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7 Insights For Running A Successful Business On The Side

“It could totally work,” you say; more to yourself than anyone else. You feel the excitement grow inside of you, only matched by the growing anxiety fighting to keep you thinking realistically about your side business.

It might work, but who would buy it? Do you even know how to run a business? What if someone else already thought of your idea and failed; maybe it’s old news. A thousand thoughts go through your head about why you shouldn’t pursue your idea.

Still…It could work.

Thus is the life of an entrepreneur. Constantly looking for needs unmet and markets unexplored. For the best in the business, starting a new venture can be challenging, expensive, and exhausting.

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said of the life of an entrepreneur that it is like “eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

Not only is entrepreneurship incredibly taxing, it’s risky. Bloomberg states that nearly 80% of all new businesses fail within the first 18 months. Even for the full-time, serial entrepreneurs, success is a hard fought battle every time they pursue a new idea.

So, then, how does someone with an idea try to build upon it, all the while managing the responsibilities of a full-time job and a home life? How can you start a business while maintaining your main source of income and livelihood?

To help start the process of increased mindfulness, rationality, and encouragement, listed below are 7 insights every entrepreneur and aspiring entrepreneur would benefit from reviewing. While these insights or steps are neither linear nor exhaustive, they give helpful navigating points in the journey of building a business.

 

1. Research

Always always always understand the market into which you are about to embark. Not all business landscapes are created equal. Even if this is your first company, you will come into the business with certain expectations and assumptions.

Many times this is may be based on your professional experience. The business you are used to is the business you understand. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of assumptions. You can never research too much.

Take time here. Before you take any other steps, give yourself all the time you can to understand what the market looks like and how it behaves. Research similar companies and what they had to go through.

If your full-time job isn’t going anywhere, take it easy and soak in everything you can. If you can use your work as a reference, learning from your leadership, then learn everything you can.

2. Be realistic about what you and (and can’t) do

As stated earlier, starting a business is knuckle-grinding work. After you have obtained enough knowledge of your market and what it takes to break in, be sure to review what your full-time job requires of you.

Especially in the early stages of your new business, you don’t want your performance at your current job to suffer. Take stock of what it takes to maintain effective productivity.

The last thing you want to do is get too excited and take on too much too quickly, losing both your full-time job and your budding business.

3. Find a business mentor

One of the best ways to gain knowledge and experience is through mentorship. Find someone who has either started their own business or, better yet, started their own business in your market.

Use them as a guide through the wilderness and learn everything you can from their successes and failures. This osmosis-esque experience provides you insight into common pitfalls and shortcuts you may have otherwise missed.

Finding someone like this is easier than you would expect. If you did your research, you may already have come across some names of possible people to contact. They may even work with you.

Often it only takes a sincere message stating your interest in their expertise to start the relationship. The important part is the sincerity. Be sure to speak about your interest in their skills and knowledge; that you feel you could learn a lot from them.

Finally, be willing to take denial and move on. While there are those movie moments, not taking ‘no’ for an answer and winning their begrudging approval, don’t put your money on one horse. learn when no really means no.

Also, if you have the money or motivation, a start-up coach is an invaluable tool to help launch your business quickly and efficiently.

4. Assemble your team

One important way to keep a handle on managing a full-time job and a side business is getting others in on the action. Delegation is a requirement after time, so learning it early on will only help you as your business grows.

Recognize when tasks need more attention than you can give and find partners who will help build your brand. This is also where having a mentor can come especially useful.

If your mentor is invested in your success, then they will be more willing to lend a hand when you need one. This doesn’t mean money, this means networking.

No amount of money will ever match the worth of a strong network. Use your connections to meet the right people and have the right conversations. (Side note, Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, has a great section on effective networking).

5. Something must be sacrificed

It has to be said, as the business grows, something will have to make way. Whether that is you sacrificing nights at home to build your brand or finally letting go of the steady paycheck, there comes a time that not everything can be in a healthy balance and sacrifices have to be made.

Maintain a mindfulness around your life and when these shifts need to occur. Ignoring them will only lead to greater issues down the road.

6. Never sacrifice self-care

While number 5 is true, I want to implore you that everything can be sacrificed, even the immediate growth of the company, but never allow yourself to sacrifice your own self-care. Understand what truly helps you relax and recover, and mandate time and money for yourself to regularly take care of yourself.

Make what is truly important to you, including family, a priority above any professional success you may have. The future of your business will thank you.

7. Know why

Finally, understand the purpose behind your business. If the reason you started your business is just for the money, then you chose one of the hardest ways to succeed. No, your purpose for starting your business needs to be more personal. What good are you trying to create? How are you bettering the world around you through your company?

By knowing the answers to these questions, your business decisions will be made through an authentic desire to improve not only yourself but the market you are in and the customers to whom you sell. This practice of purpose in business has created some of the most impactful companies in the world.

Microsoft, Apple, Harley Davidson, Tesla, and even countries have been built out of a sincere purpose to improve the lives of others. Don’t waste your time chasing money. Chase your purpose and money will follow.

 

Remember, use these insights as references rather than hard and fast rules. Always maintain humility and the ability to learn from your mistakes and successes.

 

 

 

4 Traits Of The Most Successful Entrepreneurs

When it comes to an entrepreneurship, there is an endless list of important skills that can help you get the job done. Often, it is how entrepreneurs use these skills that either make them useful or a waste of your time. Nevertheless, there are some skills which are fundamental to a successful entrepreneur.

Here are just a few from the “gotta have it” list of entrepreneurial skills to help you know what separates entrepreneurs from truly successful entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs can turn it on

It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert. If you are driven to be an entrepreneur, you must learn how to turn on the charm.

Now by turn on the charm, I don’t mean become some sleazy car dealer speed-talking toolbox. I mean learn to truly connect with people. Your first thought may be that extroverts will be better at this than introverts. And on the surface, you would be right. Many extroverts find it easy to talk with people.

Part of connecting with others is that you do, in fact, have to speak with them. However, this is where the extrovert’s leg up ends. It doesn’t matter if you can talk circles around someone. If you can’t connect with that other person on a real level, leaving them with the impression that you were sincerely interested in them, you will have wasted your time.

Simply put, successful entrepreneurs know the difference between talking and connecting, and they know how to turn it on when they need it.

Entrepreneurs know when to outsource

A lot of the time, entrepreneurs can feel like they need to do it all. Many times, they are right. However, successful entrepreneurs know when they are outside of their wheelhouse and need to bring in someone to help out.

I don’t mean you need to get someone onto your payroll. I just mean someone that can do the side work so that you are freed up to focus on bigger-picture issues.

For example, if you love developing products, but hate writing about it on your company blog, then pay someone a few bucks to write the articles for you. Good articles can take a few hours to research and write out.

Those are hours you can have back to get into your skillset and really grow your business.

Entrepreneurs can move on from “no”

This may come as a shock to you, but a big part of being an entrepreneur is selling.

Whether your product is a tech device, car, toy, or idea, you are always selling it to others. As a salesperson, successful entrepreneurs know how to move on from hearing ‘no.’

For example, I was just listening to an interview with Tim Ferriss of the 4-hour work week. In the interview, he said that the important thing is not to know how to get a ‘yes’ from people, but to move on from a ‘no.’ The best way to do that is to have educated confidence rather that uneducated confidence in the product you are trying to sell.

I love this statement.

Making the differentiation between getting the ‘yes’ and moving past the ‘no’ is vitally important to a successful career as an entrepreneur. This is because getting a ‘no’ is much more likely than getting a ‘yes.’ You need to know how to learn what you can from the experience and truly look at it objectively.

However, this is only useful if you have what he called an educated confidence in your product. This means that you can only be successful, and move past any ‘no,’ if you are fully aware of the quality of your product; that your confidence in the product is well founded.

If you just feel confident about a product, but have no actual knowledge of how good that product is, then any time you are trying to sell it will be wasted time.

So what can we glean from this trait? More than knowing how to get a ‘yes,’ know how to move past the ‘no.’ Also, be able to effectively move past the ‘no,’ by having educated confidence in your product.

Entrepreneurs know when to invest

We can all get excited about a product. Sometimes we come up with an idea or we meet someone with an idea that makes our head explode. Either way, it’s important to know when to separate your excitement from actual quality investment opportunities.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t invest unless they feel confident in the chances of receiving a return. They research. Not only the product, but also the product’s competition, the market interest, and all the strings connected to the creation and distribution of that product.

Yeah, it takes a lot of information to truly know everything you need to know for a confident decision. No, there’s no way around doing the research.

So don’t let anyone bully you into making a decision on the spot. You’ll thank yourself for taking the time needed to know quality from a waste of time.

Having a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) about an investment? Then make it a practice to do your homework ahead of time.

I’m not saying go see an oracle and find out what people are selling before you speak with them. I mean get in the habit of reading more books and research articles, listening to podcasts, and watching documentaries on anything and everything. You will never know when your acquired knowledge will come in handy.

 

Have any qualities of your favorite entrepreneurs you’d like to share? Put them in the comments below.

Photo courtesy of Viktor Hanacek

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Make Money Freelancing

A lot of entrepreneurial success requires previous experience to provide a foundation of competency. It can be paralyzing trying to find a way to get that experience without spending all of your time and money. Do you get a mentor first? Do you offer your services for free as you gain your skill set? Since I like to get paid for the work that I do, even as a novice, I chose to freelance.

Being a freelancer has some great benefits. You get to choose the jobs that you do and pass by the jobs that aren’t interesting, you get to name your price (within reason), and you get to work whatever schedule is best for you. 

For part-time entrepreneurs, freelance work can also provide the opportunity to start your business while keeping your full-time job. 

So, in that light, I have listed a few of my favorite ways to get freelance work for you to review and try out. Keep in mind, there are a lot of options for getting jobs as a freelancer. These are just my personal favorite tools.

 

 

Upwork

I’m going to start with one of my favorites. Upwork is an easy-to-use freelancing website that provides companies the ability to hire by contract and for freelancers to find one-off jobs or consistent work. Simply upload your training and examples of your previous work, if you have it. You can even take tests to prove your skill level, which is then reflected in your profile.

Once your profile is complete, start sending offers out to jobs that interest you. Upwork, like many freelance sites, works on a bidding process. The hiring party describes what they need to have completed and you tell them how much you would charge. It’s definitely helpful to be able to send the hiring party some examples of your work, as well. 

 

Freelancer

Freelancer is another great way to either hire for jobs or get hired for jobs. However, they add an additional feature where you can look for jobs near your location. Where other freelancing websites focus on telecommuting jobs, Freelancer adds the ability for companies to hire nearby and freelancers with hands-on skill sets to find work. 

 

Fiverr

I love Fiverr. I don’t use it half as much as I would like, but the options for developing a business are fantastic. There is nearly no limit to the number of services people are able to provide through Fiverr. All you will need is a sellable skill and ambition to start a business.

Do you have can voice-acting skills? Do you give good advice? Can you guide people through meditation practices easily? Set up a storefront on Fiverr and start advertising. 

Creating a storefront is easily done in about an hour. Simply list the service you will provide, add extras people can choose to pay for, and hit submit. For people wanting to start a fee-for-service business, Fiverr is a great way to gain attention and experience with little-to-no investment. 

 

Craigslist

Now, hear me out. While Craigslist has gotten a bad wrap for a number of things, it is still a great classifieds resource. You would be surprised how many companies, even bigger companies, use Craigslist want ads. Just the other day I found ads for Amazon, Days Inn, along with multiple freelance jobs under the “Gigs” category. 

 

Classifieds

Yes, indeed. The classifieds section in your local newspaper does still exist. While the jobs are mostly limited to local jobs, freelance work options have become more common. Personally, I have not found anything worth pursuing in a newspaper classifieds ad, but I have had ideas come from my perusing of the ol’ fish wrap. 

I hope these tools help you as you develop your businesses. 

Have you used any freelance tools? Leave your experiences in the comments below.

5 Of The Best Project Management Tools On The Market

5 Of The Best Project Management Tools On The Market

I love working remotely. I also love working in a team. So when it comes to project management with teams that are not working in the same place, getting anything done can be complicated. 

Luckily, the internet and all things technology are here to help. Honestly, there are a plethora of project management tools out there at your disposal, but only a few outshine the rest.

So, just for you, here is a list of the project management tools I have used or currently use. Plus one that I hear is absolutely great, but have yet to try out.

 

Slack

My experience With Slack has been nothing but positive. Team communication is smooth, making project management that much easier. You can have chat rooms for individual team members and full teams. It makes separation of project discussion a breeze by allowing you to create new chat rooms for as many topics as you would like.

You can also upload and share files easily through slack. Up until now the majority of the files I trade with team members are google drive docs. If the integration of Google Drive coordination is a sign of slack’s crops-app cooperation, teams using slack will not be left wanting.

 

Google Drive

Google Drive is a great tool to create and coordinate several types of projects. Included in the free tool you have google docs, spreadsheets, and a slideshow presentation tool. All of which allow for multiple users to work on the file simultaneously. For remote teams working on a project, simultaneous task actions is a dream come true.

On top of that, you can upload any file format, in case you have team members with several different operating systems and favorite programs.

Google Drive is a great, free option for teams either remote or in the same room to work on projects quickly and efficiently. Schools around the world are using Google Drive in in their classrooms to teach cooperation and task coordination. Sound like attributes you want in every team? I thought so.

 

Trello

Trello is a communication/project management which helps to streamline project discussion. Using a notecard layout users can separate projects, break projects down, and manage multiple teams simultaneously. Trello’s minimalist design makes navigation easy and fluid.

Trello also includes the ability to add checklists to projects. This is very helpful for keeping closer tabs on the current level of completion within each team.

Trello is also a great tool for discussions about any topic. I use Trello for philosophical discussions with a group of friends. It was a fantastic medium for hashing out the finer points of issues. How can this help with business? Well, just look at the time you spend each day talking about business projections and trajectory. 

Trello also has apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. It also has integrated apps for wearables, such as the Apple watch.

 

Skype

Skype is a great tool for adding the face-to-face factor to conversations. If your discussion requires more real-time responsiveness, but your team is working remotely, Skype is a great way to fill that need.

It can work very well in conjunction with any other tool recommended here. Specifically, I have found the Skype+Google Drive process incredibly useful. By being able to talk through what is being completed in real time, the precision of the work accomplished is fantastic.

Skype provides both audio and video calls, group calls, and group chat. With cash on your account, you can even call cellphones and landlines. So, if have wifi but no cell service and you have to make that conference call, try Skype.

 

Asana

Asana is a great project management program for any team. It provides the user with the ability to create teams, add and remove members as needed, and maintain a checklist of all tasks. One great feature of the checklist is the ability to assign each task to individual team members or an entire team.

I have heard many great experiences with Asana. I’m not surprised to keep getting great feedback; it’s a must-have for any team. Oh, and they also provide iOS and Android apps.

 

 

 

While nothing can truly match the benefits of face-to-face interaction, I have found that these are all great tools for getting the job done at any distance. I hope these tools are of use to you and your team!

 

Have you found any of these tools useful for your teams? What tools have you found particularly useful for project management? Please comment below!

 

Inspiring Words: Entreleadership will make you a better leader

Inspiring Words: Entreleadership will make you a better leader

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post about a helpful leadership and entrepreneurial resource. Now seemed like as good of a time as ever to get back on the horse. So this installment of Inspiring Words will be about one of my favorite podcasts for the aspiring leader: EntreLeadership.

EntreLeadership

Hosted by Ken Coleman, EntreLeadership is a podcast built out of Dave Ramsey’s book of with the same title. The podcast discusses various topics within the entrepreneurial world, focusing on developing effective leadership skills. Coleman runs a fantastic show each week, interviewing a wide variety of business executives, marketing gurus, and even military leaders. 

I love Coleman’s ability to ask probing questions which propel the conversation in a way that can teach even the most seasoned veterans. For topics you feel have been reviewed to death, Coleman is able to find a refreshing approach to the discussion. It doesn’t hurt that the star-studded line-up of guests brings their unique approaches to each topic. 

When I am in the mood for EntreLeadership, I find myself deciding which episode to play like I’m at a buffet. Some podcasts lend themselves to a linear process. EntreLeadership provides individual experiences with each podcast episode. Where one day I may be interested in what Tim Ferriss has to say December 12th of this year, the next day I may be interested in Daniel Pink’s wisdom.

EntreLeadership has a topic for any day and any issue in business. I hope it is as helpful for you as it is for me.

 

Do you have any must-subscribe podcasts for growing as a leader? Write your suggestions and thoughts in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of Viktor Hanacek

How To Get Practical Leadership Advice From Marriage Therapy

We hear people joke that they are married to their job. They spend nearly all of their time at work or working from home, and think of little else outside of their duties. We may laugh at the concept of being betrothed to your place of employment, but there is some truth to the intimacy that we have with our workplace.

In fact, through my experience studying marriages and families, I have found many striking resemblances between a workplace and a family, and employee-employer relationships and marriage. Sounds weird? Just take a look.

The Second Family

Full-time work often requires us to spend about 40 hours completing our responsibilities each week. Some people work less, and many people work more, but the sentiment of a full-time job indicates about 40 hours per week. That is a lot of time to spend at a place without developing some kind of connection with it.

Events at work can often be brought home through stress, anger, depression, or joy, and vice-versa. Relationships develop in workplaces that can last a lifetime. People share intimate details of their lives with their co-workers. In many respects, work teams can become a second family, however dysfunctional.

Everything we experience in a family is experienced at the workplace. And many theories that help improve the functioning of a family are directly applicable to a workplace. Healthy families succeed under democratic rather than authoritarian parenting. Similarly, workplace culture is healthier when employees feel they have a voice as compared to workplaces where orders must be followed without question.

The Second Marriage

The same similarities occur when comparing our relationship with leadership and the functioning of a marriage. A healthy pattern of communication and positive interaction between staff and leadership is vital to the health of a workplace and the longevity of employee engagement.

When there are an unhealthy balance between leaders and their staff, the turnover rate increases. Similarly, in a marriage chance for divorce increases when positive interactions reduce and communication becomes limited and hostile.

Disclaimer

Okay, at this point I can feel a question building up in many of you. Let me take a moment and say that no, not every aspect of the employee-employer relationship is similar to marriage. The most important difference is that a marriage does not have the hierarchy found in a workplace. A marriage is between two equals while a workplace maintains a clear staff-supervisor separation.

This connection between marriage and family theories and workplace culture has its limitations, so don’t go down the rabbit-hole trying to connect every single aspect of a family to a workplace. Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s continue.

 

Kinds of Leadership

When it comes to effectiveness, not every leader is created equal. Some demand much and give little, some give too much and demand too little. Maintaining healthy, effective leadership can often seem just as challenging as finding your true love.

Similar to a marriage, you need that perfect balance of care and challenge to be an effective leader. Employees require challenging work that connects them to their job but need to feel supported and safe within the workplace. Leadership needs to be challenged to continually improve the workplace and maintain the vision for the company. Similarly, in a healthy marriage, the two people challenge each other to continually improve and support each other when times become difficult.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 9.46.55 AM*

This grid expresses the outcomes of a leader-employee relationship, depending on the behavior and attitude of the leader, over time. Basically, you have four kinds of leaders, as labeled above. They are separated by how much they care for their staff and how skilled they are in responding to workplace issues and within their interactions with their employees. This is how each of the four leadership styles would hypothetically act within a workplace.

Unskilled and Uncaring

An unskilled and uncaring leader will utilize forceful behaviors to obtain the submission of their employees. Cooperation is not the desired outcome, but rather the unquestioning following of their orders. Their behavior is chaotic and unwieldy; often changing to maintain an immediate sense of control.
For these leaders, not looking like a fool is the most important aspect of their job. They don’t know how to effectively accomplish their job, thus they attempt to distance themselves from their staff by being forceful and unapproachable. Through this behavior, they are able to maintain an appearance of control.

Skilled and Uncaring

A skilled and uncaring leader will use manipulation to gain supremacy over their employees. While these individuals are skilled at connecting with their employees, control is still the main desire. Due to this, they often manipulate their staff into doing their bidding. They lack the empathy to care for their staff’s experiences.

These leaders often seem approachable, but through your conversations with them, they look for ways to improve their standing. If you benefit from their actions, it is often unintentional. An example would be you receiving a promotion after they were to get promoted. Most likely, you were promoted only because there was an opening left by this individual’s promotion rather than any strings they may have pulled on your behalf.

Unskilled and Caring

An unskilled but caring leader will often waste precious time attempting to support their staff. They often struggle to understand the needs of their staff, but sincerely desire to improve their experiences at work. In their eyes, this is the most important aspect of their job; to cure the woes and ease the suffering of their staff. Sadly, they will struggle to effectively meet their team’s needs.

They repeatedly fail to meet the staff’s needs because they are unable to truly understand the issues and they lack the skill required to provide powerful change. This is often indicated by their attempts to fix an issue themselves rather than working with their team to develop a lasting shift.

Skilled and Caring

A skilled and caring leader is able to effectively hear the true needs of their staff. This ability to empathize with those under their care allows them to better connect with them, creating a safe and authentic relationship for the staff to openly communicate with their supervisors. However, the most important quality of a skilled and caring leader is their understanding that they don’t need to hand out band-aids to their staff.

These leaders view the most important aspect of their job as maintaining authentic and open communication. They know that they are not the heroes of the office, saving their staff from the evils around the building. Instead, they understand that their employees want to be included in making decisions that directly affect them. Thus, the collaboration between staff and management creates the lasting change and healthy work culture being strived for in each business.

 

Like I said before, similarities between marriage and family therapy theories and healthy workplace culture and leadership can be striking. There are aspects that absolutely do not translate, but that is the greatness and challenge of personal or professional growth: to apply truths where you find them and leave the inapplicable aspects behind.

 

 

*Grid from: Miller, S., Miller P., Nunnally, E.W., & Wackman, D.B. (2007). Collaborative marriage skills: couple communication I. Evergreen, CO: Interpersonal Communication Programs.

Why Avoiding Blame And Playing The Victim Kills Growth

Life can be a challenge sometimes. You feel like you are doing everything in your power to improve your life, but still, something falls through; pulling the rug from under you. Having this happen only once or twice, you can easily slough it off as a random event. But when those challenges outnumber your successes, it can be tough to keep a smile on your face.

Most of the time, when catastrophe strikes, I encourage people to focus on what can be done now. It can be a waste of time and destructive for morale if we start by pointing fingers and placing blame. Instead, we benefit most by recognizing nothing can be done about the past. What we can do is focus on the present; trying to work with what we have. Most of the time this is the best process to take.

Except when the string of bad luck starts to look like a pattern.

Errors are often caused by a slip of the mind or trying to cut corners for a deadline. But when the same kind of error keeps happening it is important to stop and figure out what is really going on. 

This simple act of review for many of us feels like a direct attack on our character. Rather than looking for our imperfections in order to improve, we deny any part we may have had in the problem. In actuality, this behavior is self-sabotaging of our attempts to be our best selves.

We say to ourselves, “if only they did….” or “I need to work in a place that understands me,” trying to explain any mistake without placing any of the blame on ourselves. This becomes a problem because by making these statements we have now separated ourselves from those on our team. While our assessment of our teammates may be accurate, as a statistician would say: there is only one constant variable in these equations. 

That’s us.

How we work against ourselves

I’m not saying that every failure is our fault individually. That’s rarely, if ever, the case. It simply has become evident to me that we, as a whole, really lack the insight to recognize when our own behaviors sabotage our attempts at happiness and success.

We only exacerbate the problem by denying that we had any part in our own failure. If we ignore any lessons to be learned from our mistakes, then we are simply perpetuating the cycle of failure that keeps us from any sense of fulfillment. The best outcome from this pattern of behavior is that we become stagnant; unable to experience any feeling of progression. The worst outcome is that we burn bridges with coworkers, friends, or even family as we fight to maintain our worldview that any negative outcome that we may experience is everyone else’s fault. 

How can we shift our behavior from playing the victim in our own story? What can we do to end the cyclical pattern of suffering and shift our perspective to achieving a positive outcome? Can this even be accomplished?

Changing our attitude

Getting ourselves out of the rut of self-victimization can be a simple process. That being said, even though the process may be simple, implementation of that process can be incredibly difficult without the proper support.

All we really need to do in order to get ourselves shifted toward a more fulfilling and successful pattern of behavior is to realize and accept all of the effects of our actions. When something doesn’t go as planned, rather than finding who is to blame, take some time to see how your action/inaction affected the outcome and what you can learn from the entire experience. 

One of the biggest reasons this simple practice can be so challenging is because many of us, whether we like to admit it or not, have connected our self-worth to the results of our actions. If we try to accomplish a task but make a mess of it, and our sense of self-worth is attached to our success, then we will automatically start to find a way to pass the blame. If we can find reasons that the failure was not our fault, then our image is still intact.

This is why it’s so difficult to break the habit of self-victimization and avoiding blame. We have connected who we are to the outcomes of our actions. This process takes a long time but is absolutely essential to getting out of our own way and getting everything we can out of every experience. 

When we take an objective approach to our experiences, we are able to avoid feeling threatened by failure. Instead, we can take each success and failure and learn from both equally. As Richard Branson once said, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again.”

Own your mistakes, learn from them, and allow yourself to grow.

 

Updates are here

Updates are here!

Over the past week, we have been making some significant changes to our website and accessibility. Because of this, we want to take a moment and highlight some of the new locations on the site and our newest addition, Kindle Publication!

 

Looking at the menu, you will see new pages including Free ConsultationServicesBlog, and Posters. Please look through the website to learn more about what we do, why we do it, and what resources we may have to better your professional life. 

We will continue to post regularly to the Blog, so be sure to subscribe and keep an eye out for new content. 

The new Posters section is a collection of quotes from our articles that are particularly insightful and bring inspiration. You can also find these posted on our Instagram profile, here

If you love our content and want to learn more, please head over to our Free Consultation page to fill out a request for more information!

Finally, we are proud to announce that readers can now have our articles loaded directly to your Kindle reading device! Just click here to learn more!

 

We are excited about the changes and hope they help you on your journey to becoming more fulfilled in your career!

 

Any questions, thoughts, or suggestions? Please leave them in the comments section below!

5 Of The Most Important Leadership And Management Books

5 Of The Most Important Leadership And Management Books

I don’t read as many leadership and management books as I would like, but when I do I’m picky. Often if the subject matter doesn’t hook me and pull me in, then I’m quick to move on. I really love to read. It’s just that I have a hard time reading anything that doesn’t inspire or incite conversation. More than that, I seem to prioritize everything above reading. But reading is like exercise. It can be hard to get started, but you’re always happy with the time you spent. 

So, how do we become more motivated to read while reading words of substance? Well, this is what I’ve learned.

If you’re trying to improve, then you’re wasting your time reading anything with which you can’t connect. Whether it’s writing style or opinion, find the books that speak to you and challenge you.

To help you get started, the following is a list of the 5 leadership and management books that taught me the most about leadership and success. I’m constantly returning to each one of these books for reference and reminders. Each one of these books helps teach techniques and perspectives to bring out the best in your co-workers and staff.

 

1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Written by Simon Sinek, this book changed the way in which I looked at business and effective leadership. This is the first book that I recommend to anyone looking to improve their leadership skills or reconnect with their passion. The book focuses on businesses that have established themselves as more than what they do. The greatest companies in the world are those connected to why they do what they do.

Sinek uses examples like Apple, Microsoft, and Southwest Airlines to drive home the lesson that companies who act out of their purpose make more impact and are more successful than those companies focused on the bottom line.  

The book, while redundant at times, makes a very important point about business. Making ethics-based decisions will more often lead you to success.

2. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

In this book, the author, Adam Grant, explains his research and findings of our actions with regards to our social environment. He describes in detail that the human race can be separated into three types of people: Givers, Matchers, and Takers. Throughout this book, Adam builds an argument that shows how Givers, due to their interactions with others and how they motivate themselves, are the most successful overall in their professional careers and personal lives.

3. Now, Discover Your Strengths

Written by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, this fantastic book discusses the results from a massive Gallup Organization research project. The project identified 34 distinct talents that, when properly encouraged, become essential strengths for a workforce. With this information, Buckingham and Clifton set out to spread their belief that companies must focus on developing the unique strengths of their staff rather than fix their weaknesses.

Developing an online test, they help companies identify the top 5 talents of each employee. They then guide leadership and management in the best ways to lead their diverse workforce. Along with this book, I would strongly recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0. It is an updated explanation of the Gallup research and the strengths finder test.

4. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’’t

Also written by Sinek, Leaders Eat Last is a remarkable look at what it takes to be a true leader. Specifically, Sinek looks at what separates those in leadership positions from true leaders. He uses multiple examples from companies and the military to explain how true leaders are given the immense responsibility to protect those under their care.

It doesn’t take an individual in a leadership position to lead. True leadership is found in the way you take care of those around you and the trust they have toward you.

5. People Styles at Work…And Beyond: Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better

In People Styles at Work, Robert and Dorothy Bolton describe how unique our communication styles can be and how many struggles we face in the workplace can be traced back to a misunderstanding of communication. Robert and Dorothy lead the reader through the process of understanding what communication styles are and how to identify your own and those of others. When leadership and management teams are able to better understand the communication styles of our coworkers, we can more effectively communicate our needs and ideas. 

 

 

Do you have any leadership and management book recommendations? Please put them in the comments section below!

How To Transform Draining Stress Into Passion At The Office

How To Transform Draining Stress Into Passion At The Office

Founding father and revolutionary trouble-maker Benjamin Franklin once said, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Ben’s wit rings true, but many of us would also say that just as certain is stress at work. Project deadlines and overwhelming workloads keep us bogged down and anxiety levels up. But does it have to be this way?

Stress: The Third Certainty

When looking at an average workforce you can see a variety of skills, education, experience, and cultures. Each staff comes to work experiencing the same environment in different ways. Some dread the day’s list of obligations, while others welcome them.

Stress permeates every second between 9:00 and 5:00 in one cubical, but their neighbor is empowered as tasks are completed. So what is it that cause some of us to feel stress about getting our jobs done while our co-workers are all too eager to step up and take extra responsibilities?

The truth of the matter is simple. Simon Sinek puts it like this: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

The Impact Of Our Worldview

So what does this mean? Well, our values and beliefs, developed through early life, have provided us with an unconscious sense through which we view the world and our place in it. There are fundamental beliefs that we develop throughout life which help us navigate our understanding of the world. 

Additional reading recomendation: Anxiety, Stress, and the Analogy of the Shoes

As a general rule, these beliefs are fundamentally altruistic due to the social nature of humanity. Basically, we have written into our DNA a survival concept of socially minded behavior. By doing good for others we help our culture, our realm of safety, and our ability to thrive.

Our worldview (ie, our collection of beliefs) then acts as a roadmap for our purpose. If we are consciously connected to that purpose and are able to articulate it, we are able to gain fulfillment by pursuing our passion.

In other words, those who go to work eager and leave energized are doing so by connecting to their purpose. Similarly, those dreading work and leaving exhausted are not connected to their purpose. This is the fundamental separation between stress and passion.

Changing Stress Into Passion

When we are connected to our purpose, and our actions are produced by our purpose, we become intimately connected to what we are able to produce because we have put a part of ourselves into it. We become passionate about our work and how we are able to impact the world around us.

If we struggle through our work, disconnected from why we are doing it in the first place, then we are developing a culture of stress and resentment. However, if we are able to connect our purpose to our occupation, the way in which we approach our responsibilities will be out of passion rather than obligation.

Personal fulfillment does not necessarily require the right job to fit our purpose. Personal fulfillment requires us to live through our purpose, despite the job we do. Understand what drives you; what energizes you. Understand how you can emulate that energy in every aspect of our life. It’s not necessary to have your purpose fulfilled through remarkable actions.

If you like this article, then check out: Inspiring Words: Frankl Will Make You Rethink Your Purpose

Our lives are made up of a multitude of moments. It was calculated that the average person makes approximately 5,000 choices each day. Connect your purpose – your passion – to every choice you make, and see how you inspire those around you. See your fulfillment rise each day.

Stress at a job is a choice we make each day. By reconnecting with your purpose, you can allow yourself to find passion in the work that you do. Allow yourself to be fulfilled. Strive for personal greatness in every choice and action, no matter how small.

 

Do you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions? Leave them in the comments section below!

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