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Why You Should Do What You’ve Always Wanted to Do

Why You Should Do What You’ve Always Wanted to Do

You know what you’ve always wanted to do, BUT…

What is it with the rampant self-doubt?

You concoct so many reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t do what you want. No time, money, support, etc. Classes to take, kids to care for, relationships to tend to, and so on. There should be a diagnosis code for this. Call it self-doubt 101, something so many of us suffer from.

What is the possible treatment?

There’s going onto the therapists couch and analyzing who, what, when, and where. Then there’s taking a trip, running away, and trying to find the answers elsewhere. And let’s not forget, the way most of us treat our excuses about why we don’t do what we always wanted: you stuff it down to the back of your soul and plod on. Doing what you think you ‘should’ do.

Here is another option.

Take a look at some people that went ahead and did what they always wanted and succeeded. But not before they failed on an epic scale. So take that in, realize that you can choose to do what you always wanted to and get ready to take some huge falls.

After falling and floundering, getting doors slammed in your face, being called all kinds of names, and shouting back at the voices in your head that scream at you to stop, you WILL succeed – just like these famous people below that did what they always wanted to do.

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You are no different than they are.

stallone

    Sylvester Stallone had it rough as a child. He was taunted in school and in-and-out of foster homes. He was told, “You’re stupid lookin’ do somethin’ else.” His movies grossed over a billion dollars.

    What he wanted to do: Inspire people and act.

    einstein

      Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, or read until he was seven years old. Everyone thought he was mentally handicapped and would not accomplish anything. He won a Nobel Prize and became the face of modern physics.

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      What he wanted to do: Study physics and change the world.

      thinker

        Rodin was considered the worst student in his school and was continually rejected when applying to art school. His father called him an ‘idiot.’ He ended up becoming a sculptor and famously created “The Thinker Statue.”

        What he wanted to do: Be an artist and sculptor.

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        elvis

          Elvis Presley was fired by the manager of the Grand Ole Opry after one performance. Presley was told, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”  What do you know, Elvis became the most popular singer in America.

          What he wanted to do: Sing and perform.

          churchill

            Winston Churchill failed 6th grade and lost every election for public office until he was 62-years-old. He went on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Among many other accomplishments, he renewed the world’s faith in the superiority of democracy.

            What he wanted to do: Serve his country.

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            disney

              Walt Disney went bankrupt and was fired by a news editor for ‘lack of imagination.’ He was the man who gave us Disney World and Mickey Mouse.

              What he wanted to do: Entertain people.

              It’s YOUR turn.

              What do you want to do? Imagine if these individuals above would have not felt they should do what they always wanted to do. We wouldn’t have Mickey Mouse! Or “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go” (Elvis). How about the Winston Churchill quote: “Never, never never give up? The theory of relativity.” How about Rocky – that movie inspired people all over the world to go for their dreams and never give up.

              You have something that you always wanted to do and we are waiting, the world is waiting. Even if it’s something you don’t think will be the next Thinker Statue, it will light your soul and everyone around you will be encouraged by you. This ripple effect can make a change for generations to come.

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              Put the Rocky soundtrack on and run up and down the stairs and imagine what your life would be like if you were doing what you always wanted to do. Prepare for bumps and bruises, knowing that that’s part of the game of life. And in the end, you will be pumping your fist, standing tall and proud of living your life the way you want to. You’ll be using the gifts you have until you cannot squeeze another drop out. Then squeeze some more.

              Featured photo credit: Do What You Love via flickr.com

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              Esther Litchfield-Fink

              Content Creator

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              Published on May 18, 2021

              How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

              How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

              We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

              The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

              Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

              Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

              Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

              There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

              Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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              Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

              We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

              Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

              A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

              The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

              Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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              Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

              Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

              Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

              While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

              Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

              These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

              Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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              Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

              Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

              Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

              Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

              Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

              Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

              As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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              This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

              Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

              Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

              These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

              Actions Speak Louder Than Words

              Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

              Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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              Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

              More Tips Improving Listening Skills

              Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

              Reference

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