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How to set goals for high performance

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you play it safe, by making sure the goals are easily achieved? Or do you set ambitious and very challenging goals that you will have to really make sacrifices for to achieve? Setting realistic goals is an artform that requires some skill, especially if you want to achieve more than just the norm. So how do you balance such goals, so that they are challenging, yet realistic?

Clear and written goals contain the power to motivate and energise us into action. Very often we start out with no real concept of our goals, and most importantly, we don’t know WHY we want to reach that specific goal. You need to ask yourself some of the following questions to find out, if your goals are challenging enough to move you out of your comfort zone:

•             Why do I want to achieve this goal? How will I benefit?
•             What good will it bring in the long run?
•             Do I have the abilities to achieve this goal?
•             Does my goal excite me when I think about it?
•             Do I dream or visualize about it every day?
•             Are my inward thoughts and focus set on my goals?

When answering the above questions, you need to be brutally honest with yourself.  Knowing the answers will help you to set meaningful and challenging goals. Goals which will contribute to your success, happiness and freedom

What experience did you have with setting goals? Would you like to set some and haven’t tried?

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5 Tips How to Communicate Effectively as a Leader

Effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.

Effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, engaged listening, managing stress in the moment, the ability to communicate assertively, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.

Having great leadership communication skills includes being able to clearly and specifically communicate your :

  •  Vision
  •  Goals
  •  Skills
  •  Intentions
  •  Expectations

This also includes your ability to listen to what other people are consciously or unconsciously communicating.

To become a great communicator, continually strive to improve your verbal, nonverbal and listening skills. The workplace can be a highly stressful environment. Good communication skills are vital in helping you to work effectively, build solid relationships and prevent unnecessary misunderstandings, and navigate day-to-day deadlines.

So what constitutes effective communication skills? Here are 5 points worth remembering:

1. Show interest and be curious

People who are genuinely interested in others are usually interesting themselves. Why? Because they are more open to learning about and understanding new things. Showing interest also encourages the other person to be relaxed and share information more freely. Display attentiveness by keeping good eye contact and listening actively.

2. Keep people in the know

People want and need to feel that they are “insiders,” that they are aware of everything that is going on. There is nothing so demoralizing to a staff member than to be kept in the dark about their work and what is going on in the company.

3. Speak slowly

Such a simple thing, but it can have a big difference in how others perceive you. A person in authority, with authority, speaks slowly, but be careful that it does not sound if you are patronising them. Speaking slowly shows confidence. A person who feels that he is not worth listening to will speak quickly, because he does not want to keep others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Even if you do not feel the confidence of someone who speaks slowly, try doing it a few times. It will make you feel more confident. Of course, do not take it to an extreme, but speak calmly, not sounding rushed.

4. Consider the situation before taking any action

Our emotions tempt us to make quick decisions based upon superficial evidence which may not reflect the true nature of the problem: We reach a conclusion and often react based on the first conclusion we reach. This may not be valid. Try and think what other possibilities are available before just reacting.

Gather and Confirm Information before making a decision.

Focus on the challenges and issues, not personalities.

5. Empathy

The workplace is about teamwork, so in order to work effectively, it is essential to be open to the opinion of others, and to understand their position on any given issue. It is about give and take. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is often a good way to improve workplace communication skills. Make a point to ask questions rather than to always provide input and direction.

Practice these guidelines and you will gradually develop abilities towards good interpersonal skills: Connect with others, express what you really mean, navigate challenging situations, and build better relationships at work and home.

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5 Ways to Have A Better Conversation

A lot of people have lost the ability to have meaningful conversations. There are a lot of reasons for that – one is definitely that we are constantly busy, busy and being more busy.

  •  Don’t multi-task. If you want to continue playing the computer game – its fine but say so! Don’t be half in and half out of that conversation. Be present in that moment.
  •  When entering a conversation assume you have something to learn. Everybody is an expert of something! Be open-minded and interested in other people.
  •  Ask open ended questions. “How was that like?” Let people describe it. And not: “Were you angry? Yes, I was” or “That was fun, wasn’t it? Yes, it was”.
  •  Listen! Why don’t we listen? Yes, it takes effort and energy but if you can’t do that you are not having a conversation. This is your most important skill.
  •  Don’t equate your experience with other people’s experience. If they are talking about how shitty their job is don’t talk about yours, too. All experiences are individual and it’s not about you. You don’t need to prove how amazing you are.

Thank you for reading.

You are welcome to comment with some feedback after practicing the above.

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How to develop these three important qualities to grow within your life and business

We all start out in life as being quite ordinary and many remain that way. The few who have become extraordinary often have the following qualities.

1. Good self-esteem: Your self-esteem determines your life.

Self-esteem is a condition you experience when you are moving step-by-step toward the accomplishment of something that is important to you. For that reason, it’s really important to have clear goals for each part of your life that you continually work toward achieving those goals. Each progressive step causes your self-esteem to increase and makes you feel more positive and effective in everything else you do. The more you like yourself, the more confident you are. The more you like yourself, the more efficient and effective you are in each area of your life. Self-esteem is the key to peak performance.

Ask yourself everyday: What can I do today to feel good about myself?

2. Strong Communicators: We constantly communicate – even if we think we don’t we still do. Think about your self-talk, the constant bubbly conversation in our head. Is it kind and positive towards yourself?

To develop strong communication with others you need genuine curiosity and asking open minded questions is the key building strong relationships and becoming a good communicator. Never dominate a conversation. Most people, while cosmetically listening to others, are rushing in to make their own points while the other person is still talking.

3. Determine your personal values: Know what is really important to you in your life. We all have personal values, no matter whether we are conscious about them or not. And you may not believe it, but most of your actions are guided by your values, so even though your values are hidden inside you, they are still visible through your actions.

People who are clear about what they believe in and value, and who refuse to compromise their values like and respect themselves far more than people who are unclear about what is really important to them.

This is crucial as you don’t want to live a life based on other people’s values.

So, in conclusion, success and growth come in many shapes and forms. The above guides you to take action and develop these qualities within yourself to build a better you.

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The true feeling of success

What does success meant to you? Define it!

Is it….to have a certain number in your bank account?

You want to build something and X amount of people validate and praise it.

You want to help people. You want to leave a meaningful impact.

You want to be seen as the leader, the one who pioneered change.

You want to change lives.

You want to be acknowledged.

You want to do something. And you associate that thing with “success.”

You want to be “remembered” or “known” for something, forever.

Do you know why most people do not become successful? Because their definition of “success” is flawed to begin with. As shown above, they attach the idea of “success” with something external. It is a mountain peak. A reward. A trophy. An achievement. A view from the top of the mountain wherein they can say, with complete confidence, “I did it. I am now successful.”

The problem with that is as soon as you reach that point and you call yourself “successful,” you are shifting the focus from an internal desire to an external achievement–which is dangerous. You are using “success” as a title to define who you are and your own worth.

In addition, you very quickly survey the landscape (from your amazing view) and you see yet another mountain peak. And you then attach again this idea of “success” to something else. Yes, in order to continue being “successful” you now have to climb the next mountain, and the next mountain.

The reason most people don’t become successful is the same reason successful people don’t or can’t even enjoy the success they’ve already achieved.

It’s because success, to them, is external. It is outside of them. It’s something they have to reach for, and can only hope to one day obtain.

Instead of seeking validation, what you need to seek is exploration. The true feeling of success is at the heart of what you love. And if that is your intention, then you could achieve one thing or one hundred things and either way the feeling would remain the same. Because the “feeling” of success then is internal. It is a love for the journey, not the end result in itself.

In the world of entrepreneurship, business, and anything relating to “ambition” in general, this perspective gets shoved under the rug. In fact, it’s even looked at as weak. You should aspire for more. You should achieve more. Receive more. More more more.

The irony is that there is already more than enough within you to explore. Curiosity and an interest in your craft is enough. A love for what you do, day after day, is enough. There is already far more available than you could ever need, and it’s the outward focus that ends up distracting you from the deeply fulfilling path of wanting to do what you love, every single day.

If you aren’t successful, it’s because you don’t do that.

It’s because your definition of “success” is something that is outside of you.

And true success is found within.

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Just do it

A famous pay-off line by Nike.

Heard so many times. Interpreted in so many ways.

I, for one, see it as a statement that simplifies something that so many people complicate.

If you are stuck in a dead-end job, for example. You are incredibly unhappy there and don’t want to get up in the morning. What is stopping you from making a change?

You don’t know what it is you want to do? Sit down, either by yourself or with a Career Coach, and start the process of self-discovery. Go through your hopes and dreams, your skills and strengths. Stay positive and you’ll soon see that you come up with a few ideas of what you could do, and the rest will soon follow. You just have to get started. You just have to do it.

You know what you want to do but are not qualified? A lot of people aren’t. Start in a junior position and work yourself up. Start your own business, where no one cares what degree you have or don’t have. Or just simply go and study! You might need to save up a little, rearrange your schedule and make sacrifices, but it’s absolutely doable. You just need to take that first step. You just have to do it.

You don’t know where to start looking for a new job? Get your CV out there. Join the important job-searching websites. Get in contact with recruiters. If you need help with your CV, get in contact with a Career Coach or even look online. You just need to get the ball rolling.

It really is that simple. It’s your fears, your uncertainties that are holding you back. So what if you earn a little less for a few years when in the bigger picture you will be earning MUCH more in the long run? So what if you need to sacrifice time, money and comfort for a while, when you will be so much more fulfilled and happy in the bigger picture?

Making a change might seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but coming out on the other side, you will quickly come to realize that the only mountain, blocking your path to happiness, was you. Don’t get in your own way. Make a change. Just do it.

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The meaning of life

It’s a question everyone asks and it might be the question you have the answer for.

This is a deep one. Many people have their own opinions on what the reason we are on this earth for really is. They might be something like love, money, growth, energy, spirits or God. They might even say that there is no purpose or reason and this is all random. It may just be. Truth be told, we don’t really know what the answer is. It’s all a matter of personality, belief and faith.

One way though, of ensuring that our life does have meaning, is giving it one. How do you achieve this? By being honest with yourself. Looking deep inside your soul and understanding what it is that sets it on fire. What is your passion? What gets you up in the morning? What are you incredibly good at? What have you always wanted to learn/do? Asking yourself all these important questions and answering them truthfully will set you on the right track. The answers to these questions, to this soul search, are your goals. It’s the meaning to your life. When you go out and strive for these goals, isn’t that the best sense of purpose you can attain?

Being able to say that your life has a meaning and a purpose may be the highest level of self-fulfillment you can achieve. So go out there. Soul search. Be truly honest with yourself and give your life meaning.

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Never Give Up

Never Give Up- Heard so many times, but how do we do it?

Never give up

I think that we have been told a thousand times that we shouldn’t give up. We know this. The theory is sound. Yet how often do we find ourselves in a situation that brings us to our knees? Moments where we can’t take the strain, pain or emotional torment and we just want to throw in the towel? Maybe you can even think back to moments like these where you actually did give up. Where would you be today had you carried on? Had you put one aching foot in front of another and pulled through?

So it’s all easy to say, but how do you actually put this into practice? Let’s break it all down into 3 steps. 3 states of mind that you need to get into to climb out of the dark pit that you find yourself in.

1. Remember the bigger picture

Try and compartmentalise the emotions you are feeling right now. Take all the negative feelings and put them in a box. Now look ahead. What is your dream? What is it that you are aiming for? Remember that without your self-doubt and fear, you are invincible. These harrowing emotions are temporary. Your goal, your success, is here to stay. If you do this, you might even find that already tomorrow, everything will look a whole lot better.

2. Look for support

One thing is for sure: You are not the only one going through this. Find like-minded people to talk to and share your struggles with. These might be your friends, your colleagues or even a support group. You may find a Facebook group online that shares tips and coping mechanisms.

3. Head down, grind on

There is no nice way to say this: Pull yourself towards yourself and push forward. Take baby steps. Write a to-do list. Achieve one of those items today. One tomorrow. One the next day. Be easy on yourself. You are making progress, even if it doesn’t seem like that right now. Look back at where you were a year ago. How much have you grown? How much stronger are you now? Now imagine how much stronger you will be a year from now if you just don’t give up.

I think it’s just very important to remember how strong you really are. Don’t let your self-made fears tell you who you are. The anxiety you feel is fleeting. You may be really tired right now, but that won’t last. Everything is temporary. You just got to keep on keeping on.

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What If I’m Not An Entrepreneur?

The buzz right now is that you need to start your own business, make it big and make your dream a reality…

The list goes on and on. I truly believe that this is honourable, but also know, from personal experience, that it takes a lot of hard work and determination to get your own business off the ground. But, what if that’s not for you? What if you’re a team player and need to work alongside others, but can’t handle working in a 9-5 situation? In my many years as a life and business coach I have found that we sometimes have this obscure idea of what success really is.

Let me put this into perspective. I would like to tell you a story of a woman I met; let’s call her Claire for the point of this story. Claire had no interest in the 9-5 grind and started her own business. It took off well and her business thrived for two whole years. But soon after that her business started showing cracks and she was receiving less and less business. When she started reflecting on what was going wrong, she realised that she was treating her clients differently. Over time she had become less and less forthcoming towards her clients and stopped putting them first. She lacked understanding and empathy, which in turn led to even the most loyal clients walking out the door, never to return again. Although this was a shocking realisation for Claire, it was a liberating one. She now knew that she was not a lone wolf. The weight of the big decisions, the risks she had to take, the worries and the stress all fell entirely on her shoulders. There was no one to help her out in tough situations and carry some of that weight.

A little lost and defeated, Claire had to think long and hard about what to do next. She knew that she did not want the 9-5 job but couldn’t deal with the tough times a business brings with it, on her own. After some reflection and talking to other people in the same predicament, she realised that she needed to live her dream working alongside other people, while not owning the company outright. This would make the tough times more bearable. And that is exactly what she did. Through her previous business, she had met people that she could partner with in a new venture, who could offer her the opportunity to start again. Sayings like “Build your own dreams before someone hires you to build theirs” will give you a wrong impression and may just lead you on a path that isn’t right for you. Make sure that you listen to your heart like Claire did and know what’s good for you. If something still feels wrong after 2 years of doing it, it really isn’t the right thing for you. Make a change. Be brave. Be you.

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6 Ways to create a workplace culture your employees will love

Many employers find it challenging to keep their staff happy, motivated and productive. In many cases, this is because the employees have not ‘fallen in love’ with the workplace and view it purely as a source of income. So how do you get your employees engaged and excited in the workplace?

We spend at least two thirds of our lives in some kind of working environment, so it is important that your employees realise that you take their well-being seriously. Working in a happy and relaxed work environment is key to success, so here are some tips on how to maintain a successful workplace culture:

1. Create goals for your employees

Set and establish the vision and purpose of the team. Define a clear sense of identity and purpose. Communicate frankly with your team. Explain why these challenging goals were selected and why achieving them is so important, both for the organization and for them as individuals. Seek buy-in and work together as a team.

2. Develop empathy

it requires reading the feelings of others and includes developing others, leveraging diversity, and understanding their needs.

3. Schedule time to build relationships

Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it is just 20 minutes, perhaps broken up into five-minute segments. For example: Take a staff member out for a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes with them. These little interactions help build the foundation of a good relationship, especially if they are face-to-face.

4. Appreciate Others

Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. Everyone, from the owner to the office cleaner, wants to feel that their work is appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well. This will open the door to great work relationships.

5. Avoid Gossiping

Do not gossip or encourage this – office politics are major relationship killers at work. If you are experiencing conflict with someone, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping about the situation with others will only exacerbate the situation and will cause mistrust and animosity between you.

6. Listen Actively

Practice active listening. Plan when you talk to your employees. People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you will quickly become known as someone who can be trusted.