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Motivation: 21 Words That Can Change Your Life and 3 That Will Surprise You

Motivation: 21 Words That Can Change Your Life and 3 That Will Surprise You

Motivation is life changing.  Your life is changing every day.  It is either changing for the better or it is slowly changing for the worse.  Motivation is derived from the verb “motivate,” which means “move.”  Motivation is the burning desire that compels you to take action.  It is a so deeply intertwined with what you believe to be true and right in life that it moves you from a simple desire to a moment of decision.  Have you ever watched a working dog?  There only motivation is  you.

What is your motivation?

In 2006 I wrote, “Change happens in an instant.  It happens the moment you decide to change.”
You are going to be different tomorrow.  Stop feeling stuck.  When you decide to be different you will find motivation seeping into to thoughts and into your actions.  Motivation causes you to take action, it becomes an inner drive  fueling you forward.

We all believe something.  When was the last time you asked yourself, “What do I believe?”  What role does faith play in my life?  Why was I placed on this earth?  What is my purpose in life?”

Remembering that motivation is a verb meaning to “move” or take “action”.  Family, friends, co-workers and the people all around us are key motivators for how we act.  Surround yourself with great people and you will surround yourself with great motivation.

Goals.

It should be no surprise that goals motivate us and inspire us.  The most powerful goals are self-directed goals.  Self-directed internal goals.  They include understanding your priorities and purpose in life, knowing what you believe to be most important and using those goals as a daily guide for how you will choose to live your life.

New.

Choosing to learn something new every day will give you a reason to grown and change.  This could be something as simple as driving to work via a different route or signing up for guitar lessons.

Challenge.

Challenges are frequently seen as some sort of contest like the final four during March Madness.  Challenges draw out the best in us.  A simple challenge might be to decide to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier for thirty days to see if it improved your daily productivity.

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Truth.

Truth does not waver.  Something either is true or it is not.  Truth provides a firm foundation to stand on.  Truth strengthens, encourages, and will guide you correctly.

Determination.

You’ve met them.  Those rare individuals who are determined to continue regardless of how difficult the circumstances.  Determination literally means you are willing to put a “stake” in the ground.  It is not a casual choice.  There are very few things humans will determine to mark as permanent placeholders for their beliefs.

Laughter.

Laughter heals the soul.  Why is it that children laugh hundreds of times a day and adults laugh only _____ times.   Laughter occurs when something unexpected happens that causes your brain to emit a signal to your lungs to expel short burst of air causing you to make audible noises that are a signal of joy all across the world.

Perseverance.

Perseverance reminds me of a road or a bridge – a specific course or path we all walk down.  When you feel hopeless and lost, that is when perseverance counts the most.  Perseverance is consciously choosing to stay on your path even in the midst of incredible difficulties.

Freedom.

Having a sense of control or autonomy over your time and your actions is a powerful motivator.  Freedom liberates you to dream and imagine and create.  Freedom of stress is one of the most sought after psychological goals.

Tenacity.

Tenacity is a word originating with the meaning of adhesiveness.  There are frequent times you will find you need to “stick together”.  Tenacity never gives up.  It never lets go. Willpower lives in the core of your being.  Willpower moves you, motivates you and causes you to take action for good or for bad. This inner drive is the control center for many of the decisions you will choose to make moment to moment.

Faithful.

Faithfulness is a rare quality in today’s world.  It is choosing to remain reliable, trusted and constant.  It carries a sense of attachment and devotion to people, causes, organizations and beliefs.  Faithfulness is a foundational motivator.

Endurance.

This word literally means to have the ability to endure suffering over long periods of time.  Grit is stone broken down, but it is still stone.  It speaks to the indomitable toughness it can take to push through life’s most difficult trials.  Endurance when accepted can build character, patience, wisdom, empathy and compassion.

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Novel.

Novelty is also one of the most unexpected motivators.  When you experience something for the very first time or you see something you have never seen before you may find yourself swept away with emotion.  The birth of a child.  An unexpected gift.  A surprise ending to a difficult moment in life.

Tragedy.

Life is full of heartache and indescribable pain.  War, illness, death, divorce, financial problems, and injustice.  Tragedy regardless of the pain is full of opportunities to learn and grow and find renewal and hope.  Tragedy shows you are never alone.

Learning.

Any gap in understanding will motivate you to want to fill that knowledge gap.  If you want to know more about leadership – read books by great leaders.  To learn how to train a dog – hire a dog trainer and take lessons.  The incremental acquirement of new knowledge becomes a self-motivating driver.

Anticipation.

The act of looking forward to something important happening in your life.   When you are just given a glimpse of a future success or opportunity the anticipation releases an incredibly powerful chemical called dopamine into your system.  Everything you have ever wanted in your life you were first motivated to strive for attaining it because you anticipated the feeling of importance it would mean to you.  Dopamine is the brain chemical of anticipation.

Courage.

Lt. Col. (retired) Dave Grossman shared a single quote of where the bravery of being an Army Ranger came from for him.  He said, “Courage is just being willing to take one more step.” Sometimes the only motivation you need is to take just one more step.

Hope.

When used as a noun hope only a feeling, but when used as a verb hope becomes the focal point of your motivation.  Sometimes in life all you have is hope.  And, in those moments hope will be more than enough.

Time.

Time is not merely a framework for how the minutes, hours and days pass by – each day is like having a blank canvas sitting in an art room filled with unlimited options.  Improving your motivation through improving your time management will require you to reduce the number of choices you have to let into your life.  You will find simplicity and peace in narrowing your focus and increasing your energy and attention only on accomplishing the tasks that bring motivation and meaning in your life.

Love.

The foundation of life is love..  There is no way to create a life of meaning without love.  There is no motivation, no reason to move or change or engage in life without love.  The foundation of motivation is love.

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And, Three That Might Surprise You

Brain.

The prefrontal cortex is the thinking part of the brain. This is where life happens! In this space just behind your forehead, ideas are created, thoughts are pondered, imagination grows (or dies), judgments are made. This part of the brain is highly specialized in humans; this is where you define meaning, plan for the future, and imagine. Your values, priorities, purpose, goals, drive, learning, love, and hope all live here.  Motivation is a decision.

Attention.

You experience the depths of motivation when your attention focused so intently on completing a task or a project or a hobby that challenges you to such a point that time stands still.  When you are in that moment – swept away from stress and worry – concentrating with full attention – you don’t need motivation – you are experiencing motivitation.  At that moment you are motivated.  You are in the process of taking action.  And, in those amazing moments you realize the life-changing power of motivation.  You understand the difference between existing and thriving.  And, in that moment – life oozes out of you.  And, motivation is contagious.

Time Management.

Your personal time management skills affect the levels of motivation you experience in life.  Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter is a sports psychology expert and coach to Olympic athletes, as well as being a world-class athlete in her own right. She says, “It starts with a dream; motivation comes from within.  It has to be an inner desire, an inner fire, a willingness to achieve something you are passionate about.”
Far too many people only focus on the hard parts of life that motivation can guide us through.  By improving your time management you can create daily blocks of time to focus your time and attention on the part’s of life that motivate you.

Action Steps:

Time Management Tips to Live with More Motivation

Assess your current schedule

Determine which activities motivate you and which activities drain you of energy

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Take time to think about what you really want out of life (preferably away from work or home)

Clarify what you want in life by writing down personal or professional goals

Create a plan of action – prioritize or sequence the individual action steps you need to take to accomplish your new goals

Use a pen and paper to schedule when you will take these actions.

Then take action.

Remember “motivation” comes from the word “motive” which means to “move” – or to take “action.”

“The secret to motivation is purposeful action.”
~ Allyson Lewis

Featured photo credit: André Spieker via bit.ly

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Allyson Lewis

Allyson is a nationally acclaimed author, motivator, speaker, time management, productivity strategist, and executive coach.

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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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