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Relax Maverick! 10 Things Everyone Needs To Chill Out About In Their 20s

Relax Maverick! 10 Things Everyone Needs To Chill Out About In Their 20s

Being stressed and in your 20s are two things that most certainly do not belong together. Personally having just exited the terrific twenties and now entering into the thrilling thirties, my battle wounds are still fresh enough to be able to throw some warning signs and wisdom toward my fellow denizens who are still battling through their twenties. Most people looking back on their twenties will describe the decade as very much the formative years of finding your feet, figuring your niche, your purpose, your passion and beginning to anchor down.

In light of the abstract nature of finding your groove, there are many things that you are probably taking more seriously than you need to. Here are 10 things you need to chill out about.

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1. Getting That Ring By Spring (any Spring in your twenties that is)

The average age for marriage has shifted in the 1950s from the very early twenties to now very close to the age of thirty. Factors such as the increase in the standard of living in most countries means more years added to life, and more career opportunities means more time to figure things out. While there are certainly benefits to getting married young, you can relax, because the days of getting married in your early twenties have faded and nobody is going to raise an eyebrow if you do not have that ring on your finger yet.

2. Chasing That College Degree

People used to freak out if you did not have a college degree. Now with the developments in technology and the vast availability of knowledge and education online, the face of education is changing from traditional and conventional forms. Not only are the possibilities of succeeding without going to college even greater, but you are able to learn pretty much anything and everything online without having to jump through the hoops at an institution.

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3. Setting Up That 10-year Plan

Remember that dreadful style that you used to do your hair in thinking it was the hippest coolest look ever, only to now hang your head in shame? Things change. Your desires in your twenties will almost certainly be different as you get older. By all means, go ahead and write out a plan for your life—just be ready to throw it in the trash and write out a new one in a couple of years, or a couple of weeks! Better yet, forget the plan and just take it a day at a time!

4. “Keeping up with the Joneses”

Do not start playing the comparison game with people around you that you feel may be more “successful” than you are. Run your own race. It would be tragic to let envy force you into making a foolish decision for the sake of trying to mimic someone else’s lifestyle.

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5. Getting “Established”

You really do not want to get caught up in the rat-race during your twenties. Avoid getting caught into the 9–5 because you desire some sort of structure to your life. Your twenties is the perfect time not to have any structure! Steer away from making significant investments such as buying a brand new car or a house. These things will certainly shackle you down and cause a ton of stress if you cannot break free.

6. Letting Down Momma & Poppa

Some parents will voice their opinions louder than others. It is always a tricky balance trying to avoid a war with the parents as you deal with their pressures and expectations. Just remember not to be ashamed of failing to meet their expectations for your life during your twenties. Hey, you have another decade, and more after that to make them happy.

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7. Rollin’ Like a Millionaire

Stress less about having that financial stability. There will always be those few lucky souls who hit the jackpot early on. As long as you have enough cash to live off of, there is no need to start thinking about that retirement fund yet.

8. Living With Your Oldies

You are not the only one. As the saying goes, “there is strength in numbers.” The statistics of people in their twenties who are still living with their parents is overwhelming. You are just another drop in the ocean of many others doing the same thing. No need for the embarrassment. Enjoy being rent-free while it lasts!

9. Everyone’s 2 Cents

Advice can be helpful, but it can also be harmful. Take everything with a grain of salt and do not let anyone’s opinion confine you into doing something just because it seems like a “wise” thing to do, or what you are meant to be doing.

10. Making Mistakes

Not only stress less about making mistakes; go ahead and embrace them. Mistakes are a crucial part of the learning process. There’s no doubt  that your desire is to learn and grow as much as possible throughout your twenties, so your success is going to go hand-in-hand with your failures. Michael Jordan is famous for his statement, “I failed twice as much as I have succeeded.”

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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