5 Ways To Get The Most Of Your Holidays

gosababa.comThe holidays have arrived and with it, lots of celebrations! For some this is the most magical, wonderful time of year, and for others it is full of anxiety.   Dreaded obligations to turn up and talk with people – people they may not know well, feel comfortable talking to, or even know at all.   We have all been to a party/gathering like that – butterflies in the belly wondering how you will ever meet anyone, or how you are going to make an impression on your boss with the short, valuable face time, or the anxiety of what kind of impression you will make on your new in-laws?

Regardless of your social situation, here are 5 simple ways to get the most of your holidays so you can successfully connect with others and totally enjoy yourself this holiday season.

1. BE CURIOUS:  The easiest way to engage and connect with someone is by being curious.  And the easiest way to be curious is to ask an open question: “How do you know (____)?”  “What do you do at  (_____)?”  “What do you think of  (______)?”  “Tell me more about (______)”.   People love to tell their stories and open questions are a perfect way to find out what their story is.   Be genuinely curious.  What new and interesting things can you uncover about this person?

*Open questions are questions that begin with who, what, where, when, and how.  Tell me more is also a great way to get the dialogue started.

2. LISTEN: I know, I know, we talk about it all the time, and there is a reason!  It’s really THAT important when engaging others.  Plus, we have learned that people really struggle with doing it well.  Take the time to truly listen by giving the speaker your full attention.  Body language is a huge part of listening. Notice how you are standing – are your arms closed off in front of you or open by your side?  Are you making eye contact or looking over their shoulder wondering who the next person is that will walk into the room?   What’s your face doing?  Is it relaxed or tense?  Notice the same cues in the speaker.  This is part of listening.   People love to be heard, and people love people who take the time to hear them!  It is hard to be curious and ask questions when you aren’t listening to the speaker.  Notice how much you can learn from a person in a short time just by listening, and how that affects your relationships.

3.  QUIET THE CHATTER IN YOUR HEAD:  In order to really listen to someone we need to quiet the chatter in our heads so we can actually HEAR what they have to say.  Often we find ourselves thinking about and listening to our own head chatter.  This can be about a judgment we are making, the next point we want to make, the next food we want to eat, the next drink we want to have or the next person we want to speak to, all while NOT listening to the person who is speaking to us.  And it is noticeable! Turn off your head chatter at the door and give yourself permission to enjoy the moment when you are in it.  Respect the speaker by engaging in the conversation with uninterrupted listening.

4.  WATCH YOUR INTERRUPTIONS:  The most disrespectful thing you can do is to interrupt someone.  It messages that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say – not the best way to start or build upon a relationship.  Think for a minute what it’s like for you when someone interrupts you?  How does it feel? Many have said that they interrupt because they are worried they will forget what they are going to say, or a point they need to make.  What would it be like to enter a conversation where there isn’t a wrong or right, where the conversation and discussion can be open to all perspectives respectfully?  If you have something to say, by all means it is important to say it.  However, wait until the speaker is done before raising your point or concern while being open to hearing their response.

5. BE IN THE MOMENT:  When you are in the moment, not worried or thinking about what’s already happened or what’s to come, you will find it much easier to do all of the above.  When in any social situation let go of any preconceived notions of what to expect or what people may or may not be like.  Be open and in the moment taking it all in, allowing you to listen, be curious, and ask questions without interrupting.  Try focusing on the person who is speaking to you and let it be about them.   So much of our pre-social anxiety can come with the thought of it being about us!  What am I going to say?   What if I am not funny?  What if I don’t come across as smart?  Let go of that anxiety and let the focus be on the speaker.  Be present to enjoy the moment and enjoy your holiday experience.

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How to make the most of your holiday in 9 easy steps

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via REAL SIMPLE

The holidays are upon us!  It is really easy to become overwhelmed, over scheduled and over spent during a time we are meant to slow down, rejuvenate and celebrate the holidays rather than buy them.  When we get bogged down with our own to-do lists of task completion, we often overlook, or don’t give value to, things that bring us joy and build relationships.   Isn’t that what the most ‘wonderful time of year’ is all about?

This holiday, we invite you to rethink your “TO DO LIST”.  What would it be like if we gave the same time and value to the things we think we “need” and “should” be doing to the things we WANT and ENJOY doing?

Here is Coaching Culture’s “The REAL HOLIDAY TO-DO List”:

1. Take the time to figure out what you really want this holiday and set some boundaries around it.  There can be a lot of pressure to make the holidays “perfect”.  Rather than focusing on things that we should be doing, we invite you to take the time to figure out what you want to be doing in a way that feels joyous and “perfect” to you.  We have learned that it can be hard for people to figure out what they want; however, they can be clear about what they don’t want.  If that is easier, then start there.  Give yourself permission to set some boundaries around what feels overwhelming and inauthentic to the holiday experience you and your loved ones want to enjoy.

2. Learn something new each day – be curious about yourself, others and new experiences.  During the holidays we tend to see old faces and meet new ones, creating lots of opportunities to learn about others and build relationships.  What are you curious about?  Learning about holiday traditions and reminiscing about holiday experiences are great ways to engage in curious conversations, learn and understand others.   What’s new that you could incorporate into your holiday traditions?

3. LISTEN – it’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves & others when we take the time to listen.  It goes without saying that listening is THE most important skill when it comes to communication and building relationships.  We invite you to have awareness around how you listen this holiday, to yourself and to others.  As we take the time to listen to others’ wants and needs this holiday (including our own), let’s ask ourselves “who is this about?” and “how am I taking the time to understand them?”  For more on listening check out “What does your listening style say about you?” and “How to listen so people will talk”.

4. Test your assumptions – as the saying goes “ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME”.The holidays are prime time for assumption testing!!  We have learned that more often than not, our assumptions are not what we think and often don’t serve us well.  Take the time to test them, dig deeper, ask open questions to learn more about your assumption and where it is coming from. (Open questions begin with who, what, where, when, and how.  Stuck for a question? Tell me more is also a great way to keep the conversation going and gain clarity).

5. REFRAME – don’t underestimate the power of possibilities.  When we look at something with new eyes, the things we look at change. Kids bring a wonderful freshness to the holidays, how they see the magic.  A dreaded snowy day can turn into a winter wonderland of endless options of sledding, snowballs, snow angels and hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows of course!).  An impossibly crowded shopping mall becomes a flurry of hope and excitement for all the Christmas wishes coming true.  How can you reframe your holiday with fresh eyes and new possibilities?

6. PLAY!  Have joy in ALL you do. When was the last time you played during the holidays?  Whether it’s a walk in the snow,  skiing down the slopes, riding a bike on the beach boardwalk, ice skating at night with twinkle lights or throwing some snowballs (responsibly of course) – we invite you to take the time off and play this holiday.

7. BE AWARE & INTENTIONAL of how you show up each day, what you bring to your relationships, and how you influence others.  The real magic of the holidays is in us.  How we show up for ourselves, and others, is where the magic starts and ends.  How are you choosing to show up this holiday?

8. LOVE yourself.  We are worth it and we are enough.

9. EnJOY a gingerbread, shortbread, some eggnog, mulled wine, a hot chocolate in the snow, or whatever your holiday “splurge” may be – many of these are but once a year, indulge responsibly. It’s fun!

The holidays are meant to be fun and joyous.  How are you going to celebrate, enjoy and make the most of yours?

Wishing you and yours a healthy and joyous holiday season!