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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    kevin o'leary

    We all know Mr. Wonderful. He’s the shrewd and sometimes insolent shark on ABC’s "Shark Tank."

    Whether you love or hate him, there’s one thing we can agree on: he speaks the unfiltered truth.

    I recently met with Kevin O’Leary to talk about business, entrepreneurship and life.

    The best part of our meeting was that I left with five of the most memorable business mantras ever.

    1. If it’s got rabies, kill it.

    O’Leary says that he can’t stand when his fellow sharks endorse terrible business ideas. He notes that the other sharks don’t want to hurt the feelings of a budding entrepreneur, so they will send them off the show with a pat on the back and kind words about their business idea. This type of coddling, O’Leary says, is an absolute disservice to that entrepreneur.

    Related: 10 Kevin O'Leary Quotes Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

    Sure, the truth hurts sometimes, but O’Leary says he has no problem telling someone that their idea is bad and doomed to fail. He says that if an animal has rabies, you don’t send it off to get better, you kill it. He feels it’s his obligation to do that for contestants who come on the show with really awful business ideas.

    2. Work for the white space.

    O’Leary keeps a crazy schedule. He gives all credit to his assistant, Nancy, for keeping his life on track. She color codes his calendar based on what type of appointment it is. He says that the goal of every entrepreneur should be to control the space on your calendar.

    Some of the calendar should remain white each month, O’Leary insists. This is his time to do what he wants. He says that what every entrepreneur really wants is freedom, and so the goal should be to get to a point in business where you have plenty of white space on your calendar to do what you love.

    3. Killing money is a crime.

    This is one of the reasons why O’Leary has no problem telling an entrepreneur when they have a lousy idea. He hates seeing good money being thrown out the window. That being said, as a shark he’s always looking for entrepreneurs who have solved a problem that nobody else has solved.

    For example, O’Leary says that Wicked Good Cupcakes is one of the most successful businesses he has invested in on "Shark Tank."

    wicked good cupcakes in a jar

    Its cupcakes are sold in glass mason jars. Not only are they the best cupcakes you will ever eat, he says, they stay fresh in the jars and are easy to ship for gifts across the country.

    Related: Robert Herjavec: 'The World Doesn't Reward Mediocrity.'

    4. I’m your best friend. I don’t care about your feelings.

    In seeking advice for any business, O’Leary says to find mentors, coaches and business advisors who don’t care about your feelings. This is the strength that O’Leary says he brings to the table on "Shark Tank." He notes that it’s important to find people who will tell you real advice, based on the business idea at hand, not on the emotions of the entrepreneur.

    5. If you want something done, hire a busy mom.

    At the start of 2015, O’Leary wrote off one-third of the 27 businesses he still held in his business portfolio from "Shark Tank." He then analyzed the remaining businesses to see what they had in common so that he could make better investing decisions in the future. What was the one common thread that all of his high performing businesses had? They were all lead by women.

    O’Leary says that he’s come to believe that if you want to find entrepreneurs who get things done, then find busy moms who are juggling a million things at once, because somehow they also manage to run and grow great businesses.

    For example, Tracey Noonan and Dani Vilagie, the co-founders of Wicked Good Cupcakes. They are constantly traveling and doing media while also growing the business, improving processes, inventing new products and helping other family members who need them personally. O’Leary says he holds a deep admiration for working moms and when it comes to entrepreneurship, often sees their business ideas as a sound investment.

    SEE ALSO: The 3 principles 'Shark Tank' investor Kevin O'Leary used to build his investment company came from his mother

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 11 ways to avoid distractions and stay focused

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    laughing leader

    During the boss’s last weekly staff meeting, everyone was texting just below the conference table.

    He thought the sudden cheer by two employees meant he’d said something clever (when it was really a score in a Brazilian soccer game).

    There’s a reason why motivational speakers start with a joke or a humorous anecdote — it captures the audience’s attention, lightens the mood, sets positive expectations and motivates everyone to be more productive.

    In a study from the Journal of Applied Psychology, just one use of humor among work teams resulted in improved performance not just immediately, but up to two years later. Levity also improves recall. It is often the shortest pipeline to the memory banks.

    How much bantering you should try depends on your corporate culture. But even in the stuffiest boardroom, there is an appreciation of well-timed lightheartedness.  An upbeat atmosphere encourages innovation and smart risks, which lead to greater productivity.

    Here are some tips on applying “intelligent humor” to your job:

    1. Test the waters. 

    Try a lighthearted comment or your own brand of wit at your next appropriate opportunity. It may go completely over someone’s head—but it may also elicit an equally funny response or facilitate creativity, as you create a fertile, safe ground for thinking out of the proverbial box.

    2. Build trust, camaraderie, and honesty. 

    When you use humor effectively, you project that there is a real person behind the routine, professional business façade. A manager who infuses laughter among the team engenders an open and honest work environment.

    3. Share the spotlight. 

    You don’t want to be known as the only employee with the “witty gene,” so let others shine, too. The goal is to be more productive, not engage in one-upmanship joke-a-thon.

    4. Put others at ease. 

    An occasional self-deprecating joke or amusing anecdote can shift a dicey dynamic in most any meeting. There are few better ways to break the tension barrier. Knowing that a coworker has the ability to be lighthearted establishes a fertile ground for better problem solving.

    5. Manage your manager. 

    Perhaps you have a tough boss, where you feel you can’t be yourself. Many employees are surprised to see that they can break through the façade of their most difficult managers by adding levity to the equation. In fact, I have seen entire dynamics change between boss and employee. Granted, it is hard to bravely take the first step, but it's well worth it.

    6. Don’t make a joke at another’s expense. 

    It’s sometimes easy to take a potshot at a co-worker, but a good rule of thumb is that if you think your joke might be at someone else’s expense, then it probably is. A clever, lighthearted comment will often boost morale. Just be sure that in your zeal to entertain others, your humor doesn’t alienate.

    7. Lessen the stress. 

    If you can see the lighter side of situations at the office, you will make the workplace more relaxing and create a better sense of calm around you. We all want to be around upbeat colleagues.

    8. Increase your odds at the interview. 

    Job interviews require you to be professional, but that shouldn’t exclude the use of some clever levity. Most hiring managers are drawn to job candidates who know how to put others at ease with a knack of humor; it’s usually associated with a high degree of emotional intelligence.

    It may take awhile to develop a comfortable way to use levity in your job, but it’s a worthy pursuit. The goal isn’t to be voted funniest employee, or force yourself to be someone you're not. By being aware of the benefits of adding some wittiness to your “brand,” you’ll likely accelerate your success at your job and in your career.

    Lynn Taylor is a national workplace expert, author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior & Thrive in Your Job," and CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting.

    SEE ALSO: 13 secrets for performing better under pressure

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share

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    Woman in Hammock with Laptop

    We all want an awesome life. And very often you know what you need to do to improve it … but you don’t do it.

    I don’t blame you. Hey, some of that stuff is hard. (I should know. I write about it all the time.)

    Isn’t there an easy, passive way where your flaws start correcting themselves, you gain respectable goals and become much, much happier?

    Well, at least in theory, there just might be. I called somebody to find out.

    Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a professor at Yale University and directs the Human Nature Lab there. He is the author (with James Fowler) of "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives."

    Here’s his TED talk:

    Tons of research (and common sense) shows that the people around you influence your behavior. In fact, they influence it a lot more than you might think and probably more than you’re comfortable with admitting.

    But here’s the really crazy part: not only do your friends affect your behavior, so do their friends. And their friends’ friends. Here’s Nicholas:

    Across many different kinds of behavior: voting, cooperation, smoking, weight loss and weight gain, happiness, cooperative behavior, public health behaviors, we and others have been able to show that people are very meaningfully affected by the behaviors of other people to whom they’re connected. And here’s the kicker: they are also affected by the behaviors of people to whom they’re not directly connected. When your friend’s friends quit smoking or your friend’s friends friend become nicer and more cooperative, this ripples through the network and affects you. Similarly, when you make a positive change in your life, when you start running for example, or you participate in our democracy and you vote, it ripples outward from you and can affect dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other people.

    So if you spend time with different people, could you become a different person?

    Want the laziest way to improve your life? The prescription is simple…

    businessmen mentor work suits

    1. Hang around the people you want to be

    The Longevity Project, which studied over 1000 people from youth to death had this to say:

    The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.

    In Charles Duhigg’s excellent book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business":

    In a 1994 Harvard study that examined people who had radically changed their lives, for instance, researchers found that some people had remade their habits after a personal tragedy … Just as frequently, however, there was no tragedy that preceded people’s transformations. Rather, they changed because they were embedded in social groups that made change easier … When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.

    Many researchers I have spoken to, from Duke’s Dan Ariely to Cornell’s Brian Wansink, have emphasized context as the most powerful (and most ignored) catalyst for changing your life.

    But what if you’re not even trying to make big changes in your life? What if you just want to be treated well? Turns out altruism and jerk-itude also move through networks. Here’s Nicholas:

    We’ve shown that altruistic behavior ripples through networks and so does meanness. Networks will magnify whatever they are seeded with. They will magnify Ebola and fascism and unhappiness and violence, but also they will magnify love and altruism and happiness and information.

    And the workplace isn’t much different. Behavior is contagious there, too.

    Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People:

    Psychologists have observed that bad habits can spread through an office like a contagious disease. Employees tend to mirror the bad behaviors of their co-workers, with factors as diverse as low morale, poor working habits, and theft from the employer all rising based on the negative behavior of peers. – Greene 1999

    When I spoke to Stanford GSB professor Bob Sutton, he told me his #1 piece of advice to students was this:

    When you take a job take a long look at the people you’re going to be working with — because the odds are you’re going to become like them, they are not going to become like you.

    (For more on how to get people to like you, from an FBI behavior expert, click here.)

    So the people around you can unconsciously affect your behavior in many ways — positive and negative. Let’s focus on one thing we’re all interested in: happiness. Because this is where it gets really interesting… 

    2. Making friends = making happiness

    Would an extra $10,000 dollars a year make you happier? I’ll assume you’re nodding. Research shows 10K only provides a 2% increased chance of happiness.

    Meanwhile, being surrounded by happy friends makes you 15% more likely to be happy.

    Even if a friend of a friend of a friend becomes happier, that means a 6% chance you will become happier.

    So the happiness of people you have never met — and may never meet — is three times as powerful as money.

    Via "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives":

    An extra $5,000 in 1984 dollars (which corresponds to about $10,000 in 2009 dollars) was associated with only a 2 percent increased chance of a person being happy. So, having happy friends and relatives appears to be a more effective predictor of happiness than earning more money. And the amazing thing is that even people who are three degrees removed from you, whom you may have never met, can have a stronger impact on your personal happiness than a wad of hundreds in your pocket.

    A happy friend increases the likelihood of you being happy by 9%. An unhappy friend means a 7% decrease.

    You don’t need a degree in accounting to figure out what that means: overall, more friends = more happiness.

    Spending time making friends has a higher happiness ROI than time spent making money. So next time you meet up with a happy pal, ask them to bring a friend. Even a lazy person can manage that.

    Via "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives":

    We found that each happy friend a person has increases that person’s probability of being happy by about 9 percent. Each unhappy friend decreases it by 7 percent. So if you were simply playing the averages, and you didn’t know anything about the emotional state of a new person you just met, you would probably want to be friends with her. She might make you unhappy, but there is a better chance she will make you happy. This helps to explain why past researchers have found an association between happiness and the number of friends and family.

    Here’s the really interesting part: you can totally rig the system. It’s the scientific version of karma.

    With the effect spanning three degrees, there’s a good chance making a small effort to make friends happier will flow back to you.

    Nicholas found that if a friend became happy in the past six months there’s a 45% chance your happiness will increase.

    (For more on what you can learn from the happiest people in the world, click here.)

    So, lazy bones, are you willing to send a couple emails or texts to dramatically increase your happiness? Here’s how.

    3. Introduce friends to friends

    businessmen shaking handsUnsurprisingly, people at the periphery of a network have fewer friends and are more likely to be lonely.

    And yes, that loneliness can flow back three degrees to you. (And no, you can’t easily track these people down and kick them out of your network.) Know what you can do? Introduce your friends to each other.

    Again, happy friends means a 9% gain, unhappy friend means a 7% loss. All other things being equal, I’ll take those odds in Vegas any day. This strengthens the network, and increases everyone’s chance of staying happy.

    Via "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives":

    At the periphery, people have fewer friends; this makes them lonely, but this also tends to drive them to cut the few ties that they have left. But before they do, they may infect their friends with the same feeling of loneliness, starting the cycle anew. These reinforcing effects mean that our social fabric can fray at the edges, like a strand of yarn that comes loose from the sleeve of a sweater. If we are concerned about combating the feeling of loneliness in our society, we should aggressively target the people at the periphery with interventions to repair their social networks. By helping them, we can create a protective barrier against loneliness that will keep the whole network from unraveling.

    (To learn the 4 most common relationship problems — and how to fix them, click here.)

    So a few tiny efforts can yield massive positive change in your life. Let’s round up the details and learn two other fascinating tidbits that can change the way you see the world — and make that world a better place.

    Sum up

    Here’s what we can learn from Nicholas:

    • Hang out with the people you want to be: Behaviors spread like a virus. Make sure it’s one you want to be infected with.
    • Make more friends. Time spent making friends has a higher happiness ROI than time spent making money.
    • Introduce friends to friends. Friends becoming happy increases your chance of happiness by 45%. Keeping the network happy protects you against unhappiness.

    Other research Nicholas did turned up something truly heartwarming: friends are family. Quite literally. Here’s Nicholas:

    We looked at the genetic similarity between friends and we found that on a very deep level you resemble your friends genetically. What this means is that, basically, your friends are kin that you choose. What we found in one of our papers was that, roughly speaking, your friends are something like your fourth cousin.

    And one last thing: keep in mind that Nicholas’ research also gives you great power. And, as all good Spider-Man fans know, with “great power comes great responsibility.” Here’s Nicholas:

    It’s very important for people to understand that when they make a positive change in their lives it doesn’t just affect them. It affects everyone they know and many of the people that those people know and many of the people that those people in turn know. If you make a positive change in your life it actually ripples through the social fabric and comes to benefit many other people. This recognition that we are all connected and that in our connectedness we affect each other’s lives I think is a very fundamental and moving observation of our humanity.

    When you make a positive change in your life, it affects the people around you and ripples out to others.

    So you can be lazy and see benefits by surrounding yourself with great people — but you can also choose to make strides in your life, even small ones, and contagiously pass those benefits to those you care about.

    Making yourself a better person isn’t a gift you only give to yourself. It’s a gift you give to the world.

    Spread the happiness virus! Share this with friends (and friends of friends, and friends of … you get it.)

    SEE ALSO: 7 mindsets that can change your career for the better

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 11 ways to avoid distractions and stay focused

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    talking chatting networking

    Letting others dictate our thoughts and emotions is easy.

    People give away their power when they lack physical and emotional boundaries, psychotherapist Amy Morin writes in her book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do."

    In the book, Morin writes mentally strong people don't give away their power because it can negatively affect your career, relationships, and self-worth.

    But Morin says she's had everyone from CEOs to government officials tell her this is a major struggle for them.

    "It's clear that even really powerful people still find themselves giving away their power by blaming other people for how they feel," she says. "Sometimes, they also acknowledge that they spend way too much time and energy thinking about negative people."

    Here are some ways mentally strong people avoid giving away their power:

    1. Use language that acknowledges your choice.

    It's easy to give away your power without even realizing it. It's as simple as "saying that someone makes you mad" or "claiming that you have to do something," Morin says.

    Yes, other people will have an influence on your thoughts and feelings, but it's important that our language leads to better behavior. "Recognize that you have the power to control how you think, feel, and behave," Morin says.

    2. Set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people.

    If you're feeling like you will get angry or stressed, set physical and emotional boundaries and don't let other people infringe on them. "People with poor boundaries are likely to get upset when you set limits, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong," Morin says.

    For example, each time you say yes to something you really don't want to do, you're giving the other person power over you. The same thing happens if you don't like the way someone treats you but you refuse to stand up for yourself, Morin writes in her book.

    3. Behave proactively by making conscious choices about how you'll respond to others.

    It all starts with awareness and knowing which people are most likely to bring out the worst in you, Morin says. She explains that it's important to do anything you can to avoid unproductive arguments and keep your temper in check.

    "Make a conscious choice to behave in accordance with your values, despite your circumstances," Morin says.

    4. Take full responsibility for how you choose to spend your time and energy.

    It's important that you don't allow yourself to feel like a victim of other people, Morin says, because anything you do is in your control.

    "Rather than insist you had to spend time with your mother-in-law, acknowledge that it's your choice," she says.

    The same goes for working late: "Don't insist your boss makes you work late," Morin says. "There may be consequences if you don't work late, but it's still a choice."

    5. Choose to forgive people regardless of whether they seek to make amends.

    "Waiting for someone to apologize before you offer forgiveness gives that individual power over you," Morin says. "Let go of the hurt, pain, or anger for your own sake, rather than waiting for proof the other individual feels sorry."

    Holding a grudge will only hurt you, she says. It's your choice to forgive someone else and move past whatever might have happened.

    6. Be willing to examine feedback and criticism without jumping to conclusions.

    Regardless of your field or your job title, you are bound to be given some type of feedback, both positive and critical. Either way, and especially when it's negative, it's important not to let it dictate how you feel about yourself, Morin says.

    "While it's healthy to evaluate feedback from others to see if it has any merit, automatically becoming defensive or believing criticism is true isn't helpful," she says.

    SEE ALSO: 13 things mentally strong people don't do

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 10 trickiest Goldman Sachs interview questions

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    In an ideal world, we would be judged by the work we do. Unfortunately, professional success often goes beyond an individual's work ethic and performance; there are lesser known factors that play a role in an employer's decision to offer a promotion.

    According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, there are nine (superficial) factors that may be preventing you from getting that deserved promotion.

    BI_Graphics_9 Appearance mistakes that are holding you back at work

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Silicon Valley

    Startups come in all shapes and all sizes, with personalities that are as diverse as the people who run them.

    However, there’s a certain type of office culture that has pervaded the public perception of startups, and it’s starting to have a major impact on how a new entrepreneur handles his or her own startup’s respective culture.

    As stories of breakout successes from Silicon Valley and tech startups on TV shows and movies all seem to align with this perceived culture of lax standards and great personal freedom, more emerging entrepreneurs begin to believe that this is the only way to succeed as a young business.

    Realistically, this stereotypical startup culture can be highly effective, because their hours are flexible; workers are happier and in many cases, more productive; offices are “fun,” with more people wanting to work there and clients get an intriguing first impression; and because interoffice politics are casual and open, more personal conversations can help drive the company forward.

    Related: The 2 Most Common Company Culture Mistakes You Need to Avoid

    However, this type of culture, like any other, has drawbacks to go along with its benefits. Stereotypical startup culture is not appropriate for every new business, as these five hidden dangers illustrate:

    1. Hiring based on charisma

    In dozens of articles about the importance of office culture, we’re told that your new hires all need to get along and that you need to hire based on personality as much as you do on skillset. This is true. Personality and “culture fit” are important considerations — but they’re not the most important considerations.

    Your hiring decisions need to be based on who is going to make your company successful. Backgrounds, skillsets and work ethics are far more important than whether someone is good at ping pong (though if they’re good at ping pong, that’s an added bonus). Hiring based on charisma alone will fundamentally weaken your team.

    2. Spending too much money

    “Fun” office cultures usually require toys and flexible environments, such as pool tables or large, open spaces for relaxed collaboration. Many new entrepreneurs believe that these things will help them establish a reputation and make good first impressions on new hires and new clients.

    Again, this is partially true, but it should not be your priority. This type of institution can set you back thousands of dollars before you even launch a product. Instead of investing in a “fun” office, save money and only invest in what’s important for your initial launch. The fun stuff can come later.

    3. Making emotional decisions

    Working in a personal, conversational, laid-back atmosphere can reduce your stress and make you feel more like you’re a part of a family than you are a boss of a bunch of employees. This can be valuable in the moment, but it can also open you up to make emotional decisions. You might avoid firing an incompetent worker because he’s your pal, or avoid changing the course of your business because it might introduce too much pressure to the environment.

    Related: How Strong Company Values Build the Team Fledgling Startups Need

    4. Establishing no clear hierarchy 

    Along similar lines, it’s easy for this type of startup culture to encourage blurred lines between workers and supervisors. As the founder and CEO, it might be your signature on people’s paychecks, but in daily operations, everyone’s voice is heard equally.

    Most days, this democratic approach will keep everyone happy, but as soon as there’s a problem with no clear leader to direct the ship, everything will fall to pieces. Democracies are great in theory, but leadership is necessary for when the going gets tough and immediate, hard decisions need to be made.

    5. Forgetting the bottom line

    Your motivations for starting the business probably go beyond “turning a profit,” but without sufficient revenue, your business won’t be able to succeed. In this way, making a profit (or at least breaking even) is always the bottom line.

    When you’re managing a fun, relaxed office culture, it’s easy to forget this. Your problems shift from incrementally increasing productivity to incrementally increasing high-fives. You lose focus on what’s really going to drive your business forward. Don’t let it happen.

    Compared to the strength and timing of your idea, your available startup capital and your overall business plan, your startup’s culture is small potatoes. But if you want to succeed and keep your team happy, it deserves careful attention.

    Don’t build a company culture that’s a carbon copy of one you’ve seen on TV or one you’ve read about in the news. Instead, build the culture that’s right for your business. Think carefully about what your business needs to be successful, and how you want your brand to be perceived.

    Your startup is unique, so don’t do it the disservice of using it as a host for someone else’s vision of office culture.

    SEE ALSO: Beat your fear of public speaking with these 7 science-backed strategies

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why we have to give our business partners the power to destroy us

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    shark tank

    She calls herself a mixologist, but you won’t find Melissa Butler crafting signature cocktails behind the bar.

    Instead, Butler serves up bright and bold colors for the perfect pout as the creator and owner of the Lip Bar, a paraben-free, vegan lipstick company.

    From Amaretto Sour (cool camel) to Kamikaze (a Tiffany & Co. teal), the brand, which started in 2012 and has a celebrity fan in Jordin Sparks, will make any pucker pop.

    The Lip Bar’s success — the business raked in $107,000 in its first two years — landed Butler on the popular entrepreneurial reality show, "Shark Tank."

    The sharks, however, wouldn’t bite. One even snubbed the brand when he said, “I can see a massive market share in the clown market,” and called Butler and her creative director “colorful cockroaches” before they walked away without a deal. Whoa. Cringe-worthy TV.

    The experience didn’t halt the Lip Bar’s growth. Soon after the episode aired in February, the Lip Bar had a spike in sales and an increase in traffic on the company’s website. Butler then hit the road when she launched the Lip Bar mobile — a truck outfitted with Lip Bar cosmetics, touring across the country to give customers a one-on-one retail experience and to increase the brand’s reach. Take that, sharks!

    Butler didn’t get a deal, but she learned a few things about redemption after rejection. As Elizabeth Taylor once said, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” In the spirit of the Dame, Butler did just that. Here are her top tips for moving from rejection to re-invention.

    1. Tighten your message. 

    “Being on the show made me realize we were sending too many messages. We had the whole natural and vegan theme and the bar theme. The sharks noticed that it was too much. You can only get one sticky message out there. The reason why the Lip Bar exists is to empower women through self-expressive cosmetics that are responsibly made. Our message kind of got lost in promoting our wide range of colors and the bar theme.

    "The 'Shark Tank' experience made me hone in on our messaging a lot more. We’re doing a lot of new branding initiatives. Right now we are revamping our entire website and focusing on empowerment. The whole idea is that all women are beautiful and they don’t have to settle for less.”

    2. Not everyone will understand your vision (and that’s OK). 

    “I started the Lip Bar because I was extremely frustrated with how beauty is one-dimensional and how beauty brands reaffirm that there is a certain standard of beauty. The Sharks didn’t agree with my vision. They didn’t think my brand would be able to grow because the market is saturated. They are a group of people I have to prove wrong.

    "There are still women out here who think that they aren’t good enough or think they have to change their entire face in order to be considered beautiful. I want to fight that. Not everyone is going to get your vision and that’s OK. When you start a business, it’s very easy to get caught up in numbers and validation from others. The key is to always remember why you started.”

    Related: How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

    3. Your work is not your worth. 

    “When you work on a business like this, it becomes a part of you. It’s very important to remember the Lip Bar is the Lip Bar and Melissa is Melissa. So when someone is being critical of the Lip Bar, it may seem as though they are being critical of me. I think it’s important to understand your work is not worth. You have to separate the two.

    "That’s a big takeaway from an experience like this. Remember you are a person. You don’t know everything. There will be criticism about your business, but you don’t suck!”

    Related: An Open Letter to All Young Women of Wall Street

    4. Own the moment. 

    “When we found out that our episode was going to air, my heart dropped. I remembered thinking, Oh my God, it was terrible! Will being on the show ruin us? Am I going to look like a babbling idiot? I was legitimately nervous and didn’t watch the show when it aired. After the third day, I watched it. It was a stab to my ego to share that moment with the world, but I learned it could be good for the brand. So we started promoting the video all over social media and we did a reaction video and put it on our website.

    "Owning the moment allowed us to take the momentum and build on it. The experience connected us to customers. People say, ‘Oh wait, I know that girl. I know her story. I want to support her journey.’ That’s one of the benefits of the sharks being so harsh. With the Lip Bar truck and our tour, so many people have told me how brave I was to go on the show.”

    5. You can bounce back — stronger than ever. 

    “Of course it would have been nice to get a deal. It would have been nice to work with an investor with so many connections. We didn’t get a deal, but we did get a lot of exposure that helped us grow. [The night our episode aired] our website got 30,000 hits. It brought us new customers too — we received 500 orders in one night. Retailers like Nasty Gal and Frends Beauty picked us up. 'Shark Tank was not a defeat.' It was actually the ultimate win.”

    SEE ALSO: 6 'Shark Tank' companies that are crushing the competition

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    raining umbrellaLinkedIn Influencer Bernard Marr published this post originally on LinkedIn.

    Have you ever known someone that was clearly just phoning it in at work and wondered, “Why don’t you just quit?”

    The answer may be that they never thought of it. 

    Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the day to day busywork and minutiae of our jobs that we forget that work isn’t supposed to feel like nails on a chalkboard every moment of every day.  

    Sure, work should be challenging and you should have to, well, work at it (otherwise they’d call it play), but it doesn’t have to feel like you’re dying a little every day. 

    Check out these ten tell-tale signs you’re ready to quit your job and see if you recognize any of them: 

    1. You have a case of the Mondays — all week long.

    It’s not a myth: Not everyone dreads going to work every day. If you wake up every weekday with a sense of foreboding about what the day holds, it might be time to examine what’s making you feel that way. Is it a specific task? A particular person? Or are you just bored? Whatever the answer, if there’s not a clear way to fix it within the confines of your current job, it’s time to look for a new one.

    2. The company is sinking — fast.

    If you have a feeling your company is failing or might be a zombie, the time to get out is now. Layoffs are never pretty, and it’s always better to leave on your own terms rather than theirs.

    3. Watercooler chat centers around how bad the company is.

    If everyone’s favorite topic of conversation is how bad things have gotten, it’s a good sign it’s time to move on. When everyone is unhappy, it proves that it’s not just a personal problem with you and that the company may have more underlying problems.

    4. You’re bored.

    If you’re bored with your work — whether it’s repetitive and menial or complex and technical — it’s a good sign it’s time to quit. You’re clearly seeking more mental stimulation and would be happier in a job that required more brain power from you.

    5. You’re stuck.

    If you want to move up in your career but haven’t been able to with your current company, for whatever reason, it may be time to go elsewhere. You want to be somewhere where your talents are recognized and where you can see a clear path for your career goals.

    6. You’re constantly stressed.

    Constant stress isn’t healthy for a whole host of reasons. Beyond any psychological implications, chronic stress has additional health repercussions that can range from insomnia and depression all the way to hypertension, heart attack and stroke. If you’d like to keep your health, it may be time to look for a less stressful job.

    7. You don’t respect your bosses.

    If you don’t respect your bosses or managers (for whatever reason) it’s not a problem that’s likely to go away. Mutual respect is paramount in a good working relationship, and it’s hard to fake. So if you don’t respect your superiors, it’s probably time to move on.

    8. Your life is suffering.

    Your relationships outside of work, especially with your partner and children, are not worth ruining over a job. If your relationships are suffering, I don’t care what the benefits package looks like: it’s time to go.

    9. You don’t fit in with the company culture.

    If you feel like a round peg in a square hole, your current company may not be for you in the long term.  People like to be around others who are similar to them, in at least some ways. If you don’t fit in with the company culture or no longer believe in the company vision or mission, do yourself a favor and find someplace you feel more at home.

    10. You’re being harassed.

    Hopefully this should go without saying, but if you’re being abused or harassed at work, or if you’re aware of any kind of illegal behavior going on around you, you should get the heck out of Dodge. That sort of situation is never acceptable.

    Any of those sound like you? More than one?  Then dust off that resume, take a skills assessment, and start planning your escape.  There’s no reason to be that miserable at work.

    More from Bernard Marr:

    SEE ALSO: 12 signs you're suffering from job burnout

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    Bedroom in Apartment

    For those of us who aren't natural early birds, the thought of being productive in the morning seems unlikely.

    Just finding time to eat can be difficult, even though eating breakfast has been correlated with increased energy and productivity, better overall health, and a better mood.

    But there's an easier, less time-consuming way to start the day off right, and it only takes a minute: Make your bed.

    When your parents forced you to make your bed as a kid, you probably thought it was a waste of time. You're just going to mess it up again at night, right? 

    Well, whether they knew it or not, the benefits extend beyond tidiness.

    In his book "The Power of Habit," author Charles Duhigg writes that getting into the routine of making your bed every morning is correlated with increased productivity.

    Making your bed doesn't necessarily cause you to get more done at work, Duhigg writes, but it's a "keystone habit" that can spark "chain reactions that help other good habits take hold."

    In addition to being more productive, people that consistently make their beds also tend to have "a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget," Duhigg writes. 

    Additionally, "bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested,"Psychology Today reports.

    It's a simple habit, and in one minute or less, you might feel productive before you've even had breakfast.

    SEE ALSO: 12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast

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    Student Studying in Library

    Forget the common advice of doing something that scares you every day, instead try something that is simply new to you every day, that is what successful leaders regularly do.

    I have always been a terrible swimmer. Ever since age 12 when I had a bad experience in a wave pool, I have not liked swimming, putting my head underwater, or even water itself very much.

    On holidays I was one of those crazy ladies who would swim breaststroke inefficiently with my head out of the water. Everyone assumed it was because I was protecting my hair, but it was really because I was terrified of swimming underwater.

    When we moved to Southern California two years ago, I found myself surrounded by swimming pools and I knew I wanted to rapidly develop my three daughters into strong swimmers. Two immediately found it easy, but the third hated it.

    I realized that I couldn't sit on the sidelines encouraging her to put her head underwater when I wouldn't do it myself, so four weeks ago I decided to get serious and learn to swim properly. Here are my lessons that you can apply to learning any new skill:

    1. Get the best equipment.

    I bought my first pair of goggles four weeks ago and chose the most expensive ones in the shop and got them fitted to my size. I see other swimmers around me adjusting their goggles after each lap, wasting time and energy because of mediocre equipment.

    2. Virtual help works.

    I kept asking my sister-in-law for swimming tips, even though she lives 4,000 miles away in England, so she began sending me videos of stroke techniques for me to perfect. I interact with many of my clients virtually — even those who live close by in Los Angeles. If you have expert advice you trust, times zones and miles are irrelevant.

    3. Know the importance of your breathing.

    When you try something new, adrenalin can kick in and take over. Just like every yoga expert will tell you, your breathing controls your power, which controls your results. Now when I swim, my fast outward underwater breath beats rhythmically like a drummer, pacing my every stroke. Pay attention to your breathing when you try something new.

    4. Forget your ego, learn from the unexpected.

    My seven-year-old daughter can much swim better than me. I regularly watch her stroke technique and attempt to emulate it. Reverse mentoring is the same — more seasoned professionals often learn as much, if not more, from their mentorees. Don't let your ego get in the way. Open your mind to who can teach you today.

    5. Immerse yourself.

    If you want to learn something, don't take the slow scenic route, find the express lane. I decided to swim five times a week to kick-start my new skills. Four weeks after buying my first pair of goggles I could swim 50 laps.

    A key principle of CrossFit athletes is to regularly try new sports; elite entrepreneurs can have something to learn from elite athletes. What new skills do you want to experiment with today?

    SEE ALSO: 15 hard lessons everyone should learn in their 20s

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    Disengaged employees are more than twice as likely to quit, says job burnout specialist Ben Fanning.

    The monetary costs of quitting are high — for both employees and organizations. Fanning put together the below infographic to highlight just how financially significant quitting your job can be.

    "This comparison doesn't mean you should never consider resigning," Fanning says. It does, however, show the importance of being smart and careful during the process, "just like you would with a big financial investment."

    Cost of Quitting_FINAL_2015 07 30

    SEE ALSO: 12 signs you're suffering from job burnout

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    susan bratton

    One of the most important qualities an aspiring leader should possess is emotional intelligence.

    Take it from Susan Bratton — a veteran of Wall Street who is the founder and CEO of Meals to Heal, a nutrition platform for cancer patients.

    In the “Women Who Lead” video series from 92Y and Ellevate Network, she shares savvy leadership and fundraising advice for women.

    "What I think is really important for women to realize is that they, or most of them, possess a quality that is really inherent to leadership, and that is emotional intelligence. Women generally come by this naturally and that is one of the most important things to have as part of your personality in leading people."

    At the root of emotional intelligence is the ability to connect with people, to pick up on their nonverbal cues, to actively listen to others and to possess self awareness.

    "If you have emotional intelligence, people will follow you and will aspire to achieve whatever dream it is that you want to achieve," Bratton states. "One thing that differentiated the women from the men in selling on Wall Street is this emotional intelligence — and it’s the ability to read people and to read their emotions and understand what those emotions are telling you."

    Bratton worked on Wall Street for 20 years: “A woman in a man’s world,” as she calls the experience. "I think that experience probably toughened me up a little bit and certainly added to the grit and the perseverance in my personality that I think have been helpful in making Meals to Heal a success.”

    As an entrepreneur, Bratton has to raise money for her business, and this is where tenacity, smart negotiation skills, and that perseverance come into play.

    "Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and what you need,” says Bratton. “On Wall Street we would say, ‘Ask for the order.’ Don’t be afraid to ask for the order. That’s something I remind myself of every day ... It’s not the most comfortable thing for me to go to somebody and ask for money. But you’ve got to ask for that money to bring your vision to fruition. It’s something I’ve had to learn.”

    Don’t shy away from asking for the amount of funds necessary for your business; competitors are doing it. Bratton makes the point, “Ask for more than you are probably comfortable asking for. Men will say, ‘I’d like $250,000,’ when most women will say, ‘Let’s ask for $25,000 or $50,000.’ So, ask for the order.”

    SEE ALSO: The surprising ways your personality type affects your career

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    Mary Valentin

    There's a reason the burgers you see in commercials look different from the ones you get at the drive-thru window, and the reason is not that the food is fake.

    The reason is people like Mary Valentin— professional food stylists, who take real food and make it look transcendent.

    Valentin has been in the business for more than twenty years. She's worked with everyone from the Food Network to Kraft to Panera Bread to Godiva. When we talk, she has recently finished a big shoot for Jell-O, styling "teeny teeny tiny bite-sized tarts," topped with — exactly — 1/4 teaspoon of Cool Whip. 

    The crux of her job: to communicate the full visceral experience of what it's going to be like to eat something, using only images"How do you convey temperature of food visually? How do you convey what mouthfeel is going to be? How soft or chewy or crunchy something is going to be?" she asks. 

    It is arguably the most glamorous possible job involving Jell-O. "It's such a cool-looking job from the outside, I think a lot of people — especially now that everyone takes pictures of their food for Instagram — everyone sort of feels like, 'Oh, I could do this.'" 

    But a strong Instagram game isn't enough to break in. "It's extremely difficult," Valentin says.

    She speaks from experience.

    TiramisuGetting started

    An artist since she was old enough to "put crayon to paper," Valentin paid her way through art school — a BFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — working in restaurant kitchens.

    After college, she was getting by painting backgrounds for photo shoots when she stumbled on food styling by accident: while dropping off some canvases, a friend who worked at the photo studio offered her an emergency gig. The food stylist’s assistant was out, and could she fill in the next day?

    "I didn’t know what a food stylist was at that point, but they offered to pay me, so I showed up, and it was really just this perfect marriage of my unrelated skills," she says.

    Interest piqued, she found work doing "food propping," which, she explains, is actually a different job. "That's where you're making food for things where the food isn't the hero." Think of a Sur La Table catalog: The food looks beautiful, but the pots and pans are the focus. If you perused the toaster ovens on offer from the Sears catalog in the late '80s, it's possible you saw her craftsmanship.


    Food propping eventually led to gigs assisting real food stylists. Valentin notes she’s somewhat of an exception to the rule here: in general, aspiring stylists start with culinary school. "You need to be able to look at a recipe before the photoshoot and say, there's way too much baking soda in here, it's not gonna work," Valentin explains. "You have to have serious culinary skills."

    But while formal training is invaluable — and well into her career, she opted to go back to school, ultimately finishing the pastry program at Chicago's Kendall College — the assistantships are where the bulk of the professional training happens. "It's like an old-school apprenticeship system,” Valentin says.

    Some people like the role so much they decide to stay assistants — it's lower pressure, and if you're good, there's no shortage of work — but Valentin ventured off on her own.

    There's a reason to go for it: the top food stylists, she estimates, make somewhere between $100,000 to $130,000. A more typical range for senior-but-not-absolute-top stylist is $70,000 to $80,000. Assistants usually make between one third and one half of that.

    mac and cheese

    A typical day

    After more than 20 years in the business, Valentin has settled into a steady routine. She lugs the day's groceries into the studio — "There's a lot of schlepping involved with this job"— to meet her assistant and any other food stylists working on that particular project. (Like Valentin, most food stylists are freelancers, though some big companies like General Mills have in-house people, as do some lifestyle and cooking magazines.)

    Once everyone's settled in, the meetings begin: with photographers, with clients, with the creative team. They'll go over the recipes and the order of the recipes; they'll plot out what the backgrounds will be for each shot, though a prop stylist — different than a food stylist or a food propper — is responsible for that part. 

    jelloBut is it real?

    As we talk, I keep hoping we'll get to the part where Valentin reveals all the food secrets I'd heard about on '90s news segments (milk is glue!), but she doesn't. "You know, that's very old school," she says, when I ask about substituting ice cream for mashed potatoes. "That's really not done so much anymore."

    While the "ethics of food styling are murky at best,"writes Jaya Saxena at Serious Eats, "most stylists are aware of truth in advertising." According to Valentin, most brands are, too. "Most clients are extremely careful about portion and serving size and what you're actually getting for their own legal reasons," she tells me. 

    But if part of the reason is ethical, the other part is technological: Faking it just isn't as necessary as it used to be, thanks to the advent of digital photography. 

    Back in the film age, food had to be able to sit on set for a really long time. "You had to spray it with shellac, you had to do all this crazy stuff to make it look perfect for an hour," she explains. But none of that is necessary anymore, and "it takes half the day to prepare something artificially." 

    Panera sandwichThese days, it's about taking the real food and showing it off to its best possible — but real — advantage. If the burger in the McDonald's commercial looks better than the one you get, that's because they're making it "super fresh right at the moment," she says. Everything is nudged forward on the bun, and the bun itself is the most perfect possible bun, one that hasn't been squished by paper. "But it is a bun from their assembly line," she promises.

    "You have to let the food do what it naturally does. It's a live animal. You can't make it into something that it's not. If there's a kind of bread that makes a lot of crumbs when you cut it, you need to show the crumbs," she says. "I guess that's my thing — I want the food to be comfortable with itself."

    Not that she doesn't have a few tricks up her sleeve. "I use glycerin to represent condensation, because you have more control over it than water," she says. She'll use a garment steamer to re-melt congealed cheese on a tired-looking cheeseburger ("it melts again, and it looks perfect").

    Once, when her team couldn't get d'Anjou pears for a shoot, they substituted another kind of pear, faking the d'Anjou's coloring with lipstick. "I think mine was L'Oréal British Red — it’s the perfect lipstick for the d’Anjou pear."

    Mostly, though, it's the real thing, and if you spent several hours at the grocery store picking out the platonic ideal of lettuce and painstakingly arranging each leaf, your salad could look like that, too.

    salted fish

    The art of the grocery store

    For most of us, grocery shopping is a chore. For Valentin, it's an art.

    "Some people just hand [the shopping] to their assistants, but I love it." Her store of choice is Mariano's — Whole Foods opens too late — though she also has a network of specialty wholesalers, whom she can turn to when she needs something impossible. ("Somebody always wants to shoot a pomegranate in July, and it's just not out there.")

    At the store, she's meticulous. "You have to go through all the tomatoes that have beautiful green tops, and hopefully a little stem, and you have to treat them like little newborn babies," she tells me. Shopping for hamburger buns means taking them all off the shelf, looking through them all, and putting the rest back. "You get the poor stock kid watching you do this, like, 'Oh man, what is this crazy woman up to.'"Mary Valentin working

    "I try to be as gracious as possible," she says. Sometimes, cashiers roll their eyes as she polices their bagging (raspberries don't go at the bottom), which she understands. Just as often, they're excited to learn how the food will be used.

    If there's a downside to the job, Valentin says it's the physical price you pay for hunching over perfectly arranged arugula salads all day. "You're really carrying a lot of heavy stuff around, you're on your feet for 10, sometimes 12 hours a day, and you're leaning over the set at an awkward angle — it's kind of everything that's bad for your back," she says, noting that, along with culinary skills, regular ab exercises are an essential part of food styling.

    While not everyone may be cut out for professional food styling, the field is a reminder that even the drabbest of foods have the potential to be elevated to art. 

    SEE ALSO: An inside look the historic career of 'unlikely ballerina' Misty Copeland, who went from 'pretty much homeless' to dance superstar

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    You finally made it to the salary negotiation stage of a job offer and want the job.

    But how do you counter without losing the opportunity?

    Salary negotiation is uncomfortable for any job candidate because you want to be paid equitably, but don’t want to appear greedy. You can negotiate from a position of strength, with some thoughtful planning and the mindset that you can win.

    Here are 23 tips on negotiating a higher salary counteroffer so that you’ll be content upon joining your new employer.

    Know your market value. 

    Being knowledgeable about your value in the marketplace, based on your industry, experience, skills set and credentials – makes for the best argument in aiming for a higher final offer. Use such resources as: local salary surveys, guides and calculators, recruiters, mentors, colleagues, LinkedIn groups and online research. Let your interviewer know that you’ve done your homework.

    Ask for time. 

    It is often expected that you’ll think about your initial salary offer and respond to your prospective boss in a day or two, so bide some time: "I’m very pleased that you want to hire me, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work here. Can you give me a couple days to think about the offer?” You will look thoughtful about your decision versus impulsive or too anxious, even if the hiring manager is anxious to seal the deal.

    Consider the whole package. 

    Find out about the entire compensation, which not only buys you time, but also gives you a more thorough view of the offer. Beyond salary, consider: bonuses, vacation pay, insurance benefits, PTO, stock options, company car, childcare, 401(k), flexible work schedules and other perks.

    Don’t cave. 

    Try your best to stay consistent in your position. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be as flexible as the situation demands. But if you’re wishy-washy about your goals, you’ll lose credibility.

    Stay strong. 

    This is certainly the most difficult part of a job negotiation, but it can also be challenging for the interviewer who may not want to lose you. You’ve reached this point because they want to hire you, so let that be a source of strength and calm.

    Don’t be greedy. 

    Don’t push the limit too far and risk losing a great job. If you first asked for $90,000, and you get it, it will reflect badly if you later push for more.

    Beware of hardball tactics. 

    You’re still relatively early in the relationship with your prospective employer. If they react unprofessionally to a reasonable request, let that be a red flag that you may want to investigate further. This is your chance to vet your prospective manager to ensure that you're not jumping from the frying pan into the proverbial fire. Unreasonable behavior now could be the tip of the iceberg for a potentially bad boss or "Terrible Office Tyrant."

    woman walking to work

    Be able to walk away.

     As any good negotiator knows, you have optimum leverage when you’re not desperate, and you’re not – so don’t enter the follow-up interview believing that you need this job at any cost. If you do, you’ll likely end up in the wrong job.

    Stay realistic. 

    It’s always worth trying to up the ante. But sometimes your range of negotiating power is limited. If you're slightly under-qualified for the position and their range is already generous, you may not have much wiggle room. Even if you're overqualified, you may still meet with resistance because the budget has already been approved.

    Use commanding body language. 

    Part of being an effective negotiator is using a firm voice, firm handshake, having strong eye contact – and minding your posture. Sit straight and remember to smile often.

    interview, body language, fidgeting

    Be professional. 

    Even if the first offer was almost insulting, don’t lose your cool. Use your research to explain your position: "I greatly appreciate your offer and I’m very pleased that you want to hire me. I’ve reviewed various salary surveys and other research – and have identified a range for this kind of position as being between X and Y.”

    Don’t curb your enthusiasm. 

    Remind the interviewer about your overall interest in non-monetary aspects of the job: “This is a very exciting opportunity for me because I know I can contribute a great deal.” By putting the focus on your role in their future, you will soften the harshness of the negotiation, and they’ll know your heart is in the right place.

    Be able to say “No,” nicely. 

    If you can’t move the offer to where you need it to be, be able to say “No,” and explain your position. If there’s a huge delta between your minimum target and their maximum, don’t beat a dead horse. Know that you deserve to earn a reasonable salary to feel valued on the job.

    Be able to hear “No.”  

    “No” is part of any negotiation, but you may come back with a compromise or alternative that is amenable to both of you, such as alternative forms of compensation or salary reviews in three or six months.  

    Remain assertive, not aggressive. 

    There’s a fine line between the two. Knowing when to back off is critical. Remain cordial but firm in your approach. This is not a good time to be humble, shy, and certainly don’t feel guilty asking for what you truly want.

    Stay away from your personal financial needs. 

    On your last round of salary negotiation, avoid discussing why you need the higher salary, such as your parrot’s recent veterinary visits or your car falling to pieces. Keep it about your contributions and market value. Remind the interviewer about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): what makes you uniquely qualified for the job.

    Listen more than you talk. 

    The famous quote from Greek philosopher, Epictetus: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” applies here. Listen for clues on how hard you can push. Also pay attention to body language, such as crossed arms, eye contact and fidgeting.

    young professionals talking computer black woman white man

    You can put your counter in writing. 

    You may not have the opportunity to meet face to face, or even discuss your counteroffer by phone. But your email may provide an even more concise communications avenue. Just be sure to compensate for its formality by being friendly and upbeat.

    Don’t bluff. 

    Avoid lying about fictitious job offers with fairy-tale salaries. It might backfire and your interviewer may lose trust or patience in you.

    Be careful not to threaten. 

    Be mindful of how you package information. Negative approach: “Well I have another job offer that’s higher, and if you can’t meet that salary, I can’t work here.” Positive approach: “I do have another job opportunity, but this is really my first choice. I’d like to find a salary target that is mutually satisfactory.”

    Don’t take it personally. 

    It’s easy to take it to heart when you ultimately don’t get the salary you think you deserve, but you have to separate fact from emotion. This is business, and there’s supply and demand for your “product,” some of which is out of your control. Knowing you’ve done your best job in the interview is sometimes the best you can hope for.

    Thank them. 

    Remember to show your gratitude and leave the conversation on a positive note.

    Get it in writing. 

    Before you end this final round, be sure to receive an offer letter summarizing all points. And if any information is missing, speak up.

    Remember your power and leverage. You offer a sought-after resource in the marketplace, so don't settle.

    Lynn Taylor is a national workplace expert, author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior & Thrive in Your Job," and CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting.

    SEE ALSO: 5 tips for getting what you want in a salary negotiation

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    woman smile success

    One of the greatest predictors of success is personality. If you want to be more successful, take a good hard look at your personality.

    Those with likable personalities receive better treatment and more freedoms.

    When people enjoy being around you, you will be treated better, seen as more successful, viewed as more confident, and your rise to the top is often quicker.

    1. Be authentic.

    Know who you are and manage yourself well. When you know who you are others experience you as trustworthy. To be authentic you must operate without pretenses. Be confident and honest. Do not compare yourself to others and do not put any effort into being someone you are not.

    Have a keen awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly. When you’re authentic there is no “trying” to impress because what you already possess internally is impressive, workable and successful.

    Related: Advice for Entry-Level Employees: How to Be Authentic in the Workplace

    2. Be interested.

    Show interest in others and appreciate the benefits of developing new, stimulating relationships. When you are not self-centered you will enjoy listening to others share about themselves. Recognize each person as someone you can learn from.

    Being interested will make you a great networker because people will sense you have no hidden agendas. People will appreciate the depth of your interest and experience you to as genuine and likeable, making them feel open and willing to do business with you.

    3. Be attentive.

    Be present when others are communicating. Make it your sole intention to stay absorbed in the information being discussed. When you are not distracted or impatient to share your own perceptions, people will enjoy connecting with you.

    When people feel heard and understood they relax and become more drawn to you. When you are attentive trust is developed and opportunities are more generously offered because people will feel confident they are entering into a mutually beneficial relationship.

    4. Be humble.

    Be satisfied and fulfilled in life by your own volition, work ethic and commitment to your success and that of others. Know the serenity that comes when you don't need to be the star of the show. Always acknowledge that your success in life has come with the help and support of many who believed in your ability and willingness to learn. Appreciate those who helped you get to where you are.

    Never hesitate to share the spotlight. Understand that as you shine, so do others. When you are humble  people want to partner with you.

    5. Be prompt.

    Value your own time and the time of others. Be prepared, organized and efficient. In disciplining yourself to be organized and on time you will experience less stress. When you are on top of things life is more enjoyable. Others will appreciate your sense of duty and trust they can count on you to be ready for any occasion.

    Employers and partners value these qualities and will see you as an asset. They will give you successive opportunities to grow and develop to keep you from looking for other opportunities elsewhere.

    Related: 7 Ways to Get People to Believe, Like and Respect You

    6. Be accepting.

    laughing women cornishBe wise enough to never shut others out with prejudgment. Come to view life as rich with opportunity and learn to embrace human differentiation.

    Let it inspire you that everyone is different. Refrain from criticizing the choices others make, even if you would never make those choices for yourself. 

    By practicing acceptance people will feel they can be true to who they are around you. Acceptance creates possibility. As you develop more diverse relationships and connections you greatly increase your opportunities for love, joy and success.

    The only fear you should never lose is that the one person you don’t accept has the offer you’ve hoped for.

    7. Be giving.

    Develop an attitude of abundance. Embrace yourself by giving back. In giving of yourself and your time you will become a richer and deeper human being. You will need less from others as you discover the satisfaction of lending a helping hand to people who need it.

    Develop a genuine concern for people, their needs, thoughts and feelings. As others sense this in you, they are confident asking you for guidance or assistance.

    8. Be optimistic.

    Live in optimism. Work on being self-competent. When you live through optimism you become an infectious person to be around. Strive to make other people feel good or better while in your presence. As you become comfortable in yourself and your abilities you will have the power to instantly lighten the mood of those around you.

    Make it your nature to always look for the silver lining, the growth opportunity, the brighter side of the challenges you face. Don't dwell on negative thoughts or spend time around negative people. They only dull your shine.

    Exude brightness and people will naturally want to follow.

    9. Be empathetic.

    Show understanding and compassion for the emotional pain of others. Develop the perspective needed to imagine another person’s pain. As your empathy grows it will become less challenging to put your own defenses or perceptions aside to absorb what is being shared with you by another, whether you agree or not.

    Become a compassionate listener. When solving problems, make decisions based on the mix of your perception and the person you are dealing with.

    10. Be open.

    Be open to receiving and letting other people in, Have an open mind and heart. Being guarded blocks opportunity and discourages trust and emotional well-being. The more you increase your emotional income the more capable you become in opening yourself up to new relationships and opportunities.  

    Openness increases your likelihood of developing relationships that are reciprocal, enduring and forward moving. Accept that we are all in a process of constant change that requires you to be flexible so you do not stunt your growth or someone else’s.

    11. Be quiet.

    When you are self-assured you will no longer engage with self-centered people who have a wide ego terrain to defend. You will not tolerate loud, angry, manipulative, boisterous, histrionic, narcissistic people. You will spend zero time or effort on attention-seeking behaviors or antics because there is no need.  

    Commit to self-development and becoming deeply anchored in who you are, what you have to offer and what you are accomplishing in life. Drop the need to cater to egomaniacs who march around with loud personality billboards.

    Never be the biggest show-off in your office, strive to be the hardest working.

    Embrace the quiet qualities of self-competence and people will naturally be drawn to, and curious about, you. Focus on producing because you will be the happiest when you are succeeding. Use your time to gain more knowledge and try new things. Turn down the volume, talking less and watch yourself succeed even more.

    The greatest benefit to continually working on raising your emotional income, through the betterment of yourself and your life, is you exponentially increase your opportunities. Opportunities come to you through the easiness of your likability. Why? People desire to give opportunities to people they like. It’s simple.

    SEE ALSO: Science says parents of successful kids have these 9 things in common

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    Here’s a question for you: Do you control your day or do you simply react to it? Or to put it another way—how often do you feel like all you did was keep your head above water? 

    Nodding along right now? You’re not alone.

    When transitioning from being in the army to a 9-to-5 desk job, time management and feeling in control of my work day was one of the hardest challenges I had to overcome.

    That was, until I applied a trick from my military training to my office job. The great part about it is that it’s so easy to do, anyone can do it (without holding a a loaded weapon)! 

    The trick

    Once upon a time, before emails and office life, I was a sniper in the Army. As a sniper, I was trained to go into a dangerous area, collect reconnaissance, and get out without ever being seen. This is the hardest part of the job. Most people think it’s all about shooting from really far away, and while that’s certainly an important skill, it’s not the most difficult.

    Staying virtually invisible, while moving from point to point with 75+ pounds of gear in extreme weather, while being completely exhausted, requires a tremendous amount of focus. The fatigue, the discomfort, the racing thoughts are all distractions that can throw off your focus and your cloak of invisibility that keeps you alive. 

    So how do you brush off distractions and maintain your focus? 

    Well, when the external stimuli take over and you begin to lose focus on your priorities, my sniper instructors taught me an extremely simple and profound trick to regain control. 

    SLLS: Stop, Look, Listen, and Smell

    They said, “When the heat, weight, and fatigue take your focus off moving in silence and invisibility, take a SLLS break — Stop what you are doing. Look around. Listen to your surroundings. Smell your environment.” 

    The purpose of this is to take a timeout and refocus. This allows you to stop reacting to the external stimuli, be mindful of your environment, and focus on what really matters. 

    Yes, it works. It helped me be invisible as a sniper. And later on, at my desk job, I discovered that it helped me regain control of my workday when all I was doing was reacting to emails and other people’s priorities.

    One particular day, I was attempting to buckle down and knock out several hours of important, but monotonous work. It was crucial I completed it that day, but my mind was struggling to stay focused, and my attention bounced around from other people’s conversations to my phone to anything but what I needed to do. Time for a SLLS break! After five minutes of stopping and refocusing with SLLS, I was able to sit down with resolve and accomplish my work.

    Bonus: It even helped me in my personal life to be more mindful and focused. I was able to soak up and fully experience a recent backpacking trip to the Yucatan peninsula.

    So, how do you use this trick to immediately make an impact and help you regain control of your workday and personal life?

    The challenge

    Set a recurring alarm on your phone for every two hours, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., that simply says “SLLS.” This is your cue to take a SLLS break. Stop whatever you’re doing, look around, listen to your surroundings, and smell your environment. Whether it’s for 30 seconds or five minutes, take as long as you need to regain clarity on the present moment. 

    By doing this you’ll stop the reaction cycle and be able to focus on the present — allowing your mind to breathe and enter a higher state of thinking where you decide what’s important and worthy of your time. You’ll regain mindfulness and purpose by taking back control of those elusive thoughts that usually escape you during stressful moments.

    The every-two-hour alarm is just a starting point. Practice this until it’s a habit, then turn off the alarm. Use this trick whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, when you’re just reacting to the world around you, and when you want to take control of your day and your life.

    SEE ALSO: What being a Navy SEAL taught me about excellence

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    GettyImages 452286292

    Every executive has his or her own style of leadership, and every executive has learned lessons about what works best for a company.

    But some behaviors will never result in success, no matter how many times you repeat them.

    Here are five things you should never do if you want to be an effective executive today.

    1. Don't react impulsively.

    We've all shaken our heads at CEOs who fail to confront a problem and stick their heads in the sand. But equally bad is the exec who responds with a kneejerk reaction because he doesn't want to deal with (or maybe can't see) the underlying issues.

    For example, a CEO forms a first impression that a particular employee isn't doing a great job. Rather than offer that employee the opportunity to improve, he makes a snap judgment and lets the person go. I've seen this happen, and honestly, I doubted that the employee even had a performance problem. More likely, the real issue was about communication or the CEO's own unwillingness to let go of the reins — but he didn't see it. Successful execs look at many angles. They don't act rashly without making an effort to understand a situation or explore options.

    2. Don't rest on your laurels.

    Most companies that succeed are started by visionaries with a clear mental picture of how to solve a specific pain point. Take the founder of Uber, for example. He was frustrated because he couldn't get a cab and thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could use my phone to get a ride?"

    Bingo! The problem is that once you've launched your company successfully, and you've acquired satisfied customers, you can be lulled into believing that "if you build it, they will come." And that's dangerous.

    Good leaders cannot just assume that success begets success. Success comes from delivering products and services that address real problems — and unless you know what those problems are, you can't solve them. At Jobvite, we began with a vision that centered on leveraging social networks for employee referrals.

    But our continued success now comes from listening to our customers and channeling their ongoing pain points into new products. You have to keep seeking meaningful input.

    3. Don't believe your own bull.

    When you're the CEO, or any senior executive, people will naturally defer to you. All you have to do is to raise your voice once when someone disagrees with you, and you can rest assured that for the next few weeks, everyone will think whatever you say is brilliant. Unfortunately, this can fool you into thinking that people believe in what you are saying more than they really do.

    This is yet another reason that execs must seek honest feedback. Reach out for opinions from as low in the organization as possible. Reach out to customers. And reach out to your board of directors, too. While they'll outwardly support you because of the influence of your position, they won't hesitate to show you the door if they don't truly believe you're steering the company on the right course. It takes courage to solicit criticism from people who might disagree with you, but it's imperative.

    4. Don't leave your board out of the boat.

    Board members typically have large portfolios of companies they advise, and most also have their own full-time jobs. So CEOs get this responsibility complex where they think they have to handle everything alone. They don't want to bother their board of directors until they're in a situation where something's gone wrong, and by then, it's often too late.

    I had this happen when I served on a company's board years ago. I was a busy guy — and the only information I ever got was positive, so I had no reason to question the company's overall health. Then I got a call from a CEO explaining a problem that stumped me.

    I kept thinking, "Why am I just now hearing about this?" I want my board members to feel like they are not "standing on the dock" watching the business, but are "in the boat" with the team involved in the business. I cannot be on a solo journey. I need the board of directors to accompany me and engage in an ongoing dialogue about where we're headed. I like my board members in the boat and knowing that if a sticky situation arises, they have context for the issue, and there are no surprises.

    It's true, having this kind of relationship with your board requires a big investment of time and energy — but it's an investment that pays off.

    5. Don't mistake your own opinion for market opinion.

    If you haven't noticed, there's a common theme in all of these bad behaviors, and that's not getting real-world feedback and believing too much in your own view of the world. This almost certainly spells doom when you start to think your personal outlook represents the outlook of the entire market to which you are selling. It never does.

    I remember back in my first marketing class in business school when the professor asked us what percentage of Americans would claim fishing as their favorite hobby. Everyone dramatically underestimated the percentage when in fact it was and is one of the top hobbies of Americans. (Now fourth behind reading, TV watching, spending time with kids and family, according to Harris Interactive poll).

    The lesson? That relying solely on your own personal perspective will NOT give you an accurate answer. You have to go to the market — outside the walls of your company — to get input on the pain points and demand of real people and companies. And again, this takes work. It takes effort. But without seeking this ongoing feedback, without really talking to and listening to your customers and prospects, you'll never have the insight to spot potential warning signs and frailties.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 most beloved CEOs in America

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    warren buffett

    We tend to think of good leadership in conjunction with smooth sailing. If you're smart and resourceful, and you build and nurture a good team and generate good ideas, what can go wrong? A lot.

    Whether it's a failure of planning, a bad judgment call, or an accident of fate, trouble eventually comes to every leader. And that's when leadership really matters.

    Here are the principles that can guide you through the next storm:

    1. Positivity fuels productivity. 

    Our reactions and moods are like a steering wheel that can move us in the right direction or take us further off course. You can choose to get caught up in the negativity of failure, or you can decide to do something positive about the situation. You always have a choice. Whatever the situation, positive energy can help you make the best of it.

    2There's no progress without action, and no action without risk. 

    What failed yesterday could be a new chance tomorrow, and some of the greatest successes grew out of failures. But you will fail in 100 percent of the things you don't try.

    3. Change is the only constant. 

    Trust the power of change by staying flexible and adaptable. If things are not going well, make adjustments along the way. And when things go wrong, forego the quick fix. Instead, adjust your focus and concentrate on how you can do better. The power of a successful leader lies in evaluating the situation, learning from mistakes, shifting direction, and continuing to move forward.

    4. Keep your eyes wide open. 

    Leadership requires vision. If you're looking behind you, you're missing what's coming up; if you never focus clearly you'll miss important details. Keep your eyes straight ahead and focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.

    5. Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. 

    At the heart of successful leaders is a willingness to take risks, to leap into the abyss, a refusal to stay stuck in the status quo. The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.

    6. Be the driver. 

    You can take responsibility, or you can blame others and lose all control. The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. Accept the responsibility for your driving and keep your hands on the wheel.

    7. Failure is necessary. 

    You will never hear a successful person complain about the things they've failed at, because they know that failure is necessary in order to meet success. The best leaders, the most successful are willing to fail and learn along the way. Interpret each failure as a lesson on the road to success.

    8. You can have results or excuses, but not both. 

    What do you have to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you have to stop blaming? The only way to assure you'll do better next time is by making no excuses today. Often the only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself about why you can't achieve it.

    9. Hold tight to your beliefs and values. 

    Failure can sometimes make you feel like you have lost your footing, but there's always strength in the things you believe. How do successful people find the will to keep trying? Because they believe in what they're doing and they find a place within themselves where they know it is possible. You don't believe things because they make your life better; you believe them because you know they're true.

    10. Persistence and determination prevail. 

    Successful leaders know that persistence always wins. As Winston Churchill said, success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. Remember, a river cuts through rocks not because of its power at any given moment but because it has persistence over time.

    Failure will come — that much is guaranteed. But successful leaders know that where you're standing at the moment isn't nearly as important as what direction you're moving in.

    SEE ALSO: The 3 things that separate a leader from a manager

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    working laptop night

    “The early bird catches the worm” is a phrase that we’ve all heard since the days of elementary school (I know my mom used to say that as she packed my lunch!).

    But what if your brain is just programmed to work at night?

    Whether it’s the midnight moonlight or the hush that falls over the house when everyone’s asleep, working after-hours can equal some serious productivity.

    So, we spoke with a group of Millennial night owls to find out how they best burn the midnight oil:

    1. Turn off the gadgets.

    “I turn my phone off because most people are feeling social after 7 p.m., but that’s when I do my best work. Also, being aware that WiFi networks seem to be busiest between 8 and 10 p.m., I try not to schedule long-distance video calls or work on something that requires streaming video at that time.” — Nic Chapa, 27, mobile UX/UI designer

    Related: 9 Things Successful People Do Right Before Bed

    2. Sleep in when you can. 

    “I do my best work when I can focus without interruptions, so I generally tackle tasks that require deep concentration at night when the activity of the day slows down and others are asleep. Then, I try to structure my calendar to have few responsibilities before 10 a.m. Of course, this is not always possible, but when it is, I push major obligations to the late morning and afternoon so that I have time to recover from the previous night’s work.” — Candace Jones, 27, senior manager, business operations

    3. Take small breaks.

    “With medical school, work, and my new puppy, I don’t sleep very much. But the nighttime is when I do my best studying. My tip would be to take breaks. Whenever I start to feel sleepy or my focus is off, I just put everything down and listen to music. The music energizes me and gets me motivated for another round of studying. To wake up in the morning, I take a hot shower.” — Cameron Henry, 25, medical student

    SEE ALSO: The pros and cons of being a night owl instead of a morning person

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    woman speaking

    Recently I attended a training course in New York City and at the start of the course each of us introduced ourselves.

    The senior executive sitting next to me said, and I quote, "I, like, work for a big bank, like, Citibank. I work, um, in technology, and head-up a group of like, 500 people, right. I do, like, technology risk assessment, right, and create, um, processes, to, like, reduce risk, right."

    I was shocked.

    "Like,""Um," and "Ah" are credibility killers

    He was a business professional, a senior director at a major organization, and yet he sounded more like a valley girl. His speech was so infected with "like,""right," and "um" that the message was muddled and he significantly diminished his credibility.

    These "credibility killers” — fluency disruptions — communicate doubt, especially at the end of a phrase. When he was talking, I found myself thinking, "Doesn't he know how exactly many people work for him? Does he work for Citibank, or does he really work somewhere else?"

    What are disfluencies?

    Disfluencies, in general, weaken messages. They’re distracting for your listeners and they make you sound bad.

    In the first 30 seconds I counted four "likes" and three "rights" and two "ums." Worse, I'm certain that Tom had no idea that his speech was infected with these verbal viruses. In his defense, credibility killers (e.g. like, so, you know, right, uh, ah) are actually really common in everyday conversation. Researchers say that about 20% of “words” in everyday conversation are disfluencies.

    In fact, people around the world fill pauses in their own way. In Britain they say "uh," Hebrew speakers say "ehhh," the Turks say "mmmmm." The Japanese say "eto" (eh-to) and "ano" (ah-no), Spanish speakers "esto," and Mandarin speakers "neige" (NEH-guh) and "jiege" (JEH-guh). In Dutch and German it's "uh, um, mmm." In Swedish it’s "eh, ah, aah, m, mm, hmm, ooh, a and oh" (man, this is starting to sound x-rated podcast, I'd better stop, I think you have the idea!)

    As a communication coach, I notice disfluencies the most when people are nervous; for some people it's the only time these little buggers show up.

    So today's article is about what can you do to boost your immunity to these viruses. Its about how you can reduce disfluencies. Notice I didn’t say get rid of them all together. Reduction, versus complete elimination, should be your goal.

    The first and most important step towards more fluent speaking is to become aware of your distracting speech habits.The fastest way to find out if you have trouble in this area is to ask a close trusted friend (or public speaking coach, hint, hint).

    Anyway, perhaps the BEST way is to record yourself. If you are comfortable with technology I suggest using free audio editing software (Garageband on mac and Audacity for PC). With this software you actually see your words in audio format. For a more simplistic solution try — you can just call a phone number and it will record your voice.

    Once you’ve got some sample recordings, the next step is play back your recordings several times. Listen specifically for your disfluences — go ahead and make of game of it. First just list them and then start counting them. If you are counting past three or four, you’ll know you have a problem.

    Focus on listening to yourself talk

    If recording seems like too much effort, just focus, for one full week, on listening, really listening carefully for distracters when you talk. Some experts like to suggest you put tiny “um” and “ah” stickers on your computer or cell phone to remind you to be listening.

    Trust me, after a week of listening, or recording and listening, you'll have become acutely aware of your specific problems. And that’s exactly what you need; awareness. You need to be able to hear your disfluencies in your mind before you blurt them out.

    How to reduce your credibility killers

    If you've done your homework you'll know when one of your credibility killers is just about to escape from your mouth. Then, all you'll need to do is to keep quiet. I know, easier said than done. At first you’ll have awkward pauses in your speech, but that’s still better, actually far better, than speech peppered with "likes" and "ums." Eventually the pauses get shorter. With time, you'll be more fluent and have fewer "ums" and "ahs."

    So the next time you introduce yourself, be warned, somebody sitting next to you might just be counting your "ums", "ahs," and "you knows". Don't let your disfluencies kill your credibility. It really is worth it to take some time to focus on this. It can make a big difference in how you're perceived.

    SEE ALSO: 4 skills you need to master to become a great public speaker

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