Why Diligence Is Important to Your Success

Why Diligence Is Important to Your Success

There are so many times in life where I need to complete a task and just can’t make myself do it. I do everything I can to avoid the one thing I actually need to do. Have homework? Well, I’ll do that tomorrow even though it’ll be on my mind all day and make me miserable. Need to fold laundry? I’ll just leave it on the floor in a pile and go to work with a wrinkled shirt. This way of thinking interferes with my success. And I know I’m not alone in this.

As I was writing this post, I was constantly thinking about Nike’s “Just Do It” logo. Sometimes it’s that simple. If we’re diligent and “Just Do It,” we’ll be so much better off! This concept was a major theme I noticed in Emma Gannon’s podcast, Ctrl Alt Delete. This podcast is full of interviews where Emma chats with successful writers and entrepreneurs about their relationships with the internet. She’s even interviewed other podcast hosts that I’ve mentioned on this blog, like Gretchen Rubin!

I usually listen to 15 episodes of each podcast I review, but I ended up skipping two of them due to language and content I wasn’t comfortable with. However, the rest of the podcast was interesting and applicable! One main theme  I wanted to focus on was diligence. Diligence is extremely important for our success, but it’s something that just about everyone can work on!

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Why Diligence Is Important for Your Success

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What is diligence?

Most of us are familiar with the definition of diligence, but I wanted to discuss it anyway so we’re all on the same page. When I think of diligence, I think of persistence. Also continual effort over a long period of time. My husband is a great example of this. He’s a law student and spends hours and hours every day studying and writing. Even when he doesn’t want to.

A huge part of diligence is patience. There will be days when you do everything right but see no results. Diligence is the ability to keep going and pushing through in order to reach a goal that takes time to achieve even without immediate reward. For example, if you have a goal of reaching a certain GPA, the entire semester should be filled with reading, studying, and completing assignments. Without that continual effort, the final will be extremely difficult and you won’t receive the grade you want. That general idea can be applied to many situations in life.

Why is diligence important for success?

Let’s say that you have a particular skill that comes naturally to you. We’ll use basketball as an example because I’m watching an NBA game right now. If you’re naturally good at shooting three-point shots, that’s great! You could make the junior high basketball team with ease. But as time passes and you grow older, you can’t coast by on natural ability any longer. You have to actively work on developing new skills as well as stay ahead in your shooting ability. And that takes diligence. Understanding that you have to keep developing and pushing forward is a necessary skill for success.

The wonderful thing about being diligent is that you eventually see results. Being diligent sets you apart. It shows that you’re willing to put in the work, time, and effort is takes to improve. Not only does this show the people around you that you’re worth investing in, it also gives you more confidence in your own ability to succeed. Over time you’ll be able to prove to yourself and others that you can accomplish great things through daily diligence.

How can you be diligent?

I’d like to talk about three practical ways to add diligence into your daily life. These tips won’t add any extra time to your day. They will hopefully help you change the way you think about the daily tasks that need to be done, even when you don’t want to do them! And replace some bad habits as well.

Avoid Procrastination.

Procrastination is the opposite of diligence. If you’re procrastinating, you are not focusing on the things that matter most. Sometimes we procrastinate with good things such as cleaning, spending time with family and friends, or relaxing. Those are all good things, but it means you’re not being diligent in achieving the goals you’re working towards.

One way I’ve found to avoid procrastinating is picking the three most important tasks that need to be done that day and striving to complete them as early as possible. By doing this, I’m able to accomplish more each day and feel like I can relax or work on more enjoyable tasks for the rest of the day.

Pick One Idea.

This was suggested by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. When we start a new project, job, or school assignment, it’s so easy to get distracted with other things that might seem easier, more fun, or a better fit. If you’re working on writing a novel, it might be tempting to say, “I want to push this novel to the side and work on a blog because that seems easier.” Elizabeth encourages us to not do that!

The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s so easy to think that some other project is going to be easier, faster, or a better fit. The truth is that you’re just being distracted by a new shiny object. It takes diligence and perseverance to stick to a project, but putting in the time and effort to complete it is how you achieve your goals.

Be a Warrior.

There are times in our lives where we want people to comfort us. We want people to tell us that we’re right to feel like the world is against us. We throw pity parties for ourselves and invite anyone that’s willing to listen. And sometimes that’s okay. However, part of being diligent is being to pick yourself up and understand that the only way to change your situation and achieve the success you desire is by fighting for it.

Practicing diligence is an area that everyone can improve. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay focused, but it’s so worth it to put in the effort and achieve the success you deserve.

MAKAYLA

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Recharge, Find Harmonious Passion, and Be a Great Friend

How to Recharge, Find Harmonious Passion, and Be a Great Friend

Have you ever met anyone so intense and sure of themselves that you can’t help listening to them? Even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, you still want to learn their point of view. As I listened to David Halpern’s podcast Social Triggers Insider, I felt like I needed to look up and research everything he said!

This podcast was suggested by Jess Lively of The Lively Show. I reviewed her podcast last week: 3 Tips to Add Intention to Your Daily Life. I think the reason Social Triggers is so enticing is because David mixes psychology with business. He interviews New York Times best seller’s about how to integrate the lessons in their books into business and entrepreneurship.

David is always amazingly prepared for his podcasts. Not only does he read every book he asks about on his podcast, he remembers every story they tell and comes prepared with questions! There is never a dull moment, that’s for sure. Here are the themes I found throughout the podcast:

Spaces (3)

Take Time to Recharge

Do you find yourself on social media between tasks? I know I do. If there’s a fifteen minute break, I immediately get on my phone. After all, fifteen minutes won’t hurt anything and there’s nothing I can really get into for that short amount of time, right? Wrong. David suggests that there is actually something better we can do with those fifteen minutes.

He suggests that you use that time to think about your day and recharge. Constantly using social media takes our minds away from things that really matter. Spending that time planning, power napping, thinking, or reflecting can be a much better use of our time. I love this, because I imagine that when this becomes a habit, it would be such a relaxing activity that would help us recenter. And, it can be done anywhere!

Two Types of Passion

There have been many time on this blog that I’ve mentioned passion. Every time it’s mentioned, I get such an overwhelming response about how important it is and how necessary it is for success. And you’re right, it’s 100% necessary! That’s why I thought it was so interesting that there are two kinds of passion… One type is good and one type is actually bad!

Let’s start with the good type: harmonious passion. Harmonious passion is healthy because it is consistent with what you want you want to achieve in your life. This means that your passion allows you to grow in other areas of your life as well as pursue your dreams. For example, let’s say your passion was writing novels. You would wake up every morning and write 500 words and then spend the morning exercising, eating breakfast, and then go about your day. Of course, you would think about writing when an inspiring thought came to you and it may come up in conversations with others. 

On the other hand, there is obsessive passion. Obsessive passion takes over other parts of your life. It’s something you’re thinking about constantly, even when you’re not doing it. You also may feel guilty if you’re not doing it. To stick with the writing example, your morning might look like writing 500 words and then knowing you should exercise and eat breakfast but feeling bad about doing those things because you won’t be writing. Writing might dominate conversations between you and your loved ones, and other activities won’t be as enjoyable.

Be a Great Friend

There were so many interviews on Social Triggers Insider that talked about the power of connections and strong relationships. This past week I reviewed the book The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay, PhD, which you can read here. In that review, I talked about what Jay calls the strength of weak ties. Weak ties are essentially connections that you get through connections what are not in your immediate circle. 

The Social Triggers Insider podcast takes this idea a step further with dormant ties. Dormant ties are people that you’ve known in the past but haven’t been in contact with for three or more years. Essentially, you used to know them but lost contact. These types of ties are the most useful ties of all! This is because they give you all the benefits of a strong tie (past history), but have been meeting different people and travel in different circles like a weak ties.

Like any relationship, a key part of calling on these dormant ties is being a great friend. If you try to ask for help from someone you’ve rubbed the wrong way in the past, they aren’t likely to want to help you! So what’s the secret to being a great friend? David suggests that we give, give, give. Friendships should involve 60% giving and 40% taking, and that should go for both people involved!

Luckily, all of the tips mentioned above have been researched not only by David Halpern, but by everyone he interviewed. I definitely encourage you to look up this podcast and have a listen if you’re at all interested in business or psychology, because the mix is fascinating! Hopefully these three themes will be applicable to your daily lives and help you earn the success you deserve!

MAKAYLA

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Practical Happiness: Changes That Aren’t Overwhelming

We all have busy lives that are filled with junk that we don’t want to do. Many of us have work, school, and relationships that take up the majority of our time. On top of that, we have chores, cooking, exercise, self-care, and maybe trying to fit some leisure time in between. Frankly, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and unhappy seems unavoidable for some people because of the obligations they find themselves having to fill everyday. Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft address those feelings in their podcast “Happier.”

I’ve listened to three podcasts this year, and Happier was by far my favorite. Gretchen and Elizabeth are both successful women that share their experiences as they try to be happier people. Gretchen researches happiness and has even published books on the topic (Better than Before and The Happiness Project), while Elizabeth is the “happiness guinea pig” and tests the suggestions Gretchen gives to her listeners. Each episode is short (about 20 minutes), so listening doesn’t seem like an imposition. There is a fairly structured format for these episodes, which I personally enjoy. Here’s the format:

  1. Tip of the day: Each episode starts with a tip that you can try out for the week. All of these tips were completely practical (i.e., making your bed in the morning, the “one minute rule,” or setting an alarm for bedtime).
  2. Stumbling blocks: Gretchen addresses stumbling blocks to happiness that are often overlooked. This includes things like free food, envy, and cluttered rooms.
  3. Know yourself better: I loved this section in every episode because she talks about the different groups people can fall into and discusses each one. The reason I loved it is because it’s so inclusive and allows everyone listening learn something. It also helps us understand others in a deeper way.
  4. Happiness demerits and gold stars: At the end of each episode Gretchen and Elizabeth take turns giving themselves demerits and stars. A demerit goes to things in their lives that detract from their happiness and stars go to people, objects, or places that bring joy!

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Just like the last two podcasts I discussed on Hello, Professional Girl!, I listened to 15 episodes of Happier and identified themes that are relevant to millennials like you and me.

Happiness is Attainable 

There’s a common belief that if you think about happiness too much, then you won’t be happy. Gretchen suggests that way of thinking is wrong. Think of it this way… How are you going to hit a target with an arrow if you aren’t aiming at it? In the same way, how are you going to be happy if you aren’t thinking about ways to reach happiness?

Fixing small things in our daily lives can lead to a life of happiness without taking up time and energy that we don’t have. For example, simply “aiming” for happiness by thinking about what makes us happy can get us one step closer. I personally enjoy making little changes instead of trying to change everything all at once, because it’s not as overwhelming for me. One suggestion I absolutely loved was to be very intentional when saying hello and goodbye to people. Make sure to give a warm greeting when you walk into the office, or an attentive goodbye to your family as you leave for the day. There is research that supports the fact that relationships with others is what makes us happy, and making the effort to cultivate those relationships is worth it!

Dealing with Negativity

When you’re happy, other people are more likely to be happy. However, there are always people who are in a bad mood and in a constant state of negativity. When grumpy people are put in our path, Gretchen suggests using emotional contagion to deal with them. Emotional contagion is essentially the idea that your emotions will trigger the same emotions in others. So the next time one of those grumps crosses your path, don’t let them bring you down. Try to lift them up by being your naturally positive self, and don’t feel bad about it.

Negative people tend to take the opposite view of whatever the other person is saying. For example, if you say, “Oh, that activity must have been fun!” Their reply would most likely be, “No, it was actually not that great.” To be honest, I am guilty of this. I think I take the opposite side of the conversation for the sake of keeping the conversation going! The problem with this approach is that you come off as argumentative. Gretchen reminds us that skilled conversationalists have a way of being positive and leaving you feeling better after talking to them. By being conscious of how we’re speaking to others, we can being more happiness into our lives and the lives of others.

Boost Productivity

In most episodes of Happier, Gretchen and Elizabeth talk about how everyone is different when it comes to what will make them happy and more productive. Problems with productivity come when people don’t recognize what kind of person they are, which will ultimately make them unhappy.

For example, some people are “marathoners” and some are “sprinters” when it comes to getting work done. Marathoners prefer to get things done slowly over time while sprinters prefer to be right up against a deadline. In school (at least in the US), everyone is taught to be a marathoner. We’re told that your best work can’t be rushed and, “There’s no possible way this assignment can be done in one night!” The fact is, some people truly do their best work when they’re rushed. It would not make them happier to think about and work on an assignment for an entire semester! If you’re not a marathoner, don’t feel bad about it. There’s no right or wrong. Embrace what works for you.

 My favorite piece of advice Gretchen and Elizabeth give about productivity is the “One Minute Rule.” If there is a task that takes under one minute to complete, then do it immediately. Examples of these kinds of tasks would be opening your mail and throwing away the junk, hanging up your coat and putting away your shoes when you get home, and placing your clothes in the hamper after showering. Following this rule will declutter your life, get those small tasks off your mind, and make you feel more productive!

Happier has taught us that there are small, practical ways we can improve and be happier without becoming overwhelmed. Remember, happiness is attainable, you are equipped to deal with negative people, and boosting your productivity can be done in just one minute! Let me know what you do to boost your happiness!

Makayla

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How to Be More Courageous, Intentional, and Self-Loving

Think about Ron Stoppable from the Kim Possible TV series (if you’ve never seen it, here’s the link to buy an episode for $3.00). Ron is completely friend zoned by Kim from day one, but they’re still best friends. They go on all sorts of adventures saving the world from villains… And Ron is terrified the whole time. He’s afraid to fight, afraid to take chances and risks, and afraid to tell Kim how he feels. Gathering the courage to have the life you want is often paralyzing and seemingly impossible, but there are people who do it everyday. 

Aileen Xu, the creator of The Lavendaire Lifestyle is one of those people. The Lavendaire Lifestyle is a podcast about personal growth and lifestyle design. Although Aileen wasn’t friend zoned and saving the world from villains, she was paralyzed by fear, confusion, and self-doubt that took a long time for her to overcome. Aileen’s goal is to help her listeners become artists of life by inspiring them to go after what they truly want. Like I mentioned last week in my post about Megan Tan’s Podcast (Life as Millennials: 4 Concepts We’re Too Familiar With), there are things I don’t agree with Aileen on, but her stories are relatable for people who are just starting out and want to be inspired, motivated, and receive a little advice too.  

I listened to 15 episodes of The Lavendaire Lifestyle this week. The first eleven episodes are more structured. They all begin with a story and from there Aileen gives pieces of advice for those types of situations. After those first 11 episodes, they become less structured and she brings on more guest speakers (who are all very interesting!). Aileen tends to give advice that is supposed to fit everyone, but there were some bits I didn’t think were applicable to my life. And that’s okay! This podcast was still entertaining and I was able to snag some of her thoughts that I thought were genuinely profound. You can listen to this podcast on Audible or CastBox.

Here are the main themes I found in the 15 episodes of The Lavendaire Lifestyle that I listened to:

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Have Courage

The first episode of The Lavendaire Lifestyle was about being stronger than your fears and insecurities. Let’s be real, everyone had fears and anxieties about things. Aileen suggests that we let our fears guide us! This was a very different piece of advice than anything I’d been given before. Basically, if you’re scared to do something, then it’s probably what you need to be doing. Facing your fears is how you grow because you’re not going to accomplish anything new or different while in your comfort zone. 

Part of having courage is acknowledging that you have gifts. You have to be strong enough to say, “Here I am! I can do this!” Obviously you can still be humble and continue to better yourself and your abilities, but take pride in the fact that you have something to offer the world. We all do. Sometimes we just have to “fake it till you make it!” Aileen suggests that we can have courage just by pretending we have it. Simply show up, believe in yourself, don’t overthink it, and have the mindset that anything can be figured out.

Be Intentional

The second theme is being intentional. Every morning when you wake up, you have the power to say, “Today is going to be a good day, regardless of what happens.” One of the guest speakers on the show mentioned that thoughts are like clothes. You can try on different thoughts to see how they make you feel. If they “look bad” or make you feel frumpy, then you can take them off and try on another thought. I absolutely loved that idea, because it shows that thoughts are not permanent and we have the ability to control how we think about different situations. We just need to be intentional about them. 

We can also be intentional about the way we think about others. Everyone you meet is a human being that makes mistakes. Since that is the case, there’s always going to be someone that you don’t particularly like or get along with. People will say things that make you angry and upset, but you can’t control what they say and do. You can only be intentional about the way you respond.

Self-Love

There’s a common misconception that you have to hit rock bottom before you can start working on personal development and self-love. That is entirely untrue! Practicing self-love allows you to grow as a person and be honest with yourself. It helps you answer questions like, “What do I truly want in life?” Aileen explains that we have to be honest with ourselves in order to answer this question, and we can’t put on a mask. One of the most profound insights I gained from this podcast was that “you are you naturally, without even trying.” So what does being you look like? Are you constantly trying to play a role, or are you genuinely you?

Another major part of self-love Aileen mentions is loving your body. Easier said than done, but she points out that we need to be grateful for our bodies because they’ve always supported us even if we don’t treat them as well as we should. So how can we care for our bodies without setting extreme fitness and diet goals?

  1. Find a way to move that gets you excited.
  2. Give in order to receive. This means thinking of food as fuel and recognizing what your body needs so it can support you.
  3. Give your body the time, attention and care it needs. Don’t put yourself last. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.

The Lavendaire Lifestyle isn’t for everyone. And that’s okay! The point is to find something that gives you courage, helps you be intentional, and promotes self-love. If Ron Stoppable can find his way, so can you.

Makayla

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2018 Professional and Personal Development Book List

Books written by driven and successful people are amazing resources for personal and professional development. Those authors have already experienced the feelings and trials we’re going through, and they not only got through it — they excelled.

I started Hello, Professional Girl! in December, and decided to read one professional or personal development book every month and write about how we can apply the guidance in our own lives. As the months go by, I will add links from my posts to this list.

I have chosen these books through recommendations from other blogs that I follow, and I am always accepting recommendations! Feel free to contact me if you have a book that I have to read!

2018: 12 Months of Personal Development Books (+1)

December

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Carnegie talks about the secrets to success through the experiences of people who’ve been there. His techniques can be applied to business, relationships, and every day communication. A great read no matter what age or stage of life you’re in. Check out my post on this book here.

January

The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay, PhD. This book is a fast, informative read. The stories that Jay tells come from her experience as a psychologist working with millennials who are going through the same things we are. She is totally honest and doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear.

February

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps by Allan and Barbara Pease. Ever wonder why your significant other acts the way they do? From a biological standpoint, the authors break it down for you. If you want a better understanding of the biological reasons behind your actions, this book is worth the read.

March

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. As a gerontology student, this book was a dream come true! The author recounts his final visits with his mentor, Morrie. What we’re left with are amazing life lessons from a man who lived a life worth living. Quick and easy read with plenty of stories you can visualize.

April

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young. This book addresses the “Imposter Syndrome” that many feel as they become successful. Do I really deserve the success I’ve achieved? Was I just in the right place at the right time? If you’ve ever had similar thoughts, this book is for you.

May

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. This book focuses on personal changes you can make to become more effective in your life, including problem-solving skills related to business and relationships. Covey also emphasizes the opportunities that open up because of these positive changes.

June

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Kate White. White aims to empower women to take chances and go after what they want. She uses stories from other people to give practical ways to achieve your own success and learn how to be happy once you achieve it.

July

The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton. This sounds like a great book for people just starting out in pursuit of their dreams. It is said to instill courage and give tools to overcome obstacles even with limited time, money, and other resources (which is certainly common for people in their twenties!)

August

What the heck am I going to do with my life? by Margaret Feinberg. This is a book that gets right to the heart of your dreams, goals, and abilities. No idea what you’re doing? You’re not alone. If you feel stuck in your current situation, Feinberg will take you on a journey to discover what you really want.

September

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Have you ever wondered why you have certain habits? Through information and stories from interesting people, Duhigg explains why you have habits, how to change them, and how they can be used to your advantage.

October

Grit by Angela Duckworth. According to Duckworth, grit is a blend of passion and persistence that anyone can obtain. There is power in the thoughts that go through your head when you fail, and talent has very little to do with it.

November

Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want by Jenny Blake. This book is intended for twenty-somethings that want to take action and achieve what they want through actionable advice. This book hits just about every area of life for young people (click the link or picture for details).

December

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. Although the Internet has some amazing advantages, have you ever thought about the potential downsides? Carr voices his concerns that the Internet is diminishing our ability to think deeply. What do you think?

Please feel free to join me this year as I read these books! I’ll be posting on Twitter each month what book I’ll be reading as a reminder (so make sure to follow!).

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Makayla

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