Give It 100

Social skills are like any other skill -- if you practice, you get better.

But in order to practice, you have to start, and you have to keep going. And both of those things are very hard. It's really easy to wait to start until you're totally "ready" (which will be never), or burn yourself out by pursuing a new goal in an unsustainable way.

So instead, I want to show you a better way.

There's a website called Give it 100. The basic idea is that you practice something for 100 days in a row, and you film a 10 second clip of you doing it every day so you can see how you improve. You can also see what other users are doing, which is sometimes incredible and sometimes adorable.

Unfortunately, social skills don't really lend themselves well to 10 second clips (in fact, a great social skills tip: don't randomly start filming the people you're talking to.) So instead I want to give you a different "Give it 100" challenge. Are you ready? Here it is: Read More

Fight Back

Life is really hard sometimes.

There are times when all of the encouragement in the world doesn’t seem to help, times when it feels like the only emotions available are rage or grief or numbness, times when starting another day feels like getting in the ring with Mohammed Ali.

Maybe that's your story today.

Maybe that's been your story for a long time.

If that's you, I want you to know that it will get better. You will not always suffer. You will find healing and you will find people who will love you very much and you will have moments when life will be so good that your heart will feel like dancing right out of your chest. You are not a mistake. You are not a lost cause. It is good that you are alive and one day you will believe that.

But I also want to recognize that things might not get better right away. And I know that when people tell me, “This will be better someday, but you just need to wait,” I don't find their words very helpful.

So I want to give you more than just waiting.

I want to give you the chance to fight back.Read More

How To Teach Kids Social Skills – Guest Post

Hey guys! This week I have a guest post from Rusty May. Rusty is a veteran school counselor who runs SchoolToolsTV, a site with videos that teachers can use to teach social skills and positive values to their students. He's an expert on helping kids succeed, and I'm excited to share his thoughts on teaching kids social skills. Although his advice is aimed at teachers, with a bit of creative thinking anyone -- parents, coaches, friends -- can apply his tips as well. Enjoy!Read More

The Case For Small Talk

Lots of people tell me, "I hate small talk."

And in truth, small talk can be tiresome sometimes. When you're discussing a topic you don't care about, it's natural to get bored.

Small talk can be doubly frustrating when you've craving deep interactions. After you've experienced true heart-to-heart conversation, how can you go back to discussing the weather?

It's understandable to feel like small talk is a waste of time -- the "busywork" of social interaction.

Understandable -- but wrong.

Small talk has huge potential to help you connect with others. Let's look at the three reasons why.Read More

Choose Courage

Self-confidence is a catch-22.

If you don't feel confident, then you feel anxious and your anxiety causes mistakes. But when you're afraid of feeling anxious and making mistakes, it's very hard to feel confident.

Of course, it is possible to build self-confidence. You can give yourself a pep talk, or straighten your posture, or work on your areas of weakness. But building self-confidence can feel like building a house of cards -- one failure and it all comes crashing down.

Fortunately, there's a better way.Read More

Take Care Of Yourself

Would you climb a mountain with a backpack full of rocks?

You would probably stop and remove the rocks first -- even if this means you don't start your climb right away. Or, if you couldn't remove the rocks, you would still understand that you don't need to climb as fast as someone who isn't weighed down.

For some reason, we don't apply this same logic to self-improvement.

We might be weighed down by social anxiety, or past trauma, or an empty bank account, or problems with physical or mental health, or by a schedule that is jam packed with commitments -- the rocks that we carry can look very different.

But our response to them is unfortunately very similar. Either we try to ignore them and push ourselves towards incredibly ambitious goals (and then pay the cost in burnout and shame when our burdens block us from those goals), or we give up and say "I can't even try to climb this mountain -- my rocks are too heavy."

I'd like to propose a different way.Read More

How Parents Can Help Children With Asperger’s

With the right support, a child with Asperger's can go far.

I should know. I have Asperger's, but thanks to the support of my parents (and some hard work), I have overcome many of the challenges of Asperger's.

If your child has Asperger's or a similar condition, you play a pivotal role in leading your child to success. Read on to learn how my parents helped me, and how you can help your child succeed too!Read More

5 Minutes to Confident Body Language (Guest Post)

Hi everyone! Today's post is by Nick from GoBodyLanguage.com. He shares how your body language can impact your confidence, and gives some excellent tips for improving your body language. His tips will help you both feel and look more confident, so read on!

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Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are is the title of a recent TED talk by Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, and with nearly 7 million people having viewed the talk, the world is finally becoming aware of the impact that our body language has not only on how others perceive us but how we perceive ourselves.

We have cognitive dissonance to thank for that, which describes a process wherein we hold two or more conflicting ideas about ourselves, which are in disagreement with one another. Our mind protests this disagreement, and if we hold these conflicting notions for some period of time, the mind will eventually try its best to bring each conflicting idea closer to the other.

In case the previous paragraph were a bit confusing, let me break it down more simply: if you're an unconfident person who forces him/herself to use confident body language, over time you will actually start to feel more confident as a result. Your mind will actually alter your unconfident feelings to become more in line with the confident body language you are using.

With this understanding in mind, let's cover some of the quick things you can do in the next 5 minutes to make your body language more confident. Remember that if you force yourself to consistently use this type of confident body language, over time you will actually being to feel more confident.Read More

How To Speak With Confidence & Authority

The way you speak matters.

If you don't sound like you expect respect, you might not get it.

Fortunately, you don't need to be a natural leader to speak with authority, or the king of self-esteem to speak with confidence. With a little practice, anyone can begin to speak with authority and confidence.

Don't believe me? Just keep readingRead More

One Simple Rule to Overcome Anxiety

Fear often keeps us from the things we want.

Maybe we want to go talk to that guy, or ask that girl out, or go to that party. But we're afraid.

What if  he doesn't want to talk to me?

What if she says no?

What if I feel awkward at the party?

In the moment, these fears can seem really big. And when our fears are big, we play it safe, which means we avoid the things we really want to do.

Fortunately, there's one simple rule you can use to give yourself courage.Read More