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Success Advice

6 Habits That Will Boost Your Confidence And Make You Happier!

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Did you know that confidence isn’t something you’re born with? Astounding – I know!

In our every day life, we’re exposed to so many stories and images of successful, confident people, that it’s easy to assume they naturally started out like that. And, that they’re confident all the time.

Take Sheryl Sandberg, for example. Being the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, you could easily think she’s never grappled with insecurity or self-doubt. But she revealed in her book, Lean In, that she has at times felt like an imposter.

Another example is Academy Award winning actress, Meryl Streep, who said to a reporter in 2002, “I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”

Despite what you may think, confidence isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something you learn through life experience, adapting to new situations, and doing those things you thought you’d never be able to do.

You can boost your own level of confidence, and here’s 6 tips to get you started.

1. Do Something New Every Day

It’s completely normal to want to stay inside your comfort zone and stick to what you know. But stepping over the barrier that separates you from “where you are now” and “where you want to be”, is a crucial step to feeling more confident.

You don’t have to take up skydiving or make a drastic move to a different country to stretch your zone of comfort. There are many simple, every day steps you can take to build your confidence just the same. Personally, if I want to add some adventure to my day, I pack up my laptop, walk into town, and visit a coffee shop I’ve never been to before.

This might seem simple, but the change of scenery and environment triggers a whole range of new ideas, new perspectives and newfound confidence inside of me. Take a few minutes to think about what you can do today to feel more alive and inspired.

 

2Wear Confident Outfits

The way you dress has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself, and how others see you. If you wear clothes that are uncomfortable, restricting, or clearly too big for you, you won’t feel comfortable, and you won’t look confident.

On the other hand, if you wear outfits that mould your body comfortably, and you incorporate a splash of colour, you’ll naturally feel and look more confident. How do you create a confident outfit? There are two important elements you should focus on.

First, darker colours convey more authority. Second, high-contrast colours make you stand out.

When you put together your outfit in the morning, find a way to add black, charcoal, or navy blue to your outfit. Then, incorporate a contrasting colour, such as white, yellow or light blue.

 

3Use Confident Body Language

We’ve all heard of Amy Cuddy’s TedX talk about power poses.

If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend you check it out here:

Although some may believe that you have to feel confident inside before you can project confidence to others, let me tell you through personal experience, it can work the other way, too. Power poses are perfect for business meetings if you’re tired of never getting your opinions heard.

They can also work in social situations when you’re trying to win an argument with your friend.  The idea behind power poses is to take up more space and to use open body language postures. So instead of sitting down with your arms folded and your legs crossed, rest your arms on the armrests and claim your space.

 

4Speak With a Confident Voice

Most people overlook the importance of their voice when trying to create a confident image. You might plan carefully the words you’re going to say, but it’s how you say them that matters more.

The biggest mistake I see, even recently with a television presenter, is the upswing. An upswing is when you create a rise in intonation at the end of your statements, making your statements sound more like questions.

For example, “On Saturday I went to the movies?”, or “On Saturday I went to the movies.” Repeat these two sentences, the first with a rising intonation at the end, and the second with a downward intonation at the end.

Which sounds more decisive and powerful to you?

 

5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to others who have taken a different path in their life and have made different decisions is a sure-fire way to a downward spiral of never feeling good enough.

This is one of the most common confidence crushers because you’re always focusing on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do have.

Here’s what I recommend: create a gratitude list of everything you have (tangible or intangible) that you are thankful for. Whenever you start to compare yourself against a friend or coworker, take out this list and read it over three times to remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have, or have achieved in your life.

 

6. Use Positive Self-Talk Every Morning and Every Night

If you’re going to take away just one piece of advice from this post, this is the most powerful piece of advice you can take with you: commit to positive self-talk every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep.

When you start and end your day with positive, confident affirmations, you can really change your outlook on life. About a year ago I started this process myself. I created a mantra that I now repeat three times every morning and every night.

The mantra I use is really quite simple, and I invite you to use it too, if it’s the right fit for you. The mantra I use is, “I’m worthy of success”. If this mantra doesn’t feel right for you, you can create your own. But the most important part is to commit to repeating it every morning and every night, until it becomes a part of you.

stay positive and confident

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions and the creator of cutting edge online training programs to help you Look, Act and Sound more confident in business. Sign up for Kara's free training session, “6 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Confident and Powerful Image”. Connect with Kara on Facebook.com or on Twitter.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Rocky

    Apr 13, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Hii kara,
    These statements r really helpful in our life and motivates me a lot just be continued wid it
    But I wan 2 know how can I make my daily routine to be confident and achieve my goals as I’m a b.tech graduate

    • Kara

      Apr 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Rocky,
      You can try to implement just one of the above tips at a time. For example, this week concentrate on doing something new. Then next week, you might want to move on to confident body language poses. If you implement all at the same time, you can easily feel overwhelmed. So concentrate just on one until you feel comfortable with that one. I hope this helps.

  2. FirstName LastName

    Apr 3, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    I love this. It’s the only motivational, non-cliche article I’ve read in a while. For the past few days, I’ve really been working on standing up straight and taking up all the space I can. I’m even gonna start appearing confident before I enter the gym instead of just after.

    But, how do you make people you’ve known for a while respect you (say I’m a high schooler) while doing this? I’ve tried appearing confident, but fact of the matter is I can’t really talk in front of my teammates at lunch without sounding stupid and I really want that to end. I want to know what to say and when to say it without it being a boring conversation.

    • Kara Ronin

      Apr 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you for your really kind comment. I’m so glad you found this article helpful and the tips useful. Keep up with the body language changes you’ve made. After a while, this will become a natural part of your demeanour. As for conversation tips you can use with your teammates at lunch, my recommendation here is to be the person who asks the questions. People love to talk about themselves and their life, so think of 2-3 questions you can ask people at lunch and have these prepared in your mind before you go. You will feel more prepared and it makes you the conversation leader. Bonus! Questions could be about their weekend, friends, sports, latest movies, etc. And if you really want to impress, find out an interesting fact or piece of news and tell your friends about it at lunch. They’ll think of you as somebody who is knowledgeable and interesting.

      I hope these tips help.

  3. Divsdivya

    Mar 29, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I loved da way u stressed each n every point in da post…especially points 5 and 6….v do compare ourselves knowingly or unknowingly wid odrs….n v hardly spend tym wid ourselves for building a positive personality….a truely inspiring article….thank u…

    • Kara

      Mar 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Thank Divsdivya for your honest comment. It’s always motivating to know you’ve written an article that really resonates with people. I hope these tips will help you to build a positive personality.

  4. pranjal malgave

    Mar 24, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Great .

  5. James Simwanza

    Mar 23, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Am learning something here

    • Kara

      Mar 24, 2015 at 7:52 am

      Thanks James!

  6. Rose Costas

    Mar 16, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks for that post. Many times self confidence is faking it until you’ve made it. These are very simple things people can do but are very effective.

    • Kara

      Mar 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

      Hi Rose. Thanks for reading! Faking it ’til you make it can work, but I also believe we need to build our inner confidence to have a level of confidence that is sustainable – even through tough times. I’m glad you found these tips useful and simple.

  7. Kenneth

    Mar 15, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Great piece of advice..

  8. Peter

    Mar 15, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I love points 3 & 4 Kara! I have been a student of NLP for quite a while and I have seen how effective these methods can be.

    • Kara

      Mar 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Peter. NLP is a really interesting area to learn about, and can be very effective in our day-to-day life. Do you learn through school, or online?

      • Peter

        Mar 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        Hi Kara,
        I attended a program in NLP a few years back – it was a workshop. I continue to try to apply it myself as well as recommend a few NLP methods to my clients. Since there really is no end to learning, I still consider myself a student.

  9. surajkashyap

    Mar 13, 2015 at 6:38 am

    its very nice…..
    its make me motivate.

    • Kara Ronin

      Mar 13, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

  10. Kara Ronin

    Mar 12, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. I truly believe (like Eve Michaels) that you can instantly make yourself feel more confident and happier by wearing something that makes you feel great. I’ve just checked out Eve’s web page, thanks for letting me know about her. And yoga – absolutely. Practice those power poses. Great idea Stefanie.

  11. stefanie

    Mar 12, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for bringing up these helpful points. In 2012, I’ve heard Eve Michaels speaking about creating your image and it’s influence on your success – it literally opened my eyes! Her statement: Our success starts in our inner world which is influenced by our appearance.
    I would like to add that practicing yoga regularly helps a lot to increase the body awareness and to get used to power poses.

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills.

Here are the 3 P’s for you to develop greater leadership skills based upon my findings:

1. Passion

If there is one thing that I found in most leaders, it is passion. They love what they do, they love talking about what they do and they love getting others involved in what they do. Passion has different ways of emoting. Some people move very quickly on stage with arms flaying, voice pitching from a diminuendo to a crescendo with 100 giant television screens behind them.

Remember Steve Jobs when the iPhone was being introduced? I’ve seen other people standing behind the podium speaking from written notes but the emotional intensity in the room grew thick and reaching the level of static discharge. I’ve seen everything in between. There is an old saying that we have a leadership theory and that is, “if you think you’re leading and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just taking a walk!” It is passion that prevents that from happening.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

You may be asking yourself how you can develop more passion in your life and in your leadership repertoire. The answer to that is fairly simple but the application can be somewhat deceptive in its apparent simplicity. If you wait to feel passionate before you act passionate, you’re allowing outside circumstance to control your emotions. However, if you begin to act passionate even if, by chance you don’t feel it, you will begin to. Thus, it is better for us to act our way into a new set of feelings than it is for us to feel our way into a new set of actions.

2. Planning

All leaders are planners; it’s a requirement of the job. By virtue of leading it means that you must be planning for the future. Planning can in fact be learned and is not that difficult of a process. If you want to become a better planner study chess. Notice I did not say play chess, although that will be the natural outcome of your studying. Study chess and notice how the minds of the great masters develop a strategy and implant tactics around that strategy. Chess is an amazing process to develop planning skills.

Another thing you can do is think about how you planned your last vacation, or even a weekend getaway. Think about the steps you took, the research you did based on those steps and their outcomes. Both the study of chess and personal planning will assist you in developing planning for your leadership skills.

3. Persistence

Leaders never give up! If there is something they want, they find a way around, over, or through the obstacle. Too many people never develop their full leadership birthright because of the mental script running through their minds saying, “It’s too tough for me. I Should just go home and get a good nights sleep.” Leaders know that the only possibility of failure is in giving up. If you fall down 10 times but get up on the 11th, you have not failed 10 times – you have succeeded. Period!

You may be wondering how to develop that no nonsense, I will not be denied attitude of persistence. The real question is not how do I develop persistence, but how do I develop the courage to go after what I want? Persistence is a by-product of courage! When there is something that should be yours, developing the impassioned desire to obtain that through raw courage will develop sheer persistence.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Maybe I should’ve included a 4th P with this article. That of POWER! The best thing I can say about power is that if you want a more powerful leadership dynamic, develop a repertoire that contains passion, planning and persistence. The three of them combined will be a powerful leadership punch that should lead you to getting what you want and assisting others in believing that they should follow you because there is great value in you leading them.

How do you define a leader? Comment below!

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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storytelling
Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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success
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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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stop trying to be right
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Rocky

    Apr 13, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Hii kara,
    These statements r really helpful in our life and motivates me a lot just be continued wid it
    But I wan 2 know how can I make my daily routine to be confident and achieve my goals as I’m a b.tech graduate

    • Kara

      Apr 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Rocky,
      You can try to implement just one of the above tips at a time. For example, this week concentrate on doing something new. Then next week, you might want to move on to confident body language poses. If you implement all at the same time, you can easily feel overwhelmed. So concentrate just on one until you feel comfortable with that one. I hope this helps.

  2. FirstName LastName

    Apr 3, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    I love this. It’s the only motivational, non-cliche article I’ve read in a while. For the past few days, I’ve really been working on standing up straight and taking up all the space I can. I’m even gonna start appearing confident before I enter the gym instead of just after.

    But, how do you make people you’ve known for a while respect you (say I’m a high schooler) while doing this? I’ve tried appearing confident, but fact of the matter is I can’t really talk in front of my teammates at lunch without sounding stupid and I really want that to end. I want to know what to say and when to say it without it being a boring conversation.

    • Kara Ronin

      Apr 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you for your really kind comment. I’m so glad you found this article helpful and the tips useful. Keep up with the body language changes you’ve made. After a while, this will become a natural part of your demeanour. As for conversation tips you can use with your teammates at lunch, my recommendation here is to be the person who asks the questions. People love to talk about themselves and their life, so think of 2-3 questions you can ask people at lunch and have these prepared in your mind before you go. You will feel more prepared and it makes you the conversation leader. Bonus! Questions could be about their weekend, friends, sports, latest movies, etc. And if you really want to impress, find out an interesting fact or piece of news and tell your friends about it at lunch. They’ll think of you as somebody who is knowledgeable and interesting.

      I hope these tips help.

  3. Divsdivya

    Mar 29, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I loved da way u stressed each n every point in da post…especially points 5 and 6….v do compare ourselves knowingly or unknowingly wid odrs….n v hardly spend tym wid ourselves for building a positive personality….a truely inspiring article….thank u…

    • Kara

      Mar 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Thank Divsdivya for your honest comment. It’s always motivating to know you’ve written an article that really resonates with people. I hope these tips will help you to build a positive personality.

  4. pranjal malgave

    Mar 24, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Great .

  5. James Simwanza

    Mar 23, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Am learning something here

    • Kara

      Mar 24, 2015 at 7:52 am

      Thanks James!

  6. Rose Costas

    Mar 16, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks for that post. Many times self confidence is faking it until you’ve made it. These are very simple things people can do but are very effective.

    • Kara

      Mar 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

      Hi Rose. Thanks for reading! Faking it ’til you make it can work, but I also believe we need to build our inner confidence to have a level of confidence that is sustainable – even through tough times. I’m glad you found these tips useful and simple.

  7. Kenneth

    Mar 15, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Great piece of advice..

  8. Peter

    Mar 15, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I love points 3 & 4 Kara! I have been a student of NLP for quite a while and I have seen how effective these methods can be.

    • Kara

      Mar 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Peter. NLP is a really interesting area to learn about, and can be very effective in our day-to-day life. Do you learn through school, or online?

      • Peter

        Mar 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        Hi Kara,
        I attended a program in NLP a few years back – it was a workshop. I continue to try to apply it myself as well as recommend a few NLP methods to my clients. Since there really is no end to learning, I still consider myself a student.

  9. surajkashyap

    Mar 13, 2015 at 6:38 am

    its very nice…..
    its make me motivate.

    • Kara Ronin

      Mar 13, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

  10. Kara Ronin

    Mar 12, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. I truly believe (like Eve Michaels) that you can instantly make yourself feel more confident and happier by wearing something that makes you feel great. I’ve just checked out Eve’s web page, thanks for letting me know about her. And yoga – absolutely. Practice those power poses. Great idea Stefanie.

  11. stefanie

    Mar 12, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for bringing up these helpful points. In 2012, I’ve heard Eve Michaels speaking about creating your image and it’s influence on your success – it literally opened my eyes! Her statement: Our success starts in our inner world which is influenced by our appearance.
    I would like to add that practicing yoga regularly helps a lot to increase the body awareness and to get used to power poses.

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
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I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills.

Here are the 3 P’s for you to develop greater leadership skills based upon my findings:

1. Passion

If there is one thing that I found in most leaders, it is passion. They love what they do, they love talking about what they do and they love getting others involved in what they do. Passion has different ways of emoting. Some people move very quickly on stage with arms flaying, voice pitching from a diminuendo to a crescendo with 100 giant television screens behind them.

Remember Steve Jobs when the iPhone was being introduced? I’ve seen other people standing behind the podium speaking from written notes but the emotional intensity in the room grew thick and reaching the level of static discharge. I’ve seen everything in between. There is an old saying that we have a leadership theory and that is, “if you think you’re leading and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just taking a walk!” It is passion that prevents that from happening.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

You may be asking yourself how you can develop more passion in your life and in your leadership repertoire. The answer to that is fairly simple but the application can be somewhat deceptive in its apparent simplicity. If you wait to feel passionate before you act passionate, you’re allowing outside circumstance to control your emotions. However, if you begin to act passionate even if, by chance you don’t feel it, you will begin to. Thus, it is better for us to act our way into a new set of feelings than it is for us to feel our way into a new set of actions.

2. Planning

All leaders are planners; it’s a requirement of the job. By virtue of leading it means that you must be planning for the future. Planning can in fact be learned and is not that difficult of a process. If you want to become a better planner study chess. Notice I did not say play chess, although that will be the natural outcome of your studying. Study chess and notice how the minds of the great masters develop a strategy and implant tactics around that strategy. Chess is an amazing process to develop planning skills.

Another thing you can do is think about how you planned your last vacation, or even a weekend getaway. Think about the steps you took, the research you did based on those steps and their outcomes. Both the study of chess and personal planning will assist you in developing planning for your leadership skills.

3. Persistence

Leaders never give up! If there is something they want, they find a way around, over, or through the obstacle. Too many people never develop their full leadership birthright because of the mental script running through their minds saying, “It’s too tough for me. I Should just go home and get a good nights sleep.” Leaders know that the only possibility of failure is in giving up. If you fall down 10 times but get up on the 11th, you have not failed 10 times – you have succeeded. Period!

You may be wondering how to develop that no nonsense, I will not be denied attitude of persistence. The real question is not how do I develop persistence, but how do I develop the courage to go after what I want? Persistence is a by-product of courage! When there is something that should be yours, developing the impassioned desire to obtain that through raw courage will develop sheer persistence.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Maybe I should’ve included a 4th P with this article. That of POWER! The best thing I can say about power is that if you want a more powerful leadership dynamic, develop a repertoire that contains passion, planning and persistence. The three of them combined will be a powerful leadership punch that should lead you to getting what you want and assisting others in believing that they should follow you because there is great value in you leading them.

How do you define a leader? Comment below!

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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success
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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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stop trying to be right
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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