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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

15 Ways to Get Ahead in Business (and In Life)

We all need a refresher sometimes.

If you feel stuck at work, or in a rut with life in general, take a look at these fifteen essential tips to get you back on track.

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

15. If someone offers you gum or a mint, always say yes.

Or go brush your teeth. It’s possible they’re only offering to be nice, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.

14. Shake hands like you mean it.

And always look them in the eye. Be confident when being introduced to someone, and give them your first and last names together. Go through the motions of common courtesy, like saying “Nice to meet you,” but make sure you at least pretend like you actually mean it. Give them your whole attention.

13. Get out of the way, but take up space.

This may sound like the Luann comic strip where Brad tries to win Toni (or the meme about the mom trying to do it all). Luann tells him girls like to be pursued but not stalked, admired but not ogled, and cared for but not smothered. He says he knows exactly what to do: “Walk a tightrope in roller skates during a hurricane while juggling a bowling ball and feathers.” I promise it’s not an oxymoron, though.

If you have all day to get there, that’s awesome. Just get in the slow lane so others can go around. Don’t be apologetic about being slow. Take up the space you need. Just don’t make others’ lives harder.

Are you grocery shopping like a retiree who has nothing else on the agenda that day? Maybe let someone go in front of you in line if they say they need to be at work in 20 minutes.

12. Decide.

Own your decision. You don’t have to deliberate forever.

Don’t take unnecessary risks, but don’t dawdle. Just decide. You can always improvise or go to Plan B if you need to.

11. Keep learning.

Are you curious about something? Let that drive you. Spend five extra minutes searching for it on Google. Maybe listen to a podcast about it. Check out a book from the library that will help you. Take a class. Ask an expert. Don’t be stagnant with your education. You don’t have to be pursuing a master’s degree to be learning and growing and changing.

10. Always dress up.

If you’re waffling on what to wear, pick the fancier outfit. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

When you get to the event, don’t act like you feel awkward, even if you realize you’re overdressed. Just be confident in your own skin, and appreciate that you don’t look like a slob.

9. Prioritize.

There are only 24 hours in a day. You have the same 24 hours as everyone else, but the song about all being in the same boat isn’t really true. You have different opportunities than others.

You’ll have to decide what’s most important if you want to make the most difference and get the most out of life.

8. Operate at optimal times.

When are you freshest? Do you work best at night? It’s okay to answer emails in your pajamas from bed at 10pm, especially if that’s when you do your best thinking. If you feel bad about contacting people that late, include a disclaimer at the bottom of your email that says “My work hours may not be your work hours. Please respond during your normal work day.”

There’s no point in pushing through if the work will be subpar. Wait and get it done correctly and efficiently when it’s best for you.

7. No one can read your mind.

You may feel incredibly grateful, but unless you make sure to say it out loud, they won’t know how you feel. Business coaches everywhere stress how important communication is, and I think this is a big component of that maxim. Yes, you need to have good communication skills, just just existent ones, but at the end of the day, saying it out loud instead of remaining silent is the first step toward being a good communicator.

6. Drink more water.

You can start your day with coffee (or the whole pot), and end it with a nightcap (or ten). Just make sure to drink lots of water in between.

Are you sick? Hydrate.

Are you hungover? Hydrate.

5. Ditch the drama.

Everywhere you find people, you’ll find politics. Getting involved in it is a sure way to cause trouble, alienate yourself or create factions, and generally disrupt your environment. It’s best to stay away.

If someone tries to ask your opinion, involve you, or get you to take sides, respond with something noncommittal and change the subject.

4. Know yourself.

Maybe you aren’t the kind of person who needs a therapist. But trust me, everyone needs a therapist. If you think you aren’t, then you definitely are. Don’t tell me you’re so self-aware that you don’t need someone to talk to. I guarantee the others in your life wish you would get a therapist.

Spend time journaling, or thinking. Get away, don’t talk to anyone, and ponder.

Learn to be comfortable in silence and take the time to process big feelings, big decisions, and your own quirks. Know what makes you happy, what makes you tick, and what you need.

Form theories about yourself, test those theories, and draw conclusions.

3. Pack a go bag.

This is more than just “always be prepared.” This is being ready for the zombie apocalypse, a tragedy, or the worst.

You don’t necessarily need an actual bag (although that may also not be a bad idea). Some examples of having a backup plan are:

  • Keep copies of important documents on backup, or in a safety deposit box

  • Don’t show all your cards

  • Have a savings account in only your name

  • Keep a granola bar handy so you don’t get hangry

  • Stock up on paper towels and kleenex in case you run out

  • Get a passport, even if you think you’ll never want to leave the country

  • Learn some basic skills, like driving a manual transmission, chopping down a tree, building a fire, hooking up a computer, cooking a basic meal, sweeping the floor, telling time without a digital readout, soothing a baby, etc. You never know when survival will be essential

  • Always keep an updated resume

Apply this however it makes the most sense in your life and at work.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of nature.

Spend your lunch hour on a bench in the sun. Take a walk after dinner. Get out in nature and let it soak into your skin. Screens can’t heal you like the great outdoors can.

1. Learn someone’s name.

Don’t learn someone’s name only to forget it. Learn someone’s name so that you are the kind of person who learns someone’s name. The best way to make sure you remember their name is to use it right away.

If your waitress says, “Hi, my name is Shannon, and I’ll be your server today.” Then say, “Hi, Shannon.” There are all kinds of tricks about meaningful associations, and you should use whatever technique works for you. Be the kind of person who remembers someone’s name.

Getting Ahead

Implement these ideas and you’ll be sure to get ahead at work or in your everyday life. It can take some time to change habits and make new routines, but if you stick with it, it’ll pay off!

Be sure to follow us on socials, and check out these other blog posts with handy tips.

Things To Know By the Time You’re 30

What To Do When Your Kid Tells You Something Shocking That You Disagree With

In Celebration of Coffee

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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