Have you ever stopped to wonder how many ‘little things’ in life you might have missed? Could they be influencing how you are today?
Everyday you work hard, trying to keep up with expectations and to-do lists. You often overlook ‘little things’, like a smile or a statement from a loved one. Here are five things that you may be missing, which could be impacting your success – personally and professionally – in bigger ways than you expect:
We have a lot to thank technology for. It has helped us improve, evolve, and advance in many areas. However, it has also let us to shy away from conversations because it is faster, easier, and controllable – all things conversations aren’t, or at least are perceived to be.
What you might not consider is when you turn to technology first (e.g. email, text, social media) rather than to each other, you shortchange yourself in your relationships. Conversations are how we connect, build trust, see, hear, and understand others – none of which can be achieved through technology.
When we turn to technology first, we stop practicing little things like engaging in conversation. The fewer discussions we have, the harder they become. You see this at home around the dinner table where conversations are lighter, and in the office where discussions and questions are at a minimum.
If you want to have successful relationships (personally and professionally), then set aside technology for a while and start engaging in real-life conversations.
Successful people are curious people, especially in conversations.
Curiosity is how we create opportunities and possibilities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to us. When we aren’t curious in conversations for instance, we tell, judge, blame, shame, and get stuck in an “I am right/you are wrong” headspace – all without even realizing it. All of this leads to conflict.
It shuts conversations down, narrowing opportunities and possibilities. Most importantly, lack of curiosity fractures relationships. When we aren’t inquisitive we are held back, with a focus on self. It highlights a judgmental headspace, fixing and solving for others by telling them what to do – convinced that you know best.
When we are curious in conversations, we keep the focus on others. We learn about little things like new perspectives, thoughts, ideas, solutions, and approaches. We suspend our judgment or need to control and just simply learn.
This doesn’t mean we have to like what we hear or even agree with it. But it does means we will listen and learn from others.
This is how we collaborate, innovate, and inspire. Curiosity is your most powerful tool, especially in conversation. It is the fastest and easiest way to discover and to build those strong, authentic relationships that we all crave. Simply put, it is how we thrive.
We all have them, but we don’t always acknowledge or practice them! Boundaries are essential to health, happiness, and success. They are the non-negotiable rules or limits that we set to identify what is permissible to us and others. They define and protect us as individuals in relation to others.
Without boundaries, our lives feel chaotic and out of control. We take on everyone else’s problems as our own, believe everyone else’s bad behaviors are our fault, and feel like we are not entitled to any rights.
Boundaries exist whether you identify them or not. When your boundaries are too loose, you may feel emotionally overwhelmed, experiencing lots of drama, giving too much, taking too much, people-pleasing, and saying yes when you want to say no.
When your boundaries are too tight, you may feel lonely, experiencing isolation, not letting anyone in, not asking for help, not talking about emotions, and having trust issues. Setting personal boundaries can be really hard. However, not setting boundaries leads to a LOT of complaining and doing little things you don’t want to do.
If you find yourself saying yes when you want to say no, OR you find yourself constantly complaining, feeling resentful, taken advantage of, angry, or compelled to do things you don’t want to do – it is time to set a boundary.Personal boundaries allow you to align with, and live as your true self. It is impossible to be happy, healthy, and successful without them.
4) Communication Skills
Most people believe they are awesome communicators. Spoiler alert! Most aren’t.
Sadly, communication skills expected of us yet rarely are taught. Combine that with our love of all things technology (email, texting, social media, apps), and basic abilities like active listening and asking questions are being abandoned on the endangered species list.
The success of your leadership and relationships is directly related to the quality of your communication skills. Your employment opportunities are also affected by this talent.
Actively listening to others – without judgment – and asking open questions to better understand, are skills that are going to give you a leg up and set you apart.
Strong communication skills also allow you to navigate conflict with ease and grace. Next time you download an app, ask yourself: how have I invested in my communication skills today? It will have a far greater impact on your success than any app or game will.
5) Being Present
How often do you find yourself in a conversation, driving your car, eating a meal, or 10 minutes after you have completed an activity, only not to remember anything about it? What you ate, how you got to your destination, or what was said are questions you may not be able to answer, creating a distant blur looking back.
The endless ticker taper of “to do” lists or “gremlins” in your head that tell you what you need to do, how to feel, or even judge you for how you show up all compete with your ability to be present. When you feel this way, you are NOT in the moment. Rather, you’re operating on autopilot: unaware of your surroundings, thoughts are elsewhere, pulling you to the past or future.
For many, the idea of being present in our hyper-connected, over-scheduled world feels like an unattainable “gift”. However, when we aren’t present in our lives, we miss out on a lot of little things! When we aren’t present, we are unable to listen, be curious, have quality conversations, instill boundaries, and build meaningful relationships – which are all essential to our success.
When we aren’t present, we aren’t intentional in anything we do, which gets in the way of our ability to be efficient. When you aren’t present, you are not in the moment aware of what is happening internally or externally, and if you are not here or there, then what kind of life are you living? What kind of relationships are you building? What kind of decisions are you making?
When you are able to step back, set an intention about being in the moment. Attending to what is going on, you gain clarity, have greater understanding of others, and are able to interact and complete tasks more easily, more accurately and with more enjoyment.
Being present is a choice you make each day. It is perhaps the most important choice that helps you make more effective decisions based on clarity and understanding. It allows you to connect in relationships on a deeper level.
Sounds like a worthy gift to us!
How about you, are YOU ignoring the little things in life?
Careful: they might be impacting your success! When it comes to the small details, be sure to pay attention.