10 Solutions for Your Biggest Career Stressors

10 Solutions for Your Biggest Career Stressors
Whether we love or hate our jobs, most of us will have to deal with some amount of stress during the work week.

While we often don't have control over the things causing the stress, your career development needn't suffer as we do have control over the ways we handle and react to stressors.

Below, we're sharing ten helpful tips to keep you calm, productive, and healthy at work.

1. Choose Healthy Snacks

When the 3 pm hunger pangs begin, what snacks do you reach for? Most office break rooms are full of less than healthy options for a mid day pick me up, and most of us are guilty of grabbing a cookie or a doughnut to curb afternoon hunger.

Instead, be sure to have healthier alternatives on hand for when hunger strikes. Bring pre-packaged real food, like vegetables with hummus, apple slices with peanut butter, or crackers with cheese.

These small servings make an excellent snack and will keep you from making a stop at the vending machine. Don't forget to pack a water bottle as well. Refilling your coffee cup multiple times can lead to becoming dehydrated and will cause you to be more hungry during the day.

2. Add Meditation to Your Lunch Hour

While working through your lunch hour might make you feel more productive, it usually does more harm than good. Without a break in the day, you're more likely to feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

Rather than staying at your desk, find a quiet space and take some time to meditate. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a quiet, warm, secluded location. Imagine the sights and sounds around you.

Feel your toes digging into the warm sand. Listen to seagulls flying overhead. Imagine the water gently crashing in front of you.

Repeat this affirmation: "Each wave washes away negativity and brings peace to my mind, body, and soul. I see only positivity, prosperity, and serenity in my future."

3. Create Your Affirmations

When you find yourself in a stressful situation, repeating a mantra or affirmation can bring you back to your centre and help you to stay calm and in control. Work with one of the mantras below, or use them for inspiration when creating your own personal affirmation.
  • This momentary setback will soon pass. I'll learn from it and continue to grow in my professional life.
  • I am capable and confident in my abilities. When I recognise my professional talents, others in my workplace will as well.
  • My extra effort will be rewarded with prosperity and new opportunities.

4. Know When It's Time to Leave

In competitive work environments, it's not unusual for employees to stay late. Sometimes, staying late is necessary to finish projects before a deadline. More often, it's because we all want to measure up to those around us and if others are staying late, we feel the need to stay as well.

Make leaving the office on time a priority. Finish what you can during the day, leave those tasks that can wait until tomorrow, and get home to rest and relax before heading back in the next morning.

Working overtime might be necessary for career development sometimes, but regularly giving up time spent on sleep, relaxation, or exercise can quickly affect your health.

5. Prioritise and Write it Down

Keep track of all of your projects, responsibilities, and goals to keep you on track in your career development. A list of overall goals for your position can help to keep you focused on why you're doing what you're doing.

Keeping a calendar of upcoming projects, along with a list of small tasks to bring those projects to completion, can help to reduce stress by taking everything in bite sized pieces. Making a daily to do list further breaks down large goals into small and easy to manage parts, eliminating the stress often caused by an overwhelmingly large task.

As you go through the day, cross things off as you finish them. You'll most likely feel a sense of completion and you can end your day knowing that you've accomplished so much.

6. Cross Off the Tough Tasks First

Prioritise your daily to do list by putting the most difficult tasks at the top of your list. Many of us tend to put off the things that cause us anxiety, when doing the opposite can make a world of difference.

By quickly addressing the most difficult or time consuming tasks first, you'll free up the rest of your day for the more interesting or just plain easy projects. The sense of accomplishment from becoming the opposite of a procrastinator will soon have you floating through the work day with ease.

7. Be Positive in Conversation

Gossip is a problem in many workplaces and it can quickly lead to tension and stress, not to mention those causing problems to be let go. Don't let yourself get caught up in workplace drama.

Instead, keep conversations positive to rise above the remarks and be an example to those around you. When gossip comes up, steer the conversation in another direction.

8. Be a Savvy Saver

While we'd all like to focus on the positives of career development, the looming potential of unexpected layoffs is the source of stress for many people in nearly every field. Give yourself some peace of mind by being prepared with a financial safety net.

An emergency fund is an excellent idea for anyone. Financial experts recommend putting aside six months worth of living expenses in a savings account. Ideally, that money would be left untouched, but you'll always know it's there if you need it.

With less financial stress, you'll be able to focus on doing your job to the best of your ability and moving ahead in your career.

9. Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a common technique for staying calm and collected in stressful situations. We can all benefit from deep breathing while sending emails, sitting in meetings or sharing a meal with a client.

The practice will not only help you relax but will also help to improve brain function, increase energy levels, and help to be more mindful of food choices throughout the day.

10. Visualise and Enjoy a Stress Free Work Day

Visualisation offers an escape from a stressful environment. Let your imagination take you to your happy place. Close your eyes, even for just a minute, and imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of your happy place.

Let the stress melt away while you visualise only the things that bring you joy. Open your eyes and enjoy the feeling of being centred and light.

Work life doesn't need to equal stress and frustration. Set your goals, engage in mindful exercises, and visualise your success. You'll lower your stress and find yourself moving forward each day.

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How You Can Enhance Your Persuasion Power

How You Can Enhance Your Persuasion Power
In life we are often challenged by those around us. Sometimes we feel as though everyone else is running our lives, forcing us to do what they want us to do. If you are often challenged by those close to you, enhancing your persuasion power is the solution.

By mastering the art of persuasion, you will soon be able to sway others to your way of thinking. By following these tips and tricks, you will soon be on the road to a self-empowered, confident lifestyle.

How can you become more persuasive?

1. Be confident and courageous

In order to become more persuasive, you will first need to believe in yourself. When confronted with a challenging person, be it a relative or boss, you must show the utmost of confidence while delivering your pitch.

A person can tell a lot from ones body language. Be sure to make direct eye contact, and to stand up nice and tall. This will show the recipient that you mean business. It is also crucial to be firm while delivering your thoughts.

You must know exactly what you want, when you want it, and whom you want it from. Consistency is key for a quality, persuasive pitch. Do your research to increase confidence.

Work on your argument, before it becomes one. It is recommended to carefully choose three valid points, and then deliver them with boldness and ease. After delivery, choose to end the conversation by "closing the deal".

You may do so by stating what you would would like from the other person in a confident, yet friendly, manner. For example, opt to end your pitch with a statement such as "When can we meet next to sign the lease agreement?" rather than "Would you possibly want to meet again to sign a lease agreement?".

By using the first method, you are removing all passive language, thus putting the notion directly into their heads that they will meet with you again.

2. Be relatable

No one likes a cocky salesman. This is why you must find a harmonious balance between persuasion and friendliness. By being too forward and blunt, the recipient will automatically be turned-off, and chances are that will tune out of your pitch.

To avoid this from happening, be sure to show a strong level of initial respect. This will allow them to begin to respect you as well, and will further pull them in to your pitch. Once you have their attention, speak as though you have been in their situation before.

By speaking from a perspective of understanding, the recipient of the pitch will more likely find your opinions to be of value. After all, who better to answer their problems then someone who relates to it?

3. Flaunt your track record

Even the most successful pitches can still be thrown a curve ball. For example, what happens when the person your speaking with asks for proof or reasoning? Sometimes your confidence, charm, and humour may not be all you need for a successful persuasion.

You must be able to come to the discussion prepared. In order to do so, gather statistics and facts to back-up your argument. Show your history through past victories, offerings, character traits, experiences, awards, and achievements.

By doing so, you will become a greater asset to the person in which you are speaking to. More often then not, they will be desperate to follow your persuasions over others.

What are the benefits to enhancing your persuasion power?

There are many rewarding benefits to a more persuasive lifestyle. Being persuasive will help with your overall people skills. For example, you will win others over much quicker with your effective arguments and confidence.

These people skills will also assist you in your career. Others will begin to set you apart, noticing your strong confidence and great ideas. After all, the best leaders are the ones who can make bold decisions and persuade others to follow.

Not only will the power of persuasion assist you in your work, but will also allow for a happier home life as well. Your communication and relationships will improve with your spouse, parents, children, and other family members.

Instead of back and forth arguing, you will understand the importance of positive persuasion through confidence and firm pitch points.

With a happy home and work life, you will notice a increase in your quality of living. You will soon notice a higher rate of success and respect. Your credibility will be through the roof, and others will flock to you for your advice and consultation.

While persuasion is not something that you're born with, it is certainly something that you can learn. By practising the above tips, you will soon find the road to self empowerment and enhanced persuasion skills.

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3 Habits of Successful People

3 Habits of Successful People
What makes people successful and why are some people more successful than others? These are good questions to ask if you want to be more successful yourself. So, what are the habits of successful people?

Learning from the masters so to speak is the best way to achieve your own goals in life as they can provide signposts to where you need to go as they've been there already and show what works and what doesn't.

So it's smart to observe successful people and it's more efficient to imitate their habits. Why reinvent the wheel? To assist you I've put together 3 habits of successful people that I have observed in the real world, I also like to call them The 3 C's :)

Habit #1: Successful people cultivate complete clarity

Successful people know that you need to be 100% clear about what you want, you require laser sharp focus. They know their goals can’t be woolly, as without clear unambiguous goals in your head you can never move in the right direction.

Without clarity you will get off to the wrong start which will delay your progress.
So find out what it is you really want. Often what we think we truly want isn’t actually what we want. Sometimes it might take some deep reflection and time to ascertain our true desires.

What is important is you decide what your true goals are and go for them full throttle. Successful people are decisive and make sure they have complete clarity before taking action. This is one of the most important habits of successful people.

Habit #2: Successful people cultivate courage

Successful people are courageous. Once they know what they want they have the bravery to go for it 100%. Successful people fearlessly throw themselves in head first into all that they do.

If they don’t think they have the skill, they take the time to learn it! All of us learnt to walk and talk when we were young, we didn’t know how to do it when we came into the world.

But after a bit of trial and error we made huge ground from nothing. You probably take it for granted now that you can walk, talk and express yourself to others. Originally you didn't have any idea how to do that! It’s the same learning any new skill: we learn by trying and experiencing.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes, you'll gain valuable insights from them. All it takes is a little courage to actually begin anything!

Habit #3: Successful people use their creativity

I really hate it when people tell me they are not creative. I think some people mistake the concept of creativity for just the field of great works of art, literature or music. These are magnificent creations requiring perseverance and skill no less.

However, all humans are naturally creative, and successful people tune into this naturally. We humans anticipate and improvise as we go a long, it's how we navigate the world. We do it all the time. Our potential is unlimited if we only fully believed it!

Successful people already know this and use creativity when they come up against obstacles along their way. They think: if that doesn't work, we'll try it a different way. Is someone or something blocking us? OK we'll come up with a new way of getting around that, find a solution or take a different negotiating position. You get the idea...

To boil it down, successful people will first have concrete, clear cut ideas, have the courage to put them into action and use their creativity to make them happen.

Why not learn these 3 habits of successful people before the next time you need to begin a new project or find a solution to a pressing problem in your life. Maybe this approach will be much more satisfying and you'll get positive results.

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10 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Your Boss

Being able to effectively communicate with your boss (and having good communication skills in general) is imperative if you want to enjoy a successful career.

After all, they hold the keys to things like positive performance reviews and can greatly impact your ability to advance or get that promotion.

Yet, they aren’t just the gatekeeper for getting ahead; keeping your job could also require talking with your boss in a clear, concise manner that is truly heard.

While you probably already know the necessity of having good communication skills, actually being able to get through to your boss may be easier said than done.

Let's Get to Work on Your Communication Skills!

Here are 10 ways to improve your communication with your boss that truly work:

Tip #1: Be Prepared

If you’re not a natural communicator, then going in to speak with your boss unprepared is a poor strategy. You’ll likely be too wordy, have trouble getting to the point or lose your train of thought.
All of these common blunders make it difficult for your boss to pay attention.

They are almost certainly busy with a thousand different tasks to get done; the last thing they want is to feel like you’re wasting their time.

Try to think of your speech as if it’s just the highlights, where you only cover the most important points quickly. Not only will your boss be more likely to listen to a shorter speech, they’ll probably remember what you said much better as well.

Tip #2: Be Specific

Generalities are your enemy when trying to hammer home an idea, proposal, defence of your actions, vision for the future or whatever else you’re trying to effectively convey to your boss.

This is the time to get specific, narrowing everything you’re going to say down to a few well-considered points. Going hand-in-hand with the advice to hit just the highlights, this tip ensures that those highlights actually have something to do with your point.

Tip #3: Keep Your Emotions In Check

Blubbering like a child probably isn’t a good way to make your boss hear you, especially if they aren’t a touchy-feely type of person.

While sharing your emotions and struggles can actually bring you closer together and help them see things from your point of view. breaking down should be a very rare occurrence (if at all). Why?
Everyone has issues that they have to deal with, but most don’t burden their boss with these feelings.

Most of the time your emotional display will be unwelcome and uncomfortable, unless you and your boss already have a good relationship.

So, to get the best results, try to speak with your boss when you’re composed and in control.

Tip #4: Be Accountable

If that project you’ve been working on is under-performing, don’t make ten different excuses as to why it’s not your fault. Take ownership of your failings, look your boss in the eye and tell them how you plan to learn from this setback and adapt to overcome in the future.

This can go a long way towards instilling trust in your ability to get back on track, and will probably go over much better than trying to explain everything away.

Tip #5: Speak in Actionable Terms

Saying that “you’d love to be considered for the upcoming project” is good, and it does show initiative. Yet, to really take your communication to the next level, try using language that’s actionable and measurable instead.

For example, say “I’d love to go over 3 reasons why I’m the best candidate for the project with you on Friday.” How is this better?

You’ve given your boss measurable terms and a clear idea of the next step. They’ll know that you plan to speak with them on a specific day with a specific topic in mind. This is superior to a much more general statement, which has no clearly defined concept of what’s coming next.

People tend to fall into this way of speaking a great deal, and not just at work. A good example of the difference is found in a typical New Year’s resolution. If you say that you’d like to lose weight this year, that sounds good, but it includes no plan of action to back it up.

However, if your resolution is to visit the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes for the next year, this has a clear and measurable outcome. Which of these resolutions do you think will be more effective?

Tip #6: Be an Active Listener

All too often people just tune out when someone else is speaking, even their boss. They are simply waiting for their turn to speak again, and this is a poor way to build rapport.

Force yourself to be in the moment, actively listening to what your boss has to say. Not only will this give you fodder to ask intelligent questions and keep the conversation moving smoothly forward, your boss will be able to pick up on your undivided attention.

No one likes being ignored, and actually listening to your boss will make them much more inclined to listen to you.

Tip #7: Convey the Right Message

Communication isn’t only performed with your words - your body language and posture also send a message. Don’t cross your arms and lean away from your boss, look down at the ground often or hunch your shoulders.

These can either convey an attitude of defiance, resistance or poor self-esteem and weak belief in what you are saying. Instead, it's important to sit up straight and look your boss in the eye, and even lean forward a bit as if you’re anticipating the exciting things they have to tell you.

The right body language is a big part of an engaging conversation, so don’t neglect this piece of the puzzle.

Tip #8: Be Perceptive

What does being perceptive mean? Your boss is human too, and they aren’t immune to having a bad day or a fight at home. Try to determine their mood before jumping into your pitch or whatever else you have to say.

If it’s important that your conversation goes well, don’t pick a day when your chances are less than stellar. Bide your time and wait until your boss is in a good mood before you bend their ear - chances are your patience will be rewarded.

Tip #9: Be Persistent

This isn’t advice to annoy your boss, asking them for an answer to your query every time that you see the whites of their eyes. Instead, don’t be like far too many employees, who might drum up the courage to speak with their boss once but then don’t try again or stick with it.

This type of behaviour is quite common when asking for a pay raise, for example. Or, an employee may only speak with their boss when he or she initiates the conversation.

Don’t make your boss track you down. Touch base with them again about your discussion a day or two later if the situation warrants a follow-up.

Tip #10: Be Consistent

Perhaps the best advice is that waiting to speak with your boss only when you need something isn’t a wise choice. Keep lines of communication open with them at all times, volunteering brief but regular updates about work-related projects.

You can also quickly inquire about their kids, favourite sports team, hobbies or whatever else you know they like talking about. Just keeping a regular back and forth going can do wonders for your work relationship.

It also lets your boss know that you don’t only speak to them when you need something - making it easier to talk to them when you do.

Don't Let Your Communication Skills Hold You Back

These 10 ways to improve your communication with your boss can have a profound impact on your success at work. Using this knowledge, you may find that your interactions have never been smoother, or your ability to persuade grows by an astonishing degree.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of effective communication skills, and lacking them can hold you back even if you’re good at your job. You may have been oblivious to these basics of good communication for years - which could be why work is always a struggle.

Fortunately, simply by reversing your habits when it comes to connecting with your boss, you could begin to enjoy a much easier road ahead.

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