Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

The Art Of Working Together – Soft People Skills To Use For Success At Work

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” 

–Helen Keller

So you want to play well with others? Sure, of course, it is essential to be successful in all your human interactions. Today I am writing about the use of soft skills as they apply to work, but they are also relevant in all our relationships.

People skills, what are they? They are the way we interact with each other. Using soft skills when we communicate, help us to be effective.

Effective communication, I feel, is the most critical. All other soft skills are connected and dependent on your ability to communicate.

Being able to communicate effectively is vital. What message are you trying to convey? You want to be able to verbalize in such a way that everyone can understand. Included are both verbal and non-verbal skills.

The words you use, the ebb and flow of your voice and clear pronunciation all contribute to your ability to communicate. Are you talking at a noise level that everyone can hear you? Is the tone of your voice exciting? How you speak can be fascinating, mesmerizing, or just plain dull.

Just as important is your non-verbal communication. You may be saying something, but your body language is sending a different message.

Perhaps you are speaking in a soft tone, and the subject is being considerate of one another. People hear one message, but when they look at your facial expression and they way you are holding your body, they see something different. Are you clenching your fists and have a closed-off expression or angry face? People will notice.

When you speak, either one on one or in front of a group, you want to be relaxed and confident. You want them to be drawn in by what you are saying. Eye contact, facial expression, a relaxed smile, your personality, and the passion you have for what you are saying are all important. These are all soft skills.

Soft skills are necessary to interact effectively with people. In the workplace that includes the employees you work with, your boss, clients & customers, and vendors. It includes person to person, telephone, email, social media, and written communication.

Soft skills include the ability to listen. Included is being able to read the body language of the other person and asking clarifying questions. Being able to make eye contact and perhaps lean in toward the other person indicating your interest is also included.

Soft skills are sometimes intuitive if you are lucky. They are skills that you can assimilate over time. You can sit in a class or meeting and read a manual or book, but you will not be able to apply them the next day.

You have to practice and develop soft skills until they become natural. When that happens, then you will become effective using them.

Self-motivation is a soft skill. If you have a positive attitude and take the initiative without supervision, it shows you are committed to doing well, and you are reliable. Self motivation is a highly valuable soft skill to have.

Being a team player and being able to motivate others in your team is a soft skill. It indicates a clear vision on your part of the importance of working together and being successful.

The ability to problem solve. Not everyone can do this. It is dependent on your attitude. You have to want to solve the problem, and you have to be able to analyze it. It also requires the ability to work with others and be able to communicate your thinking effectively.

Another valuable soft skill is flexibility. It is easy to settle into a comfort zone, and being flexible is important because it shows you are open to new challenges. You are willing to learn new things. It shows a great attitude, and it is valuable to your employer.

Time management is an essential soft skill. The ability to understand your responsibilities each day and put them into a logical order so you can complete them is a skill. Not everyone has that ability. it is a skill that makes you more productive and more valuable as an employee.

Developing soft skills should be a goal for everyone, each individual and each business. If you want to be successful they are essential. Soft skills can improve your ability to negotiate and network, bring your customer service to the highest level, as well as the level of effectiveness of your communication.

Having excellent soft skills is the extra ingredient needed to find, attract, and keep customers. As an employee your soft skills will make you valuable and help you advance. As a company, it will help you become and maintain a respected and successful business.

Harvard Study

As always, thank you for reading my blog. How are your soft skills?

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Overwhelmed – Stress Is Pulling Me Under- 8 Techniques To Pull Free

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

Overwhelmed. Feeling like I am sinking, the water pulling me under. I struggle but I cannot pull free. What is wrong with me?

What’s happening? I feel like I can’t breathe. I need to get out. I want to run away.

Why can’t I do better? Why is this so hard. Am I stupid? I feel stupid, I’m a real failure.

Stress. Those are just a few of the symptoms of stress. We can respond both mentally and physically in stressful situations.

Stress affects us all and we each respond differently. Put two people in the same stressful situation and one may immediately show their distress while the other shrugs their shoulders and walks away thinking it was no big deal.

Short term stress usually will not hurt us and may be beneficial. It causes us to react and pushes us to respond quickly to get something done. Long term stress can be detrimental to our health causing insomnia, stomach problems, headaches, nervousness and can eventually lead to long term health problems such as heart disease.

What can we do to help eliminate stress?

  • Talk to someone about what you are experiencing. Talk to a friend, a mentor, your doctor or a therapist. Heck, talk to your imaginary friend. It’s important, let it out. Talking will help you release some of your emotions and the tension you are holding inside. You may be able to relax and look at the situation differently, and even start to work on a solution.
  • Exercise. Sometimes just going for a walk will help. Doing Yoga, Tai-Chi or Pilates is super relaxing. Any form of Aerobic Exercise is always beneficial and will release endorphins into your blood stream which will help you deal with anxiety and stress.
  • Write about it. If you are not comfortable talking to someone about your problems, write about it. The process of writing will have very similar benefits. It will allow you to sort through your emotions and look for solutions. It will help take the pressure away by releasing some of your tension. Writing will help you visualize and see your problem better. It may give you a different perspective. Writing in a notebook and using it as a reference for the future is a good practice. It may help you sort through and manage recurrent stress.
  • Manage your Time. Quite often we become overwhelmed because we are not managing our time well. We place unrealistic demands on ourselves and allow others to do the same. Take a deep breathe and really look at your schedule. Is there a better way to do things? Can you eliminate excess stuff that you really do not need to spend time on? Can you delegate it to someone else? Learn to say No.
  • Try Relaxation Techniques. Splurge and have a professional massage. Listen to music. Try Meditation. Read a book, poems, positive quotes or the Bible. Spend time with an old friend. Play a game and laugh. Take a walk with your dog. Watch a funny movie. Volunteer.
  • Learn to take care of problems as they occur instead of pushing them away or trying to ignore them. We know they are there. They will sit there and fester and your stress level will go up as a result. It will take less time to deal with them immediately. Just do it and move on.
  • Change your attitude. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. We lose track of what is really important. Take a little time to think about why you decided to do your job or whatever it is that is causing you stress. You wanted to start a business, write a book, have a family. You were committed and you were happy doing it. Give yourself a chance to refocus.
  • Redo your daily schedule by prioritizing what is important. Do the most important thing first. Get it done and out of the way. You will be more relaxed and be able to accomplish more of the smaller items later in the day.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”

Viggo Mortensen

Life is after all what we make it. We are the one responsible for the choices we make and how we react to what happens every day. Life can throw us a lot of curves. Slow down, relax and be happy.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How Do You Make Everyday A Victory? A List of Things To Do.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Today I was browsing Twitter and I saw an image of a very physically fit man talking about finding victory every day. I could not ignore the image and whatever victory he was having was definitely working for him physically.

I cannot say the same for his video. It was not effective for me because it was virtually full of expletives which ruined the message. I am not sure he was giving off the message he wanted.

He was explosively selling victory but I don’t think he reached it. At least not with me. I did not like his perspective. It may have worked for a different audience.

I liked his focus on victory so I decided to do research on how to obtain victory for ourselves each and every day. What an interesting concept. Here is what I found.

The first article I read made total sense and I really liked it. It is a simple concept and one that would definitely work in your personal and professional life.

  • Easy-Peasy. Pick what is your highest priority to accomplish each day and do that first.

In your personal life if you want to exercise each day do it before you leave for work. I used to get up early each day and get on my Treadmill. Doing that meant I did not have to worry about doing it at night which truthfully would not have worked for me.

When you get to work be sure to concentrate on whatever is the most important thing you have to do for the day. Do you have to complete a report or is there a project you are working on? Do it first.

Each day you will end up having at least one victory by doing this practice. It will benefit you on many levels and the rest of your day can be used to do the less important tasks.

  • Do an assessment of yourself.

Everyone has a list of things we know we could be better at. You know, the stuff that sometimes plays mindlessly in our head. What are they? Take an evening or a weekend and do some contemplation. Write them all down. Okay now you have a list and if you are like me it might be long. Here are a few examples:

Calling your parents or siblings or returning their calls. You always mean to but something else comes up. We should not put them on the back burner but it is so easy to do. Decide you will call them back and do it. This is an important victory.

Saving money. That should be on everyone’s list but quite often we just don’t do it. We see something we want and we buy it. You figure you will start your savings account next paycheck. Do it and add to it each and every week. Big Important Victory.

You get the idea. Small things or big things that we let slip by can all make a difference in our life. I know I have enough items on my list to do one thing each and every day. That would be a victory.

You can apply the same concept to your professional life as well. What are those things you think about doing that would help you professionally? You may have some great ideas so don’t keep putting them off? Make a list and make it a priority to get them done. It may not be realistic to complete one a day but how about one a week. Count it as a bonus victory for the week.

  • Keep a journal.

Write down what you did that day. We are busy and we do not take the time to evaluate ourselves. You might find that you did have a victory and maybe multiple victories.

How many times have you had someone tell you you did a good job and you just brush it aside. Pay attention and write it down. That is a victory and you should take credit. Congratulate yourself!

When it comes time for your review you can also use a journal as a reference of what you have accomplished for the year. If your company requires you to do a self evaluation you are ahead of the game. Big Victory!

Victory is the child of preparation and determination.

Sean Hampton

Victory will be determined by many factors.

  • Perspective.

How do you view life? How do you react? What do you consider a victory? Your perspective can either hold you back or push you forward. Your perspective determines what is important and what is not.

  • Attitude.

Do you take responsibility for your actions? Do you have a positive attitude? Are you prone to negativity? We do not pay enough attention to our attitude. Attitude determines how you look at the world and how the world looks at you will also be determined by your attitude. Make sure it’s a good one.

  • Determination.

Are you willing to put in the effort needed to achieve victory? Determination is what drives you, helps your work hard and keeps you focused on achieving your goals.

  • Visualization.

You need to be able to see what you want, how to get there and see the end result. Being able to visualize the result you want helps overcome fear and it helps build self confidence. If you can see the result in your mind it makes it easier to practice and have great results sooner. Have you noticed people in sports doing visualization before they compete?

The most valuable advice I can give is plan for your success. Write down your ideal goal, creating checkpoints for yourself along the way that align with the end goal. Set up rewards for achieving both little victories and big ones.

Hilary Knight

Everyone can benefit from practicing these skills. I’m retired so you might think it is not important to me. You would be incorrect. It seems now more than ever it is indeed important to me.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Go out and score a Victory today!