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How To Overcome Nervousness – Hollywood’s Best Kept Secret

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How To Overcome Nervousness Like Hollywood Actors

Nervousness can be used to our advantage or our detriment. It’s a human condition that everyone experiences at some moment in their life. I used to think that being nervous meant I wasn’t good enough at something.

It’s also a condition that can be forgotten about in highly successful individuals or celebrities. As I researched and consumed interviews from these two types of people, I realised that more than 80% of them still get nervous.

What I realised was that they had found ways to be appreciative of their nervousness and to reframe the sensation into a positive experience.

Below are the ten ways to deal with nervousness before any presentation, speech, performance, or business pitch:

 

1. Be happy you’re out of your comfort zone

Being nervous usually means you’re out of your comfort zone. This is an awesome place to operate your life from, and it will see you excel past your peers. The more you get into this state, the bigger the achievements are that you can obtain in your field of excellence.

From now on, reframe your states of nervousness to be linked to feelings of happiness. Hardwire the feelings of nervousness to your basic human need to grow, and then link all of this to your vision / purpose. By doing this, you will become unstoppable!

 

2. Remember it’s extra energy so use it for good

Nervousness in my mind is extra energy that can be utilized for good or for evil. It can make you more aware and help boost your senses.

I remember hearing Jessie J say that everyone she knows get’s nervous (including her) and that she has learned over the years to use the energy to help her performance. This is the secret sauce of many pop stars and Hollywood actors.

For some reason, I used to think that these top performers didn’t get nervous because they just magically grew out of it and it went away. This is not true. Some don’t get nervous, but the majority still do.

 

3. Concentrate on delivering value (not on yourself)

A recurring theme in almost every article I write is the simple power of giving. The reason it’s easy for us to get nervous before a big performance or speech is that we are focusing on ourselves. We are focusing on what the effects are going to be on us and what people might think.

Fundamentally, when we shift away from this default way of operating and make our priority those we serve, our nervousness changes shape.

In blogging, early on, I used to by default focus on how I sounded and what people thought of me. This was a natural human reaction that I did subconsciously even though I knew better. The shift for me happened when I consciously forgot about myself and committed to delivering everything I have with no stone left unturned.

Giving To Overcome NervesRegardless of how I am perceived, good or bad, my goal is to go above and beyond people’s expectations and to serve an audience. As I took this habit from my blogging to public speaking, I found that a good proportion of my nervousness disappeared.

Instead, my new focus was on trying to teach one new thing, or inspire one person through a new idea, every time I spoke in front of an audience. I still have a long way to go, but public speaking is definitely high on the nervousness radar for many.

When I made the bold move to put my name up in lights in front of tens of thousands of my work colleagues and share my entrepreneur story, I opened the door for unwanted opinions and judgment.

It made me nervous about what could happen. Rather than dwell on all the fearful thoughts I was having, I just had faith in what I stood for and who I’ve become and shared everything I had learned. It’s no surprise that there were 1% of naysayers (expected), and the other 99% were highly supportive.

Dig deep and use your experience to draw out nuggets of gold for those who have given up their time to listen to you. What might seem like a meaningless life lesson to you, could be the one strategy that someone else needs to go on and be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

None of your life experience is meaningless, and you should be relentless in sharing it for the benefit of others. Social media makes this so easy to do so you have no excuse not to follow through.

 

4. Get in the pocket first

Nervousness can often begin at the start of a situation and then once you’re into the flow of delivering your performance – whatever that might be – it goes away. Expect that the first few minutes of a nervous experience might be uncomfortable, and then remember, once you get into delivering your content and you’re in the pocket, the nervousness will subside.

The audience can be a great way to get into the pocket. Use their energy to focus deep on your underlying passion that is driving you to do something that brings on this nervousness.

As you get further through the nervous experience, you will find yourself naturally fall into the pocket. It’s at that moment that your final goal should be to focus on how you can educate or help your audience.

 

5. Try this mindfulness trick

In a recent sales training session that I completed, I learned a very easy trick that you can use before you go into a nervous situation. What you need to do is before you are due to begin the nervous event, focus on three sounds that you can hear in the environment where you are.

By doing this exercise, you will bring your mind out of your anxious future and back into the present where you can control your experience. Five minutes of an app like “Headspace” or “Calm” can also have a similar effect too.

 

6. Get into an unstoppable posture

Power Pose To Overcomes NervesWhat if you were like the person you aspire to be like and you were unstoppable like them? Well, you can be. The mind is easy to manipulate so all you need to do is mimic the posture of the way this person you’re thinking of would act if they were doing the same activity you are about to do.

Stand tall, believe you are on the same level as this person and hold your head up. Do a few power poses and act as if you have more success than anyone around you. Act as if you are the big shot that you one-day hope to be. You’ll be surprised how this will positively affect your nervousness.

 

7. Breathe deeply and slowly

When you’re nervous, your breathing typically starts to speed up. This adjustment in breath will only make you feel more nervous and potentially bring on a panic attack.

Take a few deep breaths from your belly, hold each one, and then slowly breathe out. Deep breaths will help relax you and make the nervousness manageable.

8. Don’t let sugar or caffeine take you off course

If you’re already nervous, then caffeine and sugar will only make the issue worse. These two stimulants can play havoc on a nervous mind and make you feel more uneasy. Drinking water before a nervous event is a much better strategy that will keep you hydrated and make your throat moist.

You’ll notice in an office environment that some people sit in their chair and have a hand or leg shaking for extended periods of time. This can often be caused by too much sugar or caffeine. I noticed since giving up both substances that I became much calmer in high pressure, nervous situations.

 

9. Prepare in advance

Often when we are nervous about a situation, it’s because we haven’t adequately prepared, and our brain knows it. When we know what we are doing back the front, we are less likely to be nervous. So before a big moment where you know you will be nervous, anchor yourself by knowing your content, conversation, or audience really well.

The aim is not to practice so you’re perfect, the aim is to know how the situation is going to play out and have a plan. You can always move away from your plan in the moment, but if you don’t have one, then you set yourself up for disaster.

 

10. Try a workoutWorkouts Helps Nerves

Exercise can be very effective at releasing endorphins that help to relax the body. Prior to a nervous event, you can try and do a forty-five-minute workout to get the blood pumping and take your mind off things.

Many experts claim that exercise is the best-known cure for nervousness so try it for yourself.

“Like most things in life, a positive mindset will get you through any challenge that presents itself”

 

***Final Thought***

So that’s the basics of how to overcome nervousness. Remember it’s completely natural to be nervous and there is a hidden power in the sensation if you will reframe your mind to look at the condition as positive.

Uncomfortable situations have a lot to do with how you’re thinking about them and less to do with any magical medical condition that you can take a quick fix tablet for.

Wish me luck as I prepare to leave the amateur round of Toastmasters and deliver a highly prepared speech. I’m sure I will be nervous, but I know I’m going to take my own advice and use the energy to motivate me towards my goal to inspire others through entrepreneurship and personal development.

How do you overcome nervousness? Are there any situations where it cripples you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook. 

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Jul 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Thank you, Tim! Yeah, it was so different, and it was a great way to create another challenge to grow with. Looking forward to your next article.

  2. Stefanie

    Jul 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hi Tim, great advice! I love the mindfulness trick and I’ll definitely use this the next time I speak in front of a group and get nervous before.
    I completed the first 10 projects from Toastmasters last year, participated in an area contest – and often, I still get nervous! Helpful to read that this happens to others, too. On the one hand, it’s about practice and being prepared. On the other hand, feeling a bit nervous is about to use this energy. Great tip.
    For me, power poses and deep breathing have worked a lot (especially alternate nostril breathing technique from yoga), as well as admitting I’m outside the comfort zone. And yes, that’s a great situation 🙂 Love your suggestion to link this to happiness.
    And one more thing. Getting centered in front, checking in with the audience first, smiling before starting are components that make it so much easier to deal with nervousness at the beginning.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Stefanie thank you sharing your experience. Your Toastmasters tips are very useful and I am going to try all of them. I like the fact that even though you were nervous you faced your fear and went through with it. To compete in an area contest takes guts so congratulations!

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Success Advice

If You’re Looking for Success, Here Are 5 Ways to Find It

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looking for success

What do people want when they talk about being successful? Some of us might want things such as a yacht, private island, or a jet. Others want to feel like they belong and have great relationships with their family and loved ones.

We end up wanting things without knowing exactly why. We end up creating images in our heads of what it would be like to own these things, to have these relationships, to live these lives, but we casually ignore the negative things that are bound to challenge us along the way.

Even if we end up building these lives for ourselves, we forget that all life comes with suffering, and anyone who experiences great success will also have moments of frustration and perceived failure.

Here are 5 ways to find success right here, right now, as you continue on the path towards building your empire:

1. Excavate before you begin building

Just as you wouldn’t build a skyscraper before excavating deeply underground the construction site and setting the foundation, you wouldn’t start to develop the foundation for a successful life without first understanding where you come from and what drives you. Dig deep to understand what core truths truly motivate you and what you really care about before you start building yourself up. A career built on a shaky foundation will never stand the test of time.

2. Create a strong network

The Pando is a tree colony on the border between Colorado and Utah. What makes the Pando unique is that it is thought to be one contiguous organism, with a combined underground root network covering over 100 acres. The Pando is thought to be the world’s heaviest living organism, and one of the oldest at over 80,000 years old.

Consider what the journey towards success would be without a strong network. Without security and a strong foundation, you won’t be able to weather the storm when inevitable challenges come your way on the path to great success. In order to be truly successful, you must also be willing to share your victories and your defeats with others.

This isn’t about finding fair weather friends who are happy for you when you have a great accomplishment and disappear in times of trouble. You need to build this strong network and ecosystem which will support you in times of need and through times of plenty.

“Effective networking isn’t a result of luck – it requires hard work and persistence.” – Lewis Howes

3. Strengthen your monkey mind

Take responsibility for the habits you choose to strengthen and cultivate, and be ruthless with the habits you choose to cut out. The Basal Ganglia is the part of the brain responsible for the development of habits, while the Prefrontal Cortex is the part of the brain responsible for complex decision making and thought processes.

The Basal Ganglia is effectively the less developed, most basic part of the brain. This “monkey mind” must be strengthened by building strong habits if you want to teach your subconscious to focus on the right things at the right times.

4. Shoot for the moon

As the saying goes, “shoot for the moon, so you’ll land among the stars.” I honestly hate this saying, as I think it is incredibly corny, but it illustrates the point well. If you aim for a big goal, you will be more likely to reach some level of success and acclaim no matter what happens.

What the saying misses is the amount of planning and preparation that goes into “shooting for the moon”. When John F Kennedy announced his plan to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, he set the United States on a road to investing more on a single project than at any other time in human history.

The combined efforts and finances of the most powerful nation on earth all went into making sure the mission would be a success, and as a result humanity came together to accomplish something magnificent.

So, when you’re aiming for something big, don’t half ass it, make a bold announcement, loop in your supporters, and try to change the world. Sometimes when you aim big, you’ll be surprised by who jumps in to lend a hand.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown

5. Make your heart sing

One of the most important factors that defines true success is the ability to do something on a regular basis that brings you joy. While your job won’t always be interesting, and all things done with regularity become monotonous, you should strive to find what makes your heart sing about the work you do and the world in which you live.

Only if you are able to tap into what makes your heart truly sing will you be able to call yourself a success in your daily life. Don’t ask yourself what you love about your job, or even what made you first get interested in your line of work. Instead, ask yourself, what about your current role makes your heart sing.

If you don’t know how to answer that question, perhaps you should go back to step one and start excavating your foundation.

How are you making sure you achieve success this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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If You’re Looking for Success, Here Are 5 Ways to Find It

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looking for success

What do people want when they talk about being successful? Some of us might want things such as a yacht, private island, or a jet. Others want to feel like they belong and have great relationships with their family and loved ones. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Jul 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Thank you, Tim! Yeah, it was so different, and it was a great way to create another challenge to grow with. Looking forward to your next article.

  2. Stefanie

    Jul 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hi Tim, great advice! I love the mindfulness trick and I’ll definitely use this the next time I speak in front of a group and get nervous before.
    I completed the first 10 projects from Toastmasters last year, participated in an area contest – and often, I still get nervous! Helpful to read that this happens to others, too. On the one hand, it’s about practice and being prepared. On the other hand, feeling a bit nervous is about to use this energy. Great tip.
    For me, power poses and deep breathing have worked a lot (especially alternate nostril breathing technique from yoga), as well as admitting I’m outside the comfort zone. And yes, that’s a great situation 🙂 Love your suggestion to link this to happiness.
    And one more thing. Getting centered in front, checking in with the audience first, smiling before starting are components that make it so much easier to deal with nervousness at the beginning.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Stefanie thank you sharing your experience. Your Toastmasters tips are very useful and I am going to try all of them. I like the fact that even though you were nervous you faced your fear and went through with it. To compete in an area contest takes guts so congratulations!

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Success Advice

If You’re Looking for Success, Here Are 5 Ways to Find It

Published

on

looking for success

What do people want when they talk about being successful? Some of us might want things such as a yacht, private island, or a jet. Others want to feel like they belong and have great relationships with their family and loved ones.

We end up wanting things without knowing exactly why. We end up creating images in our heads of what it would be like to own these things, to have these relationships, to live these lives, but we casually ignore the negative things that are bound to challenge us along the way.

Even if we end up building these lives for ourselves, we forget that all life comes with suffering, and anyone who experiences great success will also have moments of frustration and perceived failure.

Here are 5 ways to find success right here, right now, as you continue on the path towards building your empire:

1. Excavate before you begin building

Just as you wouldn’t build a skyscraper before excavating deeply underground the construction site and setting the foundation, you wouldn’t start to develop the foundation for a successful life without first understanding where you come from and what drives you. Dig deep to understand what core truths truly motivate you and what you really care about before you start building yourself up. A career built on a shaky foundation will never stand the test of time.

2. Create a strong network

The Pando is a tree colony on the border between Colorado and Utah. What makes the Pando unique is that it is thought to be one contiguous organism, with a combined underground root network covering over 100 acres. The Pando is thought to be the world’s heaviest living organism, and one of the oldest at over 80,000 years old.

Consider what the journey towards success would be without a strong network. Without security and a strong foundation, you won’t be able to weather the storm when inevitable challenges come your way on the path to great success. In order to be truly successful, you must also be willing to share your victories and your defeats with others.

This isn’t about finding fair weather friends who are happy for you when you have a great accomplishment and disappear in times of trouble. You need to build this strong network and ecosystem which will support you in times of need and through times of plenty.

“Effective networking isn’t a result of luck – it requires hard work and persistence.” – Lewis Howes

3. Strengthen your monkey mind

Take responsibility for the habits you choose to strengthen and cultivate, and be ruthless with the habits you choose to cut out. The Basal Ganglia is the part of the brain responsible for the development of habits, while the Prefrontal Cortex is the part of the brain responsible for complex decision making and thought processes.

The Basal Ganglia is effectively the less developed, most basic part of the brain. This “monkey mind” must be strengthened by building strong habits if you want to teach your subconscious to focus on the right things at the right times.

4. Shoot for the moon

As the saying goes, “shoot for the moon, so you’ll land among the stars.” I honestly hate this saying, as I think it is incredibly corny, but it illustrates the point well. If you aim for a big goal, you will be more likely to reach some level of success and acclaim no matter what happens.

What the saying misses is the amount of planning and preparation that goes into “shooting for the moon”. When John F Kennedy announced his plan to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, he set the United States on a road to investing more on a single project than at any other time in human history.

The combined efforts and finances of the most powerful nation on earth all went into making sure the mission would be a success, and as a result humanity came together to accomplish something magnificent.

So, when you’re aiming for something big, don’t half ass it, make a bold announcement, loop in your supporters, and try to change the world. Sometimes when you aim big, you’ll be surprised by who jumps in to lend a hand.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown

5. Make your heart sing

One of the most important factors that defines true success is the ability to do something on a regular basis that brings you joy. While your job won’t always be interesting, and all things done with regularity become monotonous, you should strive to find what makes your heart sing about the work you do and the world in which you live.

Only if you are able to tap into what makes your heart truly sing will you be able to call yourself a success in your daily life. Don’t ask yourself what you love about your job, or even what made you first get interested in your line of work. Instead, ask yourself, what about your current role makes your heart sing.

If you don’t know how to answer that question, perhaps you should go back to step one and start excavating your foundation.

How are you making sure you achieve success this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

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The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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