Thursday, 31 March 2016

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Things to Do Before You Leave Your Job

3 Things to Do Before You Leave Your JobIn today's world, it's more common than ever for people to make fast career changes. You may not be looking to make any changes today, but at some point, you’re going to want to start a new venture. Whether you’re thinking about resigning or planning to sell your business, taking the first steps is the hardest part of your exit strategy.

So, before making any rash decisions, you should have a plan in place for transitioning into a new role. Here are three things you can do before leaving a job.

1. Evaluate the risk and opportunities.

There are a variety of reasons for leaving a job or selling a business. You might have other opportunities waiting on the horizon that you're eager to pursue. Or possibly you're tired of your current role. Maybe you're looking for a change of pace.
As you begin to consider your options, make sure to evaluate both the risks and opportunities. Don't forget that work is work, no matter what role you're looking to move into. You will have both good days and bad days at your new job.
On the risk side of things, have you been saving up? Do you have a good amount of money stored away for a rainy day? A transition into a new role can be difficult and even costly. And in a world with no guarantees, that job you thought you had lined up may not pan out by the time you're ready to pursue it. If you're dependent on your employment income, then make sure you have a comfortable nest egg before putting in your notice.
As for opportunity, what exactly are you planning on doing next? Do you have a clear idea? Do you have a new job lined up, and do you have a backup plan in case it doesn't work out? Will you be getting an increase in salary at your new position? Will your new job be more enjoyable and fulfilling than your last? Do you have a long-term plan for your career progression? Will you be learning new skills that will help you expand your opportunities?
Don't get too caught up in the excitement of moving into a new position, as it can blind you to the potential risks and opportunities that exist.

2. Tie up loose ends.

Many people tend to "check out" before they've even handed in their two weeks' notice.
As hard as it may be, try to stay engaged in your work as you are wrapping up your term. Check in with a manager on a daily basis if you need some motivation. Also make a list of everything that needs to get done before you leave.
There is the possibility that your projects and tasks will be taken over by coworkers before you officially leave, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take responsibility for what you've already started and agreed to do. If you have the opportunity, delegate smaller tasks so you can focus on your top priorities and see them to completion.
Keep a line of communication open with management and coworkers. There may be those who need to hear directly from you -- don't leave them in the dark about your decision to move on to new opportunities. Get in touch with clients if you need to, and share the news with coworkers or managers who need to be in the loop.
This should help you establish clarity around what you need to do before moving on. Your former employer will appreciate it if you leave your tasks in capable hands, instead of leaving a trail of incomplete assignments and appointments your co-workers need to chase down.
It's also best to leave on a good note. If you game-plan and communicate who is going to handle your tasks while your manager looks for your replacement, you’re likely to form a lasting, positive relationship with your former employer -- and you very well may need that for a good recommendation later on.

3. Clean, purge and organize.

Make an effort to leave your office, desk or working space in good shape before making your exit.
Start separating out your personal possessions -- family pictures, stationery, electronics -- into boxes. Don't forget about your personal files on your work computer. Back up whatever information you need: documents, music, pictures and so on -- and save it on an external hard drive or thumb drive. Don't touch sensitive company data or save it for personal purposes. Only keep contacts with whom you've personally built a relationship.
Get rid of old files or memos that no longer hold any relevance. Archive important documents that belong to the business. Pass on other relevant documents to your co-workers if they need them.
Throw away any trash and wipe away any dust and dirt. Discreetly remove T-shirts, mugs and other swag from your desk and put these items away.
There is the chance that you won't have much time to clean, purge and organize. Sometimes, when people quit their jobs (particularly sales positions), they are escorted out of the building in fairly short order. If you don't have much time, just prioritize what matters most to you so you can be on your way.
Even if your boss is away, he or she should be able to trust you to get your desk in order before you leave, so you can make a smooth exit. But "smooth" largely depends on the amount of trust you've built up with other people in the company while you were working with them.

Final thoughts

There may be other steps you need to take to make a smooth exit from your job. The exact nature of your work is a factor here, as is your relationship with coworkers, management and your boss.
Don't forget: It's best not to burn bridges unnecessarily. It is possible to leave a job in an honorable way. You can also give your employer feedback on any issues that may be at the root of your departure. Providing this information at an exit interview is often valuable in improving the company's operations, so long as it’s constructive and specific. After all, you never know when you might want to go back. 

5 ways we can all be smarter

How many of you entrepreneurs have felt burnt out, tired or unmotivated? Chances are you have, probably more often than you’d like. It’s common to be frustrated with your efforts and feel unsatisfied with where your business is going. It seems like you’re doing all the right things, so where are the results?
Thankfully, humans have the innate ability to learn vicariously through other people’s experiences. Our civilization has had tons of incredibly intelligent, pioneering people come and go for us to learn from. We’re also fortunate to have the Internet, which lets us research these individuals at any time; the power of knowledge is a click away.
This article will focus on five ways you can work smarter as an entrepreneur. We’ll talk about work/life balance, networking and what needs to be done to succeed as an entrepreneur, supported by quotes from talented people in our society.

1. Get rid of the need for perfection!

“Your first projects aren’t the greatest things in the world, and they may have no money value, they may go nowhere, but that is how you learn – you put so much effort into making something right if it is for yourself.” – Steve Wozniak
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak knows a thing or two about working and self-effort. Perfection can be a monster that forces you to strive to meet the standards of others. Perfection can drive you crazy from the amount of time and effort you spend chasing it. Smart people realize that their best work won’t come on the first, second, third, fourth or even fifth try. Don’t let perfection be your Achilles heel.
Perfection holds us in the past and disrupts our ability to focus on what’s important. Once you deem something perfect, it loses its ability to grow or get better. When it comes to your business, this is absolutely unacceptable. Just like with the people in our lives, sometimes it’s the little quirks and flaws that make you special. Striving for excellence in what you do and how you serve people is necessary, but looking for perfection in every area of your business will have you spinning your wheels.
“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. Get ready to give before you receive


To make the transition from entrepreneur to running a full-fledged business, you’ll need the support of your community. It’s easy to run a successful business when people in your community know who you are and recognize you for being helpful. Giving back works best, when you expect nothing in return. Think about it as your “civic duty”. You can take pride in helping out other people in your community, and if you’re lucky you may be repaid in opportunity.
Giving back to your community is a great way to meet prominent people in local companies, local business owners, local media persons and just people in general. The smaller the place you live, the more important this becomes.
“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.” – Mary Ritter Beard
While you should give back without looking for anything in return, volunteer work inevitably comes with some benefits. Volunteering helps with branding your business as one that cares and at the same time you’re actually helping real people. If you have employees, volunteering is great for engaging everyone and building team camaraderie. As an entrepreneur, you should strongly consider including giving back as a part of your business routine.

3. Practicing gratitude will help you feel less overwhelmed

The life of an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. Even the most grizzled entrepreneur veterans will admit to this, it takes an almost inhuman amount of discipline and focus. While you work may seem to be never-ending, it’s important that you still enjoy your life.
Finding happiness as an entrepreneur will follow finding a balance between your work and the things that make you happy. You can’t just plow away through your life and work at full speed all the time. Without setting aside the time for breaks, you’re guaranteed to crash and burn out.  Remember that taking care of your mental and physical health is just as important as getting work done.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.” – Maria Edgeworth
It’s easy to become consumed with your work, especially if you have a burning passion for success or to attain your goals. Although an entrepreneur’s life is associated with freedom, sometimes this freedom can turn you into a slave to your own desires. Staying in the moment is an excellent way to avoid this. Think back to why you started your own business, was it to work 24/7 and still feel stressed about getting nothing done?
Remember that your work will always be there, and that half the fun is in the journey anyways. You’re almost guaranteed to endure your fair share of failures, especially if you want to attain high levels of success. Taking the time to relax every day will help you mentally put things in perspective and return to work with a new energy.
“You can’t be an entrepreneur for other people. You can’t start a company for other people. You have to love it more than you ever thought of loving something that wasn’t a human being. The demands will kick you down and rob your life – but yet, it is so rewarding.” – Blake Lively

4. Read, Read, Read. And when you’re done, read some more.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader
It goes without saying that knowledge is key to your success as an entrepreneur. Knowledge makes it easier to make good decisions as well as save you time and money. An uneducated entrepreneur does their own business a disservice by not being committed to growing their knowledge base. New insights will help you find new unique and efficient ways to get things done as well as discover new opportunities.
Reading is also a complex task that gets multiple parts of your brain active at the same time. Reading makes you sharper, promotes brain health and can even slow diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia from developing. When you read on a regular basis, it helps to improve your short-term memory ability.
Think about it: to read a story you have to remember the characters, where they came from, the important keys to the story and the subplots. Getting your brain to do all of this helps with your memory, and it will also expand your vocabulary. As an entrepreneur, you really have no reason not to read! Even if it’s for fun, you should try and read daily.

5. It’s not going to be easy!

Entrepreneurship is rewarding in many different ways: monetarily, spiritually and mentally. Entrepreneurship is also difficult, demanding and lonely. It’s important to remember as an entrepreneur, and in life, in general, you have to take the good with the bad. Your time as an entrepreneur won’t be all sunshine and roses; in fact, you’ll probably experience more stormy days at first.
Entrepreneurs aren’t very likely to have many friends who understand their stresses of running a business on a daily basis. You might even be forced to sacrifice relationships for your work, which can further make you lonely. Your inner motivation and desire to achieve your goals is what will keep you going.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee
As Bruce Lee said, you “survive by bending with the wind”. Both good and bad times will come; it’s up to you what you focus on during those times. It may be tempting to do nothing and brood in self-pity during difficult times, and sometimes you may even be justified in feeling like a victim. But any entrepreneur who wants to make progress needs to keep a clear mind in the face of adversity.
During bad times, ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing now going to help me get out of this situation? Will it help prevent similar situations?” If the answer is no, then it’s clear what you need to do. Don’t shy away from hardships as an entrepreneur. Everything you avoid because it’s “hard” is a chance that you pass up to get better.
Applying these five things to your business will help you plan out smarter steps to your success. Remember that it’s not always about how hard you work compared to what you work on. The five things discussed in this article will contribute to the growth of your network, business and help you achieve balance in your life.
Getting rid of the need for perfection, embracing hardships and cherishing your life will help you approach problems with a new perspective. Reading and giving back to your community will make you more knowledgeable about your industry and your community.

Strategies to Attract Opportunities into Your Life


Feeling stagnant?
You don’t attract opportunities because you are not upgrading
I often get asked by my coaching clients: “How can I get more opportunities in my life?”
This is a really important question. New opportunities enable us to advance in our lives and careers as a result of an abundance of options to choose from. In the case where we seldom get a chance to upgrade our current situation through new possibilities, it is a common occurrence to feel stagnant, unhappy and unproductive.
Most people will assume that inability to attract opportunities is directly tied to lack of passion and merely waiting for a miracle to appear out of the blue. However, this is not the entire truth. There are two elements to successfully attracting new opportunities.

Want progress? Do something new and work on your ‘attractiveness’

To get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” –Unknown.
This thought-provoking statement suggests that people stay in their own comfort zone and fail to broaden their horizons. As a result, they often resign from their plans too early and settle for mediocrity. Surprisingly, these are often disciplined people who work hard for their living and are respected members of our society.
The second and not-so-obvious element is the fact that our inner self reflects in our external environment. The truth is you have to shift existing behaviors and mindset in order to attract opportunities. Favorable circumstances and success come to the ‘attractive’ people who develop ‘inner beauty’, often meet new people, build new relationships and form new business partnerships. It is vital to work on personal development and on character development.

Apply these 3 strategies to attract new opportunities

1. Surround yourself with success.

There is a saying: “You earn the average income of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Your environment is crucial to your happiness. Successful people have winning habits, strategies and ‘attractive’ personalities. By spending time with them, you will subconsciously start to model these behaviors. Likewise, negative people significantly impact their surroundings, often lacking ambition and spreading pessimistic thoughts.

2. Get out of your comfort zone.

Staying in a familiar environment is comfortable because you know what to expect. However, by not stepping out of a comfortable environment, new things will seldom occur in your life. The aim is to create opportunities by stepping outside the comfort zone instead of waiting for them. Otherwise, your life will be nothing more than comfortable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will allow you to meet new people and attract a whole array of new situations.

3. Perform daily routines to shape your character.

A strong and attractive character is a result of systematic practice. One of my favorite quotes is “where attention goes, energy flows – results show”.Good conduct and behavior are results of our thoughts and habits. If you are able to set out behaviors that you will repeat daily, your character will be transformed and opportunities will appear as a result. For instance, you could have a morning and evening routines to prioritize and reflect on your current tasks.

How to succeed in the long-term? Use self-reflection and be consistent

Usually people regret things they didn’t do when they had the chance to try. Attracting new opportunities is not down to just luck – step out of your comfort zone and start working on a brand of attractiveness which consists of your character, heart and spirit. The key is to do monthly or quarterly self-reflection activities to evaluate your progress and analyze new areas requiring development. It is important to be systematic in your actions, as they will increase your chances in the long term to attract plenty of new opportunities.

12 things you're doing that make people dislike you immediately

thumbs downFlickr/hobvias sudoneighmIt doesn't take much effort to turn people off.
There are plenty of ways to turn people off.
In fact, most of them don't require much effort. All it takes is one look at your social media activity or a casual in-person introduction to make someone realize they just don't want to spend time with you.
We've rounded up some of the most common social turn-offs online and in person, as well as how to avoid them. Read on and see which ones you've been guilty of.

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1. Sharing too many photos on Facebook

You might be eager to share snapshots of your honeymoon, cousin's graduation, and dog dressed in a Halloween costume, all within a 24-hour period.
But research has found that posting too many photos on Facebook can hurt your real-life relationships.
"This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don't seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves," lead study author David Houghton, PhD,said in a release.
Specifically, friends don't like it when you've got too many photos of family, and relatives don't like it when you've got too many photos of friends.
As Ben Marder, PhD, another author on the study, put it: "Be cautious when sharing and think how it will be perceived by all the others who may see it. Although sharing is a great way to better relationships, it can also damage them."

2. Having too many or too few Facebook friends

In one study, researchers asked college students to look at fictional Facebook profiles and decide how much they liked the profiles' owners. The study took place in 2008, and the students had about 300 friends each.
Results showed that the "sweet spot" for likability was about 300 friends. Likability ratings were lowest when a profile owner had only about 100 friends, and almost as low when they had more than 300 friends.
As for why 300-plus friends could be a turn-off, the study authors write, "Individuals with too many friends may appear to be focusing too much on Facebook, friending out of desperation rather than popularity."
On the other hand, the researchers acknowledge that if you look at a population where the most common number of Facebook friends is 1,000, the sweet spot for likability could be 1,000.
Keep in mind, though, that one survey found that the average number of Facebook friends among adult users was 338 in 2014.
Interestingly, the study also found that participants weren't consciously aware that they liked people less when they had too many or too few Facebook friends.

3. Disclosing something extremely personal early on in a relationship

In general, people like each other more after they've traded confidences. In fact, self-disclosure is one of the best ways to make friends as an adult.
But psychologists say that disclosing something too intimate — say, the fact that your sister is having an extramarital affair — while you're still getting to know someone can make you seem insecure and decrease your likability.
The key is to get personal without getting overly personal. As one study led by Susan Sprecher at Illinois State University suggests, simply sharing details about your hobbies and your favorite childhood memories can make you seem warmer and more likable.

4. Asking someone questions without talking about yourself at all

That same study by Susan Sprecher found an important caveat to the idea that self-disclosure predicts closeness: It has to be mutual. People generally like you less if you don’t reciprocate when they disclose something intimate.
In the study, unacquainted participants either engaged in back-and-forth self-disclosure or took turns self-disclosing for 12 minutes each while the other listened.
Results showed that participants in the back-and-forth group liked each other significantly more.
As the authors write, "Although shy or socially anxious people may ask questions of the other to detract attention from themselves, our research shows that this is not a good strategy for relationship initiation. Both participants in an interaction need to disclose to generate mutual closeness and liking."

5. Posting a close-up profile photo

If your LinkedIn profile features an image of your face practically smushed up against the camera, you'd be wise to change it.
Research suggests that faces photographed from just 45 centimeters — about 1.5 feet — away are considered less trustworthy, attractive, and competent than faces photographed from 135 centimeters, about 4.5 feet, away.

6. Hiding your emotions

Research suggests that letting your real feelings come through is a better strategy for getting people to like you than bottling it all up.
In one study, researchers videotaped people watching the fake-orgasm scene from the movie "When Harry Met Sally ..." and a sad scene from the movie "The Champ." In some cases, the actors were instructed to react naturally; in another they were instructed to suppress their emotions.
College students then watched the four versions of the videos. Researchers measured how much the students would be interested in befriending the people in the videos, as well as their assessments of the personalities of the people in the videos.
Results showed that suppressors were judged less likable — as well as less extroverted and agreeable — than people who emoted naturally.
It probably goes back to that idea of reciprocation. The researchers write: "People … do not pursue close relationships indiscriminately — they probably look for people who are likely to reciprocate their investments. So when perceivers detect that someone is hiding their emotions, they may interpret that as a disinterest in the things that emotional expression facilitates — closeness, social support, and interpersonal coordination."

7. Acting too nice

You might think you'll win people over by acting altruistic, but science suggests otherwise.
In a 2010 study, researchers at Washington State University gave college students points that they could keep or redeem for meal-service vouchers. Participants were told that they were playing in groups of five — even though four of them were manipulations by the researchers — and were told that giving up points would boost the group's chance of getting a monetary reward.
Some of the "fake" participants would give up lots of points and only take a few vouchers. As it turns out, most participants said they wouldn't want to work with their unselfish teammate again.
Some participants said the unselfish teammate made them look bad; others suspected they had ulterior motives.
The real-world implication here is that you don't want to be the coworker who always agrees to get pizza for the meeting or fix the printer when it's jammed. Instead, it's OK to say no sometimes, as long as you explain why you can't commit.

8. Humblebragging

To impress friends and potential employers, avoid complimenting yourself and trying to disguise it as self-criticism.
This behavior, otherwise known as "humblebragging," could be a turn-off, according to a recent study.
In the study, college students were asked to write down how they'd answer a question about their biggest weakness in a job interview. Results showed that more than three-quarters of participants humblebragged, usually about being a perfectionist or working too hard.
Yet independent research assistants said they'd be more likely to hire the participants who were honest, and found them significantly more likable. Those students said things like, "I'm not always the best at staying organized" and "Sometimes I overreact to situations."
Another alternative is to talk about weaknesses that don't directly relate to the job — for example, a fear of public speaking if you're applying for a writing position.

9. Getting too nervous

Never let 'em see — or smell — you sweat. Research suggests that the odor of your nervous sweat may subconsciously influence people's judgments of your personality.
Back in 2013, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center had participants watch videos of women in everyday situations, like working in an office and taking care of a child. While watching the videos, they sniffed three kinds of sweat in a row: sweat that someone had produced while exercising, sweat produced during a stressful situation, and sweat produced during a stressful situation that had been covered up with antiperspirant.
Participants were then asked to rate the women on how competent, confident, and trustworthy they seemed.
Results showed that participants rated the women lower on all measures when they smelled the stress-induced sweat. When they smelled the stress sweat that had been covered up with antiperspirant, they rated the women more positively.
Bottom line? If you're prone to nervous sweating, be liberal with the deodorant.

10. Not having a sense of humor

If you're looking to make friends, especially at the office, you might want to loosen up a little.
One study of 140 Chinese workers between ages 26 and 35 found that people were less well-liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were "morally focused." That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits. 
The researchers explained that was because morally focused individuals were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues.
Note that this research isn't an excuse to stop caring about or acting fairly toward your coworkers. But consider it a reason to act less uptight around them.

11. Not smiling

When you're at a networking event, meeting tons of new people, it can be hard to keep a smile plastered on your face. But you might want to try.
In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open body position, smiling in a closed body position, not smiling in an open body position, or not smiling in a closed body position. Results showed that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.
Bonus: Another study found that smiling when you first meet someone helps ensure that they'll remember you later.
Business Insider

12. Acting like you don't like someone

Psychologists have known for a while about a phenomenon called "reciprocity of liking": When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well.
In one study, for example, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. (These group members were in fact chosen randomly by the experimenter.) After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.
In other words, if you don't express fondness for the person you're meeting, you could potentially turn them off and send them in search of someone who does seem to care about them.