There’s no better way to get energized (well, except for a triple-shot latte) than to watch an inspiring TED Talk.
We’ve chosen the eight must-watch TED Talks filled with unconventional and sometimes counterintuitive ways to tackle every 20-something’s biggest challenges.
From marriage to money, these all-star speakers offer life lessons that every woman needs in her arsenal, and trust us, after watching these you won’t dread turning the big 3-0. Grab a pen, because you’ll want to take notes!
1. Mel Robbins: How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over
A criminal lawyer and highly regarded relationship and life coach, Mel Robbins is known for her no-nonsense attitude and “tell it like it is” approach to help her clients accomplish goals. We guarantee that her thoughts on the F-bomb, a.k.a the word “fine,” will give you that necessary “kick in the butt” motivation to start living your life the way you want.
2. Derek Sivers: Weird or Just Different?
In less than 5 minutes, Derek Sivers reminds us that our everyday assumptions are just our own interpretations of the world. We should be mindful that different people have different ways of understanding our shared experiences. Keeping this idea at the forefront of your mind while at work will not only strengthen your communication skills, it will allow you to embrace new, and often beneficial, perspectives.
3. Roxane Gay: Confessions of a Bad Feminist
Writer Roxane Gay identifies herself as a “Bad feminist” because of the high expectations that many feminist stereotypes portray. In this poignant and comedic talk, Roxane assures us that feminism comes in various ways. There is nothing wrong with defining your activism the way that you see it.
4. Meg Jay: Why 30 Is Not The New 20
Clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay rings the alarm for twenty-somethings in America telling them to stop wasting time. Hooking up, hanging out, and kicking adulthood down the street like a tin can, she says, are big mistakes as is believing in the saying “30 is the new 20.” Dr. Jay says our twenties are a time when the things we do — and the things we don’t do — will have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come. Here’s how you can start living your life to the fullest right now. Ready, set, go!
5. Tracy McMillan: The Person You Really Need to Marry
Many people focus on finding the right person to marry instead of working on becoming their best selves. This television writer and three-time divorcee gives her take on why marrying yourself is the most important relationship you will ever maintain. Her version of vows? Love yourself in sickness and in health as long as you — yes, you — shall live.
6. Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail At Your Career
What excuses have you given for why you did not follow your dreams? Economist Larry Smith pulls no punches as he discusses the difference between interests and passions — and why people are too lazy and too terrified to follow their dreams. Family commitments, lack of education, finances — what excuse will you use to stop your aspirations and what excuse will you give your child when they ask, “Why can’t I?” Procrastinators, get ready for a gut check!
7. Ruth Chang: How to Make Tough Choices
Here’s a talk that could really change the way you tackle the tough stuff. Using her life experiences as examples, Ruth Chang gives you a new set of tools to make the difficult choices in your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Answer all of your questions after this 15-minute gamechanger.
8. Magnus Walker: Go With Your Gut Feeling
Magnus Walker’s extremely personal talk is a must for any entrepreneur. The former CEO of rock clothing company Hot Topic shows us that detailed life plans may not be the key to success, but rather a hard work ethic and a keen intuition can transform every situation into a rewarding opportunity. The long-haired ex-pat’s biggest takeaway? “Passion goes a long way.”
We combed data from the Occupational Information Network to rank jobs in America by their impact on workers' health, measuring six risks: exposure to contaminants, exposure to disease and infection, exposure to hazardous conditions, and exposure to radiation. It also evaluated jobs that put employees at risk of minor burns, cuts, bites, stings, along with time spent sitting down. Frequent inactivity has been shown to shorten lifespan.
Being successful at work is about more than the skills you bring to the job — it's also about your relationships with your colleagues, and especially about how your boss perceives you.
You can have incredible skills in your field, but if no one wants to work with you, it's going to make your professional life harder and harder over time.
Here are eight signs that you might be perceived as a problem employee who's tough to work with – and that you could be putting your professional reputation and future options at risk.
1. You see management as your adversary.
If you think peers who get along with their managers are suck — ups, and you see employee/manager relations as an "us vs. them" situation, chances are strong that your attitude is coming through to your manager and marking you as adversarial.
2. You say, "It's not my job" at least once a month.
There are times when it's appropriate to say that you aren't the right person to do something, such as when you're swamped with work that your manager agrees is higher-priority.
But if you find yourself refusing tasks on a regular basis, you're probably painting yourself as difficult. Job descriptions aren't comprehensive, and most people end up doing work that doesn't fall perfectly within their job description.
3. You take your manager's requests as "suggestions."
Sometimes a manager's input really is a suggestion that you are free to take or leave – but more often, managers tend to expect you to do what they've asked.
If you habitually ignore requests or input that you disagree with, over time your manager will figure out that she needs to scrutinize your work to make sure you're not rejecting aspects of assignments you don't like. You will probably not find that scrutiny pleasant.
4. You have trouble finding a former manager willing to give you a reference.
If former managers don't get back to you when you contact them about a reference and they don't return reference-checkers' phone calls, there's probably a reason.
Most managers feel incredibly awkward about turning down a request to be a reference, so if you're seeing a pattern of it happening, it's a sign that you need to rethink what's going on in those relationships.
5. You always ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
It's true that as you advance in your career, you're expected to exercise independent judgment and make your own decisions in many areas, but if something is a major decision with high or public stakes, most managers want to be in the loop.
If you regularly make calls that you know your manager might not approve and just hope you can beg forgiveness afterward, you're likely to seem like an increasingly high-risk bet for your employer.
6. You look for reasons things can't be done rather than looking for ways to do them.
If your favorite refrain is "that will never work," you might be having a supremely frustrating effect on your team.
People sometimes think they're serving a valuable role by playing devil's advocate, but constant naysaying takes the wind out of new ideas and initiatives and squelches people's enthusiasm.
7. You're stuck in a negativity loop.
Occasional frustrations at work are normal. But if you feel negative about your job and your company every day, it probably shows – and maybe more importantly, it's probably affecting both your work and your quality of life.
When that's the case, your best bet is to figure out whether there's a way to be reasonably happy at work or whether you'd be better off moving on. If you don't make that decision for yourself, it may eventually be made for you.
8. You've disliked every boss you've ever had.
If you've never been satisfied with a manager you've worked with, you're the common denominator and it's likely to reflect something that's going on with you.
It might be an inability to be satisfied, unrealistic expectations about work, a problem with authority, an anger problem, difficulty getting along with others or something else entirely – but it's worth taking a look at it and seeing if you can spot what's going on.
Are you accomplished, authentic, a novice, or a no-name? Within the first several seconds of an encounter, someone is sizing up your value.
Your brand isn't what you believe it is — it's what others say it is. Their perception is critical to overcoming barriers and building credibility in the first encounter.
Whether you are raising capital, pitching a new client or elevating your profile through social media, the intangible attributes of your brand can give you a competitive edge.
Here are five simple strategies to get noticed and gain credibility in 30 seconds or less.
1. Magnetize your presence.
Your energy and attitude play a major role in shaping others' perception of your value. Be as intentional about your thoughts as you are about your words and wardrobe.
Action: Envision the outcome. You successfully secured the contract or received a referral. Experience the confidence of achievement and make a conscious choice to embody a winning attitude. Positive thoughts elevate your energy and magnetism.
2. Script your success.
Preparation meets opportunity, but preparation starts with a pen. Don't be caught off guard. Anticipate what will be asked of you and script out your message. Remember to maximize the moment.
Action: You are preparing for a new business pitch. You will be asked about the cost of your services and the return on investment. Although you have done this pitch many times, don't wing it. Script your ask and anticipate their distinct argument. By drafting your case in advance, you can prepare and practice. Now you are poised to boldly ask for what you're worth while negotiating like a pro.
3. Give value.
I call it the G2 principle, Give to Get. To be recognized as valuable, be someone who gives value. Look for ways to support others, and share ideas and contacts. You can create high value for your brand because you will be perceived as a valuable resource of knowledge, connections, or influence.
Action: In the first encounter, recognize an unmet need and offer to do something to support their goal. You will be surprised how giving advice or a contact can win over skeptics and give you instant credibility.
4. Be visual.
Eighty percent of communication is visual. In fact, statistics say that nonverbal cues have four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say.
Action: Do a visual inventory starting with your headshot, logo, choice of colors, and social media. All of these assets create a visual experience for your brand. You can communicate intangible attributes such as premium, innovative, experienced, and trusted, simply by your visual cues.
5. Get introduced.
It's time to have others speak for you. Your tight and skinny 30-second pitch is great, but empowering others to be a champion for your brand is better. Their endorsement to those you do not know is golden.
Action: A great way to get introduced by others is to attend an event or meeting as a guest of someone who is your supporter. Your supporter will not only make sure to strategically introduce you but he or she will become an endorser and advertiser for your brand. Authentic advocacy immediately elevates interest from others and serves to boost your credibility.
Crafting an effective email isn't just about the text you deliver; it's about getting people to open your email and read your message.
According to the Email Statistics Report, on a worldwide average, people sent and received 191.4 emails per day in 2014.
With this many messages coming in constantly, it's no wonder many people won't take the time to read all their email messages. They might read only a small portion of a message or headline, scanning for relevance before moving on to the next one.
The words you choose for your email subject line have a big impact on whether someone opens and reads your message. Use these tips to make your subject line more compelling.
1. Keep it short and sweet.
You don't know how many words your recipient will see when your email pops up on their screen, so try to keep it under 50 characters, or between four and seven words. Avoid one-word subject lines such as "Hello" or "Hi."
2. Use strong keywords.
Use words that will get the recipient's attention. For example, be specific and say, "Important Updates on the Wick Project" instead of "Important Updates." Always change the subject line when the thread or content of the email chain changes.
3. Make your reader curious.
What do you have to say that your reader doesn't know already? Does your email challenge their current thinking or promise a reward? Questions are a great way to pique your reader's curiosity and inspire him or her to open your email in search of an answer.
4. Make a connection.
Refer to someone's hometown, business or community and they're likely to take a look. And don't be afraid to put your name or business name in the subject line. Many people open emails based on the sender alone, so don't miss the opportunity to reinforce your specific brand.
Craft your subject line with phrases such as "referred by" or "met you at [event]." People are more likely to open an email from someone they have met or is referred by someone they trust.
5. Never use spam words.
Subject lines that are too sales oriented will most likely wind up in the receiver's spam filter. Andrea O'Neill of Mail Chimp developed a list of the most notorious spam filter triggers. They include phrases like "Increase your sales,""Information you requested," or "Double your income."
6. Punctuation and spelling.
To look professional, take care with your spelling in the subject line. Always re-read your entire email and do a spell check before sending. Spam filters also look for an abundant use of punctuation such as asterisks, all caps or numerous exclamation points.
7. Include dates and deadlines.
Deliver time-sensitive information in the subject line. This can include start dates or deadline notices. A successful promotional strategy for an event or a special offer will likely include a series of emails. For example, you can send out an initial announcement followed by a final reminder with a tight deadline to act.
8. Trumpet your announcement.
If you have something new and exciting to share about your business, channel that enthusiasm into your subject line. When you share an announcement, your email subscribers will feel like they're the first to know and will be motivated to read on for more details.
Take a look at your own inbox and see which emails you tend to open first. Putting yourself in your contacts' shoes is one of the best ways to write a subject line that will get you noticed and boost your business.
A compelling subject line can make the difference between a message read and a message missed.
Life is stressful enough for most of us. Allowing a toxic individual to ravage your immediate environment can cause havoc in your mental well-being, which can lead to physical challenges.
A bad state of mind not only affects your physical well-being but makes it difficult for you to respond calmly under pressure.
Ninety percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions, so your ability to perform effectively can be affected if you do not adopt strategies that will allow you to deal with toxic people.
1. Successful people establish boundaries.
There is a fine line between being friendly and allowing somebody to lead you down a path that jeopardizes your ability to remain effective. Successful people understand this and do not allow the toxic among them to take charge, but rather choose to set effective boundaries.
2. No one limits their joy.
How much do the words of those around you affect your state of mind? Successful people have mastered the ability to ensure that the negative remarks of others do not affect their strong sense of accomplishment. Toxic people like to break you down with rude, hurtful comments, and gain satisfaction from watching you fall apart.
Learn to react less to the opinions of others, especially those you know do not have your well-being at heart.
3. They have mastered the art of rising above.
I learned this from John Rampton from Due when he was on stage at TC Disrupt. "By mastering the act of rising above, successful people are able to remain rational and calm in the presence of the irrational and chaotic. They master rising above the rest, no matter what the circumstance," Rampton said.
4. They are solution-focused.
Do you spend more time focused on the negative person and how they affect your life than on achieving your goals? If so, then you have a problem. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on your goals.
5. They understand the importance of support.
Reach out to your mentors, chances are, they have experienced what you are going through. There is a good chance that coworkers, team members, even family and friends have useful tips to help you get by. The emotionally intelligent understand how to tap into their resources to get through the challenges of working with toxic people.
6. They are aware.
Self-awareness is important, because it involves knowing what it takes to push your buttons in order to prevent it from happening. Lack of emotional control is a great way to empower the toxic people in your life.
7. They forgive but don't forget.
Being forgiving comes with being emotionally intelligent. It allows you to remain unburdened by the mistakes of others and to have peace of mind. But being forgiving does not mean forgetting whom you can and cannot trust. It just means you stop wasting mental energy on those you cannot trust.
8. They store their energy for better opportunities.
As I have mentioned several times, the toxic thrive on chaos, and will do anything to have the ability to take you down to their level. Learning to understand your limits will help you to stay away from dangerous situations. Choose your battles wisely, and conserve your energy for bigger and better things.
Those we look up to as being the "bigger person" or as being able to conduct themselves in the most challenging of situations do not have a magic solution in their back pockets, but they have worked hard to become emotionally intelligent people. What are some of the challenges you have experienced with toxic people?
There are certain times in life when it pays to look at what you have and be happy with it — rather than angle for a shiny upgrade.
Your old, reliable car fits this bill. So does your perfectly fine tablet or iPhone. (Be honest: Do you really need the newest model with the ever-so-slightly bigger screen?)
For most of us, however, jobs are an exception to this rule.
No matter how much you love your gig, it pays to keep your options open for other opportunities and higher salaries, says Jill Jacinto, associate director of WORKS, a company focused on helping women reach their career goals.
That's not to say you should constantly be in job-search mode, particularly if you're learning and growing in your current role. But it's a good idea to continuously try and improve your ability to get a job — even when you're not actively looking.
As Jacinto notes, "you never know where the next opportunity will come from."
So whether you're in full-on search mode, just starting to check out job sites, or perfectly happy to stay put, here are seven simple ways you can boost your hireability in just one week:
Kick off the week by supercharging your online résumé and LinkedIn profile by seeding them with words and phrases people in your industry like to see.
"Recruiters and hiring managers often use automated tools to find keywords in your résumé or your social networks," says Mark Jones, senior vice president of Alexander Mann Solutions, a talent acquisition and management outsourcing company in Cleveland, Ohio. "So look for distinct keywords in postings for jobs you'd like to have and are qualified for, and make sure to use them in your résumé and LinkedIn profile."
For example, you might use phrases like "market analysis" and "contract negotiation" for a marketing or sales job. And phrases such as "Securities and Exchange Commission" or "10K reporting" may be good for a financial analyst position.
Just be sure the terms accurately describe what you've done, adds Jones. If they do, feel free to repeat them four, five, even six times throughout your profile, especially if you're going for a position that requires very specific skills.
"It'll make you more likely to land in a recruiter's candidate search," Jones says.
Tuesday: Help someone else land a great gig.
If a valued friend or colleague is on the job hunt, work your network for them.
"It's a great excuse to reach out to former contacts and put yourself at the front of their mind — while helping a friend, you're also reminding people what you are up to," says Beth Bridges, author of "Networking On Purpose" and founder of The Networking Motivator. "It also helps position you as someone who is community-minded, self-motivated, and a great networker."
If you become well-known in your network for being willing to connect people, pass along job opportunities and share people's job searches, there's a good chance you'll become the "go-to person" whenever there's an opportunity.
Translation: It's a great way to become the first to know about openings, especially those that don't get advertised.
Wednesday: Assess your worth at work.
Get a handle on exactly what and how much you do in your current job so you're ready to articulate examples of your leadership skills, project management and other desirable attributes that future employers will appreciate.
Plus, says Jacinto, having these talking points at the ready can also help you in your current role — say, at your next performance review.
So make it a point today to write down everything you do at your job and break it down into different tiers of expertise, says Jones. For example, managing a $250,000 budget is in a different tier than hiring and managing freelancers.
Next, articulate the successes you've had that helped the company. Did you produce more than expected given your budget? Do you have a track record of hiring and training interns who go on to get full-time jobs at the company?
Ask yourself these key questions: What was your work situation? What was the task that you were assigned (or identified on your own) to solve? What action did you take? And what was the result, preferably something measurable.
"This is a great way to remind yourself of situations that prove you can apply your skills and knowledge to produce a positive contribution," Poor says. "And if you don't have many to reference at work just yet, it's OK to pull from internships."
Warren Buffett: "Don't go into the securities business."
For her book, "Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2011," author Carol Loomis asked Buffett, "What was the best advice you ever received?"
Loomis told ABC News, "I was genuinely surprised when all [Buffett] wanted to talk about was the worst advice."
According to her, Buffett's father and his mentor, Benjamin Graham, told Buffett when he wasn't yet 21 that he shouldn't go into the securities business. Why? Because it was bad timing. Buffett told Loomis, "Maybe their advice was their polite way of saying that before I started selling stocks, I needed to mature a little, or I wasn't going to be successful."
But as we've seen, the investor ignored that piece of advice and went on to become an extremely successful investor with a net worth of $67.4 billion.
An insult from a former boyfriend and business partner ended up being Barbara Corcoran’s worst and best piece of business advice. The businesswoman and "Shark" on ABC's "Shark Tank" told Business Insider, “The best advice was the worst advice ... It was from my boyfriend and partner in my first business, The Corcoran-Simone Company, when he told me I would never succeed without him."
She added, “But thank God he insulted me because I would not have built a big business without that insult. It kept me trying everything because I couldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing me fail.”
In an interview with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis last year, Mark Cuban answered multiple rapid-fire questions. When asked about the worst piece of advice he ever received, Cuban answered, "Follow your passions. Instead, you should follow your effort."
Sometimes, it's hard — or impossible — to find a career that falls in line with your passion. If your passion doesn't help you earn a living, you should find something you're good at, work hard at it and embark on that career path.
So when we ask for help we also tend to unconsciously add image enhancers. For example, if I need help with a presentation I might go to someone and say, "I'm giving a TED Talk next week and my slides need a few formatting tweaks."
The problem is that wording frames and signals my "importance" and ensure my ego is protected. Okay, I may need a little assistance with a trivial little thing like a PowerPoint layout, but still: I am giving a TED Talk. I have important stuff to say. I am the big dog in this particular hunt.
Plus I haven't really asked, I've stated. (When you're in charge and accustomed to directing others, turning a request into a directive is a really easy habit to fall into.)
Here's a better way.
When you needhelp — no matter the kind of help you need or the person you need it from — take the bass out of your voice and the stiffness out of your spine and the captain out of your industry and simply say, with sincerity and humility, "Can you help me?"
I guarantee the other person will say, "Sure," or, "I can try," or, "What do you need?" No one will never say "No," even to a stranger. Why?
Simple: "Can you help me?" speaks powerfully to our instinctive desire to help other people. We all want to help. We can't help wanting to help.
Then make sureyou don't frameyour request. Don't try to protect your ego. Don't imply you place yourself above the other person. Don't make your request too specific. And don't say what you need.
Instead, say what you can't do. Say, "I'm awful at PowerPoint and these slides look terrible." Say, "We absolutely have to ship this order by Tuesday and I have no idea how to make that happen." Say, "I'm lost and I can't find my hotel."
When you ask that way, several powerful things immediately happen... for the person you're asking:
One, you instantly convey respect. Without actually saying it, you've said, "You know more than I do." You've said, "You can do something I can't." You've said, "You have experience (or talents or something) that I don't have."
What you've said is, "I respect you." That level of regard is incredibly powerful — and empowering.
Two, you instantly convey trust. You show vulnerability and admit to weakness.
What you've said is, "I trust you." That level of faith is incredibly powerful — and empowering.
What you've said is, "You don't need to tell me what you think I want to hear. Please tell me what you think I should do." That level of freedom is incredibly powerful — and empowering.
By showing you respect and trust other people, and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don't just get the help you think you want.
You might also get the help you really need.
And even though you might think asking for help places a burden on other people, it doesn't. You make it easier for others to ask you for help when they need it because you've shown it's okay to express vulnerability, to admit a weakness, and to accept you need their help.
I remember saying those words to my boss back in 2008... about Sarah Palin.
It was the morning after the Republican National Convention when she had introduced herself to the party and to our country as the vice presidential candidate. I thought her speech was fantastic — with all the hockey mom and lipstick-ness of it.
And not to get too much into my political views, but my saying those words was an incredibly rare compliment to the party in question. Of course, as the campaign progressed, we all observed occasion after painful occasion when she was not, in fact, very good on her feet. She's incredible with prepared remarks but struggles when asked an unexpected or off-script question.
I can relate. I think a lot of us can.
I can prepare and deliver a presentation but dread the question and answer period that typically follows. I look forward to mentoring and coaching sessions with staff but worry they're going to press me on leadership decisions that aren't ready for release. I enjoy networking events but often wish the organizers would give out little question cards to everyone in advance with conversation topics.
While spontaneous, quick, and on-point responses come easily to some, the rest of us must prepare. I read a great Huffington Post piece by one of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Melton, who says we can reasonably anticipate a number of questions or circumstances and draft responses in advance.
Then, when those anticipated situations arise, we're pulling prepared answers from our memory instead of trying to think through all the different considerations running through our heads: Why is this person asking? What do they want to hear? What do I want them to know? What should I definitely not say? What impression am I trying to create? It's these rapid fire questions in our own minds that cause us to stammer through an often disjointed, awkward response. Ugh, we've all been there.
So what can you do?
Ask yourself (and answer) questions in advance. The following questions cover just a handful of professional situations where we're put on the spot. If you take the time before your next meeting or event to answer these questions, you'll surprise yourself at how well prepared you feel heading into the event — and how everyone will leave the event or conversation thinking about your comment instead of your delivery.
1. Who are you (or the more polite, 'please introduce yourself')?
Have two introductions ready — one 10-second version and one 30-second version. We have to introduce ourselves all the time and yet few of us have good, interesting information ready to go. This literally is your first impression for any prospective client, employer, teammate, or partner. Make it clear and you will exude confidence.
2. What are you working on now?
This is the alternate question to "what do you do?" Although it seems a bit overplayed in social and networking circles, it's slightly different than question one but conveys the same type of information.
3. What makes you the expert?
Rarely will someone in a typical professional setting come right out with a question this direct, but they will ask questions in more roundabout ways that get at this question. Answer it with a clear, nondefensive series of bullet points that highlight your relevant education and experience. It's not bragging; it's just the facts.
4. When did this [topic you're presenting] work well?
This question should be an easy one to answer, but for some reason when we're unprepared, we share an example and then add a bunch of caveats. Those caveats undermine our credibility as an expert. Let's agree not to do this anymore and just share your favorite example and not downplay it.
5. What challenges have you faced in doing this work?
Note at least two stories in your answer — one fun and one serious.
6. What big opportunity are you pursuing next?
You're already thinking three steps ahead by preparing answers to these questions, so show it.
7. Who are you hoping to meet most?
Although your answer to this question may vary depending on the conversation or event, the person asking travels in different circles and knows different people than you do. Maybe the degrees of separation can be lessened through an introduction they're willing to make.
8. How can I help?
People ask this of each other all the time. We usually say something like, "Oh, nothing, I'm all set" when, in fact, there is almost always something someone can do. Setting a simple target in advance can ensure you have an answer ready. It's easy to tell when people are asking out of sincere interest. Why not take them up on it?
9. How can I get involved?
Similar to number seven, you know you're getting through to people when they ask how to stay connected or find out more. Have a couple of options ready to share.
I've also been advised to have one good, clean joke in your back pocket. I've never gone the extra step to do this because, coming out of my mouth, I'm confident that it'd sound forced and awkward — and totally unfunny. However, if you can practice and master the delivery of a good joke, then definitely go for it.
Whether you're in front of a large audience, employee, professional acquaintance, or prospective employer, there are a few, simple things you can do to clearly and effortlessly answer questions, insert jokes, and keep the conversation flowing — or, like the phrase, "be good on your feet."
Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation?
It doesn't matter. Because no matter where you're at in your career, you could always be doing better. (Although, you're choosing to read this article, so I can assume you're already doing pretty well for yourself.)
I rounded up 12 books that you should read to advance your career.
Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to turning into a well-rounded person — at work, and in your own personal life. They'll motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.
So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that'll give your career a boost based on what you want right now.
A detailed how-to book, you'll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.
2. If you want to fall in love with your current job
Let's face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right?
"Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness" is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon's tips will help you change your habits and your attitude so you'll love your job again in no time at all.
The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. So, Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.
Serving in the military can be very rewarding personally and professionally, but a lot of potential recruits want to know which jobs make the most cash. The military pay tables are here, but in the meantime, here are seven of the most lucrative military jobs for new enlistees:
Military working dog handlers train and work with dogs that specialize in finding explosives, drugs, or other potential threats to military personnel or law and order. They train for 18 weeks after the Army’s 10-week basic combat training.
Starting annual salary: $18,561.96 plus benefits.
2. Air Force Histopathology Specialist
Histopathology specialists in the U.S. Air Force prepare diseased tissue samples for microscopic examination, aiding doctors in the diagnosis of dangerous diseases.
Starting annual salary: $18,561.96 plus benefits
3. Marine Corps Engineer
Engineering Marines build and repair buildings, roads, and power supplies and assist the infantry by breaching enemy obstacles. There are different schools for different engineering specialties including Basic Combat Engineer Course, the Engineer Equipment Operator Course, and the Basic Metal Workers Course.
The man who introduced me in New York sounded like God.
Truly, he had a voice that touched the room of well over 2,000 people. After my speech, I asked him, "Why don't you try a career in public speaking? Maybe you can even start your own podcast or get on the radio."
"Na, I'm too old. Plus, it would take too much time and money. And, anyways, I wouldn't even know where to begin."
To my consternation, I pulled the 6-foot-6-inch giant aside and scolded him further, "Listen, your voice could reach thousands, no, millions of people! Have you ever given it a shot?"
"Everybody tells me that I should, but I'm 57 years old. I've been in mortgage banking for three decades now. I certainly couldn't give that job up to start something new and untested," was his reply.
A few moments later, as I swerved through the hallways, I could hear his thunderous voice telling every one, "The keynote speaker is in the Gallardo Room!" For the first time in my life, even after giving 1,000 speeches myself, I thought he should have been the keynote speaker!
Nonetheless, when you're called to do something, you can't make excuses. This was a perfectly gifted man who had every reason to succeed, yet, he made excuses.
Here are seven deadly excuses that may be keeping you from living your dreams:
1. I'm not educated enough.
I always hear people telling me that they can't get started because they don't have a college degree.
Many of us have been brainwashed into believing that we have to "go to school and get a job." Because of this, people disable themselves from a race that they could have won.
These people think that everyone in the world are two times smarter than they are. What they really need is to believe in themselves. We are all smart enough. In fact, we are geniuses.
Each of us needs all of us and all of us need each of us. If we found a way to apply our geniuses, there's no telling how far we could go.
This one's for the credential junkie (i.e. John Smith, MBA, CP3, MTV, BET, TALK, ETC.).
Some people think they don't have enough experience, so they worry themselves into not living their dreams. These people are basically saying, "I'm not good enough."
I've also seen people settle for far less. Year after year, they work for minimal compensation without even considering that they are good enough to get paid more.
Frankly, we all have experience. It's called "life experience." We can use this for any kind of work we are involved with.
3. I'm too old or young.
Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was sworn in as president. In fact, while debating for his second term for president, he told the moderator, "I am not going to exploit my opponent's youth and inexperience."
For those who think they are too young, I was 21 years old when I started my business. Age doesn't matter, unless you think it does. Most people let others tell them that they are too old or young. This excuse only leads to other excuses.
4. I don't have the health.
I've heard people with asthma tell me, "I can't lose weight because of my asthma." However, it's not their condition that stops them, it's their limited mindset.
Stop telling yourself that you have a bad back. Affirm your health in a positive way instead.
Helen Keller was blind, deaf, and speechless, yet she was able to make her mark in history. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had polio and was still able to run for three terms during the biggest depression in American history.
You can do anything if you put your mind and heart to it.
5. I don't have enough time.
People who "don't have time" generally don't want to make the time. They want the success, but they won't make it a priority. We all have time to make it happen. What these people are really saying is that they don't know how to get started.
All it takes is a few hours of study and application to get started. If you don't have one hour each day, you don't have a life. If you make time for your dream, the puzzle will work itself in order.
Most people are preparing to get prepared, but they rarely end up doing anything because it's too late.
Many people act like they have to succeed by themselves. They'll blame their spouse, kids, parents, and boss for not being able to live their dreams. The fact is that they only have themselves to blame.
These people also use the excuse, "I don't live in the right area" or "You don't know what I go through."
If you don't have support, find it. The people who you have around you may have the right intentions of helping you, but may have the wrong directions in leading you.
You have to search diligently for people who will be aligned with the goals you have set for yourself. People are looking for you as much as you're looking for them.
7. I don't have the money.
This the biggest excuse on the list. In fact, most people make the other excuses to avoid admitting this one.
The fact is that we all have money, but we have to learn how to use it. Most people simply don't want to use their creativity to make their dreams happen.
I started my business with an excess of $100,000 in debt. However, I believed in my plan and I began to raise the capital.
You can only succeed if you have a way of attaining money to sustain your dream. We all think about money every day, but we need the right thoughts about it. When the mind is ready, the money will come.
Bonus: I'm not the right sex or race.
Many women still believe that there is a glass ceiling. Some minorities also feel like they are still enslaved.
However, Oprah said, "Excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism." Truly, the universe doesn't care what race or sex you are. All it wants is your best efforts, which is the usage of your genius.
Are you using any of these excuses? If so, check yourself before you wreck yourself. There is nothing in the world that can stop you, except yourself.
When you get past these excuses, you will be able to live an unlimited life and experience the abundance which is always available to you. Remember, if you believe in yourself, everyone in the world will believe in you.
What do you know now that you wish you knew during your first job?
Perfect question to ask during a network conversation — and we got the ball rolling by asking six successful women what they would tell their younger selves right now. Soak it up!
1. Stay out of the comparathon.
"During my senior year of college, when all of my friends and I started applying for jobs, I kept comparing my potential new position and salary to that of my friends. I did end up with a great first job out of college, but if I could give someone advice about finding her first job, it's that everyone's journey is different. Everyone's career will run at a different pace than yours and that's OK! It's called a career path because it's the path made for you, not for everyone else."— Arielle Sobel, senior PR associate, Betterment
2. Surround yourself with bright people.
"For my first job I was working at a science laboratory as the the only web developer within a team of physicists. By being the only person on my team in my particular role (web development) I didn't have anyone that could offer the kind of mentorship or guidance I needed. When I left to start my first company, Packlane, it definitely made me regret not having anyone in my rolodex from my previous job that I could turn to for relevant advice or introductions. It's really important to focus on the people you'll be working with and what kind of network you'll be building when you start the job."— Miriam Brafman, founder of Packlane
3. Be flexible and adaptable.
"When I jumped feet first into my first ‘real job' as a marketing assistant for a scientific equipment company, I'd just graduated with a degree in medical science, and had spent most of my time in science labs up to that point. I didn't have a clue what marketing was and no one in the office had experience in marketing to guide me. One of the first things I did was enroll in night school to find out exactly what marketing was all about. And there kicked-off my career — so be flexible, open to opportunities, and never stop learning."— Amy Schofield, chief marketing officer at POLISH Artisan Nails
4. Think of networking as your first side hustle.
"Your skill set is just as important as who you know. I can't stress it enough when talking to friends, colleagues, my younger siblings and cousins. I made a conscious decision a couple years ago to expand my personal network so that I could take my career to the next level, as I was transitioning from working as a chef into work in the food-tech space. As you build your network, make genuine connections that work as a two-way street, like any good relationship. If you are asking for advice and introductions, you should be giving advice and introductions. I read Porter Gale's Your Network is your Net Worth, which is a total affirmation of what I find to be a truth in the workplace."— Jessica Young, business development and operations manager at Daily Harvest
5. Do not fear questions.
"You're in a learning phase at the beginning of your career, so it's a great time to ask all the questions you want. Early in my career, I'd receive an assignment and go to work without asking for many details — because I thought I was supposed to know everything already, and I thought asking would make me seem incompetent. I just worked in my own little vacuum and hoped I was doing it right, which increased my anxiety. The more experience I gained, the less afraid I was to just ask. I ask tons of questions now, and by engaging the team for help, we've stumbled onto some of our best insights."— Catherine Cronenberg, brand and communications manager, Roomi
6. Share your thoughts and ideas.
"I used to apologize for taking up space, and now I realize I didn't need to do that. You deserve to take up space and have opinions. You don't need to say you are ‘just an intern,' or ‘new here" before sharing your professional analysis or opinion. You were hired because your boss knew you could do the job. Others will know to respect your thoughts when you demonstrate that you respect them yourself."— Erin Matson, political writer and co-founder of the non-profit organization Reproaction
If there’s one thing that’s in short supply in almost every organization, at every level, it’s straight talk – candor.
It’s business’s biggest dirty little secret that in most companies, most people would rather hide or spin the truth than share it, making it hard for everyone to bring the reality of the situation to the surface and fix it.
That’s human nature, of course. We all have an innate instinct that tells us from a young age to prevent awkwardness and avoid hurting feelings. Or maybe we’re afraid of the very real organizational consequences of being candid in a company culture that doesn’t welcome openness.
But, assuming your organization wants it, getting candor right – with your reports, your peers, and your boss – is a skill that can make or break your career. Here’s how to make it work with all three.
Straight talk with your team
When it comes to candor with your direct reports, the best approach is to have quarterly reviews where you sit down and say, “Here’s what you’re doing well and here’s what you need to do better.” That way, there’s no BS around it.
The word “need” is very important because people tend to listen to what they’re good at and they might not hear the tougher message if you soften it too much. Now, this process doesn’t have to involve long HR forms and pages of documentation. It can be as simple as a handwritten note on a little card with the two columns above.
This kind of appraisal has to be done frequently — at least twice a year. At our management school, we do it quarterly. As a leader, the more you can give candid feedback, the more everybody wins. You win because you’re not harboring it and becoming passive aggressive. The other person also benefits because they get what they need to improve.
We know someone who started her own company and she recently told us how she hired a good friend of hers who is now really screwing up her business. When we asked, “Have you told him?”, she said, “Oh, I know I should but I haven’t done it yet. I’m worried about hurting his feelings … But I’m getting really passive-aggressive because I’m so mad about it.”
In this situation, everyone loses and the ending is never pretty.
The peer-to-peer minefield
Candor in peer-to-peer discussions is almost always difficult, but avoiding it is never helpful. Say you’re running Division X and the other guy running Division Y is mucking up your thing in X. But, you need Division Y’s political, technical, or sales support for various reasons. How can you be candid and honest without sabotaging yourself?
In this situation, friendship will carry you a long way. We have an edict – love everyone you work with. If you cross purposes with someone at work, you’ve got to remember that — “love everyone.” Keep it in a note in your drawer. If you start to see “them” as the enemy and your teams get Balkanized, it’s really important to say to yourself, “This is what I really like about this person. I’m going to assume they have the best intentions. Let’s have that candid conversation but not go in as enemies.”
Taking your colleagues out to lunch or going to dinner and really getting to know them is all the better. These days, you can type an email to somebody sitting in the next cubicle. But don’t let technology replace relationships. One of our kids works in a company where all the employees in their group have lunch together every single day. It might seem old fashioned, but imagine how it helps the work. We are huge advocates of people being friends at work — it just changes everything.
Speaking truth to power
We often hear in Q&A sessions, "I don’t know where I stand. My boss never wants to talk about my performance.” We always recommend never going to your boss with a confrontational stance. “I want this. I deserve that. This is where it should go.”
The winning play is to come in asking for help – asking for your boss’s thinking about your job relative to what his or her expectations are. Say something like, “Can we take a minute to talk about my career? I think I’m doing it alright but I’d love to get your input as to how I might do better. Am I getting there? Is there more?”
Or, if you’re on different sides of an issue, you might go in saying, “Here’s where I think you are . . . Here’s where I come out on this . . . In the end it’s your call, and I’ll go either way. I just want you to have another option.” Now you’ve given your boss a way out without directly challenging his or her authority. Something like this is the best shot you have at winning a candid discussion upward.
Candor isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be harsh or blatantly direct. Coming in the “side door” in the latter two relationships will always beat a head on confrontation. Getting that right can propel your career to new heights... Getting it wrong could kill it.
Before we go any further, it's worth emphasizing that if you've been actively searching for a job for six months and have no offers, you're definitely not alone.
(And despite what your friends and family say, you're not being "too picky.") We've all been there, myself included. In fact, this entire article is inspired by my own very long job search.
While I ended up with a job I love, I also realized along the way that if I had changed a few things, I could've shortened the whole process. So, if you've been at this for awhile and you're not really making progress, check out these three questions.
1. Are you making your value clear?
I'm just going to say it: I'm the kind of person who really loves hearing the sound of his own voice. And for a long time, I really loved being asked about myself in interviews. They were easy questions to answer, and I could have talked for days. The only problem was that I didn't make it clear that I'd bring any value to the company, other than maybe adding a new voice to the lunchtime conversation.
Maybe that's not your problem — in fact, maybe you hate talking about yourself. So, instead, you mumble your answers. Or, maybe you don't mumble, but you get off topic talking about industry trends or something you watched on Netflix recently — rather than your qualifications.
Even if interviews aren't your forté (and really, nobody's perfect at interviewing), you need to make sure all your answers are telling the hiring manger what value you'd bring to the company.
2. Would I be excited to read my cover letter?
Considering that I'm a full-time writer, this is kind of embarrassing to admit. But, for a long time, my cover letters were really, really boring.
Of course I knew that cover letters are important. And there are a lot of really great templates to help you get started. But, without just a little bit of my personality, they were pretty much identical to every other cover letter that had been written based on my template of choice.
Take a minute and re-read your cover letter. If you can't make it through the entire thing, that's a good sign that employers aren't super intrigued by it either.
While you should be careful about crossing the line between professional and casual chatter, feel free to let your personality shine though. In my case, I added a few lines about how embarrassed I was by previous versions of it, but that I spent some time rewriting it because I really wanted the job.
While that might seem risky, I have a really cool gig now — so the proof is in the pudding.
3. Do I actually want any of these jobs?
This is important to consider for two reasons. First, you might not be getting offers for those jobs because it's in everyone's best interest to go in a different direction (trust me, recruiters know when someone would be unhappy in a role). And if that's the case, your poker face about the fact that you don't want the job might not be as good as you think.
Now that I'm writing full-time, I can see how I might not have been super friendly or enthusiastic in interviews for gigs that involved zero creativity. And because of that, I didn't get any of those jobs. I can just imagine the conversations I made those hiring people have. "He's qualified," they probably said, "But boy, would he be bored by this work or what?"
The good news? There's really nothing wrong with coming to this realization. And it's a great reason to take some time to think about what you actually want to be doing for a living.
Searching for a job is not easy. And sometimes, it's really frustrating, especially when it's been a long time and you still have no offers. But, I know you're resilient enough to ask yourself some tough questions. You might not like the answers (I know I didn't), but you'll learn a lot.
And when you see what hiring managers might be seeing in you, you'll often find that the fixes aren't as bad as you originally thought. So, be bold and be honest with yourself. But don't beat yourself up. Because you're definitely not alone.
We've all been there. You're sitting in an interview, discussing the position, and realizing that you really, really want this job, at this company. It just sounds perfect for you.
So, it's time to start selling yourself to the hiring manager as hard as possible, right? Nope.
That's a surefire way to look desperate, which is not a great look on even the most qualified people. Mostly because the recruiter will assume you're not only desperate for this job, you're just desperate for any job. And that's the exact opposite of the message you want to send.
However, you can still show someone you'd be really pumped if he or she were to make you an offer without getting on the floor and begging. In fact, there are four ways to show that you really, really want the gig.
1. Send a handwritten thank you note
I know, I know. If you're anything like me, you were using email back when *NSYNC was still together. And in most cases, pinging someone to thank him or her for an interview over email is just fine.
Sometimes it's easy to think you can take a break when a job description says certain materials are optional. But, if you're really pining over a particular gig, make sure you include those things as part of your application.
I learned this the hard way when I was starting out as a professional writer. I still remember a handful of times when I'd see the words “portfolio optional” and think to myself, “Oh, cool. One less thing.”
When it dawned on me that this mindset was probably keeping me from getting interviews, I realized that some applications would take a little longer than I'd like — but if I really wanted a job, I'd better spend the time on them.
Once I shifted my mindset and put more care into my applications, a funny thing happened: I got an interview with The Muse for this gig, which I had been wanting for a long, long time.
3. Make it clear you want the job
I'm sure this sounds like common sense, but think back to your last interview. I have a hunch that you were so nervous, the last thing on your mind was flat out asking for the job. I mean, you're there interviewing — it's obvious, right? Not always.
While you won't want to go into a first round interview and tell the hiring manager that it's this job or bust, I always appreciated it when a candidate nearing the final stages of the process made it clear he or she really wanted to come work for us.
In one final interview I had as a job seeker, my soon-to-be boss point blank asked me if I was the kind of person who just sent my resume to anyone who'd look at it.
My response? “I wouldn't be here if I didn't actually want this job.” A few days later, I got an offer, which I happily accepted.
Of course, play it by ear when you're gearing up to ask for a job you really want. But, if the opportunity is right, don't be afraid to put all your chips on the table.
4. Ask for swag
So, this one might be a little controversial. And I'll warn you now that it's up to you to feel out the situation and decide if you should do it. But in my experience, it's perfectly fine to ask for a souvenir after an interview if it's that kind of company. (You'll know if it's that kind of company.)
Things like stickers, lip balms, and koozies take up a lot of desk space, and I remember being all too happy to give those things out whenever someone asked.
But before you run into your next meeting and squeal, “Oh my goodness, I just have to have one of those t-shirts you're all wearing,” remember that the goal here is to make it clear you want the opportunity (and would be proud to represent the company) without making everyone you meet think you're out of your mind. So if you spot a pile of stickers on the corner of a desk, or a box of notebooks, it's OK to calmly say, “Are those new? They look great. If you have any to spare, I'd love to take one home with me.”
It's really awesome when you're interviewing for a role you're feeling good about. So, it makes sense that you want the hiring manager to know how excited you are. And there's nothing wrong with that. But, you also don't want to make anyone think you're desperate because we know you're not. And we also know you're smart enough to make the correct tweaks to your interview game to give everyone you meet with the right impression.
Take an A student used to scoring in the top 10 percent of virtually anything she does. One study showed that if she gets just under seven hours of sleep on weekdays, and about 40 minutes more on weekends, she will begin to score in the bottom 9 percent of non-sleep-deprived individuals.
And losing "beauty sleep" really does make you less attractive. Seriously.
Want to be miserable? Being tired actually makes it harder to be happy.
Richard is going to tell you the #1 mistake you make when it comes to sleep, how to take awesome naps, how to get more quality sleep and the surprising secret to why you wake up in the middle of the night. And much more.
If you're not too tired to keep reading, let's get to it…
The #1 Mistake That's Screwing Up Your Sleep
If you're already exhausted, here's the main takeaway you need from this interview:
Your smartphone is the devil. Your iPad is Lucifer. Your TV cackles with glee when you have insomnia.
They all give off blue light that your brain mistakes for sunshine. And that tells your grey blob it's time to wake up, not go to bed.
Stay away from them during the hour before you try to nod off. Here's Richard:
Ten minutes of a smartphone in front of your nose is about the equivalent of an hour long walk in bright daylight. Imagine going for an hour long walk in bright daylight and then thinking, "Now I'll get some sleep." It ain't going to happen. In the middle of the night you wake up and think, "Aw, I'll just check Twitter, email or Facebook," and, of course, you're being flooded with that blue light. You're not going to be getting back to sleep very easily for the next hour or so.
So your smartphone is the devil? Okay, not really. In fact, sometimes it can be the best friend your sleep schedule has. Huh?
When you're dealing with jet lag, I encourage you to indulge in all the blue light device bliss you so urgently crave.
They can help shift your circadian rhythm forward. Awesome, right? Your phone has a new feature you didn't even know about. Here's Richard:
You can use that blue light to your advantage, because when you're bathed in blue light you become more alert. To get your circadian rhythm where it needs to be in the new time zone you can stimulate yourself with the blue light from smartphones and iPads.
(To learn the 4 things astronauts can teach you about a good night's sleep, click here.)
Okay, modern technology is a double-edged sword. What else are you doing wrong?
A Good Nightly Routine Is Key
Just like a good morning routine is incredibly powerful, one before bed is a game changer as well. First step?
No booze. It seems like it helps but it's actually a big no-no. Here's Richard:
Drinking alcohol an hour or two before you go to bed is not a good idea. You'll fall asleep quicker, but it keeps you out of deep sleep. In the morning you wake up feeling pretty terrible.
Richard says thinking positive thoughts before you go to bed is helpful and can promote good dreams. One of the biggest things that causes insomnia is that anxiety about getting to bed.
When those awful thoughts start running through your head at night, try this little game. Here's Richard:
Just think about a country or a vegetable or a fruit for each letter of the alphabet. You just slowly work your way through and that can take your mind off negative thoughts.
Worrying keeping you awake? Richard says to keep a pad and pen by the bed and write those thoughts down to dismiss them. Mindfulness training can help with this too so give meditation a try. (Here's how.)
Still can't sleep? Get up. Don't accidentally make a Pavlov-style association between your bed and *not* sleeping. Here's Richard:
The issue is often they're staying in bed awake for ten minutes or more and they start to associate bed with being awake instead of being asleep. Get up, do something which is not stimulating, and then get back to bed.
(For more science-backed tips on a nightly routine that will bring you amazing sleep, click here.)
So your winding down ritual is in order. What about naps? (Yes, I know they're amazing.) How can you and I make them *more* amazing?
How To Nap Like A Pro
Don't go down for more than an hour. 20-30 minutes is great — but even five minutes can give you a big boost. Here's Richard:
Anything over an hour is probably not a great idea, but twenty or thirty minutes of napping is incredibly good for creativity and focus. Naps can make a massive, massive difference. Even five minutes increases reaction time and focus.
NASA found pilots who take a 25 minute nap are 35% more alert and twice as focused.
Research by NASA revealed that pilots who take a twenty-five-minute nap in the cockpit – hopefully with a co-pilot taking over the controls – are subsequently 35 per cent more alert, and twice as focused, than their non-napping colleagues.
NASA found that naps made you smarter — even in the absence of a good night's sleep.
If you can't get in a full night's sleep, you can still improve the ability of your brain to synthesize new information by taking a nap. In a study funded by NASA, David Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a team of researchers found that letting astronauts sleep for as little as fifteen minutes markedly improved their cognitive performance, even when the nap didn't lead to an increase in alertness or the ability to pay more attention to a boring task.
Worried you won't wake up in time for something important? Richard recommends drinking a cup of coffee immediately before laying down. The caffeine will kick in after about 25 minutes.
(To learn the 5 scientific secrets to naps that will make you smarter and happier, click here.)
All this is great for getting some sleep… but what about when you can't stay asleep? Not a problem. Literally.
Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night Is Natural
Research shows we evolved to sleep in two distinct phases. So don't worry. Do something for a little while and then head back to bed for round 2. Here's Richard:
We've evolved to have what's called segregated sleeping. If you wake up in the middle of the night that's perfectly natural. Before electric light people would talk about "first sleep" and "second sleep." In between they'd go and visit their friends or play games. So if you do wake up in the middle of the night, that's fine. Get out of bed for twenty minutes and do something. Don't lay there feeling anxious.
Is this fragmented sleep bad? Far from it. Bloodwork showed that the time between the two sleeping periods was incredibly relaxing and blissful.
The results showed that the hour humans once spent awake in the middle of the night was probably the most relaxing block of time in their lives. Chemically, the body was in a state equivalent to what you might feel after spending a day at a spa…
(For more on the science of why we sleep in two chunks, click here.)
But here's a problem everyone has had: ever sleep for over eight hours and you still feel groggy and awful? Here's why.
Want To Get Better Sleep? Remember "The 90 Minute Rule"
Your body goes through sleep cycles of 90 minutes. Wake up in the middle of one and you'll feel lousy no matter how long you've been in bed. So plan your sleep schedule in increments of an hour and a half. Here's Richard:
Sleep scientists all use the "90-minute rule" which is basically a sleep cycle which is moving from light sleep, to deep sleep to dreaming and repeating that again and again. That cycle is roughly ninety minutes. You're best off waking up at the end of a cycle. Plan your sleep in ninety minute blocks to tell you the best time to be falling asleep. Then you go to bed about ten, twelve minutes before that because that's how long it should be taking you to fall asleep.
(For more on how to have the best night's sleep of your life, click here.)
I could use a nap now, frankly. But before any of us nod off, let's round up what Richard had to say so tonight is a restful one. (And we'll get one more tip that can help make sure your nighttime habits don't backfire.)
Here's what Richard had to say about getting more quality zzzzzzzz's:
Avoid smartphones and devices at night. But they're great when you're dealing with jet lag.
A good nightly routine is key. No alcohol before bed, think positive thoughts and play the alphabet game.
Naps are awesome. Just keep them under 30 minutes. Drink a cup of coffee before you lay down.
Sleeping in two chunks is natural. Get up and do something for a little while and then go back to bed.
Remember the "90 minute rule." Think about when you need to be up and count back in increments of 90 minutes so you wake up sharp.
Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. We stay up surfing the net or watching Netflix. How can we behave better?
John Durant offers a piece of advice I follow: forget the morning alarm clock; set an alarm to remind you when to go to bed.
A useful technique is setting an alarm clock—not to wake up, but to get ready for bed. Set an alarm for an hour before bedtime. When it goes off, finish up any work on the computer, turn off the TV, turn off any unnecessary lights, and start to wind down for the day.
I am continuously fascinated by what comes out of people's mouths in the workplace. Many don't realize that the smallest of sentences can be a real tell about what is going on inside their brains.
Some things people say give away a poor attitude, insecurity, or even incompetency. In this day of constant over-sharing, many people forget to think before they speak.
Surely some of these sayings below are okay at times — depending upon the company culture and specific situation — but you are less likely to lose respect from colleagues, partners, and clients if you eliminate all of them from your repertoire entirely.
1. Anything with a curse word.
I live in New York City where the F-word is considered a term of endearment. Yet, I still am careful to curb it when in a professional environment. If you are unclear about what constitutes cussing today, just stay away from anything you can't say on the Disney channel.
2. I am the Real Deal.
I once heard a speaker get on stage and try and convince us he was important with this phrase. If you have to insist you have credibility, you probably don't have any.
3. I am so exhausted.
The people who are successful are working hard and they know that work is, well, work. Expressing how exhausted you are tells people that you struggle managing your life. Figure out what's keeping you up at night and fix it, or keep it to yourself.
4. I know, right?
Feeding into someone else's complaints just creates bigger problems in the workplace. If someone is complaining, try encouraging them to solve the problem in a productive way. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
5. I'm just going to ignore it.
Closing your eyes and letting problems happen may make for mediocre politics, but most issues surface eventually. When they do surface and it comes to light that you knew what was happening, you're going to look callous and selfish.
6. You need to trust me.
Why do you feel the need to convince someone you are trustworthy? What are you doing that would cause people to think otherwise?
7. Don't tell the boss.
Conspiracy usually comes to light somewhere. As the instigator of secrecy, you put everyone at risk and create an unsafe environment. Foster transparency and openness if you want the respect of those around you.
8. Can you believe him/her?
Got a problem with someone? Try confronting the person directly and showing people your diplomatic skills instead of acting like a coward.
9. Just go along, okay?
People realize quickly that when you enlist them in your deceptions, you are probably just as likely to deceive them some day.
10. I feel really stressed.
Bosses and teammates alike want to work with people who are happy and strong. Stress is a personal issue that needs to be managed by the individual. It's part of the job so make it your own priority.
11. I know what I'm talking about.
Really? Then why do you think telling me will automatically convince me. If you can demonstrate your knowledge with solid research and command of the topic, then there would be no need to question your pontificating.
12. He/she makes me so mad.
The only person who can make you mad is you. Take a step back from the hot emotion and solve the interpersonal problem one way or another.
13. I am so hungover.
It's great to have a good time, but the Mad Men days of two martini lunches are long gone. Alcohol is considered an acceptable drug provided it doesn't interrupt your performance. Oh, and pot may be socially acceptable to some, but you never know who still thinks it's a vice. So leave your Seth Rogen-esque stories for the social crowd.
14. They'll never know.
Just by telling someone else about your deception you have pretty much insured that others will know of your willingness to hide the truth.
15. Wow, she's/he's hot!
We're all human and appreciate beauty, but showing discretion is required for others to feel comfortable in the workplace.
16. Oh my god! Did you hear what happened?
Society today feeds on gossip and most are culpable of the guilty pleasure of listening to salacious facts. Still, few respect the person who spreads the information.
17. Just back off, will ya?
Respected people know how to keep tumultuous situations from getting out of hand. Show that you have tolerance and the emotional intelligence to work with all types.
18. Good, I think I got away with it.
Why would you need to get away with anything? Try showing integrity even when you make mistakes so people respect your ability to be forthright and responsible.
19. Let's just get it over with.
There is little in business that is worthy of being dismissed. Issues should be addressed with a positive attitude and appropriate attention.
20. We were out of control!
Or another way to put it, we were reckless and uncaring about the stakes for everyone involved.
21. Anything with a stereotype.
If you have yet to learn from Donald Trump, here is your chance.
22. Hey, let's bet on it.
Leave the workplace gambling to the folks who work on Wall Street. Office place gambling shows a lack of decorum and prioritization. Look for activities that make everyone a winner.
23. I need a smoke.
Cigarette smoking is finally taboo in most of white-collar society. It demonstrates weakness and disregard for oneself. Perhaps people will be kind, but they will judge.
24. I'm bored.
As a close friend points out, only boring people are bored. You always have the freedom to either make your work exciting or find a career where you are energized. Do everyone a favor today and do either or both.
25. I'm not really sure what to do here.
Well, figure it out. Someone will have to. It might as well be you, so attack the problem with confidence and a solid work ethic.
26. That meeting really sucked.
Perhaps it was bad because you were in attendance. You own a part of any activity or conversation in which you take part. What are you doing to make things meaningful and productive?
27. Anything sexual.
Even if you are foolish enough to think that any blue comments are acceptable, it's better to keep the compliance violations and harassment lawsuits to a minimum.
28. I can't go home; I have too much to do.
Thank you for explaining to everyone that you are incapable of doing the job. Either figure out how to effectively manage the workload and have a life or find a career that suits your capabilities.