Tips For Transitioning Into A New Leadership Role

Imagine that you’ve landed the leadership role of your dreams. It is such an amazing feeling to excel in your career, especially when you’re in a job and workplace you’re passionate about. However, even though it is exciting to climb the ladder, the transition can be a stressful one. It comes with more responsibilities that you want to show everyone (including yourself) that you’ve earned. Here are two important tips that will help you make the transition smoothly when that time comes in your life:

Understand And Accept That Not Everyone Will Agree With You

More than likely, one of your new responsibilities will involve leading other people in some form or fashion. You may be worried about what they’ll think of your leadership style. That is okay. That is natural. Go ahead and accept that sometimes, your coworkers will not agree with a decision you make. Just do what you think is best for the overall good of the team, and you’ll figure out what works with trial and error. Every leader does this at some point in their career, and no one can fault you for trying your best.

Remember That You’re Here Because You Deserve To Be

Everyone, even CEOs, doubts themselves professionally at times. It is part of life. But if you’ve been working hard, making connections and proving your dedication to your company, you’re exactly where you deserve to be. Don’t let a mistake or bad call cause you to question your adequacy. We’re humans, and we all make them.

Keep in mind during your transition that you deserve your success. When you make it to where you want to be, never stop striving for greatness. It may be challenging at times, but it will always be worth it.

Why You Should Be A Lifelong Learner

The answer to the question posed by the title of this piece is simple. It’s the execution that so many people struggle with. The short answer is that there’s a direct correlation between people who continue to push and advance themselves personally, and the magnitude of success they see in their professional lives.

Simply put, the more you learn and know, the more value you can create, either in terms of striking out on your own and starting your own business, or for your boss at whatever company employs you.

While the self-satisfaction of “knowing stuff” matters, even if you look at it through a purely economic lens, it just makes sense to devote your life to continuous learning and improvement. The real question, though, is exactly how do you go about doing that?

It’s both easier and more difficult than you might imagine. What it ultimately comes down to is the fact that you’re going to have to teach yourself to be a self-starter, because let’s face it, nobody’s going to make you learn and grow. You’re an adult. That’s your decision to make, and yours alone. Unless you master the fine art of becoming self-motivated, you’re going to struggle to stick with it.

Here’s something fun to consider. The average American spends a staggering 23 hours a week playing around on social media. Imagine if you cut that time in half, and devoted just 10-12 hours a week to learning something new. To expanding first your mind, and then to putting the new things you’re learning to good, practical use?

This is one of the easiest ways of breaking out of the confines of the current shape of your life, and given how many free educational opportunities there are on the internet, anyone, regardless of their current circumstance, can take advantage of this. Even if you don’t have an internet connection at home, almost all county libraries offer free computer use and internet access.

The bottom line is, if you’re reading these words, then you already have everything you need to improve your current situation through devoting yourself to lifelong learning. From here, all it takes is the will to start!

The Importance Of Taking Smart Risks

William Gurstelle is a man of many talents. By day, he’s the Ballistics and Pyrotechnics editor for Popular Mechanics magazine, but in his spare time, he studies risk. He’s been studying it for years, and his insights on the topic are worth paying attention to.

In conducting his research, Gurstelle looked to the extremes of risk-taking and developed a system that can measure what kind of risk-taker you are, in much the same way that you can measure your IQ.

Unsurprisingly, he found that most people exist right in the middle of the risk-taking spectrum. Those who live and thrive just to the right of the scale are the group that Gurstelle refers to as the “Golden Third.” These are the people we regard as the lucky ones. Things just seem to go their way on a regular basis, and as a result, they are happier and more satisfied than the rest of us.

Gurstelle, though, has a different view of this group. He doesn’t regard them as lucky at all. It’s simply that they understand the value of the calculated gamble. The well-considered risk.

They’re not daredevils; they simply weigh the odds and consider the consequences of failure and when they feel that the risk is warranted, they’ll make the leap and take a chance. More often than not, they guess correctly and it all works out fine.

From the outside looking in, we say they’re lucky. They’re not. They’re calculating and they understand the potential rewards that come from taking some risks.

As with any other behavior, this can be learned. It involves being mindful of opportunities that present themselves to you, and having a good understanding of how likely you are to succeed at whatever it is you’re thinking about trying.

It can be uncomfortable to push the envelope like that, but according to Gurstelle, that just means you’re doing it right! If you’re feeling trapped by your life and the circumstances you find yourself in, this is definitely something to think about. Take control of your life and your happiness. Take a few well-considered chances!

Simple, Yet Effective Ways To Grow Your Confidence

How confident are you in your abilities to do any given thing? If you’re like most people, then complete confidence in your abilities is something you struggle with on a fairly regular basis. The good news is, you don’t have to! There are several simple things you can do to bolster your confidence.

The first thing to understand is that there’s a difference between confidence and self-esteem. The two are related, but distinct. Confidence relates to your ability to do a given thing, while self-esteem relates to how you feel about yourself.

Obviously, if you have low self-esteem, then confidence in your abilities is going to suffer, so the first “trick” to bolstering your confidence is to work on you. Do things that make you feel good about yourself, and your confidence in other areas of your life is bound to increase.

Second, never stop learning and studying. Then, as a follow-up, put the things you’re learning into practice via practical application as appropriate. Not only does the act of learning and knowing things bolster your confidence, but as you put your knowledge into practice and see the tangible results that stem from all that learning, your confidence will soar!

Finally, a third handy trick is to “push your envelope.” If you have a fear of heights, plan to visit a suspension bridge with a mind to walk across it as a means of conquering that fear. If you’re afraid of the dark, start spending more time in the dark until that fear begins to subside.

By doing things like this, you’ll not only begin doing away with the (largely) irrational fears that have been holding you back, but as you conquer them, you’ll find that your confidence improves in every area of your life.

The bottom line is that if you suffer from low self-esteem and confidence, your opportunities are going to be limited. Those opportunities will still present themselves, but you’ll simply lack the confidence to go after them. Don’t be that person; you’ve got this!

Show Gratitude For A Happier Life

No matter how many problems you have in your life, if you stop to think about it, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

One of the most intriguing differences between life in the United States and life in many other parts of the world is the fact that when one thing goes wrong in the life of someone here, it can ruin that person’s whole day. Contrast that with the fact that when one thing goes right or comes easy in other parts of the world, it can totally make that person’s day.

Think about that difference in mindset for just a moment. Here, it’s so easy to have a fundamentally negative outlook on things. After all, if the day doesn’t go perfectly and exactly as you planned it, it’s likely to sour your outlook.

Don’t let it!

That’s easier said than done, of course, but with practice, you can change your thinking, and the simple act of showing gratitude for the good things in your life will have a profound impact on your frame of mind.

Start by looking at your circle of friends. There are undoubtedly many of them who really go out of their way to do things for you, but when’s the last time you walked up to them and said a heartfelt thank you?

If you’re like most people, then it’s probably been far longer than you’re comfortable admitting. That’s okay, because it’s never too late! Go visit your friends who have gone out of their way for you and tell them how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that they’re in your life.

Do that, and you’ll be amazed at how happy it makes both you and them!
Then, take it a step further. Start keeping a journal of all the good things in your life…all the things you have to be thankful for. Again, if you’re like most people, the length of your list will likely surprise you.

Finally, take the time to give back. Nothing shows your gratitude to the world like giving something back, so consider volunteering at least some of your free time. You’ll be helping a worthy cause and making others feel great, and in doing so, making yourself happy too.

Science has shown that people who show gratitude tend to be happier than those who don’t, and who wants to go through life unhappily? Thankfully, this is something that’s really easy to change. Start today!

Words Have Power – Use Them Wisely

The pen really is mightier than the sword. Words have awesome power. They can be used to cut and wound, or to build. The trouble is that all too often, people speak without thinking, and in doing so, their words can have far-reaching consequences that can cause rifts and create all manner of trouble. Hurt feelings are just the beginning.

What this comes down to is the notion of mindfulness. Knowing the power of words, the best thing you can do is pause and consider your words before you speak them. Think not only about what you want to say, but the potential impacts on those you’ll be speaking to.

It doesn’t have to be a long pause, but especially in cases where emotions are running high, it pays to consider your words carefully. If you don’t, you could wind up saying something in anger or haste that will come back to bite you later on.

In addition to mindfulness, there’s another important thing to consider: choice.

You can choose to say the things that will build up and fortify those around you, or you can choose to tear them down and burn bridges. Sadly, some people choose exactly that course of action. It’s possible that you work with someone like that, and if so, you know how damaging it can be.
That’s the kind of thing that can turn a healthy, productive work environment into a highly toxic one, and that isn’t good for anyone.

At the end of the day, then, it comes down to what sort of person you want to be, and what kind of environment you want to create.
You can, simply by the power of your words, choose to create, or help build a highly supportive, productive environment for those around you. Or, you can use words to instill fear and anger and sow the seeds of doubt. All of this is dependent, in large part, on how you choose to speak.

The Rewards Of Giving

Ahh, giving. It’s not just for the holidays!

Of course, the holidays are the first thing people think of when it comes to giving. However, there’s a lot of science to suggest that it’s a good thing to do all year ’round. Here are some of the surprising benefits of being charitable and giving:

1) It fosters cooperation and encourages others to give! – One of the best ways to turn a random collection of people into a cohesive team is to be giving. Freely share information across traditional boundaries. Bring donuts in the morning. Give small gifts and tokens of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the simple act of doing it will encourage others to do the same, and promote a happier, healthier environment.

2) It increases your own happiness – This is according to a 2008 study conducted by the Harvard School of Business. The researchers discovered that giving money or some other small gift increased the happiness of the participants more than simply spending the money on themselves did. That’s because giving releases a hormone called oxytocin in the brain, the very same hormone that gets released during sex!

3) It improves your physical health, too! – Yep, you read that correctly. The simple act of giving makes you healthier. There have been a variety of studies to support this, including one conducted by the University of California, which found that elderly people who did volunteer work were significantly less likely to die over an extended (five-year) period than those who did not.

If that’s not enough, another study conducted in 2006 by Johns Hopkins University found that people who provided gifts and support to one another had notably lower blood pressure than those who did not.

The bottom line is that generosity really is the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s something you can start doing today!

Are You In A Job Or A Career?

What do you do for money? Are you punching a clock for someone else in a dead-end job, or are you doing something you truly love? Put another way, are you working a job, or pursuing a career? It’s an important question, and it really matters in terms of your happiness and well-being, because people who are pursuing a career they love are happier across the board than those who just have a job that keeps the lights on.

The problem, of course, is the fact that advice on the career front is somewhat sketchy, and filled with “squishy,” feel-good terms that are hard to turn into well-defined action. Here’s a great example that you’ve probably heard before: “Follow your dreams! Do what you love!”

There are a number of problems with that advice. While it’s true that it touches on an important point, following your dreams and doing what you love can’t be the only consideration. If your dream doesn’t make enough money to keep a roof over your head, then no matter how happy it might make you, it’s just not a great plan.

For some people, doing what they truly love is worth a cut in pay, and if that describes you, great. This makes it easier to balance the two sides of that equation, but the bottom line is simply that you can’t ignore the practical side, no matter how much you’d like to.

The first step, then, is to identify exactly what it is you want to do when you grow up (so to speak). Then, figure out if there’s a viable way to get paid enough to make it possible for you to live your dream while still being able to enjoy the minimum lifestyle you find acceptable (or better, of course)!

Once you do that, you’re well on your way. Bear in mind that following your dreams isn’t for the faint of heart, and there will almost certainly be a transition period where you’re building your dream career and punching a clock for someone else, but if you’re willing to put the time in, that won’t last long.

So, where are you now? Job or career?

Is It Time To Find Your Life Purpose?

Are you stuck in a job you don’t like? Working a job you don’t find inspiring? Feeling as though you’re just existing, rather than living life to the fullest?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then it’s high time to press pause for a few hours and really sit down and think about what you want to “be,” and what you want to do with your life.

It’s advice you’ve probably gotten before, and when you’ve heard it in the past, you’ve probably read that the first necessary step is to sit down and make a list of where you see yourself in X number of years, or something similar.

There’s value in that, but that in itself can be limiting.

Instead of taking that approach, ask yourself two questions:

Firstly, if you could do anything in the world with a 100 percent chance of success, what would you do? Secondly, if money was no object, what would your life look and feel like?

Spend some time visualizing the answers to both questions before you start writing them down, and then do so. Write about your answers vividly and in detail. At that point, you’ve got a pretty clear picture of the idealized version of where you want to be and what you want to do.

Of course, blue sky thinking only gets you so far. Once you’ve got the idealized image of what you want to do with your life, now comes the hard work of finding a way to get as close as you can to the idealized image you created.

That happens in stages. It’s a rare person who can turn their life on a dime and in a matter of days to make that vision a reality. The good news is that you don’t have to. You can make one or two small changes, try them on for size, and then proceed further, and with each change you make, you bring yourself closer to realizing the image you started with.

There’s no time like the present – what do you want to do and be? What’s your purpose in this life? Only you can say.

Take Steps To Deal With Your Stress

We live in an “always on” world. Just about everything you want is at your fingertips, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s fabulous, but it’s also exhausting because it has created the expectation that we are “always on” and doing things 24/7. That kind of pressure can be relentless, and it makes it increasingly harder to strike a good balance in your life.

Between the pressures of your job, increasingly longer work hours and the pressures of home and family, stress is all but inevitable in our modern world. The question, then, is how to deal with it, and unfortunately, there is no class for that.

Below, you’ll find some quick and easy-to-implement things you can do, starting today, to knock your stress level down several notches. Ready for some stress relief? Let’s go!

1) Walk – preferably in the woods: Every day, you should block out at least fifteen minutes to just unplug. Get away from your desk, your family, your friends and anything else that’s adding stress to your life. Science has shown that a fifteen minute walk every day will reduce your stress levels by as much as 25 percent. That figure is doubled if you walk in the woods, so if you have some trees near where you live, take full advantage of that fact!

2) Get more sleep – It may sound silly, but the very best way to do this is to set a regular bed time and stick to it! Don’t eat anything in the hour before bedtime, and turn your thermostat down a few degrees, because studies have shown that we sleep better when it’s cooler. Most Americans only average 6 hours of sleep a night, and our bodies need 8-9. Is it any wonder that so many of us are stressed?

3) Live the list – Making an ordered list of the things you have to accomplish is another simple but powerful tool when it comes to reducing stress, because it gives you a finite number of things to focus on throughout the day. Order your list by priority so that you take care of the most critical things first, then work your way down to the less important stuff. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as you cross each item off!

If you start attempting to reduce your stress with these three simple tips, you’ll find your stress levels falling rapidly, and you’ll be much happier and healthier for it.