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To Be Happy Be Grateful

 

It’s Thanksgiving in the US, which is a time to reflect on what we are grateful for.  In our busy lives and the pursuit of “more” we can often forget there is much to be grateful for.  Why is this important?  Because practicing gratitude will actually make you happier.  According to David Steindl-Rast, it is not “happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

 

What are you grateful for?

We Live in a World of Abundance

 

With all the negative media we are bombarded with you’d think the future is bleak. Peter Diamandis argues that instead of a world of doom and scarcity, we actually live in times of abundance that are only going to get better. Which lens do you view the world from: one of scarcity and fear, or one of opportunity and abundance? How would the decisions that you make be different if you approached them from a worldview of abundance?

The Best Apps for Achieving Your Goals

Write down your goals

Less than 10% of people achieve their goals.  Whether you are determined to change the world, grow your skills, or simply exercise more we could all use some help.  Here are five of the best apps to help increase your odds of reaching your goals.

 

  1. Chains.cc  (www.chains.cc) has a sleek user interface, is easy to use, and allows you to track the number of days/instances in a row you complete your work towards achieving your goal.  It gives you an extraordinary visual of how you are tracking to your goal, and encourages you to not break the “chain” by missing a day.  The app is free to use on the web and is 99 cents for the iOS version.
  2. 43 Things (http://www.43things.com) is a simple app that allows you to create up to 43 goals, track progress, and post notes and pictures as you make progress.  There is also a community you can leverage to help encourage you along the way if you choose.  The app is free and available on the web as well as on the iPhone.
  3. MindBloom (http://www.mindbloom.com) let’s you turn your goal setting into an eye-catching game (Life Game web app), or simply track your goals along with adding pictures and music to each goal to inspire you (Bloom app).  Life Game can only be used on the web and is a bit time intensive, but is stunning visually and is put together extremely well.  Bloom is available both on the web and free as an iOS app.
  4. 42 Goals (http://www.42goals.com) allows you to track your daily goals in great detail and provides various charts and reporting.  The interface is easy to use and is best if you are looking to regularly capture and track data like how many miles you run a day.  42 Goals has a free version, and a premium version that costs $5 per month.  The app is only available on the web.
  5. CheckMark (http://www.checkmarkapplication.com) let’s you set and track your goals to completion.  The app is simple and straight forward, and works much like a to-do list.  It also lets you track your successes.  The app is free to download for iPhones.

Everyday Leadership

 

Drew Dudley explains how things we do every day, often without knowing, can have huge and lasting positive impacts on those around us.  His challenge to us is to redefine leadership as moments where we fundamentally make people’s lives better and measure it by: how many of these moments we create, how many we acknowledge, how many we pay forward, and how many we say thank you for.

How to Get What You Want

Confident little boy

My kids are huge fans of Horizon chocolate milk box drinks.  One morning when we were running errands, my son and daughter were adamant about getting Horizon chocolate milks at Starbucks.   I was not looking forward to two young kids all hopped up on sugar, plus I was on a schedule.  I gave them lots of reasons why they couldn’t have chocolate milk – it fell on deaf ears.  And wouldn’t you know it, after about five minutes of “pleeaaaase Daddy” and “we’ve been so good Daddy,” they won me over with their  tenacity.

 

Tenacity is powerful stuff.  It’s the critical ingredient to getting what you want.  Kids know this, and they master it at an early age.  If you look at tenacity, you’ll see that in order to get what you want, there are a few things you need to do right.

  1. Have a clear goal in mind.  Don’t make the mistake of having too many goals all at once, have one clear goal like getting chocolate milk – focus is key.
  2. Learn from failures & vary your tactics.  When you get a “no” (and you’ll get lots of them) learn and adapt from them.  Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over; otherwise you’re just annoying.  My kids tried at least three different tactics like being cute, reminding me how good they had been, and explaining how they were sooo thirsty.
  3. Be passionate in your goal.  Show passion and energy when trying to win the other person over.  If you’re not passionate about your goal, no one else will be either.  Kids are all about passion – they’re excited and it shows.  Passion is extremely persuasive and wins people over.  How could I say “no” to two kids so passionate about chocolate milk?
  4. Be likeable.  The more likeable you are when being tenacious, the more likely people will listen to you.  In fact, if you do it right, people will admire you.  My kids were tenacious, and yet I was so impressed by their doggedness that they eventually won me over.  I never had a chance.

Why You Have to Fail to Have a Great Career

 

Larry Smith is a colorful economics teacher from the University of Waterloo and provides a passionate talk on why you have to fail in order to have a great career.  Where was this guy when I was taking economics?

Don’t be Lazy, Keep it Simple

Easy_button

Simple is harder than it looks.  It takes time.  It takes thought.  It takes removing precious work you have invested hours in.  It means creating with the goal of simplicity from the start, boiling things down to the essentials, and endless revision.  Simple is a lot of work – it’s not easy.  But it is essential for success.  Simplicity enables you to clearly get your point across, to stay focused, and to deliver an end product that people understand and love.  Simplicity makes life more enjoyable.

 

Complexity is easy; it’s making it simple that’s hard.

To Make the Big Bucks Become a Generalist

 

It used to be that being a specialist with deep knowledge in a single area was the way to advance your career and make the big bucks. According to Vikram Mansharamani, a global equity investor and Lecturer at Yale University, that is no longer the case. To really get ahead nowadays, Vikram proposes you need to be a generalist. This is due in large part to rapid change bringing continuous ambiguity, the world and everything in it being exponentially more interconnected, and innovation being paramount for success.

Vikram is right in that diversity in experiences and knowledge is a must to be successful. But I’d also argue that in areas with a high level of complexity, you also need to have depth of knowledge. And at various points in your career you may need to switch from being a specialist to a generalist. It’s not one or the other – it’s both. Don’t be a specialist at the expense of taking risks and broadening your experience, and at the same time don’t be a generalist that has no depth. In today’s world if you want to grow your career: keep learning, challenging yourself, and broadening your experience. Vikram’s engaging TED Talk on The Power of Foxy Thinking is posted below. Enjoy!

Careers Are Like Jungle Gyms

 

Sheryl Sandberg delivered one of the best speeches I’ve heard on career development to the graduating class of Harvard Business School this week. She explains that the traditional metaphor for careers as a ladder is dated and that careers are more like “jungle gyms.” You should not expect a direct climb up the ladder but instead, “look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work….” What are your thoughts on career development?

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

 

In one of the most compelling TED Talks, Simon Sinek provides insight into what separates great leaders from the rest. In it, he explains that great leaders inspire others by starting with why and that people don’t buy what you do, they buy “why” you do it – excellent food for thought for our personal and professional lives.