Human nature drives us to avoid situations that feel scary; fear and anxiety overwhelm and we hunker down, looking for relief from uncomfortable feelings. Yet, to reach our full potential, we must overcome the instinctual urge to fight or flight and challenge ourselves to do new and bigger things. We must get outside our comfort zones.
What does getting outside your comfort zone mean?
Your comfort zone is defined as a place or situation where you feel safe or at ease and without stress. It’s a cozy place, but if you stay too long, you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities to grow. You have to take some risks, try new things, and push your boundaries. You must embrace discomfort and shove fear aside.
Why is getting outside of your comfort zone good?
Let’s say you want a promotion but you are worried about failing. You have two choices: 1) take on a high profile project that, if successful, could catapult your career but is risky because it’s outside your area of expertise and failure is a possibility; or 2) play it safe, put your head down, and do your daily tasks in hopes that someone will see your potential and give you a shot. The first option creates an opportunity; the second option leaves that opportunity in another’s hand. Being willing to get outside your comfort zone allows you to create a better life. You won’t get a promotion, leave a bad job, gain a new skill, develop a meaningful relationship, or build your confidence if you always avoid discomfort.
What holds people back from doing it more often?
Fear of failure causes us to doubt our ability to take on a challenge and succeed. We create stories of doom and gloom that make us want to retreat to the warm cocoon of predictability and ignorant bliss. It’s scary being out on a limb. But if you are honest with yourself, how many times did the doom and gloom turn out to be as horrible as you anticipated? How often did you rise to the challenge when you pushed yourself to do something new? When you failed, was it really that bad? Didn’t you learn something incredibly valuable? Don’t let a false narrative hold you back.
How do you get outside your comfort zone?
The only way to get out of your comfort zone is to, well, get out of your comfort zone. Yes, it’s obvious and yes, it’s the only way. Stop listening to the voice telling you dreadful stories of failure and humiliation. Ask yourself these questions: if I take this risk, what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen? What’s most likely to happen? This process helps you see a ‘middle of the road’ outcome that is not total failure but also doesn’t leave you disappointed if you don’t achieve your highest expectations. Another way is to be vulnerable and share your fears with someone else. You’ll find courage by connecting with others and hearing how they overcame self-doubt. Other ideas? Change your morning routine, sign up for a class to learn a new skill, read inspiring books, hang out with people more successful than you, take on a new project at work, or give someone candid feedback. There are a million ways to push yourself; you just have to do it.
What happens if you are always outside of your comfort zone?
Many of us have been living perpetually outside of our comfort zones for some time now; I know I’ve been. The chaos of fast moving change, increased demands on time, and the pressure to deliver results and perform can be overwhelming. While it’s good to push yourself, doing so for too long can lead to burn out. “When demands become too great for us to handle, when the pressure overwhelms us, too much to do with too little time or support, we enter the zone of bad stress,” author Daniel Goleman writes in Psychology Today. “Just beyond the optimal zone at the top or the performance arc, there is a tipping point where the brain secretes too many stress hormones, and they start to interfere with our ability to work well, to learn, to innovate, to listen, and to plan effectively.” If you find yourself in this state, step back, ask for help, and take a few days off. It may seem impossible, but you’ll find that you will feel refreshed and able to take on more after some down time.
While staying in your comfort zone may feel predictable and consistent, in the long run you’ll lose out. Taking on challenges and being open to new experiences create opportunities that can take your success to the next level. Think about the last time you did something you were proud of? Were you pushing yourself or on autopilot? Don’t be afraid of getting to close to the edge of your perceived limitations. If you walk right up and look over, you’ll see all kinds of paths that lead you to a more enriched and engaged life.
Thanks for reading! As always, I am grateful for your shares, likes, and/or comments so please do so if you feel inclined!
Whether you are a leader, manager, or an employee who wants to be a high performer, there is almost nothing more important than creating more time to think. It may seem next to impossible in this fast paced, constantly-plugged-in world, but it must be a priority if personal and professional growth are important to you. Why? Because if you aren’t making time to think through problems, the future, and your role in what comes next, you will always be reacting. If you are constantly reacting, you aren’t giving yourself time to see the possibilities, think through potential consequences, calm down, and ultimately, make better decisions. I don’t know about you, but I like making good decisions, therefore I make time to think.
Respond vs reacting
First, let’s consider why responding is so much better than reacting. When you find yourself in a situation where you must react, fight or flight mode kicks in. Stress hormones wash through your body and you feel compelled to say or do something that you may later regret. Reacting is a natural urge, it happens automatically and it must be consciously resisted. Instead of reacting, choose to respond. You can do this by taking a breath (literally) and giving yourself time to reflect on what’s happening in the moment. This pause can be a few seconds, a few minutes, or a few days and it will allow you to observe what’s going on inside and out, making it easier to gain control of your emotions and decision making process.
Stop Wasting So Much Time
Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, television and other distractions should be reduced to a minimum if you want to create a more time to think. These things diverts precious time and creates background noise that clogs your thinking. Do you actually do anything with the steady stream of content that comes from these sources anyway? When was the last time you had a profound, personally life changing realization from a tweet or an Instagram post? Never? Me, neither. So shut it down and fill your new found time with things like reading thought-provoking writing, writing your personal vision, thinking about how to best achieve your goals, and brainstorming ways to improve your relationships. There are so many meaty things to think about…things that could change your life…if you would just stop and think about them.
"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything." This quote by Warren Buffet pretty much sums it up. The busier you are, the less time you have to think. The less time you have to think, the harder it is to be really successful. Buffet continues, “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think.” It’s hard to argue with one of the most successful people on the planet. Simplifying will help you focus on what’s most important. Here’s an exercise: write down all the things you feel are priorities in these categories: work, family, personal wellness/fulfillment. List at least 20 items in each category. Then force yourself to pick the top three in each category. Don’t do anything else but these 9 things until you’ve mastered them. Now that’s simplifying! Focus is the key to success.
Another way of simplifying your life is to delegate. Are you really THE person who MUST do all the tasks on your list? Hire a someone to clean your house; have groceries delivered to your door; make your kids ride the bus to school; ask a coworker to help you with a task; approach your boss about getting administrative support on a big project. If you are a manager or a leader, make sure you hire people you can delegate to and empower them to take on challenging assignments. Give them projects that you might normally do yourself. When you find yourself performing tasks that are in the weeds, ask yourself, “should I be doing this or managing this?” If the answer is managing it, delegate it.
Being disorganized is a time suck. Plan your day so you don’t waste time looking for items that should be handy, doing things twice, and working on unimportant tasks. Be disciplined; make a daily agenda that lines out your day. This list shouldn’t be too long and should include a block of time used to think as well as the three things you must do to move the ball down the field on your most important priorities. I love this new Self Journal; I just started using it and it’s working well for me. I also you Evernote to track my to-do lists.
Take a Lunch Break
Resist the temptation to work while you scarf down a sandwich; lunchtime is the perfect time to ponder. Step away from your desk and breathe deeply. Jot down new ideas in a notebook; reflect on your day and come up with ways you could be doing things better; consider what you might be missing when tackling a big problem at home or work. Better yet, take a walk and let your mind wonder; be curious as to where your thoughts take you. Use this 30 minutes to get away from the grind and think.
Find Your Method
There are lots of different ways to do your best thinking. Mine happens when I am exercising. The trouble is that I forget everything as soon as I stop, therefore I use notetaking and audio recording apps so I can capture ideas as I work out. Pausing during a run to type out a few ideas isn’t ideal but it works for me. I also frequently read and listen to audiobooks and I use the same apps to record ideas sparked from consuming thought-provoking content. Writing is a great outlet whether it be expressing an idea to a colleague via email, journaling, outlining your thoughts on paper, or writing a draft memo to your boss. Other people do their best thinking in the shower, while walking the dog, during long flights, or when laying on the beach starting at the ocean…find yours and do it as often as possible. The outcome will be better decisions, more intentional responses, a clearer pathway to a fulfilling life.
As always, thanks for reading! Please like, share, and comment if you are so inclined. Click here to sign up to receive my blogs in your inbox.
Promotions are not given; they are earned.
There is nothing more important to remember than this statement when you are looking to grow within your organization. If you are being passed up for promotions, there is a reason why. Rather than blame your “playing favorites” boss or your “brown nosing” coworkers, take responsibility for what you can control which includes your attitude, performance, and teamwork. Then follow these steps to work your way into a new role.
Develop a Good Relationship with Your Boss
Your boss should be your biggest supporter and he or she can’t be this unless the two of you have a strong relationship. How do you build a strong relationship with your boss? Remember the universal truth…all managers want people on their teams who make their jobs easier. Do your best to make your boss look good; it usually pays dividends. Produce quality and timely work. Look for ways to help her achieve more. Ask for feedback and take action on it. Be forthcoming about ways she can successfully manage you. Build rapport by learning more about him. Put effort into understanding his personality traits and triggers. There are many ways to build a relationship with your manager; it may take some trial and error as you learn what works and what doesn’t, but it’s worth the effort….there is a good chance that he or she will be the one promoting you.
Be an Expert at Your Job
The fastest way to get a promotion is to be a rock star in your current role. Sure, there may be things you don’t like about the job you have now, but so what? Do all parts of your job well; become an expert at it by learning as much as you can, read books and other publications on the subject, ask for more training, acquire new skills and knowledge, and always produce high quality work. Remember, you will never get a promotion if you aren’t doing a great job in your current role.
Add Value and Help the Company Execute its Strategy
Make sure you are working on the right things…things that help the company meet its goals and execute its strategy. If you’re not sure how your job ties to the strategy, ask. Always prioritize your work and do what’s most important first. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that don’t matter.
Be Seen as Helpful
Being a team player builds your credibility throughout the organization and will make you the go-to person when a tough problem needs to be solved. Put the team first, help out a struggling coworker, give credit to others, volunteer to help at company events...there are a million ways to exhibit helpfulness and be a true team player. Remember, though, that perception is reality; it doesn’t matter if you think you are a helpful teammate, what matters more is that others think you are.
Be a Problem Solver
People who expect “management” to fix all the problems in the workplace aren’t typically seen as helpful nor are they often promoted. It takes everyone within the organization to create an effective work environment so if you see a place where the organization can improve, develop some solutions to address the issue and discuss them with your boss. Volunteer to be part of a team tackling tough interdepartmental problems. Proactively address a communication issue with a coworker rather than triangulate through your boss; challenge yourself to achieve a positive outcome. Suggest a better process to ease frustration on a project. In short, be a problem solver, not a problem creator.
People with a positive attitude are generally easier to work with, hence more promotable. Keep your head up in the face of adversity, meet tough challenges head-on with a smile on your face, and view problems as opportunities to make things better. Be friendly, help others, smile more, and complain less. Commit to having a positive effect on everyone you interact with.
Look and Act Professionally - Always
If you want a promotion, look and act the part. Dress professionally, be well groomed, communicate clearly and articulately, use proper grammar, refrain from swearing, don’t gossip, don’t complain, ask questions, smile, and work hard (i.e. while at work stay off of Facebook, don’t text your friends, and refrain from chit chatting endlessly with coworkers). Choose a professional role model and emulate what he or she does.
If those doing the promoting don’t know about the good things you are doing, you won’t be on the radar for a promotion. Self-promotion is an art…it has to be done in a way that balances talking about yourself with humility. You don’t want to be perceived as bragging; that’s just obnoxious. First, make sure your boss knows your career aspirations and engage him or her in creating a career development plan with you (having a career plan is crucial to growing within your organization). Ping your boss regularly, giving updates on progress you’ve made. Keep your boss and peers informed on major projects and broadly share the team’s accomplishments. Bring attention to a big win by asking your boss if you can celebrate by taking the team to lunch. Approach your boss with a solution to a tough problem and ask him or her for support as you take the lead to fix it. Develop a relationship with a mentor higher within the organization who can sing your praises. Well executed self-promotion is subtle, tactful and highly useful.
These are my tips for getting a promotion. While doing these things don’t guarantee a promotion, you increases your chances by doing them well. On the flip side, here are some surefire ways to NOT get a promotion:
Hopefully this article sends you in the right direction…one that places you in the “indispensable” category and helps you achieve the next step in your career. There is almost nothing more rewarding than being recognized for a job well done with an opportunity to grow via a promotion. Remember…
“Do your best, and be a little better than you are.” - Gordon B Hinckley
Good luck and thanks for reading. As always, I appreciate likes, shares, retweets and comments. Please do so if you are so inclined. Click here to sign up to receive my blogs in your inbox.
References: Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield. Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
We all screw up. Finding a person who hasn’t made a big mistake is like finding a purple unicorn bathing in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow; it won’t happen. And if you have yet to royally screw up, don’t worry, you will. It’s bound to happen; you haven’t fully lived life until you’ve done so.
While making a massive mistake can cause you to want to crawl under a rock and never show your face again, it can also teach you a profound lesson. Screwing up can dramatically change your life for the better…if you choose to embrace the painful experience, for better or worse.
So let’s say you’ve really stepped in it. Now what? How can you embrace your screw up and move forward?
Don’t Dig a Deeper Hole
It’s easy to allow one bad decision to lead to another. You don’t have to keep digging yourself a deeper hole. From this moment on, stop the cycle, climb out of the hole, and commit to doing whatever it takes to fix the mistake.
Don’t Make Saving Face Your Priority
It’s natural to want to save face and minimize the reasons why you made the mistake. Remember, justifying is just a way of making excuses. Don’t defend, downplay, or omit parts of the truth. Truthful accountability is the only option and it’s far more honorable to fully own your screw up than to try to diminish it. Instead of trying to save face, make repairing the damage you’ve done your top priority.
Say You’re Sorry and Mean It
A heartfelt and authentic apology can go a long way to fixing the damage that occurs after a big mistake. While it doesn’t make the situation go away, showing honest regret gives people more space to forgive you. When offering an apology, be specific and ask for feedback. There is nothing worse than apologizing for the wrong thing. But remember, no one wants you to apologize incessantly; he or she only wants to see results, so apologize once (maybe twice) and then prove your remorse by taking action.
Make and Execute an Action Plan
Don’t let yourself off the hook after an apology. If there is no action…no notable change…then your apology is moot. Before putting a plan of action into place, dig deep as to why you screwed up; understanding your motivations, fears, and decisions is the key to not making the same mistake twice. Once you have a deeper understanding of what went wrong you can develop a plan to repair the damage. A good plan should address the root cause, not the symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; sometimes a path forward isn’t clear and seeking advice, counseling, and/or coaching can shorten your bounce-back time.
Keep Your Commitments
Do what you say you are going to do; hold yourself accountable to your action plan. The only way to revive your reputation and to bounce back is to follow through and keep your commitments.
Let it Go
Nothing good comes from beating yourself up over and over again. Negative self-talk keeps you stuck in the shame spiral. Embrace your screw up. Learn from it. Vow to never let it happen again. But let it go. The only way to move on is to allow yourself to move on.
Let Your Mistake Make You a Better Person
Making mistakes will keep you humble and will teach you all kinds of ways not do things in the future. Screw ups keep you grounded and (hopefully) cause you to be more forgiving of others because face it, none of us are perfect. Overcoming a face plant makes you stronger and more resilient. Embrace your screw up so that someday you can look back on it with gratitude; trust that what you learn from it will make you a better person.
While following this plan won’t take the embarrassment of making a mistake away, it will allow you to hold your head high as you gracefully and authentically handle the aftermath. Remember, you are not alone in screwing up; we’ve all done it and we will all do it again. The real growth comes from what you do after the damage is done.
As always, thank you for reading. Please share, like and comment if you are so inclined. Click here to sign up to receive my blogs in your inbox.
“You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.” - Neil Gaiman
There is only one thing that’s certain in life and that is that things will change. No matter how much you deny, resist, or ignore it, the unfolding of life brings new challenges and experiences that you must adapt to, one way or another.
Each of us experience change constantly yet react to it in many different ways. While some of us embrace change and even drive it, most fall into the “change resistant” category. Our brains expect certain things to stay the same and when they don’t, the information we trusted breaks down causing us fear over what comes next. What we don’t know tends to scare us and change creates a lot of unknowns. Even positive change comes with challenges and discomfort. Change. Is. Hard.
In today’s fast-paced, quickly-evolving world, it’s important to develop your ability to handle change effectively. While it’s never easy, here are somethings you can do to adapt to change with a bit more grace.
Freak Out For a Minute, Privately
There’s nothing wrong with being scared of change, especially when it blindsides you, so go ahead and freak out for a minute. Just do it privately. Negative reactions on public display almost never produce good outcomes. Go for a walk alone, vent to someone you trust, write in your journal, scream into your pillow…let it out in a private place to release pent up emotions and then start focusing on how to deal with the change.
Give Yourself Time to Process
When change hits hard and fast, it can feel overwhelming. Your brain starts racing, making up a story which usually concludes with the world as you know it ending. But if you think back on all the times you freaked out over change, how often did the story end the way you first imagined it? Probably never, if you are like me. That’s why it’s good to give yourself time to process the change. I can promise that tomorrow, it won’t seem nearly as bad as it did today, so think it through and come up with a plan after sleeping on it.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
It’s easy to focus on the situation or person, blaming and barraging the bringer of change or the change itself. Don’t do this. Be accountable and own your fears and other feelings. Look inside to understand your resistance so you can clearly articulate why you have such strong feelings. Put words to your feelings by asking yourself questions and answering truthfully. Why do I feel this way? What am I afraid of? Why am I resisting? If I embrace this change, what’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
Get More Information
Don’t assume the story you told yourself about why the change is happening is true. It’s probably not. Ask questions and do more research so you understand why something is changing. The deeper your awareness, the faster you can settle your mind, fine tune your response, and adjust to the change.
Give Your Opinion
It’s okay to want to influence the outcome, especially if you feel passionately about something. Consider what you want to achieve, be conscience of your tone, listen to others, and then give your opinion. Always look for a positive solution; a win-win may not be possible, but you’ll feel better once you’ve expressed yourself.
Accept the Change
Life is so much easier when you stop resisting every little change, so pick your battles carefully. Sometimes change is worth resisting and sometimes you just have to accept things as they are. Resisting can make you miserable and you risk damaging relationships and your overall happiness. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to surrender every now and then. Stop complaining about it to others. Look for the positive and give it some time. Before you know it, you’ll have adapted to the change and it’ll be a distant memory that doesn’t seem all that bad.
Change is what makes life interesting and amazing. It teaches us profound lessons and promotes growth and wisdom. It can take us to faraway places or deep within ourselves. It creates exciting opportunities and yes, sometimes it breaks our hearts. It’s what weaves the tapestry of our lives together, creating a colorful patchwork of experiences, emotions, thoughts, and relationships that make up our existence. Embrace it and do your best to enjoy the ride; if properly harnessed, change can inspire you to be the greatest version of yourself.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance” – Alan Watts
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We all have high maintenance people in our lives. You know the person...the one who is never satisfied, the one who never stops talking, the one who makes snippy comments, the one who doesn’t follow the process, or the narcissist who is always right. No matter where you work, you’ll have to deal with those who make things harder than they have to be. While it may seem like your life would be better if you didn’t have to deal with people like this, difficult people can actually make things better in an organization.
Humans are designed to solve problems; that’s why we are all so different. We each see the world through our own lens and bring different perspectives to the table. In the workplace, having different and even opposing opinions is critical to good decision making. While it may “feel” better to have peace and harmony, it’s not ideal. Conflict is good if it’s handled appropriately because it forces a team to look at all the possibilities. Conflict should be encouraged and managed.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about those difficult people who drive you crazy? How can you minimize their impact on you while still gaining the benefits of having different styles on your team? Here are my tips on how to handle yourself when you are ready to pull your hair out.
First Look Within
Always start with yourself. Is the person you find difficult really the problem or are you overreacting? Are you making assumptions or being too sensitive? While it’s easy to blame the other person, you may have a role in the situation. Ask for feedback from a trusted coworker about how you’re perceived when you are dealing with the difficult person. You may be surprised what you learn.
See it From a Different Perspective
Take a walk in the person’s shoes. Try to think like him. What are his motivations and fears? What’s his personality type and how does that show up when he’s stressed? If there is one thing you can do to improve your situation, it’s to try to see it from other people’s perspectives. Doing so will give you insight so you can flex your style to better match his, allowing you to have greater influence over the outcome.
Address it Directly
The best way to resolve issues in the work place is to deal with them directly. First, make sure you are not emotional; you will get the best results when you can be pleasant and agreeable. Ask questions first; always seek to understand before launching into your grievances. You may learn that your perception of the situation is incorrect and you’ll then be able to pivot if necessary. Explain why and how her behavior is negatively impacting you and others. Offer solutions to how she might be able to more effectively work within the team. Yes, it can be intimidating to approach a difficult person to give feedback, but 9 times out of 10, you can make progress by addressing the issue head-on.
Many people lash out and act inappropriately when they feel they aren’t being heard. Sometimes, all it takes to positively affect bad behavior is to listen to them and validate their feelings and concerns.
Pick Your Battles
Some things are not worth being upset about or fighting for. Sometimes the best solution may be to just let go of your annoyance or frustration. How do you do this? Find something positive to appreciate about the person. Remind yourself that he is human and has hopes and fears, just like you. Smile to yourself, and say “how fascinating” when he exhibits poor behavior. Choose to accept the person for who he is and where he is on his journey. Only flight the battles worth fighting.
Don’t Take it Personally
It’s easy to make everything about you. I’m here to tell you that 99% of the time, it’s not, so don't take it personally. People are not purposefully trying to make your life miserable. Letting yourself become offended or defensive will only escalate the situation and prolong conflict. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is really about whatever is going on with the other person.
Difficult people are challenging but if you practice the above tips, you will be able to keep your cool, respond appropriately, and handle difficulty with grace and compassion. There is always something to be gained in every experience so ask yourself what you can learn and choose to let the situation make you a better communicator, coworker and person.
As always, thanks for reading! I really appreciate comments, likes and shares so please do so if you feel inclined. Click here to receive my blogs in your inbox.
aA few weekends ago, I was relaxing in a comfortable chair at a friend’s barbecue when my three year old son, Jack, came over to ask for more Doritos. The bowl he had been eating from was empty and he was anxious for it to be refilled. I pointed him in the direction of the kitchen and told him to go ask the host’s husband if he had any more. Looking slightly intimated, Jack momentarily hesitated and then, with a spring in his step, ran over to ask the man for more chips. The women I was speaking with at the time looked over at me and said, “I don’t blame you for not wanting to get up…momma needs a break every now and then!”
I was startled at her statement, even though it made sense…I WAS very relaxed. “Oh, I don’t mind getting up,” I replied. “It’s just that I’m always looking for opportunities to encourage Jack to ask for what he wants rather than doing it for him. How many times in life have we forgone what we really want because we are too afraid to ask? I figure that teaching him to ask for small things (like Doritos) is a safe way for him to gain confidence to go after what he wants.”
She looked at me with surprise in her eyes and then said, “You’re absolutely right. I am guilty of not asking for what I want all the time!”
How many times in life have you forgone what you really wanted because you were too afraid to ask?
I’m here to encourage you to just go for it. Ask for what you want. So what if you get a “no” in response? If you don’t ask, you’ve already told yourself “no” anyway.
Look, I get that there are all kinds of convincing reasons why you shouldn’t ask for what you want. You don’t want to seem pushy, needy, or high maintenance. You don’t want to be rejected; you’ll be embarrassed if you’re told no. You don’t want to make your boss/spouse/coworker uncomfortable or even worse, mad. You feel like what you want is obvious and that you shouldn’t HAVE to ask. Or maybe you don’t think you deserve to get what you really desire. There are a million excuses to not ask for what you want but they are just that: EXCUSES. So stop making them and start asking.
Easier said than done, right? Here’s how to ask for what you want.
1. Get Clear on What You Want
The more clarity you can have about what you want and why you want it, the easier it is to ask. Why? Because if you believe in what you are asking for, you’ll be able to better articulate it and influence the person you are asking. If you aren’t clear, do more research, dig deeper, and understand your motivations. You may get nervous asking so write it down and refer back to it during the conversation.
2. Know Who to Ask
If you ask the wrong person (or people), you’re bound to get a no. Or get a yes that can’t be delivered upon. It’s hard to ask for something over and over (you may lose steam) so know who the decision makers are ahead of time. Also, it’s important to try to anticipate reasons why you might get a no. Think through the motivations, concerns, and roadblocks of the person you are asking and be prepared to speak to them.
3. Think about Your Body Language
Don’t slouch, mumble, cross your arms, or look at the ground. Show confidence by sitting up straight, breathing slowly, and making eye contact. SMILE!!! You are much more likely to get what you want by putting the askee at ease with calm and collected non-verbal cues. I highly recommend doing a Power Pose in private before initiating the conversation. I promise, it will help.
4. Be Direct and Specific about What You Want
Don’t beat around the bush, hem and haw, or expect people to read your mind. Define the problem, specify what you want, and outline what you think the person you are asking will have to do to fulfill your request. Then ask.
5. Always Be Gracious
Acknowledge with gratitude what the other person will have to do in order to give you a yes. Show appreciation. Be polite and cognizant of his or her time. Use positive language and refrain from giving ultimatums. Don’t beg and always say thank you with a smile.
So what do you do if you get a no?
Getting told “no” can be hard to take. You may feel a wide range of emotions and want to lash out, shut down, or give up. Don’t. Everyone gets told no. It may take some time to work through your disappointment and that’s okay. But don’t pout, get angry, or be passive aggressive. Seek to understand why and then regroup. Come up with Plan B or even Plan C. And remember, you get the opportunity to learn more about yourself when you have to overcome challenges. Take receiving a no as a chance to grow smarter, gain experience, and become more resilient. Be grateful for all the nos you get in life.
There is such a thing as asking for too much, too often.
Don’t be that person who is ALWAYS asking for favors or who consistently takes more than his or her fair share. While it’s good to ask for what you want, people will become wary (annoyed) when you do it too often or ask for too much. That’s why it’s important to be really clear on what you want and why. Think about the reasonableness of what you are asking for and don’t just ask for the sake of asking or winning.
Life is too short to not ask for what you want. It may sound macabre to put in a blog like this but the reality is that it all could be over at any minute. So why not put it out there and ask? You might just surprise yourself and get what you ask for!
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Sometimes life just doesn’t go your way. Rejection, disappointment, failure, and hurt feelings are an inevitable part of life. How you deal with such events, though, determines how happy and successful you are in life. That’s right...your attitude, mindset, and actions can turn tough experiences into positive, life changing ones…if you choose.
The key to bouncing back is being resilient. Psychology Today says that resilience “is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.”
Sounds great! Who doesn’t want to be able to turn misfortune into fortune (or at least be able to appreciate and learn from the lesson in it)? But for most people, it’s easier said than done. Here are some ways you can build up your “bounce back” muscle.
Take Responsibility for Everything that Happens to You
The only way you can build resilience is to take responsibility for your life. Resilient people refuse to be a victim. Things don’t happen TO you, they happen BECAUSE of you. This may sound harsh but adopting this mindset is the only way to empower yourself to change your situation, no matter what. To do this, I employ counterfactual thinking. According to Wiki, “counterfactual thinking is a concept in psychology that involves the human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already occurred; something that is contrary to what actually happened.” Let’s say your boss gives you feedback that you completely disagree with. In your mind, justify why you are right and she is wrong. You tell yourself that she just doesn’t see all that you do and she isn’t worthy of being your manager. You shut down and don’t make any changes. This type of thinking gets you pretty much nowhere, keeping you stuck and unhappy, the opposite of resiliency. If you employ counterfactual thinking, you might ask yourself, “What if she’s right? When have I exhibited this behavior? What do I need to do to change? How can I step up and improve myself? Perception is reality so what do I need to do to change this perception?” Owning it means you can change it. If you want to be resilient, refuse to retreat, deny, ignore, or blame. Remember, things don’t happen to you, they happen because of you.
Change Your Approach
Once you’ve accepted responsibility for your situation, now you can change it. Analyze what went wrong and why. Come up with a plan to make necessary changes. Then put your plan into action. Let’s say the feedback your boss gave you is that your performance is mediocre. She feels that you only do the bare minimum to get by and that your teammates feel you don’t pull your weight and are becoming resentful. After some self-reflection, you start to see why they feel this way. You never stay late, never offer to help your co-workers, and never volunteer for side projects. Sure, you have a life outside of work, but so does everyone else on the team and they are making sacrifices to be great teammates so why aren’t you? After acknowledging their feelings and apologizing, you decide that if your teammates stay late, so will you. You take on a small side project for your boss so you can start to build her trust. You ask her to give you real-time feedback on your performance and you find a co-worker who will agree to hold you accountable to being a better team player. There’s nothing like changing something that is holding you back to build self-confidence which leads to being able to bounce back from hard situations.
Build Your Support System
Having a shoulder to lean on makes all the difference in the world when bouncing back and people who are resilient take the time to build a strong network of people whom they can rely on to help them through tough times. It doesn’t have to be a big network, just a strong one. My network includes my husband, my mom, a few mentors, and a few highly trustworthy co-workers. It also includes people who help me stay well such as my massage therapist and acupuncturist. It’s not huge but it has depth. If you don’t have a strong support system, it’s not too late to start. Reach out to a few people you can trust and start to build friendships. Hire a therapist or a life coach. Lean on members of your family. Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself that you alone and that no one cares…doing this only weakens your “bounce back” muscle.
Do Something That Makes You Happy Everyday
There’s no better way to improve your life than by doing something you love every day. No matter if everything is going right or everything is going wrong, doing something that brings your joy, happiness or satisfaction will increase your resiliency. Read a good book, ride your motorcycle, do yoga, play with your kids…do whatever you need to do to bring a little joy into your life. Feeling lost about what makes you happy? Go for a walk. I promise you, there is nothing better at improving your mood than moving your body and a walk will always make you feel better.
Take a Deep Breath and Let it Go
Letting go is the only way to truly be resilient. There’s no point on holding on to old baggage…all it does is weigh you down. And beating yourself up over and over breaks down resiliency. So do yourself a favor, stop the negative self-talk, forgive yourself and anyone else involved, learn from the situation, and move on. Just take a deep breath and let it go. It is what it is; the most important thing now is doing what you need to do to go forward.
Don’t Give Up
The fastest way to not bounce back is to not bounce back. Giving up is an excuse. You have to always keep trying. Yes, you will have to change, grow, and ask for feedback. Perhaps you will have to get professional help. But whatever you do, don’t give up…not if you want a happy and successful life. Think of the most successful people you know. Maybe they seem like they just breeze through life but in reality they, too, have had to overcome setbacks and negative experiences. You must dig deep and summon up the determination to handle whatever life throws at you and to persevere no matter what.
Life takes all kinds of twists and turns. Sometimes it meanders along; other times it feels like everything is right on track. Then again, maybe sometimes it feels like it’s in a free fall towards rock bottom. Being resilient allows you to go with the flow, no matter the situation. Don’t let your mistakes and failures take you down. Look at them as research on how not to do something and bounce back stronger than before.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment, like, or share. I appreciate you all spreading the love if you are so inspired. Click here to sign up to receive my blogs in your inbox.
Humility matters, perhaps more so today than ever. It’s a character trait that, when exhibited regularly and authentically, can help us be better listeners, inspire others, build relationships, and give us insight into different ways of thinking and being…something that in my opinion, we are in desperate need of. The only way we can solve the massive issues we face as a society is to be more humble in how we lead, follow, think, speak, and act.
In contrast, arrogance, humility’s antithesis, happens when we let our egos get in our way. Arrogance is the gateway to intolerance, exclusion, and judgmental mindsets. It is the killer of curiosity because it leads to thinking, “I know what’s right. I know what’s wrong. I know what’s best. I don’t care what you think.” It allows us to tell ourselves that we can say and do whatever we want with little regard to others. Screw political correctness, general cordialness, or respectful debate. In fact let’s just go to war (with each other or with other nations) and impose our (arrogant) will. This is incredibly dangerous and obviously unproductive given the state of the world right now.
So what exactly is humility? Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as, “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” C.S. Lewis says it’s, “not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” The Urban Dictionary states that it is, “remaining teachable, knowing that you do not have all the answers.” I think the three of these together give a fairly decent picture of what we all should strive to be but in effort to make it clearer, here are ten things you can do to be more humble.
In closing, I’ll leave you with another quote, this time from Gordon B. Hinckley who so eloquently said, “Being humble means recognizing that we are not on Earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.” What would our lives, our communities, and the world be like if we all believed in and lived by this mantra; not just for those we know and love, but for all of humanity?
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There are things that happen in life that hurt. Things that make you extremely angry, sorrowful, distraught, bitter, and filled with grief. Things that tear you up inside and change your life forever. Sometimes life just isn’t easy. And that’s ok.
These painful experiences, though, do not have to define you. They don’t have to consume you. They don’t have to make you lash out, retaliate, or turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Even when these intense feelings are legitimate and it feels like you should hold on to them for dear life because you deserve to feel the way you do, you should let them go. Holding on means these emotions will haunt you forever, they will dull the light that shines within you, and they will etch away at your wellbeing and perhaps make you flat out miserable.
So how do you let go?
Write Out Your Feelings
Writing is incredibly therapeutic and can help you articulate feelings you may not be able to verbalize. When I find myself spinning in anger and negativity, I journal. Put pen to paper and describe what happened and why, the specific emotions you are feeling, and ideas on how you can move on. Imagine what you would to say to the person; yell and scream through your written words so you can fully express yourself and start the process of letting go.
There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t done something to hurt someone else, intentionally or not…including you. Everyone deserves to be forgiven. That doesn’t mean you have to forget (although I believe there are benefits to doing so). It doesn’t mean that you condone or excuse the behavior. It’s truly about reconciling what happened and forgiving so you can move forward. Holding on to intense emotions is a big burden to bear…a burden that will most likely all fall on squarely on your own shoulders. You can bet the person who hurt or angered you reflects on what happened far less than you do, if at all.
Or perhaps it’s yourself who you need to forgive. Even when you make hurtful decisions or terrible mistakes, you deserve to forgive yourself. Beating yourself up does no good as it doesn’t change or undo the situation. Plus, much unnecessary pain is created by holding onto the past. The biggest battles I have fought have been with myself and there is no way to win this kind of battle. Reflect on what happened and why, accept responsibility for your part, apologize if you need to, and then let it go.
Stop Being the Victim
No matter the situation, you have a choice on whether or not you are going to be a victim or be responsible for you own life. Shit happens. Sometimes it’s really bad shit. The kind you don’t deserve. Maybe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time or the situation was completely out of your control. Or maybe the decisions you made up to that point created your own circumstances. If you don’t want to be a victim, take charge of your reactions and choices. You can decide to hold a grudge, stay angry, retaliate, lash out, or fall apart. Or you can make a different choice. It’s up to you.
One of the most powerful tricks I have learned is from the book “The Art of Possibility: Transforming Personal and Professional Life” by Rosemund and Benjamin Zander. In it, they describe the practice of ‘being the board’ which is done by visualizing your life as the board (think chess) on which the game of life is played upon rather than being a piece (think pawn) that moves along the board based on the rules of the game, or as the person who is masterminding the game, trying to win (but may lose). When you are the board, life moves beyond winning, losing, or limiting your opportunities because you can’t move where you want to move, be what you want to be, or because you are afraid (therefore playing defense) that the bishop is going to take your queen. Being the board opens you up to endless possibilities because it allows you to take full ownership of everything…EVERYTHING…that happens in your life. For me, this has been incredibly powerful. Whenever I find myself feeling like something is impossible, getting defensive, or wanting to blame someone else, I ask myself “how am I the board?” This phrase triggers me to think bigger, allowing me to see my role in the situation and take responsibility for my decisions and actions. Note: this is not about blaming yourself when truly terrible things happen to you that are completely out of your control…it’s about fully owning your life so that you can let go, heal, and live a happy life in the wake of these types of events.
Be More Present
I personally live by the mantra forgive and forget, but I recognize forgetting can be difficult and not always appropriate. But focusing on the past means you are not living your life right now. When memories of your anger or pain creep in and you find yourself taking a deep dive into the past, take a few deep breaths and say to yourself, “That was then and this is now. Today, I am focused on my happiness and doing my best in this moment.” As Eckhart Tolle so articulately puts it, “You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the now.” Don’t know how to be in the present? Here are some practical and easy tips.
Ask For Help
There is nothing wrong with asking for help if you find yourself stuck and miserable. In fact, it’s the bravest, most honorable thing you can do. Seek counseling, coaching, group therapy, or simply talk it through with someone who you trust is going to give it to you straight. Remember, this life is your life. If you are miserable, don’t keep doing the same things that aren’t working. Take charge, get support, and start the process of letting go.
Letting go isn’t easy, especially if your anger or pain has been your dearest friend for a long time. But it’s unhealthy to live your life being defined by these deeply felt emotions. It not only impacts you but everyone around you. When these kinds of emotions take up space in your heart and head, there is no room for happier, lighter, more freeing ones to enter. The biggest gift you can give yourself, those around you, and the future people in your life is to find a way to move past the experience and live a more fulfilling life.
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A Quick Blurb on what this blog is about.
Welcome to my blog! My name is Kerry Siggins and plain speaking, honest leadership is my mantra. My intention is to help those who lead (or want to lead) become better at saying and doing what needs to be said and done in a way that it can be heard and seen, one person at a time.