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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    You are already a happiness expert. Seriously. You’re just a bit inconsistent.

    You already do a lot of things that researchers recommend for increased happiness. You just don’t realize it.

    And that’s the problem. If you did them more consistently those joyful times would be so much better and you’d be happier all around.

    They’re small, they’re silly, and you can do them without really trying.

    What the heck am I talking about?

    One of the key happiness principles is savoring. That’s a fancy term for really taking a second to appreciate those happy moments in your life.

    You often think that it’s the world that makes you happy but it’s really how you respond to the world. Those silly little things you do here and there in response to good moments; increasing those is the key to how to be happier without really trying.

    Happiness researchers Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff looked at what works when it comes to savoring and came up with 10 simple activities that really make people happier.

    Like I said, you’ve done all these things. You just don’t do them often enough.

    Let’s change that …

    1. Tell friends "The greatest thing happened to me!"

    Share the good moments with friends. If they’re with you when it happens, turn to them and say, "Isn’t this awesome?"

    If they’re not with you, recount the story for them later. It’s that simple. Too simple to make a difference? Wrong.

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    Indeed, this social-behavioral approach to savoring is the single strongest predictor of enjoyment…

    If you do nothing else on this list, do this one. Does it matter who you share it with?

    Any friend is good. But the researchers say you can get a bigger boost by telling "others who are exuberant and outwardly expressive in sharing their joy." Target those upbeat extroverts.

    This method is so powerful you can even do it alone. Ever said to yourself, "She is not going to believe this when I tell her!" You just made yourself happier. Merely thinking about sharing good moments with others gives you a boost.

    (To learn what research says the happiest people do every day, click here.)

    Okay, this is the most powerful savoring activity you already do … how can you take it to 11?

    2. Mentally Instagram it

    Those pictures in your head of the good times? They’re really powerful. How many times have you looked back on them fondly? Reminiscing and being nostalgic are effective types of savoring.

    So at that great dinner with friends or that perfect relaxing vacation, take a second to mentally snap a picture you’ll remember.

    The researchers call it "Memory Building." And one of the reasons this method is so effective is because it amplifies #1. The better the picture in your head, the better you can recall good moments and share them with others.

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    We would expect this greater capacity for memory building to be associated with a greater capacity to share these memories with others… and the available data confirm this hypothesis.

    So Instagram in your phone is good. But Instagram in your head is even better.

    (To learn the secret to being happier and more successful, click here.)

    Now doing a crazy touchdown celebration might get players in trouble with the NFL, but those guys know something about happiness. Here’s what they can teach you about savoring …

    49ers touchdown

    3. Do a touchdown dance

    Ever achieved something you were proud of and told yourself, "I have waited so long for this moment." Bingo. You just made a happy moment even happier.

    "Self-Congratulation" is a great savoring booster. In fact, the Latin root of "congratulate" is congratulari and that means "to wish joy."

    Just don’t take it too far. As the researchers point out, bragging isn’t a good idea.

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    Other forms of public self-congratulation, such as bragging and boasting, reflect excessive self-promotion that can antagonize and alienate others, shortening the duration of enjoyment in the short run and eroding the subjective quality of one’s friendships in the long run.

    You earned it. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back a little.

    (To learn the recipe for a happy marriage, click here.)

    Ever been to an amazing concert? You’ve probably done something else that boosted your happiness. Here’s how to make it work for you anywhere.

    4. Close your eyes at the concert

    The music is great so you close your eyes and really appreciate it. That’s savoring, Bubba.

    The researchers call it "Sensory-Perceptual Sharpening." (No, you don’t need to remember that and there will not be a quiz at the end.)

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    … intensifying pleasure by focusing on certain stimuli in the situation and blocking out others, trying to sharpen one’s sense through effortful concentration …

    You don’t need to wear noise-canceling headphones at the art museum, but you get the point. When the pleasure is coming in through one of your senses, really make an effort to focus on that and block everything else out.

    (To learn how to have a happy family, click here.)

    So you’re not at a concert. You’re on vacation and it feels so good to not deal with all that stress. What magic words have you said that you need to say more often?

    5. Say "I’m normally at work right now"

    The researchers labeled it "Comparing" and it really makes you appreciate those great moments at the beach.

    Contrast these great times with the times that ain’t so good. Or, if this sunny getaway is better than you thought it would be, compare it to your low expectations.

    Sometimes it’s really good to be wrong.

    (To learn how you can be happier at work, click here.)

    I promised this would be effortless, right? Okay, time to make good on that.

    woman thinking grass

    6. Be zen and don’t think anything at all

    If you’re having a blast and are totally in the moment, for god’s sake, ignore my ramblings and just be there.

    The researchers call this "Absorption." It’s that "flow" state everyone always talks about. When you’re immersed in a game with friends, or a Netflix binge that is so engrossing the world stops, go full Buddhist and stay in the zone.

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    Viewed from a Buddhist perspective, being in the moment does not involve judging what one is experiencing, but rather simply experiencing and being mindfully aware of what one is going through and feeling at the moment…

    (For more on how to mindfulness can make you happier, click here.)

    But sometimes the moment overtakes you and you have to say something… Go right ahead.

    7. Shout "HOORAY!"

    Yeah, sounds corny. But it works. Their fancy term is "Behavioral Expression."

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    This purely behavioral response represents an outward physical manifestation of inner feelings in which one expresses an energetic response of exuberant joy, excitement, and enthusiasm by jumping up and down, dancing around, laughing out loud, or making verbal sounds of appreciation. Such responses or their inhibition may be purely reflexive or automatic, or may be deliberate.

    Did you catch that last part? (Or do you skip the quoted material? Caught you.) It can be deliberate. So even if you don’t naturally act excited, doing it anyway can make you happier. Let those good feelings out.

    (To learn how the 10 steps to raising happy kids, click here.)

    This next one is tricky. It sounds sad but it’s not. Trust me…

    8. Remember: This will end

    Seeing friends for that last time before you leave town, watching your kid leave home for college… Yeah, your heart aches a little but you also remember those times so fondly later.

    Reminding yourself that this good moment will end and that you need to enjoy it while it lasts — the research shows this actually makes you happier.

    They call it "Temporal Awareness." You and I call it bittersweet.

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    These types of bittersweet experiences may well be especially conducive to savoring, as people naturally reflect on the positive experience that is about to end with a renewed sense of perspective and appreciation.

    And you don’t have to wait around for these moments. Reminding yourself that good things only last so long and are worthy of savoring puts you in the right state of mind to appreciate the happy times when they do come along.

    (To learn more about how ancient philosophers used the seemingly bad to feel very good — and how you can too — click here.)

    So how do you tie in some more of the happiness research with no real effort? Just do something you’ve done before that just happens to be the most proven method for making you smile more often …

    happy laughing friends

    9. Say "I am so lucky to have this in my life"

    Gratitude is the tactical nuke of happiness.

    Writing down three things you’re grateful for before you go to bed is probably the most proven way to increase happiness and I’ve recommended it so much that if you read my stuff regularly you are either nodding or rolling your eyes right now.

    So when you’re in the midst of a happy moment just say, "I am so lucky to have this in my life."

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    …reflecting on one’s blessings can enhance the effective quality of many savoring experiences, and we would therefore expect people to count blessings in relation to all sorts of positive outcomes.

    You’ve done some version of this in the past. Do it more often.

    (For more on how gratitude can make you happier, click here.)

    Okay, those nine things you do can really make the good times roll. Let’s mix it up for number ten: what should you not do?

    10. Do not say "I should be working right now"

    The researchers came up with a good name for this one: "Kill-Joy Thinking."

    Via "Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience":

    …reminding oneself of other places one should be and other things one should be doing, thinking of ways in which the positive event could have been better… Beck (1976) highlighted kill-joy thinking as a hallmark of depressive cognition that intensifies and perpetuates depression.

    Thinking for just a second you can see how this is the opposite of many of the good nine. It’s comparing, but not in a positive way. You’re not being in the moment and in flow. You’re thinking about how the moment could be better instead of feeling gratitude for how good it already is.

    And you’ve probably done this one too. Cut it out. Don’t be a kill-joy.

    (To learn the 3 ways to train your brain to be happy, click here.)

    Nine tiny things you do that you should do more often — and one thing you shouldn’t. Let’s round them up.

    Sum up

    The little things that make good moments better (and the one that doesn’t):

    • Tell friends "The greatest thing happened to me!" Share good moments with others.
    • Mentally Instagram it. Take a picture with your mind to better share the moment later.
    • Do a touchdown dance. Congratulate yourself on achievements.
    • Close your eyes at the concert. Focus on the sense that’s bringing you joy.
    • Say "I’m normally at work right now." Compare to the times that aren’t as good.
    • Be Zen and don’t think anything at all. Be in the moment.
    • Shout, "HOORAY!" Express happy feelings.
    • Remember "This will end." Bittersweet is good.
    • Say "I am so lucky to have this in my life." Show gratitude.
    • Do not say "I should be at work right now." Don’t be a kill-joy.

    You’re already a happiness expert. You unknowingly do a lot of what it takes to enjoy life. Just do those things more often.

    And if you forget everything else, remember numero uno: Share good experiences with others.

    If reading this made you happier, share it with friends.

    And with just the push of a button — you’re already on your way.

    Join over 205,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

    SEE ALSO: 2 ways to achieve a lifetime of happiness

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share

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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

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share

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    woman speaking

    Last year, I had the chance to train for an hour with a small group of Navy SEALs.

    And while you might think that, within this group of hard-core military professionals, respect would be earned through pushup contests or other feats of strength, it wasn't.

    In this instance – and in just about every other situation I've encountered – trust and respect have come down to one thing: communication.

    In the workplace, respect and trust speak just as loudly as awards and numbers.

    That's because it isn't achievements that build the relationships we need to succeed — it's the words we use each and every day. So as you build your career, keep the following words and phrases out of your vocabulary. You'll never earn respect or trust with them.

    1. "What I really meant was ..."

    We all make mistakes, and it's perfectly okay from time to time — as long as they're honest and minor (and that you make an effort to be better in the future). If comments are phrased inappropriately — or if you say them with a spin of deceit — your reputation can be hurt. Refrain from saying things that you'll later have to explain or reword if they're brought to light or if questions start to be asked.

    Suppose that you've given a direct report an unclear assignment, and your higher-ups are unhappy with the work produced. Instead of attempting to place blame on the worker by insisting your words were taken incorrectly, make an effort to be clearer upfront and to take responsibility when your words are misinterpreted.

    2. "That's stupid because ..."

    Just because you think it, doesn't mean you have to say it. Countless careers have been saved by people who know when to hold their tongues and not let negative thoughts creep out.

    Instead of bad-mouthing a colleague or project, talk to a trusted friend who isn't a part of the industry or vent to your mentor. Everybody needs to let off steam from time to time, but it's unbecoming for a professional to speak negatively of a colleague or a company – no matter how much you might want to. Even if you do need to share negative feedback, there are better ways to do it.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and while what you're considering saying may very well be true, trust and respect can't grow in a negative environment. As an added bonus, you may find that – if you learn to hold your tongue – the people around you will come to trust you more, simply because they know you aren't going to spread their mistakes throughout the office.

    3. "Do as I say, not as I do ..."

    This phrase creates the perception that you want to instill values in others without being expected to embrace the same characteristics in your own life. It's frustrating when your parents do it, and it can be just as challenging in the workplace. I've had bosses tell me this in the past, and I have to tell you, I didn't respect any of them.

    The best way to earn trust from those who are around you is to be true – to your word, to others around you and to yourself. If you say something, live it. There should be no surprise that if you speak it, you practice it – no matter how rigorous the calling may be.

    women outside talking

    4. "This time, I promise ..."

    When it comes down to it, a person is only as good as their word, and that's all the more reason to make sure yours is true. Ideally, good leaders shouldn't need to ever make a promise, because what they say normally carries the same weight as a promise.

    Try not to get to the point where you need to make a promise in order for someone to consider putting his or her trust in what you say. Rather, have your character be so well known that when you make a promise, it's just extra reassurance and a reminder of how trustworthy you are. When you do make commitments, make sure you have actions set in places tohelp you keep your promises.

    5. "Did you hear about …?"

    Let's all just admit it now… People can do some pretty crazy stuff, and you may find yourself shocked from time to time by how royally somebody screwed up or how badly a project was botched.

    But while repeating these stories and mistakes to our peers can be fun, it's not a good thing to indulge in when you're trying to build rapport. It never ends well when word gets back around to the people involved in the story, and those who you do gossip to will begin to fear for the day they make a bonehead mistake. Treat everyone with respect, and you'll easily gain respect from others. Forgive quickly and don't make a big deal when a team player messes up, as it's forgiveness that fosters real friendship.

    6. "It's not my fault because ..."

    Give credit where credit is due, and take blame when you deserve it. When something is your fault, speak up and say so. Make sure you're clear that you're sorry it happened, and take ownership for the mistake. Follow this with a sincere apology, in addition to a description of the steps you'll take to prevent the same issue from happening again in the future. Repeat as necessary.

    Being willing to take responsibility will you earn huge amounts of respect and trust from others. If it isn't clear who's at fault, it's better to remain quiet – unless you're willing to take the blame on a gray issue. Telling others why it's not your fault is the same as blaming someone else and adds unnecessary chatter to an already-difficult situation.

    In our day to day lives, it's easy to shirk responsibility or to duck blame to make your life easier. But you've got to take a bigger picture view as well. If you aren't careful to protect your reputation through the words you say, you'll find yourself facing a seriously uphill battle to built trust and respect in the workplace.

    SEE ALSO: One word successful people never use at work

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share

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    Obi Okeke first came to the United States as a 5-year-old refugee during the Nigerian Civil War in 1967. His mother, from Ohio, was able to leave the country with him, but his father, who was born in Nigeria, stayed to fight. 

    Over four decades later, Okeke, now 53, is a fixture in the luxury automobile industry, dealing in cars that cost millions and selling to clients like Floyd Mayweather.

    After that first move to the US, Okeke returned with his family to Nigeria, where he stayed until attending a private high school in Switzerland.

    And that's when he discovered great cars.

    While in Switzerland, Okeke developed a love for European wheels. By the time he was 15, his teachers had already known that he would end up in the car business, he said. Following high school, Okeke came back to the US and started college at Northeastern University in Boston, although he did not graduate from the school.

    When he was 21 years old, Okeke conducted the first of many car deals he'd close in his career. He purchased a BMW 323i Alpina online and was able to sell it for a profit of nearly four times what he paid. The transaction was encouraging. 

    As you would expect for a car salesman, it took some time for him to work his way up to the status of being a salesman of supercars and the co-owner of a dealership. And he bounced around a lot: from Chevy to Dodge to Volkswagen to Lexus to BMW to Mercedes — and his last stop before opening his own place, to Ferrari-Maserati.

    Following six years as the general manager of Ferrari-Maserati in Calabasas, California, Okeke in 2012 cofounded Fusion Luxury Motors in North Los Angeles with a man named Yoel Wazana. 

    Why Fusion is different

    Fusion Luxury Motors is a specialty dealership that sells cars that are geared for collectors, Okeke said. Currently in its inventory, car prices range from $49,000 to $3.8 million.

    The inventory, however, hasn't been acquired by way of auction, which is a route many dealers take. In fact, Okeke says he's never bought from an auction. Rather, about 98% of the inventory comes from private parties, and the remaining 2% from dealers, he said.

    "When you're in the business for as long as I've been, you meet a lot of people," Okeke said. "When I came here, people knew about me. I've been very fortunate to build a deep client database for finding cars."

    When the dealership opened in 2012, it only could only display up to five cars. By April 2013, though, it had moved into a 12,000 square foot show room that can hold 45 cars.


    That means a lot of growth for Fusion and a lot of vehicle acquisitions for Okeke and Wazana, all of which come out-of-pocket. But still, Okeke doesn't see his car dealership as competing with the larger Los Angeles-based dealers because "the market is big enough for everyone."

    "We're just a small dealership trying to be the best at what we're doing," Okeke said. "We're not just focusing only on selling a ton of cars."

    What truly makes Fusion different than a regular car dealership is the turnaround time required, or lack thereof. Okeke says a normal car, like a Toyota Corolla, has to be sold in 45-90 days or it starts losing value. His strategy is different.

    "My cars aren't dropping in value," he said. "They're going up. So I really don't worry about turnaround time."

    Normally, however, a "low-end" car at Fusion, which is under $150,000, takes between two and four months to sell, Okeke said. Higher end cars that are often eclipsing $1 million generally take between six months and a year and a half. Of course there are exceptions, though, like the $1.9 million Koenigsegg he sold in less than 30 days.

    Relationship with Floyd Mayweather


    Mayweather is easily Okeke's biggest-name client. He says Mayweather will stop in about once a month just to see what's available and if there is anything he wants to buy.

    Okeke said he doesn't sell to a lot of celebrities, even though they stop in to look every now and then, just as Keith Urban did a few weeks ago. And the business plan behind Fusion explains why.

    The strategy is to sell high-quality, rare luxury cars to car collectors, not just to deal expensive supercars to celebrities that have the money.

    "Celebrities may buy a Range Rover or Aston Martin or something, but that doesn't mean they care about cars or want to collect," Okeke said. "My buyers are people who have a true passion."

    Despite being one of the biggest names in sports, Mayweather falls into that category. His car collection features three Bugattis and many other of the premium car brands, like Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce.

    In total, Mayweather has bought at least 40 cars from Okeke. Most recently, Mayweather purchased a Koenigsegg CCXR Triveta from Okeke for $4.8 million, according to the boxer's Instagram. Okeke confirmed the purchase but could not disclose the price.

    Previously, the most expensive car he's ever sold, also to Mayweather, was a 2003 Ferrari Enzo. The car was advertised at the time for $3.2 million, although Okeke couldn't disclose the final selling price. Mayweather has since listed the car for sale with Fusion, which just sold at an advertised price of $3.8 million.

    Lifelong enjoyment

    Cars have been the one major passion of Okeke's since he was a young boy, and that has never changed. When he started in car sales, he said it wasn't for financial reasons, it was simply to be surrounded by cars.

    "Once I found out I was good at what I was doing, I really just wanted to get to the top," Okeke said. "I didn't know how to, but I just kept trying and trying."

    Personally, he doesn't collect cars. He's satisfied with being around them all day at work and helping others find the car of their dreams. 

    SEE ALSO: The 15 most expensive cars for sale at Floyd Mayweather's favorite luxury dealership

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 8 things you should never say in a job interview

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    jogging walking biking

    Stress is a common obstacle to productivity and career success.

    That's why being able to manage stress effectively can prove pivotal.

    We spoke with psychotherapist Amy Morin, the author of "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," to find out the best way to approach stress management.

    Here are nine things mentally strong people do to keep stress from taking over:

    1. They keep their problems in perspective.

    As stress builds up over time, it's easy to become frustrated and exaggerate the negative. Mentally strong people, however, understand that stressful situations arise and don't let the ill effects loom over them. "They reframe their negative thoughts into something more realistic in an effort to keep their stress in proper perspective," Morin says. 

    2. They reassure themselves.

    Self-confidence and self-assurance, key characteristics of mentally strong people, helps people work through stress. Instead of being negative and saying, "I can't handle one more problem, they tell themselves: 'I can deal with stress, and I'll be OK no matter what happens,'" Morin says. 

    3. They focus on what they can control.

    Certain things are out of your control, and for some people, that simple fact is stressful. People with mental strength, however, know when something is their responsibility. "They spring into action and engage in active problem-solving when they can prevent and address problems, and they don't waste energy on the things they can't control," Morin says.

    4. They remain aware of their sources of stress.

    A stressor is "a situation that causes us to need to act and that can trigger our body's stress response," writes Elizabeth Scott in her book "8 Keys to Stress Management." Identifying these stressors is the first step in stress management, she says.

    Mentally strong people are aware of their stressors, and "they're aware of the warning signs that they're becoming stressed out," Morin says. Because of their self-awareness, they are able to "adjust their activities and their lifestyle accordingly so they can combat stress effectively."


    5. They establish healthy boundaries.

    In her book, Morin writes that mentally strong people avoid giving away their power by establishing strong emotional and physical boundaries. People can establish healthy boundaries by behaving assertively, she says. 

    It's all about being responsible for your own actions. "They don't blame others for infringing on their time or space," Morin says. "They establish healthy boundaries, speak up when necessary, and take responsibility for getting their needs met."

    6. They spend time with positive people.

    "Social support is an important part of combatting stress, and mentally strong people seek out positive people," Morin says. If you're surrounded with pessimists, chances are they will infringe on your outlook. The same can be said, however, for optimists.

    7. They prioritize their tasks.

    Time is perhaps the single most valuable resource, and mentally strong people understand this. They aren't hesitant to scrap the activities that bring them down, and "they prioritize their tasks so they can focus on getting the most important things done," Morin says. 

    8. They don't forget to have fun.

    "One of the best ways to combat stress is to engage in leisure activities," Morin says. It can be anything — hanging with family, engaging in a hobby, watching TV. As long as it relaxes you and improves your mental state, it will be beneficial. People who have developed mental strength know this and take time to relax and enjoy themselves.

    9. They use healthy coping skills.

    There's a right way and a wrong way to handle anything. When dealing with stress, using alcohol, caffeine, or food would fall in the "wrong way" category, Morin says. Mentally strong people "use healthy coping skills, such as meditation, walking, or journaling to deal with their stress," she says.

    Living an all-around healthy lifestyle is key. Morin suggests getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity, which can give your mind and body a boost

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

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    You love your co-workers; you just can’t get anything done when they’re around. Sound familiar? You might be an introvert.

    For the purposes of this post, I will assume a baseline knowledge of the introvert/extrovert divide.

    But to quickly review: Introverts are not cave-dwelling misanthropes — we simply need to be strategic about how and when we socialize. While extroverts gain energy from being around others; introverts need solitude in order to recharge.

    This can be problematic for those who work in busy offices (particularly open offices) where overstimulation can hinder productivity.

    But there is hope. Start with these 10 tips, and if you’d like more nuance, read Susan Cain’s masterful book "Quiet— a serious eye-opener for those curious about the topic.

    1. Get your most important tasks done ASAP.

    When it comes to managing introversion, it’s pretty simple. The more interactions you have over the course of the day, the more drained and distracted you’ll become. Capitalize on the morning hours when people aren’t yet dropping by your desk or making demands on your time. Once these uninterrupted hours are gone, they’re gone — and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get them back.

    2. Fight for a flexible schedule.

    If your role allows for it, see if you can come in late, leave early, or work from home on certain days of the week. Chances are, you’ll get more done from home anyway. If this isn’t possible, be proactive about carving out time for yourself in the office. (See next point.)

    3. Schedule meetings with yourself.

    If you use a system that allows co-workers to put time on your calendar of their own accord, you might find yourself getting pulled into back-to-back meetings, day after day. Keep control of your own schedule by actually making dates with yourself to work on specific tasks. Knowing you have these mental breaks to look forward to will help you manage other interactions that pop up throughout the day.

    4. Find secret nooks.

    Just because you’re in the office doesn’t mean you can’t hide out from time to time. Book a conference room, or find a quiet corner where you can work in solitude for an hour or two each day.

    man walking

    5. Go for walks.

    Not only does walking free up your mind, it also gives you a break from the action in the office. Take a stroll and give yourself time to think — or simply clear your head — at least once a day.

    6. Find alternatives to in-person meetings.

    Occasional face-time is important, but endless in-person meetings are a surefire way to deplete your energy. Rather than running across town to meet clients, do your weekly check-in via phone. In the office, use email or chat platforms like Slack to communicate with colleagues when possible. This way, you can respond at your own pace — or just tune people out when you start to get overwhelmed.

    7. Take yourself to lunch.

    For some, lunch is a time to banter with co-workers in the company kitchen. For introverts, it’s a time to escape! Order lunch from a spot that will require you to take a lengthy walk, or go big and take yourself on a date. Some people feel like they don’t “have time” to go out to lunch, but if getting away for a bit will boost your productivity in the afternoon, it’s well worth it.

    8. Know when to opt out of company hangouts.

    You need to make a showing at big company events (hello, holiday party!), but don’t feel guilty if you’re not in the mood to hit every happy hour that your co-workers organize. You spend all day at your office; you’re not obligated to use your precious evening hours playing ping-pong with the accounting team.

    In an era when many companies want you to live and breathe “the brand,” it’s okay to assert that you have a life outside of work.

    9. Don’t over-schedule your evenings.

    In my younger years, I often made after-work plans every single day of the week. But by the end of the workday, I often wished I hadn’t. Dedicate a few nights a week to “me time” — and don’t feel bad about turning down invitations in favor of hanging with yourself. If you’re a true introvert, it’s not selfish — it’s necessary.

    10. Out yourself as an introvert.

    You might not want to announce your introversion on your first day at a new job, but ultimately, there’s no shame in letting your co-workers know “the truth” about you. Introversion and extroversion are better understood today than ever before, but there’s still a lot we can learn from each other. 

    Starting a conversation at your company about this fascinating dichotomy will help both introverts and extroverts bring out the best in each other at work.

    SEE ALSO: The best jobs for every personality type

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    Taylor Swift

    What if we told you that pursuing a creative hobby or passion project would actually make you better at your day job? 

    Research shows that the best teachers actively engage in personal, creative pursuits outside of the classroom — and the creativity they generate from those pursuits is actively transferred to their students back in the classroom. 

    We’re willing to bet the same would apply to coworkers in the workplace.

    So go ahead and make time for that pottery-making class you’ve been eyeing or that creative-writing blog you’ve been wanting to start. These six success stories prove it’s worth the time.

    Related: 9 Things Successful People Do Right Before Bed


    SEE ALSO: Research shows that these 7 hobbies will make you smarter

    Warren Buffett

    We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — Warren Buffett is a titan. After all, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO and chairman has been investing since he was just 11 years old.

    When he isn’t busy dominating the business world and acting as an all-around investment guru, he’s — wait for it — strumming away on his ukulele. Check out this video of him performing a duet with Bon Jovi if you need any further proof of his musical chops.

    Related: Office Hours with Warren Buffett

    Taylor Swift

    If we’ve learned anything about Taylor Swift in the last few weeks, it’s that she’s the ultimate multitasker

    When she’s not belting out hits in sold-out football stadiums with her #ModelSquad at her side, she’s changing the minds of billion-dollar executives, breaking VEVO records, and making generous donations to fans in need.

    But wait — add one more thing to T-Swift’s resume: In her spare time, she’s a serious crafter. Some of her best work? A Drake-inspired needlepoint for bestie Ed Sheeran, mason-jar snow globes, and red, white, and blue desserts.

    Related: 15 Signs You Have What It Takes to Be in Taylor Swift’s Girl Gang

    Satya Nadella

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a techie through and through: Before taking on the role of chief executive officer, Nadella spearheaded the development of the multinational tech company’s cloud infrastructure.

    When he’s not working, however, you’ll catch him reading poetry. Oftentimes he’ll even pull his favorite inspirational quotes to include in the next employee email, like this one from poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Technology. It has been a hobby of mine since 1981, when I fell in love with programming, applications and online games. My brain is wired for logic and for problem solving, and computers have always helped me fill this compulsion.

    And since I was 13 years old, I have been accustomed to the debate about the limitations of technology, or rather the downsides of being overly obsessed with gadgets, devices, software, or applications.

    Every hour of Zork was an hour not on the soccer field or basketball court, and every chat in Prodigy or CompuServe was an in-person chat not happening. I was blessed with a healthy extraverted side to accompany my inner computer geek, so the balance never had negative consequences.

    The detractors were much stronger in the 80s and early 90s, but my arguments that for every person who was pulled away from an actual social interaction was another who was alone and now could connect with other humans and feel affinity with people thousands of miles away.

    Technology is of course a dual-edge sword, but the media discussions of how it affects human interactions all too often focuses on the downsides.

    But the debate rages on, and we know the last eight years drove computing from the confined time and space of our desktops and into our pockets and now wrists. The mobility of technology has exacerbated both the upsides (all the information at our finger tips at any moment) and the downsides (addictions of checking updates incessantly or spending more time capturing and posting events than enjoying them).

    If you’re reading this, then you are doubtlessly a gadget-heavy, tech-forward person who has fully embraced the upside case for technology, but I’m willing to bet you sometimes rue the encroachment it has had into your personal life – both watching loved ones as well as knowing yourself that you are all too addicted. Numerous articles point out the “sitting is the new smoking” and, if so, then “mobile phones are the new crack.”

    I was so moved a few years ago by this poetry slam by Marshall Davis Jones that I invited him to speak at our annual Upfront Summit and he was as genuine in person as he came across in this video. (If you haven’t seen it, I promise you won’t regret watching it.)

    From his poem …

    my world has become so digital
    I have forgotten what that feels like it was difficult to connect when friends formed clicks
    now it’s even more difficult to connect
    now that cliques form friends
    But who am I to judge
    I face Facebook
    more than books face me
    hoping to
    book face-to-faces
    update my status
    420 spaces
    to prove I’m still breathing
    failure to do this daily
    means my whole web wide world would forget that I exist
    but with 3000 friends online
    only five I can count in real life
    why wouldn’t I spend more time in a world where there are more people that ‘like’ me
    Wouldn’t you?

    Technology has creeped into our daily lives and become so pervasive it at times crosses the lines of acceptability and encroaches into our physical well being. And while I will always be a tech heavy-user (my wife is telling me that if I’m not outside in 15 minutes she’s eating dinner without me :)) – I have to admit that I have for a while been thinking about how to best push back.

    Some have urged a “digital sabbath,” where one would give up logging in for one (or two?) days on the weekend, but I have to admit that never appealed to me because I actually enjoy the freedom of being online during the weekend when it feels less like work. And for what it’s worth, blogging has always been a creative outlet for me and never felt like an obligation or work.

    cell phone girl city

    But I realized that one are that technology was having an unhealthy impact on my life and that was in the bedroom. Like many of you I dragged my mobile phone into my bedroom at night and would occasionally check email or Twitter or Facebook before bed.

    I used my iPhone as my alarm clock, and I often did 20 minutes of email in bed in the morning before starting my day. But the evening sessions led to my thinking about work right before sleeping. And the time on my phone in the morning was either time I could have been on the treadmill, or at least time I could have been significantly more productive had I come downstairs and gotten on my computer (with bigger screens and a keyboard).

    And, of course, reading a mobile device – even if I’m just reading the NY Times – cuts into time that I talk with my wife, discuss the day's issues, plan the days ahead, or even just curl up to a good book or watch our favorite TV shows. And whatever you think about TV, at least it’s an activity you can do together and synchronized, where a brain locked into a mobile device is miles away in some problem or topic in the ether.

    So, a few weeks ago, I made a commitment never to bring my mobile phone into my bedroom at night under any circumstance. I bought a new digital alarm clock so I couldn’t use my iPhone as a crutch. When I wake up, I get straight out of bed so I can start my day productively and while “draining my email” early in the morning in bed isn’t “unproductive,” it certainly isn’t as productive as the alternative.

    A few weeks in and I have no regret. I wish I would have done this a couple of years ago.

    I plan to still be a huge technology nerd going forward. I look forward to buying an Amazon Echo. I’m sure I’ll buy more IoT devices. I’ll still be online often – in both desktop and mobile mode. But I’m taking one small step to stem the tide of the digital world’s encroachment into my life. And I feel great about it.

    SEE ALSO: Your phone is making you less productive and prone to mistakes

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    For self-described night owls, waking up at the crack of dawn and managing to be alert and productive may seem impossible. But the business world shows no signs of changing its schedule.

    How can you curb your late-night habits and transform yourself into a morning person? 

    We read through a recent Quora thread on becoming a morning person, and highlighted some of the best, most practical responses.

    1. Stop hitting snooze.

    Hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock may make you think you're getting more sleep, but it actually has a negative affect. Once you start hitting snooze, you're fragmenting your sleep schedule and creating sleep inertia, a feeling of grogginess that can last all day. 

    Quora user Stefano Gandinni says it starts with having the proper mindset. "Before you go to bed, tell yourself that you are going to get up as soon as your alarm goes off," he writes. "You're NOT going to hit the snooze button. Visualize yourself waking up and immediately getting out of bed."

    2. Think of something you're grateful for.

    Starting your morning with a positive attitude can help shape the remainder of your day. "There's a direct correlation between gratitude and happiness, so start off your day by expressing gratitude," Gandinni writes.

    3. Use "dark sessions" the night before.

    Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep can be difficult, but it's key to feeling alert the next day. To help with his sleep, Quora user Andy Ooi says he uses "dark sessions" each night — he shuts off all forms of technology and all of the lights for 10 to 30 minutes before he plans to go to bed. "Enjoy the darkness," he says. "You will feel very primal, like a caveman again."


    4. Get up and moving.

    Anything you can do to get your blood flowing and your body moving will have a positive impact on your morning productivity. Quora user Ananya Neogi suggests stretching each morning and says "your body will become alert that the day has started." Multiple other users suggest getting your daily workout done in the morning. 

    5. Drink water.

    "People wake up better if they're hydrated," Neogi writes. "Going for too long without drinking anything can make you feel unmotivated and sluggish." Keep a glass or bottle of water next to your bed and slam it when you wake up in the morning. 

    6. Write something.

    Just as getting your body moving can help, getting your mind working can, too. You can write anything — what you're thinking, what you're grateful for, your goals — as long as it helps you get going. Writing can help you "feel happy and motivated to get your day started," Neogi writes.

    dog walking early morning reuters

    7. Get outdoors.

    Getting outside in the morning, especially at sunrise, can be a great way to start the day. Quora user Laszlo F. Heredy likes to get outside "about 15 minutes before the sun comes over the horizon." If you're worried about time, he recommends you "set your shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and water bottle next to your bed. As soon as you get up, get out the door ASAP. Go earlier and earlier until you find your favorite time." 

    8. Meditate.

    Quora user David Deng suggests early morning meditation every day. He says he learned the benefits in a retreat where they slept from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. for a week. "In the beginning I was struggling on six hours of sleep," he writes. "But once I got better at meditating, I was able to cope and focus even with what seemed like a lack of sleep."

    9. Develop a routine.

    However you prefer to get your mornings going, make it a daily occurrence. "Getting your body used to a routine will make it easier to handle your mornings,"writes Quora user Charles Kins. Settling into a consistent sleep schedule will also help, writes Mansa Anand.

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

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    man on escalator

    Recently I wrote a general overview, similarly titled, of the steps someone can put in place to lay the foundation for an automated business that might give you the ability to create seven-figure revenues, without the need for employees.

    Now I’m going to tell you, step by step, exactly what my co-founder and I did at BottleKeeper to accomplish this.

    I do want to be clear that I’m not writing this column to plug my own company — instead, it’s being written as a direct result of feedback from Entrepreneur readers from the last piece.

    Here are the details about the product and business we created that has allowed us to generate seven-figure revenues without employees, while maintaining the ability to operate the company from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

    So, how did it happen?

    It started with launching an off-the-shelf ecommerce site toward the end of a crowdfunding campaign in late 2013, which was set up on WordPress with Paglines DMS, a “drag and drop” front-end editor, and WooCommerce.

    Related: How to Optimize Your Site for Every Stage of the Buying Cycle

    If this sounds complicated, know that anyone with a computer can set this up in 10 minutes, and there are even more simple alternatives such as Shopify and Squarespace for ecommerce needs. Once live, the site was constantly tweaked and improved as we seemingly fumbled around in an attempt to figure it out.

    With the continued development came the need for solutions that were well beyond my programming expertise — which is virtually none. The good news is that you can “plug in” a solution to nearly any issue or desire that you can imagine, many of which are free and take 30 seconds to configure. In our first website we had up to 32 different plugins running simultaneously, which is a ton, but our sales processes were completely automated.

    One of the most important plugins was a rewards and referral program, which was and is still aggressively based on “refer a friend, get a free BottleKeeper.” This was huge for leveraging consumer social sharing because it wasn’t the “get 10 percent off” that you typically see — we quickly learned that a bonus program must be significant to gain real traction.

    The Facebook video push.

    When Facebook launched its video-ad platform in mid-2014, we had been experimenting with image-based ads, but with minimal success. So I made a short video of BottleKeeper in action with an off-the-shelf camera, edited it in iMovie and posted it in the “video views” category of the new platform.

    We targeted a fairly broad group of U.S.-based consumers between the ages of 25 to 64 with behavioral interests in common-sense topics such as beer, sports and outdoors, tailgating, boating, etc.

    We simultaneously ran five different tag lines for the video, with a budget of just $10 per day, to A/B test for the best response. Once complete, the video was launched with the winning tag line at the same daily rate — just $10.

    The response to the video was incredible and within a week was returning more than $10 for each dollar spent. This great return allowed us to scale our sales just by increasing the ad spend on the video, which has continued to work exceptionally well and automated our monthly sales revenue.

    Related: 4 Crucial Steps for Creating a Profitable Online Business

    Providing ongoing support.

    At this point, the daily needs at BottleKeeper are mostly built around support functions. We use to automate customer questions, which takes inbound requests via email and does not include the ability to call us -- again, no employees, right?

    Most questions, such as “when is green going to be back in stock” or “how do I use my referral link,” can be answered with a simple automated response. As we’ve continued to scale, our inbound questions have grown and it has become more difficult to manage them in the timely fashion that we require of BottleKeeper.

    So we contracted a virtual assistant that is extremely capable and works on the support cases for five hours per week, which is plenty of time once the processes are set up efficiently. Note that this person is not our employee, but another company’s employee.

    Leveraging social media and outside help.

    As our social following grew, I was still manually creating all of the content that sparked interaction between the consumers and brand. This started with the daily posting of beer-based ecards and memes but has grown to require much more — so instead of hiring an employee to manage this process, I hired a PR company.

    One of the main benefits is that for the cost of employing someone that you must manage, motivate and train, you can bring on an entire team of people that are already managed, motivated and trained. I firmly believe that, in many cases, it’s better to pay another company, whose success is built entirely upon yours, to do all the hiring and hard work.

    SEE ALSO: 5 mistakes standing between you and your first million

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    talking networking

    My late husband's mom (our family calls her Grandma Vincenza) communicates with me regularly.

    For the most part, our conversations start out pretty much the same: How are you? How are the girls and Armando? How's the weather? How's the traffic? (She lives in an area of Florida that gets very busy in the winter months.)

    Sounds boring and awkward, right? The reality is our conversations are the exact opposite!

    I love talking with her. Our conversations are interesting, engaging, and quite enjoyable!

    When I was in my 20s, I was quite uncomfortable with small talk. I couldn't understand why I should talk about the weather and other equally mundane topics when it seemed to make absolutely no difference. I didn't understand the purpose.

    I used to think, "How phony can you be?" I used to refer to it as "plastic talk." In fact, I used to imagine a plastic New Orleans type mask and a permanent forced smile — a symbol of the epitome of inauthentic conversation. Those types of words had no meaning. And I was right — that is, to some extent.

    Yes, the words were not meaningful, however, what I didn't understand about small talk was that the content of the message doesn't carry the meaning of the interaction. It's the interaction itself that has meaning.

    In fact, I really didn't get it until one of my bosses, Lee, helped me to really experience the value of small talk. We both worked from home offices, so he'd call me each week to see how things were going. He'd always start out by asking about mundanes thing.

    At first, I was tense, thinking and wondering, "What are you really calling about?""Did I do something wrong?""Why is he calling me now?" But over time, I learned that when he called, his only goal was to let me know he was there if I needed him — no hidden agenda, no accusations. It was just his way of saying, "I'm listening." I began to call them "water cooler conversations".

    Small talk was his way of leaving the door open for me to take our "water cooler conversation" in whatever direction I needed. Often I'd end up getting his advice, or he'd offer some resources to help me, and sometimes we just chatted about nothing in particular.

    In time, I realized how helpful and motivating those conversations were (even when we just chatted about nothing) and even found myself a bit anxious when we skipped one. That's when I came to realize that small talk really is just a way to signal, “Hey I'm here, I'm listening, and I'm open to having a conversation with you." In this case, the words are used to establish a connection, not to communicate specific information.

    talking women friends

    Later as I was getting my master's in communication, I learned this type of communication has a name, "phatic communication" (from the Greek word ‘to speak’) and was written about nearly 100 years ago by anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski.

    In essence, phatic communication is small talk, and it is crucial for social creatures like us. It indicates a desire to reach out, to create a bond if none exists, or to strengthen a bond when one does exist. In short, it shows we care. And it allows for the gentle flow of light conversation into perhaps a deeper, more intimate conversation.

    It's just a starting point.

    An important study has even found that social interaction, trying to get to know people and trying to understand their perspectives improves performance. This is common sense. If you understand how people think, you will be able to work with them better, have better intra-office and client relations, and be just generally liked better.

    And the fact is, to be successful in business or in life, you have to be able to reach out and connect with others. In business, it’s crucial.

    Forbes quotes Scott Hoover’s book, "How To Get A Job On Wall Street": “In trying to generate business, the deal pitch is obviously critical. What is not so obvious is that simple, seemingly innocuous conversation with potential clients can be just as important. Companies want to hire people who can think on their feet.” And people like to be with other people who make them feel comfortable, because they are willing to reach out to them in conversation, even light conversation.

    talking on the phone

    So when your friend or relative calls, and you start with small-talk, you are strengthening an emotional bond and opening yourselves to a deepening of your mutual love.

    When your boss calls, and you start with small talk, you are getting to know each other more clearly, so that you can respond to each other’s cues, understand what the other needs, and improve your interaction and your performance.

    Have you noticed that, in general, small talk skills seem to be deteriorating? I certainly have. Instead people prefer to just text, which gives them an excuse to skip the warm-up and just jump directly to information sharing.

    The problem is that it then becomes a vicious circle, because the lack of practice then makes small talk even more difficult. In fact, recently I've even heard a number of people say that they really aren't comfortable with in-person conversations — they'd rather text!

    So if you’re not good at small talk, or small talk makes you uncomfortable, start practicing! It can make the difference in your career and in your life. If you'd like more help with this skill, in my book "Smart Talk," I explain practical steps for starting and maintaining conversations that lead to deeper relationships, along with many other important communication topics.

    SEE ALSO: How to phrase 8 awkward questions you may want to ask your boss

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    Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst

    LinkedIn Influencer Jeff Haden published this post originally on LinkedIn.

    Mention you're about to start a business and you'll get plenty of advice. Everyone you know will suddenly turn into an expert on financing, marketing and sales strategies, and technology and innovation.

    But what you won't hear is what it's like to be a CEO, even if you're the CEO of no one but yourself. Knowing the buck truly does stop with you is a subject leaders and bosses rarely talk about.

    That's where Jim Whitehurst, the president and CEO of Red Hat, one of the largest and most successful providers of open-source software, comes in. Before joining Red Hat, Jim was the COO of Delta Airlines, so you might assume he knew exactly what he was getting into — but that's definitely not the case.

    Here are some examples.

    You will, in fact, still have a boss — lots of bosses. 

    Most people assume you don't have a boss when you're the CEO. If you're the sole owner that is, strictly speaking, true … but you still have plenty of "bosses."

    And that means you have to consider the different objectives of all those bosses when deciding what to do.

    In my case I have a board, major investors, government officials (since we're a public company), Wall Street, employees — lots of bosses.

    Having greater latitude is one of the fun parts of being a CEO, but never assume you have free rein to do whatever you want.

    The input you receive will often conflict. 

    Some investors may want you to focus more on short-term results than long-term growth. Different customers may want very different things. Even individual board members can have very different opinions.

    Your job is to continue to tell the story of your company, continually make judgment calls, and continually balance personalities, needs, and goals. That's one of the most challenging things about the job; since you have multiple bosses with multiple agendas, you constantly wonder, "Am I doing the right things?"

    Sometimes you will have less latitude than when you only had one boss. 

    When you have investors or a board or employees whose future is at least partly in your hands, even though you're in charge, you sometimes need to seek permission. And unlike when you had a boss, often there's not just one person you need to ask.


    Everything you do will be under a microscope. 

    As a CEO or business owner, you're constantly on display, not just for the job you do but for things like what you wear, whether you use a Styrofoam cup instead of a mug and what that says about your environmental consciousness, what kind of car you drive, etc.

    For example, an employee was talking with my wife at a company event and said, "One of the things I really like is that Jim is family oriented. That's important, because I have kids." How did she decide that? During a meeting I took a call from my wife — she rarely calls me at work and I wanted to make sure nothing was wrong.

    But what if for some reason — say I knew she planned to call at that time to leave me a message that wasn't urgent and I had hit "Ignore"? Would that employee have thought I was not family oriented … and that Red Hat was not a family-friendly company?

    Possibly so. When you're under the microscope, it's amazing what can be read into the smallest things. One interaction doesn't necessarily send a major signal, but when your business is large enough and employees only see you occasionally, that one experience can form their entire opinion.

    Being in charge is like a double-edged sword. You get to lead by example, but you can set tons of inadvertent examples. You can't have a bad day.

    You will be the worst boss you ever had. 

    Becoming your own boss theoretically frees you from being controlled and micromanaged … but your conscience is probably the most exacting taskmaster you've ever worked for.

    Take today: In theory I could have not scheduled anything. But almost all the individuals who make it to the CEO level or who start their own company, are fairly competitive, driven to do well, committed to performance. They're their own toughest boss.

    While you do have more control, with that responsibility, comes a sense of obligation that pushes most people harder than any boss possibly could.

    Your job will definitely be different from what you imagine. 

    I came to Red Hat thinking my job would be quite different than it actually is — not better, not worse, just different. Even though you're given a title, you still have to earn trust, earn latitude from shareholders and employees … you still have to do all the things you have to do as an employee to gain credibility and respect.

    Six years ago I came from doing an operations-intensive job in a low-margin industry. Red Hat is a high-growth company with incredible opportunities that result in incredible ambiguity — my job is a lot more about developing strategies, inspiring people, inspiring creativity, and pivoting from driving numbers and executing to something totally different has been an interesting challenge.

    That can happen to you even if you start a new business. Many people tell me what they thought their business would do — and what that meant their role would be — turned out to be very different from what they imagined.

    … But it will also be the best job you ever had. 

    Running a business and being the CEO is incredibly rewarding. You can make a huge impact. You get to work with, and through, awesome people. You get to make a real difference.

    It's definitely a tough job … but it's also the best job.

    More from Jeff Haden:

    SEE ALSO: 9 surprising traits of truly successful leaders

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    bus commute

    Mornings generally aren't my thing – although since having a daughter six months ago, they've become more "my thing" by default.

    Still, after showering, chugging coffee and getting an earful of Howard Stern on satellite, sometimes I'm so drained all I want to do once I step foot into the train is zone out (and to NOT smell the armpit of the guy next to me as it rests dangerously close to my face, but you know, sometimes we don't get what we want).

    Yet, zoning out often consists of staring off into space, browsing the internet and emails, texting, and doing more useless "checking" of things that really aren't that important.

    Though I may think this is "relaxing," I often exit my commute feeling restless and more stressed than before.

    So, on last week's commute, I decided to try something new. Instead of wasting time on my half an hour commutes to and from work that I'd never get back, what if I tried to better myself by learning something new each day? I did, and here's how it went.

    (Note: For variety's sake, and with the aim of enriching myself from a personal and professional perspective, I designated a different "theme" for each day. The full list of what I read or listened to would be a bit long, so below is a highlight or two from each day.)

    Monday: Professional Development Focus

    I opted to dive right in and focus on professional development first. I've been writing about work-life balance lately, and I had saved a bunch of articles I hadn't yet gotten around to reading yet, so I caught up on topics like "The Workplace Culture Flying Nannies Won't Fix" and "You Really Don't Need to Work So Much."

    I read up on things like how Jessica Alba built up a $1 billion company. I also found a new love: Business Radio on SiriusXM. The station offers everything from their women@work series to career advice and investing advice, and I've been soaking it up like a sponge.

    My take: A business or industry-specific podcast is a great way to brush up on the latest developments in your field or gain some general business acumen. And the work commute is a perfect excuse to actually read all those smartie-pants articles you've bookmarked (and then casually drop some knowledge on your peers while lingering around the break room). 


    Tuesday: Business and News Focus

    My co-workers had recently recommended theSkimm's email newsletter, which sums up news in a really fun, digestible format. After checking this out, I went to The New York Times to browse, and ended up seeing a sign-up option for NYT Now's Morning Briefing emails, which sum up U.S. and world news in a more serious, but still super-digestible way. Score!

    As I was catching up on the morning news, I suddenly felt an elbow digging into my side, and I looked over at my headphone-clad seat mate to see him laughing uncontrollably. I tried to peer over at his iPhone screen to see what he was listening to that was so funny, but I couldn't quite make it out (so it will unfortunately forevermore remain a mystery to all of us). It did, however, give me the idea for Wednesday's focus … comedy!

    My take: My methods of getting news are often haphazard — or at least it feels that way as I hop all over the Internet and attempt to make sense of the craziness. Having not one, but two dedicated news feeds delivered to my inbox that perfectly sum up everything I need to know for the day is invaluable to me. Now, this is the first thing I catch up on when I start my commute each day. 

    Wednesday: Comedy Focus

    Is it true that listening to comedy before and after work improves one's mood? I intended to find out. I decided to listen to a few stand-up bits by comedians I liked already (like Aziz Ansari) and ones I hadn't listened to as much (like George Carlin).

    And I became that person on the train who got a few raised eyebrows, and maybe a glare or two. But I didn't care — because it felt good to laugh, and because it really transported me into the comedian's world (and away from the day-to-day stresses). 

    My take: So, can listening to comedy improve one's mood? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. Listening to great comedy can, much like a compelling novel or spoken-word story, take us to another place entirely. And sometimes, that's just what we need. I found that I arrived at work in better spirits and that little things that normally may have gotten under my skin really didn't.

    And laughing out loud (much like my friendly train neighbor the day before) on the way home helped me to get my mind off all the to-do lists or pressures of the day and feel refreshed when it was time to come home and be with my family, which I have found is vital to maintaining a balanced, happy life.


    Thursday: Personal Growth Focus

    When it comes to personal organization, I feel like my belongings are in a constant state of disarray. I've heard, and I find to be true, that when your home is organized, it helps YOU feel more organized.

    Everyone around me seems to be buzzing about "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, so I bought it the condensed version with the author's "rules," which I didn't realize until after wasn't actually written by her. It was a perfect read for my short window of time, though, and I plan on reading the actual book next (and then tackling home organization head-on).

    My take: Looking inward and focusing on improving ourselves, whether it be through better organization, or eating healthier, or learning things as varied as how to play the guitar or how to build confidence in everyday life are great goals — but they're also easy to put off, saying "I want to do that sometime."

    Investing in ourselves can be difficult when we're pulled in so many directions, but it's really important to do, and the (relatively uninterrupted) commute is a perfect time for some "me time."

    Friday: Leisure Focus

    Reading for pleasure is one of my favorite pastimes, but I've convinced myself I'm too busy lately to take on a novel, so real reading keeps getting put on the back burner. For the last day of my experiment, I dug into "What the Lady Wants" by Renee Rosen, a historical novel set around 19th century Chicago and retail titan Marshall Fields — the current choice of the book club I hadn't yet found the time to attend.

    My take: This felt indulgent for me, as I haven't made time to get lost in a book lately that wasn't related to something for my job. I've been a huge reader most all of my life, so making it a priority is really important for me to feel like my life is in balance. Though the work commute provides a limited amount of time to get into a good book, it can give you something to look forward to on your way to and from work.

    Next week's commute — and what I learned

    I really liked this experiment, and found that it benefited not only my mind, but my mood, my perspective and my productivity. I no longer felt like I was wasting valuable time twice a day, but instead using an hour each day to better myself personally and professionally.

    It's hard to balance work and life, and this experiment stressed to me that being busy means I need to work with the time I have in creative ways, because the payoff can be huge. Doing this also made me follow through on some things I've meant to do — for instance, I finally went to that book club I'd been declining invitations to, and I've been reading more for fun again. I've made my news feeds a daily habit, and reading more about topics I want to write more about, like work-life balance and parental leave, is sparking new ideas for putting pen to paper. 

    I'm motivated to continue to use my commute time in other interesting ways. Next on the list? I want to learn French with an app like Duolingo, and check out the Hard Core History podcast.

    I encourage everyone to try this on their daily commute — whether that commute is by train, or car, or bike — or your own two feet. You may learn something new about yourself, or your career, or life itself. You'll likely be in better spirits. And you'll most certainly feel more refreshed, productive and ready to face the day.

    And I encourage that guy with the B.O. to try some deodorant. But, you know, you can't win 'em all.

    SEE ALSO: Science says chatting with strangers on your morning commute can make you happier

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    Adam Grant, Author

    LinkedIn Influencer Adam Grant published this post originally on LinkedIn.

    Here’s a preview of the exciting new books on work and psychology.

    Instead of just spouting their opinions, these authors bring us real data:

    SEE ALSO: The 15 most influential business books of 2015

    1. "Presence" by Amy Cuddy (December 29)

    Building on her wildly popular TED talk about power posing, Cuddy explains how we can achieve greater success and sincerity by changing the way we carry ourselves.

    It’s a captivating, charming read on harnessing confidence and poise.

    2. "Unfinished Business" by Anne-Marie Slaughter (September 29)

    As the first woman to direct policy planning at the U.S. State Department, Slaughter ignited a national conversation with her Atlantic piece on why women still can’t have it all.

    Now, she boldly examines how individuals and policymakers can create equality for men and women — at work and at home

    3. "Superforecasting" by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner (September 29)

    One of the giants of behavioral science reveals how to improve at predicting the future.

    Find out how a farmer does a better job anticipating major world events than political and intelligence experts, and how we can all become smarter and wiser.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    harvard business school graduation MBA students

    Harvard Business School has long been considered one of the premier business schools in the world, and it has the data to back it up.

    Harvard MBAs have the second-highest median mid-career salaries of all MBA programs, coming in at $181,100 per year. Additionally, MBAs leave Harvard with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. By 30 years after graduation, 42% of graduates have founded a business, the school's website says.

    While the admissions committee is highly selective, the essay portion of the application is surprisingly open-ended.

    For the class of 2018, Harvard is only asking one essay question, says Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, which helps clients earn admission to top MBA programs. Here's the question:

    It's the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your "section." This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting. Introduce yourself.

    "The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school as you introduce yourself to your classmates," says Blackman.

    HBS doesn't impose a word limit, but she recommends keeping your answer to a concise 1,200 words or less.

    Your first priority should be evaluating all aspects of your candidacy,Blackman says, including: The story your resume tells; what your recommendations would say about you, and how your transcript communicates your skills, accomplishments, and interests.

    To successfully sell yourself, discipline is crucial. You should pick two or three personality traits that you possess and are able to back up with concrete anecdotes, Blackman says. Leadership is the "big kahuna" at HBS, so telling the story of an accomplishment you've made as a leader is a good idea. Admissions also looks for traits like initiative, maturity, being solutions-oriented, and having self-awareness, she says.

    Keep in mind, however, that while you're submitting your essay to the admissions committee, the purpose is to introduce yourself to your fellow classmates. "You shouldn't be focused on impressing your teacher or the committee," Blackman says. "Your audience is your peers — the people that you'll be developing lifelong bonds with."

    While explaining what you bring to the table and your experience is key, it's important not to fall into an explanation of "why HBS?" Blackman says. "HBS admissions is quite clear on the value of an HBS degree, and they would rather see you use the space to provide more information about yourself and your candidacy."

    SEE ALSO: 10 traits Harvard looks for in ideal MBA candidates

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    pure barre classDo what you love and youll never work a day in your life.

    The longer I spent working in the energy industry, the more I started to wonder if this was true.

    Sure, I had great colleagues and a secure, steady income, but I was far from passionate about my job. Every single day felt like work. (Every. Single. Day.)

    Enter Pure Barre.

    As soon as I took my first class, I was hooked on the workout. By the time I got a few more classes under my belt, I knew I wanted to open my own studio.

    It’s easy for me to type that now, but at the time, leaving my corporate job felt crazy. Also, stupid. How could I possibly support myself?

    But, life is short, so I abandoned the security of working for someone else and dove head first into entrepreneurship by opening my own fitness studio.

    Here are a few lessons I learned in the process (a.k.a., the hard way) that you can and should apply to your own career — especially if you constantly hear a voice in the back of your head telling to follow your dreams.

    1. Just do it

    As cliché as it sounds, doing is far, far better than thinking about doing. And trust me, before this, I wasn’t a do-er. In fact, I’m an analyzer. I take time to process the pros and cons of almost all my decisions, big and small. But, at a certain point you must take action, even if that action is deciding that your idea is a bad one after all.

    I thought a lot about opening a Pure Barre studio before I finally took the leap of faith. The process of doing it took about two years. Even though I knew I loved it from day one, I had a busy schedule (and that pesky, secure job).

    So I kept telling the little voice in my head to quiet down. Slowly, but surely, that voice got louder and went from “I love this!” to “I could do this” and then to “I have to do this or I will regret it the rest of my life.”

    2. Change is the only constant

    While consistency’s comfortable, it doesn’t last long. There’ll always be new challenges and better methods to accomplish tasks.

    In addition to the ever-present scheduling and staffing changes, we also have the added layer of creating a new product daily. In the fitness industry especially, if you’re not constantly changing, evolving, and growing, your clients will get bored or stop seeing results and take their business elsewhere.

    This means our teachers have to be on top of their game 100% of the time, and that’s no easy task. We’re constantly working new exercises and (occasionally) new equipment into our routines to keep it fresh for clients.


    3. Trust your gut

    It’s right more frequently than not, and you’ll likely kick yourself (down the road) when you don’t trust your instincts. In the studio’s early days, I often questioned myself about every move I wanted to make — which usually lead me to lose confidence in my decisions. After all, who was I to know how to run this business?

    Turns out I was the person to know — after all, I got into this because I was passionate about it.

    I admit, I made some mistakes in the beginning, especially related to hiring, coaching, and leading the right team of people. Teaching Pure Barre is a challenging job; it’s the only thing more challenging than taking a class. It takes a lot of hard work upfront and the rewards (changing people’s lives) follow far behind — so no, it’s not for everyone.

    Those who look great on paper may not interview well, and those who interview well might not the right personality to lead a large group. So, rather than running down a traditional checklist now, I look for an outgoing personality, a burning passion for this type of exercise, and natural musical rhythm — three things that can’t exactly be measured.

    4. You’re stronger than you think

    This is a phrase Pure Barre teachers often say when an exercise gets tough and clients want to come out of the position for a break. Perseverance always leads to better results.

    Shortly after we opened, we received complaints from a neighboring business that the sound from class was carrying into its space. We tried everything to fix the problem — turning down the volume, installing new equipment, sealing the wall penetrations — to no avail.

    We ultimately had to make the decision to install a drywall ceiling to solve the problem. It was an expensive and stressful process for a new business to have to go “under construction” shortly after opening, but in the end it all worked out.

    Things will get tough, that’s a guarantee. When doubt creeps in and I want to curl up in a ball and quit, remembering that I’m stronger than I think helps me stick it out and get the job done. That’s not to say I haven’t learned some tough lessons the hard — read: expensive — way, but going through that process ultimately made me stronger in the end.

    man hiking mountains

    5. Leadership takes courage

    “Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” so the saying goes. 

    Big decisions, such as hiring and firing, can be scary, and for the most part, that’s expected. However, even small tasks like delegating things to others, or pushing a staff member beyond her comfort level to help her grow, takes courage and trust.

    Not only do you have to trust the other person, you have to trust yourself — and be brave enough to act on that when leading a team. Yes, it’s scary to be the person in charge, the person who it all comes down to every day. But it’s incredibly rewarding to watch your staff grow beyond their expectations.

    I truly love my job. My staff and the fabulous clients are really what make my company a success. While it does take a lot of hard work (that opening quote is a lie, by the way), it’s fun, rewarding work that makes me feel whole and impactful. And really, what more could you ask for in a career?

    SEE ALSO: 14 questions to ask yourself before you quit your job

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    jack dorseyWhile I don't have the official stats, I would take a wild guess that far more Silicon Valley web startups fail than succeed.

    So when the cofounder of two of the most successful of these web startups speaks, then it's probably a good idea to listen.

    In this case, it's Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey who's doing the talking.

    Jack currently serves as CEO of Square, and many would like to see him take the reins of Twitter.

    Check out his success habits and see if they can’t make you more successful.

    1. Start with an idea

    Says Dorsey, "It doesn't start by you waking up and saying 'I want to start a business,' it starts by you waking up and saying 'I'm really passionate about this thing and I'm going to do whatever it takes to make it work.'"

    2. Keep a diary

    "Find a simple way way to track your progress,” says Jack. “You really get to see how you have grown, how your business has grown and how your own leadership has grown."

    3. Build a transparent company

    "We get all these new, diverse perspectives, and it makes people think in different ways, and that creates a lot more creativity in the organization. Making sure that everyone sees that has been the most transformative for us."

    4. Communication and cooperation are key

    According to Dorsey, "If you have two departments that are not talking, if you have two people who just can't get along, that friction will manifest in the product itself, and your customers will see that friction. You are putting your company's issues before your customers, which is just rude and selfish. We make sure we design and engineer the company and the organization as much as we do the product and the service we have built."

    5. Sometimes it's OK to break the rules

    According to Jack, his father started a pizza business with a friend when he was 19 years old. "The first person they hired was my mother. My father fell in love with her, and he went to his best friend a week later and said 'I broke the rules, I fell in love with Marcia, the business is yours.' I was born 10 months after that."

    SEE ALSO: 8 keystone habits that can transform your life

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    job interview

    What’s a job “skill”?

    On a resume, it seems like everyone has their own definition. Some people list “skills” like “effective manager” and “dedicated work ethic.” Others go with “team leader” and “strong communication skills.”

    But let me ask a simple question: is “strong work ethic” a skill or personality trait?

    The answer is B. Personality traits are not job skills and, in my view, do not belong in the “Skills” section of a resume.

    Want an example of a “skill” that could set your resume apart from the competition?

    Software development. That’s a “skill.”

    Resume “skills” are tangible, practical, hands-on, real-world stuff you know how to use or do. I spoke recently with Nimit Maru, co-founder of Fullstack Academy in New York City.

    Fullstack teaches people to become software developers, one of the most in-demand professions today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts software development jobs will exceed 200,000 by 2022, and the average salary for a developer today is $90,060.

    Maru says he often trains people who come from traditional jobs that aren’t heavy on technology.

    “If you have a creative mind and the ability to pick up new ideas quickly, software development could be a great fit,” said Maru. “At Fullstack, we show you how to construct software and websites from scratch so you understand the entire process. It’s a comprehensive education that’s appealing to employers.”

    When people leave Fullstack, their resume “skills” section is chock full of goodness. Items like:

    • Proficient with JavaScript, Node.js/Express and HTML5
    • Knowledge of agile project management
    • Experience with UX design and open source development

    Yes, those are job skills. And the added bonus: super valuable skills and certifications imply you’re “dedicated” and possess a “strong work ethic.” If not, how would you have obtained the knowledge?

    I often write about the need to SHOW people what you can do rather than TELL them. It’s why I advocate you lead a cover letter with a short story of success on the job. And why you should also share positive stories in job interviews rather than tell the employer you’re “passionate.”

    Not. Good. Enough.

    Same goes for the resume “Skills” section. Anyone can claim to be an “effective project manager,” but can you PROVE it? Here are some examples:

    • Project management tools you know how to use (ex: Basecamp)
    • Certifications you’ve completed
    • Social media channels you understand (but it’s not enough to say “Proficient at LinkedIn” — you need to go deeper like “Proficient at LinkedIn advertising” and provide info on a niche topic within the platform)
    • Data analysis, fundraising, marketing, sales or IT tools/software
    • Languages you speak
    • "Soft” skills if they’re specific to the position; like if the job requires you to work from home, then you can write “Experience with virtual teams” or “Experience working independently” (if you had written “Focused and motivated”… that’s vague and won’t help you)
    • DO NOT include “Microsoft Office” — everyone knows how to use those programs by now

    And, of course, if you complete a software development course at a place like Fullstack, you’d better devote a chunk of the “Skills” section to what you know how to use/operate/fix/build/design/create on the web.

    Let your skills drive your job application. It’s the best marketing tool you’ve got.

    SEE ALSO: 7 reasons this is an excellent resume for someone with no experience

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    success thinking

    Asking questions is a sign of a curious mind.

    Every entrepreneur worth his salt asks many questions before starting out, and keeps asking questions throughout his journey.

    The toughest questions are the ones you ask yourself, so keep asking and listen carefully to your own answers.   

    The entrepreneurs I worry about most are the ones who are afraid of self-reflection.

    I think just about anyone can start a successful business. But it takes gumption and there are no shortcuts. And there will be tough days along the way. 

    I have started a few companies and am fortunate to be the CEO and co-founder of Aha! (product roadmap software). We built Aha! because we saw that product managers needed a great tool to help them do their jobs well. I had worked as a product manager for years, so starting this business was a natural fit for me.

    And I really wanted to build a business that helped others build theirs.

    From the beginning, we tackled many important questions that deserved answers before we could move forward. The biggest question I asked myself was “Is this a problem that excites me?” You should ask yourself the same type of question. If the answer is “yes,” then you should follow it up by asking, “Do I want to work on this for the next ten years?”

    Obviously, the answer for me was “absolutely,” because here we are in year three, and I am more excited today than I was in April of 2013 when we started the company. Helping companies set better product strategy and create visual roadmaps on the path to building lovable products is as exhilarating as it is rewarding.

    I challenge you to ask yourself the same types of questions and seek honest answers, even after your business has taken off. You need to understand your own motivations and commitment because you will never win back the time you spend. Your answers will help define what you want and help you refine your plans.

    Man thinking

    1. Why do I want to start a business? 

    Carefully examine your reasons. Maybe you cannot stand the thought of working for someone else your whole life, or are attracted by the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Do you think it is the path to riches? Or do you see a special need to help others?

    Be honest with yourself. Your reasons must be compelling enough to sustain you when business gets tough (because it will.)

    2. What are my strengths?

    Identifying your strengths will point you toward the kind of business to start. Work toward your obvious strengths and likes, and avoid what is obviously not a good fit.

    Many people start a venture solely to make money, only to discover later they do not love what they are doing. Success has many faces and generating material wealth is just one of them.

    3. What do I have to know to be successful?

    Research what starting this business will mean in terms of effort. What kind of background and education do similar business owners have? Talk to them and learn how they got there. Where is the business most in demand?

    How much money will it take to start up, and what licenses and certifications do you need to have? Knowing these practical details will help you grasp the size of the challenge before you.

    entrepreneurs women planning

    What is my plan going to be?

    Your next task — create a plan for where you want to go, and start working out the steps to get there. If your vision is to own a restaurant, find a top restaurant and learn alongside a chef you admire.

    If owning a restaurant is your dream, manage one first to learn about building customer loyalty and the economics of a food business. The more you immerse yourself in a similar type of organization, the more confident you will be once you strike out on your own.

    After you start your business, new questions will crop up all the time – sometimes more questions than you can handle. But the most important questions you should continually ask is this one:

    Does this still make me happy? Would I be happier doing something else?

    You will have good days and bad ones. Going back to this fundamental question will keep you pointed in the right direction and honest with yourself. Starting your own business may very well lead you to sustainable happiness. And that’s a goal all of us should pursue. If you plan right, starting your own business may take you there.

    SEE ALSO: A CEO says this is one quality entrepreneurs need to be successful

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    Did you know that Gen Y workers are now the most prevalent generation in the workforce today?

    Once known as the "lazy and entitled" generation, Gen Yers (or millennials) have trickled into the business world as employees and entrepreneurs and have revolutionized business as we know it – inviting a more transparent, laid-back, and tech-savvy work culture.

    Now that more Gen Y workers and business owners are in the business world now, it's no surprise, then, that the workplace is also adapting to accommodate the likings of millennials.

    To see which cities catered most to Gen Y employees, PayScale did some investigating to see what Millennials value in a job and compared that to other factors like compensation, employee benefits, commute time, job satisfaction, job stress, and management opportunities.

    See the infographic below to see the top five metro areas for Gen Y workers across the nation:

    PayScale_ Best Cities for Gen Y Jobs High Res

    SEE ALSO: 9 hot startup cities that aren't San Francisco or NYC

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