The internet is a wonderful, terrible place! Filled with information, content, opinions, many of us turn to the web to find answers, solve problems and get information, but I think it’s resulted in a gradual and general lessening of our own critical thinking skills. In this day and age, with so much information, content and advertising being thrown at us from every angle, I think it’s more important than ever that we be able to discern what information is real and what information actually matters to us and our lives. That last part is interesting, isn’t it? You’d think that we know what information pertains to us that we need to pay attention to, but actually, I find that many people spend and waste time on information that is of no essential use to them and ultimately allows it to detract from key information they may critically need. From a productivity standpoint, I find that talking and working with my students on overcoming issues of prioritization and task management ultimately leads to the solution of needing better critical thinking skills to better filter out relevant work from busy-work. The distinction between which makes the difference between a successful worker and an overwhelmed one! So let’s discuss critical thinking skills now and uncover some ways to improve them.
What are Critical Thinking Skills?
In order to improve on your critical thinking skills, I think it’s first important that you understand what critical thinking skills actually are! Critical thinking is defined as “the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” (Via CriticalThinking.org) Essentially, critical thinking skills are the ability to process information accurately so that you can then act on that information correctly.
Why are Critical Thinking Skills Important?
I’ve already given you some food for thought in the introduction of this post as to why critical thinking skills might be important to you, however, there are many more key applications and reasons why you would want to pay attention to how developed your critical thinking skills are and even make an effort towards improving them. On a very basic level, everyone has some critical thinking skills, as all of us think and use the information that we receive to do everything from basic mundane tasks to complicated projects and problem solving. All of us are wired within our brains to use the information around us in order to keep ourselves alive- this is basic human instinct, and because of this our default state is to use information selfishly to our own gain. Ever talk to someone who could take anything you said and find a reasoning why they are right and you are wrong? That’s the self preservation bias of our brains at work manipulating reasoning to make an argument that supports our own personal world view. The problem is, with something like 7 billion people on the planet, most people have completely unique world views and experiences. Yes, there may be areas of overlap, but no two people have the same life so no two people have the same world view. Which means that when we have to interact with others, which is quite often, in order to manage our lives to the best of our ability and move ourselves forward, we need to have more advanced critical thinking skills so we can solve problems.
How can We Improve Our Critical Thinking Skills?
As I mentioned earlier in the definition of critical thinking, these skills are a discipline, which means that you can develop them or you can loose them if you don’t actively use them. Think of your critical thinking skills like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets, but the more you ignore it, the weaker it gets. So, if you want to grow your skills, you will need to take a disciplined approach to exercising them. So here are three strategies I recommend making a regular part of your day if you want to see an improvement in your critical thinking skills.
#1. Question Everything
Most of us receive information and we just accept it. No questions asked, someone online states a fact and we believe them! Doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong, we blindly accept what we are being told. Now, I blame part of this on our educational upbringings that have conditioned us to accept the ideas and information of those in a position of power (even if that position is purely imagined) and society generally rewards people for not asking questions and just accepting things at face value. Accepting what we are told is easy- that’s for sure, but putting your brain on autopilot will not improve your critical thinking skills. So, when you are given information, any information, get into the habit of questioning it. Ask yourself “why” something is happening or whether or not something is true or false. Evaluate the information and think about it before just passively accepting it. Now, this does NOT mean you need to voice your questioning to others publicly. If your boss gives you an assignment, you don’t need to ask them “why” they are assigning it or what the purpose is if you don’t already know, but on your own time, think about why and question what you are being asked to do. It is only once you have formed a clear opinion or come to a reasonable conclusion that some task might be unnecessary or that certain information you received may be erroneous that you can bring it to the attention of others. Critical thinking is not about speaking before you know, its about thinking before you act.
#2. Face Problems Head On
It seems quite clear that the default mode for human behavior is to avoid problems and conflicts. This isn’t true of everyone, those who enjoy drama and manipulation due to an overactive need for self preservation love to exploit conflict, but most people avoid it if they can. People even go as far out of their way as possible NOT to solve a problem, mostly because they are afraid they won’t be able to solve it, which would conflict with our sense of self preservation that often tells us not to do something we can’t do in case it makes us look bad. No wonder the world has a disproportionate problem to problem solver ratio! Well, if you want to develop your own critical thinking skills, you need to break the cycle and face problems head on. Don’t avoid them, address them as soon as you are made aware of them, and begin using your reasoning to question and understand the situation and ways you can solve it. You will not be able to solve 100% of the problems that you face, but you will fail to solve 100% of those you choose to ignore.
#3. Understand and Overcome Your Perspective
As mentioned earlier, each of us has a world view or perspective that is unique to our personal experience in life, the preservation of which is a primary function of our egos. We’ve all heard anecdotes about how letting our egos get in the way can stop us from solving problems and making progress, and it really is true, when we rely too heavily on our own perspective and fail to understand the perspectives of others, conflict ultimately arrises. Now, I’m not suggesting that you make it your mission to understand the perspectives of everyone else in the world- that’s an impossible task and one that really won’t help you improve your critical thinking skills in the near future. Instead, what you can do is to seek to understand your own world view, personal biases and perspective so that you can consciously overcome your ego during moments of potential conflict. So, how do we seek to understand our world view? Again, ask yourself some questions, especially around your values and beliefs. If you struggle to identify what your values and beliefs are, you need only to turn on some 24 hour news coverage to hear the stories of the day and pay attention to your opinions on issues. Many people find that when it comes to their personal values or beliefs they “tow a line” for some prescribed ideology or another, without truly understanding or even caring about the issues at hand. Again, the default for human beings is not to question, to avoid problems and to protect ourselves in a conflict, but when you force your attention on your values and seek to understand why you are partial to one thing over another, you may find that long held beliefs seem irrational to you or things you thought were important to you really don’t matter much. Understanding your world view isn’t something you will be able to achieve overnight, and like the previous two strategies, it requires a discipline to execute in order to improve your critical thinking skills overall.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and the concept of improving your critical thinking skills. I’d love to know what you thought of this topic and any specific areas you may be interested in having me explore in a future post to round out this conversation and provide additional detail or insight. Leave me a comment or question below!
Rules. We like to make them, we like to break them, and whether or not you know it, we all live by a set of rules we have already written for ourselves subconsciously. Successful people are aware of their rules, and in fact, intentionally craft and monitor them to ensure that they are consistently operating at a high level and making progress towards their greatest purpose in life. The other week, I wrote about getting started with personal development for those who are new to the concept. In that post, that you can read here, I discussed how the first step to developing yourself on a personal level is to audit yourself and your current situation in life. Today, I want to share with you a list of 10 Rules for Living a Charmed Life that I myself and many of the world’s most successful individuals follow. As you read through these rules, audit your life and think about subconscious rules you may live by that conflict with any of these. You may find that areas of your life that aren’t going as planned may result from following the wrong rules.
Rule #1: Live Within Your Means
The most basic financial principle and recipe for a balanced life of more happiness and less stress is to spend less than you earn.
Rule #2: Design Your Ideal Life
You are the master of your own destiny and it is up to you to take control of your life choices to build the life you want.
Rule #3: Be Present
You achieve a powerful sense of focus when you are able to keep your mind on the present moment by not thinking about passed actions or worrying about future ones.
Rule #4: Practice Gratitude
One who practices gratitude regularly will learn that they are, in fact, the luckiest person in the world.
Rule #5: Follow Your Passion
If you are looking to find meaning for your life and joy in your work, the best course of action is to follow your passion.
Rule #6: Create Your Own Opportunity
Not everyone is given the same opportunities in life, but you can make your own when you make a plan and work to execute.
Rule #7: Make Your Own Luck
If you want something to happen, you need to be willing to make it happen.
Rule #8: Love Yourself First
No one will ever be as important to your life as you are, so make sure you take care of yourself first and foremost.
Rule #9: Surround Yourself with Friends & Family
No one is alone in this world no matter how much they believe they are. There is a community around you willing to support you whether that is the family you are born into or the family you create for yourself.
Rule #10: Love Fearlessly
There is no greater risk with any greater reward than to love.
The New Year has begun and most of us are starting our first full week of work for the year, myself included! Can you believe, I still don’t have my goals for the year properly worked out? I know, I know, so unlike me, but it’s not for a lack of trying, I promise. I’ve worked out most of my business goals and projects- that is usually the easy part for me in my goal setting process and how I spent a majority of my work time in December, but on a personal development level, I’m struggling to make heads or tails of what I want to come for the year. So, I’m going back to basics this week, breaking out my You Got This Workbook, and following my streamlined procedure for setting my goals! You’d think I’d have this process down by now, but realistically, goal setting is only something I do on a yearly basis so it’s helpful for me to have the goal setting process codified as a system to review, even if I DID right the book on it! If you don’t have my You Got This Workbook, it’s my Strategic Goal Setting and Planning Guide to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Organize Your Life and you can get your copy of this digital PDF workbook here. If not, today I want to share you with you the simple process outlined in the book to get you started working out how you will make this Your Best Year Yet!
Step 1: Figure Out What You Want
The first step to goal setting is always understanding what you want, and I will warn you, this is one of the hardest parts of the goal setting process for me, as well as many others I’ve spoken to! While some of us wake up knowing exactly what we want from life, others find identifying their passions or desires difficult. It’s no surprise really, we live in a world of immediate gratification, where hustle and busy-ness are hailed as the pinnacle of human achievement. Identifying your passions and true desires requires stillness and quiet time in reflection to get outside ourselves and see a big picture for our lives. Does this mean you will need to plan out everything for your life long term? Certainly not, but the more you can identify about the life you want to live, the more inspiration you will have to begin designing your ideal life and identifying the specific goals and projects you will set to make that life a reality.
TRY THIS:Meditate on your life, taking inventory of your current life, what you have and don’t have, and what lifetime achievements you’ve hit or have yet to meet until you can make a list of the goals you are interested in achieving.
Step 2: Focus on Timing
Once you have identified what you want to achieve in your life, for either the near future or long term, the next step in the goal setting process is to get focused on what you will do this year to move your goals forward. After step 1, you most likely have a long list of things you want to do or achieve and the worst thing you can do is take the list as-is and start on everything. In order to achieve goals and success, you need FOCUS. This means you will need to take that list of goals you have and deciding when in your life you want them to happen. According to renowned success coach Tony Robbins “most people overestimate how much they can do in a year and underestimate how much they can do in ten years.” Although you may approach your goal setting process with a sense of urgency, you need to be realistic about what you will be able to do in the coming year. Take it slow and steady, choose the essential goals that you can realistically achieve this year and then break out your other goals and dreams into time frames for your life. There is a time and a place for everything in life, so think about where your goals belong in terms of the order you should achieve things and which time period in your life would be the best time to achieve which goal.
TRY THIS:List out your goals into a logical order of events. Don’t worry yourself too much about expectations in terms of when people “normally” achieve x in their life, unless age is truly a factor to consider. For example, for a woman having children can only occur within a specific time frame naturally, unless you are open to adoption which widens that scope. Achieving a college education can happen at any age of life, but it would be necessary for you to achieve a specific degree before you can reach a specific career goal related to it.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Now that you have identified what you will focus on for this coming year, the next step in this goal setting process is to make a plan for how you will achieve the goals you’ve set this year. Keep in mind that you can very well start on goals this year that you don’t intend to finish this year, as some goals (like going to college) take years to achieve. In order to achieve anything, however, you need to make a plan for how you will get from where you are right now to success with your goal. Personally, I try to keep my plans as simple as possible. Another common mistake I see people make with their goals is that they try to throw every solution at the goal and do more than is necessary, which ends up leading to overwhelm and failure to achieve the goal. If you have no clue how to achieve something or how to simplify the process, find someone with experience and ask them how they did it! They will most likely be able to give you feedback on the steps and direction you should take with your goal and give you information on things they did that was a waste of time for them. The more research you can do to make a simple plan to achieve success, the more likely it is that you will reach your goals!
TRY THIS:Turn your goals into project plans and break out as many steps as you can think of to track your goal and progress. This will be a customizable roadmap you can use to stay on track. You Got This includes key project planning pages you can use to break down your goals and detailed instructions for completing this process but you can also use my project planning bundle if you want to keep your projects in your planner as I do!
Step 4: Make a Change
Many goals we set for ourselves require us to make some changes in our life to support them. For example, if you set a goal for weight loss, it means you need to make lifestyle changes that help you avoid temptation and stay on track with healthy habits. For each goal, think about what changes you need to make in your life to support the success of that goal. After all, our habits define us and it’s the little things we do or don’t do each day that determine if we will be successful in practically everything in life. Don’t think you need to change your whole life and every habit or routine, but evaluate how changing your actions could support the achievement of a goal.
TRY THIS:Consider what one change you can make in your life or habits right now that will support your success with one of your goals. If you can think of more than one, really focus in on choosing one essential change that will make the biggest impact on whether or not you are successful.
Step 5: Execute!
Now, the hard part (second only to step 1) actually making it happen and executing on your plans. The easiest way to achieve anything in life is to have a good plan and solid work ethic- other than that, there really aren’t many shortcuts you can take. Before you achieve anything in life- any goal, any project, anything worth having really- it seems impossible, but don’t let the work ahead of you scare you. Small steps accumulate into significant progress. If you can commit to doing something everyday to move you closer to your goal, even just a simple little task, before long you will see progress. The best advice I have for you at this point is to focus on the next task on the list, instead of reviewing the whole list on a regular basis. If you can focus on what you are doing next, instead of worrying about the next ten things after that, you are less likely to loose motivation and actually get the work done!
TRY THIS:Build yourself an arsenal of motivation and inspiration. Follow specific accounts on Instagram or Twitter, put inspirational quotes around your workspace or make a vision board! Whatever you can do to keep yourself focused on the outcome and not the work, the more likely you are to achieve that big, scary goal!
I would bet that at some point in your life, you began a process of personal development. Perhaps this was in order to secure an education, skills or opportunity that you were interested in. Perhaps you tried to take control of your health, schedule, or habits. Whether or not you were successful, I could guess that you started the endeavor and then either completed the task in the form of short term gratification, or slowly phased it out of your life, perhaps unknowingly! Personal development as a concept is incredibly multifaceted. There are so many options we can take to start the process of bettering ourselves in one or many aspects of our lives, but before that process even begins and in order to make the process successful, we need to start by understanding what personal development is all about.
“Strive for Progress, Not Perfection.”
What is Personal Development?
Personal development is a lifelong process people undertake to understand, improve and execute on their capacity and potential. For each person, this will mean developing different skills, setting unique goals and integrating specific techniques into their life routinely. While personal development as a pursuit never truly ends during your life, your approach towards it and your milestones may be fulfilled or ended giving you the impression of achievement.
What are the roadblocks to Personal Development?
The knowledge that personal development is a lifelong process is the biggest misunderstanding or roadblock that ultimately keeps people from fulfilling their potential. Most of us want things have a clear start and end or we feel overwhelmed, but truly our natures are geared towards ongoing progress through habit and routine, so understanding that your personal development needs to be integrated as a habit or routine increases your chances of success.
What do we need to do before we begin Personal Development?
Depending on the metaphorical level you are coming in at, we all have different needs to get started, but the one thing we all must do before we begin is to acknowledge that we want to improve and which area of our life we want to be better. This could mean enhancing an area that is already doing well or filling in an area that is empty or lacking.
What is the first step we should take towards Personal Development?
Although all our needs and goals will be different, the first thing that I find helpful to do is to do a self-audit. Think about where are are currently in life over multiple factors and how our current skills, knowledge, and habits keep us stuck in this place. Getting a big picture understanding is a great way to take the first step down the road to personal development because it can give us clarity into the direction we want to take and guide our choices in terms of how we want to spend our time developing.
I hope this post has given you an solid foundation to understanding personal development so you can get started on your journal for self improvement in the future. I’d love to create a series around this topic, so please feel free to send me your questions and issues with personal development and I would love to create some resources for you on the blog to help you find success!
They say if you control your habits, you control your life! So, I’ve been collecting and refining a list of actions or activities that I think are essential for us to master and turn into habits in our lives. They are broken down into ten major areas or categories of life that cover nearly every situation. I don’t expect anyone to turn all 100 into habits in life, certainly not every action applies to every person, but if you’re looking to improve your life in any of these ten areas, there will be a habit to master that I’m sure you don’t have down yet! I hope this inspires you to make little changes in your life that add up to big things!
1. Drink half you weight in ounces of water (150lbs > 75oz)
2. Serve yourself slightly smaller portions at meal time
3. Take any opportunity to walk
4. Wash your hands after you finish in the bathroom
5. Meal Plan
6. Eat home cooked meals most of the week
7. Stretch in bed before you exit
8. Never skip your annual health exams
9. Brush your teeth everyday
10. Wear seasonally appropriate clothing
11. Say please and thank you
12. Hold the door for strangers
13. Talk to members of your immediate family weekly and extended family regularly
14. Interact with your friends on social media
15. Send loved ones birthday cards in the mail
16. Send thank you cards for the gifts you receive
17. Set a regular date night with your significant other
18. Be the first to apologize and the first to forgive
19. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to like you
20. Kill ‘em with kindness
21. Create a simple morning routine
22. Create a simple evening routine
23. Spent time visualizing your goals while you are in the shower
24. Create your own personal empowerment Mantra
25. Spend at least one evening a week on self care
26. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier
27. Never go to bed before removing your makeup
28. Never go to bed before removing your jewelry
29. Say YES to experiences that scare you
30. Say NO to experiences that do not serve you
31. Spend time in quiet reflection daily
32. Accept your limitations
33. Surrender your sense of control
34. Have integrity in all that you do
35. Have grace with yourself and others
36. Seek to find the activities and people that light you up
37. Be generous with others
38. Let go of your ego
39. Ask for forgiveness
40. Always believe in the impossible
41. Use a planner
42. Batch your work
43. Set your top 3 priorities each day
44. Silence your phone and notifications while you work
45. Write everything down
46. Get down to inbox zero on a weekly basis
47. Block out time for important tasks
48. Be clear on your priorities
49. Accept that you won’t always get everything done
50. Never be afraid to ask for help
51. Find a mentor
52. Find someone to mentor
53. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
54. Accept responsibility for your mistakes immediately
55. Take criticism with grace
56. Work hard even when your boss isn’t watching
57. Turn off from work when you get home
58. Volunteer for new opportunities and challenges
59. Make your voice heard in meetings
60. Always ask for what you’re worth
61. Read one book a month
62. Keep a journal
63. Cook for pleasure
64. Find a physical hobby
65. Plan one no-tech evening a week
66. Limit your screen time
67. Spend time outside in nature often
68. Keep a list of things you’d like to try in your free time
69. Explore your city
70. Spend more time creating than consuming
71. Make your bed as soon as you wake
72. Never let a wet towel touch the floor
73. Never let dishes sit in the sink
74. Keep money organized in your wallet
75. Clean out your bag at the end of the day
76. Establish a home care routine
77. Discard damaged clothing
78. Keep your contacts up to date
79. Discard and replace expired products
80. Don’t treat your vehicle like a storage unit
Community & Charity
81. Find a charity to contribute to regularly
82. Donate your old clothing
83. Pay for the coffee of a person behind you in line
84. Follow local news
85. Be friendly towards your neighbors
86. Practice safe driving
87. Support local small businesses
88. Greet your mail carriers by name
89. Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store
90. Be kind to everyone you meet
Money & Finance
91. Carry cash and change with you
92. Pay off your credit card balance each month
93. Spend less than you earn
94. Save at least 10% of everything you make
95. Start a retirement account and contribute to it monthly
96. Pay your bills on time
97. Don’t open credit accounts at every store you visit
98. Set up dedicated savings accounts for major purchases
99. Put extra money towards paying down debt
100. Check your bank balances and card statements weekly
What actions on this list do you plan to work on for your own personal development? I’d love to hear about your plan in the comments!
What Nobody Tells You About Self Care, and How to Start or Break a Habit
If you remember, my theme for the month of September has been self care and throughout this month, I shared some different topics in my blog and on YouTube to outline my experience of learning to take better care of myself and my priorities. So, I thought that for my link roundup this month, I would try to focus on self-care, habits and motivation to help you make a positive change in your life as well!
Mentorship is an essential part of life no matter what industry you work in or life path you have chosen. We all learn from watching others and following the examples laid before us. There are definitely times in our lives where this relationship is methodically practiced, for example, in school or through athletic organizations, most people have a mentor whether they call it that or not. Teachers, coaches, counselors, and parents all take on these roles as we develop into adulthood but after graduation it tends to get a little more difficult to find a mentor and because of that, I think many people tend to stumble through their lives without clear direction for a distinct period of time. If you are looking for guidance in your life, career or business, but struggle to find someone who is willing and able to give you advice and help set a positive example for you, I am going to share some tips I have learned about finding a mentor.
What is a mentor?
The dictionary defines mentor as “an experienced and trusted advisor.” Pretty straight forward. Expanding on that, I consider a mentor to be someone who has done the things you want to do or has a certain perspective that you need, and they are willing to share their experience with you. Mentorship is a simple, almost one-sided relationship that I think many people over estimate and almost romanticize. Although some mentors may be very invested in their mentee and have a close personal relationship with them, that really isn’t what the relationship is about. I know for a long time, I thought a mentor would be some high level VP who took me under their wing and showed me the ropes, spending personal time in developing my career and skills, but the truth of that matter is that not many people, if any, are going to be that invested in helping you advance. This is why I think it’s very hard for many of us to find a mentor. We might have the wrong expectations and therefore misidentify a possible mentorship opportunity. When it all boils down, finding a mentor requires you to take control of your own destiny in order to find the person or people who can help you make it a reality.
Where do you find a mentor?
For most people, a mentor may be someone at work who has their next level job and they feel comfortable going to that person for career advice or for insight into their work. It could be a co-worker who has worked at your organization for a longer period of time who may have certain skills you don’t have and may be willing to teach you. Or a mentor could be someone with a job or career you would like, who you network with and pick their brain over coffee or lunch dates. You may have one or any number of mentors right now in your life that you haven’t actually identified as such. Do you have any co-workers or professional acquaintances that fit this description?
If you don’t currently have a mentor or you want to find another, identifying your mentor depends on what end you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to find a certain skill? Trying to advance in or even change your career? Perhaps you are starting your own business enterprise and need advice? And don’t think that mentors are only for work! Even new mothers, students, and those trying to make a change in their personal lives need mentorship and advice! Step number one is to identify what you are trying to achieve that you need help or insight with!
The next step to finding a mentor is to identify a pool of individuals that you know have the experience you would like to have. This could be friends, family members, co-workers, even professional coaches or consultants! I think many people misunderstand the mentor relationship and think that you need to know the person in real life to get their help, but there are many professionals who have built their careers on giving advice on certain topics and you have to keep in mind that as mentorship is a very one-sided relationship, if you want or need consistent advice and support, your best option may be to pay someone who has experience.
Now the third and final step to finding a mentor is to approach each of your candidates by floating a question by them. You can call them, send them an email, or visit them in person and ask a very straightforward question that you need answered to help you with your goal. Some people will be receptive and helpful to your question and others will dismiss you. This process will help you identify who is willing to help you and who is not. From their answer, I say go with your gut feeling on who you trust and want advice from and pursue the relationship that feels best to you.
How to establish a relationship with a mentor?
Once you find someone who has the knowledge, skill, or experience you are looking for and has shown that they are receptive to helping you, I think the most professional and straight forward thing to do is to schedule some time with the individual, let them know that you are looking for help with X and would they be willing to provide some insight from time to time if you have questions. You don’t need to say “will you be my mentor,” in fact, unless they use that word, I would avoid it completely, but you do need to establish how best to communicate with them regularly going forward so that you are respectful of their time. For some, this means you may take your mentor out for lunch or coffee on a monthly or quarterly basis. Or it may mean that they have an open door or email policy with you for questions. This is very important that you establish the way you will communicate with them, because if you skip this, you may become an annoyance to the mentor and they may shut you out completely. Here is a sample conversation if you are unsure how to word it.
“Hi, MENTOR NAME. I am in the process of trying to do X and I know you have some experience with this. Would you mind if we scheduled some time for us to talk about this because I have some questions and I’d appreciate your advice. I’d love to take you to lunch or meet you for coffee one day if you have the time.”
Okay, so once you have that initial meeting set up, make sure to do your due diligence and come prepared with thoughtful questions. No matter how little you already know about your goal or how much you believe your mentor knows, it’s never appropriate to ask for general advice. You need to have questions and specific topics prepared or else you will end up with useless information from your mentor, or worse, ruin your relationship with them by showing your ignorance. It’s one thing to need advice from a mentor, but quite another to expect them to teach you everything you need to know.
If you are successful with scheduling an initial meeting and you have come prepared with your questions and feel confident that you and your mentor elect are hitting it off, you will want to establish an ongoing relationship with the mentor before the end of that meeting. So, at some point at the end of your conversation you want to thank them for their advice, tell them how much you value their opinion and then ask if it is okay for you to follow up with one-off questions in the future and how best to do so. Below is a sample of what you can say if you aren’t sure how to proceed, and if for some reason you miss this step or your conversation gets cut short, make sure to reach out to your mentor as soon as possible to thank them and establish that ongoing relationship. Adjust the following according to your situation.
“Well MENTOR NAME, this conversation has been very helpful to me and I truly appreciate having your insight. I have a lot to think about and process but if I have additional questions in the future, would you mind if we stayed in touch through emails or the occasional office visit?”
Depending on your situation, your relationship to the mentor, and the goal you are trying to accomplish, play it by ear how often you may need to contact them, and of course make sure to be aware of their feelings and reactions during these conversations. Most people will understand that you are coming to them as a mentor and will play along beautifully, but others may be oblivious to the ongoing relationship you are establishing. If you see that you are getting some resistance to future communications, pull back a bit and let them have their way. You don’t want to damage any future relationship by pushing them.
Obviously, this situation will play itself out quite differently if you choose to meet with a professional coach or consultant. That type of situation is much more direct, but of course, there are things to keep in mind when working with a professional as well. Please feel free to let me know if you would like me to write a piece on choosing and working with professional coaches and consultants and I would be more than happy to share my experience and give you some insight to help you make the most of that type of relationship as well! Of course, if you have any other questions about finding a mentor, let me know in the comments and I’d be glad to help! Or if you want to work with me one-on-one, check out my Empire Building online business program which is the formal way I work with clients to help them build their online businesses!
I have been using the internet and social media for a long time now and I have seen (and made) many mistakes in terms of proper etiquette when interacting with others online. When it comes to digital decorum, there are certain rules of social order that still apply to our virtual interactions so we don’t end up with any follower faux pas or internet indecency. Today I want to share with you my Essential Guide to Social Media Etiquette where I’ll be covering the three golden rules of online etiquette and nine common situations where those rules apply. Now you have no excuse not to make the best impression possible on your online platforms!
Golden Rule #1: Treat others the way you wish to be treated
… When tagging people
If you are tagging other people, brands or businesses in your social media posts, it’s very important that you remember to treat people the way you would want to be treated. Tagging dozens of people in posts that don’t really apply to them is an annoyance, and overly tagging the same individuals over and over when you are not associated with them is just poor form. No one wants to be spammed online, so make sure you tread respectfully whenever you involve others in content.
… When leaving or responding to comments
Most people don’t like criticism, negativity or drama directed at them so make sure when you are leaving comments or responding to them that you are respectful to the feelings of others. Internet communication is always a little more difficult than communication in real life, so make sure to go out of your way to be very clear about your meaning in your remarks, even if you feel like your being a little ridiculous in spelling it out, it’s better to bear the brunt of that yourself than to inadvertently embarrass or upset others.
… When scrolling through your feed
Think about it, the whole purpose of social media is to become more social with people we may not see or know personally, so if you are scrolling through your feed and see that others are sharing news, either positive or negative, make sure to take the time to leave a comment of congratulations or empathy. If you were sharing news online, I’m sure you would be eager to get feedback. Likewise, if you have taken the time to follow someone, try to engage with their content as often as you can. Ghost followers are such a disheartening situation so make sure to reach out and be social with those you follow!
Golden Rule #2: Err on the side of grace
… When you see negative comments
I know first hand how uncomfortable it can be to see a comment from someone that seems negative, however, like I explained above, internet communication is hard and you should never make assumptions about what people really mean when they leave an unclear or uncomfortable comment. Many times people try to be helpful and engaged by leaving a comment that may not be 100% positive, but they shared because they care about you. Don’t take things personally, especially when you don’t know someone and their personality. You could end up reacting poorly in return or hurting your mental state by jumping to conclusions. If anything, make sure to respond politely and if you are unclear to their meaning, ask for clarification!
… When you suspect a copycat
Too often I see individuals online calling out or complaining about people copying their work and I think it creates a very uncomfortable situation on your platform for yourself and others. I firmly believe that there are really no original ideas left and that it’s common for many people to be doing and talking about the same things, especially if those people are operating in the same industry or have many interests in common. Instead of calling out a copycat that may be upsetting you, you should always reach out with grace, never accusingly, and clear the air. I bet you may find that more often than not, you have a kindred spirit you weren’t aware of!
… When you feel overwhelmed by content
As someone who runs an online business full time, I am often on the internet many hours a day digesting a lot of different content and that can lead to some overwhelming situations. I personally find that when I am consuming too much content, my personal style in terms of my own content will change or skew a bit, leaving me feeling lost and off message. It’s very important in those situations that I have grace with myself and take a break from consuming content in order to clear my own head. Likewise, I know another common content overload situation can occur when people begin to feel irritated or even jealous of the content of others. It’s very important that you remind yourself often that social media is only a small, curated snippet of real life and that isn’t not something you should be comparing yourself to. Having grace with yourself in this situation will lead you to a more enjoyable social media experience so that you are more likely to have grace with others.
Golden Rule #3: Establish clear boundaries
… When you are sharing content
It’s so important when interacting on social media to establish clear boundaries between yourself and others so that you or your followers don’t overstep and cause any issues or uncomfortable situations. When it comes to sharing your content, you must establish a boundary between the content you deem acceptable to share and the pieces of your life or business that you will be keeping out of the public eye. We live in an world of oversharing and I find that people who share too much of certain things end up creating an atmosphere where there followers often overstep boundaries of acceptable interaction. The best way to prevent unwelcome advice, comments or negativity is to be very clear and consistent with the content you are sharing.
… When you are following others
Social media really does make it so easy for people who have never met to feel a connection. I know that I personally feel like I know many people I have never met before, just because I have followed them for years online. The truth of the matter, however, is that if you have never met or had any significant interaction with people you follow, you don’t know them, you are not friends and you should keep yourself and your boundaries in check when interacting with them via social media. Not only will that prevent uncomfortable situations but it can also keep you from feeling rejection or anxiety over the actions of those you follow.
… When you are self-promoting
It’s so easy when you are looking to promote yourself or your business online to blur boundaries in order to try to make a name for yourself. People often do this by going on a following spree and following lots of different people in an attempt to gain followers and then asking those people to follow you back. I also see people self-promoting by tagging their content with tons of different tags and hashtags in order to increase the chances of people following their account. This pretty much constitutes spamming people and it ends up leading to a situation where you will most likely have followers who are not interested in you and your content and may even target you for spam in the future. If you are truly interested in making a name for yourself, one that is respected and reputable, draw boundaries for your actions and activities online so that you are always putting the most professional version of yourself out into the internet!
I hope this article has taught you about the importance of internet etiquette and that you avoid your own follower faux pas in the future! Social media is such a powerful force for human interconnectivity and just because it may not be a face to face interaction, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat yourself and those you interact with online with respect and dignity. If you have any questions about internet etiquette or need help navigating an uncomfortable social media situation, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to help!
Hey there business and productivity besties! I know it has been a while since I’ve had a link roundup here on the blog but I’m back today with some great links to help inspire you to get your personal development, productivity and business under control just in time for fall!
As always, I hope you enjoyed these articles and found a new great read that was able to help you answer some questions or inspire you to live a little differently. If you have any articles you read and loved lately, please share those in the comments below so we can all check it out! And if you are looking to dive deep into personal development this year, I highly suggest you check out my Charmed Life Master Class! This self-paced ecourse is designed to help you get control of your life, career and relationships through a series of guided lectures and worksheets all for an affordable price. Don’t miss out- get started today!