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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

5 Tips to Grow Your Business Online

How to Build Your Online Business Presence   What’s the secret to growing a better business online? Some would say it’s a customer-centric approach, others would highlight the power of marketing, and still there are some who believe it’s all about establishing a credible image in the industry. Whatever online experts believe the “right” way to success is – in the end – it all boils down to how you can make it work for you. The truth is: every business needs its own unique and personalized approach, the challenge lies into finding the right strategy early on to hasten your success. Here are a few marketing tips that you’ll find essential on your journey to growing your business: 1. Start Cross-Promoting with a Partner There are many ways to market your business without stretching your budget; one of these is by cross promotion. Cross promotion is all about teaming up with other business in your related industry to create alliances that benefit consumers. The process works so that two business working together benefit from each other whilst promoting a product or service. For example, if business 1 sells cosmetic products, they can redirect their customers to business 2 which is a salon or spa for a discount. This isn’t like partnering with a competition because you’re actually joining forces to reach a wider audience. Think of this as ‘mutual marketing’ where the results are always fast and beneficial. 2. Create a Business Website They say once you’ve setup your business’ website, you’re already halfway to success. Websites are like land you rent online, a land you can use to host all of your other marketing activities to attract potential customers. Once you’ve established your own site you can attract opportunities and a global audience of customers, leads, and investors who might be interested in your business. There are many kinds of websites available today. Learning types of websites will allow you to decide which ones is right for your business – while understanding how websites work will allow you to make smart decisions later on. You can use your website to grow your business in the following ways: present a professional image increase traffic build your email list share your expertise sell your own goods. Creating your starter website is never a big investment. There are lots of do-it-yourself web sites you can get for less than 30$ and if you got the budget you can also ask help of a web builder to create a more personalized one for around $300 to $1000. 3. Consider an Influencer Marketing Program With the rise of social media and social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, many businesses are using influencers to help their brands grow. They are called influencers simply because much of their online behavior affects people’s decisions. Starting from what they wear, say, or do, influencers are responsible for all the fads we’ve all been guilty of following. Most of these influencers are [...]

2018-09-05T16:11:43+00:00 By |

5 Ways to Help Increase Morale in the Workplace

5 Great Tips on How to Create Positive Energy in the Workplace!   A negative atmosphere can have a huge impact on employee morale and productivity. As time goes on, people can begin to lose their edge on the job or even their desire to do a good job. Happiness and laughter often becomes a vague memory and the job quickly becomes a mundane task in their life that they dread every time they get out of bed. Remember that poor office morale can lead to bad coordination, disobedience, noncompliance, low productivity, and high turnover, which would act negatively on your company’s efficiency, productivity, and bottom line. The morale of the employees can help make or break an establishment’s success. This is why the administration and upper management need to closely watch the mood in the workplace. Supervisors and managers must find innovative ways to strengthen and boost the workers’ confidence, so this will not hinder them from reaching their goals. A few unique ways to boost morale include the use of conference speakers who use their speeches to help businesses overcome problems with worker productivity and temperament; creating employee outings to boost morale; and having reward systems in place. In addition, here are five more tips to help boost office morale: 1. Make your employees believe that their work is not just some random job. Help your workers understand that their job does have meaning and serve an actual purpose. People tend to forget this when performing daily routines. Try to remind all employees that their roles and responsibilities have an important function to the company’s operations and activities.  Furthermore, they contribute to the success of the business. You can do this by being active in the business, where your employees can see you; conversing with them on a regular basis; and being a problem solver to ensure that everything works smoothly. 2. Show your workers you appreciate them and celebrate their achievements. Tell your workers how much you appreciate them with words and congratulate everyone for their good work performance. Celebrate the accomplishments of your employees because this acknowledges their good work behavior and attainment of success. Compliments, praises, and recognition help people understand just how important they are to a business and this will make them feel good about themselves. Your celebrations can be verbal or physical, such as in the form of awards, celebrations, and outings to help employees feel just how special they are to the company. 3. Remember to always have a fun.It is important to get the job done, but remember to make room for a little fun. This can help boost the morale inside of the workplace because it will encourage excitement and laughter. When people love their jobs and enjoy what they are doing, this can help change a negative atmosphere into a more positive work environment. You can do this by using challenges, goals, games, and even outings outside of work. Let your employees see [...]

2018-08-28T17:44:13+00:00 By |

Business Modeling Secrets That Really Work

3 Tips for Becoming More Successful in Business!   Everyone is looking for the secrets to business success. Some of the real pro tips are not actually “secrets” at all. Join a mastermind group to get your company riding fast on the highway of big business. Get clarity on the business model you’re working with. Grow your support team by hiring virtual staff. Putting these tips in practice will grow your business quickly. Join a Mastermind Group We all have unique skills that set us apart. As experts, we hold the missing piece to others’ business problems. Other professionals hold the missing pieces to our problems also. When we network with others with complementary skills we’re able to help them as much as we’re being helped. Mastermind groups are small focus groups of like-minded entrepreneurs. Business owners join together to support each other through their growing pains. Managing a business is a challenging task. There are many new things to learn and big decisions to make. There are regulations and laws to conform to, supply chain challenges, and HR difficulties. Join a group of other professionals to share ideas. Express your frustrations and also offer helpful advice. A mastermind group ensures that we gain expertise from professionals in a variety of niches. It’s important to make sure that everyone in the group gets a chance in the spotlight. No one person should hog all the help and creative brainstorming. Set up a weekly meeting time and schedule. Meet once a week and rotate the member focus each session. This will give each member of the mastermind group a chance to speak about their current struggles. With a few heads working together to solve problems, brainstorming will be quick and efficient. Working together you’ll all make short work of whatever difficulties you’re facing. Map Your Business Model Even if you’ve been in business for some time, it pays to regularly revisit your company model. We all need to constantly evolve the way we present our products and services to customers. Regular evaluations help us see how we might be able to grow, expand services, cut costs, or manage other resources. It’s useful for everyone, from seasoned executives to small business startups, to tackle business modeling regularly. One way to get a clear picture is to fill in a Business Model Canvas. The open source downloadable canvas was developed by Alexander Osterwalder and a team of over 270 others in the late 2000s. The canvas visually presents a way of organizing our businesses. The unique format also makes it easy to move pieces around. We can also easily make changes to the model to see how they will affect the bigger picture. This free tool can also be used to map out other successful models.  We can better understand how they work and and learn their secrets. The canvas encompasses all areas of business and has nine distinct sections of unique focus including; Key Partners, Key Activities, [...]

2018-08-27T17:18:08+00:00 By |

How Entrepreneurs Can Keep Motivated

10 Ways to Grow Your Business!   If you’re an entrepreneur, you may at times feel beaten down by the constant stress and work that comes with running a business venture. As the owner of your own business, you’re the person in charge – you have to make the big decisions, and if something goes wrong, it’s on you. There’s no longer anyone above you to pass on decisions. This challenge means that you’re going to be doing a lot of work. You may find yourself working long hours, on the weekends, and even during holidays. None of this was what you thought about when you started your business. When faced with the reality of all the hard work they have to put in, some entrepreneurs start to feel discouraged and lose motivation to continue. It seems like they’re always working but getting little in return. If you’ve hit this phase of your entrepreneurship, here are a few things you can do to boost your motivation so you can stay at it. 1. Have Your Own Mission Statement You probably have a mission statement for your business. This statement is what guides your company and helps direct it. It provides motivation to everyone in the company. You should have a personal mission statement, too. This statement will help you determine your own professional direction and motivate you to achieve your goals. You should right down this mission statement and, if needed, read it out loud every morning when you’re feeling stressed and demoralized. 2. Have a Plan Just like businesses have mission statements, so too do they have plans based on these statements. You should develop a plan from your mission statement that includes your short and long-term goals and your personal as well as your professional goals. You don’t necessarily need to write this down, but you do need to know what it is you want to accomplish and how you plan to do that. Also be ready to make adjustments to this plan—it’s likely that something unexpected will arise that forces you to make a few changes. That’s okay. 3. Have a Routine Some people think falling into a routine is a bad thing and means that they’re boring, but that’s definitely not true. If you have a morning routine that helps you wake up physically and mentally, prepare for the day, and set your focus, it’s definitely not a bad thing at all. It’s a good habit to fall into. As part of your routine, consider your plan for the day, the week, the month, and more long-term. Is everything you have lined up going to help you achieve the goals you need to achieve? If not, consider if these tasks or your plan need to be revised. 4. Make Time for Yourself You can’t be hyper-focused on your business all the time. If you try to be, you’re going to exhaust yourself. Always set aside a little time for yourself to [...]

2018-08-16T16:23:28+00:00 By |

Tips From The Top: One On One With Tracey Edmonds

I spoke to television host and producer Tracey Edmonds about her best advice   Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people? Tracey: Many would be surprised to know that I’m in the entertainment industry, but I don’t really like being in the spotlight. I prefer working behind the scenes in a creative capacity. Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth? Tracey: I have always been a hardworking entrepreneur. I was raised in a single parent household for many of my childhood years and we were often faced with financial challenges. We often struggled to make ends meet so I got my first job when I was only 13 years old. At age 13, I looked and acted very mature for my age, so I was hired to be a receptionist for a mortgage company where my mom worked. When I was 16, I went to Stanford University on a scholarship, but also worked 2 jobs to cover my books and meals. Those experiences forced me to establish self-discipline and a strong work ethic at an early age and I’ve been working ever since. I went on to be a music publisher, record label head, TV/film producer, and now I have a lifestyle brand. Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? Tracey: I think that an effective leader leads without ego. No job should be too small or too big for a leader and they need to be willing to get into the trenches with their team. Leaders need to lead with clear communication, optimism, and enthusiasm. Positive energy and passion goes a long way on a team. Adam: How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level? Tracey: Have a clear vision. Have effective communication Serve as a role model Be passionate Execute in accordance with your values Set definitive goals and follow concrete action plans Maintain a positive attitude and motivate others Continue to learn and grow Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders? Tracey: Lead by example. If you set a tone of professionalism, dedication, diligence, courtesy, and respect, your team will follow. Communicate effectively and respectfully. Effective communication is paramount. Great leaders know how to make sure that their messaging is heard and understood, but they also know that communication is a two-way street and that it is also important to listen to others. Healthy working relationships ARE important so be emotionally intelligent in your communications and remember to be effective, but kind. Be productive by setting definitive goals and action steps, then execute them. Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received? Tracey: My father told me when I [...]

2018-06-19T16:34:31+00:00 By |