Tag Archives: tips

16 Tips for Living a Happy Life Starting Right Now

 


By John Rampton @johnrampton

It doesn’t matter your age, how much money you have in your back account, your marital status or what you do for a living, we all want to be more successful in our lives. Of course, defining success is different for each us, but here are 16 proven ways that can make you more productive, happy and successful in life.

1. Be committed.

No matter what goals you have set for yourself in life, you have to be committed. It’s through commitment that you’ll continue to make the improvements needed to better yourself. Whether it’s taking a chance on launching a startup, getting a gym membership to improve your physical well-being, or taking a cooking class because you want to become a chef, commitment is what drives us all to become more successful.

2. People care about you, not your success.

Let’s be honest. People don’t care about the expensive clothes you wear, how big is the house you own or the car your drive. That’s not to say that they don’t respect your achievements or possessions. Instead, they care you as an individual and they’ll support you no matter what — because they love you. Believe it!

3. Be grateful every day.

According to researchers Martin Seligman, Robert Emmons, and Michael McCullough, being grateful can result in feeling better about your life, more enthusiastism and more willingness to help others. Being grateful may even reduce coronary artery disease. Take the time to write down what you’re grateful each and every day.

4. Take action.

In an article in The Atlantic, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman share studies on the confidence gap between men and women.  The researchers discovered that confidence is just as important as competence. It was concluded in the article that “[T]aking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed.”

5. Money can’t buy happiness.

As The Beatles famously proclaimed, (money), “can’t buy me love.” You know what else money can’t buy? Happiness. Just because you’re earning six figures doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily content. Sure, money is obviously needed, and it makes some things easier. But, you should be focusing on your passion and not how much your paycheck is.

6. Don’t take rejection personally.

At some point we all face rejection. Instead of taking it personally, use it as a learning experience. Why did a VC reject your proposal? Maybe there wasn’t a market for your product. Perhaps you didn’t have a convincing pitch. Maybe the VC’s partner just called and said he’d spent their extra cash. Accepting and learning from rejection is one way to guide you to success.

With my online invoicing startup I get rejected daily, literally. I talked to 100+ VC’s before I got one that believed in my product. Learn from rejection and use it as motivation to make things better!

7. Have a backup plan.

You never know when the unexpected is going to happen, but when it does happen, you’re surrounded by chaos. Being prepared for the worst case scenario can at least make things a whole lot less chaotic. When my last business crashed, had I not had some cash set aside (that my wife kept away from me), we would have been in financial ruin. Having a three-to-six month nest egg will make the difference. I’ve found that having 12-24 months of cash to pay all bills just sitting there has significantly helped my marriage be more positive as well!

8. Improve your social skill.

After analyzing data from between 1972 and 1992, University of California, Santa Barbara, economist Catherine Weinberger found that “The people who are both smart and socially adept earn more in today’s workforce than similarly endowed workers in 1980.”

9. Travel.

As Yii-Huei Phang states on The Huffington Post, traveling is a great way to “develop a person’s character” and become more open-minded. Additionally, while traveling is a great way to get away from the daily grind, it also helps you appreciate what you have back at home.

10. Don’t multitask.

If you’re feeling constantly burnt out it’s probably because you’re doing too much at one time. Research has found that “when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 percent.” You’re also burning your reservoir of energy. Both of these issues decrease your productivity and prevent you from accomplishing tasks and goal.

11. Embrace a growth mindset.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck argues that we have two-mindsets; “fixed” and “growth.” A fixed mindset “assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static.” A “growth mindset,” however, “thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

12. Balance work and life.

When work interferes with life, it can result in employees getting burned out and decreases base morale in the office. While this may not be an option for employees, it proves that everyone needs time away from the office. If you’re able to spend less time in the office by working remotely or having flexible hours, you should be able to be productive in both your personal and professional life.

13. Don’t hold grudges.

There is really no need to hold onto a grudge. It can mentally wear you out and makes you miserable. And, doesn’t life seem to go a whole lot smoother when you’re not angry?

14. Stick it out.

After years of studying both children and adults, psychologist Angela Duckworth found that one of the characteristics of successful individuals is having grit. During her TED talk Duckworth stated, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

15. Live in the moment

You can’t change the past and you have no control of the future. Live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you right here, right now. When you’re busy making too many plans, you’re causing stress that prevents you from enjoying the present.

16. Take care of yourself, then help others.

According to Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness.”

Additionally, helping others is beneficial for our health. But, how can you help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself first? Take care of your needs first and then begin to help others.

This is How to Do Things You Don’t Want to Do

 PourVousCustomDesign

By Patrik Edblad

The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that they formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
 — Albert E.N. Grey

No matter what you want to accomplish in life, it’s going to involve discomfort:

A great career or business requires hard work.

A healthy body needs exercise and foods you don’t necessarily like.

Meaningful relationships need vulnerability and compromises.

In fact, anything worthwhile often requires that you do what you don’t want to do.

And that can be hard.

But it doesn’t have to be.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

I used to take my thoughts very seriously. Whenever one of them popped into my head, I’d immediately identify with it and perceive it as the “truth.”

If a thought told me I was tired and bored, I’d immediately look for a way out.

But I’ve since learned that I am not my thoughts and that my mind is nothing more than a suggestion box.

Because of that, I don’t take my thoughts as seriously as I used to.

And that, in turn, has made a huge difference in my subsequent behavior and the results I get.

These days, when my mind tells me I’m restless and should do something else, I simply thank it for the suggestion and then get back to the task at hand.

Stimulus –> Perception –> Response

It’s never the discomfort that stops you; it’s how you perceive the discomfort.

Your beliefs determine your response, and what you choose to believe is within your control.

You can assign whatever meaning you want to discomfort.

I used to believe it was a signal that I should stop.

These days, I believe it’s a signal that I should keep going.

I’ve decided that anytime I feel discomfort, that just means I’ve stepped into my mental gym and that it’s time for my mental resistance training.

Exercise Your Willpower Muscle

Willpower is a lot like muscle power. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get.

If you practice it for an extended period of time, you can change your behavior around completely.

You’ll be able to do what others dread doing and to stay away from things that others can’t resist doing.

That level of self-control is exactly what’s needed to become a remarkable person and create extraordinary results.

So, how do you get started?

Practice Voluntary Discomfort

He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.
 — Spartan Warrior Creed

The best way to practice mental resistance training is through voluntary hardship. Here are a few examples:

  • Underdress for cold weather.
  • Turn off the air conditioning in your house or car.
  • Take cold showers.
  • Occasional fasting.
  • Drink only water.
  • Sleep without a pillow.
  • High-intensity exercise.

These are just a few ideas to help you come up with your personal mental resistance training.

The important thing is that you choose one and commit to it.

And just like in a physical gym, you don’t want to use the heaviest weights right away.

There’s no point getting overwhelmed or injured.

So, start small and then get a little bit every day.

If your willpower muscle is weak right now, it’s perfectly fine to start by making your bed each morning. Or reading one page in a book. Or flossing one tooth.

How to Do What You Don’t Want to Do

If you’re thinking to yourself right now; “I’m not the kind of person who practices voluntary discomfort,” be very mindful of the fact that this is the same voice you want to take control over.

Don’t take it as literal truth. Remember — it’s just a suggestion. And it’s entirely within your power what you do with that suggestion.

If you choose to take action despite what your mind is telling you, it holds no power over you.

You can decide to perceive discomfort as mental resistance training from this moment forward.

And each time you push through the resistance, you’ll notice that you’ll get a little bit stronger.

If you stick to the practice consistently, with time, it’ll become second nature to do what you don’t want to do.

You’ll become a relentless action-taker.

And that’s when you can turn your most desired goals into reality.

If you enjoyed this article, please click the heart so others can learn from it as well!

Patrik Edblad is a certified mental trainer and writer. He helps people use research-backed strategies to become healthier, happier and more productive at Selfication.com. Grab your free copy of his book The Science of Willpower: Proven Strategies to Beat Procrastination & Get Big Things Done.

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.

Do Not Wait!

The greater danger lies not in setting our aim too high & falling short; but in setting our aim too low & achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

Why You Must Not Wait

By Jason Leister

Waiting for something to happen in your business just plain sucks.

Sometimes you’re waiting to hear back from a prospect or a vendor — sometimes you’re waiting on a payment from a client or a customer.

At other times, you’re waiting on someone to do something that they said they were going to do.

I’ve done more than my fair share of waiting. And when I fall into that trap, I end up feeling really stupid.

I feel stupid because I’ve allowed someone other than myself to slow down my progress. I feel stupid because when I’m “waiting,” often times that’s all I’m doing.

The progress of my business slows because I’m focused on the waiting.

But Waiting Is Not the Problem, It’s a Symptom

Waiting for someone or something in your business really isn’t a problem in and of itself. Waiting is really a symptom of the real problem, which is that you care more about what the world does than you care about what you are doing.

Waiting puts you in the position of caring about the effects of your actions more than moving onto the next action. Waiting puts you in the position of allowing yourself to be molded by the world instead of being the one doing the molding.

Here is the bottom line that you never want to forget…

The only thing you ultimately control in business is what you put into it. Despite what the business gurus tell you, I’ve never met anyone who had total control over what actually happens in a business. Sometimes it might look that way from the outside in. But when you’re on the inside, it simply doesn’t work that way.

So to put your focus on anything but your input is simply misdirected energy. It’s not going to do you any good no matter how hard you try. (And boy, do we try.)

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When you find yourself waiting around in your business, ask yourself, “Why have I chosen to put my focus on the actions of others instead of keeping my focus on my own action?”

That single question might be enough to snap you out of your trance and back into the mindset of a business builder.

The business building mindset is where you are focused on what you are doing. You are focused on the input. You are focused on the recipe. You are focused on things that you can control. You mess with that focus when you start thinking about what’s happening (or not happening) because of what you are doing.

In other words, you reduce your potential success when you get too attached to the results of what you are doing. It’s not that you don’t care what happens, it’s simply that you are not attached to the outcomes in an unproductive way. There is a difference and it is a pretty large one.

If you are waiting for anything in your business, I’d suggest that you simply don’t have enough work to do. Or at least you have not given yourself a long enough list of other productive things to do while the results take care of themselves.

In the absence of your list of important to-dos, you just sit and wait.

How Much Can One Person Accomplish?

I still remember the first week I tried planning out my work and blocking out my time. I basically ran out of things to do before the first day was over! That’s a bit of an exaggeration but it’s in an effort to make my point clear:

Despite how “busy” we say we are, very few of us actually have enough to do. Enough of the right things to do that is.

Instead, our days are filled with busy work and only highlighted with the occasional important activity.

The important activities come so rarely that we feel like we did something special just for completing one. Then we wait around to see what happens because of our “major accomplishment.”

That’s the trap you want to watch out for.

Operating like that is a sure sign that you need to better plan your work. When you decide to stop waiting for success and start pursuing it, you realize that one of the most difficult things to do is to plan enough work to fill your time with important tasks.

It might be hard to believe, but this is actually hard work and requires a lot of discipline in my experience. But it’s work worth doing. Because in the absence of a plan like this, you end up falling into the trap of “waiting” for something.

Wait For No One, Because Waiting is Wasting Your Life

I think a better way to operate is to go in with the attitude that, “You wait for no one.”

The idea isn’t that you should be a jerk and demand that everything happens on your terms. While that might be the stereotypical success personality, who wants to go through life acting like that? You might end up successful, but you’ll also end up alone. And that, in my book, is total failure.

The core idea I want to communicate is that when you’re waiting for someone to do something or for something to happen, forget about it in an instant and take action on something else to build your business.

Let’s say you are waiting on a payment from a client. Days go by and the payment doesn’t arrive. You wait and you wait, but still no payment.

You have two options:

The first option is to wait around and stew about it. Choose this path and you’ll be focusing your energy on a target that will do you absolutely no good.

The second option is to move on and focus on something you actually control. This will keep you in the driver’s seat of your life and your business.

Getting caught “waiting for the world” is a fool’s game. You will never win, because the world is not there to serve you. You are there to serve you.

Are you waiting on something or someone in your business?

Stop waiting, stop stewing, stop complaining.

Just start doing.

About the Author: Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Client Letter, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has seven kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.

After Meeting Anyone

The One Thing You Should Do After Meeting Anyone New

By Michael Simmons

At 24-years-old, Francis Pedraza is the co-founder and CEO of a venture-backed company, Everest. In addition, he is an advisor to 10 tech companies, each of whom he does hundreds of introductions for in return for equity.

It is hard to predict how my Forbes interviews will go. Most top relationships builders are not able to articulate how they do what they do.

Francis does not fall into this camp.

Within a few minutes of talking with him, he had transformed my perspective on relationship building.

The elaborate system he has created allows him to dramatically scale the value he adds to the people in his network.

How could a 24-year-old founder who is busy building a company offer more introductions than venture capitalists whose full-time job is to find and support portfolio companies into which they’ve invested millions of dollars?

Why You Should Share Your Network With Other Entrepreneurs You’ve Vetted

Imagine building a road to an amazing place and then only using it once.

That would not only be a waste; it would be selfish.

You’ve already incurred the cost, and it doesn’t hurt you if other people use it. In fact, it helps to share because you build relationships with other drivers who appreciate your generosity.

Despite the obvious benefits, most entrepreneurs fail to proactively share their networks of vendors, investors, employees, and partners.

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They build it and then let it sit.

If you’re raising money, you talk to dozens of investors until you’re finished. Then, you focus on other networks. The same goes for interviewing dozens of employees and vendors to fill open positions. Once you fill a position, you stop looking until the next time you have a position.

Here’s the problem with the on/off approach: If you don’t always nurture these networks, then they are harder to activate when you need them.

Francis’ insight was to make introductions for other high potential tech companies to investors, designers, and engineers he already knew even when he didn’t immediately need these networks.

Speaking on why he made this decision, he shared two reasons:

  1. Building Relationships With Investors

    “When we raise our next round of financing, potential investors will be less likely to ignore me or act in bad faith, because they know that I’ve built a big network and proven its value.”

  2. Learning From Top Entrepreneurs In Other Sectors

    “By being a trusted advisor to other companies, I broaden my perspective in two ways. First, I become privy to the deepest challenges of other top tech companies. Secondly, I learn what they’re learning as they learn it.”

At this point, most people using Francis’ logic would take an ad hoc process to making introductions when people came top of mind.

Instead, Francis created an extremely powerful system that simplified and scaled his impact.

Focus On Quality Before Quantity

The difference between introducing an investor to a world-class entrepreneur and a talented entrepreneur is tremendous.

Investors earn almost their entire return from one in ten companies they invest in that hit it big.

With this in mind, Francis decided to actively search for and select high potential startups that he believed in that he could advise.

By primarily making only high-quality introductions to startups he had vetted, he could provide more value to investors and learn more from the entrepreneurs.

Why Making Hundreds of Introductions For A Single Company Makes Sense

Finally, instead of doing just a few introductions for each company, Francis does hundreds. To receive funding or to fill open positions requires talking to dozens of people. By only making a few introductions, you’re certainly helping, but you’re not pushing the ball forward as much as you could be given the need and your ability. Here’s Francis’ logic:

The reason I make hundreds of introductions rather than just a few is that fundraising is hugely impacted by momentum. It’s best to fundraise within a short window so that there is a lot interest at once and investors have time pressure. Furthermore, most investment meetings don’t turn into investments so startups need a lot of introductions in order to create momentum and find the needle in the haystack.

In order to scale the introductions you make, you have to organize your network in the right way. This brings us back to the title of the article…

Upfront Segmentation Is Better Than Top of Mind Later

The one thing you should you do after you meet someone is add them to the right cluster (i.e. – segment).

Most people treat their networks as one large connected cluster. The reality is that it is a set of many clusters.

This is critical because of relevancy. When you have a new article you want to share, a person you want to make an introduction for, or a dinner you want to invite people to, there two very likely possibilities:

  1. The opportunities are only relevant for a small segment (i.e., common passion, specific industry, location, etc.) of your network.

  2. Many of the opportunities you come across are relevant to the same few segments again and again.

The beauty of these two points is that if you find the segments that are relevant for your network, you can organize people into lists that you can reference whenever you need to.

Most people completely depend on who is top of mind. The problem is that the brain is designed to forget the large majority of what it’s exposed to. Just because someone doesn’t come to mind, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t many people who should have.

In my experience, by depending on what is top of mind, there is a good chance you’re missing relevant people by a factor of 10.

Because Francis divides his network into very clear segments upfront, knows how he is providing value, and has a tool that allows him to easily view segments, he is able to systematize all of his processes so they take dramatically less time.

Below is how Francis segments the investors in his network:

1. Segmentation

  • Corporate Development

  • Fund of Funds

  • Hedge Funds

  • Venture funds

  • Angel

  • Seed

2. Filtering.

  • Location

  • Fund Size

  • When The Fund Was Started

  • Check Size

To do segmentation, Francis uses social relationship intelligence platform, RelateIQ (see screenshot below). Started in 2013 with $40M+ in funding, the startup aims to use big data to help people build deeper relationships.

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Collect Data On People To Segment, Not Just To Jog Your Memory

With this new approach, you collect basic data for one purpose; putting people in a segment. This stands into contrast with most systems that are purely designed to jog your memory for the future. Most segmenting / tagging systems get mired in complexity; tags that are too similar or no longer relevant. As a result, many give up because the process is too time-intensive. Patrick Ewers, one of silicon valley’s top relationship management coaches and an advisor to Contactually (a platform similar to RelateIQ), helps guide his clients on how to segment their networks. In his words, “Before you go out and tag every single person with every single interest, narrow it down. Otherwise, it becomes a real brute force effort. You constantly have to add and remove people and tags. It’s one of those things that gets stale really fast. It’s like your address book that you never use. The key idea is simplicity.  I recommend starting with only 5 segments.” For too many people, networking is a bad word. It has come to signify individuals who use communication as an opportunity to broadcast what they want from others who aren’t even relevant to that product or service. Relationship building has become the antithesis of this idea. It represents personalized and relevant giving in order to build a relationship. Segmentation, when used properly, is one of the most powerful tools to deepen and scale the most important relationships in your life.

About the Author: Michael Simmons is the co-founder 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)Google+ and his Blog.

What Make You Sexier?

The Surprising Things That Make You Sexier, According to Science

Sacha Strebe

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.

Share Your Gifts To The World

How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

By Bedros Keuilian

A lot of people have the E-brake on.

Here’s what that means.

When things don’t work out in our businesses — or at work — we often blame other people or the circumstances.

You blame your co-workers.

You blame the people you hired.

You blame the marketing or sales team.

You might even blame the potential customer.

“The market just doesn’t understand what I have.”

You think you need…

  • Better closing skills

  • A slicker sales funnel

  • A more compelling offer

  • Or the latest sneaky marketing trick being hawked by the so-called “gurus”

After you finish playing the blame game, you simply give up.

But here’s the cold, hard truth about what’s really going on.

You’re throwing the fight.

You aren’t giving your best.

You’re making excuses and taking the easy way out.

I can tell.

You see, thousands of clients have gone through my various coaching programs.

And I know when a person has real marketing problems…

…and when a person has self-sabotage issues.

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Bedros Keuilian 
Founder, FitBodyBootcamp.com,
Fastest Growing Fitness Franchise in America

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In fact, and he won’t mind me saying this, our good friend, Craig Ballantyne, is one of those people. That’s right, Craig himself still has self-sabotage issues.

And you do, too.

I call this self-sabotage issue, “the E-brake problem.”

But it’s not your fault.

Let me explain.

I could give you and Craig a brand new Ferrari, but if the Emergency brake (the E-brake) is pulled, then it won’t go faster than a Honda Civic.

That’s because the car has been neutered.

Likewise, most people have a neutered subconscious mind.

They are holding themselves back.

They’ve got the E-brake on.

You might have a great idea and a hungry market that needs your help, but if you’ve got the brakes on, you’ll never get where you want to be.

But the only way for you to succeed and play up a level is to drop that E-brake.

You have value to add to the world.

You have lives to change.

You have the ability to make a massive impact on the lives of millions…

Just like Craig.

That’s one of the reasons he hired me as his coach — even though we’re business partners.

Craig was wise enough to know that he needed help.

He needed a mentor to guide him and to stop himself from holding back.

You need help releasing the e-brake, too.

It might be that you’re afraid of criticism, afraid of what other people might say, afraid of what your family might think, afraid of failure, and even afraid of success.

Instead of going all out, you hold back because you’re being selfish and protecting yourself from what others think.

So how do you drop the E-brake and accelerate down the road to success?

The answer is that you need to change your belief system.

For example, you might have a negative money mindset that your parents put in your head.

Perhaps they told you that money’s bad, money’s for the rich, that other people have success and we don’t, that we’re the working class and will never be anything else, or that the rich have knowledge that you don’t or ever will.

That negative belief system can be crippling.

It’s one that has held back Craig.

He’s slowly overcoming it, but let me tell you, the anti-abundance chains can be a heavy, heavy weight.

Our childhood experiences shape us, and they shackle us.

You might know the feeling.

There are other pains from the past that can keep us in a mental prison.

You might have been on the receiving end of a cruel comment from a schoolteacher.

Or you might have been abused like I was as a little boy.

Bad things happened to me when I was just a 4-year old kid in Armenia before our family immigrated to America.

Because of this trauma, I found a million reasons in my life to fail at things.

I failed at things on purpose.

Procrastination was one of my bad habits ten years ago before I released the brake.

I’d have a good idea and set aside for “the future,” and then never get around to it.

I went broke in my first business, an online supplement company because I didn’t feel deserving of success.

I didn’t believe that anybody would even want to hear from me.

But the truth of the matter is I had the knowledge to help people and yet I was too afraid to share it.

I pulled my punches.

I threw that fight.

It took years for me to get over it.

But eventually, when I started to work on my personal development, changing my belief systems and cutting out the negative people in my life, I was finally able to break free.

I gave myself permission to succeed.

The time had come to stop holding back, to go out and add massive value to the world, to be an evangelical believer in the message I am here to share.

That’s how I dropped the E-brake.

Join me.

If you’re like I once was, you need to change.

When you drop the E-brake, ideas flow to you and all of a sudden you magically have the courage to take action and overcome the bad habit of procrastination once and for all.

Listen, you have an obligation to get your solution in the hands of as many people as you can so that you can make a change in their lives.

That is how you will free yourself — by first believing in yourself, and then giving of yourself to the world.

It’s the message that I’ve told Craig over and over again, and I can see him believing in it now more than ever.

And let me tell you, he’s a great student.

Everything I instruct him to do, he does.

He takes action.

He works on the skills he needs to improve.

He practices his presentations more than ever.

He asks for feedback.

More important, he is man enough to accept the constructive criticism and then goes back to work on his weaknesses.

And you can too.

Join Craig.

Join me.

Release the brakes.

It all starts with the belief you have a unique gift to share with the world.

And then you need to take massive action.

You don’t need more education.

You just need to take what you know and do it.

You just need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

Add your value. Sell your message. Do the work.

Get feedback. Fail forward.

And do it again and again.

Each time you do, the E-brake will drop lower and lower…

…And you’ll go faster and faster.

Trust me.

This approach to life is working for Craig, it worked for me, and it will work for you, too.

About the Author: Bedros Keuilian is the embodiment of the American Dream. Arriving in the United States from the communist Soviet Union back in 1980, his family went from being broke to eventually adding value to their new community. Today, Bedros helps over 45,000 fitness experts grow their businesses. Bedros knows the American Dream is NOT dead, because he is living it right now.

How To Increase Your Brand

 


Why Entrepreneurs Should Turn Their Expertise into a Book

By Assuanta Howard @astapubl

Entrepreneurs who have published books are able to extend their brand, become public speakers, gain more customers, and more. Being a published author will open many doors to you and grant you with opportunities to increase your income and add to your credibility.

Writing a book is an opportunity to reach out to an audience that never would have found you. It’s a chance for you to expand your audience and demonstrate your expertise, philosophy, and best practices. According to an article written by Laura Cross, “Writing and publishing a book related to your expertise will have a significant impact on your credibility and can substantially increase your bottom line. In a survey conducted for the Business Impact of Writing a Book:

  • 96% of authors reported that publishing a book positively influenced their businesses
  • 94% said it improved their brands
  • 95% generated more speaking engagements
  • 96% generated more clients
  • 94% generated more leads
  • 87% said it allowed them to charge higher fees
  • 87% reported that it allowed them to generate a more desirable client base
  • 76% said it allowed them to close more deals`1

What those figures reveal is that if you’re serious about your business, becoming a published author is no longer an option, it’s a necessity for market advantage.

There are many reasons why a business owner should write and publish a book and the top four are listed below:

  1. Enhances Your Visibility-Writing a book positions you as an expert within your industry.  Differentiating yourself in the marketplace is more important now than ever before. What makes you unique? Why should someone hire you over your competitor? Having a book to your credit helps you answer those questions.
  2. Be Seen as Credible– You will gain instant credibility and people will be more inclined to trust and believe you. Being an expert author helps you cement your credibility and deliver your expertise to a wider audience.
  3. Elevate yourselfabove your competition by being known as “the expert” people go to for the type of service you provide.
  4. Opens Doors-Establishing your brand creates a multitude of opportunities to increase your revenues and profitability as a business owner. You can command higher fees, receive high-level speaking invitations, attract high-value clients, and sell more products and services.

It has never been easier for an author to write and publish a book. Writing it is a challenge, but is should not be seen as a deterrent. A published book will provide you with an avalanche of unforeseeable opportunities to increase your brand, increase your credibility, and increase your profitability.

Assuanta Howard, CEO, Asta Publications has helped many authors write and publish their books. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner it’s time to turn your expertise into a book. Visit: http://www.astapublication.com or e-mail: ahoward@astapublidations.com to learn how.