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How to Be Successful without Sacrifice

How to Be Successful without Sacrifice

How to Be Successful without Sacrifice

No pain no gain. We’ve all heard this saying and we’ve been sold on the idea that it is true.

Is it really true that you cannot achieve success without sacrifice?

This is something that most people go through in their lives without ever finding any answers on how to make success easier, and less painful.

Why? Because the narrative of self-sacrifice is pervasive in our society. The truth is that you can be successful without compromising your quality of life. A lot of people around the world struggle with this. 

Most people think that they have to give up something or make sacrifices in order to achieve success. There are a lot of people who ardently believe that and in turn, give up very important parts of their life for something that they think they want.

Are you one of those people? I most certainly was for many years, until I discovered otherwise. Here is how you can make sure that you enjoy all the most important parts of your life without having to ever give up on something that means a lot to you.

Let’s review some of the ways to be successful without having to sacrifice important aspects of your life

Gratification Does Not Require Validation

When you have an idea of what success is for yourself across all aspects of your life, you need to make sure that the idea you have is one best suited to you, not based on what someone else described is “the ideal successful life”.

“The idea of what success is, should naturally suit your needs and aspirations and not the needs and aspirations of your friends, family or society.”

Personal gratification that comes from success is greatly important. In fact, it is the only thing that you should look for.

My recent guest on the Rant & Grow podcast, Terry McDougall, a mom, an executive, a career coach and author of the book, “Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms.” remarked during our conversation:

“High achieving people are often addicted to external validation.”

Chasing validation is like chasing the wind, you’ll never catch it. You can feel it, you can hear it, you can see the effects of it, but you cannot hold on to it.

Set Boundaries

When you set personal and professional boundaries with your friends, family and colleagues, you make sure that you put yourself and your success first and everything else later.

This might sound selfish but it’s actually the only way you can truly care about others. You can’t give to your friends or family anything you don’t possess yourself. Taking care of you first is like putting on the oxygen mask on an airplane that lost cabin pressure first, before helping others.

As an example, you can make it a rule to not work over the weekends or not reply to work emails over the weekend and just have that time to yourself, dedicated to whatever you want.

“You don’t have to keep striving for the brass ring, in order to experience success.”

Make Biases Work for You

There are a lot of internal subconscious thoughts and conflicts inside us that do not let us achieve our fullest potential. Much more than the judgement of society or the people around you, the tiny negative self-loathing inner voice inside your head is responsible for most of the failures you have gone through in your life.

When you find a way to recognize the presence of the negative inner voice, make sure to not listen to it. Mastering this simple, yet most difficult step will empower you to work towards and achieve your goals to your fullest potential.

Shutting up that self-judging inner voice and preventing it from popping up whenever you’re trying to take time for yourself for example, will give you the strength to keep going ahead and achieve success without having to sacrifice anything.

We all live a life of three stories. We have the aspirational truth of what we aspire to be and who we sell ourselves to be to the public. Then there’s the lies we tell ourselves based on the masks we have to wear to hide the traumas we haven’t healed yet. Finally there is the truth of who we really are in the present.

“Living in your truth is the most liberating experience you will ever have. That kind of freedom is the ultimate success of life.”

Give Yourself Credit

Remember the little child who wanted to achieve everything in life, who didn’t know limitations or the concept of sacrifice? 

Give yourself credit for how far you’ve come since you were that child. You must give yourself credit for going through what you have gone through and still achieving what you already have.

After you acknowledge how much you’ve achieved and/or overcome, reawaken that inner child’s ability to dream and wonder. 

Start to see the world through the playful eyes of a child who knows nothing about sacrifice.

“Embrace your inner child and start to love it’s curious ability to pursue joy without the concept of sacrifice.”

It takes strength to validate yourself. Once you start doing that, there is nobody who can stop you. That’s when you will start rejecting validation from the outside world. It is then that you can truly focus on your success and make it in life without having to give up the good things.

“Have some empathy for yourself and love yourself and give yourself credit for getting you to where you are today.” ~ Terry McDougall

The key to achieving the best of yourself is self-awareness. The key to success is finding out as much as you can about yourself and spending time with yourself.

Everything is temporary, but your consciousness stays with you forever. Hence, honing that consciousness is the key to the success in every aspect of your life.

Once you get self-awareness going on for you, you won’t have to sacrifice everything that is beautiful in your life to achieve success.

In my recent Rant & Grow podcast, I spend some time with Terry Boyle McDougall. Terry was a long-time corporate marketing executive where she led teams, developed strategies and advised senior leaders to drive business results. She is the author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms. We explored how to be successful without sacrificing the quality of your life.

Just click on the play button to listen to the podcast right here.

Business Innovation Brief

How to Sharpen Your Intuition to Make Better Decisions

How to Sharpen Your Intuition to Make Better Decisions

How to Sharpen Your Intuition to Make Better Decisions

Intuition can be described as something that helps one make decisions from instinctive feelings rather than conscious reasoning.

There are some people who have what is often referred to as an inner voice, that guides them about what to do and when to do it. That little voice is often right, and it is an art learning to listen to it and follow it.

Identifying that voice is a very difficult task and it is something that has to be refined and sharpened through years of practice.

There are many leaders who make decisions based on their critical reasoning even though their inner voice tells them to do something otherwise. However, they later come to regret those decisions because their intuition turns out to be right.

Is it possible to sharpen intuition so that we learn to trust it?

Yes. Here are some ways you can sharpen your intuition and make better decisions in your own life.

Negative vs Positive Signals

Intuition to many people seems to work in mysterious ways. The feelings from intuition arise in the amygdala, the primitive part of the brain. The feelings are different for every individual.

Hence, when intuition gets triggered with the amygdala, people’s fight or flight response gets triggered. Identifying whether these signals are negative or positive will have a huge impact on how things will work out. It’s best to identify the signals and always go with the positive flow. When the signals don’t seem clear, do nothing.

Take Inventory of the Signals

It is very important to take an inventory or a check of all the negative and positive signals that occur to you. The signals you are experiencing are something that you have to deal with.

If you fail to take into account the signals you are experiencing, they might not be there later when you need to make critical decisions. Hence, taking a proactive inventory of these signals as they occur can give you the ability to deal with them accordingly.

Asking yourself what am I feeling? What am I hearing? What do I need to do? Why am I experiencing the feelings I have? What am I afraid of? How can this help me? These questions will help you take full inventory of the signals that can sharpen your intuition.

Vibrational Alignment of People

Now that you have an inventory of the signals that you are registering, you need to make sure that you surround yourself with the right people and the right relationships that will help you grow.

You must surround yourself and your intuition in the environment that will best support you. To be effective in the process of choosing the right people in your life, you need to ask yourself questions like:

● Who am I and why am I here?

● Why have I become an entrepreneur, a teacher, a plumber, an executive, a janitor, etc.?

● Why am I this type of a person?

● Why am I moving in this direction and what am I trying to define my life to be?

After you are clear on who you are and want to be then you can have clarity of the people you should surround yourself with that align and vibrate the same signals as you.

It’s not about surrounding yourself with people who are similar to you in background, education, socio-economic status, and so on.

You want to surround yourself with people who you vibrate well with. People tuned into your signals.

“One of the keys to a sharpened intuition is to surround yourself with people who vibe well with you.”

The Opportunity Cost

When you begin to realize that not listening to your intuition is not only pushing you towards a bad decision, but it is also preventing you from realizing the benefits of a good decision, you will quickly recognize the opportunity cost that comes with ignoring it.

That is one of the main reasons why you should listen to your intuition, because when the fight and flight response of the amygdala kicks in, it works to protect you.

“That which protects you, cannot harm you.”

In the end, having a tuned-up intuition will help you make the right decision, carefully avoiding the repercussions of a wrong one.

Do Not Rationalize Everything

To sharpen your intuition and trust it more, you have to stop rationally analyzing everything. There is a difference between thinking something through and always relying on your own understanding.

There are some things that cannot be understood by the logical functions of our brains. The sooner we realize that the sooner we can move on to better things and better decisions.

Scientist have concurred that not everything can be traced back to a brain function that triggered them. The brain often works like a translation system for thoughts, triggering signals that cause us to take actions.

“Intuition is something that has to be carefully honed through practice and patience.”

Once seen to be the hocus pocus of religious and astrological spheres, it has now become one of the pioneering aspects of psychology and is being studied by top brain scientists around the world.

Intuition is a super consciousness function that is broadcasting all the time, by learning to tune into it, we become sharper in our decision-making abilities.

The importance of intuition is everlasting, and it is for our own benefit so that we can make the right decisions.

While making perfect decisions at the perfect time is not always possible, using your intuition and carefully refining it can facilitate the process to getting you as close to that stage as possible.

Fear, ego and rationalization are the three things that do not let you refine your intuition and use it in the best way possible. Hence, gaining a balanced control over all three will help you make the best decisions for yourself every single time.

In my recent Rant & Grow podcast, I spend some time with Sunil Godse, who spent thousands of hours on research and interviews to stop people from wasting time making bad decisions by sharpening their intuition, and came up with Intuitionology 7-Day Challenge.

Listen in as we talk about ways to sharpen our intuition in order to make better life decisions.

Just click on the play button to listen to the podcast right here.

Business Innovation Brief
Leading a Balanced Life Enables Your Success in Business

Leading a Balanced Life Enables Your Success in Business

Leading a Balanced Life Enables Your Success in Business

If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. There are many who take pride in waking up at 4am to get a jump start on their workday, and working till very late at night, they get little sleep and often say “I’ll rest when I die”.

Is this living a balanced life? Are these people really successful?

Some are. They lead multi-dimensional lives. They have success in business, have loving active relationships with their spouses, kids, extended family members, stay connected with their friends, have time for self-care, and nurture their spirituality.

If you are one of these people, you can stop reading now… this blog isn’t for you. If you find yourself struggling for balance…. keep reading.

Even if you love your work, there is the possibility that you fall into it so much that you start to forget and neglect the other parts of your life. Being very deeply engaged with your job is a great thing but not so much when it hampers other important parts of your life. Being 100% focused and great at your career also makes you a singular-dimensional human being.

“The secret to leading a fulfilling life is to become multi-dimensional, experiencing success across all aspects of life.”

There are several things you need to take care of so that you don’t go astray, and instead build a healthy relationship between your work and your overall life. Some of these things are:

● Effective time management

● Proper nutrition, sleep and exercise

● Quality time with family, friends and loved ones

When you neglect any of these things on a regular basis, it makes it difficult for you to assess what you can reasonably accomplish in a day. For example, guilt from not spending quality and focused time with family, friends and loved ones will affect your overall focus.

This, combined with lack of sleep, an unbalanced diet and little to no exercise can create the perfect storm for high stress, anxiety and leading an unfulfilled life followed by many failures.

There are some things you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Let’s review a few of them here.

Focus on Your Life Not Your Work

You need to change and shift your perspective by thinking about the life you want to live instead of thinking about the kind of work you want to do. After you have figured out the life you want to live, you must decide the work that fits into that life that can support it financially.

If you are strategic about this step, you will find that the life you want to live precedes the work you do, and that will make all the difference.

You’ll also discover that you can find joy in work that would otherwise not be exciting or a source of passion for you.

This is because your purpose becomes fulfilled by you leading a multi-dimensional life. Work becomes a means to achieve your purpose, not your primary goal.

Avoid Burnout

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. This burnout in your professional life leads to:

● Low energy levels or constant exhaustion

● Burnout can spread to other aspects your life, negatively impacting the way you feel about your family and friends

● Makes you more reactive (snippy) instead of proactive (at peace)

● Negatively impacts and hampers your self-confidence, making you unsure about your own capabilities

In addition to this, burnout adversely affects your sleeping patterns and hampers your ability to make decisions, engage in clear thinking for work and most significantly, lead to health disorders.

No matter how much you love your work, you are prone to burning out some time or the other. We are all just a few steps away from burn out. It’s important to make sure that you don’t ever burnout by reducing stress on a daily basis.

Manage Your Time

In this day and age, technology offers you some amazing options that you can use to get rid of your stress and keep your burnout rate in check. Daily time management techniques can also help you stay ahead of the game,

You want to manage your time by:

● Setting daily schedules and sticking to them

● Saying “no” when you are at capacity

● Working smarter, not harder

When you proactively take a moment to reflect on a challenge, you will find yourself discovering new and more creative ways to tackle it. You will discover ways that you might have never thought of before. 

In this way, you can find innovative tools and technologies to help your stress and not augment it. A tacit understanding of time management is very helpful in this case.

“Time management is about keen self-awareness and a critical step to finding real balance in your life.”

When you live a balanced life, a multi-dimensional life, you find that not only is your work more exciting, but you will also find that the other aspects of your life become better too.

Your family, friends and your loved ones become your support team and become assets that you are greatly thankful for.

Delving into your career is a great thing but it should not come at the cost of your family and social life.

The Business of Life

Balancing all the aspects of your life is key to ensuring an environment that pushes you to the limits and ensures that you become better and better at the business of life every single day. 

As long as you manage your time effectively, avoid burnout, and lead a multi-dimensional life, there is nothing that can stop you from attaining professional success.

“Professional success only comes by leading a multi-dimensional life.”

In order to maintain and hold on to professional success you’ll need balance. You’ll need to experience the fulfilment that comes from being connected to every aspects of your life.

Focus on turning your life into your business. Extract the maximum ROI out of your life by fully participating across every aspect of it. This balance will ensure your success in business. The business of living a fulfilling multi-dimensional life.

Business Innovation Brief
How to Be a Motivational Leader

How to Be a Motivational Leader

How to Be a Motivational Leader

If you are the leader of an organization, it is mostly understood that it is your responsibility to motivate employees and other people on your team to do the best they can.

Is it really your responsively to motivate people?

I will argue that the priority of a leader is to set an example others will want to emulate on their own, and to foster an environment where people are freely self-motivated.

Part of the responsibility of being a good leader of an organization is to nurture the qualities of people and encourage them to be their best in order to succeed.

Here are some concrete steps on how to be a motivational leader. Following these steps will enable you to see progress in your organization and in your team with respect to their motivation and productivity.

Shared Vision and Purpose

It’s often been traditionally understood that a leader is to create the vision for the team and instill the purpose. However, this isn’t being motivational, this is more about having controls in place to drive expected outcomes. Sadly, fear has also been used as a motivational tool for far too long

An alternative way is to co-create an inspiring vision of the future with your team and your organization. This approach gives everyone involved something to look forward to with the work that they are doing.

When the team can visualize, at a very personal level, the result of their hard work vividly, they work harder to realize the set goals.

When they feel personally vested in developing the stories of the success of the company, you can ensure that everyone has a more relatable and vivid experience of the way visions work.

“Co-creation gives people a purpose to work towards, and greatly reduces the friction that comes from things being pushed on them.”

Have Clear Goals

Everyone wants to produce results that are tangible. However, when people aren’t clear on what is expects of them, they can’t be successful even if they want to.

Part of being a motivational leader in your organization has historically been about providing your employees or members of your team with a set of clear goals and purposes that they can follow.

However, for people to be motivated to work hard towards what they are expected to achieve, they have to be personally vested.

“Motivating people isn’t about getting them to follow you or a vision, it is about empowering them to co-create a vision they will personally own.”

For example, you can’t expect employees to get excited about an IPO if they have zero equity in the business. It’s counterproductive to the goal of achieving an IPO not to share the wealth upside with the people who are going to make that possible.

When it comes to clear goals, they too need to be co-created, and their values shared among all involved.

A motivational leader will work with people to jointly agree on goals and create an environment where the risks and rewards are shared equally among all involved.

“Enabling a shared authority organizational model is the key to motivating people to personally own the company’s success.”

Lead by Example

One of the best leadership qualities is to lead by giving personal example. By working smart and hard, you show your team that you have professional integrity and a can-do attitude.

“Your personal example of integrity will compel employees to work harder to achieve more.”

This positive reinforcement that you provide to your teammates will pay off in the long run with better efficiency and overall productivity.

Leading by example does not mean just showing your positive traits. It is about being authentic and showing your vulnerabilities as well.

Afterall the most effective motivational leaders create a safe space for people to be real, and authentic. This creates mutual respect, trust and intimacy.

When you have a team that is co-creating together, you also need to give space for the imperfections to safely shine. It is in this intimate environment that teams can truly help each other thrive. It is human nature to want to be helpful to others.

“To achieve shared organizational purpose, you have to embrace vulnerability and authenticity.”

Encourage Teamwork

When you encourage teams to work together, you are giving them the benefit and power of unity. The counteracting effect that teamwork brings is highly valuable to any organization, especially during difficult market times.

Encouraging teamwork in the workplace will also help members feel less isolated and give them a feeling of belonging. Employees will feel more engaged with the work that they are doing and hence, will work harder to compensate for the larger community to which they now belong.

“Teamwork allows people to fulfill the desire for belonging and to have an impact on the lives of others.”

The ultimate motivational leader knows that their role is truly to empower more leaders. Empowering people by instilling a co-creation and shared authority culture is the most effective way to enable an environment where people want to work towards the company’s success. They will want to do so, because they are personally vested in achieving the co-created vision and purpose of the collective.

For more information on how to expand on the principles of co-creation and shared authority at work, check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.

Business Innovation Brief
How to Develop Empathy as a Leader

How to Develop Empathy as a Leader

How to Develop Empathy as a Leader

Some people think of empathy in leadership as a weakness. Some believe it to be a weakness even as a virtue. 

Empathy is a right-brain activity, which instigates people to think that it is a discipline associated with being touchy-feely. However, empathy is currency, and sadly too many people are absolutely broke.

“Empathy at its core is a very valued virtue and emotional intelligence currency.”

Empathy enables you to think about how people feel and helps you understand a problem by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is one of the best virtues to have as a leader of an organization or a group of people dedicated to achieving any cause.

There are several things that you can do every day, which will help you develop empathy as a leadership skill. 

Here are some of the ways in which you can develop empathy as a leader. Test these tips by practicing these principles in your daily life and watch your empathy grow exponentially.

Be a Good Listener

To be an empathetic leader you should not just truly listen to what others have to say, but also interpret and feel what is being said. You do this by paying attention to the tone and the emotions of the other person.

Being a good listener means that you are focused on listening, not on what you’re going to say when the person is done. You will gain more from listening to the other person emphatically rather than thinking about how you are going to respond.

“What most people are looking for aren’t answers with smart solutions to their problems, they are seeking to be understood, and validated first.”

Don’t Interrupt

Empathetic leaders know how easily a person’s quality of words might decrease if they are interrupted when speaking. A listener who is distracted comes off as impatient to the speaker.

When the listener hurries the speaker in order to move along with whatever they are trying to say, it leaves the speaker unable to recite their thoughts in an effective and an efficient manner.

Rushing to conclusions also has the same repercussions. Nobody wants a leader who rushes to conclusions without listening to the problem in the first place.

Interrupting people creates contention, when instead, as a leader practicing empathy, you want to create a safe space for expression and for validation.

“An empathetic leader listens with the intention to create a safe space for those approaching them.”

Be Present

When you’re talking to someone, you should never check the time, look around in the room, read an email, or respond to a message on your phone. It is that simple, and nowadays super difficult to practice.

When someone is speaking, you must be present with the person; not only physically, but also emotionally. Hence, you have to make sure that you don’t insult them by being genuinely distracted when they’re trying to talk.

One way to practice being a good listener is to ask yourself “what can I learn here that is of value to both of us”, the other is to be humble and remind yourself “everyone I speak with comes from the Universe to teach me something”

These two simple shift in context will help you to listen with intentionality, and thus increases your ability to be fully present.

“Being present as a leader, means listening without judgements.”

Don’t Judge

To practice more empathy as a leader, when people are speaking, not only do you have to listen to them proactively, but you also have to make sure that you don’t judge them while they are speaking.

When someone is speaking, you have to ensure that you leave your biases behind and be open to what the person might be feeling.

To be an empathetic leader and to develop empathy as a leadership skill, you have to ensure that you don’t judge the speaker and label them with agreement or disagreement.

Here is where you can go back to those two simple context shift ideas you just read about, allowing you to tap into your curiosity and humility.

Watch Your Body Language

As an empathetic leader within an organization, you have to understand the significance of body language in a conversation and ensure that you catch the cues the other person is sending out.

With that, you also have to mind your own body language when you deal with others. You have to remain open to listening to the other person speaking.

Practice makes perfect and if you spend time understanding how people feel when they are relaying their concerns, you will become better with time.

It’s about being open. This begins with your face. Your eyes need to be wide open and focused on the speaker. Smiling, and nodding signals you are positive and receptive.

Your body needs to be turned toward the person speaking rather than away. Your palms open and turned toward the speaker also. Don’t cross your legs, as it create a sense of being closed off.

When a leader lacks the quality of empathy, they make it hard and difficult for people to approach them with their problems. This also makes them feel that the leader is selfish and does not care about the interests of others.

This is not a feeling that you want to propagate. When you practice and develop empathy as a leadership skill, you do not come off as weak. With an empathetic leader, everyone feels comfortable and knows that their concerns will not go unheard.

“Practicing empathy as a leader is all about being open to receive from the other person while creating a safe and welcoming space to do so.”

Being open and welcoming is powerful, as it creates an environment of trust and transparency. A leader who practices empathy, creates a powerfully vulnerable environment where everyone can be heard, validated and thrive.

Business Innovation Brief

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