The body language that you display will allow you to alter how you think and how you are perceived in dramatic ways.
Click here for a 20 minute clip already viewed by Millions. Body Language
The body language that you display will allow you to alter how you think and how you are perceived in dramatic ways.
Click here for a 20 minute clip already viewed by Millions. Body Language
While I like to think I know a little about business writing, I often fall into a few word traps. For example, “who” and “whom.” I rarely use “whom” when I should. Even when spell check suggests “whom,” I think it sounds pretentious. So I don’t use it.
And I’m sure some people then think, “What a bozo.”
And that’s a problem, because just like that one misspelled word that gets a resumé tossed into the “nope” pile, using one wrong word can negatively impact your entire message.
Fair or unfair, it happens.
So let’s make sure it doesn’t:
Adverse means harmful or unfavorable; “Adverse market conditions caused the IPO to be poorly subscribed.” Averse means dislike or opposition; “I was averse to paying $18 a share for a company that generates no revenue.”
But you can feel free to have an aversion to adverse conditions.
Verbs first. Affect means to influence; “Impatient investors affected our roll-out date.” Effectmeans to accomplish something; “The board effected a sweeping policy change.” How you use effect or affect can be tricky. For example, a board can affect changes by influencing them, or can effect changes by implementing them. Use effect if you’re making it happen, and affect if you’re having an impact on something someone else is trying to make happen.
As for nouns, effect is almost always correct; “Once he was fired he was given twenty minutes to gather his personal effects.” Affect refers to emotional states so unless you’re a psychologist, you’re probably not using it.
Compliment is to say something nice. Complement is to add to, enhance, improve, complete, or bring close to perfection. So, I can compliment your staff and their service, but if you have no current openings you have a full complement of staff. And your new app may complement your website.
For which I may decide to compliment you.
“We made the decision based on one overriding criteria,” sounds pretty impressive but is wrong.
Remember: one criterion, two or more criteria. Although you could always use “reason” or “factors” and not worry about getting it wrong.
Discreet means careful, cautious, showing good judgment; “We made discreet inquiries to determine whether the founder was interested in selling her company.”
Discrete means individual, separate, or distinct; “We analyzed data from a number of discrete market segments to determine overall pricing levels.” And if you get confused, remember you don’t use “discreetion” to work through sensitive issues; you exercise discretion.
Elicit means to draw out or coax. Think of elicit as the mildest form of extract or, even worse, extort. So if one lucky survey respondent will win a trip to the Bahamas, the prize is designed to elicit responses.
Illicit means illegal or unlawful. I suppose you could “illicit” a response at gunpoint… but best not.
Farther involves a physical distance; “Florida is farther from New York than Tennessee.”Further involves a figurative distance; “We can take our business plan no further.” So, as we say in the South, “I don’t trust you any farther than I can throw you.” Or, “I ain’t gonna trust you no further.”
(Seriously. I’ve uttered both of those sentences. More than once.)
The speaker or writer implies. The listener or reader infers. Imply means to suggest, while infer means to deduce (whether correctly or not.) So, I might imply you’re going to receive a raise. You might infer that a pay increase is imminent. (But not eminent unless the raise will be prominent and distinguished.)
This one’s easy. Insure refers to insurance. Ensure means to make sure. So if you promise an order will ship on time, ensure it actually happens. Unless, of course, you plan to arrange for compensation if the package is damaged or lost–then feel free to insure away.
I goof these up all the time. Use number when you can count what you refer to; “The number of subscribers who opted out increased last month.” Amount refers to a quantity of something you can’t count; “The amount of alcohol consumed at our last company picnic was staggering.”
Of course it can still be confusing: “I can’t believe the number of beers I drank,” is correct, but so is, “I can’t believe the amount of beer I drank.” The difference is I can count beers, but beer, especially if I was way too drunk to keep track, is an uncountable total–so amount is the correct usage.
Precede means to come before. Proceed means to begin or continue. Where it gets confusing is when an “ing” comes into play. “The proceeding announcement was brought to you by…” sounds fine, but “preceding” is correct since the announcement came before.
If it helps, think precedence: Anything that takes precedence is more important and therefore comes first.
A principle is a fundamental; “We’ve created a culture where we all share certain principles.”Principal means primary or of first importance; “Our startup’s principal is located in NYC.” (Sometimes you’ll also see the plural, “principals,” used to refer to executives or (relatively) co-equals at the top of a particular food chain.)
Principal can also refer to the most important item in a particular set; “Our principal account makes up 60 percent of our gross revenues.”
Principal can also refer to money, normally the original sum that was borrowed, but can be extended to refer to the amount you owe–hence principal and interest.
If you’re referring to laws, rules, guidelines, ethics, etc, use principle. If you’re referring to the CEO or the president (or the individual in charge of the high school), use principal. And now for those dreaded apostrophes:
It’s is the contraction of it is. That means it’s doesn’t own anything. If your dog is neutered (that way we make the dog, however much against his will, gender neutral) you don’t say, “It’s collar is blue.” You say, “Its collar is blue.” Here’s an easy test to apply. Whenever you use an apostrophe, un-contract the word to see how it sounds. In this case, turn it’s into it is. “It’s sunny,” becomes, “It is sunny.” Sounds good to me.
Same with these; they’re is the contraction for they are. Again, the apostrophe doesn’t own anything. We’re going to their house, and I sure hope they’re home.
“Whose password hasn’t been changed in six months?” is correct. “Who is (the un-contracted version of who’s) password hasn’t been changed in six months?” sounds silly.
One more. You’re is the contraction for you are. Your means you own it; the apostrophe inyou’re doesn’t own anything. For a long time a local non-profit had a huge sign that said “You’re Community Place.”
Hmm. “You Are Community Place”?
Written by Jeff Hayden, Inc.
If you’ve followed my work, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.
New research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.
“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.
Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
They Appreciate What They Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.
I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.
They Squash Negative Self-Talk
A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It’s time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.
You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
They Reframe Their Perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.
The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.
This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.
They Use Their Support System
It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
Travis Bradbury, Forbes.com
Rise and shine! Morning time just became your new best friend. Love it or hate it, utilizing the morning hours before work may be the key to a successful and healthy lifestyle. That’s right, early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs, government officials, and other influential people. Margaret Thatcher was up every day at 5 a.m.; Frank Lloyd Wright at 4 am and Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes at 4:30am just to name a few. I know what you’re thinking – you do your best work at night. Not so fast. According to Inc. Magazine, morning people have been found to be more proactive and more productive. In addition, the health benefits for those with a life before work go on and on. Let’s explore 5 of the things successful people do before 8 am.
1. Exercise. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Most people that work out daily, work out in
the morning. Whether it’s a morning yoga session or a trip to the gym, exercising before work gives you a boost of energy for the day and that deserved sense of accomplishment. Anyone can tackle a pile of paperwork after 200 ab reps! Morning workouts also eliminate the possibility of flaking out on your cardio after a long day at work. Even if you aren’t bright eyed and bushy tailed at the thought of a 5 am jog, try waking up 15 minutes early for a quick bedside set of pushups or stretching. It’ll help wake up your body, and prep you for your day.
2. Map Out Your Day. Maximize your potential by mapping out your schedule for the day, as well as your goals and to dos. The morning is a good time for this as it is often one of the only quiet times a person gets throughout the day. The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing your activities. They also allow for uninterrupted problem solving when trying to fit everything into your timetable. While scheduling, don’t forget about your mental health. Plan a 10 minute break after that stressful meeting for a quick walk around the block or a moment of meditation at your desk. Trying to eat healthy? Schedule a small window in the evening to pack a few nutritious snacks to bring to work the next day.
3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. We all know that rush out the door with a cup of coffee and an empty stomach feeling. You sit down at your desk, and you’re already wondering how early that taco truck sets up camp outside your office. No good. Take that extra time in the morning to fuel your body for the tasks ahead of it. It will help keep you mind on what’s at hand and not your growling stomach. Not only is breakfast good for your physical health, it is also a good time to connect socially. Even five minutes of talking with your kids or spouse while eating a quick bowl of oatmeal can boost your spirits before heading out the door.
4. Visualization. These days we talk about our physical health ad nauseam, but sometimes our mental health gets overlooked. The morning is the perfect time to spend some quiet time inside your mind meditating or visualizing. Take a moment to visualize your day ahead of you, focusing on the successes you will have. Even just a minute of visualization and positive thinking can help improve your mood and outlook on your work load for the day.
5. Make Your Day Top Heavy. We all have that one item on our to do list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Here’s an easy tip to save yourself the stress – do that least desirable task on your list first. Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it from first coffee through your lunch break, get it out of the way. The morning is the time when you are (generally) more well rested and your energy level is up. Therefore, you are more well equipped to handle more difficult projects. And look at it this way, your day will get progressively easier, not the other way around. By the time your work day is ending, you’re winding down with easier to dos and heading into your free time more relaxed. Success!
1. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
2. The most important decision you can make is…where do you want to spend your time. You only have so much time, energy and ability to focus. That means, as much as you would like to, you can’t do everything. That’s a given. So is this: The places which receive your full attention will do better than the places that won’t. What follows from that is this: You need to make hard choices about what you will do–and what you won’t. And it is really is the important decision you can make, because everything else you do will flow from it…including the next point.
3. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, there is no such thing as work-life balance. I am not advocating that you spend a disproportionate part of your life working on your company. (I am also not advocating against it.) I am simply reporting that is what the most successful entrepreneurs do. I have never found an exception.
4. The best entrepreneurs don’t come up with great ideas, they solve market needs. You and I can come up with wonderful ideas all day long but unless they satisfy a large enough need, one that can support a business, they don’t do anyone any good.
5. The one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common is the desire to make their idea a reality. What entrepreneurs need most of all—above motivation, focus, hope, financing, marketing skills, a brilliant idea, etc.—is the will to bring their idea into existance. Unless you truly want to make something happen, the odds are nothing will. Without that desire, nothing else matters…or occurs. Your life will be filled in other ways
6. Action trumps everything. Stop thinking and get underway.
7. Take small, smart steps towards your goals. Contrary to the popular press, the most successful entrepreneurs are not swing-for-the-fences, bet-everything-on-one-roll-of-the-dice types. They are extremely conservative. They take a small step toward their goal; pause to see what they have learned from taking that small step and build that learning into the next small step. Then they pause to see what they have learned from that second small step, build that learning in and then take another small step and so forth. They don’t take large risks.
8. If you want to build a successful company give up control. You can try to micromange but: the business will never grow bigger than one person (you, the CEO) can handle effectively; the company won’t be able to move very quickly. Since everything will have to flow through you, you will create a bottleneck; you won’t get the best ideas out of your people. Once they understand the company is set up so everything revolves around you, people are not going to take the time to develop their best ideas. “Why should I,” they’ll ask. “He is just going to do what he wants anyway.” And it’s exhausting.
9. Forget about working on your weaknesses, play to your strengths. This is what will make you successful in the long-run.
10. You need to be able to turn every obstacle into an asset. Yes, every single one.
11. All you need to know about marketing in exactly 30 words? Marketing, when you strip everything away, is extremely simple: You figure out who you want to sell to, and then you determine what it is that will get them to buy.
12. Here’s the only market research you need: Get your product out in the marketplace and see if it sells.
13. If you insist on doing market research anyway, here’s the one question you need to ask. Show potential customers a prototype, or describe the service you are thinking of offering and then say: ”Is this something you would buy,” and if they answer yes, ask for the order then and there. If, as the cliché goes, they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, you are probably on to something. If they aren’t, you still have work to do.
14. You must figure out how you are going to collect what you are owed. Nobody thinks about this before they get underway and suddenly they learn first hand what they phrase “cash flow crunch” means.
15. As much as you are going to fight it you need a (really smart) advisory board. You want a board to: give you new perspectives and ideas; to give you people to talk to and to provide honest feedback.
16. If you want to get more done faster and better…create checklists. Checklists are a wonderful way to make sure you don’t overlook anything, and that it is true whether we are talking about the best way to treat someone in the emergency room or if you are about to make a big presentation to a client you really want to land.
17. How to motivate yourself and stay motivated. Starting anything new is hard and the number of obstacles you are going to encounter can easily get overwhelming. Click on the link here for proven ideas that can keep you going.
18. If the dogs don’t like the dog food it’s bad dog food. You don’t determine what a good product is. Only your customer does. And if they don’t like your product, it’s a bad product. Period. In others words, the customer is always right. Darn it.
19. If the customer doesn’t like the product, there isn’t much you can do about it with pricing or promotion or positioning. Unpopular products are going to remain so. It is better to come up with a different version, than to keep trying to sell–at a discounted price–the one people don’t like.
20. If you are going to fail, and sometimes you will, fail quickly and cheaply. Always take small steps toward your goal and pause after each one to make sure you are staying on the right track.
21. (Really) Learn from your mistakes. You are going to make mistakes. That’s a) a given and b) okay, providing you truly understand what went wrong.
22. Creativity and innovation must be linked to a business objective. Creativity is wonderful. But creativity that isn’t tied to making money is just a hobby. It isn’t a viable business concept.
23. Get while you still have your marbles. You never want to stay too long at the fair, even if you own the fair.
Source aul B. Brown, Forbes
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.” – Carl Sagan
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
As I turn 35 and think of my life so far and what’s to come, I realize how much I’m shaped by the questions I ask. I’ve always been insatiably curious. These are the 35 questions that have made the biggest impact on my life.
What are you pretending not to know? This was perhaps the most powerful question I was ever asked (by my best friend. All possibilities open up when we stop deceiving ourselves.
Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing? Life isn’t about figuring out what to do. The real challenge is (not so) simply doing the things we know we should be doing.
What are your values and are you being true to them? Write down the 3 most important aspects of each of these areas: family, romantic relationships, friends, work, health, sex and spirituality. These are your values. When we don’t act congruently with what we value, symptoms of discomfort arise.
In what ways are you being perceived, that you’re not aware of? Perception is reality. Make sure, for better or worse, you know what people really think of you. (TIP: Watch “How to Persuade People”)
What don’t you know, that you don’t know?It’s always the obstacles that we don’t even see coming that are the biggest challenges in life. Get in the habit of asking people that have been there and done it before for guidance.
Happiness / Peace of Mind
Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your happiness? The desires of our ego are often in conflict with the emotions of our heart. You’ll always have what you want, if you want what you have.
If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way? The discipline of delayed gratification is one of the most powerful habits of successful individuals. But most actions we take are meant to elicit an emotion in the now. We’re happier striving for our goals when we let ourselves feel that which we want to feel when our outcome is achieved.
What did I learn today? Who did I love? What made me laugh? I try and ask myself these 3 questions at the end of each day. Regardless of anything else that happens, if you learned something new, loved a good person and got to laugh heartily, it was a day worth having and remembering.
If you weren’t scared what would you do?Use the rocking chair test. What would your 90-year-old self, looking back on your own life, advise you to do in the moment?
If you were dying, would you worry about this? We so easily lose perspective on what takes up our energy and focus. We’re all dying. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this to enjoy living. (TIP: Read “The Last Lecture” and “Tuesdays with Morrie”)
Should you be focused on today or tomorrow? Savor the present but don’t forget your future. Life is a balance of knowing when to enjoy the moment vs. when to plant seeds for tomorrow’s harvest.
Influence / Achievement
Why not? What would happen if…? Don’t accept that things just are the way they are. Question why something can’t be done. And when you get pushback to these questions, reframe the negative answers with possibilities. (TIP: Watch “Steve Job’s Vision of the World”)
What/Who did you make better today? The way to measure your worth may just be to give more than you take. Asking what/who you made better each day is a simple litmus test we can all measure ourselves by.
What do you want your life to be in 5 years? If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there – Lewis Carroll. Write down 5-year goals. They’re close enough to grasp for, yet far off enough to achieve almost anything.
What can you do today to improve? Consistent, incremental improvement is the secret to achieving the greatest of feats.
Business / Entrepreneurship
What’s your WHY? If you have a big enough WHY you’ll always figure out the What and the How. If you don’t have a BIG WHY, you’ll always use the What and the How as an excuse for not doing that thing you said you were going to do. (Watch “What’s Your Why”)
What’s the one most important thing to get done today/ this week/month? Write this down on a Post-it note at the beginning of each day/week, and hold yourself accountable for completing this above all other Stuff To Do.
What’s the potential upside? What’s the effort involved? What’s the likelihood of success? What’s the strategic value? This is the framework I came up with 3 years ago on “How to Make the Right Business Decisions”. Whenever there is an opportunity cost, I have my team go through this exercise.
What are we talking about? What problem are we solving? I try to start off every meeting by putting this on the whiteboard. In group settings we too often we find ourselves having completely different conversations. Sometimes when answers are difficult to come by, it’s helpful to question if we’re solving for the right problem.
What do you need to make it happen? This is one of my favorite questions to ask as a manager. It creates ownership to make sure the goals will be achieved. And it creates a shared responsibility to provide the resources required (time, money, talent, etc.) to achieve those goals.
If we could wave a magic wand and do anything together, what would that look like? I use this question all the time with potential business partners. By removing the perceived constraints that bind us and focusing on mutually desired outcomes, we often discover new pathways of possibility.
How would your role models act and carry themselves? Act as if. Act as if you have the experience, wisdom and swagger of your role model, and you’ll often find even the most unchartered of situations more navigable.
When can we meet? We’re often this one question away from engaging with someone who can open up limitless avenues of possibility. The most important aspect of business is still to always get it done in person. (TIP: Read “Business Development Advice”)
Will you be my mentor? It’s one question that, when asked in earnest, almost nobody will turn down. Reach out to a person in a position and industry you admire, and ask them if you can take them to coffee and hear about how they got there.
What will I only know about you after we’ve worked together for a year? This interview question comes from the awesome Wendy Lea (CEO,GetSatisfaction). This may be the best interview question I’ve ever heard. (Watch “Fireside Chat with Wendy Lea” and check out my previous 8 Awesome Interview Questions)
What would get you interested in our product/service? Selling is the art of asking good questions, listening, and matching your value to people’s needs. Sales is very easy when others explain what they want and need from you. (Watch “The 5 Step Sales Process”)
What else? Such a simple but powerful question with so may applications.
By Jason Nazar, Forbes.com
Ashton Kutcher portraying Steve Jobs
The script for Jobs, the new movie starring Ashton Kutcher as the visionary Apple co-founder, is heavy with quotes that reflect Jobs’ business philosophy and approach to life. I’ve interviewed the director, Joshua Michael Stern, and I recognize most of Kutcher’s lines in the movie as being either direct quotes from Steve Jobs or compilations of his quotes. Here is my vote for the ten best quotes from the movie and what they can teach us about leadership, creativity, communications, and success.
1. I’m not dismissing the value of higher education; I’m simply saying it comes at the expense of experience.
According to Jobs film director Joshua Michael Stern, Steve Jobs felt that life experiences were critical to being creative. Stern included pivotal scenes in the movie showing a young Steve Jobs taking a college calligraphy course and visiting India with his friend, Daniel Kottke. “Absorbing culture, art, and history were extremely important to Jobs. He believed in taking life experiences and using it as a subtext for something else you’re doing, like helping to form the product you’re creating,” said Stern. This is one of the most powerful success principles we can learn from Steve Jobs: a broad set of life experiences is essential for creativity to flourish.
2. The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso and Newton risked failure. And if we want to be great, we’ve got to risk it too.
Steve Jobs didn’t hesitate to take risks. If he wanted something, he would ask, even at a young age. When Jobs was twelve years old he called up HP co-founder Bill Hewlett and asked for spare parts. Hewlett gave Jobs the parts and a summer job. “You’ve got to be willing to crash and burn. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far,” Jobs once said. “Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.” I’ve rarely interviewed a successful entrepreneur or CEO who hasn’t risked failure. In fact most successful people don’t even see ‘failure;’ they see a result that didn’t have the intended outcome.
3. How does somebody know what they want if they haven’t even seen it?
Steve Jobs didn’t believe in focus groups. Actually, he avoided them like the plague. Jobs believed in building great products that he would want to use himself. To a large extent he had a point. For example, in 2010 how many of us would have asked for a third device in between a laptop and a smartphone? Most people would never have asked for an iPad, but once millions of consumers saw it, they couldn’t live without it, and it opened up entirely new categories of business applications. When I spent one year researching a book on the Apple Store, I learned that Jobs revolutionized the retail business because he asked better questions. For example, Jobs did not ask, “How do we build a better store than our competitors?” Instead he asked, “How do we reinvent the store?” Don’t do things better; do things differently.
4. Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Ashton Kutcher likes this quote so much he used it in a short speech at a recent award show, explaining that it’s one of the most profound things he learned while preparing for the role as Steve Jobs. The quote itself is taken from a rare 1995 interview for the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association. The entire clip is available here on YouTube. The rest of the quote is equally as profound: “When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life and try not to bash into the walls too much…that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact—everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you…shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it versus make your mark upon it. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again.” Don’t just live a life; build one.
5. I would rather gamble on our vision than make a ‘me, too’ product.
Steve Jobs believed in dreaming big. In the 1970s personal computers were relegated to the hobbyist market. Jobs had the vision of ‘putting a computer in the hands of everyday people.’ He once said that Xerox could have dominated the entire computer industry because Xerox scientists in Palo Alto’s PARC research facility were developing the first graphical user interface. Jobs said Xerox failed because its “vision” was limited to making another copy machine. Never underestimate the power of a bold vision to move your career and the world forward.
6. We’ve got to make the small things unforgettable.
The devil’s in the details and few people were more obsessed with details than Jobs. We’ve all heard stories of Jobs driving his engineers crazy because he didn’t like the aesthetic of something inside the computer that nobody would ever see. Everything mattered. I recall visiting a cardboard box manufacturing facility in Modesto, California, to prepare for a keynote speech to industry executives. This company made boxes for Apple products. One factory manager said out of the thousands of brands they made boxes for, none were more particular than Apple. Steve Jobs demanded that the details of the box, the tactile design, had to be just right. The edges had to look and even feel a certain way. When customers opened an iPhone box, it had to set the tone for the experience. Far too many people and businesses overlook the details and the customer experience with the brand inevitably suffers. Details matter.
7. Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Jobs once said that what made the Macintosh great was the fact that the people he chose to work on the system were “musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians who also happened to be computer scientists.” It’s a profound insight that speaks to building creative teams. Today it’s common for many companies to overlook creative individuals because they don’t fit in a hiring box. Jobs didn’t just think differently; he hired differently. See genius in diversity. Hire outside your industry from time to time.
8. You’ve got to have a problem that you want to solve; a wrong that you want to right.
I considered Steve Jobs one of the world’s greatest corporate presenters because he always explained the problem that his product would solve. The introduction of iTunes Music Store in 2003 is perhaps the best example of this approach. In one presentation Steve Jobs turned around public opinion, convincing customers that it was in their best interest to pay for something (songs) that they could otherwise get for free at the time. In this video clip you can watch Jobs demonstrate the “upsides and downsides” of the status quo, followed by his “solution,” the 99 cent song on the iTunes Music Store. Your audience needs to understand the problem your idea solves. Don’t leave them guessing. Explain it clearly.
9. It [what you choose to do] has got to be something that you’re passionate about because otherwise you won’t have the perseverance to see it through.
Steve Jobs believed that passion was a critical component of success. He talked about the role of passion constantly, so it’s no surprise that this quote would appear in ‘Jobs’, the film. The 2005 Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford University has been viewed millions of times and it’s the event where his thoughts on passion are most clearly articulated. Jobs told the graduates that day, “You’ve got to find what you love… Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” This could very well be the greatest piece of career advice ever given, with the exception of #10.
10. In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great.
This quote is the best advice Jobs ever gave to Disney’s Chief Creative Officer, John Lasseter. Well before he became Disney’s chief animator, Lasseter recalls his first meeting with Steve Jobs after Jobs bought Pixar in 1986. Lasseter was working on a short film at the time and, at the end of the meeting, Lasseter says Steve Jobs asked him to do one thing: “Make it great.” The short, Tin Toy, went on to win the first academy award ever given for computer animation and set the foundation for what later would become Toy Story. Lasseter has told the story publicly a few times, most recently in this emotional tribute at Disney’s D23 Expo (the story begins at 8:30). Lasseter said those three words—make it great—have applied to every frame of every Pixar movie he worked on.
Is everything you do as great as it could be? This could very well be the most important question you ask yourself as a leader. Your customers deserve nothing less. Don’t just make it; make it great.
By Carmine Gallo is the communications coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular keynote speaker and author of several books, including the international bestsellers The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. His new book, The Apple Experience, is the first book to reveal the secrets behind the stunning success of the Apple Retail Store. Carmine has recently launched an eLearning course titled, New Rules of Persuasive Presentations.
I started Docstoc in my 20’s, made the cover of one of those cliché “20 Under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings. Call me a curmudgeon, but at 34, how I came up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own. In response, here are my 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get.
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level. In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want. Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back. Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.
You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated - Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.” Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. There’s no prize for talent, just results. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success. (Tip: read “Talent is Overrated”)
We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.
Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.
Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person. It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.
Be the First In & Last to Leave – I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.
Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility. You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Err on the side of doing too much, not too little. (Watch: Millennials in the Workplace Training Video)
Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes – You should be making lots of mistakes when you’re early on in your career. But you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your F-ups. You’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes, and committing to learn from those experiences.
You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked –Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.
A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing – 1-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company. It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion. It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship. Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.
People Matter More Than Perks – It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings. Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.
Map Effort to Your Professional Gain – You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do. Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you’re doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow. That should be all the incentive you need. If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.
Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers. In your workplace this is a cancer. If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP. Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards. If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.
You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops – Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume under Skills, is not going to cut it anymore. I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position. If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.
Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business. Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it. Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible. (TIP: Here is myNetworking Advice)
You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be. Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive. (TIP: “The Secret to Finding and Keeping Mentors”)
Pick an Idol & Act “As If” – You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does. I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire, and act “as if.” If you were (fill in the blank) how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, organize his/her day, accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine. (Shout out to Tony Robbins for the tip)
Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth. Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover. All the keys to your future success, lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.
Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.
Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure. It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.
This Spring I took a great trip through several cities in South America. Here are some details to help you plan your trip.
The planning process started for me when a friend of mine purchased a Dove Hunting Excursion at the local Ducks Unlimited fundraiser. I received a call from him letting me know I was needed on the team for this trip to Cordoba Argentina!
The Outfitter is David Denies. You can check them out at www.daviddenies.com
I began researching dove hunting in Cordoba and soon discovered that this was a premier location for the sport! There are millions and millions of doves in the area attracting people from all over the World.
Now I am not a huge hunting fan. I may go pheasant hunting a few times a year in Nebraska or South Dakota. That being said I would recommend this trip to anyone.
We hunted two half days and two full days. Each day the crew prepared a field lunch with fresh filet mignon, pork and ribs cooked over an open fire. This was served on white linen table cloths with more food than you could ever eat.
Every evening we went back to our compound where a chef prepared a wonderful dinner. We sat around the campfire at night listening to music and telling stories from the day.
Dove hunting is definitely a challenging sport. Doves fly very fast and even though there was NO shortage of targets you needed to lead those birds and pick out a single dove to hit one. After the four days I had used over 2,600 shells and shot 1,400 doves! Not a bad percentage for an occasional hunter. Check out this video to get a feel for how the hunting goes. It’s pretty wild! Cordoba Argentina Dove Hunting Video.
The crew would gather up the doves, have them cleaned and send them to an orphanage to help feed the children. The dove hunting alone made this a great trip.
Since I had traveled thousands of miles for the dove hunt I couldn’t bring myself to return home after four short days. My friend and I decided to hop on a plane to Buenos Aires and see what that city had to offer! Buenos Aires is only a short one hour flight to the East of Cordoba.
Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and has a rich and dynamic history.
We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel on Alvear. Wow, what a killer hotel and location. Everything you need is a short cab ride away and there are many shops and restaurants within walking distance.
I would highly recommend setting up a driver to show you around the city. You can get a lot done in a very short amount of time. We paid $50 per hour for a 3 hour tour. The hotel set it all up.
Try the Palmero area for lunch. This is a nice area loaded with shops and restaurants. Take a few loops around the area and pick something out that looks good. We ate outside at a pizza joint that was great.
Another area you must visit is Caminito. This area is also loaded with bars, restaurants and shops. You will find Salsa dancers everywhere and getting your picture taken with one will give you a fun souvenir to take home.
For dinner we went to Cabana las Lilas at Puerto Madero. This is a great restaurant on the
water. Sit outside and enjoy your dinner as the people walk by on the boardwalk. This is a must if you only spend one night in BA!
An interesting fact about BA is that there are actually two different exchange rates. The official rate for us was 6 Pesos per dollar. Our driver took us to a place that gave us 9. That’s a big difference if you are planning on making any kind of substantial purchase.
After a few days in Buenos Aires I went onto Rio de Janeiro for a little beach time.
Stay on Copacabana Beach. This is a beautiful beach and has easy access to many of Rio’s attractions. Walk up the beach and around the corner to explore Ipanema Beach, the rock formations and relaxed atmosphere is worth soaking in.
Two places you must make time to visit are the Christ the Redeemer Statue and Sugar loaf Mountain. The views of the city are incredible from both of these attractions. After your visit to Sugarloaf Mountain ask an attendant for directions to the pathway down and hike down instead of riding the tram. You’ll see monkeys, lizards and tons of natural flowers and vegetation.
If you need a little taste of the States try The Clover Irish Pub on Copa Cabana Beach. You’ll think you are in Chicago! This place has a great staff and good food.
From the dove hunting to the cool beaches of Rio this trip was amazing! You have to go…
Several weeks ago we found out that the federal government tracks every phone call we make. On the one hand, it’s unsettling. On the other, if it helps stop terrorist attacks we may consider it worth it. In some ways what was most disturbing about the revelation was its secrecy. Our instinctive response is mistrust: our government wasn’t being open with us. And we all want open leaders.
That’s the lesson in business for companies that are striving to recruit and retain the best talent. When leaders are honest and forthcoming, people feel respected, engaged and invested in the enterprise. Unfortunately, too many leaders still don’t get it: open leadership is the foundation of 21st century success. We live in the age of the individual (some might say narcissist) and old-style, top-down, command-and-control leadership just doesn’t work. It makes employees feel devalued and wary. Just the opposite of what success demands: active, fulfilled employees who are bringing their full talents to work every day.
How can a leader achieve this open ideal?
1) Open door: Everyone in the organization should have access to their leaders. Leaders who welcome input change the entire atmosphere of an organization. Keep your door open, it’s a powerful metaphor for an open organization. And when someone walks through it, no matter who they are, welcome them.
2) Open mind: Brilliant ideas can come from anywhere in an organization. Open leaders listen carefully, welcome off-the-wall suggestions, and understand that clinging to the status quo will soon leave you behind the curve. Refresh and renew your consciousness. Take a class, talk to a consultant, explore a museum. Stretch your mind – like a muscle, it will grow stronger.
3) Open laptop: Many leaders still don’t grasp the power and necessity of engaging and enabling online. Find ways to integrate social media, expert networks, videos, forums, and blogging into your leadership toolkit. This is where employees live nowadays – open leaders must join them.
4) Open standards: Your mission must be stated, but more importantly it must be lived. You have to treat everyone by the same rules. And when a challenge arrives, keep people informed. Nothing undermines morale more than whispers and favoritism.
5) Open heart: All great leaders transcend the sometimes prosaic demands of their organizations and reach people on an emotional level. Make a list of the five leaders you most admire. Bet they all touch something in your heart and soul. I’m not talking about turning your company into a group therapy session, or saying you have to dispense hugs (though hugs can be a very effective leadership tool if done in a way that makes sense to objectives of course), but open leaders aren’t afraid to show some heart in how they lead.
All five of these Open Leadership tools must be employed with sincerity and follow-through. Paying lip service is worse than doing nothing. It’s hollow and people see right through it.
So open up and lead and build this into your company culture.
Source: Meghan M. Biro