11/13/2013 03:20 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Why Won't They Do What I Want? 3 Surprising Mistakes You Are Making

Are you wondering why your "big idea" isn't taken seriously at work, why friends pass on a great suggestion, why your significant other doesn't understand that you mean business?

With co-workers...
Your "enthusiasm" is hard to take. You're full of ideas but present them in the same high-pitched voice to anyone who will listen. Although persistence is usually a good thing, your co-workers may see you as annoying.

Redo... Pick Your Issues
They're all not that important. Focus! Determine which one is a priority, and let the others go. When presenting, make sure to watch your tone, speak an octave lower (try repeating the word "aluminum" over and over again beforehand to sound more grounded). Keep your statements short and to the point.

With friends...
You lack the total package. You say one thing and your body language reflects something else, so you don't seem confident. Friends follow those who act "poised under pressure."

Say, your girlfriends start discussing someone whose mate is treating her poorly. The subject of what she should do comes up, and you know the answer. (You've been through it yourself.) Unexpectedly, those memories flood your mind, so when you offer your opinion, you do so sitting back in your chair, arms crossed. You're not very passionate and seem detached, even though that's not how you feel. As a result, no one pays full attention, and they're onto the next comment.

Redo... Be mindful of your vulnerability
If you know this is a sensitive area, prepare yourself before you speak. Make up your mind that your desire to help is most important, and that you'll probably feel uncomfortable offering your thoughts. With this awareness, you can "lean in" and say your truth with sincerity. Your body language and words will be taken seriously.

With your boyfriend...
Your timing is bad. You know what you want but you pick the worst time to say it. And you make it seem more urgent than it is. If you find yourself needing an answer now, it's probably triggering something from your past. If it's hysterical, it's historical. Being intense doesn't allow you to see the situation clearly, understand your partner's needs, and know when and how to communicate what you'd like effectively.

Take this scenario: You've been an item for about six months and you see each other on weekends. During the week he spends late nights at the office working out the kinks of a new acquisition. You want to spend more time together and suggest Thursday evenings, but he's not accommodating. Your insecurity has you press further, which starts a fight.

Redo... Do a quick "inner" inventory.
What are you really feeling -- are you doubting his fidelity? If so, do you really think that's true? You know deep down that's not the case. Decide to shelve the discussion for now, and you'll revisit it in the near future.