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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tony Robbins: Could Moving Be the Answer?

Tony Robbins: Could Moving Be the Answer?

I know it sounds crazy or impossible but what would happen, if just for a moment, you considered picking up and moving to another city?

There are tons of reasons why you might say there's no way this can happen -- from family to current work arrangements. 

This post was posted in: Entrepreneur 

But if there were a way that you could save 10 percent to 20 percent or more of your current costs and invest them to bring financial freedom a decade closer -- and perhaps have an even greater quality of life -- wouldn’t you owe it to yourself to push beyond the obvious obstacles and consider your options?

Could you be living large in a magnificent community like Boulder, Colo., for what you’re paying in rent alone in New York City or San Francisco? The cost of homes, food and taxes differs wildly depending on where you live.

Our country -- and even the world -- has boundless opportunities waiting for you to explore. So why not take off the blinders just for a moment to consider what life could be like if you lived in a new city or town?

Are you freezing your butt off during Midwest winters or battling the summer heat in Atlanta, wondering year after year why you don’t hoof it to a better climate? As a native of Southern California, I am always amazed by people who spend their lives freezing to death in the arctic tundra of Minneapolis or Chicago.

And even if you don’t care about the weather, you must be concerned about your cost of living. A million-dollar home in Washington, D.C., costs a fraction of that in Raleigh, N.C., a city considered business-friendly -- not to mention a high-tech and educational hub (with great weather).

It’s one thing to be tax efficient in your investments. It's another to be tax efficient with your life. You’re trying to save 5 percent here, 10 percent there so you can achieve financial security and eventually a great retirement.

What would moving to a less expensive city and saving 10 percent or 15 percent do to the tempo of your achieving your financial goals?

Think about the additional money you’d have to invest, share or put into a new business if it didn’t go straight to rent, food or transportation. One single move could give you a 10 percent to 30 percent increase in your income. And if you’re already saving 10 percent, you could relocate and then save 20 percent to 40 percent without spending an additional dime.

This would put some rocket fuel into your money machine and would massively improve the pace by which you’re able to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams.

I know you’re likely still thinking, Move to a new city? You’ve got to be crazy, Tony. I can’t just pick up and move! Again, I have a job, I have family, I have friends. I’ve lived my whole life in Dallas (or Seattle, Miami or Denver).

But if you saw that you could start your dream business a decade sooner, might it be worth it?

Generations of Americans have looked at retirement as a time to pick up and move to a warmer climate, a less-expensive city or a beautiful, low-key place like Boise, Idaho, or Greenville, S.C. -- to breathe clean air and enjoy the outdoors.

But why wait till then? Why not change your zip code today? Why not find a place to raise your family that lets you reduce your cost of living and elevate your quality of life at the same time, while you’re young enough for you and your children to reap the rewards?

If you’re still shaking your head and saying no, I get it. I was with you on this until recently. I grew up in California and never imagined living anywhere else. Even when I started traveling extensively and buying homes and properties all over the world, California was always my base. I never imagined leaving.

That changed in 2012 when California raised taxes on the highest-income earners more than 30 percent, to 13.3 percent. After a lifetime of paying through the nose on state income taxes (California's are among the country's most punishing), I found my tax situation had worsened.

I had played by the rules, and the rules had come to bite me. But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I voted with my conscience -- or my feet, I should say.

My wife, Sage, and I decided to take the plunge and look for a new place to live.

We turned it into a treasure hunt. We looked at places like Lake Tahoe, where we really liked the mountains, the mix of seasons and the small-town vibe; and Austin, Texas, where music, energy and high tech come together to create the fabric of an innovative and connected community.

We looked at Florida, too, but reluctantly. All I knew about Florida was alligators -- and that retirees lived there. But that’s the stereotype, not the reality. What we found instead was the paradise of Palm Beach.

After looking at 88 properties in three states in three weeks, we found a brand-new home on the water in Palm Beach. It has 2 acres, nearly 200 feet of ocean frontage on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, with a 50-foot boat dock.

Sage has everything she wants close by: world-class restaurants, shopping, easy access to the entire East Coast and all the privacy and serenity of living on an island, right here in the United States.

Of course, the price tag was way higher than I imagined I would have to pay for a home. But Florida has no state income tax.

We went from a 13.3 percent state income tax in California to nothing -- nada, zip, no state income tax in Florida. So with the taxes we’re saving every year as residents of the Sunshine State instead of the Golden State, we hope to pay off our entire new home in six years.

Now granted, Palm Beach is expensive but we’ve massively improved our quality of life in the bargain. Every day we pinch ourselves as we wake up with magnificent weather -- 78 degrees with a cool breeze off the ocean and water so warm you can melt into it.

In fact, Sage and I have become almost evangelical in our enthusiasm for our new home. We tell friends and family to think about moving and joining us. My youngest son has already moved here. Two of my dearest friends in the world are on their way down from Connecticut and New York.

So whether you decide to join us in Palm Beach, there’s a zip code out there that might be just right for you. You don’t have to wait for retirement to get there. From Portland, Ore., to Augusta, Maine, there are scores of affordable havens for young and old alike -- for young professionals aiming to jump-start or reimagine their careers  to retirees looking to stretch their savings and continue to enjoy a rich, rewarding lifestyle.

Check out the U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of the best places to retire for as little as $75 a day. Also seriously consider the seven states with no state income tax at all: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Or try New Hampshire and Tennessee, where only a resident's dividend and interest income are taxed at the state level: Just imagine the Memphis and Nashville music scenes and more money in your pocket. How bad does that sound?

It’s all about being more efficient and effective with your earnings and savings and speeding up your path to financial freedom. You can find a way to finally pursue your entrepreneurial dreams while simultaneously improving the quality of your life. It’s the ultimate win-win. At the end of the day, the best investment you can make is the one you make in yourself and your family's lifestyle.

This piece was adapted from Tony Robbins' new book, MoneyMaster the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. 

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Habits of the World's Wealthiest People (Infographic)

What do Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett have in common, in addition to their fairly sizable net worths? More than you might think.
This post appeared on Entrepreneur 

An infographic developed by social-media marketing company NowSourcing details some of the qualities and traits shared by the rich (we're talking those who earn more than $160,000 a year and have $3.2 million in assets). If you want to take a page out of Bill Gates' playbook, wake up early, exercise, read more (definitely cut back on your reality TV intake) and write a daily to-do list.
For more tips and statistics, including a gender breakdown and where the world's nearly 31.7 million millionaires call home, check out the infographic below.
Would be interested to know your thoughts on the above statistic regarding the habits of the wealthy entrepreneur.
Isabella


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Saturday, 31 January 2015

3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

By having an attitude of gratitude will definitely prepare your mind to receive new possibilities and potentials. You will receive more and therefore will be able to give more purely by being in an attitude of gratitude.  Just by saying 2 simple words "thank you" you give your thanks in return for what you have received. 

Isabella

This following post appeared on Entrepreneur.

November is synonymous with Thanksgiving in America, and it’s common during this month to hear talk of gratitude and why it’s so important. Adopting a gratitude practice isn’t just something that sounds nice at Thanksgiving -- it’s a lifestyle and mindset choice that will drastically change your life and your business as an entrepreneur.

Here are the three biggest reasons why you need a gratitude practice.

1. Gratitude shifts your mindset
For something to change in your life, one of two things has to happen: your life changes, or you do. Waiting for life to change is a pretty passive solution. When you’re stuck in a problem mentality you miss out on all the opportunities for solutions that are knocking on your door every day, simply because you don’t even hear them or see them.

Open your eyes to a gratitude practice and all of a sudden things start to fall into place for you and for your business. Being an entrepreneur means being proactive, not passive, so switch your mindset and see life change.

How? Start by keeping a daily list of events that you are grateful for each night. Some call it a gratitude journal. You can call it whatever you want. But focusing on who came to your aid that day, what opportunities arose and how the day planted fruitful seeds for a better tomorrow will prove to you day after day that you are well taken care of and capable of succeeding with all the help that surrounds you.

2. Gratitude creates solutions
Adopting a gratitude practice takes you out of problem and toward a solution. It removes you from complaining mode and into a best-outcomes mindset. That’s a skill you need in your life and in your business decision-making. Whole companies and industries have been created from seeing solutions where others only saw obstacles. What will your contribution be?

How? Simply start by keeping a mental checklist of your triggers. We all have our things that set us off into complaining or annoyance. What are your complaint triggers during the day? Just observe them for a few days and keep a list as they pop up. Then try to set some time at the end of the week, 15 minutes should be enough, to look at those triggers and brainstorm solutions.

This can be part of your integrated gratitude practice because if you can see the opportunity in the challenges you face, you will probably be onto to solving a pain-point for many other people as well. Gratitude has a ripple effect that could just echo through your startup.

3. Gratitude is contagious
I can’t speak for you, but I personally don’t like being in business with jerks. I don’t like whiners, complainers or otherwise unpleasant-to-be-around people. There are too many smart, talented and pleasing-to-be-around individuals in this world for me to want to work with or hire the ones that aren’t.

When you’re grateful you tend to exude and share that contagious positive energy. People like me like that and we tend to be drawn to you. Our energy is contagious and we do good things together and are better for having come together. That’s pretty much the only contagious thing happening in the world right now that you can get excited about.

How? Watch your words. What you say is usually how you act, so be aware of complaining and replace whines with positive words. Start with you, be the change and watch as the world changes around you and your gratitude practice.
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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Want to Ace Your New Year's Resolutions? Remember, Attitude Is Everything.

Are you tired of not achieving to your New Year's Resolutions? Is failure getting you down? Seems strange that in life, we must all fail before we can succeed. The fact is that every person on this planet has failed at some point in their life. That is why it is important to change your attitude in order to make all the difference in whether you ultimately succeed or not.

I hope you will find this article below helpful to achieving success in your life for 2015.

Isabella

This post appeared on Entrepreneur

For doing almost anything you can envision, someone has set a precedent for achieving success. Want to run a marathon but have doubts?

Realize that more than 500,000 people did just that in U.S. marathons last year. Think you’re too old? Know that nearly 50 percent of finishers are in the masters category, meaning that they're older than 40. 

Start the new year right by following these athletes’ examples and setting goals. Build a case for why you, too, can succeed and focus squarely on sustaining that can-do attitude.

1. Change the way you think about no.
On the surface, receiving a yes often translates into a success and no means a failure. Yet a no can just become a starting point as you work your way closer to obtaining a yes.

Too often the smart and talented become so discouraged after receiving a single no that they lose all faith that their goal can be attained. Understand that any worthwhile yes will probably be preceded by a no. Consider the no part of the process as arriving one step closer to success. It’s a lot easier to keep the faith when thinking that way.

2. Stay the course.
Don’t veer from pursuing a planned goal for an easier route. Rather, change direction for a better opportunity, more satisfaction or happiness but never because it’s easier. Take an opportunity to adopt an attitude of steadfastness.

3. Emulate what the super successful do.
How do the best players in the world prepare for success? Chances are they've developed a formula or specific process to achieve what they have done.

Take top NFL quarterback Tom Brady: He goes to great lengths to prepare his mind and body for the rigors of the NFL schedule.

His carefully calculated daily schedule of workouts, food, recovery and rest is mapped out for three years. Brady’s commitment to preparation helps separate him from other quarterbacks. Take a lesson from someone like this and implement your own regimen to prepare yourself for success.

3. Don’t wait. Take action now.
Have you ever felt regret in the past about not chasing a dream when you were younger? Don’t let the thought negatively affect your pursuits now.

There's no reason to hold back or delay any longer. Listen to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s approach: “My dad says it over and over, 'Today's the youngest you’re ever going to be. You've got to live like it.'" Cuban recalled. "And that’s what I try to do."

4. Be strong 60 seconds longer.
In the movie Nobody’s Fool, Paul Newman’s character describes to his grandson his method for overcoming fears. “I’d try to be brave for exactly a minute, and the next time, I'd try to be brave for two minutes," he says.

If you find yourself wavering amid adversity, remember this practice and vow to hold on for just a minute more. Keep doing that and you’ll find more strength to succeed than you might have thought you had.

4. Adopt the right attitude.
Charles Swindoll, a renowned broadcaster and pastor said that single most significant decision he can make on a day-to-day basis is his choice of attitude.

"It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position," he has said. "I’ve discovered through the years that life is made up of about 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I respond to it."

Keep your attitude focused on pursuing the goals ahead.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Five habits of high achievers

Susan Williams from The Finishing Touch
Susan Williams from The Finishing Touch
Vow to make 2015 the year you change from a gonna-do type to the sort of person who just gets things done?

Those who fall into the latter category can make it look easy – but inevitably their accomplishments are the result of a modus operandi that's big on self discipline and good habits that have been cultivated rigorously over years. We asked some high-achieving Aussies to share their winning ways.

This post appeared on Brisbane Times
Only when you master your to do list can you ensure you're focusing on the tasks that will drive you to achieve. 
Hard yakka
Invoice2go founder Chris Strode.
Invoice2go founder Chris Strode. Photo: Louise Kennerley
American inventor Thomas Edison described genius as "1 per cent inspiration  and 99 per cent perspiration". Willingness to generate plenty of the latter has helped Invoice2go founder Chris Strode turn his bright idea for a mobile invoicing product into an app now used by 100,000 businesses in 50 countries.

"The hard work was what made Invoice2go a success – because you just can't create a great product and be the first to market without putting the hours in," Strode says.

"We worked 365 days, year after year, and I really don't think we'd be at this point with Invoice2go if we'd taken our foot off the pedal at any point."

Jennen Ngiau-keng
Jennen Ngiau-keng
The sort of work ethic that enables high achievers to stay the gruelling course is best learnt in the home, Strode believes.

"There was no question for me growing up that I would work hard in life, as we watched mum and dad build a business and raise a family of eight children at the same time," he says.

"When you grow up with role models like that, it's in your blood to work hard."

Take it on the chin

Most of us accept accolades with grace and revel in a pat on the back for a job well done – but it's the ability to cop the brickbats as well as the bouquets that separates high achievers from also-rans, Liquid Infusion founder Ben Neumann believes.

Founded in 2005, his mobile cocktail bar business has become the largest of its kind in Australia and has garnered Neumann a swag of business awards.

"Those that can take constructive feedback and not make excuses will succeed at anything they do, as they will find the true source of whatever is holding them back from success and overcome it," he says.

Plenty of passion

Want to kick more goals? It's easy if you find things you're passionate about and give them your all, says Jennen Ngiau-Keng. A globe-trotting violinist who's performed with several state and national orchestras, he also runs a clutch of successful sideline ventures.

They include Taller, a business selling height-increasing shoes to men, and String Musicians Australia, a booking agency that supplies musicians to functions and corporate events nationally.

"When setting up String Musicians Australia, what kept me moving forward and to continue building the business was my passion for classical music and performing … for exposing people to classical music that wouldn't normally listen to it and to allow other musicians who felt that same passion for classical music to continue to do so as a profession and career," Ngiau-Keng says.

Priorities

Not short on energy but all too often find yourself getting bogged down in trivia? The sooner you learn to prioritise – ruthlessly – the higher you'll soar, says Kristie Buchanan, whose stellar marketing career has led her to the top job at the experience gifts website RedBalloon.

"Only when you master your to do list can you ensure you're focusing on the tasks that will drive you to achieve," Buchanan says.

"Don't attend every meeting unless it's critical, learn to turn your email off for hours a day and block out time in your calendar to focus on what's important."

Look for the best in others

Notice someone doing the right thing or going above and beyond the call of duty? Making a practice of calling it out has helped Susan Williams expand her house packing and unpacking venture The Finishing Touch from a kitchen-table operation in 1994 into a national business that employs 200 staff.

"Always try to catch your people doing something right," Williams says.

"I am constantly looking for examples of great performance in our ladies, to promptly recognise and reward them for this and then widely propagate these scenarios – internally with other staff and externally with our business partners."

Have you got a highly effective habit others could learn from? Share it here.
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

10 Banned Foods That Every American Should Stop Eating

10 Banned Foods to Avoid
Are you eating food that's already banned in other countries but is still allowed to poison and kill Americans? Learn these pernicious ingredients and common foods through this infographic. Use the embed code to share it on your website.
<img src="http://media.mercola.com/assets/images/infographic/banned-foods-infographic.jpg" alt="10 Banned Foods to Avoid" border="0" style="max-width:100%; min-width:300px; margin: 0 auto 20px auto; display:block;"><p style="max-width:800px; min-width:300px; margin:0 auto; text-align:center;">Are you eating <a href="http://www.mercola.com/infographics/10-banned-foods.htm"><strong>"food that's already banned"</strong></a> in other countries but is still allowed to poison and kill Americans? Learn these pernicious ingredients and common foods through this infographic. Use the embed code to share it on your website.</p>
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

5 Tips To Help You De-Stress For The Holidays

Let's face it.  We all live pretty stressful lives. With deadlines to meet; presentations to create; exams to study for; raising kids; caring for aging parents; the leaking roof or broken dishwasher that need to be repaired; the mortgage or rent that is due next week; and then there's the technology that keeps changing faster than the speed of learning, providing us with the opportunity to constantly be on call, many of us are at the point where all it takes is one more stressor for us to collapse into a ball of emotion, or worse.

Article Source: Anne Bolender

I have had the great good fortune to work with first and second year University and College students for the past twenty years and this time of the year is always the worst for stress levels for both students and faculty. Even friends and family who do not work around students are beginning to show classic symptoms of stress as the holiday's approach - moodiness, anxiety, worry, feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, eating too much or losing their appetite. The scary thing is that the person under stress often does not even realize they are experiencing these symptoms or the extent to which they are being affected by stress.

So, before preparations for the holidays begins in earnest and stress levels begin to creep ever upward, here are 5 tips that I would like to share that can help you lower your stress levels and increase your ability to enjoy the holiday season:

1)  Practice Mindfulness

We often move through our days performing tasks and activities while being distracted by other things. We drive while reliving conversations or planning some future event; we have conversations with coworkers while trying to think through a solution to a work-related problem; we listen to our children tell us about their day while we are mentally going over our to-do list.

Mindfulness is the act of being present, in the moment.  Of focusing on what you are currently doing without being distracted by other thoughts. 

For someone under stress, mindfulness involves being aware of not only the situation you are in, but of how you are reacting to that situation. Are you experiencing stress reactions of fight, flight or freeze? If yes, then how bad are these reactions? By noticing your reactions as they are happening, you can consciously choose to alleviate the stress that you are beginning to feel so the stress doesn't continue to build.

2)  Self-Care


Anyone who has traveled on an airplane has heard the steward's speech about applying the oxygen mask to yourself first and then to your children - basically you are being instructed to take care of yourself first before you take care of others. The same instruction holds true in real life. If you do not have the energy to take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anything or anyone else.

Self care is more than treating yourself to an occasional trip to the local spa or even spa getaways. Self Care involves eating right, getting a bit of exercise every day, spending time on activities or hobbies that bring you joy.

Practicing Self Care can involve setting a weekly date with yourself to spend an hour a week doing exactly what you want to do - learn to swim, learn to paint, wander through nature, photograph beautiful local architecture, read, listen to music... the choice is yours as long as the activity excites you and is something you look forward to doing every week. Practice mindfulness during this hour, focus on what you are doing and how you are feeling while you are doing it - and on nothing else.

3)  Identify how you want to feel and find ways to accomplish this

Identify your core desired feelings, tap into these core desired feelings and find ways and activities that honour them. Our core desired feelings are keys to understanding our true self. When we deny our core desired feelings, we are acting at odds with our true self and this can leave us feeling disconnected, frustrated, restless, stressed.

Identify how you like to feel - do you like to feel adventurous, creative, inspired, challenged, needed, etc - and then identify activities you can bring into your life right now to help you feel this way. Honouring your core desired feelings is a fun, effective way to begin to de-stress.

4)  Delegate

A fourth way to begin to de-stress is to drop the need for everything to be done by you and only you. And while you are at it, you can also drop the need for everything to be perfect. If you are a solo-preneur, there are some magnificent virtual assistants who can provide you will all the support you need, without costing a small fortune. Eliminate the unnecessary, focus on what's important, and delegate the rest.

5)  Relax and have fun


Above all else, relax, have fun and be happy!!

Take time to breathe, relax, and play. For most adults, play is something we stopped doing as part of the process of growing up. But play and fun can be awesome de-stressors. What did you enjoy doing for play when you were young - arts & crafts; riding a bicycle; video games; swimming; skating; reading; writing; drawing - whatever it was try it again. Or find a new activity that is playful and fun - kick through a pile of leaves, build a snowman, dance like no-one is looking, start that hobby you have always wanted to do. Tie play and fun to your core desired feelings and double the impact these activities can have on bringing joy to your life.


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Monday, 17 November 2014

The Power of Personal Development and Success

Personal development is the key to success, happiness and prosperity. The secret to making your life better is in making yourself better. In this article you will learn the secrets to turning your dreams and aspirations into your reality.

Article Source: Howard G Platt

Everything you want in life can be yours if you learn to make the most of your hidden potential. 
This is why personal development is the essential prerequisite to obtaining success in life.
Let me introduce the idea and explore the strategy of using personal development as the means for attracting more success. This may contradict the popular notion often held that success is some mysterious golden object that we must pursue. The truth is you are better off if you don't pursue success, but instead, make it come to you.

Personal Development And The Pursuit For Success



The process of focusing on improving yourself has some interesting consequences. You will find that the world will expand with the expansion of your personal development skills and self-discipline. The abundance of that larger, new world will be attracted to you in direct proportion to the rate of your personal development.
As you grow through personal development, you'll find that you've acquired what can only be described as a mysterious magnetic power. 
This magnetic force is a by-product of your dominant thoughts and when those thoughts are focused on success with a positive expectant attitude you will ultimately attract success into your life. Once you master this concept you will no longer have to pursue success as it will now be pursuing you.
To many this is a completely foreign concept and unfortunately most will allow their fears and doubts to dictate the outcomes in their life. I call these the "if only crowd." if only I could live somewhere else! If only I had a better boss! If only I could find the right person my life would be complete! As they see it, life would be a lot better if only the world were nicer to them. Little do they think about making positive choices and motivated strides toward the improvement of their personal development.

The Fundamental Laws of Success



What eludes so many really isn't that difficult to understand. It's one of those fundamental laws of living that everyone ought to be aware of, and would be aware of if they were not so wrapped up in the never-ending search for excuses in life. This law is as strong as the law of gravity. The law that I am talking about clearly expresses the fact that we can change our world through our personal development. That's right we can change our world if we can change ourselves.
Perhaps inside, we all have an understanding of this law but we fail to acknowledge it because that would, in a direct way be putting the responsibility on us. We probably don't like the prospect of the work involved in changing ourselves through our personal development. We somehow kid ourselves into thinking it is easier to change the world around us without changing ourselves.
But then again, deep down inside, most of us do know that if we want better relationships, we have to work on getting along with other people. 
If we want more money, we need to improve our worth in the marketplace. If we want better health, we will have to live a healthy lifestyle. 
Deep down most of us do know that getting what we want must start with our own personal development.
When you think about it, would you really want it any other way? The system places control of our lives in our hands. We get to decide how our lives will turn out, and once we begin fulfilling our purpose in life, success will begin to pursue us. What a great system!
So, let me ask you about your personal development progress. Are you growing? What are you doing to become a more complete person? What aspect of your life would you like to improve? How would you improve the direction your life is taking? These questions suggest some of the goals you can set to help you get started on your personal development journey.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Running a Business While Dealing With a Personal Loss

Running a Business While Dealing With a Personal Loss

Not many people know that I lost my two children on Jan. 20. After years of struggling with infertility and 27 hours of labor, Eric David and Alexis Rae arrived stillborn.
This post appeared on Entrepreneur
Loss is often unexpected. Even though I’d been admitted to the high-risk pregnancy wing a week earlier, I never thought I’d lose the twins. But even if a loss is expected, this doesn't make it any easier.
Entrepreneurs aren’t used to asking for help. Many are accustomed to being the heroes, solving everyone else’s problem and excellent in responding to an outside crisis. Yet some business leaders are not so great at caring for themselves and attending to their own needs.
Nine months later, I’m still grieving my loss. I have been answering the following question for myself and intrigued by the response of others: How can entrepreneurs keep a business running while suffering a tremendous loss? I have reached out to other entrepreneurs across the country who shared their wisdom and advice about handling this sensitive time in the following 10 steps.

1. Have a plan.


Last January when I was admitted to the labor and delivery area with contractions that were three minutes apart, I had the presence of mind to text members of my team. Luckily, we had already set up a maternity leave plan so my extended absence went pretty smoothly.
My team wrote to clients informing them that I’d be out for a period of time and notified them of our plan to keep moving forward with account activities. My employees encouraged me to take all the time off I needed and let them know if they could help in any way.
Having a maternity leave plan made it possible for me to focus on my life without having to worry about my business. Entrepreneurs can lose someone close to them at any time, so it’s best to have a plan ready for a last-minute extended absence from the business.
If the loss creeps up suddenly, have someone else at the organization develop and execute the plan. Determine which people will need to fill the shoes of leadership and delegate tasks to employees as needed.

2. Communicate with staff. 

Four years ago Agnes Huff, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Agnes Huff Communications, unexpectedly lost her husband of 41 years. She relied on her team to keep her business moving forward while she grieved.
“Your loss takes a toll on your staff, too, and it's important to share the journey with them," Huff says via email. "You still need to be the person and leader you were before the loss, but it's OK to be human and feel sad and alone, even with supportive staff.”  
Adds Huff: “If you are not so great at delegating, now is the time to perfect that skill. Take a chance and you will see that many of the tasks you assign to junior team members will be done well. They, too, can have the chance to rise up to the challenge.” 

3. Don’t put a timeline on grieving.

After the funeral service for my twins, I had a hard time rising from bed. A born entrepreneur, I never before had felt like nothing mattered. I told my team there was no sense in my returning to the office until work had meaning again.
My mother arrived to help out around the house the day after I had been admitted to the hospital. By late February, I realized I’d never get out of bed and rejoin society if she stayed and continued to care for my every need. So I sent her home and started working again, part-time at first and eventually full-time.

4. Seek expert help -- as long as it helps.


My husband and I started seeing a grief counselor who specialized in dealing with the loss of a child. I’ll admit that while it was tremendously helpful in the beginning, I didn’t get much out of the sessions after a couple weeks. We loved our counselor, and I’m sure the process can assist many people, but it just wasn’t right for my husband and me long-term.
Do not skip this step altogether. Consult a grief counselor and see how things go.

5. Reach out to community.

I’m a fairly private person. On Facebook, I’m only friends with people who are truly my friends or family members. But as soon as I knew I was going to lose the babies, I posted the details on Facebook.
The outpouring of support warmed my heart. Since January, I’ve also undergone three unsuccessful in vitro fertilization attempts and  friends and family have helped me keep my spirits up the whole way.
I feel that Americans are often taught to not burden others with problems, but I cannot imagine going through this without the support of my community. These individuals remind me how strong I am, even when I don’t feel like it's true.
Ana Rodriguez, founder of Miami-based Tribute Code, lost a son three days after childbirth. Although this was the most painful experience of her life, she made a promise to share her son’s life with others.
“In my desperate attempt to treasure my short time with him, I designed and developed a way that I could create an online memory-keeping tribute page for him with his photos, videos, music, life story and pretty much any detail that would allow me to always remember him and his life legacy, Rodriguez writes. She now has "the ability share it with family and friends that could not attend his birth.”

6. Figure out what will help.

For months, I wrote letters to my twins and posted them on Facebook. I’m a writer, so it felt natural. But there came a time when that no longer helped me progress forward, so I stopped the Facebook letters and moved on to something else.
In 2009, Valerie Staggs, president of Ryan William's Agency in West Palm Beach, Fla., lost her husband unexpectedly. 
“Running and writing were my two therapies after my husband's death," Staggs shares via email. "I would leave my son with my staff and take an hour before we closed for the day to run along the Intracoastal Waterway next to my office,” she recalls. “At night I wrote what eventually became a memoir about the year after my husband's death.”

7. Don’t apologize for feelings.


While I was coping with a miscarriage last month, I spoke with a potential business partner. She told me some pretty exciting things that normally would have set my heart racing and send my brain into overdrive, but I couldn't muster a reaction.
Knowing this, I apologized to her and explained my situation. “Don’t apologize,” she told me. “Don’t ever apologize.” Afterward, I realized she was right. As alone as I feel sometimes, everyone has experienced some type of loss, and anyone halfway decent will understand and sympathize.

8. Set achievable goals and work toward them.

Once I started to think clearly enough to not only show up for work but also actively participate, I became determined to land a handful of new clients. This was not an outrageous goal. I just wanted to add a few new accounts to give me something else to focus on.
Now it seems my company will have its best financial year since I founded the company in 2008.
Peter Dawyot, founder of the boutique advertising agency Publicus Community in Raleigh, N.C., learned of his mother’s passing while traveling on business to secure a contract with a client.
The big break "was happening at the most difficult time in my life emotionally,” Dawyot writes in an email. “Having this experience of a loss at such a pivotal time in the growth of my company was a tremendous challenge."
Dawyot continues, "But it also prepared me as a leader and showed me that by focusing on the day-to-day tasks at hand, I could cope, represent my clients to the fullest of our company’s abilities and still honor the memory of my mother.”
Despite Dawyot’s loss, the work his agency produced for the client following that difficult trip won an Addy Award and a gold medal in North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Awards

9. Forgive.

I’ve often blamed myself for the loss of my children. After all, they were in my care -- inside my body. Of course, I know deep down it wasn’t my fault. But learning to forgive myself has been the hardest lesson of all.
Learn to forgive when a personal meltdown takes place. Allow for taking more breaks than previously. Forgive the more frequent bouts of anger. Forgive what comes along that didn’t used to happen.

10. Look at the past and also the future.


Entrepreneurs are all about looking ahead, but loss changes a person. Suddenly, there are regrets about the past. Staying in the present is difficult -- never mind thinking about the future.
Know that it’s OK to remember the past, whether with happy or sad thoughts.
But don’t get stuck in the past. Make plans for the future, even if small ones.
Entrepreneurs feel the need to be strong for family members, the business, employees and clients. Yet loss is unpredictable, and it's impossible to be completely prepared. Allow for being vulnerable to the pain experienced. Then it's possible to learn how to cope with loss and discover a momentum to become a stronger entrepreneur and leader for the future.
Have you experienced loss as an entrepreneur? How did you regain your strength?


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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

9 Ways to Show More Confidence in Business


Many entrepreneurs share specific qualities that are vital for starting and growing a business. They are passionate, resilient, focused on opportunities and comfortable with risks. But the quality that might have the most influence over an entrepreneur’s success is confidence.
This post appeared on Entrepreneur

You’re much more likely to approach a stranger about your latest business idea or effectively pitch a new client if you feel self-assured. Most of the activities an entrepreneur participates in every day (product launches, critical business decisions, even board meetings) require some level of confidence.  
If you want to achieve great success, you must believe that you are worthy. Here are some helpful hints for boosting your confidence in yourself and your business.

1. Package yourself for success.

When you look the part, you’ll carry yourself with more confidence. Dressing well communicates to others that you are knowledgeable, powerful and competent. When choosing clothing, remember to dress for the occasion and your client’s emotional comfort. Before any meeting with an important client, research his company’s image, office environment and internal values.

2. Correct your posture.

If your work requires you to sit in front of a desk for most of the day, chances are your posture has suffered. Don’t slouch when meeting with clients, customers or colleagues. Poor posture may make you appear insecure, lazy or disinterested. Try to make a conscious effort to roll your shoulders back and elongate your spine. Keep your head in a neutral position with your chin slightly raised.  

3. Do your best and worry less.

Entrepreneurs who lack self-assurance often stress about what others might think about them. Negative self-talk can quickly make you feel as though others are evaluating every error and misstep you make. Focus on all the things you do well and hire other experts to take care of the rest.

4. Focus on the future.

If you find yourself being caught up in the minutiae of daily business, remind yourself to think about your dreams for the future. If you take a few minutes to focus on your goals, you’ll be able to refocus on what’s most important to you and your business.

5. Embrace positivity.

We’re bombarded with negativity all day, every day. To counteract the negative energy around you --from what's conveyed in the daily news to the comments of grumpy colleagues -- fill your mind with positive thoughts. Show gratitude for small acts of kindness and be appreciative of those around you. If you make it a habit to be positive and grateful, it will become second nature.

6. Let go of small mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes so don’t expect to be perfect or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Try not to dwell on small errors. If you make a mistake with a client, don’t obsess over what you might have done wrong. Instead, take responsibility. Apologize, fix the mistake as soon as possible and move forward.

7. Continue to grow and improve.

A small accomplishment can help boost your confidence, even if it’s not entirely related to your business. Learn a new skill, take a class at a local university or read a book on a subject that interests you. If you’d like to excel at something specific such as playing golf or public speaking, invest in yourself and take lessons.

8. Schedule time to play.

If you put in 60 to 80 hours of work every week and never take time to rest, you’ll eventually push yourself toward burnout and sheer exhaustion. Make sure you set aside time to do the things you love in life. Escort your child or dog to the park, take walks during your lunch break or participate in an exercise class at a local gym. If you invest time in your hobbies, friends and family, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to conquer your next challenge.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Whenever you find yourself in an epic struggle against self-doubt, call a trusted friend, advisor or colleague and get his or her best advice. Often an objective opinion will help you look at life differently, overcome your challenges and transform your attitude.
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