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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 April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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