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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

It’s a bitter reality, isn’t it?

You’re dissatisfied with your job, you feel overworked and overloaded, and you’re struggling to maintain balance between your responsibilities and your passions.

You’re not alone. The majority of workers aren’t happy with their jobs, and the numbers aren’t getting any better. You aren’t suddenly discovering new meaning in your work, nor are you magically producing job satisfaction out of mid-air.

You stay in your meaningless, stress-filled job because you believe you have to. Your pressures and responsibilities don’t allow you the freedom to hit the open road and live a life of blissful nomad-ism. After all, where would you be without your health insurance, 401(k), or sick leave?

A glut of information is out there about the new entrepreneur who leaves the corporate world to start a passion-based business. Whether it’s a retail tee shirt company backing a cause, or a small business consulting firm helping companies improve their social media presence. These are wonderful success stories, and it’s worth paying some attention to the possibility that you, too, can carve your own path.

However, starting a business isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy, even thrive in a corporate environment where opportunity exists for career growth, skills development, and where they can contribute to large-scale projects and initiatives with global reach. Breaking away from this structure isn’t even on their radar.

So how can you; the dedicated, lifelong employee, gain that same level of passion that the new entrepreneur feels? How can you learn to find meaning in your work amidst the chaos and noise of other peoples’ agendas? How can you become one of the few who are not only satisfied with their job, but also flourish and bloom within it?

I will show you just how to do that with these 5 simple tips.

 

1. Forget about building your resumé

Warren Buffett once said that taking a job only because it will look good on your resumé is like saving up sex for when you’re 70.

Witticism aside, he’s right. Why would you continually do things you don’t enjoy for the sole purpose of someday, maybe doing something you like?

All too often, people think that taking a job for the experience is a rite of passage, just like a musician paying her dues before she gets the big break.

It’s nonsense.

Instead, take an inward-facing approach when assessing a new job opportunity or re-evaluating your current job. Ask these critical questions:

  • Do I believe in this work?
  • Am I motivated to learn more?
  • Does this company’s mission align with my own?

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your job or are dissatisfied with your career direction, start by looking at yourself first. Ask questions that get to the root of why you might feel stuck. Don’t be afraid to make a change, even if that means a less “impressive” resumé.

 

5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

2. Hone in on what lights you up

You can, however, use your resumé as a tool to figure out some ways you can break out of the dissatisfaction cycle.

Look back at all of your previous work experiences and note times when you were:

  • Fulfilled
  • Unfulfilled
  • Passionate
  • Bored
  • Challenged
  • Resistant
  • Motivated
  • Distracted

You should be able to identify themes and patterns within this framework that highlight activities that best align with your personal mission and your overarching purpose. You’ll also see which types of work to reduce or eliminate. Put these experiences into two lists: Do more of and Do less of.

Once you have a “Do more of” list that suits you, further refine it by looking at each of those experiences and responsibilities through the following filters:

  • Was I truly happy when I worked on this?
  • Did this work feel meaningful to me?

Some of your experiences might end up in the middle; somewhat happy, marginally meaningful. That’s okay. The point is to enable you to understand the kind of work that lights you up; work you can rally behind and work that feels right.

You may need to look beyond the job description to answer these questions. Intangibles like values alignment and corporate culture also matter, and they may help you determine what kinds of jobs and environments best fit you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

3. Define what you really want

Sometimes your experiences won’t shed much light on what matters to you the most. You may have followed the well-worn path of taking job after job based on how good they’d look on your resumé, and your list from above is full of experiences that left you unfulfilled, bored, and distracted.

At this point, you’ll need to dig deep to find answers. Play a little “what if” game:

  • What if money weren’t an issue? If I could do anything, what would I choose to do?
  • What if I could find work that fits my unique talents and strengths? Could I create a job description that captures them perfectly?
  • What if someone right now is doing exactly what I want to do? Who are they? Can I find them and talk to them?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a great chance of solidifying what you really want out of your job and your career. You can then take this new found awareness and apply it to your current situation. Whether you’re job hunting, evaluating a job offer, or trying to find ways to inject more meaning into your current role.

 

4. Get used to discomfort

Change happens at the intersection of discomfort and intention. It may be uncomfortable to become an active participant in your own life and make difficult choices that others may not agree with, but what’s the alternative? Do you really want to wait for a chance; a possibility you may find fulfillment somewhere out there?

Take a step back and look objectively at your life. Have you been reacting to what’s placed in front of you, or are you strategically directing the actions you take?

If you’re part of the unfulfilled and dissatisfied majority, think hard about this. Carefully examine how you categorized each of your work experiences, and pay particular attention to the themes and patterns you saw. Have you been living a predominantly passionate and challenged life? Or has yours been more unfulfilled and resistant?

You’re the only one who can change those patterns. So take the first step.

 “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

5. Take ownership of your choices

It’s easy to get stuck on the career roller coaster. You’re caught between what other people think is best for you and what you really want to accomplish. Often, you choose the path of least resistance because you’re tired of working so hard to defend your beliefs.

Your choices are yours alone, so own them. You have the power to direct the course of your life by figuring out what you truly want and devising a strategy to take you there.

Decide that you no longer wish to settle for meaningless work. Actively design a working life that aligns your purpose with your paycheck. Become someone others look up to as a model of career fulfillment.

Are you ready to be that person or will you keep waiting for your big break? The choice is yours to make.

 

What tips would you add to this list that have helped you find what path was right for you?

Scott L. Sind is on a mission is to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He's the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development. Get his free Cheat Sheet for Building a Powerful Support Network for quick tips on expanding your influence.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

10 Things We Can Learn From the Incredible Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was one of the greatest visionaries and pioneers of the 21st century. He wasn’t an engineer, did not completed his college degree, yet he was able to turnaround the near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable brand in the world. He not only transformed one industry but several others such as mobile phones, computers, and movies.

Here are 10 life lessons which everyone can learn from Steve Jobs and apply to their lives:

1. Always focus on the positive & let go of the negative

Steve Jobs went through many ups and downs in his life. He was given up by his biological parents for adoption. Such an event could have easily pushed him into the negative; however he chose to focus on the positive in life. He loved his adopted father and mother and he also found the things which kept him happy and positive (i.e. computers).

You should also utilize the power of positive thinking. Don’t become the person who always sees the glass half-empty. Just focus all your energy and dedication on the positive things in your life. If something is negative, it will always drain your energy and you would not be able to live your life to the fullest.

2. Travel the world and learn new things

When Steve Jobs was 19 years old he visited India, and he said in multiple interviews that his travels helped him broaden his perspective. The journey to somewhere far away from his land expanded his thoughts, and opened his mind to unlimited possibilities.

We should also travel more in order to experience the various cultures and lifestyle of people living in different corners of the world. You will not only experience new things but it will also broaden your horizons.

3. Always take a calculated risk

Steve Jobs was a risk-taker, and this set him apart from his competitors. Hardly any CEOs would have agreed to develop a new product which would cannibalize/decrease the sale of the company’s top-selling product. But, Steve Jobs took the risk to develop and market the iPhone when the iPod was their top selling product.

The iPhone cannibalized the sales of the iPod but the iPhone made a huge profit by dominating the emerging smartphone market. In order to move forward, we have to take risks in life. But we must make sure that the risk should be calculated.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

4. Be wise in the company you choose to keep

Steve Jobs always hired and surrounded himself with great minds. He hired Steve Wozniak because he knew that he was better than Jobs in building computers. Some of the more prominent people who worked with Jobs were John Lasseter and Tim Cook. These people helped Steve Jobs to achieve massive success in making Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

You should learn to surround yourself with great people in order to achieve success. Don’t let your ego get in the way of who you choose to interact and work with.

5. Learn from the failures and keep moving forward

In 1984, Apple fired Steve Jobs. He could have chosen the option of feeling depressed about it but he took it in a positive way.

At Stanford’s 2005 commencement address, he said;

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

We should also not fear failure because it is not the end of the end. We should treat failure as an opportunity to improve oneself.

6. Do only what you truly love

While addressing the students and faculty members of Stanford University, Steve Jobs said  The only thing which kept him going while facing challenges and obstacles was the fact that he was doing what he loved. He also said to find what you love both in your professional and personal life.

If we do what we truly love then we do that particular work with complete passion. We don’t make any excuses for not giving everything we have.

7. Learn from others

When Steve Jobs was in high school, he attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard. Before the age of 21, he had already worked for HP and Atari. He worked there and learned what these companies were doing and he implemented those strategies at Apple.

You too should learn from others. If you don’t see any results while working towards a certain goal, then you should take advice from the experts in that field. Sometimes, a little help is all you need to achieve success.

8. It is never too early to get started

Steve Jobs was still a teenager when he was working with HP and Atari. At the age of 20, the young enthusiastic entrepreneur had started Apple Inc. He was young daring man open to new ideas thus who he focused all his energy on the company.

If a young entrepreneur starts a venture at a young age, then he doesn’t have much pressure. After a certain age, you are more focused on your family or career at some other company. At a young age, you can take risks professionally as you are are more free to fail and restart.

9. Obstacles are the opportunity to succeed

Steve Jobs and Wozniak were the co-founders of Apple Inc. While they were developing the first Apple computer they ran out of money. They could have given up on their dream of building a computer but instead, they choose to thrive. Steve Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his graphing calculator to raise some money.

Learn to see your obstacles as an opportunity to succeed. If you really want to do something, you will always find a way to complete it. Once you have this mindset, then nothing can stop you from overcoming your obstacles.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

10. Always remember you are not immortal

While addressing the students at Stanford University, Jobs said “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because of almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Whenever you feel depressed, confused, embarrassed or have any negative feelings, only remember one thing; you are not immortal. You will be dead soon, so instead of feeling depressed make sure that you utilize every second of life.

Though Steve Jobs has passed away, his legacy will be with us forever. He was an inspiring human being who was and is respected by many. The way he lived his life both personally and professionally is commendable and if we can learn from his teachings, then it will definitely help us in achieving success in life.

Which one of these 10 qualities of Steve Jobs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

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Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

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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Success Advice

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Success

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sabotaging your success

Success is your birthright. It is a mindset, ingrained within your identity. Let’s go in one step further. Success is a choice. When you believe you are worthy of success, you recognize your irrational thoughts, you break them down and replace them with a forward focus positive belief. You move from victimisation to becoming your own hero, your own inspiration. You ditch counterproductive self-critical patterns and undermine your success. You reject familiarity and choose expansion to build your confidence, character and conquer negativity bias.

The biggest obstacle in life you will face is you. Our brain is wired to value negative information more than positive information. Negativity bias affects every human being as you hold on to, ruminate and recall negative experiences more quickly. You undermine your progress, keep yourself stuck in bad habits and set up an unconscious platform for failure. People will default to the “devil you know” when placed under pressure. You create your own worst enemy – YOU.

If you think you have no power over your emotions, it’s time to learn how to manage your state, lead your feelings and choose the story of how you will respond.

Here are 7 ways you’re sabotaging your success:

1. You think mistakes are your failures

We start off with great intentions, confidence booming and iron clad attitude of “we have got this”. We make a mistake and then we squirm in our pants. Self-doubt manifests and within minutes it magnifies. Success feels like it has been ripped away from us.

Mistakes happen, and they happen often. Mistakes have the power to turn us into something better than we were before. When we adopt that failure is feedback, we embrace how mistakes are useful and necessary. Failure is moving forward. As Seth Godin highlights “if l fail more than you do, l win”. To disrupt the status quo in life, you need a gargantuan quantity of failure.

2. You think your past equates to your future

Each person has a past. What comes with past is opportunity for growth and it is your greatest teacher. You invested in taking a risk and have the golden moment to apply the lessons learnt. You get to choose who and how to be at any moment. Stop waiting for someone else to believe or validate you. Become your own hero.

“If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future…All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?” – Tony Robbins

3. You don’t appreciate what you already have

We live in a world where we measure success by the things we gain. We buy things to make us happy and we succeed temporarily. New things are exciting at first and then we adapt. The anticipation of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want, we adapt and excitement fades. How often do you see children demanding a toy or their world will end? What’s crazier is how quickly their joy fades as they want something else. Once you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make life better.

4. You ignore who you are becoming

To experience any level of success, you must be whatever it is you want to be (ie. Happy, satisfied, inspired), and start doing things from this space to create the things you will have. We attract into our lives what we are. Shawn Achor , Harvard psychologist, explains that science shows that happiness facilitates success.

Often people use affirmations as a basis for creating a mindset shift and to feed the unconscious mind with golden treasure. By writing in the positive and present tense, you create a platform to step into who you are being. This will determine what you need to do to step into who you are becoming.

5. You burn all your bridges

There is nothing more heartbreaking when people create any level of success and espouse that they are solely the driver of their success. People succumb to their environment and forget where they came from along with the sacrifices others made to support them in achieving their level of success. Having a level of humility and gratitude keeps your success in perspective.

6. You have a sense of entitlement

The 21st century is reaping of people feeling entitled. It is playing out throughout all generations whether it be driven by someone’s need for job security or a specific salary amount. Stop complaining and be grateful for your ability to contribute to the bigger picture and make a difference in the world. You need to work a little to earn the credibility and trust from your environment.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

7. You don’t invest in working out the outcome, you wing it

Reverse engineering is where the game is played to create success. Start from the end and work backwards. As Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People outlines “begin with the end in mind”. Once your clear, reverse engineer the Wildly Important Goal for the year and break down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Then identify the 5 actions that you will take weekly to bring you closer to your success.

What are you doing to become successful? Let us know by commenting below!

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Success Advice

Want To Become Twice As Productive? Read This.

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Productivity Hacks. Steve Cutts

Productivity is how you find more time in your day to do what you love, and achieve greater results. It’s time to stop being lazy and make a few small changes that will help you win back extra time.

“Productivity is not about doing more; it’s about doing less”

After you’ve had a productive day, you feel so much better. The difficulty is that doing tasks that are on some never-ending to-do list creates a feeling of emptiness. To-do lists are not enough and they rarely make you more productive.

This is my very short, simple, no-brainer list of how you can become twice as productive:

 

Do the big stuff at the start of the day.

If you follow no other advice than this, then you’re already most of the way there. Start your day with the hardest, most fulfilling tasks. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, then do it when you first wake up the next day.

Save your boring and repetitive tasks like ironing and chasing up bills for late in the day when your energy starts to slump. I do my blogging in the morning and my housework just before I go to bed. This allows me to focus on trying to inspire people during the morning when I have the most energy and feel like I can do anything.

 

Chunk down and delete items off your to-do list.

Many tasks on your to-do list are actually part of the same single task. Chunk these tasks into one task. Next, take the tasks that are really not important and don’t matter to you, and consider deleting them off your to-do list.

Finally, don’t let other people’s tasks dominate the order in which you tackle your list. Do the tasks that serve you first. You’ll feel much better and more productive for doing so.

 

Phone over email for the win.

Never-ending text messages and emails lead nowhere. Instant messaging apps are not much better because the conversation never stops. Things get lost in translation and it’s tiring replying back on a tiny little keyboard while looking at a miniature little screen. Not to mention it makes you anti-social.

Be more productive by picking up the phone. A 5-minute conversation is way better than an endless line of messages that interrupt you from the task you’re focusing on each time a new response is received.

 

Have phone blackouts.

What’s this you ask? It’s blackout periods from your phone. Similar to a trading blackout if you’ve ever worked in a publically listed company. Have times of the day and week where you are banned from your phone. Enable flight mode, put it on silent, lock it in your car.

Escape from your phone so you can be focused and work without distraction for a set period of time. Avoid the temptation that has become your phone. The temptation that has become the destroyer of your success.

 

Don’t check social or email first thing.

Checking email and social media first thing in the morning sends your mind into reactive mode. Start your day with time to think and plan what you’re going to do. Be intentional about your day rather than let technology dictate what you’ll focus your time on and therefore what areas you’ll be productive at.

 

Schedule rest periods.

Always being on is not making you productive. We’re not robots, and we need to rest once in a while. Regular periods of rest, outside of sleep, allow us to be more productive. Chunk your day into blocks and rest in-between productive periods of work.

That rest might be eating a proper lunch, doing 10-minutes of meditation, listening to a podcast, or staring at your office window and doing absolutely nothing.

Give your mind space. It’s in these brief moments of nothingness that you will come up with the ideas, solutions and strategies to win in your career and in life. At the same time, it will make you productive.

 

Don’t lie to yourself.

“Creating a meeting, having a lunch, planning a strategy session and sending an email trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive rather than the truth: you do these things to put off doing the real work”

It allows you to be lazy and not think you’re being lazy. Look for ways to get to the solution or complete the task in the most productive way. If you find yourself not being in the mood for doing the hard work, schedule it for the next day, first thing in the morning.

It’s not that difficult to be productive. We can all do it with a little bit of effort and very focused discipline.

How do you increase your productivity?

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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Success Advice

10 Things We Can Learn From the Incredible Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was one of the greatest visionaries and pioneers of the 21st century. He wasn’t an engineer, did not completed his college degree, yet he was able to turnaround the near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable brand in the world. He not only transformed one industry but several others such as mobile phones, computers, and movies. (more…)

Katherine Dilworth is a wife, mother and a blogger and she writes on Caseydilworth.com, this blog provides exclusive information on Snoring.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

10 Things We Can Learn From the Incredible Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was one of the greatest visionaries and pioneers of the 21st century. He wasn’t an engineer, did not completed his college degree, yet he was able to turnaround the near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable brand in the world. He not only transformed one industry but several others such as mobile phones, computers, and movies.

Here are 10 life lessons which everyone can learn from Steve Jobs and apply to their lives:

1. Always focus on the positive & let go of the negative

Steve Jobs went through many ups and downs in his life. He was given up by his biological parents for adoption. Such an event could have easily pushed him into the negative; however he chose to focus on the positive in life. He loved his adopted father and mother and he also found the things which kept him happy and positive (i.e. computers).

You should also utilize the power of positive thinking. Don’t become the person who always sees the glass half-empty. Just focus all your energy and dedication on the positive things in your life. If something is negative, it will always drain your energy and you would not be able to live your life to the fullest.

2. Travel the world and learn new things

When Steve Jobs was 19 years old he visited India, and he said in multiple interviews that his travels helped him broaden his perspective. The journey to somewhere far away from his land expanded his thoughts, and opened his mind to unlimited possibilities.

We should also travel more in order to experience the various cultures and lifestyle of people living in different corners of the world. You will not only experience new things but it will also broaden your horizons.

3. Always take a calculated risk

Steve Jobs was a risk-taker, and this set him apart from his competitors. Hardly any CEOs would have agreed to develop a new product which would cannibalize/decrease the sale of the company’s top-selling product. But, Steve Jobs took the risk to develop and market the iPhone when the iPod was their top selling product.

The iPhone cannibalized the sales of the iPod but the iPhone made a huge profit by dominating the emerging smartphone market. In order to move forward, we have to take risks in life. But we must make sure that the risk should be calculated.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

4. Be wise in the company you choose to keep

Steve Jobs always hired and surrounded himself with great minds. He hired Steve Wozniak because he knew that he was better than Jobs in building computers. Some of the more prominent people who worked with Jobs were John Lasseter and Tim Cook. These people helped Steve Jobs to achieve massive success in making Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

You should learn to surround yourself with great people in order to achieve success. Don’t let your ego get in the way of who you choose to interact and work with.

5. Learn from the failures and keep moving forward

In 1984, Apple fired Steve Jobs. He could have chosen the option of feeling depressed about it but he took it in a positive way.

At Stanford’s 2005 commencement address, he said;

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

We should also not fear failure because it is not the end of the end. We should treat failure as an opportunity to improve oneself.

6. Do only what you truly love

While addressing the students and faculty members of Stanford University, Steve Jobs said  The only thing which kept him going while facing challenges and obstacles was the fact that he was doing what he loved. He also said to find what you love both in your professional and personal life.

If we do what we truly love then we do that particular work with complete passion. We don’t make any excuses for not giving everything we have.

7. Learn from others

When Steve Jobs was in high school, he attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard. Before the age of 21, he had already worked for HP and Atari. He worked there and learned what these companies were doing and he implemented those strategies at Apple.

You too should learn from others. If you don’t see any results while working towards a certain goal, then you should take advice from the experts in that field. Sometimes, a little help is all you need to achieve success.

8. It is never too early to get started

Steve Jobs was still a teenager when he was working with HP and Atari. At the age of 20, the young enthusiastic entrepreneur had started Apple Inc. He was young daring man open to new ideas thus who he focused all his energy on the company.

If a young entrepreneur starts a venture at a young age, then he doesn’t have much pressure. After a certain age, you are more focused on your family or career at some other company. At a young age, you can take risks professionally as you are are more free to fail and restart.

9. Obstacles are the opportunity to succeed

Steve Jobs and Wozniak were the co-founders of Apple Inc. While they were developing the first Apple computer they ran out of money. They could have given up on their dream of building a computer but instead, they choose to thrive. Steve Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his graphing calculator to raise some money.

Learn to see your obstacles as an opportunity to succeed. If you really want to do something, you will always find a way to complete it. Once you have this mindset, then nothing can stop you from overcoming your obstacles.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

10. Always remember you are not immortal

While addressing the students at Stanford University, Jobs said “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because of almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Whenever you feel depressed, confused, embarrassed or have any negative feelings, only remember one thing; you are not immortal. You will be dead soon, so instead of feeling depressed make sure that you utilize every second of life.

Though Steve Jobs has passed away, his legacy will be with us forever. He was an inspiring human being who was and is respected by many. The way he lived his life both personally and professionally is commendable and if we can learn from his teachings, then it will definitely help us in achieving success in life.

Which one of these 10 qualities of Steve Jobs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

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Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

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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Success Advice

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Success

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sabotaging your success

Success is your birthright. It is a mindset, ingrained within your identity. Let’s go in one step further. Success is a choice. When you believe you are worthy of success, you recognize your irrational thoughts, you break them down and replace them with a forward focus positive belief. You move from victimisation to becoming your own hero, your own inspiration. You ditch counterproductive self-critical patterns and undermine your success. You reject familiarity and choose expansion to build your confidence, character and conquer negativity bias.

The biggest obstacle in life you will face is you. Our brain is wired to value negative information more than positive information. Negativity bias affects every human being as you hold on to, ruminate and recall negative experiences more quickly. You undermine your progress, keep yourself stuck in bad habits and set up an unconscious platform for failure. People will default to the “devil you know” when placed under pressure. You create your own worst enemy – YOU.

If you think you have no power over your emotions, it’s time to learn how to manage your state, lead your feelings and choose the story of how you will respond.

Here are 7 ways you’re sabotaging your success:

1. You think mistakes are your failures

We start off with great intentions, confidence booming and iron clad attitude of “we have got this”. We make a mistake and then we squirm in our pants. Self-doubt manifests and within minutes it magnifies. Success feels like it has been ripped away from us.

Mistakes happen, and they happen often. Mistakes have the power to turn us into something better than we were before. When we adopt that failure is feedback, we embrace how mistakes are useful and necessary. Failure is moving forward. As Seth Godin highlights “if l fail more than you do, l win”. To disrupt the status quo in life, you need a gargantuan quantity of failure.

2. You think your past equates to your future

Each person has a past. What comes with past is opportunity for growth and it is your greatest teacher. You invested in taking a risk and have the golden moment to apply the lessons learnt. You get to choose who and how to be at any moment. Stop waiting for someone else to believe or validate you. Become your own hero.

“If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future…All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?” – Tony Robbins

3. You don’t appreciate what you already have

We live in a world where we measure success by the things we gain. We buy things to make us happy and we succeed temporarily. New things are exciting at first and then we adapt. The anticipation of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want, we adapt and excitement fades. How often do you see children demanding a toy or their world will end? What’s crazier is how quickly their joy fades as they want something else. Once you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make life better.

4. You ignore who you are becoming

To experience any level of success, you must be whatever it is you want to be (ie. Happy, satisfied, inspired), and start doing things from this space to create the things you will have. We attract into our lives what we are. Shawn Achor , Harvard psychologist, explains that science shows that happiness facilitates success.

Often people use affirmations as a basis for creating a mindset shift and to feed the unconscious mind with golden treasure. By writing in the positive and present tense, you create a platform to step into who you are being. This will determine what you need to do to step into who you are becoming.

5. You burn all your bridges

There is nothing more heartbreaking when people create any level of success and espouse that they are solely the driver of their success. People succumb to their environment and forget where they came from along with the sacrifices others made to support them in achieving their level of success. Having a level of humility and gratitude keeps your success in perspective.

6. You have a sense of entitlement

The 21st century is reaping of people feeling entitled. It is playing out throughout all generations whether it be driven by someone’s need for job security or a specific salary amount. Stop complaining and be grateful for your ability to contribute to the bigger picture and make a difference in the world. You need to work a little to earn the credibility and trust from your environment.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

7. You don’t invest in working out the outcome, you wing it

Reverse engineering is where the game is played to create success. Start from the end and work backwards. As Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People outlines “begin with the end in mind”. Once your clear, reverse engineer the Wildly Important Goal for the year and break down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Then identify the 5 actions that you will take weekly to bring you closer to your success.

What are you doing to become successful? Let us know by commenting below!

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Success Advice

Want To Become Twice As Productive? Read This.

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Productivity Hacks. Steve Cutts

Productivity is how you find more time in your day to do what you love, and achieve greater results. It’s time to stop being lazy and make a few small changes that will help you win back extra time.

“Productivity is not about doing more; it’s about doing less”

After you’ve had a productive day, you feel so much better. The difficulty is that doing tasks that are on some never-ending to-do list creates a feeling of emptiness. To-do lists are not enough and they rarely make you more productive.

This is my very short, simple, no-brainer list of how you can become twice as productive:

 

Do the big stuff at the start of the day.

If you follow no other advice than this, then you’re already most of the way there. Start your day with the hardest, most fulfilling tasks. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, then do it when you first wake up the next day.

Save your boring and repetitive tasks like ironing and chasing up bills for late in the day when your energy starts to slump. I do my blogging in the morning and my housework just before I go to bed. This allows me to focus on trying to inspire people during the morning when I have the most energy and feel like I can do anything.

 

Chunk down and delete items off your to-do list.

Many tasks on your to-do list are actually part of the same single task. Chunk these tasks into one task. Next, take the tasks that are really not important and don’t matter to you, and consider deleting them off your to-do list.

Finally, don’t let other people’s tasks dominate the order in which you tackle your list. Do the tasks that serve you first. You’ll feel much better and more productive for doing so.

 

Phone over email for the win.

Never-ending text messages and emails lead nowhere. Instant messaging apps are not much better because the conversation never stops. Things get lost in translation and it’s tiring replying back on a tiny little keyboard while looking at a miniature little screen. Not to mention it makes you anti-social.

Be more productive by picking up the phone. A 5-minute conversation is way better than an endless line of messages that interrupt you from the task you’re focusing on each time a new response is received.

 

Have phone blackouts.

What’s this you ask? It’s blackout periods from your phone. Similar to a trading blackout if you’ve ever worked in a publically listed company. Have times of the day and week where you are banned from your phone. Enable flight mode, put it on silent, lock it in your car.

Escape from your phone so you can be focused and work without distraction for a set period of time. Avoid the temptation that has become your phone. The temptation that has become the destroyer of your success.

 

Don’t check social or email first thing.

Checking email and social media first thing in the morning sends your mind into reactive mode. Start your day with time to think and plan what you’re going to do. Be intentional about your day rather than let technology dictate what you’ll focus your time on and therefore what areas you’ll be productive at.

 

Schedule rest periods.

Always being on is not making you productive. We’re not robots, and we need to rest once in a while. Regular periods of rest, outside of sleep, allow us to be more productive. Chunk your day into blocks and rest in-between productive periods of work.

That rest might be eating a proper lunch, doing 10-minutes of meditation, listening to a podcast, or staring at your office window and doing absolutely nothing.

Give your mind space. It’s in these brief moments of nothingness that you will come up with the ideas, solutions and strategies to win in your career and in life. At the same time, it will make you productive.

 

Don’t lie to yourself.

“Creating a meeting, having a lunch, planning a strategy session and sending an email trick your brain into thinking you’re being productive rather than the truth: you do these things to put off doing the real work”

It allows you to be lazy and not think you’re being lazy. Look for ways to get to the solution or complete the task in the most productive way. If you find yourself not being in the mood for doing the hard work, schedule it for the next day, first thing in the morning.

It’s not that difficult to be productive. We can all do it with a little bit of effort and very focused discipline.

How do you increase your productivity?

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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