Category: Personality

Are You A Creative Thinker?

Filed under: creativity, Personality, Self Reflection, Strategy

We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution– Bill Hicks

Think outside the box is a common phrase and one we are all familiar with. Often times it refers to “creative thinking” to solve difficult problems and it encourages you to move outside of your comfort zone. Moving outside of your comfort zone can be frightening because leaving the “familiar” to step into the “unknown” is risky and difficult. It is critical to recognize that forward progression is dependent on action.

Creative thinking fuels progress. Here are five ideas to help you think outside the box, be a creative thinker and boost productivity:

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7 Habits of Highly Likeable People

Filed under: Good Habits, Personality, Social Impact, Success

Everyone wants to be well-liked; it’s in our nature as people. But it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is that makes us more likeable. Is it a magic charisma that attracts people to us? Or maybe being outgoing and friendly? Or having an agreeable personality that doesn’t put people off?

Though there are plenty of theories floating around about what makes someone well-liked, here are seven things that well-liked people always do—and that you can do today to make yourself a more likeable and magnetic person.

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Why Being TOO Humble Is A Bad Thing

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Personality

No one likes a show-off. Arrogance can push people away and make it difficult for others to like you. Having confidence is important to have, but being cocky can definitely get beneath people’s skin.

So, we’re taught to be humble and let our actions do the talking. What you have been able to accomplish, and how you influence the people around you will always speak louder than words.

But, is it possible to be too humble?

Humility is a virtue, but can you have too much of it?

Based on my own personal experiences throughout not only my professional and college careers, but my life in general, I’ve learned that the following are reasons why being too humble is a bad thing:

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Your Kindness Will Lead You to Success

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Personality, Rational Thought, Social Impact

I am not impressed by someone’s ability to intimidate, cajole, persuade, manipulate, overpower or overwhelm others. No, what impresses me most are the people who have the ability to do these things, but who choose instead to let kindness lead them to success.

Once upon a time, a colleague of mine – frustrated by an assistant who couldn’t move as fast as he wanted – pulled her into his office and unleashed five minutes of verbal abuse before he fired her. She ran out in tears, and he came out with a big smile. “That felt SO good,” he said.

He viewed this incident as a success. I saw this as evidence that he was kind to people only as long as they did exactly what he asked. Otherwise, he cared not one whit about them.

It’s easy to yell and threaten, but these behaviors are signs of weakness, not strength. Strong people don’t lose control of their emotions. Skilled fighters say that once you lose your temper, you have lost the fight. Your vision narrows and you become dangerously impulsive. If losing your temper is a weakness for fighters, it is a deadly flaw for professionals.

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Are you a dud in meetings?

Filed under: Insights, Personality, Self Reflection, Social Impact

For too many years to be proud of I just didn’t know how to perform in the strange beast known as ‘the meeting’. What I did notice, though, whether right or wrong, fair or not, was that performance in meetings appeared to be a proxy for career progression. Even at the very least, it was a factor relevant to promotion. 

It makes sense when you think about it. Meetings are a common stage where, more often than not, you are on show in front of colleagues from multiple departments and seniorities. Your ability to effectively communicate is judged. You can either fill your colleagues with confidence in you, or drain it. So, leaving a consistent positive impression in meetings is a key factor in building and maintaining a positive reputation. 

I understood this as a young professional, but it still took me many years and mistakes to master it. Ironically, now as the most senior person in my organisation’s meetings, I see younger colleagues trying as hard as I once did to make that positive mark. It reinforces that I should discuss the five core behaviors I have come to understand make people more effective in meetings. 

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The 5 Qualities of Successful Young Leaders

Filed under: Career Advice, Personality, Professional Development, Your Career

The best way to become an effective leader is to disregard it as a goal and instead focus on a learning journey that combines formal experiences in a workplace with selective experiences of your own making.

I recall in my early years that volunteering in different environments enabled me to test my capacity in unfamiliar circumstances with people from all walks of life. In many ways, these were far more enriching moments than my nine to five jobs provided me.

I began to learn the importance of exposure and reflection as a way to live a big life. Each time I exposed myself to a new situation, I knew I had learnt something valuable and I reflected on my response to it. This in turn kept redefining who I was and what I was capable of. I began to realise and continue to believe that we can all be borderless in our mindset if we keep testing our own capacity in different circumstances. It is my way of life.

Here are my five priorities for young people interested in becoming effective leaders:

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Change from the Inside Out

Filed under: Career Advice, Good Habits, Personality, Social Impact

Is change coming at you from the outside in, or the inside out? My experience in working with top leaders from business, government and education on five different continents is that the majority of change comes to us from the outside in. For example, when a new law is passed, we have to make changes in order to comply with the new law. When a new competitor comes into our marketplace offering lower prices, we must change some aspect of how we do business. When a new technology comes out that changes customer behavior, executives inform the IT department that they must keep up with customers. When the boss changes corporate strategy, employees scramble.

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9 Qualities Of Truly Confident People

Filed under: Confidence, Leadership and Management, Personality, Your Career

First things first: Confidence is not bravado, or swagger, or an overt pretense of bravery. Confidence is not some bold or brash air of self-belief directed at others.

Confidence is quiet: It’s a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.

I’m fortunate to know a number of truly confident people. Many work with me at HubSpot, others are fellow founders of their own startups some of whom I’ve met through my angel investment activity. But the majority are people I’ve met through my career and who work in a variety of industries and professions.

It comes as no surprise they all share a number of qualities:

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Are You A Hill-Finder Or A Hill-Taker?

Filed under: Cognitive Ability, Insights, Personality, Psychology

It’s always exciting to hire someone who’s talented and a good culture fit. But in my experience, it’s easy to conflate that exciting person person’s skill (and, importantly, passion) in planning and strategizing with his or her ability to execute an established mission. Especially from just a resume.

Odesk CEO Gary Swart says that’s because most (employable) people fall into two groups: Hill Takers and Hill Finders, or “figure-outers.” Both are essential to a growing enterprise, but under different circumstances and in varying quantities. You’ll find both kinds of people in almost every job function from finance to creative, marketing to operations and beyond.

To be clear: this is not a dichotomy between thinking and doing. It’s scouting versus fighting. Knowing which category you fall under can help you not only focus on playing to your strengths, but also articulate your value more concretely.

So what’s the difference?

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There Are So Many Ways To Be Smart

Filed under: Career Advice, Personality, Professional Development, Skills

During a continuing ed course when I was an equity analyst at Merrill Lynch, the instructor observed, “You’re really good at math.”

For those of you that know anything about equity research, you’d expect that I wittily riposted with something like, “Darn straight, I am. I eat financial models for breakfast, spit out stock calls at lunch.”

Instead, after graciously (I hope!) saying thank you, my internal conversation went more like “Really? Could he be right? Could it be true that I’m good at math?” Because I can pinpoint the moment I started to believe I was bad at math. This script, so to speak, began in fifth grade, when math involved word problems. In sixth grade, when my teacher told me to stop asking questions and just figure the question out on my own, and I thought I couldn’t, I finalized the script. It read: “I’m bad at math.”

The “I’m bad at math” script wouldn’t be so problematic except that girls and women in the United States have a tendency to believe they are bad at math. Comparatively, boys and men don’t appear to be as intimidated by math. Meanwhile, we live in a society
whose systems and social structures value math skills. The script was especially problematic for me, specifically, because it wasn’t entirely true.

But I digress.

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