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6 Positive Side Effects of Being Grateful

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Unless you’ve been living on a remote tropical island (and during recent turbulent times you may have been tempted to escape there), you have seen the growing evidence about the huge positive impact gratitude has on your health. As little as five minutes a day of focused gratitude, the no-cost quality of life booster, contributes to impressive improvements not only in emotional health, but also in physical, social, and spiritual health.

Some may ask, “what is gratitude?” Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it is most often a reaction to another individual’s generosity. The trigger, according to science, is to receive a message from someone else, interpret it as beneficial to yourself, and experience thankfulness.

Repeatedly, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can produce a range of impressive health benefits that often continue well after the expressions of gratitude are finished.

Ready to boost all your dimensions with some thank you’s? Here are 6 positive side effects of being grateful:

1. Physical Benefits

People who experience and express gratitude report feeling healthier than other people and report fewer aches and pains. This positive attitude creates a generous snowball of good health since thankful people are also more likely to exercise more often and visit their doctor regularly, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. The health benefits of a daily gratitude journal have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve cardiovascular function in heart patients.

A free health booster for us all? Grab a pen before bed and spend a mere 15 minutes jotting down what you are grateful for that day, and odds are you will sleep better and longer. That increases not only your quality but also potentially the quantity of your life.

2. Adds To Your Emotional Bank Account Balance

The math of your emotional bank account is pretty simple: positive emotions contribute, negative emotions withdraw. More positive + less negative = Higher emotional balance. Research shows that when it comes to your emotional bank account, gratitude is like a generous grandma who just can’t stop giving, and defends her sweet one against all negative withdrawals.

The simple act of writing a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you produces profound good feelings, empathy, and optimism. Remembering the moment that inspired the thank you card, in turn, produces even more positive emotions, a sort of cascading happiness effect.

Not only does gratitude increase well-being and happiness, it also shuts down emotional withdrawals by decreasing toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, guilt, and regret. No wonder small daily deposits of gratitude can have a compounding effect on your emotional bank account. So, go write grandma that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send. She’s earned your interest!

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

3. Builds Stronger Relationships

Grateful people appear warm and responsive, which increases their trust in others and influences them to approach and bond with their benefactors. Researchers refer to this as the “broaden-and-build theory” of positive emotions, where positive feelings encourage us to seek out new experiences, people, and activities. This comfort zone expansion increases the odds of finding high-quality relationship partners.

Expressions of thanks can also reinforce the bonds of current relationships, through the give-and-take of mutual gratitude. This immediate effect of greater joy contributes to long-term social success, so much that the person receiving gratitude reaps rewards in personal well-being and relationship satisfaction up to six months after the deliberate gratitude expression. That’s a powerful social benefit!

4. Better Work Environment

The impact of gratitude can even improve your work environment. A simple daily practice of reflecting on the parts of your job you are grateful for has been proven to positively impact your productivity, goal achievement, decision-making and networking skills.

Not only can being thankful help you manage your job responsibilities more effectively, but it also reduces job-related stress and burnout. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see how small doses of thankfulness could result in increased job satisfaction, but also a potential promotion, when you play your thank you cards right!

5. Fills Your Spirit

The spiritual blessings of counting your blessings are profound. Being grateful for what you have improves your self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance and achieving your life purpose.

Recent research on types of gratitude have important significance for not only individuals but society as a whole. Study participants who had reflected on and expressed gratitude for experiences rather than material purchases, were significantly more generous to others and kept less for themselves than did those in the group who reflected on possessions.

One explanation, according to scientists, is that when people feel closer to other humans, they might treat others better. By structuring community experiences and events that promote social and spiritual connection, organizers can encourage more future altruistic behavior, which benefits us all.

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams

6. Brain Power

Still skeptical? Even brain scans, hard scientific data, are confirming the astonishing impact of gratitude in 3 fascinating ways. A brain experiencing gratitude toward a specific person is flooded with feel-good hormones which makes you more inclined to desire that feeling again and make you feel attached to others at the same time.

Brain scans show gratitude also does something quite peculiar: it activates the hypothalamus.  Being thankful actually makes our metabolism, hunger and other natural bodily functions work more efficiently.

Perhaps most significantly during this high-stress era, gratitude increases mental strength. Remembering all you have to be thankful for, even during the most tragic times of your life, creates resilience and reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, there you have it. That “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t a platitude…it’s a health booster of highest magnitude!

What are you most grateful for today? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Dr. Lory Moore is a former judge as well as an attorney, author, speaker, successful entrepreneur and marketing consultant on a mission. Lory’s life’s passion is training business executives and “the new heroes” (entrepreneurs) to make their highest impact in the world, by helping them generate profits from their strengths and multiplying their legacy through sowing seeds back into society. She delights in helping good people make good money so they can do good things with it!  For more free resources visit www.DrLoryMoore.com and www.LoryMoore.com.

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Life

6 Signs That You’re Already the Master of Your Own Destiny

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You wake up early, grind, produce, and orient yourself to the best you can be every day. What if, just for today, you paused for a moment to honor how far you’ve come? How might it serve you and how you serve others if you just gave yourself praise for all the adversity you have met with open arms?

It can be distorting at times to take a level-headed assessment of how far we have come while on our journey to success and personal mastery. There is a renewed personal vitality and nourishment that occurs when we slow down and sit with personal praise for a moment.

With that, consider this the letter from the Robin to your Batman. This is your permission slip to realize fully that no matter where you’re at, that all your time and talents have gotten you this far, and that is something to celebrate!

When it comes to carving our higher selves out of the blood, sweat, and tears in applying courage towards our dreams, there is tremendous value in developing an intimate relationship with all the ways in which our mindset, values, behaviors, and perspective have shifted over time.

Here are the signs that you’re already the master of your own destiny:

1. You have moved past the tendency of judging others

Your baseline state is observing the nuances of a situation or interaction without projecting your thoughts, emotions, or insecurities onto others. The flexibility that is born from this skill of self-knowledge and emotional awareness is the bedrock and proof for how far you’ve come.

2. Relationships in your life are changing

You’re attracting relationships into your life that reflect your higher self and dropping those that no longer serve your best interests. If people start to fall out of your life, you no longer feel guilty or sad – you simply come to terms with this inevitable fact of personal evolution.

Everyone walks their own path here, and just because they no longer resonate with you, does not make them a bad person. It just means they too need to find others who share their vibration.

“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

3. You have become increasingly in tune with the emotional component of social skills

You think less, and you feel more. Humans are moved by emotion, so the more you become emotionally aware you are the more you can actualize your impact.

Ultimately, you understand the interconnectedness of being open to more of what is going on around you with how others are feeling and the emotions going on in yourself, so your leadership has become more inclusive and effective.

4. You believe you can inspire the world just by being who you authentically are

Sure, you have days of confusion and setbacks, and you still feel a form of relaxation when you’re tethered to the deep knowing that the more you share from a place of authenticity you give others permission to do the same. This belief opens the door to more intuitive listening to your gut. It also means you’re less attached to outcomes, which comes with it the sort of freedom only few people ever really experience.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

5. You are kind to yourself by honoring your integrity

This means not giving yourself a break to bail out on your word you give to yourself and others, and you do so from a place of compassion. You understand the difference between setting standards and your word to align with perfectionism compared to that which serves your dignity and the dignity of those around you.

This subtle wisdom in perspective can mean all the difference in creating your empire through burning out and maintaining peak performance over time, while truly enjoying the ride.

6. You prioritize self-care and personal recovery

Gone are the days of working hard and playing hard. Whether you experienced burnout in the past or have witnessed it in others, you are meticulous in your self-care strategies.

You’ve come to internalize the risks of working hard to build the life you want only to miss enjoying it because you succumbed to being plugged in around the clock.

You must prioritize all the following:

  • Meditation
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Eating healthy in accordance to your body type and what it needs to stay optimized
  • Intimate connection with those you care about
  • Journaling to organize your thoughts
  • Creating healthy boundaries and saying no when appropriate

You deserve to be acknowledged, wherever you are on your journey. Don’t let the spell of personal improvement cloud your sense of personal mastery in the now.

Your destiny is relying on you to appreciate who you are at the core and share yourself with the world authentically. On some level, you can do that fully, right now. May this be an inspiration to press pause more often and honor yourself, in the name of falling in love with the process.

How do you spend your time relaxing in order to recharge yourself? Let us know what you do in the comments below!

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Life

How to Instantly Heighten Your Influence Through Effective Communication

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As a practitioner and coach of NLP, I regularly experience people reaching out to me to work through a problem. While these issues range anywhere from a relational vendetta to a self-discovery impasse, roughly 90 percent of these hang-ups are centered around ineffective communication.

Now, I in no way claim to be an expert in this department. In fact, the more I dissect what I know to be true about communication, the more I realize I’m aloof to most of it. However, amongst the sea of pain and heartache, some common themes arose from the language and perceptions being opted for. These patterns clearly weren’t doing anyone any favors in the arenas of connection and influence and moreover, created a vague feeling of  —and  I use this term loosely — helplessness.

This isn’t exactly a surprise, as sharing and receiving ideas isn’t exactly our strong suit. Social issues, divorces, and violence can all be traced back to some type of breakdown in communication. Much of the world succumbs to a baseline of ineffective dialogue and we need an effective solution.

After just about every meaningful relationship in my life bit the dust, I woke up to a few painstakingly common denominators that were consistently tarnishing the effect I was having on people. Have a peek behind the curtain.

Here are four critical communication distinctions that will make an immediate impact with the people in your life:

1. Resist the urge to say “you”

Because of our overwhelming desire to be right — and therefore protected — we love sharing where the other person failed to meet our expectations. It’s common practice to pepper the phrases “you did this” or “you said that” throughout our explanation, as we want to reinforce how the other person made us feel.

This gets us absolutely nowhere and transforms the pre-existing chain-link fence into castle walls. By renouncing the use of “you”, the person’s nerves are calmed as the spotlight has been taken off of them—dissipating the feeling of being put on trial. The entire experience is now under consideration and they can sense you’ll be a little more objective in your drawing of conclusions.

“Communication- the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

2. Use “what” instead of “why”

Questions can be the most powerful gateway to understanding what’s happening in another person’s world. However, we often jump the gun when it comes to dealing with communication breakdowns.

“Why” possesses far too much depth as an inquiry, often careening someone off an emotional cliff. It pierces the conscious mind and it typically elicits a sharp comment or cutting remark in response, capping a lid on the potential for forward momentum in the conversation. Most people would prefer walking into the ocean, as opposed to being dropped into shark-infested waters.

“What” is much more of a surface-level inquisition. It treads lightly and doesn’t require the other person to dig as deep in their explanation. “Why” confronts the individual, while “what” confronts the situation.

3. Resist over-identifying with what’s being said

Expecting someone else to base their every move around your feelings is a recipe for disaster. No one has a complete picture of reality but our continual sole reliance on our own subjective view robs us of being quality contributors to others — most notably, in our closest relationships.

It’s the difference between the spouse who yells and screams at their partner for coming home late versus the one that greets their partner with genuine concern and worry for their well-being. One is a focus on the short-term (the emotions that arose from the situation), while the other is a response to the long-term and what’s most important (the health of the individual).

Taking the “all things considered” approach will do you far more good than simply concerning yourself with your own feelings. After all, they aren’t always valid. Stop yourself from the knee-jerk reactions whenever curveballs get thrown your way and instead, take a look at the score, the inning, how many outs, and the men on base— then you can take a swing.

“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open, and Two-way.” – Dan Oswald

4. Understand that how you perceive the conversation is entirely one-dimensional

Words, tone, and body language can play serious tricks on us sometimes. Consider that it’s impossible to know the truth within a conversation, as the “truth” is contingent upon whose point of view you’re basing it off of.

When communication reaches a stopping point, it’s usually a result of neither party being willing to waver on their indifferences. Attachment and pride get in the way in many areas of life and communication is no exception. To truly understand another person and appreciate where they’re coming from, you must give up your point of view.

It allows you to be a clear space for their ideas and input—free from judgment or cynicism. You can literally create freedom for another human being simply by opting to remain stoic and allow them to try on their own opinion, instead of having to force it down someone else’s combative throat.

This doesn’t mean you agree with them or validate what they’re saying. It’s simply a matter of making an impact— people will not move for someone they don’t feel heard by. Giving up your position not only allows room to understand another person, it creates freedom to roam the meadow of new ideas. It shows you that you’re okay despite temporarily being of no position or stance.

Our ego thinks we can’t survive without a strong opinion etched firmly within our psyche. It’s up to you to show yourself that you don’t have to be held hostage to that opinion— for you can let go of it at any moment in lieu of what really makes the difference for people.

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Life

5 Ways Going Abroad Alone Increases Your Performance at Work

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What is your first thought when one of your co-workers decides to take a two-week vacation abroad? Sure, now you have to work overtime in their absence, but would it be worth it if they came back better than ever? At a crossroads in my career, I decided to spend two weeks in South America to gain clarity about what I want to do with my life, and as great as this experience was for my personal growth, I underestimated how much this trip would impact my professional life.

Here are the 5 ways it changed my performance and how it can change your performance too:

1. You Learn to Build Relationships from Nothing

As important as your time alone is for your personal development, finding ways to effectively socialize while abroad is probably your greatest challenge. Solo traveling forces you into uncomfortable situations where you must find common ground with people who speak different languages, have different beliefs, and come from different backgrounds.

Traveling alone gets lonely with minimal socialization, and the way you learn to respond to challenging social moments oftentimes is the personal development you seek when choosing to travel alone.

The ability to introduce yourself to new people and build relationships quickly is a skill that translates immensely at work. Whether you are at a company event, meeting a new employee, or building a relationship with a client, your experience socializing abroad gives you a new confidence in your conversations.

2. You Gain Self-Awareness

When traveling alone, it is a gift and a curse that you make every decision for yourself. You very quickly learn more about the things that you enjoy doing and the ways that you like spending your day. Every decision you make offers immediate feedback that further reveals your priorities and preferences, and from that you gain a new sense of self-awareness.

Although self-awareness can be practiced deliberately, a foreign setting brings about organic opportunities to develop self-awareness through cultural and natural introspection.

Self-awareness is hugely valuable at work because it allows you to be more critical of yourself.  Being in tune with your skillset makes you a more productive and efficient member of your team.

By identifying your capabilities in different areas, you can focus on your role and add value in the way that is optimized for you. The first step is to understand more about yourself and what you offer, and travel is a great way to hone in on exactly that.

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius

3. You Learn How to Take Ownership of Poor Results

When sharing any experience with another person, the blame, guilt, pride or triumph dilutes into the entire group. When traveling alone, however, everything that happens is directed back at you, and you are responsible for every consequence of the decisions you make. You must learn to take ownership of your own mistakes when abroad, and learn to manage negative situations proactively.

In the workplace, accepting fault is especially important because blame is a huge source of conflict, and can greatly affect your office relationships along with your team’s willingness to work with you.

Taking ownership might be a source of immediate animosity, but serves well in the long-term because it builds a foundation that will help you overcome issues that arise in the future.

On a personal development note, when perceiving the error as your own, you assume the role of correcting the system that caused the error and gain experience as an individual while setting the company up for success moving forward.

4. You Learn How to Problem Solve Independently

I’d be remiss to not mention that traveling alone is stressful. You need to navigate public transportation, manage travel itineraries, and book all accommodations, which is not easy to do solo. Nonetheless, this challenge is valuable, because it makes you practice new skills in a high-stakes environment along with growing a sense of autonomy.

Independent problem solving is an irreplaceable skill in business, and being capable of finding an answer to a tough question on your own saves your team from unneeded distractions. Alternatively, when a peer presents you with a difficult and important problem to solve, you now have more faith in your ability to come up with a creative solution.

The skill of solving problems for yourself is an asset at work, and can develop quickly when being alone while abroad.

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

5. You Learn to Trust Your Own Impressions

As a solo-traveler, you have a lot of time to internalize everything you experience. Although I do suggest everyone keep a journal while they are traveling, your impressions are limited to your own vantage point. With this limited input, you begin to value your own instincts more than you did before.

In your job, trusting your own impressions will increase your productivity at work by accelerating your work-flow. Certain projects require that you just move forward, and instead of second guessing yourself, you will have more confidence that you can handle the task. Time abroad brings a new-found confidence in difficult situations that will manifest in all areas of your life.

Outside of the unmatchable personal exploration you experience while traveling alone, you develop certain traits that prove to be extremely beneficial in a professional setting. By learning to build better relationships, gain self-awareness, take ownership of poor results, solve problems on your own, and trust your own impressions, traveling abroad hands you a polished set of skills that can deployed upon your return.

Where do you want to travel to and why? Let us know where you want to go in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

How To Dramatically Improve Your Life In 2 Years.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Mello

You’re unlikely to change your life dramatically in a short space of time. Two years is a good number. It allows you enough time to experiment, execute and see the results.

In the last two years I’ve gone from not being able to do the following: speak publicly in front of a live audience, gain proper control of my health, control my anger, forgive people who did the wrong thing, find work I love and meet a girl who I could fall in love with.

Two years on, I’ve crushed each of these life goals. I feel like I haven’t just improved my life but that I’ve transformed it.

Here’s how you can do the same and improve your life:


Do one crazy thing.

The crazy thing I did was write down my fears and commit to knocking off at least one of them. The first one I went for was public speaking.

I began practicing in front of small crowds. Last week I spoke in front of eighty of the most senior managers in the company I work for and crushed it.

Tackling one fear became addictive and I ended up knocking over the whole list. The most difficult one was ending a more than ten-year family feud, so I could finally experience peace in my life again.

We all have one crazy thing that we’ve dreamed about and never taken action on. Dare to dream a little.

Find that one crazy thing and take one action towards overcoming the barriers that have stopped you in the past. Don’t let those excuses stop you anymore.

You need one event to trigger that transformation and then for the next two years you’ll have the momentum to get started on the rest of the suggestions I’m going to make below.


Prevent yourself from overthinking.

This guy sent me a note on LinkedIn. He had a dream of becoming a writer and he hadn’t executed for more than five years.

He sent me an article he wanted to post and asked if I could proofread it, provide feedback and then give him permission to publish it.

I was brutal with my response because I wanted him to win.

I told him “Stop overthinking and forget about asking for my permission.”

He ended up publishing his first article and not overthinking any longer. Before long, he’d published more articles in a few weeks, than he’d ever published in his entire life.

He’s well on his way to improving his life and doing what he loves because he stopped overthinking.

Many of you reading this article have the same sort of goals and have also been held back because of the following reasons:

1. You’re waiting for permission
2. You’re seeking perfection
3. You’re waiting for the right moment
4. You’re too busy with planning instead of executing

Screw all these excuses and just hit publish. Or just go for your goal. Or just make the investment. Or just attend the event.

Whatever your goal is, don’t allow yourself to think about it any longer.

Improving your life starts with executing — not thinking for years about it.


Look for quick wins.

The art of improving your life comes down a lot to how you feel. When you feel like your life is improving, you find this inner motivation that comes out of nowhere.

The way to get this boost in energy and thinking is to find some quick wins.

During my two-year journey, I threw out more than 50% of my belongings. It didn’t take me long to do, but it provided a tremendous quick win that I could build from.

Think carefully about one quick win you could execute on and then start taking one action daily towards achieving it. The smallest thing like making your bed every day will start you on a path of improving your life.


Consume less. Invest in yourself.

I mentioned before about getting rid of half my possessions. What I didn’t tell you is that I collected more than $20k from the sale of these useless items.

I then invested that money back into improving my life. I attended a couple of seminars; I put some of the money into a European holiday; I used some of the money to help others.

Many of you are consuming and buying things you don’t need. This leaves very little resources left to invest in yourself and your ability to grow and evolve.

“Change your spending habits from consuming products and over to investing in the growth of your goals. For you to improve, you must invest”


Find a way to share your thoughts.

Whatever your goal is in life, improving your life is best done by sharing your thoughts. I’ve chosen online channels to do this.

Over the last two years, I’ve shared my ideas and strategies with the world through Medium, Quora and LinkedIn.

By sharing my thoughts, people who think in a similar way have been attracted into my life. This has led me to consult for many companies that I previously could only have dreamt of working with.

Finding people like you who want the same things as you, and who you can collaborate with, first starts with sharing your thoughts.

The sharing of your thoughts is like a magnet that pulls in everything you’ve always needed and wanted in your life — the people, the ideas, the resources, the opportunities.


Build a diversified foundation of income.

For me, that looks like paid blogging, affiliate income, paid speaking gigs, consulting, a broad range of investments that compound year on year and 1 on 1 coaching.

Money is not the key to everything like many people think, but it will make the dramatic improvement your seeking even bigger.

Having diversified income means the following:

  • The risk of you losing your full-time job is much less painful
  • You’ll have money to invest in education and personal growth
  • When the next recession comes, you’ll be prepared
  • The ability for you to change directions in your career becomes easier
  • Diversified income usually leads to passive income (making money while you sleep)

Passive income is my favorite. Going back a few years now, I invested heavily into reading more than twenty books on investing.

I implemented the strategies and now I make some of my income while I sleep. Passive income requires a bit of effort up front, but it’s worth the time.


Read some life-changing books.

None of my two-year change would have been possible if I didn’t fill my big head with new ideas. My previous thinking about the concept of success was flawed.

“My previous vision for success focused heavily on taking from the world rather than giving back”

Below are four books I read that led to the dramatic change in my life:

Tribe Of Mentors
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Think And Grow Rich
Crushing It


Become really good at saying no.

A dramatic change in your life requires empty space to think and reflect. You’ll never get this time unless you get really good at saying no.

The more success you have in life, the more inbound requests you’ll get for your time. People will often want you to support their goals rather than offering you opportunities to support your goals.

Normally the first feeling you have when someone asks for your time is the correct one. Learn how to say no and always do so respectfully.


Do the right thing no matter what.

Incredible honesty and transparency in everything I’ve done over the last two years has helped me build up a team of allies who’ve taken my life much further than I could have ever expected — especially in the space of two years.

Doing the right thing will often mean that you could lose out in the short-term. That’s perfectly okay.

I’m aiming to set you up for long-term success and that means that how you act needs to be ethical.

“Dishonest people are quickly forgotten when there’s an incredible opportunity that is available”

By being overly transparent in business, I was able to build a list of customers who provided me with all the referrals I ever needed to grow my business.

I didn’t have to spend money on paid ads, PR or lead generation. Doing the right thing is always the right thing.


Stop saying yes to dumb stuff.

  • Gambling with your money
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Material possessions you don’t need
  • Requests of your time that you regret shortly after

Final thought.

Dramatically improving your life is possible when you commit to being disciplined, go outside of what feels comfortable and serve people other than yourself.

Personal transformation is how you build momentum for everything in your life. It’s the foundation for your own definition of success.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The 21st Century Entrepreneur’s Guide to Attracting Ready to Buy Customers

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Unlike some decades ago, the number one challenge entrepreneurs face is not figuring out a perfect name for their startup or getting overwhelmed at the point of bringing the startup to life. Rather, the major challenge of startup founders nowadays is attracting their first (or next) sets of qualified, always-willing-to-buy customers. (more…)

Noman Aqil is a Marketing Manager at Kayako, the effortless customer service software that helps teams be more productive and build customer loyalty. Noman is based in UAE and loves football, traveling and reading books.

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Life

6 Signs That You’re Already the Master of Your Own Destiny

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

You wake up early, grind, produce, and orient yourself to the best you can be every day. What if, just for today, you paused for a moment to honor how far you’ve come? How might it serve you and how you serve others if you just gave yourself praise for all the adversity you have met with open arms?

It can be distorting at times to take a level-headed assessment of how far we have come while on our journey to success and personal mastery. There is a renewed personal vitality and nourishment that occurs when we slow down and sit with personal praise for a moment.

With that, consider this the letter from the Robin to your Batman. This is your permission slip to realize fully that no matter where you’re at, that all your time and talents have gotten you this far, and that is something to celebrate!

When it comes to carving our higher selves out of the blood, sweat, and tears in applying courage towards our dreams, there is tremendous value in developing an intimate relationship with all the ways in which our mindset, values, behaviors, and perspective have shifted over time.

Here are the signs that you’re already the master of your own destiny:

1. You have moved past the tendency of judging others

Your baseline state is observing the nuances of a situation or interaction without projecting your thoughts, emotions, or insecurities onto others. The flexibility that is born from this skill of self-knowledge and emotional awareness is the bedrock and proof for how far you’ve come.

2. Relationships in your life are changing

You’re attracting relationships into your life that reflect your higher self and dropping those that no longer serve your best interests. If people start to fall out of your life, you no longer feel guilty or sad – you simply come to terms with this inevitable fact of personal evolution.

Everyone walks their own path here, and just because they no longer resonate with you, does not make them a bad person. It just means they too need to find others who share their vibration.

“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

3. You have become increasingly in tune with the emotional component of social skills

You think less, and you feel more. Humans are moved by emotion, so the more you become emotionally aware you are the more you can actualize your impact.

Ultimately, you understand the interconnectedness of being open to more of what is going on around you with how others are feeling and the emotions going on in yourself, so your leadership has become more inclusive and effective.

4. You believe you can inspire the world just by being who you authentically are

Sure, you have days of confusion and setbacks, and you still feel a form of relaxation when you’re tethered to the deep knowing that the more you share from a place of authenticity you give others permission to do the same. This belief opens the door to more intuitive listening to your gut. It also means you’re less attached to outcomes, which comes with it the sort of freedom only few people ever really experience.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

5. You are kind to yourself by honoring your integrity

This means not giving yourself a break to bail out on your word you give to yourself and others, and you do so from a place of compassion. You understand the difference between setting standards and your word to align with perfectionism compared to that which serves your dignity and the dignity of those around you.

This subtle wisdom in perspective can mean all the difference in creating your empire through burning out and maintaining peak performance over time, while truly enjoying the ride.

6. You prioritize self-care and personal recovery

Gone are the days of working hard and playing hard. Whether you experienced burnout in the past or have witnessed it in others, you are meticulous in your self-care strategies.

You’ve come to internalize the risks of working hard to build the life you want only to miss enjoying it because you succumbed to being plugged in around the clock.

You must prioritize all the following:

  • Meditation
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Eating healthy in accordance to your body type and what it needs to stay optimized
  • Intimate connection with those you care about
  • Journaling to organize your thoughts
  • Creating healthy boundaries and saying no when appropriate

You deserve to be acknowledged, wherever you are on your journey. Don’t let the spell of personal improvement cloud your sense of personal mastery in the now.

Your destiny is relying on you to appreciate who you are at the core and share yourself with the world authentically. On some level, you can do that fully, right now. May this be an inspiration to press pause more often and honor yourself, in the name of falling in love with the process.

How do you spend your time relaxing in order to recharge yourself? Let us know what you do in the comments below!

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Life

How to Instantly Heighten Your Influence Through Effective Communication

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As a practitioner and coach of NLP, I regularly experience people reaching out to me to work through a problem. While these issues range anywhere from a relational vendetta to a self-discovery impasse, roughly 90 percent of these hang-ups are centered around ineffective communication.

Now, I in no way claim to be an expert in this department. In fact, the more I dissect what I know to be true about communication, the more I realize I’m aloof to most of it. However, amongst the sea of pain and heartache, some common themes arose from the language and perceptions being opted for. These patterns clearly weren’t doing anyone any favors in the arenas of connection and influence and moreover, created a vague feeling of  —and  I use this term loosely — helplessness.

This isn’t exactly a surprise, as sharing and receiving ideas isn’t exactly our strong suit. Social issues, divorces, and violence can all be traced back to some type of breakdown in communication. Much of the world succumbs to a baseline of ineffective dialogue and we need an effective solution.

After just about every meaningful relationship in my life bit the dust, I woke up to a few painstakingly common denominators that were consistently tarnishing the effect I was having on people. Have a peek behind the curtain.

Here are four critical communication distinctions that will make an immediate impact with the people in your life:

1. Resist the urge to say “you”

Because of our overwhelming desire to be right — and therefore protected — we love sharing where the other person failed to meet our expectations. It’s common practice to pepper the phrases “you did this” or “you said that” throughout our explanation, as we want to reinforce how the other person made us feel.

This gets us absolutely nowhere and transforms the pre-existing chain-link fence into castle walls. By renouncing the use of “you”, the person’s nerves are calmed as the spotlight has been taken off of them—dissipating the feeling of being put on trial. The entire experience is now under consideration and they can sense you’ll be a little more objective in your drawing of conclusions.

“Communication- the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

2. Use “what” instead of “why”

Questions can be the most powerful gateway to understanding what’s happening in another person’s world. However, we often jump the gun when it comes to dealing with communication breakdowns.

“Why” possesses far too much depth as an inquiry, often careening someone off an emotional cliff. It pierces the conscious mind and it typically elicits a sharp comment or cutting remark in response, capping a lid on the potential for forward momentum in the conversation. Most people would prefer walking into the ocean, as opposed to being dropped into shark-infested waters.

“What” is much more of a surface-level inquisition. It treads lightly and doesn’t require the other person to dig as deep in their explanation. “Why” confronts the individual, while “what” confronts the situation.

3. Resist over-identifying with what’s being said

Expecting someone else to base their every move around your feelings is a recipe for disaster. No one has a complete picture of reality but our continual sole reliance on our own subjective view robs us of being quality contributors to others — most notably, in our closest relationships.

It’s the difference between the spouse who yells and screams at their partner for coming home late versus the one that greets their partner with genuine concern and worry for their well-being. One is a focus on the short-term (the emotions that arose from the situation), while the other is a response to the long-term and what’s most important (the health of the individual).

Taking the “all things considered” approach will do you far more good than simply concerning yourself with your own feelings. After all, they aren’t always valid. Stop yourself from the knee-jerk reactions whenever curveballs get thrown your way and instead, take a look at the score, the inning, how many outs, and the men on base— then you can take a swing.

“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open, and Two-way.” – Dan Oswald

4. Understand that how you perceive the conversation is entirely one-dimensional

Words, tone, and body language can play serious tricks on us sometimes. Consider that it’s impossible to know the truth within a conversation, as the “truth” is contingent upon whose point of view you’re basing it off of.

When communication reaches a stopping point, it’s usually a result of neither party being willing to waver on their indifferences. Attachment and pride get in the way in many areas of life and communication is no exception. To truly understand another person and appreciate where they’re coming from, you must give up your point of view.

It allows you to be a clear space for their ideas and input—free from judgment or cynicism. You can literally create freedom for another human being simply by opting to remain stoic and allow them to try on their own opinion, instead of having to force it down someone else’s combative throat.

This doesn’t mean you agree with them or validate what they’re saying. It’s simply a matter of making an impact— people will not move for someone they don’t feel heard by. Giving up your position not only allows room to understand another person, it creates freedom to roam the meadow of new ideas. It shows you that you’re okay despite temporarily being of no position or stance.

Our ego thinks we can’t survive without a strong opinion etched firmly within our psyche. It’s up to you to show yourself that you don’t have to be held hostage to that opinion— for you can let go of it at any moment in lieu of what really makes the difference for people.

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Life

5 Ways Going Abroad Alone Increases Your Performance at Work

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What is your first thought when one of your co-workers decides to take a two-week vacation abroad? Sure, now you have to work overtime in their absence, but would it be worth it if they came back better than ever? At a crossroads in my career, I decided to spend two weeks in South America to gain clarity about what I want to do with my life, and as great as this experience was for my personal growth, I underestimated how much this trip would impact my professional life.

Here are the 5 ways it changed my performance and how it can change your performance too:

1. You Learn to Build Relationships from Nothing

As important as your time alone is for your personal development, finding ways to effectively socialize while abroad is probably your greatest challenge. Solo traveling forces you into uncomfortable situations where you must find common ground with people who speak different languages, have different beliefs, and come from different backgrounds.

Traveling alone gets lonely with minimal socialization, and the way you learn to respond to challenging social moments oftentimes is the personal development you seek when choosing to travel alone.

The ability to introduce yourself to new people and build relationships quickly is a skill that translates immensely at work. Whether you are at a company event, meeting a new employee, or building a relationship with a client, your experience socializing abroad gives you a new confidence in your conversations.

2. You Gain Self-Awareness

When traveling alone, it is a gift and a curse that you make every decision for yourself. You very quickly learn more about the things that you enjoy doing and the ways that you like spending your day. Every decision you make offers immediate feedback that further reveals your priorities and preferences, and from that you gain a new sense of self-awareness.

Although self-awareness can be practiced deliberately, a foreign setting brings about organic opportunities to develop self-awareness through cultural and natural introspection.

Self-awareness is hugely valuable at work because it allows you to be more critical of yourself.  Being in tune with your skillset makes you a more productive and efficient member of your team.

By identifying your capabilities in different areas, you can focus on your role and add value in the way that is optimized for you. The first step is to understand more about yourself and what you offer, and travel is a great way to hone in on exactly that.

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius

3. You Learn How to Take Ownership of Poor Results

When sharing any experience with another person, the blame, guilt, pride or triumph dilutes into the entire group. When traveling alone, however, everything that happens is directed back at you, and you are responsible for every consequence of the decisions you make. You must learn to take ownership of your own mistakes when abroad, and learn to manage negative situations proactively.

In the workplace, accepting fault is especially important because blame is a huge source of conflict, and can greatly affect your office relationships along with your team’s willingness to work with you.

Taking ownership might be a source of immediate animosity, but serves well in the long-term because it builds a foundation that will help you overcome issues that arise in the future.

On a personal development note, when perceiving the error as your own, you assume the role of correcting the system that caused the error and gain experience as an individual while setting the company up for success moving forward.

4. You Learn How to Problem Solve Independently

I’d be remiss to not mention that traveling alone is stressful. You need to navigate public transportation, manage travel itineraries, and book all accommodations, which is not easy to do solo. Nonetheless, this challenge is valuable, because it makes you practice new skills in a high-stakes environment along with growing a sense of autonomy.

Independent problem solving is an irreplaceable skill in business, and being capable of finding an answer to a tough question on your own saves your team from unneeded distractions. Alternatively, when a peer presents you with a difficult and important problem to solve, you now have more faith in your ability to come up with a creative solution.

The skill of solving problems for yourself is an asset at work, and can develop quickly when being alone while abroad.

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

5. You Learn to Trust Your Own Impressions

As a solo-traveler, you have a lot of time to internalize everything you experience. Although I do suggest everyone keep a journal while they are traveling, your impressions are limited to your own vantage point. With this limited input, you begin to value your own instincts more than you did before.

In your job, trusting your own impressions will increase your productivity at work by accelerating your work-flow. Certain projects require that you just move forward, and instead of second guessing yourself, you will have more confidence that you can handle the task. Time abroad brings a new-found confidence in difficult situations that will manifest in all areas of your life.

Outside of the unmatchable personal exploration you experience while traveling alone, you develop certain traits that prove to be extremely beneficial in a professional setting. By learning to build better relationships, gain self-awareness, take ownership of poor results, solve problems on your own, and trust your own impressions, traveling abroad hands you a polished set of skills that can deployed upon your return.

Where do you want to travel to and why? Let us know where you want to go in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

How To Dramatically Improve Your Life In 2 Years.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Mello

You’re unlikely to change your life dramatically in a short space of time. Two years is a good number. It allows you enough time to experiment, execute and see the results.

In the last two years I’ve gone from not being able to do the following: speak publicly in front of a live audience, gain proper control of my health, control my anger, forgive people who did the wrong thing, find work I love and meet a girl who I could fall in love with.

Two years on, I’ve crushed each of these life goals. I feel like I haven’t just improved my life but that I’ve transformed it.

Here’s how you can do the same and improve your life:


Do one crazy thing.

The crazy thing I did was write down my fears and commit to knocking off at least one of them. The first one I went for was public speaking.

I began practicing in front of small crowds. Last week I spoke in front of eighty of the most senior managers in the company I work for and crushed it.

Tackling one fear became addictive and I ended up knocking over the whole list. The most difficult one was ending a more than ten-year family feud, so I could finally experience peace in my life again.

We all have one crazy thing that we’ve dreamed about and never taken action on. Dare to dream a little.

Find that one crazy thing and take one action towards overcoming the barriers that have stopped you in the past. Don’t let those excuses stop you anymore.

You need one event to trigger that transformation and then for the next two years you’ll have the momentum to get started on the rest of the suggestions I’m going to make below.


Prevent yourself from overthinking.

This guy sent me a note on LinkedIn. He had a dream of becoming a writer and he hadn’t executed for more than five years.

He sent me an article he wanted to post and asked if I could proofread it, provide feedback and then give him permission to publish it.

I was brutal with my response because I wanted him to win.

I told him “Stop overthinking and forget about asking for my permission.”

He ended up publishing his first article and not overthinking any longer. Before long, he’d published more articles in a few weeks, than he’d ever published in his entire life.

He’s well on his way to improving his life and doing what he loves because he stopped overthinking.

Many of you reading this article have the same sort of goals and have also been held back because of the following reasons:

1. You’re waiting for permission
2. You’re seeking perfection
3. You’re waiting for the right moment
4. You’re too busy with planning instead of executing

Screw all these excuses and just hit publish. Or just go for your goal. Or just make the investment. Or just attend the event.

Whatever your goal is, don’t allow yourself to think about it any longer.

Improving your life starts with executing — not thinking for years about it.


Look for quick wins.

The art of improving your life comes down a lot to how you feel. When you feel like your life is improving, you find this inner motivation that comes out of nowhere.

The way to get this boost in energy and thinking is to find some quick wins.

During my two-year journey, I threw out more than 50% of my belongings. It didn’t take me long to do, but it provided a tremendous quick win that I could build from.

Think carefully about one quick win you could execute on and then start taking one action daily towards achieving it. The smallest thing like making your bed every day will start you on a path of improving your life.


Consume less. Invest in yourself.

I mentioned before about getting rid of half my possessions. What I didn’t tell you is that I collected more than $20k from the sale of these useless items.

I then invested that money back into improving my life. I attended a couple of seminars; I put some of the money into a European holiday; I used some of the money to help others.

Many of you are consuming and buying things you don’t need. This leaves very little resources left to invest in yourself and your ability to grow and evolve.

“Change your spending habits from consuming products and over to investing in the growth of your goals. For you to improve, you must invest”


Find a way to share your thoughts.

Whatever your goal is in life, improving your life is best done by sharing your thoughts. I’ve chosen online channels to do this.

Over the last two years, I’ve shared my ideas and strategies with the world through Medium, Quora and LinkedIn.

By sharing my thoughts, people who think in a similar way have been attracted into my life. This has led me to consult for many companies that I previously could only have dreamt of working with.

Finding people like you who want the same things as you, and who you can collaborate with, first starts with sharing your thoughts.

The sharing of your thoughts is like a magnet that pulls in everything you’ve always needed and wanted in your life — the people, the ideas, the resources, the opportunities.


Build a diversified foundation of income.

For me, that looks like paid blogging, affiliate income, paid speaking gigs, consulting, a broad range of investments that compound year on year and 1 on 1 coaching.

Money is not the key to everything like many people think, but it will make the dramatic improvement your seeking even bigger.

Having diversified income means the following:

  • The risk of you losing your full-time job is much less painful
  • You’ll have money to invest in education and personal growth
  • When the next recession comes, you’ll be prepared
  • The ability for you to change directions in your career becomes easier
  • Diversified income usually leads to passive income (making money while you sleep)

Passive income is my favorite. Going back a few years now, I invested heavily into reading more than twenty books on investing.

I implemented the strategies and now I make some of my income while I sleep. Passive income requires a bit of effort up front, but it’s worth the time.


Read some life-changing books.

None of my two-year change would have been possible if I didn’t fill my big head with new ideas. My previous thinking about the concept of success was flawed.

“My previous vision for success focused heavily on taking from the world rather than giving back”

Below are four books I read that led to the dramatic change in my life:

Tribe Of Mentors
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Think And Grow Rich
Crushing It


Become really good at saying no.

A dramatic change in your life requires empty space to think and reflect. You’ll never get this time unless you get really good at saying no.

The more success you have in life, the more inbound requests you’ll get for your time. People will often want you to support their goals rather than offering you opportunities to support your goals.

Normally the first feeling you have when someone asks for your time is the correct one. Learn how to say no and always do so respectfully.


Do the right thing no matter what.

Incredible honesty and transparency in everything I’ve done over the last two years has helped me build up a team of allies who’ve taken my life much further than I could have ever expected — especially in the space of two years.

Doing the right thing will often mean that you could lose out in the short-term. That’s perfectly okay.

I’m aiming to set you up for long-term success and that means that how you act needs to be ethical.

“Dishonest people are quickly forgotten when there’s an incredible opportunity that is available”

By being overly transparent in business, I was able to build a list of customers who provided me with all the referrals I ever needed to grow my business.

I didn’t have to spend money on paid ads, PR or lead generation. Doing the right thing is always the right thing.


Stop saying yes to dumb stuff.

  • Gambling with your money
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Material possessions you don’t need
  • Requests of your time that you regret shortly after

Final thought.

Dramatically improving your life is possible when you commit to being disciplined, go outside of what feels comfortable and serve people other than yourself.

Personal transformation is how you build momentum for everything in your life. It’s the foundation for your own definition of success.

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If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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