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Turning Wishes into Goals in 3 Easy Steps

Turning Wishes into Goals in 3 Easy Steps

“When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires will come to you.” – “Pinocchio,” Walt Disney Pictures, lyrics by Ned Washington

Well, maybe it’s not quite as simple as merely wishing our dreams to come true but this life we lead comprises a series of wishes that are transformed into goals. Think of every step taken as inching us a bit closer to our desired results. Each step connects and builds upon the other. But you never set out on any course until you know where you want to go. If you did, who knows where you might end up! You have to have some vision of where you want the journey to flow. Your personal vision lays that foundation and will illuminate the path before you.

And what is a personal vision? It describes what you want in the future. Your vision signifies your dreams and starts to scratch the surface of your life purpose. When you build a vision that makes you feel happier, healthier, more successful, purpose driven, and filled with passion, you are more likely to set a plan into motion to make that vision become reality.

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And what’s the difference between vision versus wishes? Living your life without a vision is like walking in the darkness. You’re going to bump into a lot of things. When you have a vision, it gives you a clear and positive direction. But remember, a vision without goals is just a wish.

3 Easy Steps to Turn Your Vision into Goals

Here’s the million dollar question: What if your life stayed the same over the next five years with no new changes? Do you like that idea, or does it scare the bejesus out of you? If you don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about that, don’t think you are stuck with that reality.

Today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality and here’s how you make that happen:

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1. Imagine without limitations

Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things.” So, here’s how to start the mental creation or vision. Grab a pen and paper. Find a peaceful place without distractions, perhaps pour a glass of wine, put on some music and think … just think.

Imagine that you are 80 years old. You’re happy and healthy. You are sitting on your porch watching an amazing sunset. As the sun dips for the evening, you start thinking about your life, the ideal life that you have led. What does that ideal life look like?

Answer these questions:

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  • Who are you as a person? What is it about you that people value?
  • What are your values?
  • What have you achieved? Where did you work? Where did you live?
  • What added meaning to your life and gave you a sense of fulfillment?
  • How did your life unfold in these areas: family, friends, significant other, career, health, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing?
  • Where did you travel? What did you do for fun?
  • What advice would you pass on to a younger generation?
  • What is your life story? What kind of life did you lead?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • What is your favorite memory in life?

2. The Current Reality

Once you have answered all of the questions above, take a look at the questions again and answer them. This time answer them just as it is in the present day. Describe your life now. This is not an exercise to make you feel bad or inadequate. You simply need a starting point. You have to know where you are so you can get to where you want to be. This helps you chart that course.

3. Fill in the Gaps and Make Your Vision Successful

After you conduct your assessment, the areas between the reality and the vision are the gap areas. The only way to be successful in your vision is to continually visualize it, set goals, and develop a plan of action to reach your vision. Have both short-term and long-term goals so that over time you start to see more parts of your vision coming true. Then, one day, you will wake up and find that you are living your vision in real-time.

It’s not as hard as you might think to close the gap. Start with a plan that covers the next three to five years. For example, if you have envisioned obtaining your master’s degree, you have to diagram out a way to do that. How much money will it take? Which school? How long will it take? What type of schedule adjustments will you need to make? What will you study?

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You have to plot out all of the action plans — or the step-by-step process — you will need to go through to meet this goal. For each of the envisioned goals, you will have to devise a plan. Once you do that, you are ready to go. It’s one step at a time. One goal at a time.

Be inspired today. Find a quiet setting where you have a few moments alone and start imagining without limitations!

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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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