Handling Tragedy and Adversity.

When first notified of the Paris tragedy, I found myself watching the news unfold on TV and reliving the heartbreak and fear of terrorism all over with each news update – particularly feeling for my French relatives and friends for the sheer panic and anxiety they were feeling for their countrymen and women.

I watched the news reports until I had absorbed the facts, aware of the immense anger rising in me the more I saw and heard – tears in my eyes, trying to justify in my mind why the world is how it is.

And then I turned it all off.

Whenever tragedy hits, it’s okay to take some time to let yourself handle it. You won’t be at your best at work or whatever you may be doing at the time anyway. And your loved ones need you. It’s in our soul to grieve for the pain of others.

But letting it consume you for days on end isn’t beneficial for anyone. Once you allow yourself enough time to get informed and have whatever emotional response you have, you then have to try and separate yourself from that and get busy.

Yesterday, I knew I was sad and focused on what had happened – so I didn’t do much. I just shifted gears to world news, and followed that up with a cathartic evening with my wife. That way, I knew I could return to work and productivity today.

So if you go through something bad, give yourself some sort of self nurturing before you try to get right back to work. It helps.

I have previously published the following thoughts, but under the circumstances, I hope it may assist in some way.

Most of us that have faced adversity and tragedy. It's impossible to live without having done so.. Even the smartest and most capable of us eventually deal with pain, death, and adversity. As with any challenge, there are important ideas and strategies that make the road to forward smoother and easier.

Learning to respond to life's challenges successfully can enhance your most positive attributes. These attributes can then be used to deal with future challenges. Remember that the most successful people have successfully dealt with tremendous adversity.

Try these techniques to overcome adversity and tragedy and get on with your life:

1. Accept that adversity is a part of life. There's adversity everywhere, and sometimes there's nowhere to hide. Sometimes bad things just happen. There's no way to avoid it. Accepting the situation is the first step to finding a way through it. Tell yourself that you'll get through it and the situation will get back to normal.

2. Focus on solutions. The first thing you're likely to do when faced with adversity is worry. This is natural, but worrying never solved anything. Worry only lowers your ability to change the situation. When things aren't going well, take it as a sign to get busy.

3. Focus on the present. Avoid focusing on the worst possible outcome or beating yourself up about the current challenge. It's possible you made a mistake or misjudged the situation, or as with the current tragedy, it may be well beyond your control, so keep your attention focused on the present.

4. Relax. Stress and worry don't contribute to a positive outcome. Learning to relax in stressful situations is a skill that takes time to develop. Relaxing will allow you to both feel more comfortable and perform at your best. Too much stress is unhealthy and counterproductive. Stay busy working your plan and breathe. It will be over before you know it.

5. Ask for and accept help. You world is full of friends and people happy to help. Avoid being too shy, proud, or embarrassed to ask for help. You'd be willing to help the people in your life, so give them the same opportunity. There's no reason to struggle alone, talk about the situation.

6. Focus on improvement. Rather than consuming yourself with the thought of getting the adversity completely out of your life, focus on making regular progress in the right direction. You can be happy about your progress even if the situation hasn't been completely resolved.

When faced with adversity, keep your focus on finding solutions. Having a goal and plan are key components of bringing your life back on course. Worry, stress, and fear will only lower your effectiveness and limit your ability to alter the situation. Everyone can learn to deal with adversity in a more skillful manner.

Remember that achieving and enjoying a more fulfilling life require the ability to deal with adversity effectively. Resolve to confront adversity head on and your ability to deal with it will grow with experience.

Persuasion and Influence – How to Use It Correctly

If you have ever tried to influence or persuade someone to your way of thinking you know that this is not always an easy task to accomplish. People are not going to pay attention to you or take you seriously enough if you do not appear to be an authority figure.

To use persuasion effectively you have to command respect from people first. So before you even attempt to convince or turn a person into doing something for you, you must work on yourself first.

This can be achieved in several different ways and one is to become knowledgeable in the area that you are planning to discuss. This may take time but if you want to be known as the go to person then taking this step is imperative.

A good example of this would be for a related business topic. You might possibly be looking for a promotion and you need to learn new skills in order to achieve this. By taking the time to learn everything you can about this skill you will gain respect and authority from your co-workers and your superiors.

Then when you are ready to persuade or influence people you will immediately command respect. People will appreciate that you know what you are talking about and that you are worth listening to.

Once you have come this far you need to learn persuasion techniques which are subtle and yet effective. This will allow you to turn your audience to either agree with your view point, or take an action that you had previously desired.

Some of these techniques include knowing what common ground you and your audience have. Depending upon how well you know these people this may require some homework on your part.

Your next step is to point out the benefits of what you are saying and how it relates to them. Any turn someone hits you with an objection you don’t ever want to get mad. Instead you must turn this negative into a positive and get the person to agree in the end.

While all of this may sound a little overwhelming learning how to persuasive to get what you want does take time. The above are just a few of the techniques you can use to gain authority and brand yourself as an expert in your business.

Are You a Follower Or a Leader?

You may be surprised to know that it takes a good follower to be a great leader. Everyone has a boss – whether it’s a supervisor in a factory, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company – or the President of the United States.

All of us have someone that we must listen to and certain rules that we must adhere to. You can be a leader in your own sphere, but you must recognize that you have a boss and know that how you follow can make you a great leader.

There are many qualities of a good follower that make for a great leader. Among the qualities are:

Humility – Just as followers don’t brag or become grandiose about their accomplishments, great leaders should be humble also. Shining the spotlight on others (especially a boss) makes them look good and you look even better.
Clear about their roles – Both followers and leaders are absolutely clear about what role they play in the scheme of things, whether personal or business. Understanding the role you play helps you go on to the next role.
Obedience – A follower who portrays a good role model for others by being obedient to his or her boss demonstrates the need for good organization. If you can’t obey orders, you won’t be able to issue them effectively.
Loyalty – Loyalty to a company, spouse, boss or friend is absolutely essential to being a good follower and a great leader. That doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with a rule or edict from a leader. Just do it in private rather than in a public forum.
Communication skills – Both followers and leaders must be good communicators. Otherwise, they won’t be able to follow orders or to disagree with them in a way that doesn’t upset the apple cart.
Able to discern good versus evil – There have been many leaders during civilization’s existence who were cruel and evil in their intentions. Hitler comes to mind when we think of leaders who should never have been followed. Only be a follower if your heart and soul tell you it’s good for you and everyone.

All of the above can be extremely beneficial to you and to the world unless it’s taken to a higher level than intended. Hitler took loyalty from his followers, turned it into fear and made them commit atrocities. That’s taking the benefits of leadership into an evil realm.

A leader is only as effective as his or her followers who carry out the decisions made and the tasks accomplished. If you consider yourself more of a follower than a leader, try and cultivate the traits of leadership while becoming a better follower.

Staying Motivated Daily When You're Looking for a Job

Is there anything more soul-crushing than the daily grind of searching for a job?  A constant stream of rejections is enough to to make you want to give up over and over again, every single day.

How do people stay motivated so they can persevere to the end?  It's not easy, even though the average job search is about 5 weeks shorter than it was a year ago*. It's may not be easy but it's crucial to your success.  Once you lose your motivation you're ripe for depression.  Once depression sets in, everything will snowball faster and faster downwards on you, creating exponential failure, bad luck and doom.

You don't want that!  Neither will potential employers..and trust us on this one: hiring bosses can smell defeat a mile away.  They'll have crossed you off the list before you even walk through their doorway.

So, with an eye toward staying motivated for your job search, here are 8 ways to keep your spirits up while enduring one rejection after another...

 1.  Network, Socialize and Stay Connected

 Stay in touch with your friends, especially the ones that have jobs.  They might know of openings, or the very least keep connected to the workplace environment, even if it's second-hand.

 2.  Avoid All Negativity, Especially Politics & World News

This is not a time in your life when you need to be hearing about disastrous world events, economic woes, or sad examples of how our species fails every day to create a peaceful world for all humankind.  It will only trigger a deluge of negative thoughts in your brain and put you in a dark hole, from which it bill be very difficult to extract yourself.

While we're on the subject of negativity, it's also better to stay away from any downer friends you have, at least until you land a job.  Find people who have a better outlook on life and try to be around them every day.

3.  Instead, Stay Positive by Getting to Know Successful People

Maybe it will rub off on you?  Maybe, but the real reason for cozying up to winners is you might learn how to adopt their way of thinking.  Nothing wins an interview like confidence, and confidence is contagious.

Don't know any successful people?  Try reading biographies of big winners.  You'll learn a positive attitude by reading how they overcame obstacles.  You'll also discover there's not one successful person out there who didn't fail before succeeding.

It will remind you that with every rejection, you're one step closer to getting your job!

 *Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.

Do You Let Others Influence Your Decisions?

Would you say that you are the type of person that is easily influenced by others? Do you find yourself agreeing just to keep the peace or to be part of the group? If so, this means that you are not really being true to yourself. You are not allowing your personality, thoughts and feelings to emerge. Why is this?

It is often more difficult to be viewed as the outspoken person or the one that has a different point of view. If you want to become your own person, this is a step that you are going to have to take at some point in your life.

If your friends are discussing a subject that you feel strongly about, there is nothing wrong in stating your thoughts and feelings on the topic. Even if the majority seems to not agree with your views. You just need to have the confidence to air your feelings, and yes, this is not always easy.

By airing your views to your friends and family they may see you in a different light. They might not even agree or understand where you got your point of view from. But there should be no judgement from either side. You are definitely entitled to your views, as are they.

It takes confidence to be the one to be in opposition to anything. It is much easier to stay silent or just nod your head in agreement. It takes guts to speak out, but when you do you will feel so proud of yourself for doing so.

While it is easy to allow others to influence your life you should not let anyone do this all the time. To get out of this scenario you want to surround yourself with people who are open to everyone just being themselves. This might be dressing the way you want to, having different views or only eating specific foods. No one should judge you for your actions. They should just appreciate that your actions are only an extension of the real you.

So if you are feeling as though you are not living the life you were meant to. Stop allowing others to make your decisions. Take a stance and stand up for yourself. Choose your own path and be prepared to accept any consequence, good or bad that this might involve. You can be the person you truly want to be by taking action, starting today.


Good Companies Grow No Matter What

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth.  It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart.  Even smaller companies have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

  1. Retain Your Customer Base:  Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor.  Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage.  Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.
  2. Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours.  Do what it takes to lower the switching costs.  Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base.  Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end.  Buying a competitor is another way to do this.
  3. Exploit Market Position:  Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early.  This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends.  You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.
  4. Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability.  Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.
  5. Invest In New Lines of Business:  If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line.  You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet.

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one.  Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.



Increase Your Happiness Through Personal Development Techniques

Sometimes happiness can only be achieved by making a determined effort to improve your life. Happiness is not something that everyone is fortunate enough to have naturally, but it is something that can be attained. The methods you use to get there can make all the difference in how your life changes for the better. Read on for some ideas on how to get on the path to happiness with the power to make it last.

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