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Your Life Will Be Much Better If You Can Do These 10 Things

Your Life Will Be Much Better If You Can Do These 10 Things

Life is all about learning. The ups and downs. The triumphs and falls. For those at the bottom looking up to the people at the top of the success ladder, it seems as if they got there so effortlessly. So what is their one ingredient to success? What has been their one magic ingredient pushing them forward?

It isn’t just one thing that pushes someone to success, but a series of attitudes and habits that they adopt over the years, developing habits that can help push them further, in order to achieve more. What I have learnt personally and observed from others over the years, is that when you feel like quitting, taking a break or simply not sure of how to reach your goal, it is important to know how to spur yourself back on.

The art in reaching your goals and pushing yourself forward is to not quit. By not quitting you are still outdoing those with their butts on the sofa making excuses. So even if you think you are making little to no progress, you are! Sure, sometimes it is tough, tiring or tedious but if it is worth having, you can push yourself on.

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We all lose our way sometimes, taking our eyes off the bigger picture or our main goal. We’re human, after all! But the problem isn’t when you fall or stumble, the problem occurs when you don’t get back on the horse and carry on! Reminding yourself and pushing yourself on (even when you’re fed up, tired or ready to quit) is what separates the winners from the losers.

So whether your goal is to run a marathon, start your new business or grab that promotion, here are 10 easily digestible things you can do to keep on going toward success.

1. Know that you CAN cope

Whenever you reach a hurdle or a setback, just knowing that you can cope with whatever comes your way (even unexpectedly), will help spur you on. If you’re facing a challenging time, and adopt the attitude that you can’t overcome it, then you’re going to struggle to push yourself on. Knowing that you can cope with anything that life throws at you will help you take one step in front of the other, helping to push yourself on toward achieving.

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2. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

This is something my first boss taught me four years ago and I have never forgotten it.  “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” she used to tell me all the time. In my desperation to be perfect at work and not make mistakes (I wanted to make a good impression), I was putting undue stress on myself. Of course it is good to keep pushing and developing yourself, but don’t aim for perfection because it simply isn’t achievable. Aim to improve yourself, one small step at a time, but focus on the journey and don’t let perfection be the destination.

3. Know that one bad day is not the end of the world

When you are on the path to reaching your goals, think of the end goal as if you will have won the war. Along the way there will be a series of battles that you have to win, but you won’t be able to win them all. But that doesn’t matter, because you don’t have to win all the battles to win the main war, just the majority. If you are having a bad day, week, month or even year, try to see the bigger picture in terms of your end goal. Chances are that in the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter. If you can remind yourself that one bad day isn’t the end of the world, you’ll be able to push yourself on so much further.

4. Ask questions

In my experience, most people don’t ask enough questions – either they are too scared or embarrassed or they just cat be bothered. I don’t know why, but we seem to live in a culture where asking questions implies that you aren’t clever. The beauty of asking questions however, is that you can find out more and learn from others by doing so. By picking the brains of experts, you can absorb their knowledge without having made the mistakes and experiences they did. Ask questions to the right people and you can help to reach your goals.

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5. See challenges, not problems

When pushing further, one thing that really helps is if you can adopt an attitude where you don’t see problems but see challenges, solutions and experiences. At the end of the day, life is one big learning curve. Of course life is going to throw hurdles at you, and there will be times that you’ll struggle and have to overcome problems, but so long as you’re still standing and come out the other side, you’ve pushed yourself further. A positive can-do attitude won’t magically make difficulties disappears but they will help you overcome them, making way for a happier and more successful time.

6. Feel the emotions

Life is full of ups and downs and if it wasn’t, it would probably be pretty boring! When reaching your goals and pushing yourself further, it helps if you can be open to the emotions that come with it. There will be times of joy and for celebration, and there will also be times when all you want to do is curl up and not leave the house. But it is O.K. to cry! Don’t fight the emotions, but instead ride them through. You’ll come out stronger on the other side.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others

Unless you’re someone like Beyonce or Jay Z, Victoria Beckham or Bill Gates (with his $79 billion wealth), then there is always going to be someone who is more successful, prettier, skinnier, has a better job, earns more money, has more friends or has a more luxurious lifestyle than you. Don’t compare yourself with others. You should be pushing yourself on because you want to and not because you feel you have to in order to “keep up with the Joneses”.  Besides, the person with the five bedroom house and two sports cars sitting in the drive might not even be that happy! You are your own benchmark.

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8. Eat healthy and exercise

You cannot expect to climb mountains and achieve great things if your body and mind aren’t running at full capacity. Your body needs to be correctly fueled, maintained and trained if you are expecting to achieve. The only way to ensure all cylinders are firing efficiently is to be healthy, in both mind and body. Eating healthily and exercising are key to this. A simple formula, but it works and anyone can adopt this habit. Of course you don’t have to go overboard – no one likes the obsessive person who is down at the gym every spare hour, nor would life be fun without the odd chocolate cake – but make sure you’re taking the right steps to be ensure a good well-being.

9. Know that you control your life

The beauty in life is that you are in the driver’s seat. It is up to you how you steer your life and what the end destination is. If you can drive yourself in the right direction, you’ll be giving yourself the power to go where you want to. Knowing this and doing this will help spur you on, especially on those days when you don’t feel like it. Of course, we can’t predict or stop external circumstances, but you can do your best to swerve to avoid them or drive right over them.

10. Know that success isn’t linear

Over the years the one thing that has really struck me and helped me spur myself on is knowing that success isn’t a linear straight line shooting up. It’s sometimes one step forward, two steps back, followed by a going-round-in-circles until you are dizzy! By accepting this you will feel more empowered than ever. Knowing what success really looks like reminds us on those ‘bad’ days that it is O.K., and progress is still being made.

Finally, the most important thing you can do in life on your road to success is to have fun!
Whatever you do, put some love and life into it. That way, when there are tough days, at least you can do it all with bit of a smile!

Featured photo credit: viktor hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Alice Dartnell

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Last Updated on July 24, 2019

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge. High-ranking people – your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace.

The following is a list of characteristics of a leader who successfully leads a great team:

1. Stay Positive, Even in the Worst Situations

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing cupcakes or beers on Fridays can make the world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figure out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney (1901-1966), had his share of hardships and challenges; and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse.

    Lesson Learned:

    Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

    Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down — Because sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    2. Exhibit Confidence Everywhere

    All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

    Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high and the problem will be solved more quickly.

    If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go down hill from there.

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    Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      Lesson Learned:

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 10 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll be more confident about yourself.
      • Work on your strengths, do your best to enhance them.

      3. Have a Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the work place.

      As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,[1] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[2] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!

        Lesson Learned:

        Laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

        Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspirations from the internet.

        4. Embrace Failures and Manage Set Backs

        No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

        Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks.

        Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

        Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

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          Lesson Learned:

          Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

          To do this, use the 5 Whys problem solving framework.

          By asking “why” for 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

          You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

          5. Listen, and Give Feedback

          This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

          The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

          The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

            Lesson Learned:

            Encourage communication between team members and establishing an open door policy.

            Practice not to interrupt team members when they’re talking.

            Summarize what they say and ask for feedback every time after you have talked about your ideas.

            6. Know How and When to Delegate

            No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

            Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

            Although Steve Jobs is known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members – like Tim Cook – Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even while he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

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              Lesson Learned:

              To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

              • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
              • Talk with your team members more too to know more about their passion and interests.

              Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

              7. Inspire and Grow People Around

              Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

              Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

              Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                Lesson Learned:

                Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them.

                Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                8. Take Responsibility and Never Blame Others

                Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind.[3] This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                  Lesson Learned:

                  Ask yourself what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.

                  Take the responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

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                  9. Make Decisions Based on Lessons Learned in the Past

                  It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career (figuratively, of course). Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                  Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                  You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories, or search from your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                  Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake.[4] From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely – and it shows.

                    Lesson Learned:

                    Write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made.

                    Have all the lessons well organized and  when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                    10. Lead by Example and Commit to Do the Best

                    Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working ones on the job. All great leaders lead by example.

                    Why should your staff and team members give it their all if you don’t bother to? By proving your own commitment, great leaders will inspire others to do the same, as well as earn their respect and instill a good work ethic.

                    After 15 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was voted state counsellor in Myanmar – one of the highest-profile and most powerful positions in the country. She became a symbol of peaceful resistance when she attempted to bring democracy to her country.[5] In the early years of her detention, she was often in solitary confinement. Suu Kyi is a perfect example of committed and belief-driven leadership, which she openly demonstrated during her many years of house arrest.

                      Lesson Learned:

                      Some people learn by observing the way you perform a task, some need more detailed guidelines.

                      So dedicate time to demonstrate your work to team members, let them observe how you do it. Summarize the skills you use and let team members know how you make difficult things work.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too.

                      Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs.

                      But we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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