How to Choose Yourself

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I just love this image. It is a good reminder that every day we receive the opportunity to choose who we will be that day. 

I can remember back in the day having a conversation with my dad about Tony Bennett. Bennett had just done his MTV Unplugged and I told my dad I liked his music. Yet my father was quick to say, ‘you only like him because of MTV.’ I could not argue his logic, because I was unaware of Bennett beforehand.

The conversation did help me to understand how much we are influenced and/or swayed by media and pop culture. It is not necessarily a bad thing. So much of who we are today is a result of our past experiences, thoughts, media/books, and family. This can be a good or bad thing depending upon your perspective.

For me, I took a hard look at myself and did not like the person I had become. I was plagued by self-doubt, anxiety, and was addicted to negative thoughts. Most of my negative thinking was about my past, which only depressed me. I was a miserable person and it was all a result of my own creation.

What changed? I woke one day and realized I was 40 years old and this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I decided I would write out who I wanted to be and how I would act. The more I wrote the more the desire to be that person was stirred up in my heart. Every day I made a conscious choice to be that person and to leave the other guy in the past.

Making a change can be scary because of the unknown, but let me reassure you that it can also be the best thing that ever happened to you. Who would you like to be today? It is ultimately your choice. Thanks!

5 Tips for Listening Success

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Listening is an art and those who learn to master the skill optimize the ability to go far in career and life.

It has happened to us all at one point or time in our lives where we were describing our day or speaking about a particular meaningful aspect of our life and other person is not paying attention. They are on their phone or surveying the area or day dreaming themselves. We can feel frustrated realizing this person is acting like they do not care. Yes, the person we are communicating with is giving off the vibe of “they don’t care.” However, they care, but unfortunately they have learned the art of listening.

Below are 5 Tips for Listening Success in your career and relationships.

  1. Make Eye Contact. Sounds simple enough, however, many are unable to do this. Now I am not writing that you stare them down as they talk to you. You do not need to be a creeper. Provide enough eye contact in order for the other person to be heard.
  2. Use non-verbable Communication. Give a head nod or show emotion depending on mood of the conversation. Do not fold your arms when someone is talking because it is a universal body language signal that you are closed off to that person. True, you may actually not want to hear them. However, it is better to give them the respect and decency of hearing them out before you cut them down with a response.
  3. Pause your Thoughts or Answer. Often we think that when a person begins to discuss their problems with us that we need to be the Super Hero and save the day. Chances are if you attempt this then you will likely be the villain. Sure, your answer could be the correct one and it may even save the whole world however in that moment the person speaking with you may not desire your wisdom. I typically may ask the person discussing a matter with me if they just want me to listen or desire an answer. It may feel strange or awkward but it is extremely effective.
  4. Seek First to Understand.  Yes this is from Steven Covey and it is an outstanding tip. It is not about you in this moment it concerns understanding the other person. Often when a person is attempting to speak with us, we can take their words and twist them. Or take what they are saying personally, which is easy to do if we feel the other person is criticizing us. Maybe they are. Nevertheless, their words are coming a place of concern for us and if we brush them off then we miss the point. A good rule of thumb is remember that everyone interprets the world and everything in it through their experiences and family values. Seek first to understand.
  5. Treat the other person as the most important person alive. Why? Because they are. They are the only one talking to you at that moment and they are important. When you do this (it does take practice) you will notice a difference in how people respond to you. We love talk about ourselves, therefore, if you listen to others then you will be a popular person. Few ever develop the art of listening. Earl Nightingale said, “People who are interesting are people who are interested.”

 

Become interested in others and you will be an interesting person to everyone.