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How To Silence The Side Of Yourself That Wants To See You Fail

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Ever feel like you’re waging an internal war? It might not be bloody, but it does kill. It kills your self-esteem, confidence, and your dream.

One side wants to see you succeed, feel good about yourself, and exceed in all of your endeavors. The other is taking every chance it gets to drag you down. The fierce battle between the two sides can drive anyone crazy.

Becoming an entrepreneur means taking major steps outside your comfort zone. It will most likely trigger fear, disbelief, and doubt. It will probably make that mean voice inside seem louder and even more condescending.

If that’s the voice that’s running your inner dialogue today, it’s time to make it stop. It’s time to say goodbye once and for all.

Here are the 5 steps on how to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail:

1. Detach yourself from your toxic thoughts

The monkey. That’s what I call that destructive and mean voice that can come in and overpower us. Because let’s face it, it can behave just like a drunk, neurotic monkey who’s tirelessly jumping around and chattering in a desperate attempt to get our attention.

The monkey thinks he’s protecting you. But in reality, he’s hindering you from creating the life you truly desire. Why? Because the monkey is trying to protect what you’ve accepted as truth — whether it serves you or not.

If you believe that making money requires hard work and struggle, the monkey will want to prove you’re right. If you think you aren’t smart enough or consistently lack time, the monkey will do just about anything to prove that your belief is correct.

The thing is, if you’ve heard something repeatedly in the past, or if you’ve had an emotionally painful experience, your monkey will remember that. And he’ll do just about anything to protect you from feeling that pain again.

Now, it might sound like this little guy is your enemy. He’s not. He’s just a scared little monkey who needs you to take charge of the situation.

So, when you have these toxic thoughts, start by separating the monkey’s voice from your own. It’s not you talking, OK? Detach yourself by acknowledging and observing his presence. Don’t fight or get upset over his comments; that will only fuel him. Instead, be polite, and greet the little fellow by saying, “Well, hello little monkey!”

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

2Take control over the chatter

So, now that you’ve acknowledged the monkey, it’s time to calm him down. How do you calm a drunk and neurotic monkey?

That’s right, by giving him a big hug. And by telling him soothing phrases such as, “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” You can even imagine yourself petting the little monkey on its head.

Remember that poking current beliefs is scary to the monkey. It will trigger him. To remain in control of your inner-dialogue, simply acknowledge what caused your monkey to go bananas. Play detective on yourself to get the bigger picture of the situation.

Maybe you’re stepping outside of familiar boundaries? Maybe you’re facing struggles on your path as an entrepreneur? Maybe you’re diving headfirst into something that scares you silly?

Remember, it’s probably a good thing you’re doing here. You’re probably stretching limits, breaking boundaries, and growing as a person. See the situation for what it is (and not through the eyes of a terrified and neurotic monkey).

So, sooth your monkey, and simply acknowledge what made him scared. That’s how you put yourself in the driving seat. That’s how you become the master of your monkey (and not the other way around).

 

3. Replace negative thoughts with better feeling ones

Now that you’ve calmed the monkey, look for better-feeling thoughts around the subject. The trick here is to find thoughts that are positive, but not too positive so that your mind asks, “What the heck are you talking about? This isn’t what you’ve been telling me!”

Thoughts gain momentum, so you can’t instantly go from “I can’t do this” to “I can totally do this!” without feeling like a big liar. So go step-by-step. First aim to reach a neutral place. Play around with thoughts until you find those you resonate with emotionally. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “I’ve done similar things in the past, and that’s gone well.”
  • “It doesn’t matter where I am today, when I know where I’m going.”

When you’ve managed to come to a neutral place, find more positive thoughts that can lift you toward a positive place. Once you’ve done that, reach for another one that makes you feel a little bit better than the previous one. Small and simple steps, that’s all.

 

4. Keep nurturing your positive thoughts

So, now that you’ve shifted focus to more positive thoughts, things start to become clearer. Ah, the haze is dissolving (love those moments!), and you can start building positive momentum that will propel you forward.

Now, think of your thoughts as a garden. Whatever you plant there will grow. The monkey loves a beautiful and prosperous garden where he can relax. If that’s what you’re growing, he doesn’t need to worry for you. Then he can just sit back and smell the flowers.

So, pay attention to what you’re planting in your garden. Are you growing appreciation or criticism? Is it a garden full of opportunities or limitations? Is it the successes or failures in your life that are in bloom? The flowers you take most care of will blossom and overshadow the others.

Simply, bask yourself in the feelings of already being, doing, and having what you want.

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer

5. Leave room for the voice that will guide you right

Being bullied around by your inner voice is hard. Not only does it shatter your great vision – it leaves you feeling unworthy, disempowered, and frustrated.

You deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to live a life of excitement, exhilaration, and bliss. You deserve to make your dream a reality. That’s the whole purpose of a dream, isn’t it?

So, take control. Calm and soothe your monkey when he’s active, and nurture your positive thoughts. Don’t let your monkey master your life. Instead, master your monkey to master your life.

Leave space for that voice inside that wants to see you succeed and be happy. That’s the voice worth listening to. That’s the voice that knows what you’re truly capable of. That’s the voice that will guide you right.

What do you do to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Camilla Hallstrom

    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article, Maria!

    I couldn’t agree more that becoming an entrepreneur requires you to go way beyond your comfort zone. It might be temporarily uncomfortable but the payoff is amazing 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Jan 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Camilla!

      Yes, you are so right. Well said. Got to keep our eyes on the prize 🙂

  2. Judy Parsons

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My inner voice is Cissy. She’s afraid of everything. We’re going to have some good conversations from now on.

  3. Nicki Lee

    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Love your advice about talking to the monkey! “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” I’m going to try it today.

  4. akash

    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great article maria. I am really impressed with your writing skills.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks a lot! You just put a BIG smile on my face.

      Have a great day!
      Maria

  5. Laura J. Tong

    Dec 27, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This so totally sums up that split of voices in my head that argue so often! Thank you for these great strategies.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right Laura. Thank you for your comment and have a great day! 🙂

  6. Ann

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maria,

    You’re post is spot on, our thoughts can make or break us…the posts has great points on how to make it work.

  7. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Maria thank you for sharing this advice. While I have been able to get the monkey off my back in recent times, I still find the chatter can be an issue. I will definitely use tip number two to try and settle this down in times of need. Thank you again for taking the time to write this piece.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words!

      I’m happy to hear that, I hope it calms your monkey 😉

      Cheers,
      Maria

  8. Mike Harrington

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ha-ha, love the monkey analogy.

    So true, as well. Our thoughts are truly the most powerful force in creating either the life of our dreams OR the life of our nightmares.

    I’m gonna go give my monkey a hug and tell him to go play in the garden now. 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Well put, Mike!

      Haha, that’ll make your monkey happy 😉

      Cheers!
      Maria

  9. Mark Tong

    Dec 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Maria – really helpful post, especially regards that pesky monkey:) Thanks

  10. Blaine Wilkerson

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Very cool. Most posts talk about ditching the monkey. You suggest we master it.

    Is it purely metaphorical? Or do you believe we should “master the monkey” cuz there are times we may need to use it?

    I instantly thought of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” and Aerosmith’s “Monkey on my back” 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blaine,

      I believe the money (the ego) always will be a part of our life. But we decide how much. By mastering him, we can allow him work for us, instead of against us. I don’t believe he wants to lead the way, he just wants to make sure we step in and take control 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I believe that the monkey (the ego) always will be a part of our life. Our job is to stop making it work against us, and instead, allow it to work for us. Ditching it might work, but that usually just ends up with the noise getting louder. So, not really sustainable (plus it makes you feel pretty insane when you think one thing and then do another). ) Instead of dismissing it and pushing it away, I believe it’s way more powerful to actually allow it to be there. To acknowledge it and learn how to master it.

      Cheers!
      Maria

  11. Benjamin Worika

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Maria, for this truly insightful and action oriented piece.
    I think the greatest challenge, to taming the Monkey, is getting to “Detachment” most folks have come to a state where the Monkeys voice “Cloaks” their own voice and they erroneously believe that “The Monkey is Me”
    Exercises that aid the detachment process would go a long way…I especially love the visualizing part of patting the Monkeys head.
    Love your piece, you just won a heart in Nigeria.
    Cheers.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice comment!

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe that we are our thoughts. And it’s such a relief to realize that they simply are thoughts – not the truth or who we are.

      Again, thanks for your last sentence. It made my day and warmed my heart 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

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Success Advice

I Embraced These 5 Characteristics. Best Decision I Ever Made.

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The other day I was putting together a guide for my clients on how to succeed in social media.

All of a sudden, I had an epiphany – a life-changing moment of clarity that was so incredibly rare.

I realized that the things I’ve learned about social media actually apply more broadly to life.

The key differentiator between those who achieve a lot of success online are these 5 characteristics:

 

Characteristic 1 – Humbleness

Achieving success on social media leads to a large number of messages from all sorts of people. Remaining humble and talking to people like you’re on their level has helped me to get people’s respect.

Humbleness creates beautiful conversations that touch your soul and make you and the other person feel phenomenal.

A bit of success can easily make you feel superior and so humbleness is the way to stay grounded and not forget who you are, and where you’ve come from.

Humbleness is a brilliant decision.

 

Characteristic 2 – Gracefulness

The world of social media is fast-paced and often frantic. Being graceful has allowed me to move slower at times and reflect on each thing that I do in my life.

“Rather than trying to walk over the top of what everyone else is trying to do and charge through the battlefield of social media like an out of control soldier who’s gone rogue, I’ve learned to be more graceful”

Being graceful is difficult to explain at times. I see it as making moves with composure, calmness and keeping balance between the many tasks that can pull us from side to side (such as distractions).

Slow down, think about your decisions carefully and be graceful as you make your moves.

Gracefulness is a decision that will make you calm.

 

Characteristic 3 – Kindness

The secret ingredient of all of my online success. It’s also the same ingredient that many of the people you look up to use.

When you meet a stranger, you be friendly.
When someone praises one of your Facebook posts, you be kind and say thank you.
When you see someone struggling and you can help, you offer your time.

Kindness is a characteristic that bonds all of us together. It will bring more good things in your life than any other trait.

“Kindness is a belief in yourself and your fellow humans to do the right thing”

Kindness is a belief that we can all be better by helping each other and doing so in a generous, friendly and considerate way.

Above all else, kindness is the best decision you can make.

 

Characteristic 4 – Vulnerability

There’s a temptation with social media to hide behind a mask and pretend you’re happy and living this amazing life that everyone else should be envious of. Vulnerability has been a trait I’ve used to bring people in and show them the real me.

Vulnerability is when you share your epic failure.
Vulnerability is when you’re not afraid to show weakness.
Vulnerability is admitting something made you cry.
Vulnerability is admitting you’re not okay.

Putting vulnerability into everything you do makes you human. People want to see you be vulnerable and it shows huge amounts of courage at the same time. Rather than getting attached to your critic’s opinions, vulnerability can help you go further and be authentic.

When you crush your fear (like my well-known public speaking one), you should share that vulnerable moment with your family, work friends and online connections.

You’ll sometimes experience some fear when you attempt to be vulnerable and that’s usually a sign that you are going outside your comfort zone which is good.

Breaking your comfort zone is how you grow and that’s what will give you the strength to attack bigger goals in the future. Don’t back away from being vulnerable; face into it.

Vulnerability is a decision to stand out from the crowd and be you – warts and all.

 

Characteristic 5 – Willingness To Share (no strings attached)

Sharing is the act of demonstrating you have enough. It’s a form of gratitude.

As an example, the other day, a guy asked me how I do my video posts and within a few minutes I sent him back, step-by-step, how I do them.

He was shocked!
He couldn’t believe I’d tell him step-by-step and want nothing in return.

I embraced a willingness to share because I realized like most of you, that no one has a monopoly on information or ideas. Anyone can find anything out thanks to the Internet. So, what’s the point of hiding your knowledge? There is none.

Share what you know, and maybe one day they’ll return the favor. All of us have useful lessons, failures, stories and ideas to share. Rather than hide them, share them for the world to see.

This willingness to share has worked for me and it’s fuelled my side business but I’ve only found it to work when you share with no strings attached.

“The moment you expect something in return, people can sniff out your selfishness like a dog at the airport sniffing for drugs”

Most of the knowledge and strategies I’ve obtained that are responsible for my success have come from other people’s willingness to share. It’s only fair that I return the gift and that you do the same.

Sharing is a fantastic decision to make.

 

Why these 5 characteristics work.

These five traits have led me to discover my version of success and I believe they are most of what you need to succeed at any pursuit in life.

Once these traits become habits, you’ll do them without thinking. These traits are what have compounded my success and I honestly believe they will do the same for you.

These five traits are the foundation for anyone wanting to do something big and bring the rest of us on the journey. They are also the same traits that will help you build a tribe of people who want to achieve a common mission.

You don’t need piles of money.
You don’t need millions of followers.
You don’t need to overwork and burn out.

What you need is to make a decision to be humble, graceful, kind, vulnerable and willing to share.

These traits work because they each have an element of selflessness about them.
These traits are not about you as such; they’re about what you can do for all of us.

Embracing these five traits is the best decision I’ve made. Will you make the same decision?

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

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Success Advice

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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3 Simple Steps to Remove Drama From Your Life Immediately

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You come home, tired from work, and as soon as you open the door, the drama hits you in the face. Either your boyfriend/girlfriend is throwing a tantrum which ends up in a full-out fight for hours or your boss has a love/hate relationship with you and gives you so many responsibilities that you end up working late in the night. Maybe it is simply your parents who keep forcing you to take the job, partner or university you don’t really want. (more…)

Bruno Boksic is a writer at Medium.com. An avid reader of personal development books, with a 7-year long experience of helping people become the best version of themselves. I don't have all the answers, but the ones I do, I share through my writing.  You can contact me at boksicbruno@gmail.com

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Camilla Hallstrom

    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article, Maria!

    I couldn’t agree more that becoming an entrepreneur requires you to go way beyond your comfort zone. It might be temporarily uncomfortable but the payoff is amazing 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Jan 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Camilla!

      Yes, you are so right. Well said. Got to keep our eyes on the prize 🙂

  2. Judy Parsons

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My inner voice is Cissy. She’s afraid of everything. We’re going to have some good conversations from now on.

  3. Nicki Lee

    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Love your advice about talking to the monkey! “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” I’m going to try it today.

  4. akash

    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great article maria. I am really impressed with your writing skills.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks a lot! You just put a BIG smile on my face.

      Have a great day!
      Maria

  5. Laura J. Tong

    Dec 27, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This so totally sums up that split of voices in my head that argue so often! Thank you for these great strategies.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right Laura. Thank you for your comment and have a great day! 🙂

  6. Ann

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maria,

    You’re post is spot on, our thoughts can make or break us…the posts has great points on how to make it work.

  7. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Maria thank you for sharing this advice. While I have been able to get the monkey off my back in recent times, I still find the chatter can be an issue. I will definitely use tip number two to try and settle this down in times of need. Thank you again for taking the time to write this piece.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words!

      I’m happy to hear that, I hope it calms your monkey 😉

      Cheers,
      Maria

  8. Mike Harrington

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ha-ha, love the monkey analogy.

    So true, as well. Our thoughts are truly the most powerful force in creating either the life of our dreams OR the life of our nightmares.

    I’m gonna go give my monkey a hug and tell him to go play in the garden now. 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Well put, Mike!

      Haha, that’ll make your monkey happy 😉

      Cheers!
      Maria

  9. Mark Tong

    Dec 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Maria – really helpful post, especially regards that pesky monkey:) Thanks

  10. Blaine Wilkerson

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Very cool. Most posts talk about ditching the monkey. You suggest we master it.

    Is it purely metaphorical? Or do you believe we should “master the monkey” cuz there are times we may need to use it?

    I instantly thought of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” and Aerosmith’s “Monkey on my back” 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blaine,

      I believe the money (the ego) always will be a part of our life. But we decide how much. By mastering him, we can allow him work for us, instead of against us. I don’t believe he wants to lead the way, he just wants to make sure we step in and take control 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I believe that the monkey (the ego) always will be a part of our life. Our job is to stop making it work against us, and instead, allow it to work for us. Ditching it might work, but that usually just ends up with the noise getting louder. So, not really sustainable (plus it makes you feel pretty insane when you think one thing and then do another). ) Instead of dismissing it and pushing it away, I believe it’s way more powerful to actually allow it to be there. To acknowledge it and learn how to master it.

      Cheers!
      Maria

  11. Benjamin Worika

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Maria, for this truly insightful and action oriented piece.
    I think the greatest challenge, to taming the Monkey, is getting to “Detachment” most folks have come to a state where the Monkeys voice “Cloaks” their own voice and they erroneously believe that “The Monkey is Me”
    Exercises that aid the detachment process would go a long way…I especially love the visualizing part of patting the Monkeys head.
    Love your piece, you just won a heart in Nigeria.
    Cheers.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice comment!

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe that we are our thoughts. And it’s such a relief to realize that they simply are thoughts – not the truth or who we are.

      Again, thanks for your last sentence. It made my day and warmed my heart 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

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Success Advice

I Embraced These 5 Characteristics. Best Decision I Ever Made.

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The other day I was putting together a guide for my clients on how to succeed in social media.

All of a sudden, I had an epiphany – a life-changing moment of clarity that was so incredibly rare.

I realized that the things I’ve learned about social media actually apply more broadly to life.

The key differentiator between those who achieve a lot of success online are these 5 characteristics:

 

Characteristic 1 – Humbleness

Achieving success on social media leads to a large number of messages from all sorts of people. Remaining humble and talking to people like you’re on their level has helped me to get people’s respect.

Humbleness creates beautiful conversations that touch your soul and make you and the other person feel phenomenal.

A bit of success can easily make you feel superior and so humbleness is the way to stay grounded and not forget who you are, and where you’ve come from.

Humbleness is a brilliant decision.

 

Characteristic 2 – Gracefulness

The world of social media is fast-paced and often frantic. Being graceful has allowed me to move slower at times and reflect on each thing that I do in my life.

“Rather than trying to walk over the top of what everyone else is trying to do and charge through the battlefield of social media like an out of control soldier who’s gone rogue, I’ve learned to be more graceful”

Being graceful is difficult to explain at times. I see it as making moves with composure, calmness and keeping balance between the many tasks that can pull us from side to side (such as distractions).

Slow down, think about your decisions carefully and be graceful as you make your moves.

Gracefulness is a decision that will make you calm.

 

Characteristic 3 – Kindness

The secret ingredient of all of my online success. It’s also the same ingredient that many of the people you look up to use.

When you meet a stranger, you be friendly.
When someone praises one of your Facebook posts, you be kind and say thank you.
When you see someone struggling and you can help, you offer your time.

Kindness is a characteristic that bonds all of us together. It will bring more good things in your life than any other trait.

“Kindness is a belief in yourself and your fellow humans to do the right thing”

Kindness is a belief that we can all be better by helping each other and doing so in a generous, friendly and considerate way.

Above all else, kindness is the best decision you can make.

 

Characteristic 4 – Vulnerability

There’s a temptation with social media to hide behind a mask and pretend you’re happy and living this amazing life that everyone else should be envious of. Vulnerability has been a trait I’ve used to bring people in and show them the real me.

Vulnerability is when you share your epic failure.
Vulnerability is when you’re not afraid to show weakness.
Vulnerability is admitting something made you cry.
Vulnerability is admitting you’re not okay.

Putting vulnerability into everything you do makes you human. People want to see you be vulnerable and it shows huge amounts of courage at the same time. Rather than getting attached to your critic’s opinions, vulnerability can help you go further and be authentic.

When you crush your fear (like my well-known public speaking one), you should share that vulnerable moment with your family, work friends and online connections.

You’ll sometimes experience some fear when you attempt to be vulnerable and that’s usually a sign that you are going outside your comfort zone which is good.

Breaking your comfort zone is how you grow and that’s what will give you the strength to attack bigger goals in the future. Don’t back away from being vulnerable; face into it.

Vulnerability is a decision to stand out from the crowd and be you – warts and all.

 

Characteristic 5 – Willingness To Share (no strings attached)

Sharing is the act of demonstrating you have enough. It’s a form of gratitude.

As an example, the other day, a guy asked me how I do my video posts and within a few minutes I sent him back, step-by-step, how I do them.

He was shocked!
He couldn’t believe I’d tell him step-by-step and want nothing in return.

I embraced a willingness to share because I realized like most of you, that no one has a monopoly on information or ideas. Anyone can find anything out thanks to the Internet. So, what’s the point of hiding your knowledge? There is none.

Share what you know, and maybe one day they’ll return the favor. All of us have useful lessons, failures, stories and ideas to share. Rather than hide them, share them for the world to see.

This willingness to share has worked for me and it’s fuelled my side business but I’ve only found it to work when you share with no strings attached.

“The moment you expect something in return, people can sniff out your selfishness like a dog at the airport sniffing for drugs”

Most of the knowledge and strategies I’ve obtained that are responsible for my success have come from other people’s willingness to share. It’s only fair that I return the gift and that you do the same.

Sharing is a fantastic decision to make.

 

Why these 5 characteristics work.

These five traits have led me to discover my version of success and I believe they are most of what you need to succeed at any pursuit in life.

Once these traits become habits, you’ll do them without thinking. These traits are what have compounded my success and I honestly believe they will do the same for you.

These five traits are the foundation for anyone wanting to do something big and bring the rest of us on the journey. They are also the same traits that will help you build a tribe of people who want to achieve a common mission.

You don’t need piles of money.
You don’t need millions of followers.
You don’t need to overwork and burn out.

What you need is to make a decision to be humble, graceful, kind, vulnerable and willing to share.

These traits work because they each have an element of selflessness about them.
These traits are not about you as such; they’re about what you can do for all of us.

Embracing these five traits is the best decision I’ve made. Will you make the same decision?

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

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Success Advice

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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