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Making Your Passion Your Career (Despite the Naysayers)

“Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.” ~Chris Hadfield, astronaut   As a kid, you put zero thought into doing what you loved. You simply played, not knowing that your future self wouldn’t play that much at all. Work was serious business. When I was in kindergarten, our classroom had a block center, a board game shelf, a home center with dolls and a play stove, a drawing center, and a sand table. We naturally gravitated to the area that was most fun, with no thought about what would look good on our future resumes or college applications. As far back as I can remember, making up stories, writing them down, and telling them to anyone that would listen were my favorite activities. Fast forward to high school, then college. It’s Time to be an Adult Others told me that writing and art were lovely little hobbies, but I needed to choose a real career, something that would make money. I looked around to see what the other kids would do, trying to spark an idea. If it wasn’t writing, I was clueless. I never thought of asking, “Why not?” Why couldn’t writing be a career? I just accepted that a job or career had to be something you made a realistic, intellectual choice about, and not one that came from your heart. And I wasn’t the only one who received messages like this. I heard Oprah say that as a child she was asked what she thought she would do as a career. She said, “Well, I like talking to people.” The person responded, “Well, you can’t make money doing that.” 7 Failed Careers Later Years later, after I was told I couldn’t make a career out of writing, I ended up with a resume that was four pages long and days that were like a yearlong run-on sentence. I plowed through job after job, staring out the windows and riding the trains I hated to jobs I hated even more. I did a good job at most of them and earned a nice income. I was a school secretary, lifeguard, pre-school assistant, mortgage processor, office manager, dance teacher, and a few others I can’t remember. I taught sewing classes and even started two businesses thinking that being my own boss would solve my empty feelings. It didn’t. A Return to Love Then I reached a turning point and realized I needed to go back to doing what I loved and make it work somehow. I had a week off work and found myself writing from morning to night. I felt my headaches lifting and a sense of peacefulness developing. I submitted an essay to a local newspaper. The publication didn’t accept it, but I didn’t care. I knew it was time to make my passion my day job, and here is what I did. The next time I was asked what type of work I did, for the first time in my life, [...]

2018-10-26T12:01:37+00:00 By |

How a Hobby Can Boost Your Motivation and Change Your Life

“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy   We’ve all hit a low motivational point in our lives at one time or another. I am completely aware of that feeling of having nothing to fight for. In those reoccurring periods of despondency, I couldn’t find a reason to get myself out of bed. It’s funny that I got the life-changing question at a job interview. It was a stressful situation, and the hiring manager made it even more overwhelming when he looked at me straight in the eyes and asked: “What motivates you in life?” I can’t remember what I answered, but I do remember the devastation I felt from the true answer I found in me: “Nothing, nothing motivates me.” That was the turning point. Lots and lots of meditations later, I realized where all that frustration was coming from: I didn’t have a single thing that made me happy. Why was I so incomplete? I couldn’t get a job that made me feel useful, and all my friendships were superficial. I’ll spare you from the details of my reasoning process. I didn’t read, I didn’t write, I wasn’t trying to learn anything, I didn’t have a special someone in my life, and I didn’t have a hobby. A HOBBY! The sole thought of it made me burst in laughter. I’d never had a hobby. I basically had nothing to lose, so I decided I would give this idea a try. Picking a hobby was all I needed to do, and that’s how I ended up making endless reading lists. I found different reasons why I needed a hobby: It helps people express their creativity. I had an office job at the moment, and I was a total slave of routine. I needed that ‘escape’ activity that left me alone with my thoughts. I was already meditating every day, but I couldn’t call that a hobby… it was more like a responsibility for me. And, to be honest, it was making me even more miserable: I knew I needed a and I knew I didn’t have the courage to leave my job. A hobby like gardening, jewelry making, painting, knitting, or anything else related to creating would allow me to keep touch with the inner artist. That special activity clarifies the mind. It doesn’t matter what hobby I would pick. My options included reading, yoga, piano playing, running, or walking—all these activities have a meditative effect on the thoughts. The entire awareness is focused on the thing we are doing, and we can shut out every negative thought that was present before. In a way, when the hobby merges action and awareness, it becomes meditation in motion. Most hobbies have a social aspect. They give us the opportunity to interact with people who share our interests, so we develop connections that are not shallow at all. Let me tell you a secret: I have great communication with the people I met through [...]

2018-10-25T19:06:46+00:00 By |

8 Monday Morning Habits of Successful People You Should Adopt

Turn Your Dreary Monday into a Productive Day!   Monday: it’s a day many people dread because it signals the beginning of the work week for most. Going into a Monday with that attitude, though, is likely to put you in a negative mood for the entire day. Instead, why not view Mondays as a new beginning? It’s a chance to get back out there and succeed. While you may not necessarily want your weekend to end, it will, so you might as well embrace Monday. Many successful people have. They start their work week out with a number of habits that put them in the right frame of mind to get ahead. Here are eight of these habits that you should consider adopting. They Start the Day Early These successful people don’t hit the snooze button multiple times or have an alarm set for the last possible minute. Instead, they’re up early so they have plenty of time to get ready for the day, eat breakfast, take care of any chores they need to do, and still have plenty of time to make it to work. They ignore that little voice that says sleeping for a few more minutes isn’t a problem. Being up early gives them time to really wake up. They also don’t have to rush, don’t stress if traffic is backed up, and have some peaceful time to themselves before the Monday rush starts. They Eat Breakfast You’ve probably heard multiple times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how many people take the time to really eat a healthy breakfast? Many grab an energy bar or something similar, but those meals on the go are often not very healthy at all. If you get up early, you should have plenty of time to make yourself a healthy breakfast that includes a serving of fruit and a source of protein. They Get Motivated Instead of dreading Monday, these successful people take a little bit of time to motivate themselves. They get pumped up for the week, so they feel like they can take on anything. Some people spent a little time reading a motivational book, while others listen to motivational speakers on their way to work. Taking this time to get motivated will change your entire perspective on Monday and on the work week in general. They Exercise You don’t have to go to the gym the first thing Monday morning to start your week off right, but you should get up and move around. Successful people have more energy, think clearer, and feel happier on Mondays because they exercise before work. All you need to do is spend about 20 minutes doing a physical activity. You can go jogging around the block, lift weights, do pushups, or any combination of different exercises. What’s important is that you get those endorphins flowing. They Don’t Get Lost in a Sea of Emails Dealing with your email inbox may [...]

2018-10-09T17:28:40+00:00 By |

What’s Your Risk-Taking IQ? Research Suggests How Much Risk We’re Willing to Take is Pre-Wired

Tips on How to Be a Bolder You!   Have you ever wondered what drives people to take certain risks, such as going bungee jumping or risking a financial gamble? While a person’s tendency to take risks will often vary, a new study has proven that over time a stable general factor affects general risk preference. Swiss and German researchers have recently finished a study that looked into this general factor of individual risk preference, “which remains stable over time” and is similar to the general Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The study, which was published in two journals (Science Advances and Nature Human Behaviour) was based on findings that involved 1,500 participants. (Related: Preventable Lifestyle Risks Kill More Than One Million Americans Yearly.) Individuals often make life-changing decisions based on various factors, but we don’t really know the nature of the risk preference that significantly affects risk-related decisions. Does a person’s risk preference have anything to do with the context or is it mostly the same even in different scenarios? It looks like the answer to both questions is “yes,” and findings from a large-scale study done by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel, which was accomplished with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation, has the data to prove this. The Swiss and German researchers used three unique approaches to evaluate the risk preferences of 1,507 adults aged 20 to 36 years old: “self-reports on hypothetical risk scenarios,” “experimental behavioral tests involving financial incentives,” and “information on actual risky activities in everyday life.” Overall, the participants finished 39 tests in one day. The researchers then asked the 109 participants to retake the tests after six months to analyze the stability of the risk preference over time. Past studies on risk preference often relied on only one or only a handful of measurement instruments. Dr. Renato Frey from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development shared, “Our findings indicate that risk-taking propensity has a psychometric structure similar to that of psychological personality characteristics. Like the general factor of intelligence, there is also a general factor of risk preference.” He added, “In other words, your willingness to take risks may vary across different areas of your life, but it will always be affected by the underlying general factor of risk preference.” To support this theory, the study’s results revealed that a person’s general factor of risk preference stays stable over time. The study also found that both the hypothetical scenarios and the reports on actual risk-taking behavior helped determine a similar analysis of a person’s unique risk preference. Meanwhile, a new picture resulted from the experimental behavior tests. Based on a comprehensive study of the differences, the researchers confirmed that for the different behavior test, participants used unique decision-making strategies. These strategies varied according to the type of behavioral task, like when risk was presented in the context of a game, or via a [...]

2018-10-09T18:52:11+00:00 By |

Bringing Balance to Your Work Week

Five Tips to Help You Create a More Balanced Life   If you are an American working 50 to 60 hours a week, a study1 out of Australia may give you pause. Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) suggest 39 hours to be the ideal work week to ensure you maintain life balance and good health. The study asserts working those who have domestic chores and caregiving responsibilities should trim their work schedules back to just 34 hours a week. The upper limit for those spending less time on domestic work was suggested as 47 hours. According to USA Today,2 Americans spend about 47 hours a week, on average, working. Brits clock in at 37.5 hours and French employees a little less, at 35 hours a week. While it's well known Americans work longer hours than many of our counterparts around the world, how often do you stop to consider the effects those extra hours are likely having on your health and well-being? Long Work Hours Drain Your Mental and Physical Health The research3 mentioned above was based on data drawn from about 8,000 adults, ages 24 to 65, as part of the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia survey. Lead researcher Huong Dinh, research fellow at ANU's research school of population health, asserts, "Long work hours erode a person's mental and physical health, because it leaves [them] less time to eat well and look after themselves properly." According to Dinh, reducing the number of work hours seems particularly important for women. She says: "They spend much more time on care and domestic work. Given the extra demands placed on women, it's impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health. Despite the fact that women, on average, are as skilled as men, women … have lower paid jobs and less autonomy than men, and they spend much more time on care[giving] and domestic work." Some of the study highlights published by Dinh and her team are as follows: While longer work hours are not necessarily bad and do not have a uniformly negative impact on your mental health, there is a distinct tipping point when the hours worked do begin to affect your mental health Due to constraints related to caregiving and domestic chores, if you are a woman, you are perceived to have a lower threshold when it comes to achieving work/health balance Australia's current system of work-hour regulations and expectations appears to be negatively affecting women's health in that country To encourage men and women to equally share caregiving responsibilities, work hours would need to be reduced Working More Than 55 Hours a Week May Negatively Affect Your Heart Research4 conducted by the European Society of Cardiology suggests it might actually be possible to work your heart out. Based on a study of 85,500 men and women over a 10-year period, researchers observed a negative tendency with respect to the relationship between work [...]

2018-10-08T18:49:07+00:00 By |

The Power of No

Learn How Saying No Can Be Liberating!   “Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   Is your need to please everyone getting in the way of your happiness? Exhausted. Empty. Enslaved. Do those words describe you? We have probably said “YES” more than enough times and it has caused us stress. Why is it that one of the most common words in the English language is so difficult to say? I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, there are lots of reasons I have a hard time with that one simple word. I want to please people. I don’t want to be mean or unhelpful. I don’t want to burn a bridge or miss an opportunity or miss out on something fun. I don’t want people to be mad or upset with me or to speak poorly of me. So sometimes I’ll say “Yes” to avoid that feeling.  Hmmm….. Does that sound like some of you? Why don’t we say “no?” We don’t have the guts to do it. We don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. We’re afraid people will think that we’re not committed. We’re concerned that people will think we’re not team players. We’re concerned that people will think we are unwilling to sacrifice. And so, time and time again, we say yes when we shouldn’t. Often at the expense of something else. Does this sound like you? A yes comes out of your mouth before you have the chance to stop it and you are agreeing to something you don’t want to do. Believe it or not, saying yes to everything is also an addiction. Often times, our guilt, fear and anxiety rule our minds when we say no. Read this carefully Alrighters: Don’t feel the need to feel guilty about your decision. This will only promote anxiety and unwanted stress. Be confident when you say “NO.” Don’t always see saying “no” as letting down another person. See it as an opportunity to do something to make yourself happy and focus on your wants and needs. So, say goodbye to being a people pleaser and learn how to confidently say no to someone without feeling bad about it. Get rid of those who use you or take advantage of you. They never call you or think of you unless they need something from you – and they’re really good at persuading you to give in to them.   There’s another word for that kind of persuasion: it’s called mass manipulation. Do you feel like you’ve been manipulated, taking advantage of? If so, it’s time to WIN back your life!   “It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs      DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO” Never dwell on what people think about your decision. Walk away with peace of mind. Let it go!   YOU DON’T NEED TO [...]

2018-10-11T16:14:37+00:00 By |

The 12 Steps to Living Confidently: How to Retire With Confidence

Take Worry Out of Planning for Retirement!   Imagine you’re planning a round-the-world cruise. It won’t happen for a few years but you’re serious about going. One of the first things you do is figure out the cost. As the date draws closer, you nail down the exact amount of money you’ll need. Now, imagine you’re planning to retire. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Figure out exactly what it will take to keep you afloat during your retirement journey? Most Americans don’t. In one survey, only 14% of pre-retirees knew what their Social Security payments were likely to be at retirement.1 “That’s scary,” says Douglas Dubitsky, Guardian Vice President, Product Management, Retirement Solutions. “Social Security benefits were never meant to be the only source of income in retirement. Understanding your benefits will help you plan confidently for retirement. And we know that having a plan is one of the key behaviors in achieving financial and emotional confidence.” What else is scary according to Dubitsky – not having other retirement assets on hand to cover you should you opt for delayed Social Security payments. Being strategic about your overall retirement income plan in this way is one way to become more financially and emotionally confident. Dubitsky has some additional rules of thumb. The 75% rule. You need about 75% of your pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably in retirement. If you earn $76,000 a year, for example, you’ll need retirement income of $57,000. Social Security will only cover part; about $32,000 a year would have to come from other sources.2 Wait if you can. While there is no “right time” to retire, the age you activate your benefits makes a big difference. If you were born between 1943-1954 and apply for Social Security benefits at age 62, you’ll receive about $1,000 less per month than if you wait until age 70. Again, if you do choose to delay Social Security, make sure you have other retirement assets on hand to cover you. Get real numbers. Calculating Social Security benefits is complex. Calculators on the Social Security website can help you estimate. Factor in healthcare costs. Medicare premiums and health care costs keep rising. A married couple, both age 65 in 2020, may need up to $365,000 over retirement just to cover health care.3 There are no guarantees. The mass migration of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce is putting a financial strain on the Social Security program. Payout may only be 77 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits by 2033. All the more reason to plan for alternative sources of income! “There are other practical things you can do,” adds Dubitsky. “Limit your dependence on Social Security earnings in retirement planning by increasing retirement contributions to both your IRAs and 401(k)s. Set up automatic deductions if possible. Estimate your retirement expenses now and calculate them out 30 years to see what a long retirement will cost. And stay on top of rising medical expenses by building up a health savings [...]

2018-09-18T12:05:46+00:00 By |

Achieving Your Goals – Could You Be Sleeping Your Dreams Away?

Being Well Rested Helps You Get What You Want In Life!   Whether you’re fighting for weight loss, success at work, or you’re just working towards starting something new; achieving your goals is all about effort, right? But did you know that you could be literally sleeping away your success? Studies have found that there’s a huge (massive, really) link between sleep and things like weight or emotional stress. If you’re uneducated about what sleep should be like and how to achieve that, you could be ruining your goals and not even realize it; particularly, when you’re losing weight. It’s not just sleeping too little that could ruin your goals either – you could be sleeping too much! Studies found that with education alone, 100% of participants were able to improve their habits What does this mean? Simple, you can train yourself to sleep better. Better sleep, means better results when it comes to your goals.  When surveyed, 37 working women who were exhibiting poor sleeping habits were able to improve them with just 3-5 weeks of light educational training on effective sleep and good sleep hygiene. The three big effects poor sleep habits have and how they impact your goals There are three basic ways that have been proven again and again to disrupt your goals in terms of sleep problems. 1. Poor sleep hygiene has been linked to depression Studies have shown that if you have under 6 hours of sleep or over 8 hours of sleep, you’re at a much greater risk of depression. As someone who’s gone through bouts of depression, I’m here to say that this can and will definitely impact your motivation, will to keep moving, and overall energy level. 2.  Not getting enough sleep can dramatically affect our relationships When you’re trying to achieve something, a support system is fundamentally important. Medical News Today has reported that couples especially have been completely pinned each other against on another after even just one night of poor sleep when studied. 3.  Sleeplessness and oversleeping linked to diabetes and weight gain The international journal of obesity (IJO) has reported that there is a definite link between weight gain and sleeplessness. The truth is, gaining unwanted weight can be detrimental for your health; but what’s worse is the impact it has on your self-esteem, energy, and even your interpersonal relationships.  IJO reports, “The odds of obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2) was 3.7-fold greater (95% CI: 2.7–5.0) in men and 2.3-fold greater in women (95% CI: 1.6–3.1) who slept less than 5 h.”   What can you do to keep your goals from rotting away due to poor sleep? Your first step to making sure that you’re not impacted negatively by your sleeping habits is to educate yourself. It’s not enough just to think about sleep what can do. If you want to achieve your goals, you need to take actionable steps to improving your sleeping habits. Want to learn more about the steps you can [...]

2018-09-19T16:16:31+00:00 By |

Leadership Secrets from Some of History’s Greats

Learn How to Improve Your Leadership Skills   They say history repeats itself, though that phrase is usually used when someone is facing failure. However, there is no reason why we can’t make use of history lessons to bring us success. Mankind had produced some great leaders during the course of its history. So let’s take a look at some of the secrets to leadership that a few of these geniuses have bequeathed to history. Chanakya Almost 2500 years ago, a scholar named Chanakya taught his protégé, Chandragupta Maurya the essence of leadership and military strategy. Chandragupta went on to conquer large parts of the Indian sub-continent, creating a 2 million square mile empire. One of Chanakya’s pieces of advice was, “The king shall despise none, but hear the opinions of all. A wise man shall make use of even a child’s sensible utterance.” Chandragupta took this advice to heart, and is known to have consulted his commanders and ministers, never letting his personal opinions get in the way of decision-making. Chanakya also wrote the Arthashastra, considered a classic and masterpiece on economics and governance, that is finding renewed popularity today. He says, “If a king is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works.” Chanakya advises the leader to be an example. Setting an example is the easiest way to motivate your team and create a work atmosphere directed towards success. Sun Tzu Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general best known for his book, “The Art of War,” written around 500 B.C. Sun Tzu’s work has been praised and used ever since its composition. Sun Tzu said of his warriors, “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” Get to know your team. That will help you motivate them and work with them better. Once you have evaluated their work and are confident of their effort, don’t hesitate to stand by them and defend them when they need your support. This will build a rapport between you and your team, and allow them to grow in confidence. Swami Vivekananda Swami Vivekananda is known for his social reform and for introducing Eastern Spirituality to the Western world. Some of the essential qualities of a good leader found in Swami Vivekananda were his absolute commitment, insight, integrity and capability to inspire. With his unerring resolve he managed to craft a spiritual revolution and is still an inspiration for youth today. https://www.naturalnewsblogs.com  

2018-09-19T14:55:13+00:00 By |