It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela
Whenever you’ve considered how to live your dream, it’s likely that you had a lot of fearful thoughts. Whether your dream is to write a book or you want to climb Mt. Everest, take steps to overcome your fears and begin living your dream today.
1. Tell Other People About Your Dream
The more people you tell about your dream, the more likely you are to make that dream a reality. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers what you hope to accomplish. The people who support your dream can help you along the way, and those who question your abilities can fuel your determination.Advertising
2. Take Steps to Prepare
Don’t quit your job today or head for the hills without a plan. Spend time preparing what you’ll need and how you’ll get there. Without a clear and proper plan, you’ll struggle to get there. Write down your plan and remain flexible, as the best plans often need to be revised.
3. Establish a Timeline
The difference between a dream and a goal is at timeline. Establish a realistic timeline to reach your dream, and you can start working toward it today. Most dreams require many steps along the way, so determine when you want to reach each step until you are finally living your dream.
Once you’ve established a timeline, you don’t have to say that you want to live your dream “someday.” Instead, you can say, “Two years from now, this is what I plan to be doing.”Advertising
4. Set Short-Term Goals
Identify short-term goals you’ll need to reach to make your dream a reality. Create action steps to help you begin reaching your short-term goals. Every time you accomplish one goal, set another goal.
5. Take One Step Toward Your Dream Daily
Work on your dream every day. Whether you spend time researching your dream or planning your next time, spend a little bit of time each day working on it. Setting aside time to work on living your dream each day will help make it a reality.
6. Measure Your Progress
Review your plan and measure your progress periodically. It’s likely that you’ll need to make some adjustments along the way. Keeping track of your progress can help you see how far you’ve come, and it can keep you motivated to keep working hard.Advertising
7. Prepare for Obstacles
Expect to encounter obstacles along the way. Plan for the obstacles that you can predict, and be ready to do some problem-solving when unforeseen obstacles arise. Don’t give up when you encounter problems; resolve to overcome them instead. Living your dream will require effort, but it will make it all that much more worthwhile when you get there.
8. Visualize Success
Spend time visualizing yourself living your dream. Think about what your life will be like, how you’ll be spending your time, and how you’ll feel. Visualizing it often can help you see that you can make your dream a reality.
9. Keep the Benefits in Mind
When the going gets rough and you’re tempted to quit, it’s important to keep the benefits of living your dream in mind. Keep a list of all the reasons why you want to live your dream and refer to that list often. Reminding yourself of the benefits can decrease your fears and remind you how to live your dream.Advertising
10. Quiet Your Inner Critic
There will be plenty of days where you will have doubtful thoughts. Your inner critic will try to convince you that you won’t make it, it’s not worth it, or that you’ll fail miserably. Stop the excuses about why you can’t live your dreams and remind yourself of the reasons why you can do whatever you want.
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.
If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:
You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.
You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.
In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.
You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.
People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.
You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.
You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.
Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.
Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:
- Understand your own communication style
- Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
- Communicate with precision and care
- Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger
1. Understand Your Communication Style
To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.
In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.
Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.
2. Learn Others Communication Styles
Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.
If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:
“How do you prefer to receive information?”
This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.
To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.
3. Exercise Precision and Care
A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.
Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.
I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.
I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.
In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.
The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.
Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.
4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger
Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.
In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,
“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”
Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.
Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.
It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.
It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.
It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.
Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.
Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.
The Bottom Line
When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.
I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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