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Want to Be at Your Best Today? Try This.

Want to Be at Your Best Today? Try This.

We snap on a friend or coworker out of frustration. We scan social media or the news for hours when we have a laundry list of work to do. We find ourselves continually being negative when at our core we’re a positive person. In its’ simplest form, we’re being a version of ourselves that we don’t want to be.

The good news for us is that there’s ways to minimize putting ourselves in these positions. Our success begins and ends with the control we have over our mind, and the approach we take to life. The above scenarios are nothing more than losing control over our mindset, and letting lower versions of ourselves win. These 7 tricks are things you can do every day to help beat the burden of the lower self, and be at your best today.

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Every morning when you wake up think of 3 things that you’re thankful for, and 3 things you’re looking forward to that day.

Take it a step further and write them in a notebook to help turn it into a habit. Thinking of 3 things you’re thankful for sets a mental tone of gratitude for the day, and helps you appreciate the people and things in your life. Thinking of 3 things you’re looking forward to that day helps you embrace your day instead of dread it.

Take a cold shower.

There are several reasons to take cold showers. I swear by them. One of the best reasons to take one in the morning is it wakes you up mentally for the day. There is nothing worse than sleep walking through the first half of your morning, only to come to an hour before lunch. Morning hours are vital for creativity and productivity. Make the most of them.

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Use your commute time as an opportunity to learn.

Instead of listening to the same pop radio or morning talk show, listen to a podcast or book on tape that teaches you something. From personal development, to business, to learning a new skill like a language, the options are endless. Even if your commute is only 30 minutes each way, that’s 5 hours of creating a better version of you every single week. Work from home or have a short commute? Not a problem. Set aside that same 30 minutes in the morning and at night for your “commute time” to learn.

Filter the negative news by limiting or removing media.

Our brains are information highways receiving millions and millions of bits of information every single day. If the majority of that information is negative, how do you think that affects our outward mentality for the day? 5 people stabbed in a bar fight last night. 25 dead from a landslide. Millions of dollars lost in local ponzi scheme. The negativity in media is endless. It’s your choice whether or not to listen to it. Worried you won’t be up on the important news? Anything of importance always bubbles to the top of the water cooler throughout the day. If it’s important, you’ll know about it.

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Find someone throughout your day to give a positive nudge to.

A coworker is frustrated after a meeting. Your spouse is exhausted from a long day. A friend is bummed from a recent break up. If you look close enough, there is always someone you can give a positive nudge to. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Listening to your coworkers frustrations and letting them know you understand where they’re coming from. Pouring your spouse a glass of wine and rubbing their back. Picking your friend up for a spontaneous beer to get their mind off things. They are nudges that may be small in effort to you, but can turn someone else’s entire day or week around.

Practice empathy throughout your day.

Everyone is fighting their own battle, and we never know what those battles are. When the girl at work forgets to refill the copier paper, or the guy at Chipotle steps in front of you in line, remember that you don’t know their story. She didn’t fill the copier because her mind is aloof from problems at home. He cut you in line because he didn’t see you in his mental frenzy thinking about where his next mortgage payment is going to come from.

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Take “you time” every night to unwind.

Going from hectic day, to sleep, and back to hectic day isn’t sustainable. Eventually you hit a wall, and it’s not a good wall to hit. Set aside 30 minutes every night to take you time. Read a book. Sit and ponder. Write down your to-do list for the next day so you don’t have a thousand things running through your head while trying to fall asleep. Taking you time leads to better sleep which leads to a better next day.

Taking back control of our minds and using that to create a better version of ourselves is not difficult. But it does take awareness and practice. If you put these things in place, eventually they become habits. You’ll find that snapping out of frustration, wasting time when we’re busy, and being negative throughout the day are no longer the norm, but the exception. They become few and far between, and we can focus on more important things like being at our best today.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

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:

Example 1

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.

Example 2

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.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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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.

Example 4

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.

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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.

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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,[1]

“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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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