There are worse things than being alone. But it often takes decades to realize this. And most often when you do, it’s too late. And there’s nothing worse than too late.
– Charles Bukowski
Yes, there are worse things than being alone.
In fact, your single years can be some of the most productive and liberating times of your life. But the way some people reluctantly wear their single status, you’d swear it was something to be escaped and avoided at all costs. You’ll no doubt know friends who obsessively crawl bars and clubs looking for someone – anyone – who can provide the security and comfort of a familiar relationship. And then everything will be all right. Right?!Advertising
It’s a shame that so many people view relationships as the best part of life. Being single allows you to experience so much that is often simply not possible when subjected to the financial and emotional pressures of supporting and maintaining a relationship. Far from being a temporary state that merely fills the inconvenient bit in between relationships, this time should be used to grow and evolve beyond the realms of those consumed and caged by societal expectations.
Being single can be the most magical, wonderful time of your life. Here’s why.
1. It’s about finding out who you really are.
There are physical characteristics that we all know about ourselves; height, approximate weight and sex being the obvious ones. But being single affords you a unique opportunity: you get to really find out who you are. The good, the bad, the indifferent, are all laid bare. Your strengths, weaknesses and insecurities exposed. Embrace the solitude and vow to learn and uncover everything about yourself. Resolve to tackle your demons rather than bottling them up. So many potentially great relationships are ruined because we carry much unresolved baggage from one relationship to the next. Being single is about finding out who and why you are what you are. And then working to iron out the creases.Advertising
2. It’s about exploring what you want to do with your life.
Being single used to mean nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.
– Sarah Jessica Parker
How many people do you know that had dreams and ambitions, yet fell into an unhappy relationship? Maybe felt obligated to assume new responsibilities they never wanted or expected? There’s something deeply tragic about this. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is nobility in living for others and putting their needs before yours. And there are times when this is absolutely necessary and the right thing to do. But wouldn’t you want your children to blaze their own trail and find and live their dream? So what’s your excuse? Use this time to pursue your passions, whether they come with monetary rewards or not. Immerse yourself in the process. And to hell with the consequences. Because you will never be happy unless you find and love what you do.
3.It’s about gaining confidence.
Being single allows you to develop skills and talents you may have forgotten about or didn’t even know you had. It allows you to learn how to do things independently and cope with change. Being single and creating the life you desire is a journey. And the reward for a journey of self-discovery is a new-found confidence and sense of contentment. Your choices, options and freedoms are limitless. Having the confidence to really seize these opportunities means you’ll get to live and enjoy the life you want.Advertising
4. It’s about knowledge.
A journey of self-discovery requires that you explore different cultures, beliefs and ways of life. It is about acquiring knowledge and gaining wisdom. When you are accountable only to yourself, you have a unique opportunity to go wherever your heart takes you. A hunger to learn and a curious spirit will serve you well. Read that great book you’ve never gotten round to. Revisit the classics and broaden your horizons with new genres of literature. Travel far and wide and soak up new experiences. Absorb the smells, sights, sounds, and exotic cuisines of foreign lands. If you commit to squeezing every last drop from your life, being single moment will prove to be utterly exhilarating.
5. It’s about regaining your health.
Not only is an unhappy relationship the cause of many mental health issues; it is often to blame for an expanding waistline. Whether it be comfort eating your way to an all too fleeting sugar high, or devouring one too many convenience meals in front of the TV, a familiar, safe and comfortable relationship rarely stirs the physical beast within. Yet your physical and emotional well-being are intrinsically linked. Use this time to nourish your body with quality, whole foods and benefit from the feel-good endorphins that exercise provides. You’ll gain the self-confidence, satisfaction and a sense of achievement that only a strong and healthy human body knows. And you get the satisfaction of politely declining admiring suitors captivated by your recent physical and mental transformation.
6. It’s about making your own rules.
When you’re in a relationship, you tend to put someone else’s needs before yours. You no longer always come first. But being single means you can be selfish, for all the right reasons. Have an urge to travel? Take flight. Want breakfast in bed, a long leisurely morning walk, followed by an afternoon swim and dinner at midnight? Do that. There is no one guaranteed way to live a great life. But by being single, you get to immerse yourself in the vital process of actually doing things – of living – and making up the rules as you go along. There are no limitations. Nothing holding you back, apart from your own fears. Isn’t it about time you addressed them?
7. It’s about loving yourself.
People always say that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Well, maybe not. You can certainly love someone even if you’re going through the darkest of times. But you simply cannot give the pure unadulterated love you’re capable of if you’re shackled by low self-esteem and regret. Finding the true you and evolving into what you were meant to become means that those who enter your life will be enriched by the experience. You will be present – making the most of every moment. Unmasked. Those who are able to love themselves, seem to effortlessly create happy and fulfilling lives.Advertising
Would these lives be better and more enriched if shared with a partner? That depends. Sometimes, yes – but often not. If you’re not yet feeling content with your life choices, and don’t know where you’re heading, maybe it’s time to put the search for your perfect soul-mate on hold for a little longer…
You’ve got some living to do first.
Last Updated on April 11, 2019
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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- How to Work with Different Communication Styles in the Office
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com