How do high achievers really think?

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Who are the high performers? How do top performers think? 

Often, they are individuals with a growth mindset and a strong sense of responsibility to achieve what they put their mind to. Loyal to their life purpose and life strategy, they take the initiative and work for success with persistence. The efforts high performers are willing to make over a long time to achieve their goals are greater than what an average individual would take on. 

If we’re talking about high achievers, it’s natural to bring up the achievement orientation versus failure avoidance debate. Contrary to top performers, individuals who avoid failure, often do so because they’re embarrassed by the possibility of failing. It’s not that they’re less talented or less capable of putting forward the same effort as their more successful peers, but their mindset limits them to do so. 

How to cross over from a failure avoiding individual and become a high achiever? We need to start by understanding what they do and why. Here are some of the enablers to high performance. 

  • Mindset, 
  • self-awareness 
  • ownership/personal responsibility 
  • autonomy 
  • resilience 
  • adaptability, and 
  • grit 

By looking at this list, I can already hear you say that you already possess these as well. Which may very well be. The difference is not in the WHAT but it is in the HOW. Let me share with you more on some of the enablers. 

1. Personal responsibility

High achievers believe one needs to master the growth mindset, initiative and persistence, and be ready to make a great deal of effort because these are key to unlocking success. 

It is our responsibilityto go out and get what we want. It is easier said than done. 

One can as easily be entrapped in a limiting environment, surrounded by barriers and non-believers. Truth to be told, most of us live a life like that.  

In an ideal world, our parents are supportive of all our decisions, there are no envious frenemies nearby, and things work out exactly as we planned. This utopia may sound good, but I guarantee it would become boring after a few months at least. 

Challenges are to make us stronger; this is how top performers think. Difficulties are to sharpen our minds, and it is through trials that we become happier as strange as it may sound. The sense of achievement, the win that you own because you take responsibility for success. It is true, you take responsibility for mistakes as well, but mistakes are there for you to teach you how to steer clear next time. 

Individuals who have a history of avoiding failure tend to blame their static state on situations and resources instead of trying to change something about it. Fear does not only increase the distance between these people and success, but it also rips them off of their control over their lives. Because responsibility means increased power as well because you believe you can positively impact your environment, and through that, you develop and get better results; it means you believe in your opportunity for growth. 

2. High Profile Tasks as Opportunities

opportunity for growth ​open door

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So, how do top performers think

When high achieving individuals assess a task, they think of it as a great opportunity, a challenge they must overcome while understanding and mitigating the associated risks, instead of steering away from them. Therefore, they take the initiative and work through the tasks with persistence. Their focus is on the sweet taste of victory, and they don’t think that failure is an option. There is either no plan B or Plan B is there to support Plan A. 

To others, those tasks may appear to be a threat of sorts; a path that will lead to embarrassment in public. Thinking there is no Plan B, might terrify those people as failure avoidance is violently battling their desires for a better future in the back of their minds.    

Growth is a desire up until the point you are ready to act on it and choose to mitigate risk instead of paralyzing yourself. Risk mitigation might include risk avoidance, no doubt, it is though just one option. If you are to set foot on the path to growth and ready to open your mind to the spirit of growth mindset, you will look at avoidance as one option, instead of being the only option you have. 

3. Effort is Enjoyable

To high performers, the effort is delight. They love the concentration and dedication needed to complete a demanding task and thrive on the commitment. Are they agelasts only finding enjoyment in work or in winning? Not at all. If you think, it is not testing their abilities or a challenge is a walk in the park to them, think again. If you think they live for the fight, even though some might do so, hold your horses and judgment just for a little longer. 

The joy of effort is in progress, it is in the results; it is in the excitement of getting closer to what they want. The clarity around the desired future is so great as if they could taste it, therefore while working towards the goal, even despite difficulties, they don’t lose sight of the destination. The effort takes them to their next milestone, and then they know how many more stages they need to pass. Even if there are detours, they know the route and minimize the detours. 

To failure avoiding individuals, any extra effort may also be a stress factor and source of misery. They think of the setbacks associated with those tasks and back out before trying. 

4. Improving Skills

improve skills and master the growth mindset

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Adaptability is about learning and embedding the lessons into the every-day living. Top performers believe skills are polished over time and that any task can be accomplished with the right knowledge and skills. 

Naturally, we are not talented in everything, and not all of us will become famous pianists. I know I won’t be. But I also know I can master it if I put my mind to it and practice a lot. I decide to do so or to allocate my time and resources to something else. IT works the same for you as well. As long as one is dedicated to learning, the result will be a success.  

Individuals with fear of failure believe that skills are an innate talent, and you’re either good at something, or you are not, and no amount of practice can help you achieve otherwise. 

5. Persistence

No matter how many setbacks you have or the number of obstacles you face – as long as you continue to move forward, you will achieve your dreams. Or such is the mindset of top performers, while people who avoid failures see only mistakes as signs of failure and with it the beginning of the end, if not the end itself. They end things before they can even start. 

It’s hard to say one mindset is right over another and judging helps no one and creates no better results. Some could put in all their efforts and still struggle, while others may do less, or so it seems, and achieve great heights. 

However, if we were to analyse high achievements all over the world, grit will always be among the enablers. 

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Spending Time and Money on YOURSELF is a Way Forward

investing in yourself is the way forward

When you get your paycheck at the end of the month, what’s the first couple of things you do? You probably get started on the bills and rent and send some over to your parents while the rest goes into savings.  

While this is definitely the right way to go about it, strictly in terms of saving, investing in yourself can take you farther ahead. If you want to rise beyond the person you are right now and witness some actual changes, then you have to invest time and money in yourself!  

If this was such a glorious idea, then why don’t more people do it? And you’re not wrong to wonder about this. Most people believe that investing time and money in oneself  can’t possibly be a way to ‘success’.  

To prove this train of thought wrong, here are some ways to invest in YOU that can help you out in the long term and even give you a little push forward.   

 1. Developing Professional and Interpersonal Skills  

Your job proficiency and technical skills may be far superior than those around you. But how can that be if you’re better at your job? The difference is that having the technical skills can only get you so far. Real progress comes in when you display professional and interpersonal competence.  

Professional and interpersonal skills include those traits that people at the workplace must possess in addition to the technical know-hows of a job. If you’re confident about the way you do your job, then all you need to brush up on are professional and interpersonal skills.  

Communication falls under this category. No matter what position you’re at, communication will always be a vital skill that you’ll require. Any form of interaction between your subordinates, superiors, and yourself should always respect professional boundaries and be concise and clear. Remember that proper communication is a reflection of your professionalism as well!  

Take some time out to enhance your character. To make yourself stand out amongst a crowd of employees, brushing up on such abilities, like working just as well under pressure, exhibiting leadership qualities, or self-motivation, is definitely worth your time and will push you forward.  

 2. Generic Versus Specific 

We’ve discussed how you can invest time. However, here is how you’re supposed to put money to good use. The real return on investment is when you take a risk. And by this, we mean that you should focus on things that can further help you attain professional and interpersonal growth.  

Competition nowadays is only rising and all your coworkers are trying to make real progress just like you. But what can really set you apart is investing money in developing your skills.  

If there’s a class in town about how to lead people in a business, go for that class. If a website tests your conflict resolution at the cost of a few dollars a month, then don’t even think twice.   

Here is why you need to take that extra step and not rely on generic information and free YouTube videos: EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO THEM!  

If everyone can grab hold of something, then remember that it’s basic. You need to take it up a notch to be able to overtake your coworkers and move forward. And the way to do that is by allowing yourself to learn and implement more.  

So take a chance on yourself and make some real progress. Invest your own time and money in yourself and you’ll definitely start seeing a difference. It isn’t easy with everyone competing for the same thing, but the secret is to know which area you need to work on and allocate the time and effort to make it happen!

Do you want to learn how to accelerate your development and progress in life? Investing in yourself is extremely important and we can help you to find a way. Check out the microlearning section on our site.  

Also, here are 3 Methods successful women follow to keep their career on track 

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You Have Your Goals by Now. Still Struggling to Achieve Them?

You Have Your Goals by Now

It is May already, and most of us have our goals set. Some spend a great amount of time throughout January and February thinking about what they want to achieve during the year. Just to realise around May, their resources are exhausted, and they are still far from succeeding. Win half the battle now, so you can concentrate on winning it all. 

It is also that time of the year when many sit back and relax because they know what success will look like for the year ahead, isn’t it? No wonder why studies show that more than 70% of life goals set at the beginning of the year are abandoned later in the year.  

Is setting goals and knowing what success looks like the same as planning? Because this is the question, isn’t it? We might believe that by setting goals, we planned out the year ahead. And I am not talking about unexpected events disrupting our precious dreams.  

 

High performers know proper planning is half the battle 

Setting a goal means you know the WHAT. Did knowing the WHAT ever take you to achieve it? Itself it didn’t work for sure. You can add a deadline to your goal, which makes your progress more measurable. But you still might be clueless about HOW you are going to achieve that goal. 

So, what is a plan?  

A plan is basically your path to success. It is a series of steps to take you to the destination. Knowing what steps you have to make is helpful. Not only because you can think about how you can progress, but because you can account for potential limitations and barriers. Planning takes you to the plane of the HOW and transfers your mind from the DESIRE to the realm of ACTION. 

How come so many people struggle with achieving their goals if planning is so straightforward? 

 

Tools you can use to plan 

What comes to mind when you think about planning? Some instantly see their vision boards, others visualise detailed spreadsheets.  People often tell me plans should include only a few steps and I also often hear that they must be specific.  

So, what is the best way to make a plan, and what tools can you use? 

Before we get into the top 10 planning tools lists and the time spent on comparing apps and solutions, let’s think about what you can expect from a good plan. More precisely, what do you want to get out of a good plan? 

To me, a good plan is clear & simple, action-focused and realistic. It includes all the guideposts I need to get to my destination. I don’t need to add all the tiny bits, but I want to know the links and dependencies between my action items.  

Where does it leave you? Which tool is the best? 

The choice is ultimately yours. Based on your thinking style and discipline around performance. 

A vision board is a useful tool for dreaming, and you can use a visual tool to make a plan. Such a visual tool is a mind map. A mind map is an easy to follow method to account for all you need to achieve a specific goal.  

You can also use the ©Change Manifesto Tiles (©CMT). It is a simple tool that aids you in concentrating on the new elements you need to bring into your life to achieve your goals. 

The ©CMT takes you through the journey of building up what you need to deliver on a specific goal. You focus on the components that are not in your life yet so you can achieve clarity around the challenge you might face.  
The tool includes guidance, a template and an example, too. You can download the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool here free for your personal use. 

 

If you prefer a detailed plan, you can use a spreadsheet, and some prefer using task management apps. 

 

The critical elements of a good plan 

You might think that putting together a plan is complicated. While some initiatives require complexity, you can focus on a few essential components. Make sure 

  •  all critical components are included,
  • your plan is easy to make, understand and follow; and
  • your action items are specific enough for you to act on them

A good plan consists of all the components you need to be conscious about to achieve your goal. It is structured, and it should be easy for you to link which action links to which goal or goals. A good plan also enables you to find dependencies between your actions. The latter gives you the benefit of finding out where and how you can save time or money, which essentially helps with your resource management. 

A plan itself is a documented version of your vision. Without action, it remains just that.  If you looked at your goals, realised it is already May, and you have a long way to go, the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool is a quick way to build up your capability and pump new energy into your efforts. 

3 Things to do to Make Sure You Achieve Your Goals This Year

Achieve Your Goals

Have you been following the goals you set out for yourself this year? Have you taken a glance lately at where you are in the process?  
It is still not too late to have a think through and make changes, if necessary, so at the end of the year you may see more positive outcomes and you will achieve your goals.  

 

Break down your goals into small steps 

First and foremost, you can break down the goals into steps. This way, you can move steadily, step by step, towards accomplishing your goal. Every time you achieve a milestone, you have a chance to stop and review whether or not you go in the right direction.  
At such times you may also reach out for help, or re-arrange your priorities and implement changes in light of your goals. I highly recommend you to download an app to your phone to help you keep track of your goals wherever you areSet notifications, so you won’t even have an excuse to avoid working towards your goals. 

 

Make a note of your goals 

Another way to maintain your perseverance is by writing down your goals on a daily basis. I will be the first to admit that for many years I thought this was a pointless activity. I thought it was simply a waste of my time.  

Then results didn’t come as expected and  I wasn’t even sure what my original goals were months ago…. I was way over my head. And that is when I decided to change and take a note of my goals.  

Since then, I write down my goals every single day with the steps needed to implement them. Every word I put on the paper, I thoroughly think through and envision the results I want to see. I know and can see, based on the results, that devoted and consistent efforts are key. Self-discipline is also essential 

We need to be consistent in our endeveours every single day to achieve our goals. 

 

Maintain your dedication 

How are your eagerness and dedication?  
Hmm, yes, I know, people often look past these traits at this time of year. In the beginning of the year, we are full of enthusiasm. New year new goals.  

Then the dull weekdays creep in and as months go by your keenness to make efforts decreases significantly, unless you consciously pay attention to it.  
The decision is in your hands. You can still change the curve of your progress, or keep things as they were before. Are YOU the driver of your car or are you a passenger allowing someone else to drive your car? You have got to decide.  

It is vital that you take your life in your hands. If you do not take responsibility, someone else will do it for you.           

                                                                                                                                      

And what is the benefit?  

You take control of your goals. You become unstoppable and achieve your goals and everything you set your mind to. Your confidence and self-esteem keep growing day by day. You become more perseverant when facing difficulties. You focus better, become more result-oriented and move forward faster; like a riverYou effortlessly overcome obstacles in your way and create the life you have always wanted for yourself.

Bonus Tip: We have an article dedicated to How to track your goals. Have a look at it.

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What to Do When You Are Distracted from Your Goal

Distractions … sweet distractions. You cost us so much. Even if we don’t realise it instantly. An average person looks at the phone 52 times a day according to a study.  On the other hand, progress with work and with a career is not only a natural desire or a basic need, it is also important from a mental health perspective.

 

Let’s see how we end up sabotaging ourselves.

Assuming we spend about 15 seconds on the phone each time (as a distraction), which may not be the case, such a distraction costs us at least 13 minutes a day. Let’s count the time we need to put ourselves back in working mode and we can quickly see how pricey it is to allow distractions into our life. Longer interruptions require even longer time to recover.

During the time you saved avoiding short interruptions, you could have another break which you could spend taking a walk in the park close by or having a coffee with a friend. You could painlessly integrate the daily workout in your schedule or read from/listen to your favourite book. I know, some would use it to do more work. Which is perfectly OK, too.

 

So, the solution is easy-peasy. Don’t look at your phone, don’t allow anything or anyone to distract you.

Here are a few techniques to prevent distraction.

  • Plan your day in the morning and include the breaks. With the breaks integrated in your schedule, you give yourself the opportunity to relax and be distracted when you need not be productive.
  • Listen to your mind and body and plan your time in shorter segments. Work in thirty- or forty-minutes segments and take a short break after each segment. With time, you will work for an hour and then even for longer periods.
  • Let your boss, colleagues, friends and family know when you need time to work without interruption and make sure you are clear on how much quiet time you have.
  • Leave your phone in another room, unless you need the phone for your work.

Working without interruption would be ideal, although we rarely have the opportunity to experience such a bliss and most of us don’t work in a Tibetan temple.

What to do when you are already distracted?

  • Let the source of the interruption (if it is a person) know how much time you have for them.
  • Train your mind to keep a line of thought to help you get back to your work faster.
  • Make a quick note of where you were before the interruption and then deal with the distraction.
  • Work on a different task which requires a shorter time to tune into.
  • Find links between topics. If you find yourself distracted by another topic, consider continuing with the new topic.
  • If the background noise interrupts you time to time, find a white noise that works for you, or a quiet place.
  • Learn to meditate, it helps develop focus.

As you can see, there are simple techniques you can adopt to reduce interruptions in your life. Though, if you distract yourself, think about why you are doing it.

  • Is it a specific time of the day when you distract yourself?
  • Is there a specific topic or question you want to avoid?
  • Or, is it a form of procrastination?

You might be interested in the following article where we talk about how you can use relaxation and visualisation to help advance your career.

 

Tips How to Track Your Goals

Tips How to Track Your Goals

Why isn’t the title say: Tips How to Track Your Progress? Because making progress doesn’t necessarily mean you are going in the right direction.

We all make progress in our lives and knowing what progress we make definitely helps. Although without knowing how such progress adds to the success, the progress is no more than a step forward. We don’t know how big the step is or if we, in fact, walk on the yellow brick road.

But by tracking your progress, you do more than most people do. The question is whether it is enough to achieve high performance and the level of success you are happy with. And there is another question. If tracking your progress itself is not sufficient, then what is?

 

Tracking a goal, assuming the tracking method is fit-for-purpose, will give you sufficient information on both your progress and the added value of your efforts to your success.

 

But what method can you use to track your goals?

You are not tracking the goal itself; you are tracking your progress toward the goal, you are tracking how close you are achieving the goal in time and quality. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Naturally, you can choose methods to track your progress against a goal if you sufficiently specified the goal. Which means your goal needs to be specific enough for you to be able to measure your progress against it. What then means, your goal has to include specific details about it. E.g., a deadline, or a certain % of the progress you would like to achieve.

E.g. My goal could be: ‘I would like to read two books every month this year.’

  • The goal in this example specifies what I would like to achieve and in what time frame. What I would like to achieve is to learn from two books and I do that in a month.
  • It also tells me how I will achieve it. I achieve the learning by reading.
  • Moreover, it tells me that unless I read two books (100% of the book) a month, I am going to stay behind my goal.

You can define for yourself the progress you have to make each month, or a week, or even a day to achieve your goal. In the example before I did just that.
And sometimes achieving such progress is not going to be linear; or you have to do different things each time to get where you want to be.

 

All in all, if you have a long-term goal, breaking it down to smaller pieces will help you better understand how you meet it and will reduce the risk of not achieving it, too.
Additionally, it will also help you revise your strategy, if needed, along the way.

 

But some people say that setting goals is meaningless anyway, so why do I bother tracking them?

This is a question I received many times this year. I realised there were articles out there with titles suggesting goal setting had no added value, even though the articles mostly included the benefits of goal-setting in various ways. So, here is my answer.

  • Setting goals just for the sake of it is meaningless.
  • Setting a goal that does not resonate with your life strategy and plan, doesn’t matter how SMART your goal is, is also meaningless.
  • Without setting goals though, even if you have a clear view of your life strategy or your priorities for the next three to five years, you will struggle.

Because goals are basically milestones. At least they should be. They are the lights at both sides of the path you walk on in the park. And I am not suggesting life is a walk in the park. I am suggesting life is a journey.

Imagine you are travelling by ship. A beautiful large ship with all the facilities and programmes to make your journey exciting and joyful.

  • How would this ship make a long and successful journey without knowing where the harbours are and where it needs to stop for supplies?
  • What is the way to enjoy the journey without knowing you are safe, and the staff knows exactly what to do and when to make your journey pleasant?
  • How would the staff know what to do and when without planning?
  • And how would the staff be able to plan without goals?

But tracking your progress against a goal is not just about knowing what you want to achieve. The goal or in that case the milestone is an outcome; and what takes you to the result is action. During your journey, you want to know what you need to do to get the desired result.
Once you know what you want to do, your goal essentially

  • you need to know how success looks like, and
  • how you can measure the success, and
  • what is the shortest time period which is reasonable to measure for progress.

And that answers an important question. Should you track your progress daily, or weekly or monthly, maybe quarterly? It all depends on your goals and on your discipline.

 

And what tools can you use to measure your progress?

This is an interesting question, because there are many good tools out there.

Nowadays there is an app for everything.

  • If you want a few clicks and nothing more a day because you are extremely busy, you can do that.
  • If you trust detailed information, you can use a spreadsheet or a project or task management app.
  • You are not good with written words, just use a voice recorder or a transcriber app.

I suggest you don’t waste time on finding the perfect tracking tool first. Find one that is good enough and perfect your tracking method. Once you are satisfied with the way how you track your goals and performance, you will find the perfect tracking tool, too.

If there are useful tools that you can utilize why some people never reach their goals? You can find the answer in the article we published Why don’t people reach their goals?

Why don’t people reach their goals?

wachieving our dreams_ cover image for why don't people reach their goals

One of the strongest desire we, human beings have is achieving our goals and dreams.  Well, sometimes we make all the efforts to achieve our parents’ or partners’ dreams, but if we want to be conscious about our life, we work on achieving our own dreams.

And what is a better way of achieving a dream than seeing it clearly in the mind and articulating it as a goal? Once we have our goals set, we are done, aren’t we?

Perhaps it is surprising but even though goal setting is a popular topic, various studies show that achieving goals is not a success story for all. Naturally, the number of people who achieve their goals is different in each study, but a recurring theme is that many of us abandon the goals within four weeks.

In the meantime, we hear stories of success almost every day and examples of high performers fill the pages of online and offline magazines. We all love to hear the success stories.

And we all would like to live the dream, the success story. But few of us do. What could be the reason?

As a starting point, we can talk about goal-setting. I know it is May already; we have almost reached the end of Q2. We shouldn’t talk about setting goals, right? Setting goals is part of the new year’s resolution.

Just stay with me. The way how you set your goals has a high impact on your success of achieving them.

Many like to set same or similar goals others set for themselves just to follow the “good” example. But will the same thing work well for everyone?
Others like to go for super ambitious goals just to lose the steam after hitting a barrier once or twice.
Not to mention those, who think about the first couple of steps but don’t take the time to see the challenges, the required change in context.

These are just a few examples. What we can learn from these is if we would like to see the results, we need to see where we are going and what path is going to take us there will help achieving our goals.

Think about it. It is May already. If we still didn’t achieve our goals or made visible progress, we’ll lose nothing by reviewing your goals.

Regardless of the progress they make, high performers take a look at their goals multiple times a year. This is part of their success formula.

What is the advice here?

  • Plan your six months or the year or two years with the end in mind. Think about the most important things that must happen for you to achieve your goal.
  • Think about your life and see what fits in there. You can go for ambitious goals and achieve them, if you can allocate the time and resources needed. If you cannot do that, you will struggle and eventually abandon the goal.

That links to a tricky part of goal achievement and success. Maintaining motivation so you stick with your goals.

We often use the expression losing motivation. Truth to be told, one cannot lose motivation. Although we can lose focus; or just to link back to the first aspect, goal setting, we can set unrealistic or uninteresting goals.

Let’s talk a bit more about motivation. What is motivation? What is the source of motivation? Is it within us or does it come from the environment?

Motivation is a combination of reasons why we act or behave in a certain way and a certain level of energy directed toward achieving our goals.
We may feel motivated because of an internal desire or because of external influences. Such external influence may be a reward. A reward can be material, or a recognition of our results voiced to us or shared in front of others.

When we abandon a goal, we no longer believe that achieving our goals is worth the effort. Either because we believe something else will bring about better results, or we experience problems in putting in the required effort.

So, you see. One cannot lose motivation. The motivation is there, but it is most likely redirected.

What can we learn from this?

  • Listen to the signs of your body and mind to recognise when you are about to re-prioritise. You may revise your goals intentionally, but sometimes our instant desires are stronger than us. High performers understand delayed gratification and to maintain high performance and repeated results, you need to be patient.
  • Be conscious of how you allocate your time and energy.
  • You may have more goals on your list all the time but that doesn’t mean you have to multitask. Be clear on what you need to do within a specified time period and maintain your focus. Once you are done and progressed with one topic or task as desired move to another task.
  • If you are stuck with a specific task, park it. Get on another task, so you don’t waste time. This practice will help you not only with improving your efficiency but your creativity and problem-solving, too.

Of course, success and high-performance are more complex and both depend on more than just goal-setting and motivation; and both goal-setting and motivation can be improved in many ways.

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Supportive relationship to a more successful life

supportive relationship will help you reach a successful life

While we all desire friends and benefit from their advice, we may not fully understand how important supportive relationship are in our lives.

People with a supportive network are likely to worry less and to be less prone to failing in their endeavours. However, it can help you towards a successful life.

A supportive friend or partner will make you feel accepted for who you are. They are comfortable sharing your success, concerns or uncertainties. Also, to find the emotional relief when you need it to be able to move on. This is an important part of a successful life.

Where supportive relationship are concerned, it is the quality, not the quantity that matters.

From your early school years through your professional life, some relationships will prove to be valuable in the long term; others may disappear. A valuable relationship is not necessarily the one that brings you short term benefits. However, it may bring some; but the one, which you feel is in-sync with your life progression at any point in time.

You may realise that your BFF who has been encouraging you since you met in high school is no longer enthusiastic about your promotion or success. She is still your friend; you care for her, she cares for you, may even give you good advice on men and intimate relationships, but may not inspire you in your professional life anymore.

Sometimes we forget that friendships are formed by two different individuals who while deeply care for each other while living their lives and fighting their battles.

Want to learn more about How to keep a supportive relationship alive?

Remember, helpful relationships come in various shapes and sizes.

Keep your eyes open. Listen to the information you receive and be open to the individuals who give you the information. It may be a piece of advice or simply an observation in the environment you are working in. If you listen, you will put the pieces of the puzzle together and benefit from the information you received. Eventually, you may even realise that the person who helped you out is someone you connect with.

Some people will not be as encouraging, and their level of support to you may depend on multiple reasons. Some reasons will be directly related to their desires or uncertainties, and not necessarily to you. And some people just don’t have what it takes to be supportive.

To surround yourself with a supportive network, you need to understand the qualities of helpful relationships.

Keep your eyes open, find the traits of healthy relationships in your interactions. Spend time with people who represent those qualities that enable a healthy relationship. On the other hand, for your benefit, try to avoid people who are unfavourable to your progression in life.

It is not going to be easy, because you may bump into unhelpful people when you least expect it, but don’t forget we all live our lives and set our priorities. The level of openness and support you experience from others will also be influenced by how one feels about himself or herself.

Below, I share skills that people, who can build and maintain helpful relationships embody.

Good listening skills

Listening is all about giving your time and attention to another person. The time of listening is not the time to figure out what you are going to tell next, or how you will respond to a comment. It is also not the time to share wisdom or advice.

It is the time when you receive information and try your best to understand what the speaker is going through.

Your attention to your family, friend or colleague will help them focus their attention on the solution. Although you previously gave them the opportunity to share a frustration without being challenged or judged. Good listening skills in work may aid your progress faster and more effectively than you imagine.

When you need a listening ear, you are likely looking for someone to validate your feelings, to feel understood.

You might have already read about active listening. It is a way of listening when you try to understand what you heard and the underlying emotions too. We are not all trained psychologists or life coaches. Most of us are not mind readers, but we can try to put ourselves in other people’s shoes when they are sharing experiences. Active listening means you reflect back what you have heard and even what you didn’t hear, but sensed by rephrasing.

Non-judgmental

As listening is all about the speaker, it naturally means you save your judgment for later. You receive and store information and attempt to approach the situation from the speaker’s point of view.

Are you able to avoid judgment when you hear something that is in conflict with your values?

Can you rely on your friend, partner, colleague, family to do the same for you?

If you feel judged, you are unlikely to share your opinion, ideas, concerns or fears and will unlikely talk about the questions that may be arising in your life.

Remember, others, similarly to you, will need a listening ear, an understanding person, and emotional support.

Not sharing unwanted advice and avoiding being directive

People who often share with you unwanted advice or tell you what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do in their opinion may not only make you feel uncomfortable. You may feel they are directive about the way you should be dealing with the issues in your life or they even make assumptions about you.

While considerate advice shared with you in a way that makes you feel respected will be helpful and aid the solution of a specific problem. You can move forward with your life, thoughtless “wisdom” may just make you more concerned or uncertain in your abilities.

Open and capable to understand other’s emotions and show compassion

Empathy is a word we often hear and sometimes don’t understand its depth. We may think feeling sorry for someone else in a bad situation is empathy; when in reality it is sympathy.

Empathy is our natural ability unless we have a difficulty feeling empathy, to share feelings or experiences. In other words you can imagine what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes.

Empathy is an ability you can, and you’ll want to develop in yourself and a trait you may be looking for in your friends, family, working environment, and in other people wherever you go.

When you are going through difficulties or a painful experience, you would like to feel supported.

Expressing true feelings

Willingness to be vulnerable and open to others’ opinion and feedback is key to supportive relationship.

Receiving feedback, especially when it doesn’t seem to be positive to you may not be a pleasant experience, even if it is delivered in a respectful way. In such cases, taking your time to understand what the feedback means and how you can benefit from it, will help you take off the edge.

In occasions when you feel a feedback was shared with you in a hurtful way it is important to openly and respectfully express the way how you feel.

You have the opportunity to explain that you understand the feedback and are aware the intention of the speaker was not to hurt you. Even if you found what he or she said harsh or unkind. Even better to explain what you feel using specific words.

Showing you are vulnerable is a sign of authenticity; it gives you the confidence and that you stand up for yourself. It provides to the other party with the opportunity to rethink what has been shared.

Allowing yourself to show your vulnerability shows people that you care both about them and the relationship.

Able to understand and manage own emotions

While empathy is about understanding other’s emotions, emotional maturity is about understanding yourself, your emotions. It requires self-awareness and continuous learning of your inner life.

As you would expect empathy from people around you, you would like to have relationships with people with higher emotional maturity.

Let’s say you were about to go to the cinema with your friend, who is very enthusiastic about you going out together, but on the day you feel miserable and the flu coming. You call it a day and tell you can’t join, but wish her or him a good time. A friend, who is supportive, will understand what is happening to you. They might feel a bit down, because they have to go alone or find someone else to go along, but they will understand.

Effective communications skills developed day by day

We live in a world where communication is a natural part of life. It surrounds us wherever we go, and without good communication skills it is more difficult to have a successful life.

We communicate with our words, the tone of our speech and our full body. Situations may they be good or less pleasant present themselves as good opportunities to develop or communication skills.

Imagine that you have to persuade a colleague of yours to help you with your project, or your boss to recognise your good performance and give you a promotion. All these require specific communications skill which you can develop. Furthermore, with the right tools you can move your career forward.

Take responsibility for your own development and feelings. No one else can do more for you than you can do for yourself. If others see and hear that you take responsibility, they will realise that you communicate what you need without blaming others.

In your relationships, you want to surround yourself with people, who can step back, see things from your point of view. Be able to re-evaluate their actions and discuss matters in a non-judgemental way.

Know When to Let Go

Some friendships and relationships last a life long or for many years, in other cases you realise the relationship has run its course.

While every supportive relationship hits bumps now and then, those are the times when supportive behaviour and good communications skills come handy.

You know you are in a supportive relationship when you can effectively work out a misunderstanding or even a conflict. Also, you can discuss differences in a constructive way, so at the end of it, everyone leaves with a good feeling.

Don’t take it granted. If you feel you are in a good relationship, expect that people may change their opinions, their priorities, and views.

If you feel judged and misunderstood for a longer period, and your attempts to repair conflicts are not working anymore, it is probably time to learn to let go. 

Check these 5 Signs to recognize your friend is not helping your progress.

Being friends with someone doesn’t mean you have to be in close contact with them if the relationship is no longer supportive of who you are today.

The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to assess whether people and your relationships are a good fit.

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How to keep a supportive friendship long-lasting?

how to keep a supportive friendship alive

Supportive friendships are hard to find and even harder to keep them alive. Words of comfort in tough times sometimes all you need to feel good. True, supportive friends are there for you when you are feeling down to encourage you and, if needed, give you some tough love.

Although are you feeling that your old pal is ignoring you when you need them most? Do you feel that your friendship is failing because your buddy is not helpful to you? Do you want to know how you can keep a supportive friendship long-lasting?

Let’s be honest; it is quite saddening to have a friendship that’s on the rocks.

It could be that your pal has made some new friends or going through a rough patch in his or her life. Nonetheless, the essence of being true friends is for you to be able to help each other. You need someone who is supportive, non-judgmental, engaging and able to help you feel at ease.

That said, if things aren’t all rosy with your friend, there are some strategies that you can use to help him or her to be more helpful. Follow the link to check the 5 Signs that reveal your friend is not helping your progress.

Strategies to keep a supportive friendship long-lasting

  1. Spruce up your usual conversation

Perhaps your friend is ignoring you because the relationship has become a little mundane. So, shake things up when it comes to conversation. Look for interesting and fresh topics to bring up in discussion with your friend. If you always talk about video games, for instance, maybe it’s high time to switch onto career, relationships, and whatnot. It also pays to keep a little mystery in your topics. That would most certainly keep your friend engrossed in the conversation. This way, you can enhance your pal’s listening tendencies towards you, so that the next time you bring up a problem, it will not fall on deaf ears.

  1. Simply help her or him out when in need

Most vibrant friendships are all about tit-for-tat. If your pal isn’t listening to your issues or not helping out much, maybe it’s because you are not helpful yourself. Supportive friendship is a two-way street. Create a sense of family or community with your friend. Being able to assist your pal forges a relationship based on the feeling of giving and taking, not just taking all the time.

  1. Be supportive and always make him or her feel at ease.

If your friend is looking for a job, for example, try putting a good word to your boss or colleagues. It’s only this way which you will take your relationship to a whole new and exciting level.

  1. Make a habit of surprising your friend

It might seem old school, but it always works like a charm. Surprise your pal once in a while with something – from a lunch date, pair of tickets to a gift and everything in between. Well, you have to go small, lest it feels that you are buying his or her affection. Regardless of the gift, make a clear-cut point that your friend is unique and special to you.

  1. Get Together Often

It’s no secret, the key to every relationship and supporting friendship is bonding. Your friend, for one, might not feel obliged to be supportive if you seem like a stranger to him or her. So, spend more time together – perhaps go out more. Teenagers can stand to benefit from sleepovers and do homework together.

These are just but a few ways to help your friend become more helpful and keep your supportive friendship alive. The bottom line, however, is to make space in your schedule, encourage listening, and help each other out often. This way, you can cultivate a healthy, give-and-take relationship.

Follow the link to find out about more benefits of having a supportive relationship with others.

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5 Signs your friend is not helping your progress

how to spot a toxic friendship

2-min read

We all have heard of toxic relationships; perhaps you’re more familiar with that couple who fight all the time. But, did you know a toxic friendship existed too?

That’s right; we can all become victims of failing friendships. The thing is that most of us are afraid to admit that a friendship has run its course.

If you are looking to ditch a toxic friendship, here are five surefire signs that your friend is an enemy to your progress.

1. You initiate most of the contact

You don’t need a calculator to know that a friend is not helpful if you have to initiate contact most, if not, all the time. Best believe it; who texted, chatted or called first is a good barometer for a progressive friend? That is why it comes as no big surprise that one person is more invested than the other in most failing relationships.

If you want to know for sure, start off by taking a small step back to see what your friend will do. Any good friend worth having will most certainly notice your silence.

2. Your friend leaves you feeling drained

Someone who is poised to help you progress should always leave your energetic, reinvigorated, and ready to face life challenges head-on. The best way to gauge this is to make a mental note of how you feel in your friend’s company and how you feel once you’ve gone on separate ways.

Do you feel that all your internal energy has been depleted?

If so, you need to re-examine your friendship because you’re definitely in a toxic friendship. That is someone who is holding you back from achieving your full potential. The trick is to stick with supportive pals who keep you cheerful when you are together, and you’ve parted ways.

3. Your friend doesn’t add value to your life

They say great friendship is good for your immune system, but the vice-versa is also true. If you cringe even at the thought of meeting your friend, then it’s high time to cut the cord. That’s right; if you don’t feel at ease – there’s no fun left – you have to break up. Again, friendship should not be detracting; it should keep balance in your life.

4. He or she doesn’t support your life aspirations or goals

We all have ambition – and it’s a good thing. So, if your friend is critical of your ambitions, the friendship isn’t going to help you make any progress.

Does your friend make you feel guilty when you pursue your dreams?

A supportive friend always desires the best for you and would never sabotage your dreams and hopes. More over, supportive relationships are enablers to a more successful life.

5. He or she is hard to find

Non-judgmental, supportive, good listener, easy to find, and engaging – what do they have in common. That’s right; a great friend is easy to pin down especially during a crisis. If he or she constantly puts off meeting you, then you have to call it quits.

Wrap-up

A good friend is someone who adds a fair of energy and value to your life. That’s why you need to cut off friends that display any of the signs above.But once you find a true friend, it’s worth to learn How to keep a supportive friendship alive.

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash