Category Archives: money

The Toughest Question You Have to Answer

By Craig Ballantyne

There’s a battle being waged in all of us.

One part of us wishes to remain safely inside of our comfort zone. The other part of us knows we should be brave, step-up, and move out and onward to greater challenges.

Your comfort zone might mean the safety and security of a high-paying job at a major corporation. You make more, and have more, than your parents ever did.

“Don’t you dare risk losing that job,” says the voice of your mother in your mind. Just sit tight until the kids are done college, and then we can think about starting a business of your own.

The other voice you hear, encouraging you to explore greater opportunities, is your Big Self (a fantastic phrase I first heard from my friend and mentor, Matt Furey).

Your Big Self represents what you could truly accomplish in life.

Unfortunately, the real world contains many enemies of the Big Self, and it is constantly delivering reinforcements to your Comfort Zone. These reinforcements come in the way of excuses, negative naysayers, fear, lack of self-confidence or self-control, and the bad habits we’ve built up over our lifetime.

And that is why you are in the same spot today as you were twelve months ago, only just a year older.

Today I’ll show you how to break through the stalemate.

But it will only work if you are willing to set down your weapons and stop protecting yourself for a while. Call a truce on the battlefield. Have each side bring out its best thinkers and have them work together as one on this big thinking exercise.

Recently I made this same challenge to over 150 entrepreneurs at a recent seminar. Over the course of two days, my guest experts and I had stood and delivered complete blueprints for making more money, getting more done, and having a bigger impact on the world.

But I knew that many people in the audience would go home, let life get in the way, and return next year without having made any significant changes.

I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and I won’t let that happen to you.

That meant I had to challenge the attendees. I had to show them exactly how to make the mental changes that would allow their Big Self to win the battle.

After I summarized the best moments of the weekend, I paused for dramatic effect, made eye contact with as many people in the room that dared to look at me, and asked, “Are you really living as your Big Self? Are you being the Limitless Leaders that I know you can be? Or are you letting Little Limitations hold you back from greatness?”

These were tough questions. They are tough on the ego.

No one, particularly relatively successful people, wants to feel like a disappointment. But we need to be honest. Are we doing all we can with what we have been blessed with in life?

And we have one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, to thank for this. You see, several years ago I attended one of Kennedy’s seminars just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He covered the topic of internal resistance — something I know is holding back many ETR readers.

Dan said, “The failure to act is much more often the product of inner, emotional resistance than external resistance. To move forward you must give up your story, whether it is excuses about your childhood, lack of education, your ‘bad luck’, your unsupportive family, your low metabolism, where you live, etc., etc.”

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It’s time to give up your excuses. It’s time to overcome your natural inclinations of holding back and staying in your comfort zone. It’s time to Man-Up.

It’s harsh, but true. As Kennedy explained, what separates the leaders from the strugglers is often confidence and follow-through, both of which can be derailed by internal resistance. That’s when he taught me “The Exercise”.

Answering these questions is tough on the Ego, but the answers could change your life (if you take action on them). Take the following mental challenge:

1) Ask yourself “The Question:”

“Where you would like to be and have known you would like to be but aren’t?”

2) Be brutally specific and honest.

3) Now list why you are NOT there.

4) Next, identify the changes you need to make.

5) Then take massive action!

Don’t let another year go by stuck in the same place!

You must identify the causes of your internal resistance. Ask yourself “Why?” you want something but refuse to act in congruence with achieving it.

Either say “no” to achievement OR dig in and get to the bottom of the persistent incongruence between what you say and what you do. It is OK to admit you are not willing to pay the price – and by doing so, that will stop self-sabotage. Once you know the enemy, then you can work on overcoming it.

Listen, I know Kennedy can be a little gruff and grumpy, but he speaks the truth and has your best interests at heart. In fact, it’s almost like he’s channeling the wise philosophers of Ancient Greece. I’m currently re-reading a book called, “The Art of Living”, which is a translation of teachings from the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. In it, I discovered this wisdom:

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them. Don’t mind if others don’t share your convictions. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.”

Take the challenges set forth by Kennedy and Epictetus.

Identify what is holding you back.

Release the brakes.

Become the Big Self and Limitless Leader that I know you can be.

Overcome your obstacles. Defeat your internal resistance. Never give up on what is important to you. So much can be accomplished with a long-term vision and resilience to short term setbacks. If you persist and never give in, you WILL succeed. You can have the life of your dreams while helping and transforming the lives of millions.

Get out there and take action today. Throw the rock of helping into the pond of transformation and watch as the ripples take shape.

Change a life today — starting with yours.

If you need to make a change in your health, start here with my biggest challenge ever to you

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the founder of EarlyToRise University and the author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more from Craig so that you can get more done, make more money, and live the life of your dreams.

Ghostwriting

 


Writing in the Background: A Glimpse into Ghostwriting

By Assuanta Howard @astapubl

Ghostwriting can be synonymous with translating or editing, but it can also mean researching or organizing a written piece. Perhaps the word “translating” is the best way to characterize ghostwriting, whether it’s translating scattered ideas into a cohesive work or capturing and translating the style and voice of an author.

Although ghostwriters perform a myriad of functions in the production of a publication, ghostwriters often remain completely anonymous, unknown to their readers. Sometimes an author may choose to name a ghostwriter as coauthor and credit the ghostwriter’s contribution to the overall creative formation of the work. Other times a ghostwriter might simply be thanked in the acknowledgements.

So, why hire a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters can organize thoughts and perform research for you. These services can be extremely helpful, especially if your book is primarily purposed to instruct or inform. You may have general knowledge and ideas for your book that a ghostwriter can help you build upon. You can give your ghostwriter your vision for your work and then he or she can help your brainstorm or research to find more ideas.

Ghostwriters also help an author express his or her voice in written form. Speaking is certainly different from writing, and although one might have ideas and enthusiasm, it can sometimes be difficult to translate that onto paper. Not everyone with a great book idea is as comfortable with writing as they are with speaking. In these cases, the ghostwriter’s greatest task is interviewing the author and then capturing the author’s tone as he or she writes the book for the author.

Whose work is it really?

The “credit” for the creative work of ghostwriting may seem like a point of contention. There are several ways to view this issue. One is to see the “creator” of the work as the one who first had the idea, and the other is to view the creator as the one who wrote the piece. If one understands “creation” as the conception of ideas, then creative credit must go to the author.

Ghostwriters can be a wonderful asset to authors; they ease the burden of research, editing, and revising, and they help authors turn thoughts and ideas into publishable material. Ghostwriters are like the pen in an author’s hand. With the author’s direction, they move to find a way to best communicate the author’s message.

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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Why Rich People Hate Trump


From Bill Bonner, chairman, Bonner & Partners: It’s back to Europe. Back to school. Back to work.

Let’s begin by bringing new readers into the discussion… and by reminding old readers (and ourselves) where we stand.

Small and Lonely Group

As a Diary reader, you join a small and lonely group.

But we know something others don’t.

We—and apparently only we—understand the real cause of our economic malaise.
What malaise, you ask?

Well… how could the richest, most technologically advanced, and most scientifically sophisticated economy stop dead in its tracks?

The rate of economic growth has gone steadily downhill for the last 30 years. By some measures, after accounting for the effects of inflation, we’re back to levels not seen since before the Industrial Revolution.

And how could such a modern, 21st-century economy make the average person poorer?

When you measure actual inflation, rather than the government’s crooked numbers, the median U.S. household income is 20% lower today than when the century began.

And why would our modern economy concentrate wealth in the hands of so few, so that only the richest 1% make any real progress?

You may also ask a question with an obvious answer: Why are the richest and most powerful people in the country overwhelmingly supporting Ms. Clinton in the presidential race?

You find the answer to all these questions the same way: Follow the money.

Record Haul

Ms. Clinton is raising record amounts of money—$80 million in a single month.

Big corporations, banks, military contractors, rich people—all are pitching in to make sure Hillary is our next president.

Why?

Because she promises to protect the status quo.

That, of course, is what government always does. A free economy is a precarious place for wealth. It is despised by nearly everyone—especially the rich.

In a truly free market, the process of “creative destruction” can’t be controlled. New wealth is born. Old wealth dies.

Naturally, people with wealth and power try to use government to get more wealth and power… and to stop the creative-destructive process. They want to protect what they’ve got already. That’s why the real role of government is to look into the future and keep it from happening.

Hillary stands like King Canute, promising to stop the tides of economic history.

What’s this got to do with money?

Let’s ask another question instead: What is the source of Ms. Clinton’s campaign pile? Whence cometh all this lucre?

“It comes from rich people,” you will say.

But where did the rich get so much money?

Ah… that’s where it gets interesting.

We remind you of the context: So far this century, only the rich have gotten wealthier. Naturally, they are keen to see the system that gave them—and them alone—such great wealth continue.

Old Money, New Money

The key to understanding it all is the money system itself.

The money you spend today is the money that President Nixon inaugurated on August 15, 1971.

That’s when he reneged on America’s promise to convert foreign creditors’ dollars to gold at a fixed price of $35 per ounce… and broke the last link between the dollar and gold.

Nixon’s new money looked, for all the world, like the old money. It seemed to work just like the dollar always did. And the most distinguished economist of the era—Milton Friedman—advised Nixon to put it in place.
Subtle… slippery—the difference between the old dollar and the new one went unnoticed for 40 years.

Old dollar? New dollar? Who cared?

Even now, most of the world has no idea what happened. But we, dear reader, are beginning to connect the dots.

Here’s the basic difference: The old gold-backed dollar represented wealth that had already been created. You got more dollars as you created more wealth.

Money was real wealth.

But this old money was hard for the authorities to control. They said it was uncooperative. Intransient. And stubborn. They wanted a new kind of money… and a dollar they could manipulate (to make a better economy, of course).

So, the new dollar was created. And this new dollar was not based on wealth, but on debt.

It was not backed by gold. And it was not connected to the real wealth of the economy.
Instead, it was brought into being by the banking system—as a credit. It increased as people borrowed and went further into debt, not as they grew wealthier.

The more they borrowed, the more they could buy. This gave the economy the appearance of growth and prosperity. It allowed millions of Americans to increase their standard of living, even as their salaries stalled.

But every purchase put people further into debt…

Between 1964 and 2007, credit expanded 50 times.

And in 2008, the credit bubble burst.

More to come…

Reeves’ Note: The big corporations, banks, military contractors, and rich people backing Hillary Clinton are just apparatchiks of what Bill calls the Deep State… a nebulous group of elites who have infiltrated the far reaches of the American government.

Bill exposes this unelected group of insiders, and offers a “prep guide” to protect your wealth and privacy from its intrusion… in this urgent warning.

Always Stay a Student

Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Maxim for Every Successful Person; ‘Always Stay a Student’

By Ryan Holiday
The legend of Genghis Khan has echoed throughout history: A barbarian conqueror, fueled by bloodlust, terrorizing the civilized world. We have him and his Mongol horde traveling across Asia and Europe, insatiable, stopping at nothing to plunder, rape, and kill not just the people who stood in their way, but the cultures they had built. Then, not unlike his nomadic band of warriors, this terrible cloud simply disappeared from history, because the Mongols built nothing that could last.

Like all reactionary, emotional assessments, this could not be more wrong. For not only was Genghis Khan one of the greatest military minds who ever lived, he was a perpetual student, whose stunning victories were often the result of his ability to absorb the best technologies, practices, and innovations of each new culture his empire touched.

In fact, if there is one theme in his reign and in the several centuries of dynastic rule that followed, it’s this: appropriation.

Under Genghis Khan’s direction, the Mongols were as ruthless about stealing and absorbing the best of each culture they encountered as they were about conquest itself. Though there were essentially no technological inventions, no beautiful buildings or even great Mongol art, with each battle and enemy, their culture learned and absorbed something new.

Genghis Khan was not born a genius. Instead, as one biogra­pher put it, his was “a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined and focused will.” He was the greatest conqueror the world ever knew because he was more open to learning than any other conqueror has ever been.

Khan’s first powerful victories came from the reorganization of his military units, splitting his soldiers into groups of ten. This he stole from neighboring Turkic tribes, and unknowingly converted the Mongols to the decimal system.

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Soon enough, their expanding empire brought them into contact with another “technology” they’d never experienced before: walled cities. In the Tangut raids, Khan first learned the ins and outs of war against fortified cities and the strategies critical to laying siege, and quickly became an expert. Later, with help from Chinese engineers, he taught his soldiers how to build siege machines that could knock down city walls. In his campaigns against the Jurchen, Khan learned the importance of winning hearts and minds. By working with the scholars and royal family of the lands he conquered, Khan was able to hold on to and man­age these territories in ways that most empires could not.

Afterward, in every country or city he held, Khan would call for the smartest astrologers, scribes, doctors, thinkers, and advisers — anyone who could aid his troops and their efforts. His troops traveled with interrogators and translators for precisely this purpose.

It was a habit that would survive his death. While the Mongols themselves seemed dedicated almost solely to the art of war, they put to good use every craftsman, merchant, scholar, entertainer, cook, and skilled worker they came in contact with. The Mongol Empire was remarkable for its reli­gious freedoms, and most of all, for its love of ideas and con­vergence of cultures. It brought lemons to China for the first time, and Chinese noodles to the West. It spread Persian carpets, German mining technology, French metalworking, and Islam. The cannon, which revolutionized warfare, was said to be the resulting fusion of Chinese gunpowder, Mus­lim flamethrowers, and European metalwork. It was Mongol openness to learning and new ideas that brought them together.

As we first succeed, we will find ourselves in new situations, facing new problems. The freshly promoted soldier must learn the art of politics. The salesman, how to manage. The founder, how to delegate. The writer, how to edit others. The comedian, how to act. The chef turned restaurateur, how to run the other side of the house.

This is not a harmless conceit. The physicist John Wheeler, the physicist who helped develop the hydrogen bomb, once observed that “As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” In other words, each victory and advancement that made Khan smarter also bumped him against new situations he’d never encountered before. It takes a special kind of humility to grasp that you know less, even as you know and grasp more and more. It’s remembering Socrates’ wisdom lay in the fact that he knew that he knew next to nothing.

With accomplishment comes a growing pressure to pre­tend that we know more than we do. To pretend we already know everything. Scientia infla (knowledge puffs up). That’s the worry and the risk — thinking that we’re set and secure, when in reality understanding and mastery is a fluid, con­tinual process.

The nine­-time Grammy– and Pulitzer Prize–winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis once advised a promising young musician on the mind­set required in the lifelong study of music: “Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves. You don’t stand in your own way. . . . Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there’s one simple test: because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.’” No matter what you’ve done up to this point, you better still be a student. If you’re not still learning, you’re already dying.

It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning. It is a position that one has to assume for life. Learn from everyone and everything. From the people you beat, and the people who beat you, from the people you dislike, even from your supposed enemies. At every step and every juncture in life, there is the opportunity to learn — and even if the lesson is purely remedial, we must not let ego block us from hearing it again.

It’s something I’ve had to learn as an author, personally. Just because one book does well, doesn’t mean that the next one will. It certainly doesn’t mean that everything that I’ll write is good or that I know everything there is to know about this profession either. Thinking that way is a recipe for falling off and disappointing both publishers and audiences. A better attitude is to start from scratch with each project — to focus on all there is left to learn and all the room we have left to improve. That’s what I’ve tried to do with each subsequent project, including this most recent one (appropriately about ego).

Too often, convinced of our own intelligence or success, we stay in a comfort zone that ensures that we never feel stupid (and are never challenged to learn or reconsider what we know). It obscures from view various weaknesses in our understanding until eventually, it’s too late to change course. This is where the silent toll is taken.

Each of us faces a threat as we pursue our craft. Like sirens on the rocks, ego sings a soothing, validating song — which can lead to a wreck. The second we let the ego tell us we have graduated, learning grinds to a halt. That’s why UFC champion and MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock said, “Always stay a student.” As in, it never ends.

The solution is as straightforward as it is initially uncom­fortable: Pick up a book on a topic you know next to noth­ing about. Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least knowledgeable person. That uncomfortable feeling, that defensiveness that you feel when your most deeply held assumptions are challenged — what about subjecting your­self to it deliberately? Change your mind. Change your sur­roundings.

An amateur is defensive. The professional finds learning (and even, occasionally, being shown up) to be enjoyable; they like being challenged and humbled and engage in education as an ongoing and endless process.

Most military cultures — and people in general — seek to impose values and control over what they encounter. What made the Mongols different was their ability to weigh each situation objectively, and if need be, swap out previous prac­tices for new ones. All great businesses start this way, but then something happens. Take the theory of disruption, which posits that at some point in time, every industry will be dis­rupted by some trend or innovation that, despite all the resources in the world, the incumbent interests will be incapable of responding to. Why is this? Why can’t businesses change and adapt? A large part of it is because they lost the ability to learn. They stopped being students. The second this happens to you, your knowledge becomes fragile.

The great manager and business thinker Peter Drucker says that it’s not enough simply to want to learn. As people progress, they must also understand how they learn and then set up processes to facilitate this continual education.

Oth­erwise, we are selling ourselves — and our careers — dreadfully short.

This piece is adapted from Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the Enemy, published by Penguin Portfolio

About the Author: Ryan Holiday is the best-selling author of Ego is the Enemy and three other books. He is an editor-at-large for the Observer, and his monthly reading recommendations which go out to 50,000+ subscribers are found here. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Mistakes

People don’t care how much you know — until they know how much you care.” — John C. Maxwell

The Dumbest Mistake That Smart People Make

By Michael Simmons

It was a little past 1:00 a.m, and I sat alone at the dining room table. If only I had listened to my tired body and gone to sleep, I might have saved a friendship and a business partnership.

Instead, I pushed through and gave overly harsh feedback on a letter. It took me only a few minutes to send my feedback, but it damaged that relationship forever. The person never came back to me for feedback, and it contributed to a negative spiral in the relationship that ultimately failed.

That’s when I learned the stakes of giving bad feedback. As leaders, parents, and friends, if we chronically give bad feedback we destroy relationships, make other people feel stupid, and stunt their growth.

Giving feedback incorrectly is one of the worst mistakes smart people are particularly prone to make. Experts tend to…

  • overestimate their expertise and give feedback in areas where they don’t have expertise;
  • feel compelled to give feedback as a result of their expertise;
  • be condescending as a result of thinking something is obvious to others when it isn’t; and
  • be too general as a result of forgetting the little insights that make up ideas.

These disadvantages are collectively known as the curse of knowledge.

I interviewed 10 world-class leaders (including the founder of two television networks, a former Fortune 500 CEO, and similarly successful entrepreneurs) to get their perspective on how to give feedback in the best way. In the few minutes it takes to read this article, you’ll have a whole new toolkit, which will immediately improve how you give feedback to others.

1. Help employees think like owners

Jason Duff, founder and CEO of COMSTOR Outdoor

I think the best way for a CEO to give feedback is by letting his or her employees experience what it’s like to be an owner.

I used to want to shield my team from the hard parts of what I do. The unintended result was employees who made poor decisions and developed beliefs that everything is easier than it actually is.

To inspire an ownership mindset, I follow two practices that work really well:

Job shadowing. I’m a big believer in the idea that you can’t really understand someone’s perspective until you walk a mile in their shoes. I shadow my employees, and they shadow me as well as each other. This helps us understand each other, but also be nimble and step in when necessary.

Open-book accounting. We recently moved our business to open book accounting, which means we share all of our financial numbers with our employees. This was a very difficult decision for me but I’ve been impressed with the outcome so far. Misconceptions about the money that I was, or was not making, have been completely put on the table. Many of my employees had a lot of sympathy with some of the financial goals, challenges, and tax consequences that the company was facing. They offered great ideas and suggestions about their roles and their compensations to help the company be more successful. I highly recommend The Great Game of Business to learn about the power of open book accounting and how to implement it in your company.

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2. Put on your welcome face

Ryan Simonetti, co-founder of Convene

I have one core belief, based on research in Drive, that structures how I give feedback: People are intrinsically motivated to do a great job. They don’t intentionally do bad work.

Most people I know take a tremendous amount of pride in their work and have an emotionally vested interest in both their success and that of their company.

What this means is that my job isn’t to reprimand or judge people. My true job is to empower them. Given that most communication is nonverbal, the most important thing I can do is to be in the right state of mind before I give feedback. I call this putting on a ‘welcome face’. To me this signifies “I’m open, compassionate, and excited to listen.” If I can’t immediately get myself to be authentically in that state, I will sleep on it.

Finally, I lead feedback discussions with an open-ended question like, “What is it about this project that you’re especially proud of?” My goal is to put myself in the other person’s shoes before I make judgments.

3. Follow the NORMS of objectivity

Rohit Anabheri, founder of Circa Ventures

I use what I call the “NORMS approach” to keep the feedback objective rather than subjective. Here’s how it works:

Not an interpretation. Describe the behavior, don’t interpret why someone did something.

Observable. Focus on specific behavior or outcomes that are seen or heard.

Reliable. Two or more people independently agree on what they observed.

Measurable. Use facts to describe the behavior or result rather than superlatives like ‘all the time’ or ‘always’.

Specific. Based on a detailed description of the event (e.g., who was involved, where and when it happened, and what was the context and sequence of events).

As a result of going through this process, “John is always late,” turns into, “John was late for the leadership meeting three times last week.” This helps avoid emotions and exaggerations, as well as the disagreements that come when someone naturally tries to defend their behavior.

4. Put on your coaching hat

Benji Rabhan, founder & CEO of Apollo Scheduling

When I’m about to give feedback, I put on my coach hat. Here’s what I do:

Strike while the iron is cold. To be effective, I must wait until I have emotionally separated myself from the equation. This way, I can proceed calmly and collectively, so as to not engage the employee’s fight or flight reflex.

Ask for permission. Once we sit down together, I say, “I’m going to wear the coaching hat as we talk about the project. Is that okay?” With their agreement, I explain, “There’s been something I’ve been trying to figure out, and I need your help. I am betting there is something I did not tell you, or there is a difference between our past experiences in this area. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to see if we can figure out what I’m missing?” Doing this sets the context of the discussion as mutual improvement and prevents defensiveness.

Challenge assumptions with open-ended questions. I ask questions to help me understand their process for creating the work. Rather than ask, “Did you know that you did this wrong?” I’ll say, “Tell me about how you went about this assignment.” As they’re sharing, I’ll ask follow-up questions such as “What was the thought process of why you did it that way?” I keep going until I run out of questions. Open-ended questions help me discover what went wrong on the assignment, and how to correct the missteps. They also help the employee see the gaps in their own logic without me even having to say anything. And sometimes, I realize that I’m the one with the gap or that we both are.

In the end, I believe the key to making the process work is a sincere curiosity and desire to:

  • Understand what you personally could do better.
  • Get to the root of the problem.
  • Help the other person solve their own challenges in a peaceful way.

I recommend the book, Nonviolent Communication. It details great processes for having difficult conversations without sparking negativity.

5. Forget motivation. Stop demotivating.

Sevetri Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations

I am a very “straight to the point” person, and I’ve learned the hard way that this can really hurt morale.

Constant criticism, without an environment that praises great work, leads to employees becoming demotivated because they feel like they can never be ‘good enough.’ In a study that surveyed 1.2 million employees at primarily Fortune 1000 companies, they found that employees often don’t need motivation. It is constant critique without recognition that causes them to be demotivated.

When I give constructive criticism, I always emphasize that I believe in the person and their work. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired them. I make it a point to let my team members know that I’m fully aware of their capabilities, and I won’t accept anything less. I try to transform the conversation’s energy into something constructive by reminding them of what I loved about their other more successful projects and work. Whether that’s creativity, attention to detail, or content, it’s important to get people to dig deep down and pull out the work that made me hire them in the first place.

6. Give the conversation over to the employee

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, and Wow 1 Day Painting

My approach is to turn the conversation over to employees to lead – and hopefully – resolve.

I start by asking “How do you feel about your work?” or “Is this your best?”

Then my role becomes, “How can I help you?”

This leads to more employee ownership over problems and solutions. By taking myself out of the equation, I avoid negative feelings, but more importantly I believe the team grows and becomes capable of solving even greater challenges on their own.

Ultimately, this has led to a culture where our team looks forward to getting negative feedback because they know they will benefit from it. This mirrors the approach taken by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, who proactively seeks out and listens to negative feedback.

7. Be tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people

Doug Conant, former CEO of Fortune 500 company Campbell Soup Company and founder and CEO of Conant Leadership

When I give feedback, I often start with the four magic words of leadership, “How can I help?” Next, I ask additional questions to get to the root challenge. For example, “What can we do better?”

By asking these questions with sincerity, commitment, and a desire to help, leaders can be tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people. Most people unnecessarily sacrifice one for the other, but it is imperative that leaders incorporate both in a meaningful way, if they hope to achieve sustainable high performance.

The power of this approach is that it:

Sets the purpose of the conversation as solving the problem, not attacking the person.

Positions myself as a resource rather than a combatant.

Empowers the person to productively work through the issue.

8. Sandwich your feedback and spread it out

Cameron Herold, author of Double Double, CEO coach, and globally renowned speaker

I “sandwich” the constructive criticism inside the good stuff and spread it out throughout the day:

1. Tell them what they’re doing well.

2. Tell them what specifically needs to improve.

3. Tell them something else they’re doing well.

I learned this 30 years ago in the One Minute Manager, and it still holds up today. It’s also a great way to raise kids too – and I have four. Here’s why it works:

It is crucial to give MORE positive feedback than negative feedback. According to one study, top performing teams give each other more than five positive comments for every negative one.

It is crucial to give feedback immediately. Stanford University researcher on behavioral change, BJ Fogg, shares, “It’s critical for people to give feedback during or immediately after the behavior so that people’s brains will wire it correctly.” In other words, the tighter the feedback loop, the more immediately that feedback can be incorporated into and influence future behavior. How much more slowly would your golf swing improve if someone told you to ‘square your shoulders’ a week after a practice session vs. after your first few swings?

9. Direct your passion to competitors and your heart toward employees

Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers

We all have passion and heart about our businesses. That passion is critical for the success of the company. It’s good for employees to see. However, the mistake that many founders make is directing that energy negatively toward employees with harsh feedback that employees can’t help but take personally.

The goal isn’t to kill the passion; it’s to redirect it.

When giving feedback, I direct my passion toward competitors, and my heart toward employees. When I do this, meetings turn from defensive to inspirational. Here’s how I do it:

I set my default to always come from a place of love, gratitude and curiosity (LGC).

I write “LGC” on the top of my personal, printed meeting agenda, if I’m stepping into a serious meeting. This helps me focus on why LGC is important. Our environment unconsciously triggers certain emotions. One study even found that holding a warm cup of coffee can increase the odds of us being more warm to others.

10. Show a funny video before giving feedback

Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Network and Syfy

A great way to relax someone is to find a cartoon, funny video or something else of interest to share to help the person let down their defensive guard. From there, it is easier to direct conversation to why their performance was subpar, and how to improve.

Beyond the immediate impact on everyone’s mood, laughter has long-term health benefits as well. And it may not only help the person you’re giving feedback to! It may help you. If you’re resisting confronting a lackluster performance, keep in mind a fascinating study, which found watching comedy videos increases willpower!

About the Author: Michael Simmons is a bestselling author, international keynote speaker, award-winning young entrepreneur, and columnist for Forbes, Business Insider, and Harvard Business Review. Simmons is the co-founder & partner of Empact, a global entrepreneurship education organization that has held 500+ entrepreneurship events including Summits at the White House, US Chamber of Commerce, and United Nations. Connect with him on Twitter (@michaeldsimmons) and his Blog.

Apps to Help Your Business

5 Ways Mobile Apps Helps You Improve Business Revenue

By Urvish Shangvis

1) Acquire More Customers:

A Mobile App is an effective and efficient medium to connect with customers. Asking desktop users to download a mobile app, helps acquire new customers. Offering a 10-30% discount to new mobile app users on their first order, will make them repeat customers. Research indicates that users prefer mobile apps to a mobile or desktop website, as mobile apps can be accessed offline too. Users spend more time on a mobile app than a mobile or desktop site. Mobile apps can help you gain new customers, by running various offers and discounts.

Read the rest of the ways mobile apps can add value.

Marketing

 


Social Media Marketing Success: 5 Techniques That Are Working NOW on Twitter
Nika Stewart  @NikaStewart  http://www.GhostTweeting.com

 

As entrepreneurs, we are all aware of the important role that social media plays in an effective marketing campaign. Why is it then, that so many business owners fail to maintain a consistent branded presence on at least one social media platform?

The most common reason is lack of know-how. If it is confusing or overwhelming, we ignore it. But social media still gives the best return on investment if used effectively.

The good news is… if you learn what is working, you can model it, and achieve success.

So let’s start with ONE platform: Twitter. If your feed isn’t oozing with engagement, if you aren’t flooded with folks re-tweeting your genius, if you aren’t getting calls from interested followers for more information on your products and services, you simply need to make a few changes. Here is what is working on Twitter right now to get you more engagement, more followers, more retweets, and more ideal leads.

Give to get

What is better than seeing that someone has tweeted an awesome review or a glowing recommendation of your business? We all love it, and there’s no doubt that we notice the person who tweeted that delicious post.

Unsolicited recommendations in the form of endorsing others’ products, sites, or services are a way to get noticed by authors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and even popular influencers. Networking goes both ways: you’ve got to give to get, so start recognizing others’ genius and you’ll be sure to get some recognition of your own.

“The best way to get attention on Twitter is to GIVE attention on Twitter.”

Engagement: The king of the castle

Build it and… they probably won’t come. Posting is passive; Engagement is active.  You must be active to get the results you want from Twitter: more followers, clicks to your website, endorsements, increased visibility, expert status.

More than ever, it’s about interacting with your followers, so take the time to comment, retweet, participate in Twitter chats, answer questions, and acknowledge your followers.

Consistency

Which Twitter accounts have the most followers and the most engagement? The ones who post every day. You can’t expect great Twitter results by posting sporadically. Be consistent with your tweeting, and you’ll see growth very quickly.

(Don’t have the time to devote every day to researching, creating, and posting to Twitter? Here is the no-brainer solution:www.ghosttweeting.com/97 )

Humor

If engagement is king of the castle, humor is the court jester. To stand out from the noise – and let’s face it, you do need to stand out on Twitter in order to get results – you need to publish shareable, funny content that is on brand. Humor is a free way to move your platform forward at breakneck speeds. How often do you see something hilarious in the form of a joke, meme, photo, or video and want to share it with a friend, coworker or spouse? Yes, funny posts get attention! We are more apt to follow accounts with a sense of humor in order to break up the monotony of endless streams of blather.

Be real

Okay, we know engagement is king and humor is the court jester, but who is queen of this castle anyway? YOU. Whatever platform you are on, audiences demand authenticity. You are a real person with a family, pets, kids, and a growing pile of dirty laundry. You love a good Sauvingon Blanc and you have a weekend cycling hobby. Sometimes life is not easy; sometimes it’s the best thing since Kylie Jenner released her Lip Kits. So let us know about it. Even when it comes to business posts, we want to see the human side of you. YOU need to come through loud and clear in every tweet.

Twitter is still getting massive results for businesses, and you will enjoy the benefits if you use the techniques that are working.

How to Evaluate Your Business

 


Business Assessment

Your business provides you and your employees with the opportunity to leverage your skills and training, serve a desired target market that is in want and need of your product/service and provides opportunity for financial growth.  The health of your business is critical to all those involved.

When was the last time you took your business into the doctor for a business diagnostic checkup?  If the answer is “not recently” or “never”, then your business is overdue.

Javis Brunson Business Consultants assist business owners who strive to build independent, sustainable, profitable, and thriving businesses.  To obtain this level of success in your business, it’s important that you fully understand the health of your business.

If you are ready to grow your business, then let us conduct a business diagnostic assessment for your company today.

Our business assessment and debrief provides insight into eight areas of your business:

  1. Products & Services
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales
  4. Customer Service
  5. Systems & Automation
  6. Business Analytics
  7. Leadership, Policies & Procedures
  8. Organizational Support

The benefit of the assessment debrief is to evaluate your business to determine its health, communicate findings, recommendations and determine the ACTION steps needed to move your business forward.

Following the debrief you can work independently or with a Javis Brunson Consultants advisor.

 

PRICING

Business assessment, 2 hour debrief meeting and a 30 minute follow-up meeting with a Javis Brunson Consultants advisor will cost $825.

Email (jay@javisbrunsonconsultants.com) to schedule a 15-minute introductory phone conversation to discuss how we can help you move your business forward.

Entrepreneurs

“It’s amazing how people can so readily crush someone’s dreams. Trust only those who believed in you when things were tough. They are the gems who will brighten your life.” – John Carlton

Why So Many Entrepreneurs Become Disillusioned

By Jonathan Fields

You finally started your own business or private practice. And, now, you’re in hell.

It’s three years in, and things aren’t going as planned.

Growth is slow, you’re spending so much time doing the grunt work and servicing customers, you have no time to focus on the big picture. Growth has stalled. Even if you’re growing, the grind is killing you. Your health and waistline, bahahahahaha. Gave that up long ago. Relationships, oy vey. Joy, done.

You secretly yearn for regular hours and a reliable paycheck, even if it means dealing with an idiot for a boss and purposeless existence.

So, you sit around, looking for a sign from God. And you’re not sure if you want her to tell you to continue, or to walk away. It’s not that you don’t believe there’s still great potential, it’s just that you have no idea how to right the ship and you feel like a prisoner.

I’ve had this conversation with so many entrepreneurs and shared the cautionary tale with so many aspiring entrepreneurs.

Being your own boss doesn’t automatically put you on the “yay train.”

So many entrepreneurs unwittingly build their own stress-addled, cash-poor cages, rather than engines of freedom, expression, and connection. Not because they’re stupid or incapable, but because they learned how to serve others, but not themselves.

The Cult of the Customer

The world of entrepreneurship is maniacally customer oriented these days. Identify and develop the customer, we’re told. It’s important, you don’t have a business without a customer. But, guess what…

Without a business that serves as a simultaneous engine not just of revenue and service, but of personal expression, connection, freedom and purpose, you don’t have a life!

Doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how many people you’re serving, every day you go to work will suck. Which means every day will suck, because you will always be working. Never having understood what you really wanted, or how to build something that not only gives the customer what he wants but also gives you what you need.

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While this phenomenon is rampant and growing in the world of startups and bootstrapped entrepreneurs, it’s also rampant in the world of private-practice professionals, creative pros, and even employees.

Newsflash…

Entrepreneurship is not about building a great business, it’s about building a great life.

But, you will never get what you want from the way you contribute to the world until you learn how to align your actions with your essence. And you cannot do that until you know who you are.

If your work lights you up, lets you express yourself, tap fiercely into your potential, play with people you love and earn enough to live well in the world, rock on. If not…

Do NOT pass go.

Do NOT suffer onward.

Do NOT keep welding the bars of your cage thicker and thicker.

Hit pause.

Ask yourself:

1. What do I care about?

2. What do I hold sacred, both in business and life?

3. What lights me up, what would I work hard to do for free?

4. What empties me out, emotionally, psychologically, and physically?

5. Who do I want to serve?

6. Do I care more about serving or building?

7. What do I value on a non-negotiable level?

8.What am I great at?

9. What am I terrible at?

10. How do I want to spend each day?

11. How do I want to live my life?

This is just the beginning of the inquiry, but if you start with these 11 prompts, you’ll have done vastly more than the average entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur or, frankly, even the average human to start understanding who you are and what you need.

And, you’ll start to cultivate the level of self-knowledge needed to build something that not only makes money and serves a need but also serves you and the life you seek to create.

Entrepreneurial failure to thrive isn’t just about a lack of money, knowledge or skill, it runs far deeper. With rare exception, it’s deeply rooted in self-ignorance.

Know yourself. Express yourself. Master yourself.

Then, build around that.

About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, author, speaker, A-list blogger and serial wellness-industry entrepreneur. Fields writes about entrepreneurship and creativity at www.JonathanFields.com and interviews emerging world-shakers at www.GoodLifeProject.com. His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance, was named the #1 personal development book of 2011 by 800-CEO-Read.

Way To Sucess

“The surest way to success is to add value to the world. Find your calling as quickly as possible and help as many people as you can.” – Craig Ballantyne

Teach Your Way to Success

By Craig Ballantyne
Last Friday, at my 6th annual Turbulence Training fitness summit, I stood on stage at the Westin Hotel in Westminster, Colorado, and preached. My sermon taught the audience how to use the 5 Pillars of Success to change any aspect of their life and overcome every obstacles in their way.

But during my presentation, it dawned on me that I could also be doing a better job of taking action and overcoming my own limiting beliefs. It was clear I needed this speech as much, if not even more than they did. It was time to take my own advice.

As I wrapped up and stepped off the stage, it hit me. The teacher had become the student. Even though I had just taught for an entire morning, I felt like I was the person in the room that had gotten the most benefit from the content.

“While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca.

From ancient history through to today, humans have realized that when you teach lessons to others, you end up learning more than the student. That’s why the best way to develop a greater understanding of any material is to play the role of the teacher and explain it to a student.

It’s even better when your students challenge you. The more questions they ask you, and the greater their skepticism, the more you have to properly articulate your answers and justify your beliefs. It’s much better to teach actively engaged minds than passive people.

Nothing is better than working one-on-one with a cynical student. It demands that you think critically about your beliefs, and it forces to build a stronger argument for your position while also simplifying your message. The best teacher is someone that can take a complex topic and distill it to easy-to-understand principles.

Finally, you learn and become a better teach through adapting your tone and delivery based on their non-verbal responses. For example, if you notice your audience scrolling through their smartphones during a section of your sermon, you’re getting critical feedback that this part of your presentation needs work. It’s not that the audience is being rude, it’s just that you’re being boring!

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Back in my days as a personal trainer to the richest men and women in Toronto, my favorite clients were the ones that demanded to know why I was giving them a specific exercise, using a new technique, or encouraging them to eat a certain way.

If I struggled to explain something, their critical gazes would let me know loud and clear that my reasoning wasn’t sound. This caused me to put more work into my study and honing my craft so that I delivered an even better and more effective fat loss program. It also helped me improve my own body transformation results.

That’s why, if your goal is to transform your life in any way, it’s helpful to become a mentor to someone else that seeks the same goals. By explaining your new habits, you will better understand their importance, and furthermore, you will become more committed to these new behaviors. When you act as a teacher you want to maintain integrity and act in a way that is consistent with what you just taught. After all, a hypocrite is a lousy teacher… and a lousy person.

But teaching goes beyond just strengthening your knowledge. Teaching makes you a better human being, too.

I’d like to update Seneca’s quote with a dose of 21st-century personal development. To do this, we’ll turn to my friend Frank McKinney, who once said, “You cannot brighten another’s path without lighting your own.”

I believe it. I’ve experienced it time and time again. There’s not much work in the world that can make you feel as fulfilled as teaching others. Each time I step on stage to teach and preach, I forget my selfish worries and problems, and leave the stage a better man. Each time I create a video explaining fitness tips, time management, productivity or creative writing techniques, it elevates my mood and leaves me with a satisfied smile.

This approach is simple to apply in our own lives. Whatever you know, you can simply follow these two rules for becoming a wiser and better person. First, you must practice what you preach. Second, you must practice preaching it.

Try it today. Teach someone something. It could be showing your child how to tie their shoes, or it could be sharing a simple productivity tip with a colleague. No matter what you teach or preach, you’ll feel better for it.

The big lesson for you is that if you want to improve yourself, then you MUST become a teacher and mentor to more people.

The teacher always learns as much, if not more, than the student.

And the more you learn, the more you can help others, and the positive cycle continues and expands, making you better and better at what you do, and allowing you to help more and more people.

Teaching others can also lift you out of the dark dips we all experience in life.

When you’re down, and troubled, and you need a helping hand, your best solution is to become the helping hand to someone else.

When you teach others what you know, when you share your knowledge, when you add value, this can deliver you from mild depression, from a scarcity mindset, and from a lack of clarity. Teaching will give you a natural high. You’ll do something good for others, and better yet, you’ll do something great for yourself. All the while you’ll improve your understanding of the material at the same time.

That’s why you actually benefit more from teaching than the student does.

Trust me, every single time I’ve opened my expertise and shared it with others, I’ve left with new ideas, a better understanding, a clearer vision of the problem (and the solution that can be implemented), a feeling of gratitude for the knowledge that I have, and thankfulness for the ability to shine a little light into someone’s life.

As an ETR reader you know more about success, productivity, building a business, and sales than 99% of the world. You could share a tip or two each day with colleagues that struggle in any one of those areas. Not only would it boost their performance, but you’d also improve your own work habits. When you did that, you would also benefit because it would make you more aware and committed to making similar changes in your own life. And of course, it will leave you with a smile on your face when you see the light bulb go off in their eyes.

Don’t tell me you don’t have anything to teach the world. In most areas of life, you don’t need to be a certified instructor or a genius in order to impart a little wisdom to a friend, a colleague, or a mentee. You just need to pass along what you know. Everyone wins when you do that.

It doesn’t matter if you are teaching a physical skill or a mental attribute, you cannot be a good teacher without making yourself better. When you instruct by example, it leads you to live by example. The lessons become more deeply ingrained in your mind. Keep on pushing and teaching. And that will make all the difference in your life.

“Show your character and commitment through your actions.” – Epictetus