Learning When to Walk Away

walkawayPhoto courtesy of Rocky Lubbers

As you continue on the path to your best life, it’s only natural that you want to be (now, more than ever) surrounded by like-minded people. After all, the crowd you spend the most time with is very likely to have a significant influence on your state of mind.

Many times we may think that we can help someone else grow and change along with us. If we’re getting better, why can’t they?

If a friend and/or family member expresses an interest in making improvements in his or her life, you’ve struck gold, and the two of you can cheer each other on – all the way to the finish line. However, just because you’re making changes for the better does not mean that everyone else is, too, and this can cause you quite a great deal of strife if you don’t do something about it.

What should you do?

First, you’ll have to silently take stock of which people in your life are the most beneficial to your psyche, and which people are bringing you down. You may find that there are some neutral players in your circle of friends and family – people who neither boost you up nor pull you down. They aren’t causing any problems, so shift your focus away from them and onto anyone that feels like a happiness bandit.

Chances are good that you already know who the Negative Nancy is in your life. Of course, you may have a Pessimistic Paul and a Debbie Downer, too. Determine exactly what it is about these particular people that brings you down the most. Do they constantly complain? Perhaps they always think the worst is going to happen, and are quite vocal about it. Overly controlling people can be quite stress-inducing, as well.

Have a face-to-face discussion wherein you clearly but kindly explain what they do that is upsetting you, or bringing you down. When having this talk, remember to:

  • Start with a positive.  Be sure to express something you love about them before launching into a conversation about what you’d like them to change.
  • Be kind.  Lead by example. Rise above their negativity by showing them respect and kindness during your discussion.
  • Be clear. It’s important that they walk away from the conversation with an understanding of what you need.

Once you’ve taken the time and energy to have a heart-to-heart chat with someone whose values and goals are contrary to your own, give it some time. Remember that significant life changes don’t happen overnight, and the shift may be very small at first.

If, after a pre-determined amount of time, you still feel as though an anchor is attached to both of your legs when in the presence of certain people, you will need to distance yourself from him or her in order to continue your upward momentum. I’m a firm believer in second chances, but I also believe that you reap what you sow. Assuming you’ve been clear about what you need from others during this time in your life, anyone who isn’t responsive to your needs is simply disregarding you, and doesn’t deserve a third, fourth or fifth chance.

Although you may scoff at the idea of ‘walking away’ from a close friend or family member – the alternative is that you continue to spend your precious time with someone who is sucking the life out of you. Whether it is your sister, ‘best’ friend, or even your spouse – you have the power to decide who you want to surround yourself with.

Luckily, “it’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

 

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Can Money Buy You Happiness?

moneytalks2Photo courtesy of Daniel O’Neil

“There are people who have money and people who are rich.”  ~Coco Chanel

It’s a concept that’s been debated for longer than any of us can probably remember: Can money buy you happiness?

Minimalist living has increased in popularity as of late, with its proponents loudly proclaiming that they are happier than ever – that apparently money, and everything that comes along with it, was actually preventing them from living their best lives.

Meanwhile, the “rest of us” continue to daydream about an endless supply of cash that would afford us the ability to stop worrying about our next paycheck and start living it up.

So, which is more desirable – more money or less things?

Researchers at Harvard Business School have been keenly interested in exactly this question – so interested, in fact, that a book on the topic, “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending” has materialized.

According to one of the book’s authors, Harvard Business professor Michael Norton, most people rank experiences, rather than material items, higher on their list of purchases that have given them the most happiness.

In other words, taking an amazing trip with people you love will continue to give you the warm fuzzies a lot longer than that golden toilet you had installed last week. After awhile, the “newness” of the shiny commode will wear off, and it will become just another place to do your best thinking. And what you end up thinking about won’t be the fact that you’re sitting on a golden toilet seat, but the details surrounding the vacation to the Caribbean you took last year. Man, was that fun.

Another example cited by Norton is the thrill of buying a luxury vehicle. While it may seem that driving a brand new, fully loaded luxury car would definitely heighten your enjoyment of a daily commute, in a few weeks the newness will wear off. What you’ll be left with is what you had before: a commute to work. Oh, and when it snows, you’ll still have to dig your luxurious vehicle out, which might even make you vaguely miserable.

Perhaps you’d be better off buying an economy car and hiring someone to shovel you out after each snow storm. The experience of not having to shovel anymore will make you happier much longer than the initial thrill of owning a cool car can last.

In our world, it’s inevitable: money talks. To someone earning $20,000 a year, an extra ten grand has the potential to increase their satisfaction with life – but only if they spend the extra money on making their lives more enjoyable in the long run.

Is Donald Trump happier than you? Not necessarily. I know several pretty wealthy people and they definitely don’t seem to be all that blissed out on life. On the other hand, they probably aren’t sitting around chewing their nails to the quick, worrying about whether or not they can make rent this month.

So, to answer the original question: Can money buy you happiness? The answer is sometimes, but most importantly – only if you spend it right.

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Learning to Put Your Own Happiness First

worryPhoto courtesy of Amanda Lynn

I ask my children every day, “Are you happy today?” I ask my spouse, too. Their satisfaction with life is extremely important to me – but not more important than my own.

While that may sound selfish, it’s actually a very healthy mindset. Many people put everyone else’s needs so high on their list of priorities that they risk their own happiness in the process.

“The Constitution only guarantees [Americans] the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Since it is considered such a “normal” practice to put our own happiness on the backburner – it’s even more critical that we stoke our own fire on a regular basis.

Why should you stop worrying about everyone else all the time and put your own happiness first? There are a lot of reasons! A few of them include:

  • Everyone must figure out how to be happy on their own. At some point, they need the skills to find their happy place without you pointing them to it every single time. They’ll never develop these skills if you don’t let them try.
  • Your own happiness shouldn’t depend on someone else’s. Even if they never find their way to their happy place, you’ve got to be ok with that and be able to be happy anyway.
  • Believe it or not, you don’t hold the only key to happiness.  In fact, if happiness actually is hidden behind a magical door somewhere, everyone holds a key. We all have the skills and abilities required to find our own version of happiness.

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway!), the exception, of course, is very young children. As our children grow, they do need the adults in their lives to guide them along the path of life toward discovering what makes them happy.

In fact, I’m a big proponent of teaching children to live mindfully as young as possible, giving them the skills they’ll need to find extraordinary happiness in simple, everyday activities.

Raising children and finding one’s own happiness can be done! They are not mutually exclusive events, and it has been shown that the best parents are, you guessed it, happy! Taking time out just for yourself and nurturing your inner self is great for you and your children.

The thing that we all need to realize is that our own satisfaction and joy needn’t be derived from someone else. Sure, being a part of their happiness is an amazing thing; however, it’s important to continually practice being happy without watching the smile on someone else’s face.

Instead of tiptoeing around someone else’s mood and holding off your own happiness until they decide to crack a smile, find the closest mirror, and just grin.

Trust the knowledge that the people in your life have what they need to find happiness - they will get happy when they’re ready. In the meantime, you get to be happy now.

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7 Simple Steps to Overcoming Laziness

lazy

Photo courtesy of Matt Erasmus

There have been times in my life when I struggled to overcome what I usually refer to as “sloth-mode.” Many people struggle with this problem – especially in recent times. Virtually everything in our modern world offers increasing amounts of convenience, now allowing us to work, eat, and be entertained all within our own homes. Unfortunately, all of this convenience has led to a society that appears to be rather “lazy.”

What I’ve discovered though, is that while it may seem like laziness, there’s usually something else at play.  Laziness is just a term we’ve invented, and it covers a pretty wide range of behaviors that are, in fact, much deeper than simple laziness. Once you’ve figured out what you’re really dealing with, it’s much easier to get your motivation level up to snuff again.

Do a little self-assessment and determine which of the following best describes what may be causing your so-called “laziness.” Then take the accompanying advice to kick your butt back into gear:

  1. You’re bored. It’s extremely easy to mistake boredom for laziness. If you’re not excited about something, why bother, right? If boredom really is the issue, you’ll need to make a few changes and pursue something that interests you, if possible, or find a way to make what you are doing more interesting.
  2. You’re tired. When you’re not well-rested, the chances of you feeling inspired and motivated are extremely low. Work on getting an extra hour of sleep every night and see if your slump lifts.
  3. You’re disorganized. It’s difficult to get started on anything before you’ve got a good handle on organization. If your work area is a mess, what you may be calling laziness is probably procrastination instead. Set aside a decent chunk of time to clean and organize before you attempt anything more ambitious.
  4. You love pajamas. Sometimes, just getting dressed into a nice looking outfit will give you the kick you need. Ditch the pjs and don some attire that makes you feel attractive. Smile at yourself in the mirror, and get to work.
  5. You’re scared. If the problem is that you’re afraid to fail once you put yourself out there, remember this: “You always pass failure on your way to success.”  ~Mickey Rooney. In other words: Get out there and try anyway.
  6. You have a poor sense of time. If the hours in the day just seem to get away from you, start setting multiple alarms that alert you to begin certain tasks. For me, putting time limits on how long I work, clean, and even play, helps keep me focused and productive.
  7. You don’t know where to start. This happens to the best of us, and the best way to fix this problem is to make lists. I suggest getting a big calendar and writing a To-Do list for every day of the week. Crossing things off your list feels really good, and will give you the boost you need to keep being productive.

Believe it or not, another good practice is to allow time in your life for laziness to be ok.  Everyone needs time to decompress, and your productivity level will actually be higher if you have designated “down time” to look forward to. Make Saturdays “Pajama Day” or watch movies on Lazy Sundays. My advice is to pick only one day, so the behavior remains an exception rather than the rule.

 

 

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5 Failproof Ways to Fall Asleep Fast

sleepingPhoto courtesy of Bonbon

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m a life-long insomniac. I’ve been trying to find the secret to successful snoozing for many years, and I’ve actually learned some really effective ways to get the rest my body needs.

I still struggle with it – don’t get me wrong. If you’re a chronic insomniac, you’re among the 10-15% of adults who’ve had trouble sleeping for more than a month. Most sufferers of chronic insomnia say their symptoms tend to wax and wane, meaning that they’re able to get sleep a night here or there in between bouts of sleeplessness.

Insomnia has a bunch of potential causes, the most important of which is an underlying disorder or disease.  It’s important to rule these out before beginning to treat your lack of zzzzzzz’s. As you surely know, disordered sleep leaves a person fatigued during the day, with a lowered ability to function well. This can have a deep impact on every aspect of life, including work responsibilities, personal relationships, and physical as well as mental well-being.

While you may not be able to kick your night owl habits entirely, there are some things you can do that have been proven to help people just like us get into a more acceptable sleep pattern. Try them one at a time to see what works in your life.

  1. Write about it. This may seem far-fetched, but stay with me here, because this really worked for me. Start writing down some basic daily habits, like caffeine intake, what kind of food you ate, activity level, medications you took.  In the morning, write down how your sleep was that night. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to discern some patterns that may be keeping you awake. I discovered that even one cup of coffee after noon would keep me awake almost all night.
  2. Touch and be touched. The simple act of laying skin-to-skin with your mate, or falling asleep holding hands can actually make a difference in the quality of your sleep. Touching and being touched releases oxytocin, which makes us feel good and can lead to a feeling of well-being. Physical touching also lowers the body’s production of cortisol, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure - making sleep much more likely. If you’re single, hugging your kids or friends close to bedtime can help, too.
  3. Get moving. (During the day, of course!) I’d heard this tip for years, but realized its efficacy a few months ago after a long bout of low physical exercise. When I joined the local gym and took up swimming, the difference in my sleep quality was remarkable. Not only does exercising release feel-good endorphins – it also just plain wears you out! I’m still swimming 3 to 4 times a week, and I can testify that getting physical really does help me sleep better at night.
  4. Stay put. (At night, of course!) Many troubled sleepers grow weary of “trying” to fall asleep, so they throw off the covers and get out of bed. Since there’s zero chance of you getting any sleep if you’re upright, try getting comfortable and staying in a sleep-inducing position. At the very least, you’re resting your muscles, and you will probably fall asleep eventually, especially if you try #5.
  5. Breathe. Focusing on your breathing is really effective in inducing relaxation. Try to slow your breathing down, and breathe from the stomach instead of the diaphragm. Use progressive muscle relaxation until your entire body is feeling good and relaxed.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone, and that more help is available if you need it. If these tips don’t help, a trip to your physician may be in order. Sleep aids or supplements might offer you temporary relief, but continue to use self-help techniques as well. Your brain will (hopefully) thank you in the morning.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Weekends

friendsPhoto courtesy of Sarah Buckley

Everybody’s working for the weekends – at least that’s how the song goes.

If we’re working for the weekends, it’s my opinion that once the weekend comes, we’d better make damn sure we enjoy it! What exciting things do you plan for your days off?

Running out of ideas for fun activities that will make your work-week seem worth it? I came up with a list of some potentially new and (I think) unique ways to let off some steam and let loose.

Most importantly, spend time doing these activities with people who make you feel good, and who make you smile.

  • Get theatrical. Check out your local theater for upcoming plays or musicals, or visit an opera house if one is nearby.
  • Change bored to board. As in GAMES!
  • Go digital. Create a scavenger hunt of things you and your friends have to find and take pictures of.
  • Look in the bucket. Pick one item from your bucket list and do it.
  • Learn how to juggle.
  • Build a fort. Even if you don’t have kids, blanket forts never get old, and as a bonus, they make a great place to read a good book.
  • Take a test drive. Pick a fantasy car that you’d probably never be able to afford, and go drive it around for awhile. Fun!
  • Stay in a hotel. If you have the money, take a road trip somewhere cool and spend the night in a nice hotel room. Everyone loves hotels, right?
  • Go zip-lining. (Or something equally as thrilling, if you’re into that. How about sky diving or bungee jumping?)
  • Visit old friends. Hooking up with pals from way back can incite some feel-good nostalgia that’ll really make your weekend quite memorable.
  • Have a makeover night.  Invite some girlfriends over and do home makeovers and nails. You’ll be saving money and having a great time.
  • Find a free workout. Many gyms and yoga studios offer a trial workout or session free of charge. If you try out a different one every weekend, you could keep this going for quite awhile!
  • Go to the beach. If you live near the coast, pack up the car and spend the day enjoying the sun, sand, and breeze. Bring along a kite, too!
  • Have a movie night. My family has a tradition every Saturday night called Foovie Night. It stands for Fun Family Movie Night. We pick the movie together, enjoy some yummy movie treats, and snuggle in together for a few hours of entertainment, right in our living room.
  • Volunteer. Giving your time to those who need help can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Look for local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or even hospitals or clinics that could use you.

Remember to surround yourself with those people who make you feel good, regardless of what it is you end up doing on the weekends. If you’ve done something fun and interesting lately, share with us in the comments!

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Why Happiness Makes You Look Sexy

 

smilePhoto courtesy of Lauren Rushing

With things like the return of the twerking fad and the fact that every other person you meet has probably gone under the knife at least once for some sort of physical enhancement, the definition of ‘sexy’ may be up for debate.

What I’ve always noticed first about a person, though (male or female), certainly doesn’t have anything to do with how well they can bust a move. In fact, the sexiest thing about you can actually be taken away with too many plastic surgery procedures, rather than the other way around.

Sexiness? It’s all in your attitude.

Have you ever seen someone from across a crowded room and felt instant desire, only to have your attraction dry up the minute he opened his mouth? The opposite can happen too – you may meet a person and not feel a thing until you experience their personality - and then bam! Sexiness overload.

The definition of sexy has so much more to do with what a person has on the inside. Flawless makeup, chiseled muscles and big boobs are only skin deep, and while they definitely have their fans, most of us are looking for an attraction that runs much deeper.

As we’re all working to improve our happiness level and our overall satisfaction with life, the good news is this: the happier we get, the more attractive we’ll be to others. The happiest people typically do the right thing in morally challenging situations. What’s sexier than a man (or woman) who has a strong moral compass?

I’ve definitely noticed that as I get happier, I treat other people with more respect and concern. That comes from the compassion we develop as we move through life’s tough times, overcoming hurdles of our own. Helping others or treating them with the kindness they deserve is very appealing. I know that when my husband regularly sacrifices his own time to help the less fortunate, I find him extremely appealing.

The happiest people also tend to take responsibility for their own mistakes. I don’t know about you, but I find it very sexy when a man can admit that he was wrong. Those people who refuse culpability at all costs are really unappealing to others. No one wants to be around someone who’s constantly oppositional, defensive and argumentative. The ability to see the error of your ways? Well that’s just plain Sex-y.

Finally, the sexiest people are living authentic lives. In a nutshell, that means they are who they say they are. They’re real, and they’re constantly working to make their lives even better. They have the ability to laugh at themselves, see the error of their ways, and they are well-aware that they aren’t perfect. Making mistakes is ok by them, because they’ll take a mistake and learn from it.

The more in touch you are with yourself and the closer you get to that ultimate level of inner peace, the more attractive you become. So, although bringing sexy back may not have been your goal when you decided to live mindfully and get in touch with yourself, it happens to be a really great added bonus.

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8 Ways to De-Stress at the End of the Day

bubblebath

Photo courtesy of Janet Ramsden

Whether you work in an office building, a home office, or chasing toddlers around all day, it’s imperative that you regularly find time for yourself. Ideally, you should set aside at least 45 minutes to an hour every day and dedicate that time to an activity that relaxes you. If you’re able to – tag team your partner (if you have kids or other responsibilities), so that both of you have adequate down time in order to recharge and face each day feeling refreshed.

On the other hand, if you shoulder a lot of responsibilities yourself with little family nearby to help, consider asking a friend or neighbor who might be willing to offer a hand now and then so you can take a short breather. Another option (if you’re a parent) is to take time for yourself after the little ones are in bed for the night, or in the early morning hours, while the house is still quiet.

Once you’ve found the time, here are some things to do that will help you breathe easier and make it through the rest of your week:

  1. Get your blood flowing. Most likely, you’ve been sitting at a desk for a big portion of the day. Take at least 10 minutes to stretch our your muscles so they don’t grown stagnant from lack of attention.
  2. Gain perspective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your problems, read some news articles. Suddenly, your life issues won’t seem so bad after all.
  3. Be with others. Socializing during your downtime is a fantastic plan – if it’s realistic. Being around friends, sharing stories and laughing is one of the best ways to loosen up. Pass on the alcohol, though – it will only leave you with a headache in the morning, defeating the purpose of re-energizing yourself.
  4. Look at photos. Sometimes when I’m trying to get myself into a better frame of mind, I set my laptop photos folder onto slideshow and watch as my life scrolls before my eyes. All of those happy memories instantly put me in a good place mentally.
  5. Use humor. A great piece of advice a friend once gave me was to watch videos of cute animals when I was feeling stressed. At the time I thought it was silly, but one day I clicked over to YouTube and watched a bunch of kittens doing funny things. You know what? IT WORKED.
  6. Turn on some tunes. The connection between music and mood has long been established, so play your favorite songs and sing along!
  7. Bathe. Add a few drops of lavender oil and some rose scented bubbles to a bath, and soak your troubles away. Combine this with some soothing music and you’ve got a two-fer!
  8. Hug it out. Research shows us that hugging for just 2 minutes a day does amazing things for our mental state. So, open your arms to your partner, your kids or your friends. Physical contact with someone you love releases oxytocin – the “feel-good” hormone.

Less important than the actual activity is just making the effort to set aside a block of time for yourself. During your “Me” time, shift the focus away from all of the stressors in your life and onto You. Slow down your actions, your intentions and your thoughts throughout your relaxation time. Be mindful of everything around you and within you, and you’ll become more centered and better equipped to handle anything.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  ~Lily Tomlin

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How to Let Go of the Skeletons in Your Closet

closetPhoto courtesy of Darwin Bell

We’ve all got dirty laundry. Most of it is stuff we can throw in with the sheets and towels – but what about those stubborn stains that won’t come out?

Just like our laundry, sometimes we all want to “erase” parts of our past – things that we’re embarrassed about or wish we’d never done. If there was a stain remover for past mistakes, I have a feeling it would be flying off supermarket shelves faster than they could stock it.

Alas, no such magic potion exists, so we’ve got to find ways to live with the events that stain our memories and perhaps our self-worth. Whether you’re dealing with some dirty laundry or a full sized skeleton in your closet – you’ve got to open that door and let it out if you’re moving toward finding inner peace. Keeping those secrets with you is a heavy burden that will hold back your momentum. Letting them go means facing them head on, though, and it’s going to be really difficult to open the door that first time.

However, after you’ve opened the door that holds your skeleton(s), you’ll be past the biggest hurdle and onto the healing part of picking up the pieces. A lot of the bones will be really, really old – so ancient you might even forget where they came from, and that’s ok. In that case, just acknowledge it and toss it in the garbage.

Any secrets from your past that have had a deep impact on your psyche will come out into the open now, and it’s important to decide what to do with them. Sometimes, sharing the secret with a trusted friend or family member can take away the power that it holds over you. Maybe the secret is something that needs to be written down and silently bid goodbye. This may be the case if sharing the secret will open old wounds or could potentially hurt someone else. On the other hand, it may be necessary to share something you’ve been hiding from someone in order to fully break free from it.

Additionally, there are times that we hold onto information because we were told not to share it. These secrets can cause a lot of mental anguish for anyone – trying to figure out the “right” thing to do. If sharing a long-kept secret will change someone’s life entirely, you may have to give a lot of thought to the consequences of sharing with that person.

If there are no skeletons and only dirty laundry in your closet that is solely your own, feel free to hang it all out on the line for everyone to see. No harm, no foul – it’s your information to share as you see fit. And, once all of your secrets are aired, what can hold you back from reaching unimaginable heights?

Lighten your load and take the power away from those skeletons wearing dirty clothes – the sooner, the better. Most likely, they’re a lot less offensive than you believe them to be, anyway. It’ll be exciting to see how much easier you move through life without wondering what’s behind that closet door.

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How to Recover From a Professional Faux Pas

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Morrall

I’ve committed several really embarrassing faux pas in my life, and in hindsight, I really wish I had known the best way to make them right. Unfortunately, my worst infractions occurred when I was young and fresh, without the experience of life to teach me when to keep my mouth shut (or when not to reply to an email.)

As a matter of fact, one of my infamous slip-ups was pretty serious – and could have potentially cost me a job, had I not been working for an extremely cool dude at the time. Now, 13 years later, I don’t have nearly as many instances of foot-in-mouth disease because I’ve gained some perspective and a lot of self-control. It still happens to me, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve got a much better handle on fixing the fallout.

If you put your foot in your mouth in a professional setting (say, meeting at work with the higher ups), here are some things you can do to mend fences:

  • Keep your tongue wagging – If you’ve managed to hurl an insult about a coworker without meaning to be heard, the only thing to do is to keep talking. In the form of an apology, that is, and be sure that the apology is a grandiose as the blunder. In other words, a simple, “Sorry” isn’t going to cut it if you dogged on the boss’s wife. A good rule of thumb is to avoid talking badly about anyone you work with, unless you really enjoy eating humble pie.
  • Unmix your message – Sometimes the things we say have well-meant intentions but come out sounding like a garbled hot mess. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. If what you said just came out wrong, you can (probably) make it right by clearing up any misunderstandings. Be sure to restate your message clearly, but only once your audience fully grasps that what came out initially really wasn’t what you meant.
  • Know your place - This may sound demeaning (to you), but if you spoke out of turn and ended up making your company and/or boss look bad, you’ll probably have to apologize, even if you don’t mean it. Ingenuous? I don’t think so. Although you may not necessarily agree with them, company policies are something you’ll have to abide by as long as you want to keep getting a paycheck from them.
  • Hold the emails - Another easy place to unintentionally offend someone is through the magic of email. If someone said something that upset you, don’t put anything in writing until you’ve cooled off first. Also – always triple check the recipients of your outgoing messages before hitting ‘Send.’ Be ultra careful of that sneaky little ‘Reply All’ button too - unless you want the entire office to know exactly what you think of Becky’s idea for Dave’s going-away party.

These days, I no longer work in an office environment, and the people I collaborate with are all supremely awesome. We communicate via e-meetings, Skype, emails, phone calls, and occasional in-person sessions. There’s still room for error, though, so I always err on the side of caution when it comes to my professional relationships. The keyword in that sentence wraps it up nicely: professional. Knowing what to say and how to handle yourself are all part of having a successful relationship in a professional setting.

“If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job.”  ~Malcolm S. Forbes

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