195 Words To Keep You Going If You Feel Down

Author Article
By Todd Brison

Maybe you think it’s easy.

Maybe you had rich parents.

Maybe you inherited the perfect network.

Maybe you were able to party through school and still get what you want.

Maybe you simply have enough raw talent to get by.

Maybe you don’t have to worry about the future.

Maybe you already achieved all you desire.

Maybe you’re not like me.

But maybe …

Maybe you have idea and nothing else.

Maybe you count on your creativity to keep you alive.

Maybe you can’t imagine one more second stuck in a job you hate.

Maybe you are insane enough to believe your dream is worth pursuit.

Maybe you realized, suffocating under an avalanche of meaningless days which turned into meaningless years, that Comfort is a misleading swindler and its twitchy, nervous twin brother Safety is even more crooked.

Or maybe you hadn’t realized that yet. Don’t worry, you will soon.

Maybe your inner voice tells you “don’t give up yet.”

Maybe that voice is telling you the truth.

Maybe you think you were born for more.

There is a reason for that.

You are.

Recently, a random person pushed me across the 50,000 follower(!) mark on Medium. I wish I knew who it was. So much influence is insane to me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I think it happened because I do things like this:

If you are struggling now, if you need encouragement, text me today. Here is my personal cell phone number. I will get back to you as soon as possible:

615–428–3309

(And I figured out how to use WhatsApp this time… apologies to all the messages I missed last time)

I love you. I believe in you. You will change the world.

Much love,

— Todd B

This article was originally published on Medium.

The Best List You’ll Ever Make To Be More Effective

Author Article Here
By MARY LEE GANNON

We all have to-do lists, project objectives, metrics and planners to help keep us on track in our daily lives. Each year we set high expectations and even with these tools we find ourselves frustrated because we don’t have the structure, systems, or accountability in place to achieve our goals. Couple that with doubt and indecision and you have a perfect recipe for anxiety. In the worst case this leads to action paralysis.Let’s talk about the best case. Most people know what they need to do to be happy, effective and thrive just not how to do it or what to do with doubt and fear. We spend enough time telling ourselves how we are not equipped to succeed and armoring up against failure by being risk averse. We wallow proficiently on what it is we need to do but spend less time feeling what it would be like to actually live the dream and executing a plan to get there. Guarding against danger is how we have evolved as a species and not become extinct.

We are Jedis at searching the environment for danger. We are not innately good at promoting ourselves into opportunity. Opportunity isn’t essential to stay alive. Staying safe is. Let’s reverse the pattern.

The purpose of creating this list is: 1) to give you definition around the areas where you thrive so that you can spend more time there especially when challenged, and 2) to build self-awareness around opportunities for growth that increase your executive presence and effectiveness.

The best list you’ll ever make to be more effective

Create two columns, side by side, on a sheet of paper numbered one to 10. A word document is good for this exercise so that you may modify it as time goes on.

 FIRST COLUMN: Label this “I AM THIS”

  1. Think of a time from your childhood when you were at your very best – happy, included, a star.  Write down 3 words that describe who you were in that situation.  What were you doing, thinking and feeling and how were you behaving? Examples: Listening, Planning, Being Vulnerable, Compassionate, Gentle, Strong, Tenacious, Resourceful, Confident, Capable, Open.    
  2. Think of a time professionally when you were at your very best and write down 3 words that describe what you were doing, thinking and feeling and how you were behaving.
  3. Think of a peak personal moment where you felt appreciated, respected, effective and write down 4 more words that describe who you were in that situation.

SECOND COLUMN: Label this “NOT THAT”

    1. Next to each entry in Column 1 write what you are doing when you are NOT at your best specific to the corresponding behavior beside it. This should reflect what you exhibit or the feel when you are NOT leading from that point of strength. If your point of strength is ‘Tenacious’ what are you doing when you don’t feel that? Weak? Ineffective? Examples for NOT THAT words are: Threatened, Criticized, Afraid of ____, Distracted, Losing Control, Abandoned, Disappointed, Challenged.

The list on the left is who you truly are at your core. This list on the right is what happens to you when you don’t feel that way. Knowledge is power so be honest when you create the list. Now when you feel one of the negative feelings or exhibit one of the negative behaviors from the second column revisit the first column to see precisely what you need to focus on to get back to a position of strength. For more career strategies get the FREE report: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World. https://www.maryleegannon.com/31-success-practices-for-leaders

 Challenging situations occur in everyone’s lives that often impart feelings of despair. Fear can set in followed by repeated defensive behaviors that draw you away from your ability to thrive in your career, goals and relationships with confidence.  Post this list where will you will see it every day to remind yourself of where your strengths lie and what to focus on when negative feelings or behaviors surface. 

Next time you are feeling anxious look at this list and the correlating positive word that is at your core. That is the very thing you want to reflect on, meditate on, create a plan around. Now you have an actionable strategy to reverse the negativity!

Is Waking Up Early Good or Bad?

See BBC Article Here
By Bryan Lufkin

Being successful means waking up early – or so we’re constantly told.

It makes you more productive. Celebrities and CEOs do it. You’ll be healthier and happier. You’ll feel in control of your life.

But despite the deluge of such stories, waking up at an ungodly hour isn’t some sort of magic productivity hack that will solve your time-management problems. For some, it can even be counterproductive.

The trick is finding a routine that fits your situation. Here are some timeless tips that can help you cut through the noise and figure out a wake-up strategy that’s right for you.

What are the benefits of getting up early?

There can be lots – at least, according to all the people who get up at daybreak.

(Credit: Getty Images)

US actor Mark Wahlberg made headlines last year when he said he wakes up at 2:30 am (Credit: Getty Images)

Many people cite fewer distractions during the early hours: kids or anyone else in your home are probably still asleep, for example, and you’ll probably be receiving fewer texts or emails at that time.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he rises at 03:45 to start checking email in California before his East Coast colleagues can (which, at 06:45, is still quite early in its own right). Oprah Winfrey says she gets up at 06:02 every day for reflection, meditation and exercise before starting work at 09:00. The most extreme case might be Mark Wahlberg, who wakes up at 02:30 to exercise, play golf, pray and recover in a -100C cryochamber.

You might be more alert and have better cognitive ability in the afternoon

Studies have also suggested early rising and success might be linked. People who wake up early are more in sync with the traditional corporate schedule and tend to have more proactive personalities, which might lead to better grades in school or higher wages on the job.

If getting up early doesn’t come naturally, there are some strategies you can try. Early exercise and exposing yourself to light as soon as possible can help stimulate metabolism and body temperature, which gets you going more quickly.

Yet the early alarm clock may not work for everyone – it turns out there are plenty of caveats around trying to become a morning person if it’s not an easy fit.

Is getting up early for everyone?

No. Whether or not waking up early actually makes you more productive could be in your genes.

There’s been lots of research about how some people are biologically more likely to feel more alert in the morning, while others are at their best at night. You might be more alert and have better cognitive ability in the afternoon, for instance.

In fact, a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications provided further evidence that this is the case. Looking at data from over 700,000 people, researchers found over 350 genetic factors that could influence whether people feel more naturally energised either in the morning or in the evening. The large sample size makes the study the biggest of its kind so far, though further research is needed to confirm the results.

So, if you don’t naturally feel alert in the morning but decide to wake up early anyway, you might be sabotaging your actual peak performance times.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Humans aren’t built to go to sleep with glowing distractions, which can cause sleep problems (Credit: Getty Images)

Of course, people may have personal reasons for making an early start. “There may be other factors at play, such as enthusiasm and high job satisfaction, which facilitate eagerness to get up earlier and get to work,” says Marilyn Davidson, professor emerita of work psychology at the University of Manchester.

Parents with young children or workers with non-traditional hours may also have no choice about what time they start the day.

Getting up early doesn’t necessarily translate to instant success at the office

The main point: the mere fact of getting up early doesn’t necessarily translate to instant success at the office. In fact, depending on the person, it could end up having a negative effect.

Can getting up early ever be counterproductive?

Yes. Especially if you don’t normally wake up super early and are trying to hop on some kind of productivity bandwagon.

“People say: ‘Oh, this CEO is doing his 05:00 regimen, I’m going to hop on and do this on Mondays and Fridays,’” says Rachel Salas, an associate professor of neurology who specialises in sleep medicine and sleep disorders at Johns Hopkins University in the US. “But that’s not consistent [sleep]. You’re messing with your system.”

Salas says that getting a full night’s sleep and getting the same amount of sleep at the same time each night are both important. An even worse scenario? If you’re actually reducing sleep to become an early riser.

Sacrificing sleep means you may be hit by the many negative effects of sleep deprivation, including moodiness, poor concentration, potential weight gain, anxiety, increased risk of heart disease and higher blood pressure.

So if early rising means cutting sleep, don’t do it. Salas says she’s had patients come into her clinic who got by on reduced sleep in their 20s and 30s, but struggled as they got older, their lifestyles changed and they had kids.

“If you start early, you will need to stop work earlier too, so there may be no real benefits,” points out Gail Kinman, professor of occupational health psychology at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, England. She thinks that high-profile businesspeople who follow up an early start with long hours in the office or a late-night presence on email have a damaging effect.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Famous CEOs and celebrities frequently brag about early rising – but is it really right for everyone? (Credit: Getty Images)

There’s something particularly pernicious about the bragging of a CEO chronicling their early starts. The New York Times recently coined the term ‘performative workaholism’, referring to workaholics flaunting early wake-ups and long hours as a badge of honour, which can end up setting a bad example.

“CEOs are important role models for staff,” Kinman says. “And seeing this behaviour as desirable is just irresponsible.”

What should you do?

Experts say to experiment. Don’t listen to vocal thought-leaders or LinkedIn influencers – figure out what works best for you. And, hey, maybe that does mean waking up super early after all.

Pay attention to when you feel most tired and most awake. When on holiday, make a note of the times you fall asleep and wake up naturally. Try to sync your schedule to those times, as that’s how you’ll tap into most of your natural energy for the day ahead.

When it comes to the workplace, experts suggest an approach that accommodates everyone’s habits to bring out the best in them. Susan Stehlik, director of New York University’s management communications programme, suggests offices and teams use a technique called “appreciative inquiry”.

Pay attention to when you feel most tired and most awake.

This means that the team sits down at the very initial stages of a project and brings up their individual needs, schedules and preferences right out of the gate to the group – ideally, so that the group can adjust accordingly.

“That way you bring up things [like]: ‘I have kids, I have to be up at 05:00 every day and have to get them to day-care and can’t stay late’,” Stehlik says. “‘Here are my vulnerabilities right now, and here are my strengths right now.’ It’s mostly teamwork.”

If team leaders are flexible, you could agree to have an early riser start checking email or working earlier, and then allow them to knock off earlier in the afternoon. That way, workers can enjoy the benefits of early rising, but avoid burnout.

You’re also applying the practices of early rising to those to whom it’s applicable or useful, instead of arbitrarily getting everyone up early to chase the illusion of increased productivity.

In the end, though, it’s all about taking sleep advice from non-experts with a grain of salt. It’s about knowing your unique sleep preferences and the times of the day (or night) that you feel at your peak. And above all, it’s getting adequate – and consistent – amounts of sleep.

For some people, forcing yourself to wake up before the chickens because that’s what your business idol does may not be the smartest or healthiest way to start the day.

“Don’t do it,” Kinman says. “Unless you are a true morning person.”

Bryan Lufkin is BBC Capital’s features writer. Follow him on Twitter @bryan_lufkin.

To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, please head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Capital and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.

 

Why Happy And Comfortable Won’t Get You There

See Author Article Here
By John P. Weiss

My hands are still sweating. I recently saw the outstanding documentary Free Solo. It chronicles the stunning achievement of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he scales the famous El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

El Capitan is 3,200 feet of sheer granite, and Honnold climbs the whole thing in under four hours.

Without ropes.

I read Honnold’s fascinating book, Alone on the Wall, but there’s nothing like watching him in action on the big screen.

The documentary shows his exhaustive preparations, practice runs, climbing journals, and more. It also examines the relationship he has with Sanni McCandless, his girlfriend.

Dating a guy who risks his life climbing vertiginous walls of granite can’t be easy. Not to mention Honnold’s emotional remoteness, which helps him stay focused.

An article in voanews.com quotes Honnold:

“Soloing always comes from some kind of particular mental space. And it has taken some effort to cultivate the right space for a relationship, the right space to still climb at a high level and just try to balance it.”

There’s a fascinating part in the documentary where Honnold contrasts McCandless’s desire to have a happy and comfortable life with his push for climbing excellence. He mentions how being comfortable doesn’t lead to achievement.

Clearly, Honnold would not be happy resting on his laurels, because excellence comes from serious effort, not settling into a life of leisure and comfort.

In the documentary, we watch as Honnold and McCandless buy a new house and shop for refrigerators. Honnold previously embraced an ascetic life, living out of his van, shunning alcohol and red meat.

While Honnold’s fame brought endorsements and money, he remains largely unchanged. Still focused on the next climb.

For Alex Honnold, settling into a conventional life won’t do it for him. Happy and comfortable won’t get him where he wants to go. He knows that to achieve greatness in climbing, he has to keep pushing. Keep training. Keep his eye on the next prize.

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I doubt the cat volunteered

Alex Honnold isn’t the only person to accomplish a dangerous challenge. Consider the life of Annie Edson Taylor. She was born on October 24, 1838, in New York.

A school teacher, Annie met David Taylor and they were married. The couple had one son, who sadly died in his infancy. Shortly after that, David passed away.

Life does that sometimes. It completely destroys the happy and comfortable world you made for yourself. When that happens, what do you do?

Do you give up? Throw in the towel? Or do you find a way forward? Rebuild and craft a new life?

For Annie Taylor, she chose a bold, unorthodox way to move forward.

After her husband died, she pursued various jobs and moved around. Concerned about finances for her later years, she decided to become the first person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

She acquired a custom barrel made of oak and iron and cushioned the interior with a mattress. Then she tested the barrel by putting a cat inside and sending him over the waterfall.

I doubt the cat volunteered. Thankfully, the cat survived and emerged from the barrel with only a small gash on his head.

Wikipedia describes the rest of the story:

“On October 24, 1901, her 63rd birthday, the barrel was put over the side of a rowboat, and Taylor climbed in, along with her lucky heart-shaped pillow. After screwing down the lid, friends used a bicycle tire pump to compress the air in the barrel. The hole used for this was plugged with a cork, and Taylor was set adrift near the American shore, south of Goat Island.

The Niagara lake currents carried the barrel over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which has since been the site for all daredevil stunting at Niagara Falls. Rescuers reached her barrel shortly after the plunge. Taylor was discovered to be alive and relatively uninjured, except for a small gash on her head.”

Annie Taylor never achieved the financial success she hoped for. A corrupt manager took off with the barrel and some of her money. In her final years, she managed to craft a living. She posed for photographs with tourists at her souvenir stand and pursued a few other ventures.

The point is, however unorthodox her plan, Annie Taylor didn’t give up. There was a time when she had a happy and comfortable life, but it didn’t last. So she lifted herself up, crafted a bold plan, and moved forward.

Writer Margie Warrell, in an article for Forbes.com, notes:

“Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunity, build capability, and grow influence. As we do, we expand the perimeter of our ‘Courage Zone’ and our confidence to take on bigger challenges in the future.”

Warrell goes on to write:

“In short, we must be willing to get comfortable with the discomfort involved with taking risks.”

We tend to live in our comfort zones

I live in Southern Nevada, in a Del Web type community of mostly retired folks. I enjoy coffee a few times a week with a bunch of guys who are older than me.

I like hanging out with these men because they have many life lessons and wisdom to share. These guys could simply enjoy their homes and play golf, but they do more than that.

One guy goes off on mountain hikes that many young people would fail to accomplish. Another guy, who is 80 years old, rises early every day and lifts weights. These guys are intellectually curious, travel frequently, and keep pushing themselves.

What I’ve learned is that “happy and comfortable” isn’t enough. Human beings thrive when we have challenges to tackle and goals to achieve.

An article in timemanagementninja.com explains why “happy and comfortable” isn’t enough. An excerpt:

“We tend to live in our comfort zones.
Most people rarely, if ever, venture outside of theirs.
For most, it’s about going through the motions.
It is a life of routine, slackness, and minimal effort.
Yet, to reach new heights you have to push yourself.
You have to do the work. And you have to test your limits.”

There is a caveat. Important as it is to have goals and focus on achievement, we also need periods of downtime. Space in our lives to rest, think, and renew our creativity and drive.

Being happy and comfortable is fine. It’s a state we all aspire to, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the spoils of our efforts. But in order to keep growing and achieving, we have to push ourselves. Sometimes, when we get too comfortable, we get lazy.

I’d much rather sink into my leather couch and get lost on my laptop than drive down to the gym for another, brutal workout with my trainer. But the couch and laptop won’t help me achieve my fitness goals.

How about you? Have you been seduced by a comfortable routine and happy status quo? It’s easy to let this happen, because who wants to struggle in life? And yet, pursuing goals and doing hard things is what moves the needle. It’s how we keep growing and achieving.

Take a close look at your life. Are you a bit settled? Have you let happy and comfortable get in the way of becoming the person you really want to be?

Focused effort leads to breakthroughs!

You don’t have to risk your life climbing mountains of sheer granite, or tumble over Niagara Falls in a barrel. But you do have to get off the couch, get out of your comfort zone, and chase your passions and dreams with renewed focus and determination. Do that, and watch your life transform for the better.

Before you go

I’m John P. Weiss. I paint landscapes, draw cartoons and write about artful living. Get on my free email list here.

This article first appeared on Medium.

The Single Most Important Action To Take Right Now To Make You Successful

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By

Throughout the year we make personal commitments of things we want to change for the better. Diets, exercise, family, work, travel etc. For many of us, we take on multiple resolutions with every intention of improving ourselves for the better. Too often, we fail to kick start and sustain the new “US.” Goals become overwhelming and we fall into the trap of never achieving what we set out to do.

The complex formula of success
So much information exists on what success is and how to achieve it. Articles with headings such as “30 Things Successful People Do Differently” capture our attention with the hope of inspiring us to take meaningful action.

The problem is that’s 30 things we are to remember and implement to supposedly achieve success. One article I recently read listed their number one step to success being “Internalizing your locus of control.”

Locus of control? What does that even mean?

These articles can provide meaningful insights but they often overpower us and end up being nothing more than an informative read.

Inspiring? Sometimes. Actionable. No.

Success is not a complex formula. It is far simpler.

Excuses over results
Success can come at any time. We get caught in the trap at looking at success as this grandiose plan that must start and be completed by self-defined timeframes and prescribed results. It becomes so daunting that we give up because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we try to achieve our goals, they don’t come fast enough and we use this as an excuse to give up. We end up being our own worst enemy.

You can either have results or you can have an excuse, but you cannot have both.

Take someone’s plans to lose weight. They set a goal to lose 30 pounds which includes a diet plan and workout regime. They are initially dedicated to working out multiple times a week and stick to a strict meal plan. It’s tough at first but as several weeks go by they start to feel better about themselves. More energy, clothes feeling a little looser and an overall more positive attitude. Then they step on the scale at the end of the month to find they have only lost 2lbs!

The minimal weight loss is deflating after all that dedicated, hard work. They start to lose steam. Workouts get missed. Diets get blown. Before long the excuse “I can’t do this” enters the mind and the weight loss plan is in the scrap bin.

The amazing results achieved in a single month get buried and forgotten. More on those amazing resulting in a minute.

The secret of success: One step
One small step. That is all it is. A single step is all it takes to move towards success. It’s so fundamentally simple and yet so easily overlooked.

It’s the greatest secret never to be told by successful people. We read about other’s success and can’t imagine how we could ever achieve the same. They are so successful and have achieved so many amazing things that we see them in a different league. What we fail to realize is that these successful people all started with a single, first step. Then they took another step and another. Before long they had a mile of steps behind them and the second mile didn’t seem so bad. They kept going and went on to build massive momentum. Always looking forward. Never back.

Sure there are missteps. People outside of the successful stream of consciousness look at missteps as failures. Successful people don’t’ see failure. They see opportunities to learn, reflect and move forward. Always achieving greater success than when they started.

Celebrate each step
Each small step you take is a pause for celebration. Your decision to spend more time with the family. The first day at the gym. Booking that amazing trip abroad. Deciding to make a career change. Those are all small steps worthy of applause

Celebrate each and every step of success along the way.

Imagine how many of us would stick to our weight loss plans if we instead focused on the many positive steps we took in the first month and not the actual loss of weight.

Let’s break it down. Attended the gym. Ate healthy. More energy. Looser clothes. Multiple small steps all worthy of celebration. Each step building on the previous. It’s all about changing your perspective. It’s amazing when you change your frame of mind how you can view something that seemed so insignificant really isn’t. Two pounds is no longer weighing you down. That’s worth celebrating and continuing with your step journey.

You can start your new YOU whenever you chose. Start small and take one little step at a time. Push yourself forward because no one else is going to do it for you. All it takes is a single step.

Clark Glassford is the founder of My Practice Interview. The company’s purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dream career. My Practice Interview provides industry-leading services including tailored resume writing, curated LinkedIn profiles and expert interview coaching delivering results beyond expectations.
http://www.mypracticeinterview.com

17 Daily Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People

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Your best days are likely the ones in which you take good care of yourself while being highly productive. To make it happen, though, you need to be intentional with how you use the minutes of your day. Here are more than a dozen habits highly successful people practice to push themselves to the next level.

1. Find your purpose, refer to it, and let it guide your path

“Knowing and following a personal, specific purpose empowers us to live with greater confidence. Having an active awareness of our purpose leads to deeper satisfaction as we readily know if a choice or task serves or takes from our purpose. Set aside time and explore your purpose. Write it down, refine it, share it, and refer to it often no matter how large or small. It doesn’t have to be monumental: ‘Make memories with my family,’ ‘Provide for those I love,’ ‘Create jobs,’ ‘Serve others,’ etc. Just be certain to make your purpose your daily mantra.”

–Doug Bloom, Philadelphia chair of Tiger 21, a peer membership organization with more than 650 high-net-worth wealth creators and preservers worldwide

2. Connect with someone

“Humans are inherently social. We’ve an innate desire to connect with one another–whether it be over a meal, traveling to other countries, or watching a movie together. Due to this, I make a daily effort to get out of the office (when feasible) to show up and meet interesting people as a means of identifying opportunities, striking partnerships, connecting, and learning new things. But I believe that how you show up is just as important as the act of showing up itself. You can’t expect every meet-and-greet to be as simple as driving down to your local coffee shop, so I’m adamant about immersing myself in their world as well: catching a plane, meeting them in their office, [or] driving to their home. I’ve been fortunate enough to start and invest in numerous successful businesses because I showed up to meet someone, many of whom I was meeting for the very first time. Ultimately, relationships are what drive businesses forward, and there is no better substitute when developing a relationship than to show up.”

–Adam Jiwan, founder, CEO and Chairman at Spring Labs, a blockchain startup that raised $14.75 million in 2018

3. Practice the SAVERS habit

“Currently, I use a process from The Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod. It’s based on the acronym SAVERS: Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribe (journal). Every morning I meditate for 10 minutes, then move into five minutes repeating my affirmations, spend five minutes doing visualization exercise (seeing your future and what you must do to attain it), read for 10 to 15 minutes, then finish with 10 minutes of journaling and preparing for my day. Being able to clear my head and focus on my goals and priorities has made my days more productive and less stressful.”

–Krista Morgan, cofounder and CEO of P2Binvestor Inc., an online lending platform which has raised more than $13 million in equity

4. Get updated on industry news first thing, then work out

“I am a creature of habit, committed to routines that keep me informed and energized. Every morning, I begin my day with a 30-minute review of my news feeds, favorite websites, and alerts. No work email yet, just an overview to get a sense of industry activity to share with my direct reports through Slack. Then I work out. As an avid mountain biker, I try to get a ride in multiple days a week (personal trainer and home gym the rest of the week), followed by a shower and breakfast. Once in the office, I exercise my Domo muscles (Domo is a business intelligence and data visualization tool). The data-driven platform gives me an early view into new issues or opportunities within my company. Together, these pre-work rituals allow me to dive into the normal course of business activities mentally and physically prepared with insights into both my industry and company that keep me ahead of the curve.”

–Drew Edwards, founder and CEO of Ingo Money, a provider of mobile-forward, turnkey instant deposit and payment services solutions that works with companies including Visa, PayPal, KeyBank, and Safelite

5. Clean up your inbox over the weekend

“Email can be a huge time suck. I’ve found that it’s best to prep my outbox over the weekend while I have some downtime. I block time on Sunday to start responding to emails and save them as drafts, so I can hit send first thing Monday morning. This helps me go into the week less stressed without dumping things on my team over the weekend. To limit time spent on email Monday through Friday, I check Apple Mail to read messages in batches every couple days. If something is urgent, my team knows that I’m big on texting.”

–Isaac Oates, founder and CEO of Justworks, an HR technology platform supporting more than 60,000 employees of entrepreneurs and companies in all 50 states

6. Endure short-term pain for long-term gain

“Almost all of life’s decisions, business and personal, come down to the same question, can you accept short-term pain for long-term gain? Losing weight, firing a producing employee that is problematic elsewhere, exiting markets that are profitable but aren’t your focus–all point to the same thing. Most people choose to focus on short-term gains and get long-term pain. People who want to win are willing to accept some level of professional pain to find opportunities that might elude everyone else.”

–Marty Puranik, CEO of Atlantic.Net, a cloud service provider serving 15,000 businesses in over 100 countries

7. Learn something new before the kids wake up

“Every morning, before my children wake up, and I get ready to leave for work, I will typically spend around thirty minutes reading the news. As I read, I make a point of researching any topic or context I’m unfamiliar with. There is something very energizing to me about starting the day with this mindset of curiosity–of learning something completely new or broadening my perspective on an issue or concept. It’s important to me, before I spend the day focused on my work and company, to expand my horizons, and tune in to what is going on in the world and the reality and interests of others. I find there is often an opportunity to apply these findings and discoveries in my work, even if at first they seem far-removed.”

–Jonathan Cherki, founder and CEO of ContentSquare, an A.I.-powered user experience analytics and optimization platform which raised $42 million in capital last year and works with companies including Walmart, GoPro, Avis, and L’Occitane

8. Live below your means

“The great part about the human spirt is our ability to adapt to our surroundings and environment. Whether you own a billion-dollar company or work the night shift at the local gas station, I firmly believe that your future is highly dependent on your habits, today and tomorrow. Something that I always do, and would encourage everyone else to do, is take that bonus, that compensatory raise, that record-earnings year for your company, and defer the use of those funds through savings or investment. By saving or investing those funds instead of digesting them into your bank account, it may be the difference between a want today versus a future need. I encourage people of all ages to maximize their retirement contributions from annual compensation increases before doing anything with after-tax dollars.”

–David Kilby, published author and president of FinFit, a financial wellness benefits company with more than 125,000 clients

9. Stop adding value

“It is seductively soothing to be doing tasks that add value. ‘Am I adding value?’ is so easy to answer because almost everything you do usually adds some value. It is much harder to answer the question ‘Is this the best use of my time?’ To wit, it’s easy to be busy improving the product but it’s a lot harder to look up and realize the product is good enough already and I should be focused on finding the right distribution partner.”

–Kon Leong, cofounder and CEO of ZL Technologies, an information management provider with clients spanning the Fortune 500, including half of the top 10 financial services companies

10. Read a chapter or a section out of a book, or an article

“Studies show the more you read, the greater your chance for success. When you have an insatiable desire to learn you grow personally and professional at a faster rate. You could take one thing from the chapter or the article and implement it, and that one thing could make a huge impact in your future.”

–Nicole Middendorf, author, wealth advisor and founder and CEO of Prosperwell Financial, a financial services company with over $160 million in assets

11. Start your day with clear focus and gratitude

“It’s too easy to jump into the day’s activities and lose sight of the big picture. Spend time each morning doing something that will help you grow as a person and as a leader. I start my day by reading the Bible and in meditation. Then, I listen to something positive, uplifting, and motivating while exercising and getting ready for the day. Each morning I post my top three annual goals to the top of my calendar, where I will see them daily. I also share with my team three things that I feel blessed for each day.”

–Robin Kocina, a Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame honoree and president/CFO of Media Relations Agency, a performance-based marketing agency

12. Make a to-do list

“This act of writing down what needs to get done helps me feel less anxious because the tasks seem less on paper than in my head. The list also allows me to see what is a priority or time-sensitive, and I can order what needs to be done accordingly. And crossing off an item, or deleting it, gives me this sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, even if it is just the task of dropping off a package at the post office.”

–Tracey Welson-Rossman, co-founder and CMO of custom software development firm Chariot Solutions and founder of TechGirlz, a nonprofit inspiring tens of thousands of middle-school girls to pursue technology careers

13. Take time every Sunday to write out the full list of what you want to accomplish for the week

“I consider how [these tasks] align with my bigger goals for month or quarter and once I’ve got a solid list, I draw a line on what must [be] accomplish[ed]. I try to keep that to just three things, and everything below the line can be pushed. Then I review my calendar to make sure my schedule has time carved out for me to be successful. The 30 minutes this takes on a Sunday helps me manage my time and hit the ground running on Monday.”

–Dave Evans, cofounder and CEO of virtual manufacturing platform Fictiv, which has raised $25 million in funding

14. Practice being humble

“I believe that cultivating humility is crucial to success for any professional as they advance their careers and assume greater leadership in their organizations. It is equally important for growth and development in our personal lives. I try to cultivate humility every day by being present and aware–whether I’m stuck in traffic, changing my son’s diaper, or apologizing for a mistake I’ve made. Embracing these humbling moments gives me motivation to keep learning, listening and improving as a husband, father, son, brother, friend, colleague, leader and human being.”

–Raul Vazquez, CEO of Oportun, named one of Time magazine’s 2018 “50 Genius Companies Inventing the Future” for its work providing over 2 million small dollar loans which have saved its customers more than $1.3 billion

15. Seek out tough feedback

“I make a point to connect over coffee daily (or weekly) with people on my team who aren’t my direct reports.  I always ask them to tell me something they don’t think I want to hear, whether it’s a challenge they’re facing, or something about the business that they’re concerned about. Not only does this give me an opportunity to see inside parts of the organization that I might not see every day, and a unique perspective and understanding of the complexity of their day-to-day, but also gives me a new way to think about where my help and leadership can make the most impact. It has repeatedly broken down barriers and opened up the lines of communications across our organization.”

–Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), a nonprofit that brings together hundreds of financial institutions, employers, innovators and policy makers

16. Write out your to-do list early in the morning

“I watch the sunrise, have a cup of coffee, and write out the list of all meetings and tasks for the day. I do this every day with paper and pens and sometimes in different colors.”

–Dede Gotthelf, owner of the Southampton Inn which has received several Best of the Best awards from Hamptons publication Dan’s Papers

17. Keep a detailed calendar while looking back at this time last year

“I maintain a detailed calendar each day of the week and keep copies of my schedule for at least a year. Each week, I review the prior year’s calendar to see what projects I was working on and whom I was meeting with around the same time the year before. This process gives me a 360-degree perspective on how I progressed on those projects, what projects I need to complete or restart and reminds me to reconnect with specific people. Looking back at what I was doing the year before helps me stay on top of important projects and professional relationships.”

–William T. Sullivan, executive director of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) which has increased philanthropic revenue by 30 percent since 2017

Steve Jobs Said You Should Ask 1 Crucial Question Every Morning to Master Your Work Life

See Author Article Here

Steve Jobs delivers the keynote address at the 2011 Apple World Wide Developers Conference on June 6, 2011 in San Francisco.
CREDIT: Getty Images

How do you live your life? Are you just getting by paycheck-to-paycheck, or do you have a higher purpose for everything you do? To put it more succinctly, as the old adage goes, do you live to work or work to live?

Steve Jobs clearly knew where he was headed at all times, even to the point of facing death. On June 12, 2005, Jobs, then CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered a commencement address for the ages.

We know the story by now. Speaking to Stanford University graduates and drawing from some of the most significant events of his life–including his being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year prior to the speech–Jobs pushed students to pursue their highest aspirations and see the opportunities when life delivers devastating blows. He said:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

How does that strike you? While we don’t know exactly where Jobs got his mortality quote, the fact that Jobs said it at a time when he stared death in the face speaks volumes to how we should live our own lives.

I’ve thought about my own life and how Jobs’s quote has inspired me to keep going in the face of many challenges, including a brutal divorce and a three-year period living in poverty. I never lost the internal compass that kept pointing me to my true north–my whole reason for living and working.

Because in the end, when you look in the mirror and assess the quality of your life, this is what will help you live each day as if it were your last.

Ask yourself the Steve Jobs question

If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you’re about to do today?

Here’s how you’ll know: In the frantic pursuit to do more and be more, we hardly think about the importance of focusThis is a difference maker.

That’s why, for ambitious people chasing after their dreams, another prophetic quote by Jobs over two decades ago hit the nail on the head. During an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 1997, Jobs remarked:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

What are you “innovating”? Whether in your current job, in leading your business, or in your life role as a parent, spouse, or community leader…what kind of guard rails have you put up to guide your course and keep you focused to the end on what truly matters in your life?

TedTalks: What Reality Are You Creating For Yourself?

* some days

“Reality isn’t something you perceive; it’s something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.”

TedTalks For A Growth Mindset

“We all want to use our talents to create something meaningful with our lives. But how to get started? (And … what if you’re shy?) Writer Kare Anderson shares her own story of chronic shyness, and how she opened up her world by helping other people use their own talents and passions.”
“Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.”
“Our leaders and institutions are failing us, but it’s not always because they’re bad or unethical, says venture capitalist John Doerr — often, it’s simply because they’re leading us toward the wrong objectives. In this practical talk, Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs — a goal-setting system that’s been employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute on audacious goals. Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure — and how we can use OKRs to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable.”
“In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business’ rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail.”
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