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Passion – a Key Leadership Characteristic

The word passion, as defined by the dictionary, is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. It is my bias that when any great leader or leadership strategy is examined – positive passion will be found.

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The word passion, as defined by the dictionary, is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. It is my bias that when any great leader or leadership strategy is examined – positive passion will be found.

Passion that is channeled in such a positive direction is an incredibly powerful thing. Many of the greatest visionaries (Walt Disney, FDR, JFK, Martin Luther King etc) also possessed great passion as part of their leadership strategy. This is why people were so eager and willing to follow them.

Leaders with such passion gladly work countless hours, work against all odds and obstacles and successfully use their passion to achieve their overall objectives. Do you know such leaders? Have you seen such leadership in action?

I have – and it is powerful to watch. This type of passion is exciting. This type of passion is contagious. This type of passion is fun.

People want to feel it, live it and, like Nike says, Just Do It!

Do you have this type of passion? Do you have this type of vision and dreams? Are you willing to lay it all on the line and “put your money where your mouth is”? I cannot imagine following any leader who does not have such passion as a key characteristic of his/her leadership style.

If you don’t have such passion or are part of an organization that lacks such passion, ask yourself ‘why’ you/they don’t have it and how it might be obtained? There is no better time than now to become passionate in all that you say and do. It will make you a better leader in all that you do.

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Mindset

4 ways to think like an entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurs have a different mindset.

One that increases flexibility, positive thinking and success. Entrepreneurs such as Tom Chapman of Matchesfashion, Daniel Ek of Spotify and Martin Dickie of BrewDog all demonstrate the ability to be comfortable with risk, embrace failure, spot gaps in the market and build great teams.

Here are four ways to start thinking like these entrepreneurs and maximise the chances of expanding your business and its profits.

1. Get comfortable with risk

Most people are risk-averse. They don’t like to try anything too risky, just in case something goes wrong. Entrepreneurs have a very different attitude, and can tolerate a greater level of risk. But that’s not to say they don’t think about what might happen if they get it wrong. They’re just better at calculating the risk.

Part of this ability to calculate risks comes from a mindset that naturally thinks in a bigger way. Richard Branson says: “When we began Virgin, I didn’t see it as an end in itself, a noun; I saw it as the beginning of a whole range of services, an adjective. Successful entrepreneurs take an idea and let it fly.”

One of the best ways to get comfortable with risk is to stop yourself overthinking every decision. When you overthink, you start to allow your mind to speculate on all the various worst-case scenarios and extrapolate them into infinity. Before you know it you’re dead-set against taking any risks at all, ever.

Yes, calculate the risk but stop before you reach the point where you’re creating your own obstacles. Approach anything risky in an orderly and strategic way, one step at a time, and if it starts to look like a dead end cut your losses and walk away.

2. Learn to embrace your failures

Calculating risks leads neatly into one of the biggest lessons that entrepreneurs can teach every single person: fail fast, fail often, and embrace those failures as friends. As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman says: “If you tune it so that you have zero chance of failure, you usually also have zero chance of success.”

Failure in an integral part of success but it can be difficult to find the positives. Even the greatest entrepreneurs will begrudge the wasted time, effort and money – not to mention the disappointment. But entrepreneurs do learn to embrace failure because it moves you forward, discounts weak ideas or projects, and allows you to learn valuable new skills.

The other thing that failure teaches you is tenacity. All successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they never ever give up. If one idea of process doesn’t work, they get right back in the saddle and start all over again.

A fine example of this attitude is British entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson, the founder of the eponymous vacuum-cleaner company. An engineer by trade, it took Dyson 15 years and more than 5000 failed prototypes before he developed a bagless cleaner that worked. The company is now iconic and has net revenues of more than £3.5 billion per year.

3. Stay alert to new opportunities

The combination of calculated risk taking and a healthy attitude to failure gives you the right mindset to spot new opportunities that come your way. Entrepreneurs are experts at seeing a way to leverage gain in an industry and get a march on the existing players with a new innovation.

Most people look at a sector they understand and think: there is no way to break in here. Entrepreneurs think: who has a good idea or good product but is not moving fast enough? When it comes to opportunities, to think like an entrepreneur you need to act like a shark. Where are the vulnerabilities? What ideas can I change and do better?

Creating opportunities requires that you get serious about research and data. You need to start by doing a deep dive on the internet. Look for vulnerabilities, gaps and poor reviews, and try and get first-hand experience of products or services.

This process and attitude creates space for you in even the most saturated market, and teaches you that to create success you have to be a bit ruthless. As Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks says: “Be nicer to your customers than your competitors.”

4. Take your employees with you

Changing your attitudes to risks, failure and new opportunities is only half of the story when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur. The biggest and most important element is ensuring that you’re not alone in your adventure and that you can take your team with you.

Entrepreneurs know this better than most. They know the value of a vision but also know that having a vision is nothing if you don’t get people to buy into it with you. The first thing to recognise is that most people resist change. And they do so because they feel out of control. This lack of control stems directly from two things: a lack of trust and poor communication.

To think and act like an entrepreneur you need to run ideas past the team continuously. You need to expose your vulnerabilities, explore your fears and communicate your big vision in a way that inspires. There is no room for an us-and-them attitude in the life of an entrepreneur. As the business-management author Patrick Lencioni says: “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

These are just three ways you can learn to think like an entrepreneur. Developing just one of these attitudes could help you become a more successful and more resilient leader.

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Mindset

Getting Your Work-Life Balance Just Right

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Most of us need to work. Quite a lot of us want to work. We enjoy providing for our families and having a sense of financial independence. Having a job means that you can pay the bills, feed your family and enjoy life’s little luxuries. Even a relatively low paid job can be the difference between struggling each week and being a little more comfortable and secure. But work should be more than that. It’s a big part of your life. Many of us work for 40+ hours a week, 47 weeks of the year. If you take away the time that you spend commuting and sleeping, it doesn’t leave much leftover. You spend a great deal of your adult life at work, and it should be more than something that you have to do.

Work can also be a chance to socialise and make friends. It gives you an opportunity to challenge your brain and learn new things. Most of our jobs give us a chance to help other people in one way or another. You might have bad days, that’s only natural, but generally speaking, most of us aim to find a job that we enjoy. That brings more to our life than just the financial benefits of having a regular income.

What is Work-Life Balance?

But, it can only really be these things if you get the balance right. You might have heard people say that you should work to live, not live to work, but for most of us, the ideal solution and spread of our time and happiness is actually somewhere in the middle. You shouldn’t just be working so that you can have a life outside of work. This implies that your work life doesn’t count towards your happiness, and it does. You’ll never entirely be happy at home if you are worried about work, stressed out about work issues, or dreading going in the next day.

But, nor should you be that obsessed by your work that you forget how to live, or fail to give yourself time to live. Even the most ambitious people, would hate to look back on their life and see only work. Working too much means that you don’t give time to your relationships and you always feel under pressure. It can affect your mental health, and you might find yourself feeling lonely. You’d certainly struggle to find happiness in retirement. It can also mean that you don’t take the time to look after your physical health or get enough exercise. Ultimately, working too much can lead to you wearing yourself out. You’ll burn-out, get sick and lose motivation. Working too much and too hard, over time won’t just affect your home life; it can have a negative impact on your work performance.

So, we can see that balance is critical. You want to work enough to earn well and enjoy your job. You might also have goals and ambitions that you want to hit, which is fine. But, working too much and neglecting your home life can lead to illness, stress, burnout and a collapse of relationships. Give some of yourself to work, yes, but create a balance that allows you to enjoy life outside of work, get plenty of sleep and live your life free of stress. Here are some tips to help you to get that often elusive balance in your life.

Let Yourself Be Ill

One of the most significant downsides of a poor work-life balance is that we never have the time to be ill. In a world where most employees feel as though they can’t take time off sick, or phone in when they are sick, most of us are working through all kinds of bugs, which inevitably over time get worse and spread.

If you are struggling, but don’t have time to see a doctor, at least get telemedicine advice to help you to manage your symptoms. But, if they persist, take time off, you are allowed to be ill, and there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Take Days Off

When was the last time you took a proper day off? A day when you didn’t check your work emails, or check in with the workplace WhatsApp group? If you run your own business, chances are it’s been weeks, months or even years since you had a full day in which you didn’t even think about work. As an employee, you might still struggle to go a day without checking emails and replying to work messages.

Take a day off, at least once a week. A day where you avoid all work calls and messages. You could even leave your phone at home and go out for the day. Most of us are guilty of thinking that we have to be reachable all of the time, and many managers are guilty of contacting employees during their downtime. Get out of this habit and give your real life your full attention. It’s not really a balanced life if work always has some of your focus.

Always Have a Holiday Booked

Having something booked is great. It gives you something to look forward to and means that you always know how long until your next break. This can help you to stay motivated at work, but it also means that you are more likely to actually take the time away from the business. When you get back from one break, start planning the next, even if it’s just a cheap long weekend in the same country.

Set Realistic Work Goals

One reason that so many of us struggle to find a work-life balance that is healthy and works for us is setting ourselves massive work targets. We’ve got five-year plans, and in those five years, we want to achieve more, earn more and gain promotions. We set our goals so high that the only way to achieve them is by working much harder, and much more than we need to. Ask yourself if you’d really mind if it took a little longer to achieve these targets if it also meant that you had a happy home life, good health and that you managed to reach some more personal milestones too? Set realistic goals that leave room for some fun.

Watch Those Side Hustles

Although we work much longer hours than we should, up to 40% of us either have or are looking for a side hustle. When money is tight, it can feel as though we need to make as much as we can, and sometimes it’s not possible through employment.

But, these side hustles are only a good idea if they are fun, and don’t feel like work, or they are genuinely worth our time. If your side hustle takes two hours every day but only earns £20 a week, ask yourself if you’d be willing to work for that wage at your job. Value your time, and make sure any work that you do is worth it, either financially or in terms of the joy it brings you.

Expect Ups and Downs

Balance today, won’t be balance next week. Things change. If there’s an illness at home, your family might need more of your time. During a crucial period at work or sudden growth of your own business, you might have to work long hours. Expect periods of ups and downs at work and home, and reorder your time accordingly.

Learn How to Switch Off

If you’ve got used to working all of the time or at least thinking about work all of the time, you might find it hard to switch off. Even if you commit to working set hours every day, you might find that you’re are still thinking about work long after you’ve technically clocked off.

You need to learn how to switch off, which isn’t the same for everyone. Try going for a run, or walking home from work to give yourself a chance to burn off energy and unwind. Perhaps try giving yourself half an hour when you get home to talk about your day before leaving it behind. A bath could work or reading a book on your commute.

As you can see, there’s no fast and easy solution. It’s rarely as simple as deciding to work less and spend more time at home. That in itself isn’t always possible. It’s more of a case of finding smaller ways to save time and change your thought processes, making small changes to your work habits and lifestyle for more significant effects. It’s also important to remember that things change. Getting your work-life balance right is a long-term commitment. What works this week, might not work next year. As your work, and life changes, rethink and restructure to maintain the balance. But, the good news is, once you’ve got used to living a life of balance, where you are free to enjoy work, without it taking over, you’ll be keen to keep it going.

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Mindset

The Ultimate Guide To Finding Professional Satisfaction

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Just because you are in a good nine to five job with exceptional promotion prospects, a decent wage and the people that you work with are a fun bunch to be around doesn’t mean that you will automatically be professionally fulfilled. Sometimes it’s all too easy to slip into a role that’s really easy and leaves you feeling unchallenged and bored. You might be able to do your job with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back. While this might make your days stress free, it can also make them tedious and unsatisfying.

While you could obviously change your job, there are also other things that you can try to help make your days more fulfilling. Your job is a massive part of who you are. After all, you perform these duties eight hours a day, five days a week. If your position is becoming untenable, take a look at this ultimate guide to finding professional satisfaction.

Go It Alone

Forget the humdrum nine to five and working for the man (whoever the man is) and instead branch out alone. While this can be terrifying and leave you feeling daunted at the prospect of relying on your own talents and business acumen to make a living, the challenge could be just what you’re looking for. Before you know it, you might be using your little book of contacts to network and forge a new path in your career.

You may choose to stick to what you know. If you’re working in the financial industry, you might use this as a stepping stone to becoming a self employed accountant specializing in providing services for contractors. Alternatively, you might want to use this opportunity to strike out into a whole new sphere. While marketing suited you at one point, now you might want to follow your passion for all things crafty, selling antiques or importing the latest ball bearings from Hong Kong. Whatever it is that you want to do, now is the time to do it.

Volunteer

Forget changing your job, and consider utilizing your time better. Volunteering and giving back to your local community can be the perfect way to counterbalance your dissatisfaction with your nine to five. Take some time out, just like Cynthia Telles did, and channel your skill set into a more worthwhile area. This was a lady who took it upon herself to volunteer her time in a Costa Rican hospital after she, herself, was once a patient there.

While you might not have such a massive pull toward a particular place to volunteer, you could instead focus on your talents and use them accordingly. Could you put your marketing skills to good use with a local charity? Could you help out your local school with their finances? Consider what you have to offer and get out there and offer it.

Take A Break

Sometimes we can feel stuck in a rut. There’s nothing else for it but to take a break and reassess your life, your goals and where you see yourself going in the future. The simplest way is to take the holiday that you’re owed and find yourself on the next flight to somewhere new. Whether you have two weeks or two months, take the time to consider all of your options.

You may return fresh faced and bushy tailed, and ready to return to your current role. Sometimes a break is all that you need to fall in love with your job all over again. Conversely, you may head overseas to return wanting something more out of your career. This is the time to branch out, send off your resumes to companies that you like the look of and possibly make a career switch. While you might strive for a promotion, a career change may result in a slight demotion for a time as you build up your experience. The positives outweigh the negatives as you’ll be learning a whole new set of skills and feel challenged in your role every single day.

Finding professional satisfaction can be a mythical beast to slay. Often you simply cannot put your finger on what is preventing you from enjoying your job. All you know is that you are bored, you dread waking up in the morning for the long commute, and you live for the weekend and nothing more. However, by following this guide, you can reassess, reflect and decide what it is that you want out of your work life.

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Mindset

How To Stay Ahead Of The Curve And Thrive

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In business, surviving is not good enough. Keeping your head above water so to speak suggests your business is a disaster waiting to happen so you’ve got to change what you’re doing so your business gets a different result.

Clearly if you have started the year believing your business is in ‘survival mode’ right now, it’s most likely behind the curve and you’ve lost control of its destiny, so it’s time to do things differently so you gain back the control.

What Does Staying Ahead of The Curve Mean?

Ahead of the curve or phased another way ‘ahead of the pack’ is an idiom or set phrase.

A more detailed definition of an idiom is, it is a group of words that have a figurative meaning as opposed to a literal definition.

Essentially ‘ahead of the curve or pack have the figurative meaning: you’re out in front, i.e. leading. Relating to business, the products, services etc are better than competitor offerings.

Clearly this is the perfect position for your business to be in. You’ve got something that’s better than the competition however this doesn’t mean your business automatically succeeds.

Having the world’s best products or service is the perfect starting point, but if at the same time they’re the world’s best kept secret, your business is not likely to succeed and thrive.

Operating a business requires a plan, systems, processes, strategies and great people.

Leadership

Stepping into the leadership role and driving the business in the right direction falls on your shoulders as the business owner/operator.

If being a leader is not for you, don’t persevere in the role, hire someone more suited to taking calculated risks, and asserting control of the operation.

The creator of leading edge products may start the business however they can only take it so far. Their skillset usually doesn’t extend to executive leadership and failure to let go of the operations is why so many small businesses fail with the first few years.

Mindset

When a business is stagnating, change is needed. Continuing to take the same actions and getting the same results will likely drown the business if not immediately it will happen, so there’s a chance you’ll be in denial for while, and even feel optimistic that it’s turned the corner. However without an injection of inspiration and change, the end is nigh. Therefore fight any resistance to change starting with your mindset.

Adopting a ‘growth mindset’ that motivates productivity is key and it’s likely injecting the business with external resources is also required. The saying: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is likely to apply to you, with the right professional input, you’ll break those hard and fast habits for the business.

In this article these areas of change promote the right mindset to focus on putting your best foot forward so your business does an about turn and eventually gets ahead of the curve and thus it’s main competitors.

Be Extraordinary, not Ordinary

Fight the desire to follow everyone else. Focus on where you want your business to be i.e. leading, not following. Set your one standards and live by them and them alone. To do so effectively you’ll need to set up some key measurements in place so you know you’re on the right track.

Objectives

Start with defining the key objectives of the business. Use the four Ws and one H i.e. what, where, why, when and how. To leave nothing to chance, remember to aim BIG.

If your objectives are to achieve the same as your competitors your business won’t be ahead of the curve, so that’s not good enough. You reap what you sow so go for it and surprise yourself with your new ‘take over the world’ attitude.

Do everything better

To do better you need to analyse what’s been happening in the business up to now. There will be some parts that are working well and they will need just tweak or two to improve their performance. That’s the easy part. 🙂

There will be major change required in the poor performing areas and this is where you need to use your external resources i.e. consultants, or mentors who are not emotionally tied to the business.

Implement the changes and deal with the resulting initial fallout with the help of your new operations leader or leadership team (internal and external stakeholders).

Now Own It

Now is the time to ‘own it’. Dominate the market and keep going. Remember to review your progress and keep refining your processes and systems. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing in our comments area.

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Mindset

Worried about tricky job interview questions? Here’s how you can nail them!

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So you have meritoriously cleared the first screening round and have been invited for a face to face interview?

Firstly, congratulations on landing a job interview in this competitive job scenario, but the real test of your ability is yet to commence.

The Interview

With the growing need for securing a position in a reputable organization and the dearth of relevant skills and knowledge, the recruitment process especially the interviews are becoming increasingly tough to crack. The questions are no longer straightforward, “so elaborate me in this skill of yours?”, Instead, they have evolved and taken a more practical form.

The severity of interview questions depends on the industries, but there are specific reasons behind interviewers shooting tough questions:

  • This way they measure your experience level and expertise in the skill that you have mentioned in your resume;
  • This helps them analyze your body language and thought process when met with extremities;
  • This also helps them gain a better understanding of your personality.

But just like the tough and tricky questions, there are crafty ways of answering them. In our today’s post let us discuss some common tricky questions and how to answer them tactfully:

Q: What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Interviewers ask this question to gauge upon your values and how is your attitude towards problems. This way they observe what you can bring to the table and how can you contribute to the organization’s goals. The Interview board is looking for candidates who can fill the gap with their practical experience. Hence tailor your answer that best demonstrates your expertise with skills in equal measure.

Q: What is your weakness?

This is one of the trickiest questions, answering which without giving any thought could land you in a soup as it might reveal your shortcomings. Remember not to mention any of the skills that are required in the position you are hopeful of. A similar question they can ask is, “Do you have any regrets?”. Articulate your answers in a manner that it shows that you are self-aware but are also working on your being better day by day.

Q: Why are you leaving your present company?

The immediate answer of most candidates for this question is, throwing their current company under the bus for whatever negative experience forced them to leave it. But we would suggest you prepare for it if that is the case. Maneuver your answer so that it implies that your experience in the present company is fulfilling, but you’re looking for a greater playfield to enhance your skills and expertise. If you are being laid off, be honest and say that instead of bashing your previous employer.

Q: Explain the gap in your work history?

Unless you have explicitly mentioned in your resume that you have utilized your skills in those gap years, be prepared to get pressed on this subject by the interviewer. It is advisable to stay honest but also refrain from talking foul of your previous employer. Emphasize how the knowledge gained in your gap years will add value to the position you have applied for.

Q: How do you react in the face of failure?

Another way of asking the same question, “Are you willing to fail?” Although your immediate response would be “No” because to say yes would be to put your proficiency in a suspicious state of not being up to the mark. The contention behind asking this question would be to judge how to retaliate in tough situations and what would be your thought process in the event of a failure?

A smart way to answer this question is by acknowledging the importance of failure in helping you become a better person and then quoting examples of events where you have failed and learned a lesson from it and how that lesson will help you add value to the position and organization you are interviewing for.

So instead of sitting worried about the interview, we would suggest you brainstorm and come up with creative sometimes funny answers that you can reply to the interviewer. Just like it is not necessary that all questions will be tough; similarly it is not essential that all questions are going to be easy.

Like they say always prepare for the worst, a candidate should always stay prepared for whichever questions, easy or tough, where the aforementioned list will be of assistance.

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Mindset

How to Start a Resume Business to Help Others Succeed

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Do you have a knack for writing resumes? Are you the person your friends always turn to when they need help beefing up or reworking their resumes?

If so, you may want to consider starting a resume writing business. A resume business involves helping others create their resumes from scratch or rework their resumes for a set fee.

You may work with anyone from waiters to engineers to business executives. And, the best part is that you get the satisfaction of knowing your services helped someone land their dream job.

So, where do you get started?

Read on to learn how to start a resume business to help others succeed.

Do the Necessary Housekeeping Involved in Starting a Business

First things first, you’ll want to get some of the boring stuff out of the way. That is, you’ll need to take care of all the housekeeping that comes with starting a business.

Here’s what should be on your initial checklist to start your business:

  • Create a business plan: Consider your initial startup costs, your target market, and how long it will take for your resume business to break even
  • Register your business: Be sure to check with your Secretary of State about any licenses or registrations you may need
  • Register for taxes: There are a variety of state and federal taxes you will need to register for before you open your business
  • Open a business bank account and set up business accounting
  • Get business insurance

While these tasks certainly can feel tedious, you’ll be thanking yourself later on for taking care of them right away.

Promoting Your Resume Business

The resume writing services spend a lot of time promoting and marketing their business.

Word of mouth can certainly be a great place to start, but after a while, those leads will dry up.

In order to get the word out about your services, you will first want to create a website. Here you can share a little bit about yourself and your qualifications, and you can also list your services and rates.

It’s also a good idea to create social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You may even want to consider starting a Youtube channel where you create short videos about writing the perfect resume.

You will also want to create some simple marketing materials to start, such as business cards and flyers.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to get in touch with local staffing agencies, as they can often refer you to job seekers who need help creating resumes.

If you’re struggling to get clients, it can also be beneficial to offer your services for free so you can get some samples and references on your website.

Get the Right Credentials

People will take you much more seriously as a resume writer if you have the right credentials.

Joining professional associations is a good way to demonstrate that you are qualified to write resumes. Two associations you’ll want to consider joining are the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and the National Resume Writers’ Association.

Are You Ready to Start Your Resume Business?

As you can see, starting a resume business takes some work. However, once you get the ball rolling, things will be much easier and you’ll soon be able to focus solely on finding and helping your clients.

If you have any questions about starting a resume business, leave a comment below.

And, be sure to check out these 5 content marketing ideas that can bring traffic to your resume website.

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