Reaching your goals can be a very challenging undertaking whether its graduating from school, improving your marriage, having a better relationship with your parents, or moving up at your job. Nothing that’s worth having comes easy. In my experience, successful people believe that the following factors contribute to their ability to reach their goals. Some of these may pertain more to your situation than others but most can be applied across any situation. Let’s take a look:
Taking feedback is one aspect of growing that many people need to improve on. Whether you’ve been doing something for a very long time or just beginning, you need feedback to grow. Sometimes it will be hard to hear the negative feedback and you may believe you know better than the person giving it to you, but take it into consideration and see what you can learn. This goes for relationships as well – people change so it’s important to always keep the lines of communication open to understand who you are together and what changes, if any, need to be made.
Do Less Talking and More Listening
It’s true, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. No matter what situation you are in, you will always learn more by listening rather than talking. If you need clarification, ask questions and actually listen for the answers. By doing this, you can learn what your company really needs to succeed, what your relationship is lacking, what motivates your employees, how to improve your relationship with your parents, and the list goes on and on.
Take Calculated Risks
Without risks, there can be no failures and without failures, there can be no success. Challenge yourself to take more risks in life. A risk can be anything from taking that job that you have to relocate for, starting conversations with strangers, speaking with your boss about your concerns, or having that difficult conversation with your loved one.
Any risk you take can be a learning experience but be certain that it’s a risk that can be beneficial to you. Make a list of pros and cons and create a game plan for any risk you’re looking to take. This will help prepare you to make an educated decision and possibly help you set aside some of your fears.
Respect Those Who Have More Knowledge Than You
You may not like your boss or your teacher, but they have the job you want or the education you’re seeking. This doesn’t mean that you have to take everything they say as law, but take notes. They have knowledge that can be beneficial for you to reach your ultimate goals. Pick their brain about how they would solve the challenges you’re facing and see if you can take away some valuable knowledge. After all, they got where they are for a reason.
Don’t Always Do As Your Told
If someones tells you to do something that just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. This applies to the obvious areas such as breaking laws or policies but it also applies to situations where the message you were given wasn’t clear and you are left wondering what to do next.
If you find yourself confused or concerned, ask more questions to seek a better understanding. If the person who is making you confused is unable to clarify, seek out another person that may be able to help you. Don’t move forward with a task until you feel comfortable and fully understand what’s expected and why.
Think Before You Speak
Even if you feel like a passing conversation was meaningless, the person on the other end of that same conversation may never forget the words you said to them. Think before you speak, analyze if what you’re about to say is helpful, ask more questions, and get the full story before you form a response. This will keep you from making assumptions and from causing unnecessary stress in your relationships. Sometimes the most powerful communication is to not say a word. For a good read on improving communication, check out Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time.
Don’t Dance Around The Issues
If you are experiencing an issue with a person, have a conversation with them. Don’t start by asking how their day is or that they are awesome at other things. This only confuses matters and will dilute your message. Simply be direct and focus on the issue.
For example, you feel like your spouse is rude to you in front of their friends and you feel hurt. You decide to approach them about the issue but you say “You are such a wonderful spouse but sometimes you are mean to me in front of your friends”. This is a very confusing sentence and your spouse may respond with a less than desirable reaction or not take your concern very seriously. Instead, say something like “It hurts my feelings when you put me down in front of your friends” (Use the most recent, specific example). This sentence will open up a dialogue and will let your spouse know exactly what is bothering you and that it is a serious matter that needs to be resolved.
Speak Honestly and Respectfully
Always treat others with respect, no matter how much they have angered you. Putting people down or condescending to them will never yield the results that you want. Before you have a conversation with someone, make sure you are not angry and that you can form your thoughts clearly. Speaking to people with respect will help you both have a calm and productive conversation.
Whether you’ve made a mistake and need to take responsibility or you see an issue that you can easily resolve but you haven’t been directed to do so, be accountable. Always have integrity and do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
To improve the accountability of yourself and others, pick up The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Everyone fails at some point on their journey to their ultimate goal. It is important to fail and make mistakes so you can learn and grow. Don’t allow these little failures to bring you down and don’t waste time beating yourself up over them. Analyze what happened and chalk it up to a learning experience. This will make you stronger and will prepare you for similar situations in the future.
Don’t Blame Others
Whether you didn’t get that promotion or you had a screaming match with your loved one, it is so important to understand that you are accountable for most, if not all, of the outcome of any situation. Yes, there are some uncontrollable factors but you have the power to make enormous changes in your personal and professional life if you can analyze where you went wrong and how you can improve for next time.
For instance, if you didn’t get a promotion, speak to your superior about why you weren’t selected and take notes. In addition, ask the person who received the promotion about what they feel pushed them into that coveted spot. In addition, ask yourself: Did I work on extra projects, arrive early for work, have open communication with my superiors and peers, and remain positive while at work? If the answer was “no” or even “sometimes” to any of these, you’ve got some work to do.
The simple fact of the matter is that all of your successes and failures come down to the decisions you’ve made and the way you communicate. If you are not succeeding, take a good look at yourself and see what improvements you can make.
Much of success comes from thoughtful communication and all successes will lead back to an effective communicator. If you are able to improve your communication, you will be well on your way to accomplishing nearly anything you want in life.
Want to read more about improving communication and accountability? Here are some tools to get you started:
Disclaimer: These statements are the opinion of the author. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.