How to not care about what other people think of you

other people think

Firstly a disclaimer; sometimes what other people think is good for us to hear.

We can’t sail through life, critic free. And if we did we wouldn’t grow.

The key is to take on board other peoples opinions when it matters.

Take on what other people think when they matter.

This dynamic will typically take place between you and one other you trust or you and your boss.

But even, if it’s your boss you have to believe they are being fair. For example, if it’s too personal and not work-related then you might need to disregard their advice that could inevitably crumble and not create you.

I can’t tell you forensically which particular opinions you should be inclined to listen to, this is a gut instinct but what I can tell you, is that when your gut is telling you that the “advice” before you is not being stated with your best interests are heart, here is how to efficiently disregard it;

1. The negative comments someone makes is about them, and not you

The people who go out of their way to make hateful comments are deeply unhappy. Where else would they find this type of negativity? Would someone who is happy or building a worthwhile life take the time to do nothing more than inflicting negativity on you? The next time sour negativity comes your way, empathise with the person, they must be deeply unhappy to speak to you that way. The burden is theirs to carry, not yours.

2. Be true to yourself

If you know yourself, your journey and exactly what you stand for (and what you don’t), you are far less likely to be rattled by someone else’s opinion of you. Have confidence in everything you do. Take decisions with pride. Never underestimate the liberation that flows from being true to yourself.

3. Put things into perspective

You have one life. Just one. Can you really forgive yourself if you constantly live in the shadows? Seeking approval and being crushed with any criticism? I doubt it. Stand tall. Don’t let critique undermine your own happiness. Give it as much importance is you see fit (i.e none) and move on with your day.

4. What is the worst thing that will happen?

Think about the worst thing that will happen if we, using our own judgement, go against the advice of others, or if, having made a decision feel the raft of critique. What is the worst-case scenario? Bottom it out. It is never as bad as you think. Try to bottom out the worst-case scenario when you can. This avoids you being unnecessarily critiqued and also allows you to make more informed decisions.

5. You can’t win everyone over

Hey, not everyone has great taste. Some people won’t like you and it’s far better to risk some people not liking you than to risk a life of people-pleasing.

I know which path I would choose.

 

Tips to handle emotional outbursts during periods of increased stress

emotional

I am not saying that we are usually prone to random emotional outbursts in our professional settings (at least I hope not).

However sometimes our lives can be inconsistent. We may have the misfortune of being greeted with a tough scenario at in our personal lives whilst we are working through an incredibly challenging work project.

There’s never a convenient time for stress.

If we’re going through a particularly rough time in our personal lives and then have to carry on with work as if nothing has happened then emotional outbursts are a risk.

Increased period of stress require a little damage control.

So hare some great tips to keep your emotions under wraps.

1.  Shift your focus

Simply don’t give grating issues the importance they don’t deserve.

For example, if you’re feeling inadequate or that your boss doesn’t value your opinion then stop obsessing over it.

Use all of your might to give a tiny amount of thought to an issue that might tip you over the edge.

This strategy sounds easy and it really is. The less time you spend thinking over an issue. The less of an issue it actually is.

2. Use the benefit of foreseeability

If you know your triggers avoid the situation where they might exist,

If you know that you’re most likely to get panicked or stressed when you’re late then do everything you can to be early.

If a particular person annoys you, totally avoid them (where possible) during your most vulnerable time.

3. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Striving for perfection when you have a lot on your plate is never wise. Instead, balance tough self-talk with compassion.

Pat yourself on the back for pushing on through a tough time and if you make mistakes then rectify them.

Don’t unnecessarily crucify yourself if you’re doing the best you can in rough circumstances.

That is an achievement in itself.

4. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about creating the space between your emotions and your actions.

Take time to absorb information if you find it triggering a negative response.

Think about your action. Make sure it is reasoned and motivated by good, purposeful intentions.

There is nothing wrong with being slow, or taking time if it avoids a bad response.

As a rule, ask three why’s when dealing with negative information that might warrant a negative response. When you first decide your reaction, ask ‘why?”. Then ask ‘why?’ again. If, it passes the third time you ask ‘why?’ then it’s a reasoned response if it doesn’t then it’s an emotional kneejerk which should be avoided.

Hopefully, you don’t feel like your ever at risk of an emotional outburst but, if you do this guide should hopefully avoid any reputational damage and keep your energy focused on what matters.

 

How to remove your fear of missing out

missing

Do you ever find yourself longing to be somewhere you are not?

Well, it happens to all of us. We have to make some tough decisions about our career and sometimes that means missing out on things. This can be the opportunity to work on a meaningful project or even a family reunion. Whatever it may be that’s tugging at your heart, just know you’re not the only one that feels FOMO (fear of missing out).

So when FOMO strikes here is how to deal with it.

The only way to deal with your fear of missing out is to embrace it. One of the most painful aspects of is, feeling stripped of your choice. You feel that because of your hectic life you have no liberty. Well, actually you do. You may have a busy schedule but in fact, you’ve chosen to be where you need to be.

Appreciate the value of your choice to say no. You have chosen to invest and dedicate yourself to your future success and that is something to be proud of.

For example, if you’re missing out on what you perceive to be important opportunities by saying no. Think about it. You are more than likely too busy, frequently stressed, overworked and dangerously close to burnout. So look at it this way;

So, saying no to more opportunities means

  • You are going to give priority to what’s in front of you
  • You are going to create space for mental health, self-care and in order to avoid burnout
  • You are committed to the work that in front of you and that’s the most value you can give to it.

Dealing with the feeling of missing out

Even if you do rationalise why the missing out is good for you, it still hurts.

So if you notice yourself struggling with this pain don’t feat, it’s actually an incredible doorway to transformation.

Here’s how you might practice:

  • Stop and notice that you are feeling the pain of missing something important.
  • Pause and let yourself feel this pain. Focus on the feeling instead of the thoughts. Embrace this pain and don’t run away from the feelings.
  • Ask yourself if what is before you is less important than what you have said no t0. Asses the damage – could you reasonably leave your commitments, right now, without seriously damaging your career? If not, you are clear on your priorities.
  • Remind yourself that you’ve said yes to your present priorities That this pain and fear of missing out is the price of your commitment and that’s ok.
  • Remind yourself that you would feel greater pain, in your future, if you throw away your present commitments.
  • Feel proud of your commitment to whats in front of you. Feel strong and brave that you have the courage to commit to your success.

Learn to trust yourself. Understand you have made the right decision. The best way to deal with your fear or pain of missing out – is to face it. Learn to validate yourself. Learn to have the courage to deal with everything and it’s ok to feel the pain.

In the end, success requires that sometimes you miss out on other important things. It’s unavoidable. But, rest assured that what you’re working towards, is worth it.

6 ways to make a good impression

impression

Never underestimate how important it is to make a good impression at work.

Equally never underestimate how many times per day you are likely to make a first impression. Networking happens, all the time, not just at planned events after work.

When colleagues start to think that they can rely on you to do good work, then you will start to get offered greater and better responsibilities. This, in turn, can lead to promotions and raises.

1.  Know the workplace etiquette

Everyone’s place of work has their own particular quirks but try to understand yours. Whether swearing is unacceptable or too casual attire is not allowed – be on top of the unwritten rules. If you are allowed a phone at work don’t abuse it. Equally, if you have no restrictions on your internet don’t let yourself scroll aimlessly on social media it’s not a good look.

2. Face up to mistakes

If you haven’t already, you will at some point make a mistake at work. It may even be a big one. It happens to everyone. How you handle the blunder will influence your everyone’s opinion of you much more than the mistake itself. Remember this rule.

The first thing you should do is admit what happened, take full responsibility and then come up with a way to fix your mistake – there’s no better way to fix a mistake than coming up with a great, honest solution.

3. Come through in a crisis

Learn how to deal with workplace crises quickly and effectively.

One way to do this is to imagine different scenarios and come up with plans to react to each one. Then, if the unexpected ever happens, you’ll be fully prepared to deal with it.

4. Avoid controversial topics

people, tend to like it when their workplaces are calm. Who can blame them?

Avoid starting conversations about topics that make people uncomfortable and could even lead to arguments. Steer clear of talking about politics or religion, for instance. This is not playing it safe, there’s plenty of other things to talk about that don’t involve controversy.

5. Respect your co-workers

If this isn’t a natural inclination then be motivated by the fact that you’ll never know when you need a favour!

Always avoid acting in an uncivil manner toward any of your coworkers. Be on time to work, especially if you are relieving someone from their shift. Don’t ever take credit for another person’s work. Always share the workload and don’t forget your P’s and Q’s.

6. Represent your company how they would want you to

Imagine a tiny version of your boss standing on your shoulder. This is exactly how you should feel at company events or meetings. Make them proud and act exactly how they expect you to and nothing less.

3 steps to always perform your best at work

best

Have you ever allowed situational factors to prevent you from doing your best work?

Even if we are consistent high-performers, situational factors such as a change of environment or people can throw us off.

But, fear not. There are certain procedures (i.e the three-step rule), that you can put in place to ensure that you always have consistently high outputs regardless of what is going on around you.

1. Establish Personal Values

Personal values are the guiding light for architecting the future you want. If you define and live by your personal values, it’ll become second nature for you to make informed decisions that result in your values and contribute towards your goals.

If you are still finding out what your personal values are, try writing a mission statement. Start by asking yourself the following questions and build it into a mission statement/ or a set of values that you stick by, no matter what.

What do I want my personal brand to be?
What do I hate to compromise?
What do I want the outcome of my decisions/actions to work in support of?

2. Define Your Workflow

Psychologists have found athletes who visualize and mentally rehearse themselves performing their sport outperform athletes who don’t by 13.5%. So take the time to mentally rehearse your work and increase your workflow, and overall confidence. Not to mention, you won’t be caught gawping like a goldfish when an unexpected obstacle makes you feel like a fish out of water.

Use these questions to define your workflow ;

What is a successful outcome?
What is the best way to work towards the desired outcome?
What could go wrong?
What has worked well in the past?

It’s a great idea to use these questions to define each process you undertake at work.

3. Identify & Automate High-Value Actions

60% or less of work time is spent productively.

Imagine a world where you rarely need to spend time on the things that don’t matter.

If you take the time to identify and automate your high-value actions, this could easily be your reality. Decrease your time spent on non-essential actions and free yourself up to access higher cognitive functions

Ask yourself the following questions to identify high-value actions:

  • What absolutely needs to be accomplished before I move forward?
  • What enables me to partner successfully with my customers/colleagues along the way?
  • What specific tools make it easier for me, my customers, and my colleagues to work towards our goals?

Once you have these three processes in place you can ensure a high standard of work, no matter where life might take you.

For more information on this process, please read the excellent blog written by Sara Debrule for Hubspot.

Top ways to reduce stress

stress

A better way to look at stress is to view it as information, that we can examine and use, to better inform our processes.

For example, stress teaches us about our personal triggers and how we react to them. Is it deadlines that get to you? Or fear of failure? Or maybe it’s a phobia of public speaking?

Sometimes and ironically, when we study our triggers it becomes apparent that we, in fact, can handle the stressful situation. What lets us down is our reaction to the stressor.

There are varying methods and tips on how to manage stress, but the following covers methods which are consistently repeated in all stress-related literature, i.e solid concepts and also some innovative tricks, to help you better manage your stress.

1. Change your mindset

If your job is point blank stressful then try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective.

Reframe problems. If you start to embrace challenges and understand the huge benefits bestowed on you as soon as you step outside of your comfort zone, you will be hungry for the next stressor. You will start to build an “I can handle it” mentality and soon enough, all of your stressful anxiety, will turn into adrenalin and keep you pumped as you take on challenge after challenge.

2. Take a break from a stressor

When you feel like you can’t think. Writer’s block, brain block, however you want to name it, it’s a thing. It’s when you lack mental clarity to resolve a problem. When this occurs the worst thing to do is to obsessively try to tackle the problem – you just end up more confused. The absolute best thing to do is to take a 20-minute break, preferably walking in nature. Stop thinking about the problem and take your mind off it, completely. When you come back to the problem, after your break, you’ll be surprised about how differently you start to approach something that just some 20 minutes ago, seemed insurmountable.

3. For immediate relief, breath

For moments when your heart is racing and you feel like you might keel over from the immenent stressor, the only way to calm down is to breath. Sounds simple but it’s actually continually overlooked as not strong enough to cure a near panic attack moment. But trust me (and all of the science-based findings) it does and will help you. The key is to take at least three deep diaphragmatic breaths – so deep you fill your entire lungs with air and then slowly release. You will feel the benefits in seconds – it’s a lifesaver.

4. Find your quiet place

This is, in effect, a short 10-minute meditation but without actually meditating.

You must find a quiet place, get comfortable and focus on a short phase (your most inspiring or relaxing mantra) no more than five words and repeat it over, and over. Whilst you do this take deep diaphragmatic breaths.

5. Be on top of your unhealthy coping methods 

Whether you hit the bottle, develop a short fuse or become emotional – be self-aware about who stress makes you become.

As soon as you feel inclined to turn to one of your unhealthy habits – stop yourself. I promise you will only make it worse, instead turn to one of these methods, listed in the article and before long you won’t need to turn to anything that’s bad for you!

6. Practice journaling 

Journaling reduces stress by removing the worry and thoughts racing over and over in your mind. You move these worries, concerns, hopes or dreams out of your body onto the paper.

And you can re-read these worries and concerns and see how you’ve overcome different tests in your life.

7. Value friendships 

Friendships are not a luxury but are essential to your wellbeing. Even if you’re feeling exhausted after work don’t cancel pre-arranged social commitments with your friends. You gain a huge amount of happy hormones from being with your friends. It also increases your circle of support when you feel bad and gives you people to talk to. If that’s not enough science finds that people who have a strong network of friends increase their immune functioning and decrease their mortality risk.

8. Be healthy

Look after your body. Give it the nutrients it needs and also exercise as often as possible. Not only do these practises boost your happy hormones but they help to decrease existing stress hormones in your body. So if you want to fight stress, start fighting fit.

 

How to master the art of first impressions

first impressions

Harvard Business School Psychologist, Amy Cuddy has made a career studying impressions for more than a decade. She famously found that we make snap judgements about others when we first meet them which are founded on two key questions:

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person’s capabilities?

According to Cuddy’s research, up to 90% of our first impressions are based on the answers to these two questions.

Interestingly most people believe that competence is the most important factor, in our initial meeting with someone new. But in fact, the most important factor is trust. So, in order for you to make any connection, whatsoever, with this new contact, you must first communicate your trustworthiness. Even more fascinating is Cuddy’s finding that if you are perceived as competent but not trustworthy, you are determined as a threat – so without trust, your competence will play against you.

Since it only takes seconds for someone to decide if you’re trustworthy and competent, and research shows that first impressions are very difficult to change, the intense pressure that comes with meeting new people is justifiable.

So now that you understand the importance of trustworthiness over competence, you are ready to take control of the small window of opportunity afforded to you when meeting a new person – first impressions. Here are the best methods to make sure your first impressions are always a success.

1. Let the other person speak first

Seems odd, but it’s actually quite powerful. Showing dominance or a want to get ahead, can make the other person feel you are untrustworthy and potentially ruthless. So, let them take the lead in the conversation and ask them questions to help them along. Trust comes from sharing and the more you get them to share, the more they will trust you.

2. Use open/positive body language

Body language such as crossed arms and legs communicate negative or defensive body language. Instead, being aware of positive body language such as uncrossing arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the speaker and using them in your interactions are great ways to win a person over during first impressions.

3. Put away your phone

Did you know that looking at your phone during a conversation is not only rude but it actually makes you seem untrustworthy? Nothing is more offensive to people off like a mid-conversation text message. When you commit to a conversation, really commit. Focus all your attention on the person in front of you and make them feel special. This is crucial to building trust and making someone like you.

4. Make time for small talk

It might sound wrong, but research proves that starting conversations with just five minutes of small talk creates better results. Whilst small talk can seem dull if it’s used to warm up a hugely productive first connection, that it’s well worth the investment.

5. Listen

This means actually paying attention to what the other person is saying and not just waiting for your turn to speak.  Asking insightful questions is a great way to illustrate that the speaker has your full attention. If not for checking your understanding or asking a probing question, you shouldn’t be talking when the speaker is talking. This means that you shouldn’t jump in with solutions to the speaker’s problems. It’s our natural human inclination to want to help people, but what we don’t realise is that when we jump in with advice or a solution, we shut the other person down and in turn, destroy trust.

How to combat the effects of stress

stress

Thankfully, according to researchers at Stanford, a meaningful life is almost always a stressful one; the more we care about the things in our life, the more stress we are likely to feel. We simply can’t have one without the other. So, for all of those finding that stress is a daily occurrence – at least it means we are having a meaningful life. Apart from this statistic, there is little advantage to stress only a heap of consequences, many of which, actively reduce the quality of our lives.

But imagine if you could have a meaningful life, with stress (as we can’t have one without the other, unfortunately), that didn’t involve health consequences or unhappiness? Sound too good to be true? Well, actually, it isn’t – we have a lot more control over our stress than we think. Here are the best strategies to overcome the consequences of stress.

Change your thought process 

How you think about stress ironically impacts you more than the actual stress. Positive attitudes about stress were correlated with better health outcomes even when stress levels were chronically high. Interestingly just knowing you can handle stress is a way of protecting yourself from its harmful effects. For more reading on how to rethink stress, see Kelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress.

Forsee your stress

Don’t let stress throw you into a tizzy. Instead plan when stress might hit you and foresee when it might reduce your ability to be as organised, eloquent or as efficient as you usually are. If you have trouble remembering things or spotting mistakes in your work during periods of stress be aware of this and make extra allowances or time to ensure it doesn’t impact your life.

Let stress motivate you

Stress is adrenalin, that can be put to good use. Rather than letting it crush you – use it to let you crush everything else. Knowing you are putting your stress to good use, or even thinking it benefits you actually helps you to avoid its negative consequences so, it’s a double win.

Social contact

Whether you walk with a parent, chat with your colleague or talk to your spouse during your commute, socialising helps you to cope and feel supported. Irrespective of whether you talk about the stress at hand – simply knowing you have people around you makes you feel stronger and more able to defeat consequences of stress.

Stress can be challenging, especially if you are career driven and ambitious. But, by simply changing your perspective, on how stress fits into your life, you can avoid its negative consequences and even reap a few rewards!

 

For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out this useful anxiety blog.

How to make any bad situation better

bad situation

Sometimes, things just don’t go as we plan.

Whenever we have a big, high-stress situation, the reality is, somethings will go badly. The only thing you can do in these bad situations is controlling your reaction.

Here are 5 tips for managing the worst days and getting your groove back.

1. Put it in perspective.

Whatever is happening, does it really matter? Will it matter in one year? For some situations, the answer might very well be yes—e.g., a job loss ect but think about how when one door closes another opens.

2. Accept the bad situation 

Often, most of the negative feelings that come with a bad situation, actually come with our inability to accept it. If we just accept that something hasn’t gone our way, we can start to find solutions or even see the positive. it also speeds up our ability to get over a bad situation.

3. Be flexible.

Don’t rigidly stick to a plan. If something got going how it should be flexible enough to know when it’s time to give up or try something else. For example don’t sit through a bad film, if leaving you could have more fun.

4. Don’t ruminate on bad situations 

It’s easy to beat yourself up after something goes wrong. You may find yourself playing out alternative realities, and what you could have done differently. If there are lessons to be learned then take them but importantly, move on.

5. Make the most of it  

You can choose to focus on a bad situation or you can choose to make the most of it. You can feel resentful and annoyed or you can trust that you are on the right path and doing your best. There is really no point in making a bad situation worse – so if you can always try to enhance your mood and make the most of a bad situation.

 

Don’t let these bad habits damage your happiness

happiness

We all strive for happiness. Happiness, however, has no universal definition. Instead, it depends on you and whatever it takes to get you to the bliss, content, utter euphoric state of happiness.

Unhappiness, on the other hand, is easy to identify; you can see it, feel it and you definitely know when it’s wrapped its arms around you.

Happiness, rather satisfyingly, has little to do with financial circumstances. A University of Illinois study found that people who earn the most (more than $10 million annually) are only a tiny bit happier than their employees.

Psychologists from the University of California found that happiness makes up of only 50% your life circumstances and genetics `9i.e things outside of your control). So, the remaining 50% is up to you.

Unhappiness can catch up with you. It grows, following a long period of time, not being self-aware. During this time your thoughts and actions have been unhealthy for you. You have failed to look after your needs, properly and you are left feeling unhappy.

The good news is that this state of unhappiness is not permanent and resolvable. So much of your happiness is determined by your habits (in thought and actions) and once you are aware of the unhappiness traps – they are easily avoided to ensure you a future, filled with happiness.

1. Not being true to yourself

If you’re anxious, say it. Don’t pretend you’re not feeling something when you are. Suppressing feelings is unhealthy. It doesn’t let you deal with anything. Instead, by pushing your feelings down, and not dealing with or accepting them, you are vulnerable to them coming back and attacking you, when you least expect it.  The height of emotional intelligence is, respecting your feelings and allowing yourself to experience the consequences that come from embracing them, for what they are. Only then, can you express and use your feelings, in a manner that helps (rather than undermines) your ability to reach your goals.

2. Too much tech, too little nature

Everyone enjoys binge-watching a TV show and checking up on social media. The real question issue is how much of your time do you give to that TV show or social media pages, avoiding the real world? Does it make you feel good or numb? Most times, it doesn’t make you happy but just passes your time. Is that what you want your life to be? Did you know that taking a walk in nature is a natural anti-depressant? It can boost your flat mood far higher than any tech, ever could. Monitor your tech time and make sure you’re spending more time with nature, than tech, for a happier life, it’s that simple.

3. Waiting for the future

Telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when …” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. Future imagined circumstances don’t lead to happiness. Happiness happens, right now. Even if you get everything you want for your future, happiness comes from within. You can’t be happy, even if you have the husband/wife, car, job of your dreams if you haven’t worked on your internal happiness. Don’t spend your time waiting for something to change how you feel. Instead, be in control and focus on improving your happiness, right now.

4. Fighting change

Change is an inevitable part of life, and if you fight it it’s because you are struggling to remain in control. The problem with this is that you remain on edge, constantly fearing change and actually put up a barrier between yourself and the actions you need to take to improve your situation. You must remain adaptable for change. Be flexible. Your brain needs challenges to survive. Your brain craves adversity. By avoiding adversity you become mentally weak, which leads to unhappiness. Embrace change, live an interesting life and reap the happiness rewards.

 

 

 

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