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Category: Best Advice

Have a Hard Time Saying No? These Methods Will Change That

Filed under: Best Advice, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Respect

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launchedStartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

If you find it difficult to say no, you’re not alone. Many of us find it hard to put our foot down. So much of what we’re told about success revolves around the idea of saying yes: to new ideas, new innovations, and new opportunities. But becoming a yes man (or woman) can put a real strain on your productivity, creativity, and happiness.

In fact, research by the University of California in San Francisco shows the more difficulty people have saying no, the more likely they are to experience stress, burnout, and even ultimately depression. Plenty of studies have linked stress and fatigue to reduced productivity and engagement on the job.

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Recipe for A Dream

Filed under: Best Advice, Dreams, Goals, inspiration

Recipe for A Dream

“Look, here comes that dreamer!” That’s how the world always dismisses someone who tells them something is possible, when they don’t believe it, for even one minute.

Dreamers are people who say outrageous things, like: Hey, you can find work, even if you’ve been unemployed a long time, or think you are too old.

Or: you can be choosy about what kind of work you find.

Or—most outrageous of all—you can find your ideal job, or mission in life.

Well, over the past forty years I have watched these dreamers, and seen many of their dreams come true. I’ve studied why, and found a kind of recipe. Here are its basic ingredients. (There are seven.)

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Making Feedback Pay Off

Filed under: Best Advice, Feedback, Insights, Success

Feedback frightens me. It probably frightens you, too. When we pour intense energy into a project, we don’t want blunt opinions of our (supposedly) finished work. We crave pure praise from bosses, colleagues or customers. Even minor criticisms can be hard to take. Harsher responses feel like a kick in the gut.

So how can we sidestep those anxieties? How can we embrace what’s valuable in other people’s comments while still keeping our self-esteem intact? In the first decade of my career, I didn’t have a clue. The breakthrough came in my mid-30s, when several dozen people helped me repair a book draft that once seemed unprintable — and ultimately became “Merchants of Debt,” a much-praised bestseller. Those interactions left me with a whole new approach toward soliciting and using feedback.

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6 Reasons Not To Give Up On Your Dreams

Filed under: Best Advice, Dreams, Goals, inspiration

There comes a time in the life of most entrepreneurs when the challenges seem overwhelming. You’ve suffered one setback after another and you seriously think about throwing in the towel.

You question yourself. Maybe you don’t have what it takes after all? Maybe your breakthrough idea just isn’t realistic? Maybe you should quit now rather than continue to make a fool of yourself? Self-doubt leeches into your heart and soul. Despair begins to take over.

It happens all the time. But I’m here to tell you why you should never ever give up on your dreams.

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How to simplify your future

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Efficiency, Productivity

We live in a volatile world, so the future makes many people nervous, instead of excited. Here’s how to increase the odds your future will be bright:

Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.

I’d like to suggest that you commit that sentence to memory, and that you do your best to live by it.

Let’s break it down.

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The Power of the Word “Yet”

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Success

Suppose your boss pulls you aside and tells you: “You don’t have the right skills for the project.”

Then suppose a different situation, where your boss tells you: “You don’t have the right skills for the project, yet” or “You don’t yet have the connections to make this deal happen.”

The word yet makes all the difference in the world. In the first example, you feel like a dud. In the examples with “yet,” you feel like you may not be ready now, but you could be in the future.

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The Secret to Personal Power

Filed under: Best Advice, Cognitive Ability, Leadership, Your Career

There is such a thing as personal power, but most people haven’t encountered it even remotely. That’s because their notion of personal power aims at the wrong goal. They define a powerful person as someone with money and status who can exert his will over others. Such a person is imagined to be strong, smart, lucky, and more than a little ruthless. Examples crop up from Washington to Wall Street, any area of life where competition is fierce and the spoils go to the victors.

But the real secret to personal power lies elsewhere. The difference is that one kind of power, the kind I’ve just sketched, comes from what you do while the other comes from who you are. Before writing this post, I reviewed in my mind the qualities I’ve observed in the most powerful people I’ve met over the past thirty years, and it was astonishing how many qualities come directly from being rather than doing.

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Why Providing Critical Feedback Can Be A Gift

Filed under: Best Advice, Feedback, Professional Development, Your Career

Rarely are managers, in any field, well prepared to deal with employees who need corrective input. In fact, we’ve heard all too often how the whole idea of being critical strikes a note of “being mean,” “acting arrogant,” or “hurting someone’s feelings.”

And yes, being critical can be all of those things when misunderstood or delivered without support, care, and kindness.

But when you understand that life well lived is a journey of growth and expansion, then there have to be teachers along the way to provide helpful input. When left to only our own devices, our own perspectives, our own experiences, we can only replicate what we already know. And that’s what causes people to be stuck in a rut, unable to take their work life forward in a manner that is continually challenging and transformative.

So, if you are a manager, a supervisor, in any way someone who has the responsibility and opportunity to help other employees improve, please see your role as a gift.

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To Beat the Chaos, Take a Thinking Day

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Efficiency, Leadership and Management

One of the most under-discussed elements of effective leadership is how fast a leader must learn to stay at peak performance. Most successful leaders never stop learning. In fact, they are voracious learners who are always trying to find ways to improve and enhance their own performance and that of those around them.

I have found that one of the simplest tools for learning and enhancing my performance is to regularly reflect on how to spend my time. Every six months I go through a process where I step back, contemplate what I have learned over the previous six months, and then adjust my focus to ensure I am spending my time and energy in ways where I can create the greatest impact.

Here are three concrete practices I recommend to help refocus and optimize your time for continuous inner learning:

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Know Yourself – Or Else

Filed under: Best Advice, Professional Development, Self Reflection, Success

How well do you know yourself?

You may think that you of all people would be the one to know yourself best, but human beings are often quite mistaken at this assumption. I’m sure we all know of someone who makes this mistake – an individual who considers himself a sharp negotiator, but in fact, misses important details. A manager who fancies himself tough but is really too lax. This is a common human problem.

Of course, no one is perfect. We all have areas in which we excel and those in which we lag. But the key to success is knowing the areas in which you are strong and the areas in which you are weaker. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can position yourself to be as successful as possible in any given situation.

The key to success is not perfection. It’s knowing yourself. How to do this?

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