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I’ve discovered the secret to success – connection and communication

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to lead a charmed life? Success in everything they do seems to come to them with little or no effort. It’s almost as if everything they touch turns to gold, and their communication with others is effortless.

I’ve certainly wondered why this happens to some people and not to others, especially me. However, I think I’ve just discovered the secret to their success. It’s the way they connect with others in their communication.

In his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”, John C Maxwell says that people who seem to live a charmed life are usually those who have learned to connect with others. He goes on to say:

“When you connect with others, you position yourself to make the most of your skills and talents. When you don’t connect, you have a lot to overcome just to get to average, a neutral starting position.”

When I read this, I stopped to think about some of the successful people in my life – my cousin, who gets any job she applies for in any country; my school friend who, with no tertiary education, has never been without a well-paying job; and my business colleague who is so successful in her business that she can afford to live her life between 2 countries, despite only being in her 20’s. I thought about these people, and realised that the one thing they have in common is their extraordinary ability to connect with others.

John C Maxwell says that one way to connect with others is to make everything about them. Thinking back to the people I mentioned above, they all do this. They genuinely care for people, and always make the conversation about the person they’re talking to rather than about themselves. When I’m with any of them I always feel specially cared for, and that I’m the centre of their attention.

I’ve always felt that I’ve had to struggle for my successes in life. I rarely got promoted during my Government career, particularly when I was competing against people with equal qualifications. Also, I’m not someone who has ever been good at making, and keeping, friends.

I’ve come to realise that this is because I’m not particularly good at connecting with people. I can certainly talk, but I’m ashamed to say that I’m usually the topic of the conversation, or the conversation is about something that interests me. This has probably stemmed from being an only child, and having a disability. as a child, I’ was usually the centre of everyone else’s attention, and I don’t think I’ve ever really grown out of taking this for granted.

Recently, I attended a book launch and decided, as an experiment, to make every conversation I had focus entirely on the person I was talking to. I decided not to volunteer any information about myself unless I was asked, and to make a particular effort to find out as much as I could about each person I met. It was quite hard work, but ended up being a lot of fun! I met a number of really interesting people, and really enjoyed finding out all about them. This is something I’m definitely going to do a lot more of in my communication with others in the future. My aim is to become like the 3 people mentioned earlier in this post, and become a great connector.

Has anyone ever really connected with you? how did that make you feel? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, contact me directly.

Are You Compelled To Follow Your Dream?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I asked if you had a dream, and mentioned that there were 10 questions that you could ask yourself to determine whether your dream is worth pursuing. This post will deal with one of those questions which is, the question of passion, i.e. does your dream compel you to follow it?

In his book, “Put Your Dream To The Test”, John Maxwell defines passion as:

”… an enthusiasm that not only gives you energy and focus in the present, but also gives you power to keep moving toward the future. It gives you fuel to pursue your dream.”

When I started my first business, after being made redundant, I thought that it was my passion. Everything was all shiny, new and exciting, and I had a great time. However, when things got tough, when I couldn’t find customers and didn’t meet my sales goals, I would get terribly discouraged and would stop working in my business.

One christmas, I got together with a colleague and arranged a product launch. Between us, we invited about 100 people to the launch, but only a handful turned up. I was so upset, that I didn’t do any work in my business for over a week, and considered quitting altogether!

After doing some soul searching last year, I came to the conclusion that, while I loved the products, and enjoyed sharing them with others, it really wasn’t enough to keep me going, particularly when times were tough. I also discovered that my main motivation for continuing with the business was so that people wouldn’t say to me “I told you you’d never succeed at that”. I still exclusively use the products, and am always recommending them to others, but it’s not my passion.

However, in my current business, when things don’t go the way I want, I may still get discouraged for a few hours. But, sometimes I don’t get discouraged at all, and I’m increasingly seeing these times as opportunities to learn, or change direction.

In my first business, i used to toss and turn at night, and try and figure out how I could get more sales. In my current business, I wake suddenly from a sound sleep, with a great idea for a new blog post, or a revelation about how I can better serve my customers. Sometimes I get so excited that I can’t get back to sleep!

It’s almost like my passion won’t let me give up! It’s what keeps me going through the tough times, towards the success of achieving my dream.

Are you passionate about your dream? Does it compel you to follow it? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test.

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Applying for Promotions and Not Getting Them?

Moving from Corporate to Business

When I first started working in the Public Service, I was in a legal job in which the classifications were broadbanded. This meant that the first 7 classifications were banded together into one. It also meant that I didn’t have to do anything to get a promotion. All I had to do was do my job well, and I would progress up through the pay classifications.

Later in my career, I held jobs that didn’t have broadbanded classifications, and I had to apply for every promotion I received.

Because I had spent so long in jobs with broadbanded classifications, I had real trouble gaining promotions, and only got them by changing jobs.

In this post, I want to share with you the traps I fell into. Think of them as my “promotion pitfalls”. If you avoid these, you will have a much greater chance of gaining that promotion that you seek.

Wrong Motivation
In almost every case, I applied for promotions because I wanted the money. I didn’t really think too hard about the extra duties and responsibilities, and so didn’t prepare myself accordingly.

Thankfully though, I also wanted to learn and grow, but this was not my primary focus most of the time.

Poor Self-belief
Whenever I walked into an interview for a job at a higher level, hoping I would get the job, I never got it. But the two most successful job interviews I had were those in which I walked in with the attitude that the job was mine, and if I didn’t convince the panel
accordingly, it was my fault! I really believed that I was the best person for the job.

Unwillingness to Step Up
In the final years of my career, I had become very disillusioned with my job. I thought that I would be happier if I was earning more, so I applied for many promotions.

However, I didn’t realise that, in order to demonstrate my capability to do my job at a higher level, I had to actually step up and work at that level while still being paid at my current level. When I did come to that realisation, I was unwilling to do this, as I felt that I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Intentional Relationship Building
While I didn’t have bad relationships with my colleagues, I didn’t go out of my way to build relationships with, or add value to, others who weren’t my friends. One of John C Maxwell’s most often used quotes is: “people don’t care how much you know until they
know how much you care”. Perhaps if I had applied this to my relationships with all my colleagues, they may have been more willing to share advice and information that would have helped advance my career.

Underselling Myself
Another reason why I had difficulty in gaining promotions was that I often undersold myself in job applications and interviews. As I mentioned before, this was probably due to my mistaken belief that I didn’t have to work above my current level prior to promotion, which meant that I had no concrete examples that I could actually do the
I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Personal Growth
Like many people, I concentrated on growing my capabilities to do my job, and paid little attention to growing myself as a person.

Through personal growth, it is possible to increase many skills such as self-belief, self-awareness, leadership skills, and influence. If I had paid more attention to developing these skills, I have no doubt that I would have been more successful in applying for, and gaining promotions.

 

So, if you are seeking a promotion:

  • Make sure you are applying for the promotion because you want to do the job, not just because you want the money;
  • Build your belief in yourself that you really are the best person for the job;
  • Before applying for the promotion, do everything you can to demonstrate your ability to do the job;
  • Intentionally, and authentically, build good relationships with your colleagues at all levels;
  • Prepare, prepare prepare, and sell sell sell – go into the application process with your eyes open, and don’t leave the panel guessing about your abilities; and
  • Take every opportunity you can to grow yourself

Good luck!

 

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Are You Being Held Hostage By Your Habits?

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Psychologists say that 90 % of our actions are a habit. Consider the action of walking. I had never thought about the complexity of walking, until I seriously injured my knee last year, and had to learn to walk again after spending almost 10 weeks in a splint.

It all starts with putting your foot forward, just the right amount, with your heel on the floor, in just the right place. Then you have to transfer weight onto that foot, maintaining just the right amount of tension in your thigh muscles so that your knee doesn’t collapse, but without locking your knee straight. As your weight moves forward, you roll onto the ball of your foot, and your knee locks briefly, as you swing your other foot through to repeat the process. It becomes even more complicated when you add a walking frame or stick into the mix, and on top of all that, you have to concentrate on where you are going! It’s surprisingly complex, but it’s something we do, usually by force of habit, every day.

So, our good habits, such as regular exercise, drinking enough water, brushing our teeth, courtesy etc, serve us well, by allowing us to routinely do these things without thinking about them. This clears our mind to enable us to think about other things, and also promotes our health, wellbeing and success.

But what about our bad habits? We also do these things routinely without thinking about them, but they do not serve us well. Worse still, we are sometimes not even aware of the negative effects these habits have on our lives. Consider the effect that habits such as negativity, rudeness, substance abuse, over eating, laziness and procrastination have on our lives and those around us.

“We are what we repeatedly do. excellence then is not an act, but a habit”, Aristotle.

The more conscious we become of our good and bad habits, the more control we can have over those habits, and thus, the more control we can have over our lives.

One of my worst habits is negative self-talk – “I’m not good enough”, “it’s too hard”, “that won’t work”, “I’ll do it tomorrow” etc. As I have become more conscious of this habit during my personal growth journey, I am working on taking control of it, and changing it into a good habit of positive self-talk – “I am good enough”, “it’s not too hard”, “I don’t know whether that will work, but let’s give it a go. If it doesn’t work, I can try something else” “I’m putting a reminder in my phone now”, etc. Just working on this one habit is having a profound effect on my life!

What habits are holding you hostage? are you even aware of your good and bad habits and how they affect you? What habits would you like to cultivate to get you closer to achieving your dreams? Please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.