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Best Dad Advice for Successful Executives

Best Dad Advice for Successful Executives

A father’s example and advice can inexorably affect the lives of his children. Here’s how more than two dozen successful leaders say their dads affected their trajectories.


1. Surround yourself with great people.

“The best advice I ever received from my dad is to always surround yourself with great people.  You never want to be the smartest person in the room and want individuals that will challenge you to think outside of the box and help you break through the ceiling to the next level. He has proven himself with creating a leadership team of nine of the best individuals, sometimes with different opinions but always come to together make decisions for what is best for the company.”


–Jennifer M. Jackson, VP of development of Hungry Howie’s, a national pizza franchise with more than 550 restaurants open or under construction in 21 states


2. Take things one step at a time and everything else will fall into place.

“My Dad always taught me to figure out how to get on first base, then on second, and then on third. The homeruns will happen on their own.”


–Andy Wiederhorn, president and CEO of FAT Brands, Inc., a global franchising company that develops fast casual and casual dining restaurants around the world, including Fatburger, Buffalo’s Cafe, and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse with more than 300 locations open worldwide


3. We’re the average of the people we spend time with.

“One of the most valuable lessons I learned from [my father] growing up was that we are all guilty by association. In other words, we are the average of the people that we spend the most time with. So, if you want to be a drug dealer? Surround yourself with drug dealers. If you want to be a millionaire? Surround yourself with millionaires. This goes for surrounding yourself with people who are caring, generous, etc., and has really carried into the kinds of friends and professional networks that I aim to keep.”


–Adam Callinan, cofounder and CEO of BottleKeeper, which was recently featured on Good Morning America and The View


4. Your name is all you have, so protect it.

“My dad’s advice… Essentially, your name is your integrity, and how people know you will do what you say you will do. It’s how they know you’ll live up the standards you have set for yourself as a son, husband, father, professional, and so on. I didn’t realize until later in life how profound and deep this was. I was building my own personal brand, and my name was how people in my professional network, and most importantly how my children, would see me.  When I am gone, what will they know me by? It will be by how they speak to my name. This gem will be passed on to my children and hopefully generations to come.”


–Brett Worthington, VP of global business development and partnerships at SmartThings, a company helping to turn homes into smart homes and acquired by Samsung in 2014


5. You’ll be happier professionally if you love life.

“I specifically remember a time earlier in my career where I stayed late at work and missed a performance I was supposed to give for my guitar class. He called me to see how it went, and when I told him I ended up spending time at work instead he made me promise that while work is important, I would put myself first and work around my personal life, rather than through it. That balance has kept me sane as I’ve continued to grow in my career. His contagious energy and motivation to make it look easy to have it all and has made me always work harder to keep making him proud.


–Erin Jordan, leader of the retail technology and commerce practice at Walker Sands Communications and author of the Future of Retail report, which has garnered the attention of Fortune 500 companies and has been featured in Inc., Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post and more


6. Every stranger can teach you something.

“My dad is a hardworking carpenter and business owner from Long Island, and he has an incredible gift for connecting with strangers. He can get almost anyone (and I mean anyone) to open up and speak about what is truly meaningful to them. It could be the guy working the deli meat counter, the finance executive on the train, the kid raising money door-to-door for his football team, the elderly ladies at the local nursing home… When others would rather be polite and keep their distance, my dad has the boldness to ask people real questions. He’s not abnormally charismatic or friendly, but he is intensely curious. In a world where we are all buried in our phones in public, unplanned conversations can add richness and adventure to your life and career. We all want to feel known, and I’m so thankful to have my father’s example of boldness, spontaneity, and openness to follow.”


–Drew D’Agostino, CEO of Crystal, which provides millions of personality assessments each year to over 2,000 companies worldwide


7. Character counts.

“I can’t remember a single time when [my dad] didn’t hold the door open for someone behind him or for someone approaching, or a single time when he didn’t stop and offer to assist an elderly person who may or may not have needed a simple helping hand. In short, my dad personifies integrity and respect. I’ve tried to emulate my dad and have found that embodying these characteristics in my personal as well as business life has helped me thrive and feel fulfilled at the end of each and every day. Goodness is about character. I’ve been fortunate to be part of several high energy management teams launching and building startup companies in the high-tech arena. We were most successful in the markets where and when each critical executive embraced integrity and respect. I cannot thank my father enough for such valuable lessons early in my life.”


–Brian Fitzgerald, SVP of Global Solutions, NOKIA Corporation, which operates in the 5G wireless infrastructure market globally


8. Always do your best.

“[My dad] was an individual that always made an impact with others and he taught me that in a world that can often be cold and cruel, there’s real power and beauty in being kind hearted to others… In April of 2013, I lost my younger brother to cancer. Danny was only 33 years old and it was devastating on so many levels. For a parent, life is never the same after losing a child. My father owned a jewelry manufacturing business and my younger brother had been working with him for several years. After my brother’s passing, I decided to move back to Rhode Island and pick up where my brother and Dad had left off. Fast forward five years: We started a new business together called Luca + Danni, successfully leveraging the infrastructure of his factory but now as a digitally native, vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer brand. The brand is built on the lessons I learned from him, including the importance of family, celebrating people and embracing the journey of life. My father passed away unexpectedly last month and this will be my first Father’s Day without him. I will cherish the memories that we’ve made together and I am so grateful for all of the valuable lessons he’s taught me over the years.”


–Fred Magnanimi, founder and CEO of Luca + Danni, an American jewelry brand available online as well as through a network of more than 600 retailers across the U.S.


9. Be grateful and humble in whatever role you play.

“When I was a little kid, the grandfather of a good friend passed away, and I first realized my grandparents wouldn’t be around forever. Noticing my sadness, my grandfather asked me to fill a big bowl of water. He told me to make two fists and slowly put them in the bowl, and then asked me to stay there for five minutes. Then, he instructed me to slowly take my fists out of the bowl without spilling any water. ‘Do you see the big hole left behind when your hands came out?’ he asked. Of course, there was no hole, and the water had covered any indication that my hands had ever been there. My grandfather stated simply, ‘As much as I love you, and you love me, that is how life will carry on once I am gone.’ His words instilled in me a perspective of humility: never think too highly of yourself, no matter how good you believe you are. I often recall the story of the bowl of water when a key employee resigns, and realize that while it might be tough, others will step up. We will find someone new. Or we might even re-shape the role to fit someone else. Life is always about what we can contribute to make this world a better place, but we should still be grateful and humble in whatever role we play. This sentiment goes for both our personal and professional lives because the circle of life goes on with or without us.”


–Anthony Goonetilleke, president of Amdocs Technology at Amdocs, a software and services provider for the communications and media industry and 2018 leader in Gartner’s magic quadrant for operations support systems


10. Wherever you go in life, there you are.

“My dad is a teacher and guidance counselor, so he always pushed me to generate insight and learning from my own self-reflection, when sometimes I just wanted him to give me an easy answer.  As life unfurled, I leaned on my dad’s wisdom to map a career path with one common theme: generate insight at every twist and turn. His favorite quote was ‘wherever you go in life, there you are’ coming from Willie Nelson by way of Confucius… which is a good metaphor for my unorthodox moves!  I think he meant to reinforce two key lessons: one, there is no wrong path – only many right paths with different growth. As I took many different ‘right paths,’ from finance on Wall Street to technology in Silicon Valley, I got the second key learning, which is about mindfulness and presence.  Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, make the most of it, give your best effort at that moment, and you will make an impact.”


–Sara Baack, CMO of Equinix, an interconnection and data center company with more than 200 data centers located across 52 markets around the globe


11. Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like you do.

“This idea of demystifying the unknown always stayed with me. Over time I applied this same idea to pursuing startups. Realizing that most of the world around you; the things, the products, the services, were made by people who are no smarter than you.  There is an often-quoted answer Steve Jobs gave back in 1995 to this effect which I always loved as well. It’s so true. From the first day of starting a company, you get thrown into so many deep pools that you just have to learn to swim.  After I did that a few times I always thought ‘Hey that wasn’t so hard.’ I would look at a product I admired and think ‘Man I could never do something like that.’  But then after learning what that product was all about under the hood, I would think, ‘Oh, that’s it?’ Not in a disappointing way, just a ‘That’s not so hard’ kind of way.  And this happened over and over. Pitching to a senior exec for the first time, building a new product, helping a customer go live with a big complex project, etc.


–Rick Nucci, CEO of Guru, a contextual coaching platform that helps sales and support teams respond faster and more accurately to customer conversations with customers including Square, Shopify, Intercom and more


12. Leave it better than you found it.

“My father was a high school teacher and a journalist at three of the papers in his town. He was a hard-driving person who accepted no excuses. He believed you had to be the best you could be no matter what, and he expected that from his children. The advice from him that has stuck with me my entire life is, ‘Leave it better than you found it.’ You have to be sensitive to a situation when you walk into it. You can’t just show up with your stuff. You have to contribute and add rather than subtract. That advice has become the fabric of who I am. As a parent myself, my Dad’s lesson has really made me think about what I want for my kids. I, too, want them to be the best, but I also want to be sure they’re who they want to be, whether that’s artists or engineers or something entirely different. That’s so important for women. That’s why I do the work I do now–to leave the tech industry better for women than when I found it.”


–Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in technology which works with women technologists in more than 50 countries, and partners with leading academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies


13. Kindness and generosity go a long way.

“My father led by example with very few words.  He worked hard, he was generous with anything he had (time or money) and always strove to do the right thing. If there was any piece of spoken advice it was this: ‘Always be nice to your mother.'”


–Chris Powell, CMO of Commvault, a provider of enterprise backup, recovery, archive and the cloud which has consistently been named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Software for the last seven years


14. Think big, act with humility and give it everything you have.

“Coming from a middle-class family my dad wanted his kids to only be limited by their own potential. Maximizing your potential starts by dreaming big and then working hard and giving it your all to achieve those dreams. But he always emphasized that chasing your dreams with humility and integrity was also important. Humility and integrity enable you to leave your community and the world a better place than the one you were born into, which is what delivers true happiness. My parents gave up two decades of hard-earned savings to fund my education, because they believed in me and what I could achieve. Their actions spoke louder than words, and their sacrifice motivated me more than anything else.”


–Neil Araujo, CEO of iManage, a leading technology company building document management and artificial intelligence solutions used by over one million professionals at over 3,000 organizations in over 65 countries


15. Break up tense situations by being playful.

“My father was a playful person – he worked hard, but also made time to enjoy life and family. He would often break the ice in a tense situation by being playful or silly, and showed me that play was the best remedy for so much of life’s challenges; for clearing the mind, getting through difficult times, and staying connected with family, friends and community.”


–Lisa Tarver, founder and chief impact officer of One World Play Project, a B Corporation which has delivered nearly 2 million balls worldwide to an estimated 60 million youth in 185 countries worldwide


16. Business is a team sport and every employee is important to the success of a company.

“I witnessed his wisdom firsthand when I worked in the warehouse of the company he managed for a summer after high school. He treated each of the 20 or so hourly employees working in the warehouse as equals and knew each one personally. It was clear that the warehouse employees had a lot of respect for my father and they would go the extra mile as needed for him, the company and ultimately the customers because of his team effort approach. Seeing my dad in action definitely influenced the way I run a company today and believe this approach gives us a competitive advantage due to the team-based culture we have been able to build.”


–Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, a global software company operating in the advertising industry with offices in 13 countries and over 600 employees


17. Always shine your shoes.

“My dad is big on the idea of dressing for the job you want, not the one you have and still to this day he asks me before a big presentation if I shined my shoes. From his view, the way you pull yourself together is a reflection of how organized and prepared you are. This advice has been a little bit harder to follow in my world where CEOs wear New Balance sneakers and hooded sweatshirts, but I still always try to make sure that I’m putting my best foot forward.”


–Sara Varni, CMO at Twilio, a cloud communications platform that enables innovators across every industry to reinvent how companies engage with their customers


18. Make sure every note counts.

“One of Dad’s gifts was his musicianship. As a kid, I grew up listening to my dad play beautiful thought-provoking Jazz piano. I took for granted that he had a disability and somehow had overcome it. You see, my dad was born with only 6 fingers. Hard to play 88 keys with six when most can’t play it with 10. In fact, when he first wanted to play piano, no one would teach him. So instead he learned trumpet. Eventually though, he really wanted to play piano. So, for his 16th birthday he asked his parents for a piano and he taught himself in one summer. He spent countless hours at the piano that summer. So much at times his fingers bled. It was his grit that enabled him to figure out how to make his disability an asset. That summer he created a new style of jazz that I have never heard repeated. He leveraged the pedals so he could use all 88 keys and boy did he ever. When I listen to his music, every note counts and you hear it. So, whenever I doubt or question if I will be able to do what I need to do to make my business successful, I think of my dad and the lessons he taught me. I think of the importance of determination, persistence and grit in achieving great accomplishments.”


–René Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com, a business payments network with 3 million members processing over $50 billion per year in payment volume


19. Stay focused, determined and complete things.

“My father often talked about the importance of finishing what you started. Success is a compilation of completed tasks. Taking a risk and going for it is important, but if it’s never taken to the finish line it is an unsuccessful attempt. This advice has stuck with me when things gets tough and giving up seems like an option, but then I hear his voice in my head and make the choice to power through it, and complete the project.”


–Filipp Chebotarev, COO and partner at Cambridge Companies SPG, a strategic opportunity investment firm that has invested capital in better-for-you brands with celebrity partners including Foodstirs (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Once Upon a Farm (Jennifer Garner), Matchabar (Drake) and more


20. Attitude is everything.

“The best advice I ever received from my father was the power of a maintaining a positive attitude.  My father grew up with very little and battled severe dyslexia. But he worked tremendously hard and ultimately led one of the nation’s largest mortgage insurance companies out of bankruptcy and through a successful IPO. He always told me that ‘attitude is everything.’ People are drawn to and motivated to work with people who are positive, even in the most extreme conditions. A positive attitude can help you overcome most any obstacle.”


–David Lacy, CEO of SmashMallow, a premium snackable marshmallow brand available in over 15,000 retailers nationwide including Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, CVS and more


21. Be generous.

“The best advice I ever received from my dad is to always be generous. He engrained in me that I am fortunate enough to be privileged and if I see someone’s situation sour, to never ignore it, but instead step in to help where I can. His passion for helping people has always been transparent in his advice and I am thankful for that.”


–Daniel Lee, marketing manager of Flame Broiler, a quick-serve restaurant franchise which has grown to nearly 200 restaurants throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho, Florida and North Carolina


22. Always try to approach conversations with the end goal in mind.

“If you know what you want your desired outcome to be, you can be more strategic in how you approach the situation. I first learned this lesson after voicing my frustrations with a challenge I was facing. At the time, my dad convinced me that I could be more successful in my approach if I were more certain of how I wanted the situation to end up. Since then, I’ve found this advice to be useful in both my personal and professional life. When put into practice, this concept forces me to be less reactive and emotional. It also allows me to invite others to be a part of the desired solution, which–ultimately–results in a discussion that feels more positive for all involved.”


–Alex Bingham, president and CEO of The Little Gym International, a children’s enrichment and development franchise with over 390 locations worldwide


23. Respect others.

“My dad always taught me to treat everyone with the same respect. No matter their social status, rich, poor, color of their skin, language, or ethnicity, and to always help people in need. These are values I still live by today. The more you help others the more good actually comes back to you and the fuller your heart.”


–Neka Pasquale L.Ac. MS, licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, author and founder of Urban Remedy, which operates 15 retail locations and more than 35 kiosks across northern and southern California


24. Never give up.

“[T]he best advice [my dad] has ever given me was when I was eight years old preparing for an elementary school race at field day. He simply said, ‘Never, never, never give up no matter what.’ This is a mantra that I now live by and has helped me keep pressing forward in business even in the darkest of times because I know that if I simply do not give up, I will be successful regardless of the outcome.”


–Jordann Windschauer-Amatea, founder and CEO of Base Culture, a company providing Paleo-certified breads, brownies, granola and almond butters on Amazon and in over 2,600 store locations around the country


25. Be industrious in everything you do.

“It’s important to note that my father grew up in the South and as an African American living through segregation, he experienced life through a lens that people my age and younger could not imagine. He decided to leave the South in hopes of building a better life for himself in California. He had to adapt quickly to the various business challenges all entrepreneurs face, including the soul-testing lessons that come with overcoming fear of failure. Soon after I started on my own entrepreneurial path, I asked my father how he managed to accomplish it all and do it with such patience and grace. His answer was profound. He said, ‘Son, in life you are owed nothing. Always seek ways to leverage your talents. Most of all, be industrious in everything you do.'”


–Tafa Jefferson, founder and CEO of Amada Senior Care, a senior care franchise system with over 100 locations nationwide, and former NFL player for the Chicago Bears


26. No one will do the work for you.

“At age 16 I skipped school and my father found out.  His advice to me was simple, he said ‘Alon, if you study or not it’s up to you, it’s your life.’  I understood then that nobody will do the work for me.  I then focused on the things that were of interest to me and those are the things I excelled at.”


–Alon Ozery, founder and co-owner of Ozery Bakery, makers of Snacking and Morning Rounds named as the number one brand in unit sales in the natural food channel for 52 weeks ending April 22, outselling all other English Muffin and Bagel brands, according to SPINS Data


27. Keep a healthy balance.

“I feel honored to work with my father in the business that we have built together. Through witnessing his diligent work ethic to develop the healthy products Xlear is founded on, along with the model he set for our family growing up, I have watched his example and taken his advice around how family is key to success and happiness. As a dad now myself, I try to put his teachings into action with my own daughters, making every effort to be present in their day-to-day life, as well as maintaining my role at our company, leading our team–ensuring that family, health, and wellness are put as a priority in our lives and in our business.”


–Nathan Jones, CEO of Xlear, a provider of natural xylitol-based sinus and oral care products with a footprint in over 36,000 stores nationwide


28. Learn to sell what you love.

“When I was in elementary school, my dad, like most dads, asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn’t know what that meant, so I told him, ‘I want to be rich.’ To which he replied, ‘How are you going to do that?’ I, of course, had no answer. That day my dad taught me that to succeed in business, you must first succeed in sales, and to succeed in sales you must sell something you love. I’ve always remembered that, and to this day I feel so grateful to spend my time doing and selling what I love…”


–Ryan Farr, founder and CEO of 4505 Meats, a producer of artisanal pork rinds, with a footprint in grocery stores nationwide


Originally posted on INC.COM by Christina DesMarais

30 Motivational Quotes to Help Realize Your Entrepreneurial Dreams

A little extra motivation and inspiration can sometimes help you push through difficult times and remain focused on the end goal. A positive mindset goes a long way.

Read the following quotes to help you reach your entrepreneurial dreams, regardless of what they might be. Use them as motivation to achieve happiness as well as success.

Identify your dreams.

1. “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” — Wayne Dyer

2. “Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” — Chris Grosser

3. “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” — Farrah Gray

4. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

5. “Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” — Gloria Steinem

Believe that you can achieve anything.

6. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

7. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” — Babe Ruth

8. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” — John Wooden

9. “Leap, and the net will appear.” — John Burroughs

10. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney

Envision greatness.

11. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

12. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

13. “There is always room at the top.” — Daniel Webster

14. “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to attempt nothing and succeed.” — Robert H. Schuller

15. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Set goals to achieve your dreams.

16. “Step by step and the thing is done.” — Charles Atlas

17. “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” — Ralph Marston

18. “Well done is better than well said.” — Benjamin Franklin

19. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe

20. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” — Vince Lombardi

Work your ass off.

21. “Without ambition, one starts nothing. Without work, one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

22. “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot. Make it hot by striking.” — William Butler Yeats

23. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

24. “I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” — Walter Cronkite.

25. “Even if you fall on your face you’re still moving forward.” — Victor Kiam

Enjoy the journey.

26. “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” — Conan O’Brien

27. “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” — Nelson Mandela

28. “My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal. We never lose, somehow we win out.” — Ronald Reagan

29. “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” — James Barrie

30. “Happiness is the real sense of fulfillment that comes from hard work.” — Joseph Barbara


Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Jonathan Long

10 Tips for Moms Who Run Businesses

10 Tips for Moms Who Run Businesses

Katherine Reynolds Lewis juggles a demanding career with raising three daughters — ages 3, 6 and 17 — and being a wife. She is the founder of Washington, DC-based CurrentMom.com for women entrepreneurs and the About.com guide to working moms. Lewis founded CurrentMom.com specifically for entrepreneurial mothers to share their wisdom and find community, support, energy, inspiration and new ideas.

Inc.com Senior Producer Tiffany Black asked Lewis and other busy MEOs (Mom Executive Officers) to share their advice for balancing family and business.

1.    Set aside some time for yourself

More than one Mom offered this piece of advice. When you are running a business and taking care of a family it’s easy to forget about taking care of you. “As a psychologist, I know that everyone needs regular rejuvenation,” said Lynda Ariella owner of Porch Light Psychology Services in La Mesa, California. “I take one day off every week; on that day, I don’t answer the phone, I don’t do work, and I try not to worry about things that usually bother me. I suggest that my patients do the same.”

2.    It’s okay to say ‘No’

You say no to your kids all the time but you find it harder to say no when it comes to your business. “It’s mandatory to say no,” said Lewis. “If you said yes to every request or opportunity or avenue of work you would be busy 24-7 with no time for your family.” No doesn’t always mean no. No could mean not today or not this week but some other time that works for everyone.

3.    Outsource household work

“If you can afford it, outsource as much of the household work as possible so you can spend your home and family time focusing on your children and spouse or significant other, or dating life and activities that relax you and enrich your non-worklife,” advises Karen Cornelius, mother of two and president of KLC Associates, an organization and management consultant company with offices in Chicago, New York, London, and Köln, Germany.

4.    Be present

“Setting up boundaries for work and motherhood to be separate fosters efficiency in both arenas,” said Kristin D. O’Connell, co-owner at Mama Goddess Retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica. “When you are working you give your entire focus to your business, and when you are with your children your entire focus is them.” Lewis agreed that your kids know when you aren’t tuned in to them. “Kids know when you are secretly checking your BlackBerry in the parking lot of their school,” said Lewis. “It means something to them when you are 100 percent focused on them.”

5.    Don’t be afraid to delegate

You delegate at work but find it hard to delegate at home. If you have a spouse or significant other talk to them about how to divide the load for household needs and child-caring. “When our children were small and ill a lot, we tried to take turns staying home with them, but also would check with each other to see who had the most critical work-related meetings or events on our calendar,” said Cornelius.

6.    Create a support network of other working Moms

A search on LinkedIn for “working moms” pulls up over 60 groups for Moms. You can also meet and bond with other Moms through your child’s day care or play group. Also, groups devoted to Women’s leadership might have resources devoted to supporting Moms.

7.    Stay healthy

Moms have to be ready for anything, and you can’t take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself.  “A regular exercise routines is a lifesaver,” said Debbie Kane, public relations consultant and owner of Exeter, New Hampshire-based Kane Communications. “I plan my workouts for early morning before the kids go to school or during my lunch hour so that I have energy to carry me through my day.”

8.    Treat your home office like a corporate office

When you have to go in to an office every day you have specific goals and come up with a plan to meet those goals. The same rule applies when you work at home. “Set a schedule and goals just like you would if you were reporting to a workplace,” said Julia Wright, an independent contractor at The Wright Family in Bellingham, Washington.  “If you have errands to do, calendar that in.”

9.    Be flexible and plan for the unexpected

Kids gets sick unexpectanty but you can plan for when they do. “Each morning I write down the top three things I must accomplish that day,” said Lewis. “I tackle them first, because you never know when a call to pick up a sick child might quash the rest of the day’s work.”

10.      Don’t feel guilty

Working Moms deal with various types of guilt; the guilt of choosing to work to feeling guilty for taking some time out for themselves and everything in between. “There is nothing wrong with contributing to the financial support and stability of your family – and the college fund,” said Lewis. Ariella adds, “It’s hard to take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, especially when children need our attention, but a rested parent is more effective than an overwhelmed parent.”


Originally posted on Inc.com by Tiffany Black


5 Mind Hacks You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

5 Mind Hacks You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

Starting a new business is both an exciting and daunting experience. The typical entrepreneur is racing toward the goal of being successful, but the truth is,he or she will likely struggle to get there. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, you need to understand your customers’ psychological profile, as well as how you can manage, even manipulate, your own psychological state to become a more productive business owner.

Below are some of the ways you can start your business on the right foot by delving into some excellent brain hacks to improve your chances of creating a worldwide recognized brand.

These hacks are gaining ground owing to the scientific research surrounding them. When you combine more than one of these methods together, you have the chance to drastically improve your odds in what today are so many overpopulated industry segments — with so much noise.

Now, here’s how to dive in to those hacks:

1.Use your brand’s colors to your advantage.

Color plays an important role in the way we perceive companies and their functionality. A revealing study by the University of Winnipeg found that 62 to 90 percent of buyers surveyed said they make up their minds whether they are interested in a brand, or its offerings, based on the colors used in the brand’s design.

How can you use colors to convince your customers that your product is the right choice?

Here is a chart that shows colors and what kinds of emotions they evoke.

Image Source: CoSchedule blog

You should think about the kind of product you’re creating, and how you expect customers to feel when they see your brand. In the example above, the brands that promote creativity or have products designed to increase creativity have used the color purple. The SyFy channel, which thrives on creative (and sometimes hilarious) ideas, uses purple to create a brand that is instantly recognizable.

2. Make complicated topics easy to understand.

One of the best ways to win over your audience is by explaining a process or idea in terms that virtually everyone can understand. Think about the last time you had a question about a topic, looked up what other people were saying and found some articles that left you scratching your head even more than when you started.

You never, ever want to leave potential customers more confused than they were before. Use the power of storytelling in combination with simple language to make complicated topics easy to understand.

If the topic you’re covering requires multiple pieces of content, don’t forget to intertwine the content as it comes out. If readers come to your business site and get an answer to their question bolstered by facts and confidence, they are more likely to convert — because they trust your brand.

3. Make an impression, using imagery.

We have all heard about how first impressions are everything. This rule applies to your business, too! According to a study titled Behaviour and Information Technology, most users decide whether or not they are going to stay on a website in 50 milliseconds! In other words, you have to let potential customers know exactly what your product does when they land on your website.

Along with the first impressions advice, we’re also told throughout life that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. It turns out that this is true! You can tell your customers more about what your product or service does, how it will make them feel and what problems your product will solve — using just your imagery.

Quick, check out the following image.

Image Source: Crazy Egg blog

What did you think when you merely glanced at this Coca-Cola ad?

As it happens, the color red encourages feelings of excitement. But this imagery manages to do so much more than that. At first glance, the image is of two happy people. At the same time, the word “happiness” is right next to the Coca-Cola logo. If someone, for whatever reason, has never heard of Coca-Cola, his or her first experience with this ad will promote positive emotions and, hopefully, create a positive customer.

4. Keep your inner monologue in check

As someone who wants to start a business, you’re probably feeling confident and excited. Sadly, however, more of us struggle with feelings of self-doubt, even if we are doing something well. You need to learn to hack your mind and keep your inner monologue in check when it starts hampering your progress as an entrepreneur.

The best way to keep your self-doubt in check is by focusing on the positive outcome you hope to achieve. It’s a difficult process, to be honest. But here’s the thing. When you start focusing on positive things, you train your brain to push out negative feelings and emotions.

Obviously, we are only human and sometimes have doubts and negative emotions. But learning to control our thinking and focusing on productive, positive thoughts can breed positivity and increase our chances of success.

5. Hack your time-management abilities

Time management is one of the most challenging, but important, aspects of any business. You’re going to have a million things going on at once and you’ll need to learn to manage your time properly.

One great way to manage your time is by using The Pomodoro Technique. Basically, the Pomodoro technique involves your managing your time by working in short bursts of extreme productivity, followed by a short break.

When you use this schedule over time, you’ll hack your brain into entering productivity mode when the timer is going; and then you can relax on your breaks. The Pomodoro method helps you build discipline and use your time wisely, which helps you get things done in a timely manner.


Originally posted on entrepreneur.com by Syed Balkhi



It’s Official: Self-care Leads to Long-term Business Success

It’s Official: Self-care Leads to Long-term Business Success

Being your own boss sounds like a dream: Doing what you love, making the rules and choosing a schedule to suit you.

But the reality can be very different: only 58 per cent of small businesses survive beyond three years. It takes grit, resilience and hard work to succeed with little chance to stop if you’re sick or desperately need a day off.

Small business owners face different challenges to their corporate counterparts. Fifty-seven percent report above-average stress and 80 per cent admit cash flow issues affect their mental wellbeing. Income and financial uncertainty mean endlessly chasing work under changing economic conditions and owners feel responsible for the livelihoods of their staff. The absence of support structures mean they must also juggle multiple responsibilities, like sales, marketing and finance, that don’t always align with their key skills.

The Cost of Not Caring

Making a new venture succeed can take its toll: long days, little sleep and working when you’re sick lead to high-stress levels. Absenteeism, presenteeism (at work but unproductive), productivity losses and workplace accidents due to stress cost around $44 billion in the US, 15.1 billion pounds in the UK, and $12.6 billion in Australia each year.

Not only does chronic high stress affect your cognitive functions, slowing your accuracy, response time and ability to make critical decisions; it’s been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. There’s also a greater risk of depression compared to the general population with business failure often associated with suicide risk.

Consider self-care an investment: Not only does cash stops flowing in if you can’t work, PriceWaterhouseCoopers found each dollar spent on workplace health meant a $14.50 return on productivity benefits.

So where should you start?

Time Out

Over 50 per cent of owners work nine hour-plus days and 43 per cent work weekends. But long hours don’t make you more effective: you’re wasting time spinning wheels because you’re too tired to think straight, and you risk burning out completely.

Studies have shown regular exercise is a powerful way of managing stress. To be our best, we need to feel good inside-out, which means a healthy body is key to achieving a healthy mind. Use your breaks to move: schedule time before work or escape your phone and email at lunchtime. Hit the gym, go for yoga, or just walk around the block.

Sleep is another way to replenish: sleep deprivation impairs our focus, judgment and ability to make sound decisions because we can’t assess situations rationally and plan accordingly.

You can only give if your own cup is full, so take enough time out. Gift yourself a sleep-in, get a massage or have lunch outside so you can organize your thoughts. Feeling refreshed allows you to think creatively and take better decisions for your business. You’ll be more available for personal relationships and be more effective with clients because you’re more present, less frazzled and can focus on the task at hand.

Make Connections

Owning a small business can be lonely. Literally, if you’re a solopreneur working long hours; or as a boss unable to share your struggles with staff. Isolated working conditions and lack of social connections are some of the biggest triggers for stress.

Whether it’s your financial situation or something else outside your expertise, ask for help or invest in a business coach. It could make the difference between spending hours working on a problem or getting a solution with a two-minute response. Take advantage of someone else’s gifts and talents so you can use your own more effectively.

Many industries and local councils have business networks you can join for peer support. Not only will you feel less alone, having someone to bounce thoughts and discuss challenges can lead to fresh ideas.

Work Smarter

A plan of action helps keep you focused, providing structure and sense of achievement as you tick off completed tasks.

Set up your day before you start by deciding what your priorities will be, what you want to achieve that day and what can wait. Plan your work according to when you function best: if you think you’re better in the morning, complete complex tasks early and leave other work for the afternoon.

Distractions can lead to a 40 per cent drop in productivity, so don’t be afraid to turn off your phone and messages while you concentrate. It may feel odd but if you’re consistent with checking emails at specific times and respond quickly, clients will be trained not to expect a response outside these hours.

Delegate and Outsource

When your business gets to a certain scale, find the resources to delegate or outsource things you’re not great at. Not only will it create more time for you to grow the business and use your expertise better, but you also won’t be stuck doing something you don’t enjoy.

Ask whether there are smarter ways of doing something. Is there an automated alternative? What do your competitors do? Time spent training someone or purchasing a new system is an investment that will repay itself multiple times over; you gain efficiency and free up resources.

And learn to say “no” if you don’t believe you will achieve the right outcome for the client and yourself. You’ll save the heartache and keep your reputation intact by not taking on something that pushes you to the brink.

Stay Observant

The people around you bear the brunt of your stress, so take notice of how your employees are feeling (stress is contagious) or if people start asking you if everything is ok. Use it as a sign to assess how you’re feeling: the quicker you identify stress, the quicker you can change things. Take time out, delegate work or say no to a project because you’re full.

Embrace your Mistakes

Perfection has no place in your business. You’ll reach a point where more time spent making something perfect will make very little difference. Pause and ask yourself whether there are any more benefits in continuing work on something.

Accept you’ll make mistakes. No one takes the right decision every time and all successful entrepreneurs have stories of failure: not all of Richard Branson’s ventures worked out (think Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka), and Sir James Dyson took 15 years and thousands of prototypes to develop his iconic vacuum cleaner.

The past is done. But you can learn from mistakes and change the way you see the future.

Ask for Help

Deloitte Access Economics found 84 per cent of workers experienced mental health issues due to work and there were similar findings among small business owners. The earlier you seek help, the quicker you can get yourself and your business back on track. Health practitioners can help you find the support and tools you need.

Your health and well-being is an invaluable investment: you can’t work if you’re sick. If you’re in great mental and physical health, not only will your productivity improve, feeling mentally and physically well can be the key to taking your business to new heights.


Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Amy Chen


7 Ways to Improve Your Life in 7 Days

7 Ways to Improve Your Life in 7 Days

The only way to improve your life is to consistently make choices that will make your life better. It’s tempting to think you need to make sweeping changes in an effort to shake things up and improve everything all at once. But the reality is, it’s the little things that add up and have a huge impact on us.

If you really want to start improving your life, start with small but meaningful steps that you can build on over time. Take on new and exciting activities, but begin slowly so you don’t get overwhelmed. In no time, you’ll begin to see your life improved by taking steps that help you build knowledge, improve confidence and engage in activities that make you feel healthier and more connected to your inner self and to others.

Here are seven steps that will help open your mind, release stress and remind you of what’s really important in life. Start today, and in just seven days you’ll begin to notice the small but profound improvements to your life.

1. Begin learning a new skill.

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn, but have never made the time for? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language, play an instrument, knit or use a sewing machine. You may wish you had a practical skill, like Photoshop or Excel spreadsheets, but never made the time to learn it.

Or you may consider taking up an activity you used to enjoy but gave up on, like learning how to Rollerblade or ski. Pick something that’s been gnawing at the back of your mind and come up with a plan to learn it.

Next, look for the resources you need to help you master this new skill. To learn a foreign language, there are a number of apps available for download. LinkedIn Learning offers many tutorials to help you with business, management and software tools. YouTube is another great resource, offering free tutorials on anything from learning to Rollerblade to using a sewing machine. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day to work on your new skill, and see how awesome it feels to start chipping away at this bigger goal.

2. Give yourself a reward every day.

One of the greatest pieces of self-care advice is nestled away in an early episode of Twin Peaks, courtesy of Agent Dale Cooper: “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee.”

Too often, people get hung up on the idea that a self-reward should be a big, rare event limited to special occasions; that it needs to be planned in advance and earned through hard work. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t need to push yourself in order to deserve something nice. In fact, it’s much healthier to indulge once in a while (in moderate doses, of course), rather than constantly live in deprivation.

Giving yourself a little treat each day will provide you with an extra boost of happiness and positive motivation. Consider it the emotional equivalent of hitting the “refresh” button. So, rather than burn out, you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to tackle the challenges of your daily life.

3. Start an exercise program.

Exercise is not only an important part of living a healthy life; it’s also a great way to improve your mood, maintain control over your weight, suppress your appetite and reduce the effects of stress. And as the ultimate incentive, people who exercise live longer and healthier lives than those who are sedentary.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two. If you’re not getting that level of activity now, it’s time to start doing something about it.

No matter what your fitness level, you can start a home exercise program. First, assess your fitness level by taking into account your basic level of fitness. Then consider what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight, increase flexibility, build muscle? Are you hoping to train for a marathon or another fitness challenge? Set clear goals so you can gauge your progress. You should aim to incorporate strength training of all major muscle groups into your fitness routine at least two days a week. Try making exercise a daily habit. Start slowly and work up to more rigorous exercise routines over time.

4. Declutter your environment.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Marie Kondo approach of decluttering by asking yourself if an item “sparks joy,” you have to admit that living in an orderly and clean environment is a great way to improve your life. It can decrease feelings of stress and help you operate more efficiently.

A clutter-free living environment creates a feeling of ease and contentment in your home and office life. A neat and tidy space allows you to perform daily tasks more efficiently because everything is readily available and you know where to find the things you need.

Removing clutter is also physically healthier because it removes dust particles that accumulate on all the stuff we never use. And the process of decluttering can give you a sense of accomplishment. You’ll take pride in your environment, which means less anxiety or embarrassment when visitors pop by.

5. Make a bucket list.

A bucket list (a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”) is a great way to provide clarity on what’s important in your life. A bucket list can be whatever length you want it to be, and it can include both short-term and long-term goals you want to accomplish. This list is an important step to improving your life because it can help you see what’s most important to you.

The ultimate goal of a bucket list is to help you make the most of each day. Instead of letting your days float by in a blur, use a bucket list to give your life purpose, focus and direction.

It can help you determine what experiences you want to have, and help you reach for the things you want to accomplish. Once you have the list, you need to start having these adventures, exploring your world and building the memories that will make you smile each day.

6. Confront a fear.

We all have fears. Fears can help keep us alive and safe. But fears can also hold us back, especially if we let them control us. Take time to define your fears. Some fears are valid, but others are simply deep-rooted anxieties. Separate “real” fears from worst-case scenarios that you have let spiral out of control. When we confront our fears, we build courage and learn to overcome these dark thoughts.

As you work through your fears, you develop wisdom. Some of our fears may come true, but living through adversity helps us gain insight. Even if the worst happens, we can learn to overcome. Understanding our fears helps us develop compassion for others.

We can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and have empathy for what they’re going through. And most importantly, facing your fears will help you build resilience and tenacity. If you have confronted your fears, you have learned to overcome obstacles. You have learned that you can succeed even under difficult circumstances.

7. Reconnect with an old friend.

There is nothing quite like the joy of reconnecting with an old friend. Sometimes we let space and time come between us and those we cherish. Sometimes friendships fall away or become muted, not out of any feeling of misgiving or malice, but because we get busy and don’t make the effort to maintain those ties.

But when we revive old friendships, we reconnect with our past. And you may find that those connections are still as strong as ever; that you can pick things up right where you left off.

Old friends can remind you of who you were before life got complicated, and this can help you see who you want to be in the present. They can reawaken those old dreams and desires you once had. Perhaps you’ve moved beyond those old ambitions. Perhaps those old desires are no longer valid. If that’s the case, those friends we’ve had forever can help us gauge how far we have come, and remind us how far we have yet to go.



Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Deep Patel


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