creative courage

random thoughts

“I’d rather be exhausted striving for excellence than churning out work that succeeds merely because it offends the least amount of people. The cost? The fear of financial uncertainty. But I willingly accept this cost because it allows me to follow my path and craft the type of career and lifestyle that I want and need. There are things that I will not compromise on, including my sanity, happiness, time with my family, spontaneous travel with my son and creative control in the work I choose to take on. If I fail, I will fail on my own terms, doing what I love.”

James Victore author, designer, filmmaker and firestarter

how to introduce yourself in one simple step

improve yourself

“Networking is one of the most challenging skills you may have to learn in the world of business. It can be an awkward experience, having the attention of a group of strangers focused on you, and trying to make a good first impression.

It’s an important moment. The person opposite you might be someone who could make or break your career. If you make a good impression, he or she might be able to refer your next big client, or have the influence to help you land that next big contract.

On the other hand, if you act like a doofus, you might alienate someone who might have been an otherwise important connection and relationship.

Instead of leading with what you do, lead with who you help. As in: ‘Hi, my name is Bernard, and I help companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and big data’.

Done! You know who I am, what I do and, more importantly, whether or not I can help you or someone you know.”

Bernard Marr best-selling author

never stop learning: how self-education creates a bullet-proof career

improve yourself

“Here are some ways to ignite and sustain a passion for learning:

1_Start with heroes from the past
Having heroes (dead or alive) gives you something to live up to, a higher standard. You can pick someone in your field and always point toward them.

2_Take advantage of free educational resources
Technology has transformed us into excellent gatherers of information. From books, podcasts, blogs, online courses, and tools that provide access to whomever youre trying to connect with, you can study any subject.

3_Explore unrelated subjects
Say youre a graphic designer; why not study something like Greek architecture or fashion? Or lets say youre a fitness coach; why not study public speakers or read biographies on famous sports coaches?

4_Make learning a habit
A desire to learn is a fruitful asset that will fuel you throughout your life. Without this unquenchable desire to grow our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, we stagnate.

Learning is the lifeblood of a fruitful career. And it’s available to you right now.”

Paul Jun writer and author

to grow your business, serve before you sell

random thoughts

“The best way to get new customers is through referrals. People take a risk when they recommend a service to their friends, and we all understand this. So, when your friend or colleague tells you how much she liked dealing with a company, you tend to pay attention.

Before a customer can give you a referral, you have to serve that customer. Serving does not mean doing a good job of explaining your product. It means delivering something of meaningful value. It means identifying a need and satisfying it.

The same is true when you manage your own career. How many times have you asked someone else for a favor before you did anything for them? How many times did you only do something for another person at the moment you realized that you needed something from them? Neither one of these self-centered approaches works very well.

You might think of your career as a bank, in which you deposit goodwill. The sooner you start to help others in a meaningful way, the faster your savings will grow. The more you serve others, the more “interest” you will earn. This is true of individuals as well as companies.”

Bruce Kasanoff storyteller

6 secrets of highly optimistic people

improve yourself

“Everyone wants to be an optimist, but it’s not always easy when life gets you down. While some folks a naturally sunny disposition, most people have to work to maintain an optimistic viewpoint. It’s worth the work, however, since optimists enjoy better health and even do better in their careers.

1) Optimists are passionate about their work. Do you need to drag yourself to work every morning? Optimists don’t, because they spring out of bed excited to face the day. This is because optimists have chosen to pursue jobs and careers for which they have real, genuine passion.

2) Optimists focus on the good… even though it’s far easier to focus on the bad.

3) Optimists practice mindfulness. It’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed when you’re always on-the-go. Especially in today’s work reality when we’re reachable at all hours thanks to email, smartphones, and cloud computing. You need to take some “you time” in order to get refocused and let go of negative emotions.

4) Optimists dream big. Dreaming is believing — and if you reach for the stars, you actually will achieve better results.

5) Optimists journal. As we’ve mentioned, it’s all too easy to focus on the negative events in our lives and mentally skim over the positive. Journaling can help you focus on dispelling negative energy and focusing on upbeat emotions.

6) Optimists surround themselves with good vibes. If you surround yourself with supportive people and things you enjoy, you’ll improve your mood and your day. The next time your attention wanders and you find yourself looking at a picture of a piglet, don’t feel so bad about your lost productivity. Research has shown looking at pictures of baby animals actually makes you more productive.

The secret to optimism is that it doesn’t just happen — highly optimistic people have to work on maintaining their sunny attitudes. If you want to get ahead in your career, improve your relationships, and just plain enjoy your professional life, it’s time to give optimism a try. Highly optimistic people aren’t just happier, they’re also more successful.”

Ilya Pozin founder of Open Me and Ciplex