To Be a Brilliant Leader, Mindset Is Everything (Infographic) – Laura Entis

When it comes to brilliant leadership, there’s no cookie-cutter mold for success. Vastly divergent styles can work equally well, which explains why many of our most respected leaders in business and tech often fall on opposite sides of a large number of spectrums. (Some are introverts, some are extroverts, some inspire through warm encouragement, while others do so through the strict enforcement of exacting standards, etc.)

But while their styles may vary, successful leaders share very similar mindsets.

That’s the takeaway from Gap International, a global business consulting firm that conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500 global executives over the past two-years to get a sense of a leader’s mindset at the time he or she recalls doing excellent, productive work.

These interviews revealed that, overwhelmingly, leaders accomplished great things when they focused on how their own contributions connected to a larger sense of purpose. Such big picture thinking elevated leaders’ energy levels and served as a motivator to keep pushing for better results.

Exceptional outcomes were also achieved when leaders actively focused on their team members. Successful executives knew that to achieve greatness, they needed to ensure that those working below them were also highly motivated.

In other words, in their moments of highest accomplishment, leaders focused on the impact their actions had on the world and people around them.

Check out the infographic below for more information on a leader’s mindset when he or she is operating “in the zone.”

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3 Signs It’s Time to Release a Toxic Friendship

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Friendships are wonderful parts of life, but they’re only a part of the total experience that makes up who you are. Many friendships are very positive, but some can become toxic. When toxicity occurs in your life, it’s important to see the signals and let it go.

Here are 3 Signs It’s Time to Release a Toxic Friendship:

1. It’s consistently a one-sided relationship.
Everything in this world works in perfect balance. When something is off you can feel it; you can see it. Positive relationships work the same way. It takes effort from both people to make a great friendship. If you feel like things have changed and you go out of your way often to keep in touch or arrange meet-ups it’s time to find out why. Keep in mind, opposite personalities usually attract and it’s normal for one person to be more forward. However, we’re talking about a substantial shift, where the other person shows less interest and availability. And, when you do get together it doesn’t feel the same.
A great relationship is always able to pick right up where it left off. Time and distance make no difference. If your meetings feel forced than perhaps you’re souls journeys are taking different paths and that’s okay. Friendship should never feel forced.

2. You don’t feel good after you talk to or see this person.
After speaking with a good friend you should feel uplifted. A friend should bring value to your life and celebrate your journey with you. Good friends laugh with you. The mood is lighthearted and fun. On the contrary, if you feel drained its time to consider why you are still friends with this person.
People can have bad days or trying times and need to vent. That’s okay. They need encouragement, love and patience. During this time you can harness inner strength. But, if the relationship continues to deplete you in such a way that it effects your life significantly, and is not enjoyable anymore, it’s time to set limits. Perhaps even part ways depending on how detrimental they are to your well being.

3. Your lifestyle paths have dramatically changed.
Good friends don’t have everything in common, but enough that allows them to relate to each other and have fun. When paths start going in such opposite directions where each person no longer feel like they know other, it may be time to evaluate the relationship. Especially if it’s in such a way that is not in alignment with your moral and beliefs. In life, many people come and go. Only a few stay. The ones that stay always have a special place in our hearts and you may only see them once in a while. The dramatic changes we are talking about here are substantial enough that they create toxic energy and influence in your life. When it begins to affect you negatively, it’s time to get out.

The best thing to remember is that no relationship is a waste. Every person we meet teaches us something new.

The 8 Qualities You Need to Look for in a Business Coach – Stephen Key

Every entrepreneur needs a coach, because the fastest way to learn any business is to study someone who has been successful at it. This person has already paid the price of experience. You must absorb all of the information that you can out of him or her!

Over the years, I’ve met many people who desperately want to be successful but who are ultimately unwilling to invest in themselves. They think, “I can teach myself. I can learn this on my own.” I’m always dumbfounded by this attitude. If I can avoid making a few mistakes, I’m going to.

Our whole lives are about learning. When we’re young, we attend school. If we’re lucky, our parents impart a few important lessons. If you’ve ever played sports, you’ve had a coach. Education is king. In the long run, finding the right mentor will save you time and money.

However, it goes without saying that some coaches are better than others. There are so many people these days offering their services to entrepreneurs online. Before you leap into a new relationship, take some time to get to know a potential coach. The following qualities are what you should be looking for.

1. Experience
The number-one thing to look for on someone’s resume is his or her experience. What exactly have they accomplished? Is it what you want to accomplish? Your coach must have walked the walk.

I feel strongly about this. Find someone that has truly paid their dues and can speak to their real-life experiences. Ideally, this person will have failed and succeeded. Their insight will help you avoid making costly mistakes and increase your chance of success immensely.

The devil is in the details. Ask for testimonials. What are former mentees saying about him or her? Is what’s being said personal and detailed? Always remember to Google for complaints as well.

2. Attitude
In my experience, having a great attitude comes with time and experience. The right coach will have been through it all — and come out the other side knowing a sense of humor goes a long way in business. They are able to see the big picture. They understand it’s all a numbers game. They don’t get too upset. An ideal coach is very patient, but also persistent and determined.

3. Willing to share
A great coach is willing to share all of his or her experiences with you — the good and the bad. Do you get the feeling this person is holding back? That’s not a good sign. You’ll learn the most from someone who is willing to be radically transparent.

4. Expertise in their field
Does your potential coach regularly give lectures? Has he or she written a book? Do reporters interview him or her? It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and nor is it desirable. If this person offers a long list of services, exercise caution.

5. Accessibility
You must be able to reach your coach. A good coach will be willing to customize a program for you, because they know one size doesn’t fit all. Does this person care about your problems and concerns? Specifically ask them how much time they have to offer you. What is their schedule and availability like? How many other projects and commitments do they have? Discuss these very important details up front.

5. Connections
A great coach will have longstanding relationships with people who could benefit you. Ask him or her if they’re willing to open doors for you. Sometimes, it is about who you know.

6. Expectations
Ask your coach what they expect from you. A good coach will keep you accountable. They will outline what they need from you, time and action wise. If they don’t ask how much you’re capable of, that’s a red flag. I would never take on a mentee who told me he or she didn’t have as much time as I thought they should dedicate to a project.

7. A love of teaching
Teaching is a skill that people get better at over time. Good mentors love to help other people. They enjoy the act of teaching. How a potential coach treats you from the very beginning of your interactions is a good indicator of how he or she will act over time. Are they late to the first appointment you set up? That’s not a good sign. You need a coach who is considerate of your time.

8. Holds you accountable
A great coach will not simply let you disappear. Yes, things get in the way. But he or she cares about how you’re doing.

If you’re lucky enough to find a coach that you vibe with, as I have, you will make a great friend for life. They will enjoy sharing in your success and feeling like they were part of it.

Finding Shelter in a Shame Storm (and Avoiding the Flying Debris)

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Finally! A guide to surviving. Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, shows us how to find a way free from the destructive voices in our heads. Join her on a journey to wholeheartedness—sign up for the on-demand eCourse today.
You’re in it. That warm wash of “not good enough” has taken over. It doesn’t matter how you get into shame; the trick is getting out. In one piece. Without sacrificing your authenticity. As a shame researcher, I know that the very best thing to do in the midst of a shame attack is totally counterintuitive: Practice courage and reach out!

But here’s the tricky part about sharing your story: You can’t call just anyone. If you share your shame story with the wrong person, he or she can easily become one more piece of flying debris in your already dangerous shame storm. We want solid connection in a situation like this—something akin to a sturdy tree firmly planted in the ground. We definitely want to avoid the following:

1. The friend who hears the story and actually feels shame for you. She gasps and confirms how horrified you should be. Then there is awkward silence. Then you have to make her feel better.

2. The friend who responds with sympathy (“I feel so sorry for you”) rather than empathy (“I get it, I feel with you, and I’ve been there”). If you want to see a shame cyclone turn deadly, throw one of these at it: “Oh, you poor thing.” Or, the incredibly passive-aggressive Southern version of sympathy, “Bless your heart.”

3. The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. She can’t help because she’s too disappointed in your imperfections. You’ve let her down.

4. The friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds you: “How did you let this happen? What were you thinking?” Or she looks for someone to blame: “Who was that guy? We’ll kick his ass.”

5. The friend who is all about making it better and, out of her own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy and make terrible choices: “You’re exaggerating. It wasn’t that bad. You rock. You’re perfect. Everyone loves you.”

6. The friend who confuses connection with the opportunity to one-up you: “That’s nothing. Listen to what happened to me one time!”

3 Surefire Ways to Change Your Energy

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How would you define energy? Is it the caffeinated overdrive feeling that gets you through the day or the electrical current charging your laptop? Contemporary thought leader Panache Desai, one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Thrive: A Third Metric Live Event, offers new ways to bring yourself back.Whether you are currently in the midst of a challenging crisis or are perpetually plateaued, you have the ability to shift whatever is going down by amping up or expanding your energy. If you are content with everything in your life, then you have nothing to worry about. Keep doing what you’re doing. However, if you are ready to start playing with possibility, these three surefire solutions will change your energy and transform the way you experience yourself and your life.

1. Go with the Flow
After sleeping through the alarm clock, your children missed the bus, so you drove them to school. While running into the office late for a meeting with your boss, you realize you left the lunch boxes on the kitchen counter. You could spend the entire day at work blaming yourself for being a bad mother or you can learn how to go with the flow.

Your emotions are energy in motion, naturally wanting to move through your body. The optimal state is flow. Anytime you judge your feelings as bad or wrong—anger, embarrassment, sadness or fear—that judgment inhibits the flow of energy. If you shut down the emotions you deem as negative, over time you turn off your energetic flow, which creates heaviness and stagnation inside your body. How do you get in the flow? Self-acceptance opens you up, allowing emotional energy to move. Get into the habit of feeling and loving every emotion as it arises until it subsides. So when you begin to beat yourself up for getting angry—or having any other negative emotion—stop, slow down and breathe until the intensity of the feeling diminishes. The conscious recognition of your breath anchors you in present-moment awareness and opens the flow of energy.

2. Be in the Company of the Truth
The people in your life can have a significant impact on your energy, some for the worse—the complainer sister, the creepy co-worker, that ex-boyfriend with the road rage. Whenever you spend time with any of these folks, you feel depressed, exhausted and drained. But a midweek phone call from your best friend, a date night with your husband or a long walk with the dog makes everything feel right with the world again.

Vibrational energy can be tangibly felt, and people are just like tuning forks. A tuning fork creates a sound wave that vibrates a pure tone at a single frequency. If you have two tuning forks and strike one, the vibration will carry to the other, and both will vibrate at the same tone. When you are in proximity to someone with a higher vibrational resonance, your energy will accelerate. The more time you spend with people who prefer to complain or judge or engage in power struggles, the more likely it is that you will vibrate at the level of judgment and criticism. Your energy will decelerate, and you will feel exhausted, stressed and drained.

What are you getting out of spending time with people who drag you down? What’s the real reason you choose to have lunch with Debbie Downer? Perhaps she makes you feel better about yourself because she seems worse off than you. It’s time to take responsibility for the individuals you want to spend time with and how you want to show up in the world. By being with openhearted and truly authentic people, you become a catalyst for your own transformation.

4 Reasons You Might Be a Genius and Never Know It

2014-10-27-brain-thumbI I I I I think we can all agree that the human brain is amazing and that we are not using nearly enough of it. Some scientists throw around the stat that we use about 10 percent, but how do they really know?

What are humans really capable of doing? We get little glimpses from special people, whether they are autistic with the kind of brainpower depicted in the movie Rain Man or folks with higher than average IQ like Albert Einstein who are exceptional in one discipline like math or science. What if we could all unlock our true potential? What if we were geniuses from birth and just don’t know how to tap the power?

Author and entrepreneur Roger James Hamilton says we all have great potential, but may not realize it or know how to unlock the secrets. In his book “The Millionaire Master Plan” Hamilton outlines four personality types that he calls geniuses. Outlined below is an excerpt from his book breaking down each character with strengths and weaknesses. You can also take the to find out which genius you are here.

Watch the full video episode as Hamilton breaks down his formula for success and how to unlock your own genius.

1. Dynamo genius:
Great at: Creation. They start and move things forward. They see the future more than anyone else. They succeed with their heads in the clouds and short attention spans.

Not so great at: Finishing, timing peripheral issues, paying attention. Teachers probably yelled at them for not paying attention.

Winning formula: Creating value through innovation, creativity, flair, and ability to get things started. They grow.

Losing formula: Consultation and relying on intuition. They are weakest at timing, service and sensing others.

Example geniuses: Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison.

2. Blaze genius:
Great at: Conversation and communication. They are all about relationships, putting people first, and telling stories.

Not so great at: Details. They are weak at analysis and detailed calculation.

Winning formula: Creating leverage through magnification. They ask the question, How can this only be done with me? They build their brand by growing relationships. They magnify.

Losing formula: Calculation. They get stuck when they try and multiply, growing through systems that work without them.

Example geniuses: Jack Welch, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen.

3. Tempo genius:
Great at: Staying grounded, dealing with lots of activity, being very hands-on, and requiring testimonials and referrals. Don’t expect a creative plan from them. Do expect them to do what needs to be done on time.

Not so great at: Innovation, public speaking, strategic planning, and seeing the big picture.

Winning formula: Creating value through timing. They don’t need to create anything if they know when to buy, when to sell, when to act, and when to hold.

Losing formula: Creativity. They are weakest when they try and innovate from a blank sheet, trying to create their way to success instead of using their natural senses.

Example geniuses: Warren Buffet, Gandhi, Neslon Mandela, Mother Teresa

4. Steel genius:
Great at: Calculation: Steels love handbooks, manuals and reading through the small print to understand and clarify all the information. Steels will take their time and get things right. They won’t be rushed and will carefully create systems to build their flow.

Not so great at: Small talk and constant communication.

Winning formula: Create leverage through multiplication: Steels as the question, How can this be done without me? Through systems they make things simple and make many multiply.

Losing formula: Communication. Steels often suck the energy out of a Dynamo, and too much contact with Blaze can dull their sharp minds.

Example geniuses: Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg

The Golden Rule of Startup Capital: Don’t Waste Money by Peter Gasca

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Golden rule of business: Increase shareholder value.

Golden rule of investing: Buy low, sell high.

Most entrepreneurs know these golden rules. To a great extent, they are (or should be) obvious and self evident. They are “rules” because they set the foundation for business mission statements, goals and decisions.

There is another important golden rule that many entrepreneurs overlook, specifically startup entrepreneurs. It was recently driven home to me in an email from Mike Schroll, the founder of Startup.SC, a South Carolina business incubator with which I am currently working to develop my own startup idea. Working late one evening last week, my computer inbox “pinged” with his single-sentence message:

“I challenge you to achieve what you are doing with less capital.”

Granted, my first reaction was that this was obvious. Of course, all businesses should try to do more with less. But as I started to consider my proposal in its current iteration, I did notice that I had built a “perfect-world” scenario for my capital-raise ask, which was significantly high. I have an ambitious goal, or BHAG, but I was treading dangerously close to a trap that many entrepreneurs fall into.

I estimated exactly how much money I needed to succeed.

The problem with this is that the “perfect” amount of money is a fallacy. Indeed, if you have a unique, revolutionary and proprietary idea, combined with the right amount of money it stands a significantly better chance of becoming a success. But most of us do not have this type of idea — we just have an idea — and investors have many investment choices and typically want to spread their risk around to many startups.

Ultimately, what investors want to see and what you need to consider is the amount of money needed to achieve two goals:

1. Getting your idea to market.

2. Growing your customer base as quickly as possible.

Because capital is scarce, startup capital that goes to anything else will be considered wasteful. For instance:

Personnel
About the only thing that is critical for success is personnel needed to get the startup launched. Engineers and programmers are expensive, and they are well worth the money in terms of developing the right minimum viable product or prototype. What should not be considered is a founders’ lucrative salary.

Unless you are a well known and sought-after founder (most of you are not), investors do not want valuable startup capital going to line your pocket. Be prepared to put in time and sweat to show your commitment, for which you will be rewarded with an investment.

Marketing and advertising
Customer acquisition cost is a key consideration for investors. If your strategy is just to spend money on advertising for the sake of spending money, then revisit your strategy. Approximating your return on marketing budget is critical, and though there is no way to be exact, demonstrating your critical thinking and understanding of its importance will make you appear much more credible.

Overhead
Precious startup capital should not be wasted on things such as offices, furniture, foosball tables and coffee bars, unless these things are critical for retaining key talent. Unless you are a sought-after founder with existing partnership with established venture capitalists, however, be prepared to bootstrap your way through development and launch.

Everything else
Everything else needed to get started, from legal to accounting to utilities to janitorial, needs to be kept at an absolute minimum. No founder is beyond sitting in a hot office or taking Clorox to the toilet bowl. If your dollars are not going to build your product and gain customers, then they are being wasted.

While this concept may be obvious, I personally have spoken to countless entrepreneurs who visualize the launch of their idea with a complete misunderstanding. Many mistakenly believe that they need a Google-esque office, unlimited vacation days and full benefits, when in reality a cinder block desk, Internet access and the unwavering commitment of an ambitious entrepreneur is really all you need.

The Antidote for Shame The author of Discovering Your Soul Signature reveals how to free yourself—finally. By Panache Desai

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Shame and guilt are both born of judgment, but there is a distinction between them: Shame is silent. We wear our guilt—and we hide our shame. We’ll share our guilt—it’s a way in which we look for acceptance. We purge ourselves—telling our best friend, our sister or brother; we confess our supposed sins to God or to clergy. But we don’t share our shame. Instead, we lock it away in a dark closet where we hope it will never be revealed, but all the while it is shaping our lives. Because that which we do not bring into the light of day controls us.

Shame can be about anything, from our choice of sexual expression—if you ever want to clear a room, just start talking about sex—to our bodies, our addictions, our secret thoughts. Sometimes it comes from having an embarrassment of riches—a person born into a privileged family may feel ashamed about that. It manifests in so many different forms. As they say in 12-step programs, it’s cunning, baffling and powerful.

Shame leads to isolation. The antidote for shame is intimacy. Authentic vulnerability. These emotional states are one and the same. In order to be truly intimate with another person, we must be authentically vulnerable. In addition, when we reach that place of vulnerability, we are also able to receive—truly receive—from another. When we express all that we are, there is no room for shame to creep in. This willingness to be honest, even if at times it’s uncomfortable, is how we release the shame within us, so that it can no longer gather weight and density.

Look into your own eyes in the mirror. Just relax and breathe. Maintain your gaze. See the part of you that is sacred. See your soul. See the truth of you. Witness the part of yourself that cannot be tarnished. The simple part of you that is free of the complexities of life. From this place of intimacy with yourself, speak the truth that cannot be spoken. Your deepest shame. I promise you that this deep shame is shared by every single human being. By voicing it, you are letting it go.