Friday, March 31, 2017

4 Tips to Be Less Awkward When You Speak

by Mary Rezek

You know that feeling when you’re in the spotlight and you flub your lines? When your head starts to buzz and all you can see is white? You’re not alone. Although 70 percent of Americans who speak publicly believe presentation skills are essential to their success, 74 percent of people suffer from anxiety when it’s time to showcase those skills.
From corporate meetings to large-scale presentations, the fight-flight-freeze response is the same. I’ve seen speakers stare out into the audience like a deer in headlights. I’ve seen speakers hop back and forth on their feet, using filler words (“um,” “uh,” “so” or repeating their last word) while trying to remember where they were, or turn their backs to the audience and stare at the PowerPoint, saying, “Uh, where was I?”

The truth is that your audience doesn’t want you to fail.

If you get stuck and feel as if you look or sound like a Muppet, that’s your misperception. As the speaker, you might feel like your credibility and legitimacy are in question. The truth is that your audience doesn’t want you to fail. They’re actually thinking, Come on, you can do it!
As a leadership advisor and public speaking coach, I can tell you that a little fear isn’t a bad thing. If you’re too sure of yourself, you risk underpreparing and increase the likelihood of that dreadful I don’t know what to say next moment.
Years ago, I participated in a biannual people review with functional leaders of a publicly traded company who were trying to justify a projected head count. One employee, who overestimated her ability to navigate and handle the seasoned audience, walked into the room thinking she understood how to tell the CEO what she needed in a compelling way.
When the CEO started rocking back and forth in his chair and rubbing his hands together, it signaled to her, Get ready, you’re about to be pummeled with questions.
He then proceeded to hammer her with strategically specific questions related to how well she knew her business. Although she fundamentally knew the answers, she stammered, used generalizations and fumbled her responses, forgetting that it was up to her to manage her audience: the CEO.
Because she lost her way, she was asked to leave the room, and the vice president had to handle the dialogue. This employee was convinced that she knew her numbers but forgot what her purpose was; her call to action. Although she didn’t lose her job, she did lose credibility and personal confidence, which is difficult to repair.
Now that your anxiety is heightened, listen up: You’ve got this. You can always recover when the inevitable hiccup happens by following these four steps.

1. Manage the unexpected.

Technology will fail you, so always prepare a contingency plan. Don’t be one of the 90 percent of speakers who let technical difficulties throw them off their games.
For example, when I was presenting to 500 people, my graphics-heavy presentation crashed the system. I said to the audience, “It seems we’re having a technical moment. Take about five minutes to catch up on your email while we repair this.”
After telling one of the producers that I needed a Mac and an adapter right away, I walked back out and said to the audience, “Alas, a Mac versus PC problem!” which earned a few chuckles. Once I had the needed equipment, I took control and brought the audience back to where I’d left off by saying, “I’m ready if you are.” Then I clicked to the correct slide and resumed by saying, “As you will remember...”
When this happens to you, remain composed and unflustered. Don’t freak out by showing outward signs of stress. Take your time and, if appropriate, have a bit of fun. Make a joke about the issue or share a story that relates to your presentation—anything to show that you’re still in control and will proceed, regardless of the circumstances.

2. Break it down.

Your audience knows how to read, so stop relying on your presentation to guide your talk. People are there to listen to you talk, not to watch you read slides.
Instead, think about the go-to anchors in your speech in terms of chunks or buckets. This information can be placed in your PowerPoint notes or on note cards. I find using large fonts, colors and the underline feature helps me see while scanning and speaking simultaneously, priming my next thought and keeping me on track.
If you’re a nervous speaker, adding inspirational words to your note cards helps calm the jitters. Encouraging words are good to look at when you get stuck because they remind you that you’ve got this. Some of mine, depending on my mood or audience, are “Be Bold,” “Badassery” and “WW” (for Wonder Woman).

3. Cut the filler.

This is Public Speaking 101, but it’s worth reiterating: Instead of unconsciously saying, “um,” “uh,” “so,” or any other filler word to help you think, stop. Take a breath. Have you ever tried to talk while inhaling? It doesn’t work. A pause is not only more credible than stammering, but it also lends an air of gravitas.
Some might argue that filler words make you sound more natural. In public speaking, however, they distract the audience. You want them listening to your message, not counting how many times you say “uh.”
Lastly, always maintain control of your voice. Sometimes, when I get nervous, my voice shakes and catches in my throat because I’m breathing shallowly. So I multitask by taking a really deep breath in and then exhaling from my belly while checking my note cards. Something triggered my anxiety, so I’ll read the note I wrote to myself—“WW”—and dive back in.

4. Recover from rambling.

Maybe you are a “word rambler.” When you get nervous, do you overtalk, pivot or use too many words to make your point? These are major distractors. The audience is trying to follow, scan, relate and determine what the hell you’re saying. Basically, you’re taking them on a verbal roller coaster ride.
When you catch yourself rambling, stop talking and count to three. Consider saying to the audience, “As you can probably see, this topic is a real passion of mine,” “Let me make this simple,” or “My point is,” and then say it succinctly.

Be cognizant of when you start to ramble.

Too often, speakers inundate the audience with data, overloading them with facts, and never get to the point. Be cognizant of when you start to ramble, and once you realize it, find a way to tie whatever you’re saying back into your main point. Consider saying you forgot where you were, or get the audience to help you remember by asking, “Where have I taken you?” or “Where was I?”
Paradoxically, naming the fact that you’ve become lost builds credibility. You went on a tangent and caught yourself, and the audience will give you a break.
I once saw a presenter go into microscopic detail explaining why he was asking for a significantly higher budget for a global marketing initiative. The vice president tuned out, had a side conversation and eventually cut him off. His budget wasn’t approved because he rambled too much irrelevant information.
If he had stopped and recognized that he was getting too granular when the vice president disconnected, he could have said, “Listen, I need X, Y and Z because...” By taking a step back and linking his goal to the leader’s bigger picture, he might have had a better chance of having his request approved.
Speaking in public can be awkward. Just remember: Shit happens. You can always bounce back by pausing. Respect the challenge ahead of time, prepare yourself for the worst and use your tools to wow your audience. You’ve got this.
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The rarest commodity is leadership without ego: Bob Davids at TEDxESCP

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time To Take Care Of Your Stress Level If You Want A Healthier Digestion

So, have you reduced the number of small meals? Please do so, it really is for the best of you!

I’m here to accompany you through this challenging journey!

Let’s look at what you SHOULD do this time–enjoy your meals in a relaxed mode.
Emotions and Your Gut

The digestive system walls are linked to health, mood, and even thoughts. This link is known as the ENS (Enteric Nervous System) and has earned the term ‘the second brain’. Thin layers of over one hundred million nerve cells line the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike the main brain in your skull, the ENS cannot think. Its main role is keeping digestion on track, from the initial swallowing to the releasing of enzymes and breakdown of the food, while controlling the flow of blood to help with absorbing nutrients.

According to John Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology director, Jay Pasricha, M.D., the Enteric Nervous System sends signals to the main brain and suggests that the digestive system may affect cognition too. It can actually trigger off emotional shifts (i.e. anxiety and depression) that are thought to link to conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

How To Cope With Stress

If you’re experiencing high levels of mental stress, here are a few quick fixes to calm you down:
Traditional Siesta: Many traditions follow a siesta. A nap after a big meal. Metabolic forces are highest at midday during lunch. A midday break will flow with the natural body rhythm. A siesta does not have to be a nap. Relaxing and resting suffices after a good midday meal helping with digestion and leaving you flowing with energy and vitality for the rest of the day.
Breathe and eat: A calm sense of deep relaxed breathing rather than a shallow and infrequent stress linked breaths that bring out an anxious state is recommended. When stressed, adopt a breathing pattern to relax. Conscious breathing techniques relate the rhythmic breathing flow to the brain. This will facilitate a smooth flow of the digestion journey. And here’s a video showing you how to deep breathe to relieve stress in 1 minute:

Body posture: If you tend to eat hunched when stressed, take note that the digestion process needs gravity. Be seated upright for meals with relaxed shoulders and feet flat down on the ground. When the spine is erect, it gives way for the lungs to be operational at the best level. Breathing will help digest the food. By sitting up straight, while eating you have a raised consciousness and are more aware of what is on the plate you are devouring. This, in turn, will make digestion easier.

For longer-term emotional support, however, try making these activities below a daily habit:

1. Track your emotions by writing them down

To deal with stress take the time to keep a daily journal. Write down your emotions and keep track of them. Writing heals emotionally, psychologically and physically. In Writing to Heal, author Dr. James Pennebaker describes how writing leads to improved immune functioning.

Journaling and keeping track of your mood swings is a great way to increase self-awareness and to express your emotions. This familiarity of yourself is crucial for understanding your life experiences.

2. Record your achievements

Note down every achievement ever though it might be minor, as noting down all achievements boost confidence. Journalling achievements may help you relive them in your mind. This reaffirms your abilities even when self-doubt intervenes. With a boost of self-esteem, journaled reflections become personal achievements that will keep you moving forward.

3. Color!

Get a coloring book. Coloring helps to minimize stress. Coloring was reserved as an activity for children and occasionally adults when babysitting. Recently, it has become an international trend for adults to buy coloring books making them bestsellers worldwide. Coloring has been proven to be very therapeutic and has been referenced as almost a type of meditation.

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Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right | Laura Sic...

A second chance!

8 Ways to Fake It Till You Make It

Power through these strategies until your self-doubt is gone.
by Vicki Salemi

If you’ve ever felt like you’ll get caught out at your job for being incompetent, you’re not alone. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Salzburg, 70 percent of participants reported feeling like frauds at work.
Researchers concluded that by undervaluing ourselves, we could be unwittingly sabotaging our own careers, as well as undermining our employers. So here are eight ways to fake it till you make it.

1. Remember your wins.

Peter Shankman, CEO of Shankminds Business Masterminds, boosts his spirits by replaying successful results from previous gigs. “Sometimes I’ll play a video of an older speech I gave and listen to the audience,” he says. “They’re laughing—really laughing. It puts me in the mindset to know that if I rocked that speech, there’s no reason I can’t do it again.”

2. Sweat it out.

When he starts feeling down on himself, Shankman wakes up early and boosts endorphins at the gym by lifting or doing cardio. “That right there gives me the chemical boost to say, ‘OK, let’s do this.’” He says this is the same reason why he sometimes exercises right before heading into a big meeting or presentation.

3. Surround yourself with people who believe in you.

For Joyce Maroney, director at the Workforce Institute at Kronos, that meant leaving a comfortable job at IBM several years ago to join a startup—something she had never done before. “The CEO who recruited me, for whom I’d worked in the past, told me she was confident I could do it. Having that reassurance from her was very helpful, and I’m very fortunate to have a CEO again today who believes in these same values.”

4. Talk it out.

When speaker Mike Veny was hired to deliver his first keynote at a state conference, he felt overwhelmed seeing his face on posters and in program handouts. He relies on close friends to serve as sounding boards when anxiety kicks in. “In my experience, self-doubt is normal and part of the process,” he says. “It keeps you humble and hungry to get better at what you do.”

5. See the big picture.

When second-guesses emerge, Veny focuses on why he does what he does—which is to bring awareness to mental health. “My mission in life is to empower people to connect,” he says. “I am grateful for opportunities that keep coming my way to do that.”

6. Validate other people.

When Derek Doepker, author of Why You’re Stuck, began his authorship journey, he felt like an impostor, asking himself things like, Who am I to write a book and why would anyone listen to me? His advice now, after having done it, is to identify a role model. He discovered authors, podcasters and bloggers who resonated with him. “Go tell them the difference they’ve made for you. In giving a sincere compliment and validating their worth, you may just find your own worth is validated in the process.”

7. Do what you love.

Oftentimes, when we get outside our comfort zone, we’re nervous about the new, the unfamiliar. That’s why Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., president of the Hendricks Institute, recommends focusing activities on your “Zone of Genius.” In his book The Big Leap, he explains, “The things you most love to do reflect your unique abilities. When you are doing what you are really meant to be doing, you don’t generate self-doubt.”

8. Never let ’em see you sweat.

Joyce Maroney learned to mask her anxiety because all eyes were on her to create a vision and build the right team. She consciously controlled her demeanor so people would perceive her as having the situation under control. As she learned more, her confidence started soaring, and so did her control. “When I exhibit confidence and composure, it always makes a situation better,” she says. “I take deep breaths, step away from a situation and take a few minutes to reset my composure. I remind myself that this too shall pass.”
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What I Learned From Keeping a Gratitude Journal (part 3)

The idea of a gratitude journal is worthy; the commitment, difficult.

The idea of a gratitude journal is worthy; the commitment, difficult. I told myself I’d stick with meditation after a similar monthly experiment for SUCCESS last spring; concentrated mindfulness hasn’t exactly become a daily routine.
Still, my journaling taught me a lesson that proved similar to that monthlong flirtation with meditation. Probably, by the time you read this, I’m no longer keeping my gratitude journal. It very well might fade, like a disappointing percentage of my attempts to inject productive self-improvement into the spaces of my day generally reserved for stuff such as Super Mario Kart 8. Even at the dawn of the new year—or especially at it—ambition makes a grand, striding entrance, and in short order it is knocked on its silly face by the machinery of daily life, in all its own grand, dull meaning.
At the same time, the seeds of gratitude are there, and they’ll remain. Somewhere in my cluttered, crowded brain folds there’s the notion that gratitude heals. The seed of the idea—to shut up and give thanks more than once every few months—is planted. How it sprouts is up to time. “If you wake up and think, I am grateful that today, blank” says Jantz, “you begin to think in a different way.” And that part worked for me. Well, that and the real coffee.
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What I Learned From Keeping a Gratitude Journal (part 2)

GRATITUDE LOG 1: OK, so here goes: Thanks to a close bus stop and my instinctual OCD, mornings are pretty chill around here. Instead of frenetically scrambling around prodding the children and occasionally flinging waffles at them, we can actually—you know—eat breakfast. Usually after the oldest heads to the bus stop, the youngest will bobble downstairs, hair frazzling out in about 40 directions, rubbing sleep out of his eyes with balled-up fists and looking as if he’d ask me for coffee if he wasn’t 5. Luckily he is 5, which means we get to spend a few minutes lounging on the couch, he and his screwy hair balled up in my lap, deciding whether it feels more like a Honeycomb or Frosted Flakes morning. I’m not going to pretend that mornings with a 5-year-old are a magic-lit Hallmark scene of redemptive sunlight, but it’s a pretty nice way to kick off the day.Before long, I settle into a December routine: Around 10 p.m., I make tea, find a spot on the couch and dig around my brain being thankful. I start slow, writing about things that generally don’t have feelings of their own: our evocatively cluttered Christmas tree, a reasonably successful year of self-employment, safety and comfort—the usual suspects. Later I’ll improve at this, writing to friends in distant states, college buds I don’t see enough, the old crew that gathers every year for a Christmas party, my mom and myself. I can’t claim to have glimpsed nirvana, but did it make me feel lighter walking upstairs to go to sleep? Absolutely.
“Spending appropriate time thinking about what you’re thankful for—and really meaning it—helps re-focus what you’re paying attention to,” says Courtney Johnson, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist with Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. “Even if it’s just, ‘I’m grateful this winter isn’t as cold as last year’s’ or ‘The sun is shining even though it’s freezing.’ ” In short order, she says, the good stuff will pop.
GRATITUDE LOG 4: This one is dedicated to my oldest. He’s midway through seventh grade—universally accepted as the worst year of schooling—and pretty well crushing it. He’s a sweet kid, imaginative, thoughtful and kind. He can be flaky and frustrating, but in a good way—his brain is firing at absurd repeating rates, taking things in and examining them. It makes him a part-time citizen of the outside world here, sure, but it means there are worlds in his mind that I can’t wait to see open up. One day he’ll walk out the door and end up somewhere exotic, tropical, freezing or remote, confident and curious. It’ll be hard to see him go, but I’m thankful that’s the way he is. He’s taught me much in the past 13 years, more than I ever thought he could, and I’m holding my breath to see what he does next.I won’t sugarcoat this part: Midway through the monthlong exercise, I grew pretty tired of gratitude. As with anything that demands daily dedication, my journal started to seep into the sticky ground of chores, rather than mental wellness. The kids would go to bed, the dishes would be put away, and I’d grab a book and sit down and think, Oh wait. Dammit. I need to go be grateful for something. Gratitude is wonderful; forced gratitude is kind of a nag.
The problem, I realized, is this is when I needed the exercise the most, when I’d just as soon have checked out for the day, gone to sleep or watched the pointless fourth quarter of a blowout Chicago Bears game. The idea wasn’t the journal—that was easy enough—it was the tireless persistence of the journal, the cumulative effect. I couldn’t bail just because I was sleepy.So because it was late and I was grumpy, I aimed my entry low and settled in to be thankful for video games. It was a balmy 6 degrees that night, with a wind chill of are-you-kidding-me-with-this. After dinner, my wife had broken off to wrap presents, so I adjourned upstairs to accept my son’s challenge in a fierce game of Super Mario Kart 8. Sadly, my youngest had not consumed enough pasta to earn him a turn at the controller, so, relegated to the role of observer, he waddled up to the couch and popped right between his big brother and me. For a good 20 minutes, that’s where we sat, my boys and I, tucked safely inside on a warm couch on a bone-chillingly cold night letting our brains melt into oatmeal together. I’m not going to say this was a magical moment on par with seeing your child perform a recital or nail a game-winning three-pointer or earn a graduate degree. But, as a little in-between, a little cut-scene in the midst of our real lives, it was a pretty good one. Before, I might have missed it.
GRATITUDE LOG 15: Today I have decided to be grateful for the winter chill, which is hard, because cold is stupid. So it’s with gritted teeth and a 48-oz. chum bucket full of hot chocolate that I say the following: I am thankful for you, cold, how the snow sparkles in moonlight, how I can stand at the dining room window and look outside into the water-blue landscape with my family tucked under flannel blankets upstairs, how the snow hangs onto the Tiki lights on the back porch. I’m thankful for how Bing Crosby sounds best in the December nighttime, how “Silver Bells” means Chicago to me, how my son scribbled HI DAD in the snow on the back porch. I even like scarves. All things being equal, I’d whisk us all to the Caribbean tomorrow if we could, but since I’m here, sprinting from indoor haven to indoor haven, I should make the best of it, focusing on the good in the cold, the way it blankets both me and all my friends and family. Lord, that was hard.
A hiccup. If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the Midwest in December, close your eyes and imagine flat, cold and gray, punctuated occasionally by ice storms. Here on the western edge of the Eastern time zone, darkness falls around 4:30 p.m., which means if you put in a little effort, you can go an entire workday without seeing the sun. Add in Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, the brown slush that accumulates in your wheel wells and the knowledge that once the new year turns, you only have four more months of it, and yeah. Winter is long here.The house, following suit, had turned cold. My wife and I had been inexplicably short with each other for a week, quick to annoyance and cleverly sarcastic comebacks. We chalked it up to some lingering winter malady, probably picked up from her children’s hospital job or one of the kids’ schools, the germs within exacerbated by winter and forever closed windows. The Christmas to-do list rattled around my laptop every few minutes, reminding me that yuletide joy had a deadline. It was, as you might guess, an exceedingly lousy time to keep a gratitude journal. It took this icy low point to make the miracle happen.Late Sunday night, as is my custom/survival requirement, I went to prepare coffee for the following morning. I don’t know what compelled me to look at the label that night, what impulse drew my eye upward from the routine, but that’s when I saw it, looking at me, taunting me, smirking like the guy who runs the Death Star. Decaf. The tiny word on the label. I could live to be 100 and never understand why coffee companies print that word so unbearably small on their labels.
Having non-coffee in the house is simply not an option for me. I would rather not have walls.Naturally, I went directly out in 34-degree Midwestern sleet to buy the coffee-coffee, ungratefully chucking the decaf straight into the outdoor garbage can. Two days later, the sleepy, snappy malaise that hovered over our house like some gray beast was gone, and holiday joy had returned.
GRATITUDE LOG 24: While the journaling exercise eventually made my heart grow a few sizes and gave me a greater appreciation for my many gifts, it apparently did so with about the same power as caffeine. Obviously I am grateful to know this.
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What I Learned From Keeping a Gratitude Journal (part 1)

by Jeff Vrabel

Confession: Before this assignment, I’d never even considered keeping a gratitude journal. I imagined parchment and elf-crystals and perfumed writing chambers where the air is 75 percent mulberry incense, and purple-haired millennials talk an awful lot about chakras.
Gratitude is also an example of what humans call feelings, and I have spent an awful lot of energy trying to avoid those. But as it happens, what makes me a lousy human also leaves me pretty well-qualified to gauge the effects of a gratitude journal—a tally of thanks I kept throughout December to see whether the gurus and positive psychologists are right about its uplifting power.
Science has fallen over itself proving how gratitude makes you not only a warmer person but a healthier one. “Previous research has linked gratitude to improved mental health, lower levels of anxiety and improved sleep,” says Blaire Morgan, Ph.D., a research fellow at the University of Birmingham in England. “Our own research has demonstrated a strong link between gratitude and three different measures of well-being: satisfaction with life, subjective happiness and positive affect.”
The idea of the gratitude journal, as with most of your leading forms of mindful personal development (meditation, controlled breathing, ringing the Salvation Army bell, doing yoga in a 105-degree closet), is theoretically wonderful, a warmly resonant concept designed to blast rays of sunshine into your dull cement world of commutes and credit card APRs and Facebook. Gratitude journals are the opposite of work-intensive, requiring only a pen, pad and a handful of quiet moments. You can keep them anywhere. They’re meant to be mentally refreshing, spiritually invigorating, and free of expectation or reciprocation—a crystal-blue example of pure instinctual human goodwill.

Gratitude fosters upstream reciprocity, which you may know by its street name: paying it forward.

A 2006 Northwestern University study by Monica Bartlett and David DeSteno found that gratitude fosters upstream reciprocity, which you may know by its street name: paying it forward. The grateful among us enjoy higher self-esteem and are generally in better moods. They’re more empathetic and less inclined to vengeful retaliation. They experience fewer physical aches and pains, partly because—being in positive frames of mind already—they exercise and visit doctors regularly. In a famous example, renowned gratitude expert Martin E. Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania experimented with a number of positive psychology interventions; the most successful involved participants who wrote and hand-delivered notes of gratitude to someone who had influenced their lives.
The best part about being thankful: You can literally start reaping these benefits before you even shake yourself out of bed. “Begin the day with gratitude,” says Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., founder of The Center, A Place of Hope and a personal development author. “Find simple things: I have a roof over my head, I have work. Start small.” The effect, Jantz says, is aggregate. “As I become more grateful, I become more optimistic, more humble, more teachable. I begin to see things I wouldn’t normally see. I become more positive.”
So with those benefits in mind, I began writing my first gratitude journal entry of the month.
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What your speaking style, like, says about you | Vera Regan | TEDxDublin

5 Ways Being Vulnerable Can Make You Happier

It can be difficult to be vulnerable in a world where toughness is exalted.
Patty Onderko

You can’t talk about vulnerability without first covering shame. We tend to think shame comes into play only when we do something morally reprehensible or criminal. But shame is much more inclusive and pervasive than that. Shame is a small word that crystallizes our most primal worries about being worthy. It encompasses self-doubt, insecurity, fear and anxiety. It’s no surprise psychologists call it the “master emotion” of everyday life, guiding our every action.
No one wants to feel shame. It’s a downright sick-to-your-stomach, yucky emotion. Most humans wear armor—think perfectionism or sarcasm—to shield against shame. When shame penetrates, we try to escape it with other distractions: our smartphones, drinking, video games, exercise, shopping. To do otherwise would leave us vulnerable, or “capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt.”
No one knows this process better than BrenĂ© Brown, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead and a researcher who has studied vulnerability for more than a decade. The problem with protecting and distracting ourselves from shame, she says, is that in doing so we protect and distract ourselves from the good emotions, too. “Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy,” Brown says. Just as you can’t lose weight in one part of your body, you can’t selectively numb one emotion, Brown says. When you’re feeling stressed, you’re not just suppressing anxiety, you’re sealing yourself off from wonder and gratitude, too. It can be difficult to be vulnerable in a world where toughness is exalted, but the only way to have a fulfilling emotional life, according to Brown, is to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Brown says people who embrace their vulnerability—she calls them “wholehearted”—are more compassionate, have better relationships and are happier. Here’s how to start opening up.

1. Recognize your vulnerabilities.

Start by looking at what makes you feel angry, sad, self-conscious or annoyed, and find the common thread between these experiences. Once you identify these fears, you can start to counter them.

2. Know that humans are wired to feel shame.

“The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection,” Brown said in her popular TED Talk on vulnerability. The feeling of not being enough is a universal, shared experience. Simply being aware of this can help you feel more comfortable letting your own guard down and engaging in authentic connection with others.

3. Identify your avoidance tactics.

People escape or numb their shame in different ways. Sometimes these avoidance tactics can become unhealthy daily habits or even dangerous addictions. The next time you are tempted toward one of your bad habits, wait five minutes. Think through what is going on and what you’re feeling during that time.

4. Find a safe spot.

“Being vulnerable actually takes more courage and inner strength than people realize,” says Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., a psychologist in Los Angeles. Which is why you probably don’t want to start your vulnerability journey on a first date. You want to know your feelings will be protected and cared for by the person with whom you share them, such as your parent, spouse or friend.

5. Take small risks.

“Vulnerability is ultimately a willingness to take a risk,” says Paul Coleman, Psy.D., a psychologist in Wappingers Falls, New York, and author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces. “Playing it safe will never be fulfilling.” Start with small risks, such as asking a co-worker for help with a project or trying a new class at your gym. The smaller risks build confidence for the larger ones.

6 Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check

How do you stay grounded?
by Jesus Jimenez
How do you keep your ego in check?I was working a valet job less than four years ago. I worked every major holiday, including Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and worked regular graveyard shifts. It was the first time I was employed by someone else and by far the worst experience I’ve had. The fear of ever having to go back to that keeps my ego in check and keeps me motivated. When you’re overly confident, you’re actually the most vulnerable.
Jake Kassan, CEO, co-founder of MVMT Watches
How do you keep your ego in check?Setting goals that are often extremely difficult or impossible to reach reminds me that there is constant room for improvement. I have friends who set similar goals and achieve better outcomes, and keeping in touch with them to learn from their successes help me stay grounded.
Hongwei Liu, CEO, co-founder of mappedin
How do you keep your ego in check?As an entrepreneur, I feel that it’s important to have a lot of confidence in my ideas, fearlessly putting new ones out there for feedback from my business partner and mentors, as well as from consumer market testing. Probably only about 15 percent of the ideas I put out there actually get executed in their original form. Having something I might feel is absolutely brilliant get nixed or drastically edited (always for good reason!) is a great way to keep any hint of an ego in check.
—Bella Hughes, president, co-founder of Shaka Tea
How do you keep your ego in check?I think being a mom to two young kids definitely helps keep my ego in check. It doesn't matter to my children if we generated $20M in annual revenue; they care more about that the ball they threw at me landed squarely on my head. They are constant reminders of my priorities and that there are far more important things than my career accomplishments.
Candice Lu, co-founder, OnPrem Solution Partners
How do you keep your ego in check?Everyone has their own particular brand of ego; how it thinks, operates, and what riles it up. If you know yourself and your personal brand, you can easily recognize when it gets triggered, stop it, and talk yourself off the ledge.
—Lauren Zander, co-founder of The Handel Group, author of Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap. Face Your Fears. Love Your Life.
How do you keep your ego in check?By reminding myself of the impermanence of it all. It is important to stop and celebrate the victories as well as stop and examine the failures. Neither is permanent and both make you a better person.  
Linden Schaffer, founder and director of Pravassa, author of Living Well on the Road

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

5 Tips for Running a Successful Business

How to abandon your fear and grow your opportunities for success in business
by Juan Ciapessoni

When it comes to success, I’ve always believed in the saying, The length of our life is finite, but its wideness depends on us. This philosophy just means that our purpose is to achieve grand things and widen the scope of our lives in the short time we have.

The same can be said of any business; every company has control over their level of achievement, but to reach a higher level of success means to lose our fear of failing. No matter how much money or success a company has, that fear is a constant barrier to widening the scale of those achievements.Here are five tips to help you abandon your fear, grow your opportunities for success, and run a successful business.

1. Make a choice, any choice.

People are constantly changing and, as a result, the world is constantly changing. Running a business in which a lot of time is spent on decision-making and measuring consequences is a waste of resources. It doesn’t do anything but increase anxiety and fear of failure. Even with all of your planning, the winds will change and you’ll be back to worrying again.Instead, understand that failure is an opportunity, a chance to overcome challenges. Companies that quickly meet problems head-on are better equipped to minimize future errors. Dormancy is the worst possible outcome of any challenge. The only bad decision you can make is to make none.

2. Become the industry, don’t just exist within it.

I call this the “The Green Fluorescent Umbrella” philosophy. Consider that being the best umbrella maker in the world might be difficult to achieve. But being the best green fluorescent umbrella maker is probably much easier, even if it means having to create your own road map to success.It’s very easy to fall into the temptation of commoditizing a company, fitting it into the existing spectrum in order to chase temporary economic success. But we live in a time of shifting paradigms, so it would be a huge mistake to take advantage of an existing market rather than try to create a new one. Investing in macro goals is the biggest and most important commitment any business can make. Don’t be afraid to create your own lane

3. Never hesitate to pivot.

Time has proved that processes can help define companies and give them structure. At the same time, this forces them to work in a determined and systematic fashion. In my opinion, the best process is not having any defined process; instead, remain continuously flexible.Rather than just focusing on ways to optimize, test and accelerate results, companies should inspire employees to be open to redesigns and encourage them to abandon fear of change, becoming more flexible and unpredictable.

4. Be about more than profit.

As Carl Sagan says in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space: “Everything comes down to a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” This might seem dire, but it’s just a call to widen your scope.Company objectives should reflect something deeper and perpetual than a profit and loss. They must define a humanistic, societal role where the goals transcend the needs of employees and the company as a whole. This bonds the company in a common cause and creates a unified culture.

Whether it’s an environmental cause or something more personal, if a business commits to objectives that can’t be tackled alone, the only way to transcend is to work together. This redefines the way the employees relate to the company and each other while making any future problems seem manageable. A strong, unified, connected team striving to be better individual people is vital to any business.

5. Don’t fear the void.

The sensation of being at the edge but never really falling is the best way to describe how it feels being fearless of uncertainty in business. It’s a feeling all companies should embrace.Being aware of the void and possible failure forces us to keep moving forward. It is the driving force convincing every business to take the next step in order to keep gaining momentum and grow. Each step provides the company with needed confidence and comfort with uncertainty, clearing the way toward a more successful future.

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Stay Motivated!

Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

by Frank Young

Let’s be honest. You are here to for a crash course on writing. And you want a short yet comprehensive guide.

Before I start, I want to clarify a good writer pays attention to every level — word, sentence, paragraph, idea — of an article. And you NEED to take care of all levels as well.

Now we’ll start with the easiest level – word first. Then we’ll go on with each level and at the end recommend a big list of really useful sites and books for your long term improvement.Let’s start with words.

Use simpler words.
There are many words for you choose from. Shorter, simpler, smarter.

Example: Replace “but” with “however”, “use” instead of “utilize”.

Use synonyms.

Lost for words? Use tools like Thesaurus or Grammarly to find synonyms.

Avoid passive voice.

Passive voice and passive-sounding verbs sound boring and indirect. It’s always stronger to use active voice.

Example: (AV) “Your boss asked you to work overtime.” vs. (PV) “You are asked to work overtime by your boss.”

Use “you” and “I”.

Often we overuse the pronouns “we” and “us” to be relatable. While they show your empathy, “you” directs the message straight to your readers.

Also, sprinkling in some “I”s makes you more genuine with your readers.

Delete the “-ing”.
In most times, the “-ing” adds no value to your sentence.

Example: “The ‘-ing’ adds no value.” vs. “Adding the ‘-ing’ has no value.”

For your long term benefit, you should keep a list of new words and amazing expressions for future use.

To make it more handy you can download the app so that you can jot down the words so easily.
String your words into sentences.

Golden rule: Delete the word “that”.

An excessive amount of “that”s is annoying to read. We tend to think THAT the more connective words we use, the easier it is to read.

Read it without “that”, it sounds stronger.

Less is more.

(See what I did there?)

The best copywriting follows this rule: use 2 or 3 words in a sentence. Nike’s “Just Do It”, McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”, Avis’ “We Try Harder” are all essence of their own brand and images.

Also, avoid hedges, disclaimers, and tag questions to keep your sentences shorter. They make you sound less persuasive and convincing.

Example: “An afternoon nap boosts your productivity.” vs. “I think an afternoon nap could possibly boost your productivity, don’t you think so?”

Label your readers with nouns.

“I dream a lot”
“I’m a dreamer”

In fact, these two sentences convey the same message. The latter generates a longer-lasting attitude on your reader’s minds, because the noun is central to your reader’s identity rather than a simple action.



Check your sentences.

Hemingway provides suggestions on word replacements, sentence structures, and readability assessments to strengthen your writing. Check what you’ve written before proceeding.

In the long run, imitate the styles of great writers is a great way to strengthen your writing. Mix in your writing and Voila! You have a masterpiece.
Paragraphs are equally important.

Again, less is more.

Keep your paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences long, or even a single sentence long.

A single sentence paragraph draws in a lot of attention.

Also, use coherence markers.

Copywriters seldom use coherence markers, because these words and phrases don’t add much value. But research has discovered the use of coherence markers (like but, so, therefore) increase clarity and persuasion, so you should keep them in your writing.

To develop better writing long term, you should rewrite great paragraphs with your own words.

Coming up with an idea is already hard enough.

All storytellers follow a simple formula — present a problem, proceed with an experience, then solve the problem.

A free writing session a day.

The best way to finesse your craft is to practice every single day.

Give yourself a timed session to write ideas or passages under a theme. You might be stuck at first, but soon practice makes perfect.
Organization is key.

Overwriting is common problem. And you need to be willing to cut unnecessary details from your article. People cling onto what they’ve written because they don’t want to abandon their creations. But the real lesson is to learn to delete extra information.

Biased writing is also a huge “no”. Even when you are writing with a stance, often include several drawbacks (a.k.a. a two-sided argument) makes you more convincing and rational, so your readers are more willing and comfortable to join your side.

Don’t forget your headline and subheadings.

Famous marketer David Oglivy once said,

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.

It is SOOOOOO important to attract your readers with your headline. If your headline is not good enough, it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is.

But don’t ever write clickbait headlines. An eye-catching headline without a well written content isn’t attracting either.
At last, write comfortably.

I have given you many tips and tricks to improve your writing skills. Don’t be stressed to follow certain rules, or a particular writing style. Keep these pointers in mind, and fuse your own personality and spunk to create beautiful pieces.

And if you have the passion to further improve your writing skills, do read the following books and visit the sites below that are truly helpful.
Highly recommended books for you to write better
The Elements of Style

On writing well
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
  • The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment
  • The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
  • Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
  • Writing That Works; How to Communicate Effectively In Business
  • Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good

Why You Should Be a Student of Your Own Life

One of the ways we learn how to do something right is simply by doing it wrong.
by Jim Rohn

Let me share with you two of the best sources of information available.

1. Your Own Experiences

Become a good student of your own life. It’s the information you are most familiar with and feel the strongest about, so make your own life one of your most important studies.
In studying your own life, be sure to study the negative as well as the positive, your failures as well as your successes. Our so-called failures serve us well when they teach us valuable information. They’re frequently better teachers than our successes.
One of the ways we learn how to do something right is simply by doing it wrong. Doing it wrong is a great school for learning, but I would suggest that you not take too long doing this. If you’ve done something wrong for 10 years, I wouldn’t suggest taking another 10. But what a close-at-hand and excellent way to learn: from your own experiences!
When I met my mentor Mr. Shoaff, I had been working for six years. I started when I was 19, and when I met him, I was 25. He said to me, “Mr. Rohn, you have been working now for six years. How are you doing?” I said, “Not very well.” He said, “Then I suggest you not do that anymore. Six years is long enough to operate with the wrong plan.”
Next he asked, “How much money have you saved in the last six years?” I said, “Not any.” He said, “Who sold you on that plan six years ago?” What a fantastic question! Where did I get my current plan that wasn’t working well? Everyone has bought someone’s plan. The question is whose? Whose plan have you bought?
Those initial confrontations might be a little painful at first, especially if you have made as many errors as I have. But think of the progress you can make when you finally confront those errors by becoming a better student of your own life.

2. Other People’s Experiences

Remember, you can learn from other people whether they have done things right or wrong. You can learn from the negative as well as the positive. Some human stories are called examples: Do what these people did. Other human stories are called warnings: Don’t do what these people did. What a wealth of information: knowing what to do and what not to do. If your story ever gets in somebody’s book, make sure they use it as an example, not a warning.There are a couple ways to learn from other people.Read all the books by and about people who have accomplished great things. All the successful people around the world I know and work with are good readers. They just read, read, read. They are driven to read because they just have to know. It is one of the things they all have in common.
Successful people also listen to audiobooks, especially while they’re in their cars or during other times when they can’t read. Audio can help all of us easily pick up new ideas and skills—like how to be strong, more decisive, a better speaker, a more effective leader, have a better effect on other people, become more loving, develop a more winning personality, get rich, develop persuasive influence, become sophisticated…. And people don’t utilize these resources.
So many successful people have written their stories in books and told the world how they became successful, and most people don’t want to read or listen to them. How would you explain that? They’re busy, I guess. They say, “If you worked where I work, you’d know that by the time I struggle home, it’s late. I’ve got to have a bite to eat, watch a little TV and go to bed. I can’t stay up half the night and read.”Imagine someone who is behind on the bills. He’s a good worker and very sincere. Unfortunately, you can be sincere and work hard all of your life and wind up broke, confused and embarrassed. You’ve got to be better than a good worker. You’ve got to be a good reader and a good listener. You don’t have to read or listen to educational programs half the night—although, if you’re broke, it’s a good place to start. All you need are just 30 minutes a day. That’s all. Stretch it to an hour if you can, but set aside at least 30 minutes.
Hear or read something challenging, something instructional, at least 30 minutes a day, every day. Miss a meal, but not your 30 minutes. You can get along without some meals, but you can’t get along without some ideas, examples and inspiration.

Humans have to have food and words to be healthy and prosperous. Make sure you have a good diet of words every day.

There’s a biblical phrase that says, “Man cannot live on bread alone.” The most important thing aside from bread is words. Words nourish the mind; words nourish the soul. Humans have to have food and words to be healthy and prosperous. Make sure you have a good diet of words every day. And remember that to properly feed the mind, you must maintain good balance. Don’t just read or listen to the easy material. You can’t live on mental candy.
With good books and programs, you can “tap into the treasure of ideas.” And if somebody has a good excuse for not tapping into the treasure of ideas for a least 30 minutes every day, I’d like to hear it. You wouldn’t believe some excuses I’ve heard.
I say, “John I’ve got this gold mine. I’ve got so much gold. I don’t know what to do with it all. Come on over and dig.” John says, “I don’t have a shovel.” I say, “Well, John, let’s get you one.” He says, “Don’t you know what they want for shovels these days?”John has the wrong perspective. Don’t make the same mistake. Invest the money, get the programs and books. The best money you can spend is money invested in your self-education. Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to investing in your own better future.
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