Learn to succeed and become a natural winner and over-achiever
Ever left a job interview feeling fantastic only to be told you're not suitable? Chances are you were lulled into a false sense of security by what the interviewer said rather than their non-verbal communication. It's time to get fluent in body language to see the full picture in challenging situations. For example, let's say you're asked for your expectations for a role. You aim high (everyone likes a woman with ambition, right?) and your 'six figure salary and a driver to pick me up every morning' is met with a seemingly ambivalent 'OK, thanks'. Accompanied by arm folding, and your interviewer sinking back into their chair though, and things are less than OK. Spot negative body language like this and all is not lost. Respond quickly in a way that makes them feel positive towards you, '...and I'm determined to work my way up until I get it!' - and crisis averted, you're back in the game.
It might sound crazy, but Sky+ at the ready, try watching a TV drama with the sound off and identify what the actors are feeling via their body language. Rewind and watch it back with the sound up - how well did you do? If you're feeling brave, do the same with a home video of yourself. You could learn a lot about your own mannerisms as well as your loved ones' reactions to you.
Ever felt uncomfortable mixing friends with work colleagues? Should you be the 'work' you or the 'real' you? The truth is, they should be one and the same. Ensuring your public and private personas aren't so different will help you come across as a confident, authentic person - essential when trying to land a promotion or clinch a date. Remember to keep a few things to yourself, though, no-one needs to know about your weird Jeremy Paxman crush.
On a first date or when haggling with an estate agent, chances are your public persona is doing the talking, but do you know how you're really coming across? Answer these questions about yourself, then ask a trusted friend to answer them about you and see how well your responses match up. Similar responses suggest you have a good understanding of how others see you, but don't be upset if they differ - these are simply the areas you need to work on:
1.Would you trust me with a secret?
2.Would you call me if you had an emergency?
3.What makes me a good friend?
4.Do I easily forgive people or am I a grudge-holder?
5.What does my non-verbal language say to others?
6. Am I an optimist or a pessimist?
7.What do you get tired of me talking about?
8.What do I do when I'm feeling uncomfortable or nervous?
9.What one word do you think describes me best?
It's easy to let emotions negatively impact your day, but you have to take control of them quickly before they get in the way of your goals. If you feel overlooked by your partner or in the office despite your efforts, don't bubble, boil and rage - you are the only person who'll lose out. Direct your anger in a more positive way by using your pent up adrenaline to think about how your needs can be met. Book a meeting with the person you feel is overlooking you to discuss the situation rationally rather than sneaking off to rage in the corridor to your desk buddy. You'll come across as a confident and decisive person rather than emotionally turbulent. No one likes a cry baby or a stroppy madam.
Whatever you're FACED with, ask yourself these questions to help deal with your emotions more rationally:
F Is this really FAIR? Don't be pushed into something just because you're unsure about it - ask for time and research your options.
A Is there an ALTERNATIVE? If you know a situation will make you uncomfortable see if there's another way of handling it.
C Do I have a CONTACT who can help? Seeking advice is not a weakness. Winners know it's using your initiative to draw from other people's experience.
E Use EMPATHY - is it personal? If you feel you're being singled out, try putting yourself in the other person's shoes so you can work out why they're behaving that way.
D Can I DIFFUSE the tension? Just because everyone else is losing it, you don't have to. Try lightening the mood or steering the conversation in a less heated direction.
It's all too easy to avoid the task in hand - an email pops into your inbox, a text buzzes on your mobile and you'd better not miss Davina McCall's ninety-sixth tweet of the day...but wait, what was I meant to be doing again? The road to success is lined with minor distractions, but winners keep their eyes on the prize. Our attention can only be stretched so thin. Our mind needs to stop and catch up before processing the next piece of information.
You may have a mini-project, such as making yourself go for a jog tonight - or a grand plan, like saving money for a deposit on a house - but both require focus. To succeed at something, you need to prioritise it and not let other demands or distractions get in the way. Use this chart (right) to help you:
Even Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams serves the odd double fault accidentally, but still is ultimately successful. Failure is an expected milestone on the path to success. Failing doesn't mean you'll never succeed, it just means you don't succeed every time. When you learn to anticipate and accept failure without being afraid of it, you open the door for success. When things go wrong for you, slow down, think how you made the blunder and adjust your behaviour to make sure it doesn't happen again. That mistake is just a bump in the road and, if nothing else, it'll make victory all the sweeter.
Find yourself a 'resilience role model' - someone inspiring who has overcome hurdles on their route to success. Whether it's Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France seven times despite battling cancer or your best friend for losing three stone despite her sweet tooth, stick a picture of your winner on your fridge or in your purse to motivate you when everything seems to be going wrong. Ask yourself, 'what would they do?' You'll find strength and support just by listening to stories about the struggles of others who've fallen short of their goals, but have ultimately gone on to succeed.
Admit you're distracted - it's the first step to getting you back on track.
Write a checklist - breaking down your end goal into less daunting bite-sized projects makes them easier to achieve.
Cut out as many distractions as possible - mute your phone, have your lunch away from your desk, turn off your internet connection.
Create a reminder - Stick a picture that represents your goal on your fridge or mirror to remind you what you're working towards. Miu Miu bag anyone?
Set mini-markers - if you're reading something, make it to the end of the chapter; if you're jogging, target a landmark in the distance.
Give yourself a deadline - it's all too easy to drift without one. D-day is the day when you'll become the winner you've always wanted to be.
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