Tuesday, July 14, 2015

4 Ways to Access Your Creative Genius

4 Ways to Access Your Creative Genius
Creativity may be in more demand than ever. With the rapid rise of the internet economy, creatives have begun to make unique work opportunities for themselves. Online entrepreneurs are making things up as they go because the commerce and industry we experience today is still a new frontier.

U.S. jobs and contract positions are now easily outsourced to overseas locations where the cost of living is less. The low wages paid to virtual workers edge out the chance of Westerners competing with those prices. These overseas workers are highly skilled and educated, and often don’t possess the entitled attitude that many of us do in the U.S., so they are appreciated and sought after.

So how do you stand out from the crowd if you aren’t naturally creative?

You practice being creative.

Artists have been hacking the creative matrix for years. Here are some of the methods you may not expect to unstick the flow of inspiration for extraordinary breakthroughs.

1. Do nothing.

Literally. Nothing. Especially if you are almost always busy. Take yourself on vacation, sit at the beach or pool, and do nothing. If you can’t go on vacation, take a staycation and sequester yourself for a day or an afternoon. If your time is generally taken up by everyday projects, requirements and tasks, there isn’t much room for creative thoughts to flow because the mental space is filled up. You need to empty it.

Get a little bored, even. Just when you start getting bored and wondering why the heck you are doing this, the ideas will pour out. Do nothing until they do.
2. Write it down.

Get in the habit of taking notes. One method might be writing three pages in a journal first thing in the morning about whatever comes to mind. Throughout the day when ideas come to you -- no matter how small or insignificant they may seem in the moment -- write them down. The note app on your phone or a simple pad and pen carried in your pocket will suffice. You can even record voice notes.

Ideas will often come while you are involved in certain activities such as driving, showering, cooking, gardening. When the mind gets into a meditative state in these activities, the subconscious is able to do some freestyling. That’s where the juice is.

3. Pay attention to your dreams.

If you think your dreams are meaningless, think again. When you study your own dream patterns by keeping a journal and learning to interpret them, you may become the next Albert Einstein. The famous thinker and inventor discovered the Theory of Relativity because of a dream he had as a teenager.

Other ideas or works of art that came out of dreams include: the sewing machine, invented by Elias Howe, James Cameron’s breakout film The Terminator, Paul McCartney’s song “Yesterday,” The Periodic Table by Dmitry Mendeleyev, DNA and the double helix discovered by James Watson and Jack Nicklaus’ winning golf swing.
4. Laugh.

Seriously, people have studied and calculated that those who have a sense of humor are more creative. Listening to something funny before taking a test is proven to raise test scores. Most people think more creatively when they are relaxed. Not to mention the endorphins released while laughing. Humorous people tend to be able to think outside the box, which is necessary in problem solving and creating. Besides that, funny people are considered more valuable on the job.

You don’t need to be an artist or comedian to be creative, you just need to nurture the innovative side of yourself you may have left with your broken crayons in elementary school. Exercising the creative muscle will make it stronger and give you the edge you need to add value to your life and work.

By Lewis Howes
Source: Entrepreneur

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Ways to Crush It in 2015

10 Ways to Crush It in 2015
At the beginning of the every new year and even a little bit before then, everyone has the same theme, or at least they think so. This theme is, “This is going to be my best year yet!” Unfortunately, once the end of the year rolls around again, they quickly realize that the past year was just like all the other years.

Nothing was really different. The same habits, the same achievements, the same goals and the same mediocre results. Please don’t fall into this category that will rob so many people of greatness this upcoming year.

Related: 20 High-Powered Business Leaders Share Their New Year's Resolutions

Here are 10 ways to help you crush it in 2015.

1. Get serious!

To truly make this year your best year yet and absolutely crush it in 2015, you must get serious about doing just that. A majority of people will get excited for the first 30 days and then fall victim to complacency and just coast along from that point on. Get serious about your life. Get serious about your business. Get serious about your health. Get serious!
2. Learn and let go of 2014.

The whole last week of every year I spend every single day reflecting on how my previous year went and how I can grow and get better from it. I analyze my wins and losses and how I can build momentum going into the New Year.

But once I am finished with this process, I let the previous year completely go. I erase it from my thinking and encourage you to do the same. If it was a successful year for you, great, but don’t let that define your 2015. Build new successes and reach for new heights. If it wasn’t the best of year for you, there's incredible opportunity ahead because you have a whole year to absolutely crush it and make up for lost ground in 2014. Don’t let one bad year turn into a bad life.
3. Take your health and fitness to the next level.

If you are going to take your success, income and business to the next level, then you must not forget about your health and fitness. This is one of the greatest assets that you have. Never take your health for granted. If you keep your body in unbelievable shape, you will increase your productivity levels like crazy and boost your self confidence.
4. Get very clear about what you want.

Setting a goal to lose weight, get in better shape or make more money won’t cut it. Maybe for the first month you might be motivated but over time this type of clarity won’t cut it. When you get extremely clear about what it is you want, your desire and commitment to actually make it a reality will skyrocket. Get clear about what you want.
5. Take massive action.

If people decided to actually get going on their new year goals and resolutions instead of just talking about them they would begin to see an amazing shift take place. One thing is for certain if you are going to really crush it in 2015: You must take massive action! Less talking and more doing.

Related: 5 Things to Do Every Day in 2015 to Be a Better Entrepreneur
6. Let this be the year you let your mind work for you, not against you.

As hard as it may be at times, we fully control what goes into our minds and what we think about. Instead of letting your fears get the best of you or letting self-diminishing thoughts convince you that you are not capable, really work at what goes into your mind and what you think about. Come up with a routine that nourishes your mind and builds you up. Read the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen to help get you started.
7. Hang around those who are doing better than you.

Take the time to analyze your relationships. As I say all the time, “Association is everything.” If you constantly surround yourself with others who aren’t doing big things then guess what? You won’t do big things. The weak and mediocre get jealous when they are surrounded by others who are doing better than them. Champions, on the other hand, love being in the presence of greatness. They not only admire other peoples’ success, they let it fuel them to be great themselves.
8. Create a personal growth plan.

Make 2015 all about your growth as an individual. I am a big believer that self-education is the best kind of education. Possibly nothing else could impact your life more in 2015 than creating a personal growth plan.
9. Stop the take-take mentality and operate out of the give-give mentality.

In business and in the game of life, always try to give more than you take. Be known as someone who gives freely and is always looking to serve others.
10. Create a sense of urgency!

Nothing gets on my nerves more than someone with a lack of urgency. Life is short, so live that way! If there if something you want to do, do it. If there is someone you love, tell them. If you have a passion, follow it. What a shame it would be if you missed out on something special all because of a lack of urgency. I see it happen all the time.

I hope this year is the year everything changes for you. I hope this year is your best year yet. I hope this year is the year you absolutely crush it and end up changing your life and business forever. Don’t settle for average. Happy New Year!

By Matt Mayberry
Source: Entrepreneur

Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Radical Things You Can to Do to Motivate Employees

5 Radical Things You Can to Do to Motivate Employees
Here are a few ideas on how to motivate employees beyond the typical promises and vague assumptions.

Motivation isn't always something that comes from within. Sometimes, it has to come from the boss. These techniques are a bit more radical than just handing out tokens to use at the company gift shop. They focus in on the core motivations of your employees.

1. Pick someone on your staff and send them on a mini vacation

One of the best rewards you can give an employee in your office is to send them on a quick vacation. Maybe it's just a weekend at a resort across town or something fairly inexpensive. But by sending one person on your team, you are motivating everyone, because it could be another person's turn to go next time. You're creating an atmosphere of rewards.

2. Remove yourself from a project

The de-motivating factor on a project could be your own presence. Maybe no one is very motivated because they know you will pick up the slack and finish everything. If you aren't around and the project depends entirely on their efforts, the team might suddenly become much more motivated--especially if they know you're not going to bail them out.

3. Turn the doldrums upside down

A good motivator for people is when some activity that seems fairly routine suddenly turns fun. I remember having to do a business trip that involved a boring drive from L.A. to Las Vegas. I decided to rent a Ford Mustang with a couple of team members. Suddenly, the trip became more inspiring and fun, and the business trip became more about building the relationships. It also hit home the point that other boring tasks could be fun.

4. Promise what you can deliver

Nothing kills motivation like a promise that isn't fulfilled. Yet, you can easily motivate someone by promising exactly what you can deliver. If the sales rep needs a boost and you know you can add a 5 percent bonus if he or she completes a certain objective, go ahead and offer that motivation. Take it a step further and get really specific about what the end result will be if the employee does what you are asking. The more specific you get, the more you can motivate. Don't just say there will be a bonus, say when, how much, and how often.

5. Give someone more leadership responsibility

Everyone likes being in charge--well, most people, anyway. One good motivator is to give more management responsibility to someone on your team. It's a reward that motivates because it shows you are aware of that person and their potential to lead. It helps an employee see that there is a bright future that could involve a promotion at some point. This is a radical move when it involves someone who might not be quite ready for the added responsibility. Just be ready to pick up the slack if the idea goes awry.

By John Brandon
Source: Inc.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

3 Reasons Smart People Make Sure to Do What They Love

3 Reasons Smart People Make Sure to Do What They Love
Loving what you do is not a luxury.

When you get to your office in the morning, are you happy to be there? Do you dive into the day's tasks with enthusiasm? Or are you counting the minutes until you get to leave?

If you don't love what you do, no matter how successful you are, and no matter how much money you're making, you should probably consider doing something else. Many people seem to believe that loving what you do is a luxury. They plan their careers on the principle that making a decent living is necessary and that having work that you enjoy, and--more important--find meaningful, is a nice add-on, if you can swing it.

I think that's dead wrong. Making a living is essential, but so is having work that you enjoy and care about, and that you believe has real value. If your work is missing any of these features, and you don't see a good prospect for things to get better, it's time to consider doing something else. Here's why:

1. Work takes up a very big chunk of your life.

The average American spends 47 hours out of every week working. That means that during your working life, you'll be spending over 40 percent of your waking time at work. Or maybe much more. If you're running your own business, or working in management or in any of today's high-pressure, long hours professions, you likely are working even more than those 47 hours.

There's no getting away from it: Work takes up a huge proportion of our lives. None of us know how long or short these lives will be. But we do know that people who are dying often list the amount of time they spent working as one of their top regrets. Working takes you away from your family and from other activities you love. If you don't enjoy it or believe it serves a valuable purpose, then work isn't worth that investment of your time.

2. If you don't love your work, sooner or later you'll start sucking at it.

Oh sure, you might be good at the mechanics of something you don't particularly enjoy. But only for a while. Every industry is rapidly changing, and to stay good at something you have to keep up with the changes, which means constantly paying attention and constantly learning.

For most people, that means paying attention, reading, attending events, taking courses, and generally spending a lot of time outside of traditional work hours getting and staying up to date. It's going to be tough to get yourself to put in those extra hours if work is just what you do to pay the mortgage. And if you don't put that extra time in, you will fall behind.

3. You can't fake passion.

Even if you yourself can do a good job at something you don't like, you're going to run into trouble when you take on a leadership or sales role. You'll have a hard time inspiring deep caring in others for whatever it is you do if you don't feel it yourself. That will become a real stumbling block whenever you make a sales presentation, give guidance to an employee, or ask for money from a bank or investor. Unless you have superb acting skills, you won't be able to create passion in others that you yourself lack.

So why try? Most of us have a variety of career paths or professions that fit both our values and desires. Over your lifetime, you're likely to spend about 99,000 hoursmaking a living. If you don't want those hours to seem never-ending, better spend them doing something you love as well.

By: Minda Zetlin

Source: Inc.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

3 Powerful Ways to End 2014 on a High Note

3 Powerful Ways to End 2014 on a High Note
Have no fear: you'll have a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner. You'll enjoy the holidays. You'll make your year-end goal. But you don't need to think about it all at once.

Lately I've been noticing the tremendous churn happening within businesses today. New business models, big transformations, high expectations and turnover are all keeping businesspeople hopping. Keeping up with fast-paced change makes it hard to find or make time to reflect, and it's hard to get anything done. How do you find focus, and, more importantly, be able to maintain it, in an environment of constant change?

Define your goal. It sounds simple enough, but many entrepreneurs skip this step. Decide whether it's a big goal for the year of 2015, like doubling your revenue, or whether it's more specific goal, like winning a proposal you're writing today. It may be a professional goal for a work project, or even a personal goal regarding the upcoming holidays. Defining your goal will help to clear the excess noise and make it go away. Take a brief statement of what your goal or vision is, then choose a set of 3-5 priorities that can get you there. This short list will become your area of focus.

Clear space. People feel scattered and have trouble focusing because there's a lot going on all at once. On top of ongoing changes that your business is undergoing naturally, those day-to-day interruptions just won't go away. Your phone and your computer are next to you, biding for your attention, not to mention your clients, customers, coworkers, and family. Take control and make space. How much time do you need to finish a project? When can you make that time? What will that look like? How will you put that in the calendar? Asking yourself these questions allows you to clear out space to tackle your goal, and is crucial to clearing out the noise.

Make your calendar a part of your daily plan. In terms of maintaining your focus, you can gain traction by following those same two steps--defining your goal and clearing space--more consciously and in bigger ways, more and more often.

For example, consider the reality of a busy entrepreneur struggling to make it successfully through the end of the year. One such business owner I recently coached on this topic is a woman we'll call Kim. Kim's business has been thriving; she's listed in the Inc 500 and wants this year to be her best year yet. But Kim is also a woman who travels for work, has two small children and is hosting her family holiday reunion this year. Pile on top of that her commitment to make sure Santa Claus comes for her kids and to book a family getaway for New Years. You may be wondering, is it even possible to get all that done? It is, and if anyone can do it, it's Kim. But, in order to pull it off (and to also enjoy the ride--it is, after all, the holiday season), she will need to get focused. On a daily basis she will need to get out her calendar and organize tasks, not just at work, but for all the family events and the holiday chaos. She'll have to ask herself: Where does shopping and Thanksgiving dinner come in? When do I book the vacation? How will I be sure my business gets the big finish I have in mind? She will need to get those tasks out of her mind into her planner. That is, she will have to clearly define her goal and make space to focus on achieving what she wants to achieve, and leading the live she wants to live.

You can do the same. Have no fear: you'll have a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner. You'll enjoy the holidays. You'll make your year-end goal. But you don't need to think about it all at once.

Take a moment now to define your present goal. What's the goal you want to focus on right now? How can you clear space to devote your attention to that goal right now? Where else can you clear some space to work toward it and meet your goal? Repeat the questions at different times and for different goals, and you will find that scattered, unfocused feeling goes away. You'll be left feeling clear and confident about your ability to enjoy--and meet your goals--throughout the end of the year.

By Joelle Jay
Source: Inc.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

12 Habits of Extraordinarily Motivated People

12 Habits of Extraordinarily Motivated People
Highly successful people are extremely motivated to succeed. Learn their secrets and put them to work for you

Extraordinarily motivated people are driven to go above and beyond; they are trusted by others, focused and have great confidence in their own abilities. They dream of endless possibilities, and tend to be extremely satisfied with their lives. They are more likely to receive a raise or a dream project, maintain longer relationships, and get promoted or recruited more than their unmotivated peers.

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." --Confucius

Seeking and achieving your dreams means you are really living your life. Ready to get motivated and become all you can be? Try some or all of these habits of extraordinarily motivated people and perhaps you too will find the courage to live a life of fulfilled dreams.

1. They're internally motivated.

It is their intrinsic desire to be their best selves and succeed that drives their motivation. They are internally driven--not pushed--toward new adventures, the unfolding journey, and the possible outcomes--they relish challenging themselves, learning, and exploring.

2. They don't waste time judging.

They objectively observe the successes and mistakes of others and learn from them instead of judging or comparing themselves. They don't waste their time with judgmental, gossipy people either.
3. They are humble.

They are willing to admit they made a mistake and apologize. They encourage feedback from others and use it to take steps in the right direction.
4. They look at the upside.

Instead of focusing on what's not working and bad experiences--which so many of us tend to do--they instead focus on what is working and their successes. If they find themselves overthinking a miscalculation, they automatically flip a switch and think about those things they did do right.
5. They are authentic.

They are true to themselves despite what others think--they don't live their lives solely to please others.
6. They push beyond their comfort zone.

Extraordinarily motivated people face discomfort head on--they never choose the easy route--to get what they want. They push themselves out of their comfort zone and get rid of those annoying internal voices that say, "You are limited in what you can do." They trust their abilities and know they will come out on top.
7. They continue to learn.

They read a lot and are brilliant observers--they are always watching and searching for new, more efficient, and faster ways to achieve. They understand that in order to grow as a person, they must always continue to learn.
8. They know what they want.

They have a clear vision of what they want their lives to look like and who they want to be. Their clarity comes with the wisdom to know what things to harness and what things to avoid. Their mottos are, "Never say never" and "Anything is possible."
9. They don't give up.

When they stumble over that proverbial bump in the road, they problem solve, come up with a plan, take action, and get past it. They understand that a sure way to lose a battle is to quit--which is not a 
part of their vocabulary or an option.
10. They don't blame others.

They never blame others for their failures. They understand that ultimately they alone are in charge of their actions and choices and no other.
11. They take time for themselves.

They know that in order to stay motivated and on top of their game, they have to carve out time for themselves. Rewards of time away from it all and taking care of themselves are more important to them than material possessions.
12. They surround themselves with motivators.

Their friends are those who are trustworthy, positive, supportive, and bring out the best in them unconditionally. Their friends help them take on the world side by side and, when needed, help them get back on their feet again.

By Peter Economy
Source: Inc.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Tricks to Maximize Your Time in the Office

5 Tricks to Maximize Your Time in the Office
Every entrepreneur knows what it’s like to have too much to do in too little time.

During the startup phase of my business, this was my story as well. However, after experimenting with various techniques to manage myself and my work, I implemented the concepts below and ever since, I’ve been able to accomplish my most important work with minimal stress -- both in and out of the office.

Related: 4 Ways to Max Out the 40-Hour Workweek

1. Understand your priorities.

The first step in maximizing your time is knowing what you need to do. One way to do this is to come up with a job description and project list, both in priority order. A job description clearly lists the major responsibilities you have on a recurring basis. A project list records the projects you’re currently working on. (Try never to have more than four projects going at once.) Together, the job description and project list should cover between 80 and 90 percent of what you should be doing on a daily basis, save for the random things and busy work that inevitably come up. With this in hand, you’ll be able to decide what’s most important for you to focus on in the limited time you have.
2. Plan ahead.

Set aside a time once a week to plan for the upcoming week. Based on your job description and your projects, as well as your long-term goals take time, preferably at the end of every week, to plan the upcoming week. Start by asking what are the most critical items you have to get done to move your projects along, and what are the most critical functions of your job. Prioritize this list so that the most important items are at the top. Tool recommendations are any.do (web and app) or Asana (web and app).

Related: With a Little Focus You Can Turn Workplace Distractions to Your Advantage
3. Schedule dates with yourself.

Once you know what you need to do for the next week, block off time for each major task you’ve planned. Keep in mind: Things almost always take longer than expected. Just face the fact the week before, go back to your job description and project list, and prioritize ruthlessly. When I’m doing this for myself or with my clients, I advise not to plan more than three or four critical items for any one day, or more than twenty critical tasks for a week. Tool recommendations: Google Calendar and Outlook.
4. Block time for recurring tasks.

The first time you plan like this, you’ll want to block out repeating times for recurring tasks -- including responding to email, paying bills and prospecting -- that you know you have to do. If you get a lot of email, schedule a block of time every day, preferably at the same time each day, to deal with your inbox. If you’re in sales and have to reach out to five new prospects a day, set up a recurring time in your calendar for it. It’s easy to forget to plan time for these types of recurring daily tasks, but it’s just as important to account for them as it is for project work.
5. Leave empty space.

Once you get adept at planning in this way, you’ll be tempted to take it too far by scheduling every minute of every day. Don’t do that. It’s a really bad idea, as things always come up. Maybe an important prospect comes by unannounced to chat. Maybe your kid gets sick and you have to stay home. Maybe you just have a slow day and are not able to get through everything you planned. Whatever the case, no week ever turns out exactly as planned, so leave some extra space so one unexpected event doesn’t throw off your entire week.

If you implement the above strategies, your to-dos will be aligned with your major business priorities. You’ll have ample time to get things done and enough time to allow for unexpected things to come up.

By Jay Bacrania
Source: Entrepreneur