Erase Your Limits: Expand Your Comfort Zone in 6 Steps

Of all the valuable skills you’ll acquire, learning to deal effectively with discomfort is one of the most important. Consider all the times you’ve wanted to do something, but either never started or came up short. It’s likely that your inability to handle the resulting discomfort was the cause.

If you could handle discomfort better, you would never procrastinate, never quit a diet, exercise every day, and complete everything you ever wanted to accomplish.

Most of us avoid discomfort at all costs. It’s the biggest limiting factor for most people. But, a little discomfort can be a good thing. Even a lot of discomfort is a good thing if you want to change your life quickly.

Unfortunately, avoiding discomfort quickly becomes a habit. You instantly feel better when you evade the thing that’s causing the discomfort. It becomes a preferred coping mechanism. It also self-imposes limits.

The good news is you can free yourself from these limits!

The key to mastering discomfort is to work at becoming more comfortable in challenging situations. As you move forward, you increase your comfort zone little by little. Before you know it, you’ve erased the limits you had previously set for yourself.

Follow this process to become more comfortable with discomfort and set yourself free:

1. Start with something that’s difficult, but not too difficult. Learning Chinese is very difficult. But eating all your vegetables isn’t too difficult. Starting a gentle exercise program isn’t too difficult, either.

* Start with something that will enhance your life, but won’t be too challenging to implement or take an excessive amount of time.

2. Start slowly. If you’re going to start exercising, start with just 5-10 minutes. You can add a little bit of time each day or week. If you try to start with 60 minutes, it will probably seem too overwhelming to even get started.

* Why not give yourself the best chance to succeed?

3. Push through a little discomfort. Maybe you’re working on keeping the house clean. You’ll likely feel a strong urge to quit just 10 minutes into your cleaning regimen. Keep working. A little later, you may want to quit again, but keep going. The third time, allow yourself to actually stop.

* Try to do this with everything. Avoid letting yourself quit anything the first time you get the urge to stop.

4. Observe your discomfort. A great way to deal with discomfort is to simply observe it. How does it feel? How you try to avoid the situation that is causing the discomfort? Do you try to distract yourself with other activities?

* You might rationalize reasons why it would be better not to continue. Avoid falling into that pattern.

* Study your discomfort like a dispassionate observer. By simply observing and not becoming emotionally involved with your discomfort, you’ll likely notice that your discomfort lessens.

5. Find a way to smile. Smiling is a key component of learning to be okay with discomfort. It’s hard to be miserable when you’re smiling. When the going gets rough, take a deep breath and force yourself to smile.

6. Continue to push a little further the next time. Just like with exercising, you can always do just a little bit more the next time. Each time you work through a little more discomfort, it gets easier and easier. Your capacity to deal with discomfort will expand quickly.

You can learn to be comfortable with discomfort. Think of all the amazing things you could accomplish if being uncomfortable didn’t stop you! There really isn’t much you couldn’t do. Those that avoid discomfort the most tend to end up with the most uncomfortable lives. By accepting and managing your discomfort, you can build the life you desire.

Start small, but get started. Being a little uncomfortable never hurt anyone. Master your discomfort and you’ll set yourself free.

Enjoy Job Satisfaction Even if You’re Overqualified for Your Position

Underemployment is rampant these days among middle-aged executives who have been laid off and recent college graduates who are struggling to land their first job. If you’re trying to figure how to be content with your job when you find yourself in a position that doesn’t match your skill set, try some of these suggestions.

Steps to Take with Your Employer

1. Clarify expectations. Research the company and talk with your coworkers. See if there’s real evidence of your company rewarding superior performance and employees advancing up the corporate ladder. If not, it might be time to look for a new job.

2. Become a trainer. If you’re more experienced than your colleagues, you may be able to provide training and mentoring. Ask your supervisor about setting up a program.

3. Volunteer for other responsibilities. Think beyond your job description and look for interesting tasks that your supervisor may want to hand off. Offer to help a coworker with an assignment that you want to learn more about.

4. Make an impact. Dream up ways to make your activities more engaging. Challenge yourself to enhance the quality of customer service or speed up the processing time for invoices.

5. Focus on helping others. Life immediately becomes more pleasant when you take your mind off your worries and try to serve others. Offer sincere praise to your colleagues or pitch in when a deadline is close.

6. Mange your downtime. Some workplaces will give you considerable freedom if you accomplish your workload faster than expected. Otherwise, you may need to make an effort to show you’re busy to avoid friction.

7. Extend your reach. Connect with other business people outside your office. Participate in your company’s social media campaigns. Become active in the local chapter of a professional association.

8. Ask about free perks. Even if your job has a low salary, there may be some potential for other benefits. Explore the possibility of flexible hours or working from home.

More Actions You Can Take

1. Reduce your overhead. Cutting your living expenses gives you more flexibility to explore other professional options. You’ll feel less stressed, and you may be able to take a pay cut that allows you to pursue your dreams like tutoring children or coaching baseball.

2. Take a test drive. Try out a new role before you make a full time commitment. Volunteer at a charity thrift shop to see what the retail world is really like. Help a friend paint their basement to get a preview of house painting as a career.

3. Give yourself regular treats. Surround yourself with small pleasures. Read a classic novel at lunch. Arrange a weekend trip to a historic site. Decorate your cubicle with family photos or picture postcards.

4. Plan ahead. Temporary hardships are easier to bear when you have a strategy in place for achieving your long term goals. Keep looking for a position in your chosen field. Stay connected to people in your network.

5. Find your purpose elsewhere. You may decide that other aspects of your life are more important than paid work. There’s more to you than your professional identity. Experience satisfaction in using your paycheck to care for your family or work on your sailboat.

6. Count your blessings. Increase your happiness by remembering to be grateful for all the good things that you have. There may be some interesting tasks about your job that you really like. Take time to appreciate your loved ones and your own talents.

You have the power to make any job more fulfilling. Maintaining a positive attitude and collaborating with your employer can lead to bigger and better opportunities.

Ending Loneliness Made Easy

If you’re like most people, you’re lonely from time to time. It’s a normal emotion and a part of life.

Loneliness is simply a difference between the level of emotional intimacy you desire and the amount you actually have in your life. Some people can be quite alone, yet still not feel lonely. Others can be surrounded by friends much of the time and still feel some degree of loneliness. So, being alone and being lonely are not exactly the same thing.

Loneliness may be caused by a lost relationship, low self-esteem, poor social skills, retirement, or several other circumstances.

Unfortunately, many of the common coping mechanisms do not help solve the source of the loneliness. Things like overeating, drinking or drugs, oversleeping, withdrawal, and reminiscing about better days are not helpful. Withdrawing from others might remove the possibility of rejection, but it won’t eliminate you loneliness.

Try these strategies to eliminate the loneliness from your life:

1. Develop yourself. Focusing on self-growth will also help to minimize your feelings of loneliness.

* Engage in positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your good qualities and all the great friends you’ve had in the past. Remind yourself that loneliness is entirely within your control. When negative thoughts creep up, replace them with something more supportive.

* Take a self-inventory. What changes could you make that would make you feel better about yourself and possibly more attractive to others? Are there any negative habits you could replace? Would you feel better about yourself if you had a more current wardrobe and lost 20 lbs?

* Improve your interpersonal skills. Read a book or take a class on social skills. Learn how to be a great listener. Strengthen your confidence in social situations. Get some practice talking to strangers. While you’re just standing there in line at the grocery store, you might as well say ‘hi’ to someone.

2. Form new relationships and rekindle old ones:

* Volunteer. Go someplace that interests you and needs your help. There are so many options available, but pick something that really appeals to you. It will get you out of the house, make you feel useful, and you’ll meet other volunteers with similar interests.

* Participate in hobbies that involve others. A yoga or art class is a good example of something that involves others. Taking online guitar lessons in the comfort of your home would not be suitable. Join a tennis league or book club. The possibilities are endless.

* Create a list of old and current friends. Each day, contact a different person from your list. Not everyone will respond, but many will. Suggest getting together for a cup of coffee.

3. Make your own action plan. Come up with your own ideas for putting an end to your loneliness. List the actual steps you will take and set some deadlines. Don’t wait until you feel better. Take some action steps and the good feelings will follow.

If you try the above ideas and still haven’t made significant progress, get a check-up with your physician. Perhaps you have some depression or anxiety that is contributing to your loneliness.

Loneliness is common, but that doesn’t mean you should just accept it without attempting to remedy the situation. Work on yourself and take some steps to vitalize your social life. The world is full of people and many of them are lonely too. Reach out to others. Many of them would love to hear from you.

Do You Think in Absolutes? Reap the Benefits of the Gray Areas

It’s tempting to see the world in black and white, but there are drawbacks to ignoring the gray areas. If you’ve ever been stuck in the habit of absolute thinking, there are ways to recover.

Do you sometimes notice that when you forget to pick up the dry cleaning, you figure it’s because you’re distracted by deadlines at work? Then, when your neighbor neglects to return the ladder they borrowed, you decide they’re an inconsiderate person.

Evolution conditions us to take shortcuts to defend ourselves quickly from threats. Unfortunately, that also means we may overlook important facts and jump to the wrong conclusions. Try these strategies for keeping your “all or nothing” thinking in check.

Reasons to Recover from Absolute Thinking

1. To expand your experiences. Absolutism is limiting. It makes you avoid the people and events that you consider problematic. Tackle those irregular French verbs instead of telling yourself that you’re no good at foreign languages.

2. To ease your anxieties. You reduce your fears every time you face them. Your confidence will soar as you master simple plumbing jobs or learn to speak more assertively to your coworkers.

3. To strengthen your relationships. Having a balanced view of your loved ones helps you to appreciate them for who they are. We all have strengths and weaknesses. More realistic thinking also helps you to support each other’s personal growth.

4. To promote harmony. Absolutes are polarizing. A more understanding and forgiving attitude will help you get along better with others.

5. To manage uncertainty. Absolute thinking is often driven by the need for security. When you accept that many details in life are beyond your control, you’ll be able to relax and become more resilient.

6. To enjoy more happiness. The best thing about flexible thinking is that it generates more joy and peace. You’ll be more aware of the beauty around you and have more faith in your abilities.

Strategies to Help You Recover from Absolute Thinking

1. Question your assumptions. Examine your mental shortcuts. It’s probably okay to avoid shellfish if it always makes you sick. On the other hand, you may want to practice asking for a raise instead of assuming that your boss will reject you.

2. Develop greater empathy. Increasing our compassion is a powerful antidote to absolutism. Be more gentle with yourself and others. Allow for errors and focus on solutions rather than holding grudges.

3. Spot exaggerations. If you feel like every sore throat means you have the flu, consider more common explanations. If you think that nothing will ever live up to your last vacation destination, remember the mosquitos. Avoiding exaggerations helps you live more in reality.

4. Change your vocabulary. Our words influence our emotions. Avoid using absolute words such as “always” and “never.” Speak more precisely when you catch yourself saying that it always rains on weekends or your kids never clean their rooms.

5. Vary your routine. Shake things up by changing your routine. Prove to yourself that you can handle working different hours or eating more whole grains.

6. Accommodate others. Take sensible risks. Go along with other’s suggestions instead of insisting on having things your own way. Use a different route for driving to the beach or be open to someone else’s recommendation for the next selection for your book club. You’ll soon start to notice more options and alternatives throughout your daily life.

7. Review your past. Looking back at your past makes it easier to see the flaws in absolute thinking. Notice how your beliefs have changed over the years. Chances are you’ve pretty much forgotten about someone you once had a serious crush on.

The comfort of clinging to absolutes comes at a high price. Adjust your way of thinking to see the world more clearly and lead a fuller life.

Declutter Your Life in No Time At All

If you’re like most of us, at some point you’re likely to come to the conclusion that your life is too cluttered. You have too much to do and aren’t able to handle your schedule optimally. You probably own too much stuff and just keep adding more every day.

Most people would probably be better off with at least a little decluttering. But how do you go about it? When you’re under a pile of clutter, commitments, personal files, and a load of digital information, how do you even get started with decluttering?

Follow these tips for decluttering your life:

1. Simply get started. Pick a room, a closet, or a shelf and get started. Pick up each item once and ask yourself, “Do I use this regularly? Do I love this item?” If the answer to both questions is “no” then the item needs to be sold, donated, or given away. Have a box for each of those categories to put your discarded items in.

* Put away the items that you’re keeping in their proper place.

* If you have a lot of stuff, it might seem overwhelming. Try setting a timer and just work for 10 minutes. Limit your decluttering to one small area for those 10 minutes. That way, you’ll really be able to see some progress.

* Try not to get carried away by spending too much time. Working on decluttering for 10 minutes a day for a month is a lot better than overloading yourself and quitting after 2 days.

2. Go a little further each day. Once you’ve gotten started with your decluttering, keep moving forward. Finish one area and then move on to the next. Your enemy is perfection. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Simply do a good job in a reasonable amount of time. Any work you’re putting into this will result in progress. Make it easy on yourself.

* Get some help. Some of us really are pack rats and can’t seem to let go of anything. If that sounds like you, get a reasonable friend to help. The ideal friend will have a clutter-free home that you envy.

* Take the time to enjoy the new clutter-free spaces you’ve created in order to help keep the momentum going.

3. Declutter your calendar and digital life. Your living environment is only one aspect of your life. Simplifying how you spend your time and handle your digital life is important, too.

* Decluttering your calendar is about learning to say “no” to commitments that aren’t important to you. Make a list of commitments and put them in order from most important to least important. Keep the top few and remove the rest from your life.

* Start decluttering your digital life. Prioritize the blogs, newsletters, social networks, emails, and so on. Only keep the things that really matter.

4. It’s important to include others in your home. If the other people in your home aren’t on the same page, decluttering is much more challenging.

* Focus on telling them about the benefits they’ll receive if the home is much less cluttered. Share the benefits of decluttering their space.

* If there’s too much resistance, keep your focus on decluttering and maintaining your own space.

* Getting rid of things can be contagious. You’ll likely find that everyone else in your household will jump on the bandwagon when they see how great your personal space looks.

Decluttering your life is more beneficial than you probably realize. It’s not only easier to find things, but you’ll have adequate space to put everything away in its proper place. Clutter weighs on your mind 24/7, whether you realize it or not. Avoid letting it stress you out or take over your life.

You’ll be surprised at how much more relaxed you feel when the clutter is out of your life for good. Give it a try today!

Create Rules For Your Life That Serve You Well

Having rules that govern your life, behavior, and choices might seem confining and restrictive. But there’s a profound freedom that comes from living by a set of rules that you’ve chosen for yourself. You can refrain from toiling over as many decisions. You simply follow your own rules.

Suppose you had the rule that you’re never going to lie to your partner. Then you never have to fight with yourself about whether or not to tell the truth. You simply tell the truth and get on with life.

Develop your own set of rules for each aspect of your life. Rules provide the framework for having a more productive and stress-free life.

This example can guide you in creating a unique set of rules for your own life:

1. I always go to bed and get up at times that provide me with the opportunity to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.

2. I refrain from checking email before 10 AM or after 4 PM.

3. I refuse to answer the phone when I’m spending time with my family.

4. I tell everyone in my family that I love them at least once per day.

5. I accept full responsibility for all outcomes in my life, both good and bad.

6. I read a minimum of 30 minutes per day.

7. I speak to all of my friends at least once each month.

8. I meditate every night for 10 minutes before I go to sleep.

9. Before bed, I make a list of the most important items to complete the following day.

And so on.

Each week, we all make choices that result in guilty or remorseful feelings. But we also make tough decisions that we know are correct. Having a list of rules for your behavior makes it easier to make wise decisions with less mental turmoil.

Your rules can move you closer to your goals, as well as remove frustration from your life.

Follow these tips to develop your own rules:

1. Make a list of your most important goals. It’s helpful to have goals related to your finances, health, family, and personal accomplishments. If you know your goals, you can develop rules that support them.

2. What are your values? When you’re behaving in a manner that’s congruent with your values, you’ll be much happier and more successful.

3. What obstacles stand in your way? How do you waste time? What are your weaknesses? Rules that eliminate or minimize the challenges in your life are worthwhile.

4. What example do you want to set for your children? If you have children, what do you want them to see when they watch you? They’re always watching, even if you think they aren’t.

Most of us are striving for a greater degree of freedom, and rules seem like a limit to freedom. However, you free up a lot of mental resources when you make important decisions beforehand. If your rule is to exercise every day, then you can avoid having to spend 20 minutes deciding whether or not to exercise. You just do it.

Take the time to make your own set of rules. The number doesn’t matter. Start with a couple and add more as you see fit. Make some rules for yourself in order to set yourself free.

Believe in Yourself: Boost Your Confidence in Just 30 Days

Chances are you believe in others more than you believe in yourself. You’re probably the first to encourage a friend to keep going because they have what it takes. But when it comes to encouraging yourself, it’s easy to shy away due to self-doubt.

It’s not fair to cheat yourself out of opportunities. Having low self-confidence can cause you to lose out on awesome experiences. And you certainly don’t want that, do you?

Now is a great time to start focusing on yourself and work on boosting your confidence. And it’s surprisingly easy to do.

Follow these steps to boost your confidence and start believing in yourself:

1. Avoid hesitation. Self-doubt is often developed out of hesitation. Do you take a long time to act on an impulse? If you see an opportunity, does it take you a while to go after it? The longer you take to pursue something, the more reasons you’ll find for justifying your unsuitability for the opportunity.

* Avoid “sleeping on it” if you can decide right away. For a self-doubter, delaying a response usually means losing the confidence to go after the opportunity.

* Do you think you’re not ideal for a new role you’ve been offered at work? Forget about that for a minute. Focus on the fact that you were actually offered the job for a reason!

2. Challenge negative thinking. It’s easy to diminish self-confidence by harboring negative thoughts. But before you accept negative thoughts about yourself as a reality, challenge the thinking.

* Instead of accepting you’re not good enough, take a moment to think about the facts. Have there been instances which support your negative thinking? If the answer is yes, then remind yourself of your many positive experiences as well.

* Beware of thought patterns that can eat away at your self-esteem. Avoid looking at life as “black or white” and live in the grey area sometimes. You may not have one trait or another, but you could have the perfect combination of what you need for your life!

* Always be sure to differentiate between feelings and facts. Just because something makes you feel a particular way doesn’t mean there’s any fact in it.

3. Be kind to yourself. As someone who rarely displays self-confidence, you probably give yourself a hard time and consider yourself inadequate or ill-equipped. But when was the last time you were actually kind to yourself?

* Spend some time each day highlighting your positive traits. Remind yourself what makes you beautiful inside and out.

* Celebrate the small successes to help remind yourself that you’re actually more amazing than you give yourself credit for.

* Try spending some time with positive people. Their energy rubs off quite easily!

4. Learn to listen to and accept compliments. Most of the time when people say nice things about you, they mean it! Take the time to really hear what positive things are being said about you. Absorb the thought and believe them!

* If someone says you’re beautiful, believe them!

* Spend some time listening to the kind things said by others. And remember to say thanks each time. It helps to cement the positive thoughts in your mind.

During the next 30 days, be patient with yourself. Consider each of these tips on a daily basis. Gradually, as with anything else, practicing self-confidence becomes second nature.

In no time, you’ll see the world is in the palm of your hand. And you’ll hear every opportunity calling your name. Aren’t you excited for that time? Start building your confidence now and soon it will be yours forever!

Become More Optimistic in Just Two Weeks

Do you spend a lot of time contemplating how badly situations can turn out? If so, it sounds like you’re a bit of a pessimist. In your mind’s eye, you picture the world crashing down around you. You always expect things to go in favor of another person instead of you.

It’s easy to fall under the spell of negative thinking. This is especially true when you’ve had some negative experiences. Now is the time to get out of that negative mindset.

With the pointers you’re about to read, you’ll successfully be able to turn from a pessimistic person into an optimistic one. The best part is that you can actually become more positive and less negative in two weeks or less!

Implement these strategies to become a more optimistic individual:

1. Count your blessings. Take a moment and write down all the blessings you’ve received in your lifetime. Write the small ones as well as the mammoth ones. Have you run out of paper or gotten blistered fingers? Both are signs of a multitude of blessings!

* A pessimist has no place counting blessings! Therefore, put aside your negative thinking and celebrate the positives that have happened in your lifetime.

* How many times have you confidently achieved success? It’s probably because you believed in yourself. If you did it then, you can do it now.

* Use your past positive experiences to fuel your drive to become a more positive person.

2. Recite your strengths in the mirror. Self-doubt brings about feelings of inadequacy. Then, you end up believing that you may not be good at anything. But is that really the case? When was the last time you took a moment to consider your strengths?

* Stand in front of your mirror today and recite your strengths. And yes, you have them! Your positive attributes are what got you all those blessings in the first place!

* Think about ways in which others have counted on you in the past. Why do you think they chose to rely on you? Because they know you have a great skill set.

* If you used a particular strength in the past, you can use it again for another mission.

3. Search for the good in situations. Even when things seem to be at their worst, there’s always a bright spot or a lesson to be learned. If you take the time, you’ll find that there’s something good in each of life’s situations.

* Even though something may cause you to feel sad, consider the possible joy of having a weight lifted off your shoulders.

* It may seem to you that you’ve failed at something. But truth be told, you may have succeeded at finally finding the right path for yourself.

4. Accept life’s journeys. Remember that you may not have everything going your way. That’s just the way life is. Accept the journey you’re on, knowing that you’re meant for that path.

* The sooner you accept a particular outcome, the easier it may be to move on and start fresh.

* Rejoice in the positive outcomes of others. You’re meant to live in harmony with the rest of the world. Use their joy as an opportunity for your own happiness.

5. Remember the sun rises. Bear in mind that the world doesn’t end with your negative experiences! After the disappointment, you go to bed and awaken to a new morning. Each sunrise provides another opportunity to succeed!

As you can see, it’s all about adjusting your thoughts. Changing how you process experiences can make it easier to become optimistic. Avoid allowing the outcome of one experience to determine how you’ll handle the next. Take each situation at face value with a bright smile and positive outlook!

Adversity is Guaranteed but Misery is Optional

You’ve seen the stories where an average person successfully bounces back from great adversity. People like this know to move forward and start over again. Why is it that some people seem to bounce back from any sort of adversity and others do not?

Resilience is important. It’s the main character trait that determines whether someone is able to dust himself off and get back into the game of life.

Some people are practically destroyed by misfortune and are very good at remaining a victim. But others come back even stronger from adversity. People that are very resilient have some unique traits.

Researchers have shown that resilient people are:

1. Optimistic about the future. Current challenges are viewed as temporary. There is a real expectation that things will improve in the near future. Only when you’re lucky will you get more than you expect, so it’s wise to expect more of what you want!

2. Accepting of bad times. They realize that bad things are bound to happen. They accept it with a minimal amount of emotional fuss. Consider that getting upset has never been a genuine solution for any problem.

3. Aware of their strengths. They have faith in themselves and believe they can be successful with their knowledge and abilities. Remember that it’s difficult to take action when you expect to fail.

4. Focused on what they can change. They don’t worry about the things that are out of their influence or control. They focus on changing the things that can be changed.

5. Active. Resilient people don’t wait for someone else to come and save them. They take action and do everything they can to help themselves.

6. Forward-looking and understand that you must sometimes take risks. Those with a high-degree of resiliency look at the possibilities and are willing to take on a reasonable degree of risk to create an even better future.

Do you have these traits? Are you willing to do something to improve your resiliency? It has been suggested that the ability to respond strongly in the face of adversity has a genetic component. Some people are simply born with a greater capacity to deal with challenging times than others.

However, we all have some capacity for rising to deal with adversity. For example, at some point, you’ve probably misplaced your keys in the morning. You probably didn’t instantly say to yourself, “Well the day is lost. I’m going back to bed.” You decided to look for your keys and continued looking until you found them.

Try these tips to strengthen your resilience:

1. Force yourself to focus on the positives. Think about all the things you have in your favor. Things are better than you think. Focusing on your shortcomings is a good way to stop yourself dead in your tracks.

2. Think about the most resilient people you know. How would they handle your challenging situation? What can you learn from them?

3. Focus on solutions. Think about how you can solve your dilemma. Avoid wallowing over the dilemma itself.

4. Call on friends and family for support. Everything seems easier with a little help and support. Make new friends when you have the opportunity. The stronger your network, the easier your life will be.

Adversity is a fact of life. But you can choose how you’re going to handle that adversity. Just because you’ve struggled to overcome obstacles in the past doesn’t mean that pattern must continue.

Develop your resilience to the highest possible level. Be too strong to worry and focus on solutions and the exciting future that awaits you!

A Fool-Proof Formula For Getting Your Boss to Trust You

Your relationship with your boss plays a big part in determining your job satisfaction and opening up opportunities for career advancement. Seize every chance to gain the confidence and trust of your boss. Whether you’re new to the company or you’ve been on the job for years, there are many ways to make yourself a greater asset.

Steps to Take When You’re Thinking of Joining a Company

1. Conduct research. You and your boss are likely to hit it off if you’re both passionate about the organization you work for. As soon as you get an interview, check out the company website and press coverage to see if it seems like a good fit.

2. Evaluate investments in employee development. You can tell a lot about management by their employee development programs. Find out what’s available in terms of education and training.

3. Ask questions. An interview works best as a two way conversation. Request the information you need to make an informed decision.

4. Meet your supervisor. Your first contacts may be with the human resources staff. Try to get a chance to talk directly with your future boss before you accept a job offer.

5. Understand the organizational culture. It’s a promising sign when your boss and you both mesh with the culture of the company. See if you’re on the same page when it comes to typical issues like customer service and financial management.

Steps to Take After You’re On the Job

1. Practice attentive listening. Good communication makes all the difference. Listen carefully to your boss to be clear about what is expected. Clarify the details and express your enthusiasm.

2. Work as a team. Reach out to your co-workers. Share information and offer your assistance during busy times. A team approach is good for everyone involved.

3. Create solutions. Think of every challenge as an opportunity to shine. Approach your boss with your analysis of the situation and multiple proposals for how to make things better.

4. Focus on results. Keep a record of what you contribute to the company. Talk in terms of numbers like increased website visitors and sales. Or keep track of the extra hours you work and the money you save the company.

5. Give out praise. Bosses need positive feedback too. Congratulate your boss after a big deal is closed. Comment on the special skills and abilities you notice.

6. Take initiative. Go beyond your job description. Be proactive. Pitch in wherever needed and assume greater responsibility without being asked.

7. Be accountable. If you’re willing to take risks, you’ll probably make an occasional mistake. Own up to your errors promptly and graciously. Reassure your boss that you’re reliable even when things go south.

Steps to Take Anytime

1. Establish boundaries. Work relationships sometimes turn into personal friendships. On the other hand, you may want to set limits on the amount of sensitive information you want to share with your supervisor. In any case, be clear about your comfort level and stick to it.

2. Avoid favoritism. While there may be temporary advantages in getting special treatment, favoritism can backfire. Abide by the rules and encourage fair treatment for everybody.

3. Have a life outside of work. As much as you may grow to love your job and your boss, it’s wise to nourish other aspects of your life. Spend time with family friends. Devote your leisure time to activities that make you happy. Take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Use your skills and positive attitude to impress your boss. As many companies try to operate on a leaner budget these days, you’ll stand out as a star employee who brings value to the organization. That gives you increased job security and a strong foundation for building a rewarding career.

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