Avoid toxic comparisons.
It’s great to be inspired by someone else, but to see other people’s wins as proof you will never have something? Lame. Everyone’s journey has a lot of twists and turns that we do not know about, no matter how close we are with them. Instead of feeling down when someone else achieves a goal similar to your own, see their success as proof that it can happen and remember there is enough to go around. If you still get a little depleted, take a breather and meditate on the things that are working well in your life. Then, get up and moving down your path.
Build stronger bonds.
Do you know what families, social circles, companies, social media accounts, and relationships Fall have in common? People. In fact, nearly everything you will ever do or experience in your life will involve others. Therefore, if you want to move along in your career, find a great partner, enjoy a more dynamic social circle or have more fun at work, you’re going to need to be the one to initiate change and do so in an authentic, meaningful and consistent way. Focus on building relationships with people you like and who share your values and vision and brainstorm ways you can work and grow together. This is far more effective (and attractive) than trying to gain the most LinkedIn connections. No one likes to feel used.
Curate a life you love.
Once, when I was decorating my apartment, a designer gave me this advice, “Take your time and only fill your space with things you truly love.” I loved this way of thinking and took it to heart. The end result was a space that took my breath away every time I walked through the door. I promoted the advice to a life motto and work to fill my life only with people, experiences and work that I love. Does it mean I live in a utopia? No. It does mean that I am far more aware of what does not fit much quicker and that I seek out beauty, calm, health, fun and adventure much more than I did before I started living this way. When you feel comfortable and inspired in your physical and mental space, you’ll make better choices with a clearer head, including in your professional life.
Delegate where you can.
Most people over or underestimate what they can do in a 24-hour day and there is nothing worse than wasting time and energy sorting through low-level tasks when your focus would be better spent on working towards larger goals. Whether it is asking your partner to step up around the house, accepting offers of help, hiring a student to run errands a few times a month or making your own coffee and hiring a cleaner to save you a Saturday deep clean, you will get a lot more done when you stop trying to do everything.
Effective is better than fast.
We live in a world that values instant gratification: quick meals, real-time news, and superfast travel. These things can be great, except when they are not. You know, less fact checking by our news outlets, crappy food that makes us feel bad and shady uber drivers who charge us 2X the price for zero reasons at all. There are few things that turn out positive when rushed and we often spent more time undoing these things than we would have had we calmly worked through them the first time. Efficiency is great, but only when the outcome is effective (in the way that was intended).
Focus on what you want to grow.
Elle MacPherson once said, “Focus on the problem and the problem gets bigger. Focus on the solution and the solution gets bigger.” Nothing more to add on this other than I think it’s genius.
Give more than is expected of you.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou was dead-on about a lot of things, but this one hits home exceptionally well.
Giving more than is expected means taking time to thank people for their hard work and time. It means giving your full attention and asking how you can be there for someone and how you can support the team. It means showing up on time, ready to go, and giving the other person your full and complete attention. It’s actively listening and asking thoughtful questions, remembering special days and giving feedback that lifts the spirit and polishes the professional at the same time. Being the person who asks, “what can I do to support you?” sets you apart from those who stay silent or behave in ways that say “I don’t care” or “It’s not my problem”. You can’t lead unless you give.
Hit reset when you need to.
No matter how hard you work and no matter how strategically you plan, life will not always work in the ways you want it to and you will not always rise to the occasion with the grace, strength, knowledge and skill required to tackle whatever lies in front of you. This is why it is so great that we have free will and can simply hit “reset” whenever we need to. The second you realize that you can do better, you can actually do better. You can hit pause and reset and move in a different direction. Maybe it will take some time to make a physical move, but your thought process can change immediately, and where your mind goes, your life follows.
Every morning when you wake up, take a few moments to sit and write down what your intention will be for that day. This is different from a task list. An intention should lift you up so that you are able to live, work and interact at a higher level than you did yesterday and bring you closer to who you want to be tomorrow. Check in with what you have written down throughout the day and give yourself feedback in the evening before bed. Ask yourself, “How did I do?” How did my intention change my behavior and bring me closer to your goal?” You will be surprised at how much you learn and how motivated you will be.
Jump when it’s time to go.
Raise your hand if you have ever stayed in a job, relationship or friendship long after you knew that it was time to exit? Perhaps you stayed because you had “invested so much time” or because you thought the person or situation might change. Maybe you thought you deserved to be treated poorly for some reason. Whatever kept to chained to a toxic relationship or reality, let me tell you this; when something is dead, it’s dead. Going back to it and wishing, hoping or poking it in the hopes it will be alive and healthy again is a waste of time, and personally, I can’t think of any time it has brought me anything more than prolonged pain and frustration. Learn to jump when it is time to exit.
Knowledge will bring you confidence.
So much of our insecurity and fears of rejection stem from things we do not know or understand fully. Think about the time you walked into a new job and didn’t have your bearings and feel as though you were in “over your head” or how silly you felt when the date who didn’t text you back in a decent amount of time explained that he or she was in a conference with his/her boss all day? The unknown is exciting but it can also taunt and bully us, so do everything you can to get to know yourself, those in your life, how to do the key skills in your industry, useful life hacks and that you are worth love, affection, respect, attention and self-care.
It’s been said that the best conversationalists are those who listen well. Not only will entering a situation with ears wide open make the person in front of you feel valued and cared for, but you will often gain insight that talking halts access to. Listen to what people say and how it contradicts or coincides with what they do. Listen to how you speak to yourself on a daily basis. Listen to music that uplifts you and always listen to your gut.
Movement is different from growth.
There are a lot of busy people in the world, but how many of those people are successful? Generating activity and growing are two very different things, and unless you know how to differentiate them, you will waste a lot of energy running in place.
Never apologize for standing up for yourself.
Instead of mindlessly following the 1-2-3’s found online, get a real sense of what it is that you want to achieve. Be specific. Do you want to double your reach? Have your boss agree to flexible working hours? Get a meeting with a specific person or set a date with the cute guy or girl at the shared workspace? When you know what you really want, you can decide what you’re willing to accept (could be different) and strategize better.
Power up your potential.
There is so much more about you than you realize, so many talents, skills and passions that are living dormant inside of you. Perhaps it is because you have had to focus on your day-to-day movement or were talked out of going after a dream (by fear or others). Maybe it is because you have yet to discover something you enjoy. Whatever the reason, it’s holding you back. Unleashing the power of your potential starts with allowing yourself the space to get creative and try new things. It’s scheduling a time to take a new class, go for a walk and daydream or reaching out to someone who has more experience and knowledge in a certain area and asking them for an informational interview. The more you work to grow, identify who you truly are and put your passions at the front and center of your life, the more positivity you will attract and the more productive you will feel. It’s amazing how much momentum we gain just by hitting this switch.
Quiet the noise.
There will always be someone out there who doesn’t understand you, has a “better way” of doing things, or simply gets a perverse enjoyment out of putting someone else down. Turn down the volume and sing your own song as you live your life according to the rules determined by your own set of values.
Muhammad Ali once said that “A man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 25 has wasted half of his life.” There are people who will want to be able to view you the same way all of your life. They might tease you for changing your look or outlook. They may feel threatened by your growth, annoyed that you no longer fit in their box or even suggest that your changes are manipulative or inauthentic. The definition of reinvention says “to invent again or anew, especially without knowing that the invention already exists.” Most of us are not thinking about how we look to others with Madonna-like precision, we are simply growing and evolving. This is one of life’s pleasures, so enjoy it and refuse to crawl back into the cocoon because someone else is uncomfortable with you now being a butterfly.
Social audits are a must.
You may not become exactly like the five people you spend the most time with, but who you hang out with, the conversations you have and views you begin to share (or spend so much time and energy disagreeing with) will undoubtedly shape your perception of what “normal” is. Successful, happy, healthy people spend time with other successful, happy and healthy people, not people who make them feel bad or drag them down.
Think about the conversations you are having? Are they elevated (talking about possibilities, opportunities, new ideas, current events) or are they dragging your spirit down while your brain sits on autopilot (gossip, negative debates, constant moaning)? Do the people in your closest circle support you, make you feel safe and cared for or do you feel uneasy, rejected or on-edge around them. The more you mind your tribe, the more peace of mind you will have.
There is no better way to open your mind and become a more complex and layered person than to have new experiences in places that smell, look and interact in a different way than you are used to. The world is a big, beautiful place with so many different cultures, sights and sounds. To sit comfortably in your zip code and only travel to the same few places throughout a lifetime is to miss seeing this stunning world while you have the chance. You are alive- go and see how other people are living. I guarantee you will unlock an entirely different side of yourself.
Don’t let the myth of multitasking trick you into nonproductivity. Only 2-2.5% percent of the population have a brain structure that will allow them to focus on more than one thing at a time. The rest of us lose about 40% of our productivity clicking from tab-to-tab.
Know your worth in both your personal and professional life. Look up what the industry average is for the job you are doing and applying to do and don’t be afraid to ask for it. In your personal life, have a standard that you live up to and that you expect others to abide by and do not waiver from it. It’s better to be alone than to ever be with anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries.
This is where intention, outcome, process, delegation and unitasking come together. Set yourself up for success by doing your research, prioritising tasks and consider writing down how much time each task takes you and use the information as you plan using forward. Is the time worth the results? Answering this question each time you do something is a great way to tweak your working habits.
X-factor is what makes you stand out and is unique to you.
There are times when focusing on what everyone else is doing will work to your advantage (Google Trends is an example) but creativity and innovation require that we do something different. Don’t be afraid to add something new into the mix. Showcase your personality and passion and follow your intuition.
You are at the center of your life.
Nothing about where you are in your life is “lucky” or a result of what happened to you decades ago. Your life is a direct result of how you chose to handle the benefits and adversities life has handed you. The decisions you have made and the actions you have taken (and not taken) have brought you to this moment. The truth is, outside of truly dire outlier situations, we are all in full control of our lives.
We are accountable for our own success and happiness, and that is one of the greatest gifts life has given you. Accountability is control. This means that you can confidently take ownership of your honest wins and look at your losses, identify where you went wrong, make adjustments and do better. You have the power to choose where you go, what you say, how you behave and what you will tolerate. You have everything you need inside of you or within reach to achieve your goals. You just need to research, strategize and figure out the most productive process.
Zestful living for the win.
Though there are dozens of reasons to feel upset, disappointed, hurt, angry, fearful, confused and rejected in our lives, there are also dozens of reasons to be joyful, grateful and enthusiastic. How we approach each moment determines what we infuse into it, and moments beget moments. Let me give you an example. You walk into the office, coffee in hand, a smile on your face and you say hello to everyone on your team. You sit at your desk, make a task list for the day and commit to getting things done. How will your day run differently than if you walked in late, miserable because it is a Monday, ignoring your colleagues and playing on TMZ until the proverbial bell rings? How will your partner react if you greet them with a smile and a kiss and ask them about their day instead of grunting and plopping in front of the television? When was the last time you sat in a park with a cold drink in your hand and enjoyed the sunshine, cooked to fun music or just smiled at strangers because you wanted to spread some good energy? You have the power to change the energy in your space and the direction of your life just by choosing to be more positive, productive and joyful. Prove it to yourself by giving it a try.