To be an effective leader you need to take advice

Author Wess Roberts’ Leadership Secrets of Attila The Hun is already a few years old (it was first published in 1985), but it still is highly relevant.

It has the following general principles about Leadership and Advice:

  • A Leader who has a team that always agrees with them will only ever be given mediocre advice
  • A wise Leader never ignores the person who gives bad news but rather ignores the person who fails to give them bad news
  • A sensible Leader never asks questions where they will ignore the answer
  • A Leader who asks the wrong the questions will always hear the wrong answers

So what makes me believe I will be in the 5% that will succeed and that I can help you adopt the same attitude? In fact, if you fail to adopt this attitude you will be unsuccessful I guarantee that. I am that confident of the approach.

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Make Sure Your Advertising Works

Years ago the owner of a New York department store said that half of the advertising dollars he spent annually were wasted. He said his problem was that he didn’t know which half. The following video tells you more about the basics of advertising:

Today there is good reason to believe the wasted portion is what a company spends on the creation and production of advertising. We Americans, exposed to millions of dollars worth of advertising daily, hardly remember even the most recent ad we’ve seen.

National audience research annually lists a “Top Ten” of stand-out ads – consigning all the others to unmemorable oblivion. In other words, good ads are one in a million.

Is it that bad? Why does advertising clutter the landscape and abuse our eyes and ears like a pack of screaming monkeys?

We think it is because there is, in place, all across the country, from local media and agencies to New York and Los Angeles conglomerates, a generation of advertising professionals that neglected to learn the basic structure of salesmanship and storytelling in advertising.

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I’m A Small Business Owner Wanting An MBA Degree. Does it Matter?

It’s Sunday morning and I am working, clearing out emails and reading a few too. One of my favorite daily emails is from Seth Godin. Everything he says is succinct and yet still has the ability to make me think, usually for far longer than I want. Take also a look at this TEDxYale video from a few years back in which Anita Jivani talks about her experiences:

This morning I wake up to his latest blog entitled, “Living with doubt…..is almost always more profitable than living with certainty”.

How true. As small business owners, we are constantly faced with doubts, you don’t believe what kind of ideas come to my mind when I am full of doubts.

Recently I thought about getting an MBA degree, so I would have a valid background. I did proper research and I know it’s kind of pricey but there are also online MBA programs that don’t require GMAT and are more affordable. I found a few great websites that list MBA that are also included in top rankings. Can you imagine that you can get an MBA for less than 9K and you don’t need to pass any extra exam?

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Review of the book Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done – how to stress less

The book and method ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen is about efficiency without stress. It is immensely popular at the moment. I would like to pay some attention to it, for this approach is different from most others. The methodology suits well with my position that habits, triggers, and chaining are the key to (long-lasting) change.

David Allen has two main goals.

  1. All things that need to be done need to fit into a logical and reliable system. Preferably an external system (no mental note) to leave stress outside of your head.
  2. All new input needs to fit easily into this system. Also, the system should be able to tell us what (if any) follow-up action is needed.

The idea behind these two main goals is that you should (re)act more efficient to those things that happen to you. You should react just enough (not too much or too little). Stress arises when you cannot keep a promise. With the Getting Things Done system, you learn to avoid this.

Managing your intentions

The main message of the book is: Do not use your brain to remember all the things you intend to doRemembering everything (or trying to) will cloud your thought. Use an external system to keep track of what needs to be done.

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Commitment in Relationships

There is a point in every relationship where one or both parties feel compelled to talk about the direction the relationship is heading. Everything seems to be going well, and it is natural to discuss whether the relationship has merit for a long-term commitment.

Women are more frequently willing to broach the subject of commitment, but since it takes both parties to have a “discussion” both parties must be able to define what they are looking for in the relationship and whether they are at a point in their life to consider the relationship long term. There are a number of considerations involved in broaching this topic:

Honesty and Sensitivity

Honesty and sensitivity are an integral authentic relationship, and the “approach” to the discussion may well determine the responses. Either person can initiate the conversation with the statement, “We seem to very comfortable in our dating, so I would like to discuss where we each see our relationship in the future”. This type of open disclosure could bring about unsettled feelings from the partner or, alternatively, be a welcome one to initiate open communication rather than hiding one’s thoughts and feelings.

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The Truth About Self-Employment

As some of you know and have been amazingly supportive about, I’m self-employed again. I was self-employed for 8 years before, then took a staff job for 2 years, and am now back at it. I’m in week one of my corporate-life retirement, self-employment-life-re-journey. There’s a lot to say and share, and I’m sure within 6-months I’ll look back at this and think how naive I was and how much more there is to say. Let’s face it, Lessons Never Stop.

So here’s the truth about self-employment from my own personal perspective (to date):

Whereas I was once exhausted every morning, even though I could sleep until 8:15 before getting up for my job, I now have endless energy. I can sleep with a generous dose of interruption and wake up excited to start the day. I’ve been going to bed past my usual bedtime and waking up around 7:30 without an alarm clock. I love being out and about all day.

Before I could barely muster the energy to make dinner. Life feels full of endless possibility again, whereas just a few weeks ago it felt decidedly beige. I’m writing from the divinely gorgeous NYC Public Library and noticing the raptured awe of the tourists popping in as a reprieve to the cold. I look at them and feel like one of them, knowing I can do anything I want tomorrow.

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The power of reflection

In my continuing discussion of success in work from home careers today I want to cover the power of reflection. The Slight Edge philosophy focuses on ‘the now’, about realizing there is only ever really now. The choices we make in each moment are what lead to the path of success.

How to reflect on your  business

Reflection is about using the results you have been getting, taking time out to look at them on a daily basis, and then seeing if your home Internet business is heading towards success.

The key is to remember to avoid dwelling on the past. Take my cousin Miriam, she has no high school diploma and instead of taking the GED test she still complains about low income. There are many really good websites that offer GED practice tests and online classes free of charge so there are no excuses for complaints.

If you use reflection that fact you did something wrong several times means you can learn. In fact, you have learned, you have learned several things to change. You then have the power to choose to change the actions you take and reflect again. This is a continuous improvement process, ‘plan, do. review’.

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Why I believe in Robert Kiyosaki

This morning, I told a woman I’ve met a few times in the park that I’m having a midlife crisis.

I didn’t mean an actual midlife crisis, whatever that is, I meant something more like, there are all these crazy things happening in my life and I’m making big changes. It was my lame attempt t0 be funny and maybe a little outrageous (I like to be outrageous sometimes as my friends will attest).

The look on her face was something I was not expecting or prepared for. She looked at me with such pity and sadness. She just looked at me for a few seconds and then said: “Oh, I’m SO sorry.”

Wow, what if I was really having a crisis, would her reaction have been appropriate? I’m not sure. I immediately told her that I was kidding and that I was just being dramatic. That in fact, things were fine and I had just decided to make some big fun changes in my life.

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Manage your finances while studying for a GED

The first lesson relates to how you manage your own finances. This lesson is the basis of all the other actions. Bringing in extra money alone is no cure for financial difficulties. It is really just a sticking plaster.

You have to deal with the root cause. For example for Joan the root course is lack of proper education, she left a high school when she was 16, she is 23 now and still doesn’t have a high school diploma.

It limits her earning potential tremendously.  Luckily for Joan there are opportunities to correct this mistake, she can take the GED test and if she passes, she will receive a GED certificate. Getting GED is not a lengthy process, it might take Joan 2-4 months to get ready if she will follow, for example, Best GED Classes intensive online prep for the GED that is offered for free.

This certificate is the equivalent of a high school diploma. This is a first step she needs to fix it in order to have a better future, with the GED she will make at least $9,000 more per year.

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Self-acceptance vs. Self-improvement

How do you balance the constant need for improvement with the concept of self-acceptance? You may think that you need to carefully balance the two as you may get complacent by accepting everything about yourself and doing nothing, or you may be too self-critical and always strive for bigger and better; independent of what you actually achieve. See also this Anna Anake video:

The two concepts don’t have to be on separate sides of the same coin. You can learn to accept yourself without becoming complacent, while you continue to work toward your self-improvement goals.

Improving yourself and accepting yourself do not have to be dueling forces and actually work better when they are married together. Knowing that you accept everything about yourself and truly believing this to be the case can help you to make any self-improvements more about the process or testing capabilities versus needing to get above the benchmark for approval.

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