your heart. Forget what other people think. Be brave enough to go it alone if you have to. Do what is in your heart and follow it with commitment, pride and love. Appreciate every step you take and be mindful of everything around you. There will be bad days, good days and days that will teach you how to deal with difficulties, because they will come. Life is after all one big learning curve. Treat it like that and you’ll never be disappointed.

8. Enjoy the little things in life.

The very best things in life are free and remembering to enjoy the simple things in life will make you feel alive. Things like watching nature, spending time with loved ones and having fun will make you realize that the need for more is just an illusion.  Enjoy these moments today, because tomorrow things could change in an instant, so make the most of now and the little things in life.

9. Learn to let go.

Some things things are meant to stay broken, so rather than trying to fix something that is broken, learn to let go and let it be. Trying to force something into place or back together can make the situation worse.  Sometimes it’s best to leave them be, start over and create something better than before.  Whether it’s a relationship or a certain situation, it’s important to look at it objectively, work out what works and what doesn’t, and then act accordingly. Letting go is never a failure. It’s just a choice to take a new direction and make the best out of what happens next.

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So the question is, do you merely exist or are you living?

Featured photo credit: An Khánh 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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