Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leaders Are Readers: 10 book recommendations

1) How to win friends and influence people-Dale Carnegie:
This book sits, deservingly, at the top of these book recommendations. The importance of learning to work with people as a leader or otherwise cannot be overstated. How to win friends and influence people broadens our understanding of human nature. This book is like a how-to on interacting with the people around you. It will also undoubtably boost your emotional intelligence a few points.

2) Think and Grow Rich-Napoleon Hill:
Not to be confused with a 'get rich quick' strategy, Think and Grow Rich contains honest practical application for leaders and entrepreneurs. If you don't think you have what it takes to build wealth this book might convince you otherwise. 

3) The Road Less Traveled-Scott Peck:
In order for anyone to be a true leader they must first learn to understand and develop themselves. Personal development is a key component in developing others. This book covers love, values, and spiritual growth. A trinity of core concepts involved in growing ones self. 

4) Mastery-Robert Greene:
From the best selling author of 48 laws of power comes Mastery. In this book Robert Greene shows us techniques used by some of the most powerful people in the world to embrace their lives and direct their own destinies. This book teaches us that personal mastery is no longer reserved for gurus, mystics, and the elite. 

5) Meetings With Remarkable Men-G.I. Gurdjieff:
This book blends adventure, wisdom, and spirituality nicely in an easy to digest story. It teaches us that in order to do the remarkable, we must first learn to see the remarkable in ourselves and others.

6) 4-Hour Work Week-Timothy Ferris
Another great book that is often mistaken for a 'get rich quick' scheme. 4-Hour Work Week promotes stepping away from the traditional over the hill retirement. It instead introduces the idea of outsourcing time consuming tasks with little value and establishing mini retirements throught ones life. Very motivating. 

Reaching your full potential. Sounds pretty nice huh? But is it possible? Maxwell thinks so and provides 15 laws that will convince you it is possible and that you CAN get there. Awesome read. 

8) Awaken The Giant Within- Anthony Robbins:
This book was a big one for me personally. So much in the book is relateable and resonant. The message here is that if you want to reach the next level in your life you've already got what it takes. 

9) Outliers-Malcom Gladwell:
An eye opening look at the REAL secrets behind success. That it's not nessecarily  being the smartest or the hardest working that has allowed history's elite to rise but more often their culture and their upbringing. Gladwell also stakes the claim that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Better get started!

10) Art Of War-Sun Tzu
Leadership is often about picking your battles. The wisdom in Art Of War comes from some ancient strategies but maintains its relevance today by teaching us practical ways to deal with conflict. Don't fight if you can avoid it. But if you must fight, you must win.  

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

5 Steps To Fearlessness

A year and a half ago I found myself in a pivotal situation. I had been living in Atlanta for a while when an opportunity to live in Australia and travel the southern hemisphere presented itself. A potentially life changing experience was staring me right in the face when I suddenly found my self clouded by doubt and uncertainty. I'd be alone, in a new country , a world away from everything I'd ever known, and the list goes on. Was I going to let the fear of the unknown keep me from seeing another part of the world?

*Spoiler alert: HELL NO! I didn't let fear stop me and it turned out to be the best year of my life.

As you've undoubtedly learned by now, fear is an inevitable part of life. Some people are completely disabled by fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of...whatever. Fear can be crippling or it can be empowering if you can learn how to work with it. In my year of traveling I was forced into many situations where there was no other option but to face fear. What seemed terrifying at the start has provided me with a tried and tested method for dealing with fear that anyone can use:

Step 1: Accept fear as normal
When it comes to dealing with fear, the first, and often biggest obstacle is embracing that fear. It can be difficult to accept fear but it is an essential first step. Understand that it is normal to feel fear.  Its instinctual. You can't eliminate fear from your life but you can learn to live WITH fear and how to use it to your advantage.

Step 2: Adjust your posture
Biologically, body language has a big influence on your confidence. Confidence, which happens to be linked directly into your nervous system, also plays a large roll in overcoming fear. Don't underestimate yourself. If you believe you can conquer your fear, you can. Even if your not feeling your most confident; when you stand up straight, broaden your stance, and hold your head high your nervous system tricks your brain into thinking confident thoughts. Confident posture (body language, eye contact, deep/slow breathing, speaking slowly) turns into heightened levels of confidence.

Step 3: Put yourself in a position to conquer your fear
Confronting your fears can actually relieve discomfort that fear had previously caused. Write down what you fear and visualize yourself successfully overcoming that fear. Picture things going well and agree in advance to move forward by any means once you are face to face with the situation. By doing this you are increasing your chance for success. Next is to set up a reward for yourself.

Step 4: Reinforce the positive
Just like Ivan Pavlov and his slobbering dog taught us, rewarding positive behavior will condition you to better handle similar situations in the future. Set up your reward in advance if possible. When you reward yourself for facing a fear, you are teaching your subconscious that facing that fear is beneficial. Later, write down your success from the experience. Reflecting on what went right allows us to duplicate success next time.

Step 5: Support system
You're never alone. Reach out if necessary because encouragement can play a crucial role in dealing with fear. Associate yourself with confident people. People that want to help you grow and rally behind your attempt to better yourself.

Now the hard part is over. If you follow these 5 steps and still find yourself having doubts about conquering your fear, ask your self these questions:

-What do I stand to gain from confronting this fear?
-What do I stand to miss out on if I don't deal with this fear?

Fear can be very limiting if you don't learn to deal with it but if I can do it, so can you. Move out of your comfort zone, demolish your fears, and you might just find yourself having everything you've ever wanted.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, February 24, 2014

To Be or Not To Be? The Importance Of Asking Good Questions:

Have you ever considered the impact that questions have on our lives? 
What a difference asking GOOD questions can have on our quality of life?

Questions are fundamental to our thought process. In fact all thinking is simply asking and answering questions. As you perceive the world you are subconsciously asking yourself questions about the environment that your brain then interprets.


When we witness an event it's not  the event as it is that we see, but rather our brains perception of that event. --It is your perception that shapes your life. 

The questions we ask determine our thoughts and our thoughts are directly reflected as our reality.

It's common for peoples questions to sound like these:
-Why am I in this situation?
-Why am I depressed?
-Why are we out of cookies?

By simply asking better/more affective questions your outlook and attitude can completely change. Re-phrasing those questions to enable positivity and potential might look like:

-How can I move through this experience confidently?
-How can I feel happy and energetic?
-Why don't I go get some cookies?

If you consistently ask questions that are specific and intentional, you will begin to see improvement in all aspects of your life. Positive thoughts and actions cause a ripple effect that can have far reaching influence.

-How can I take what I learned here apply it, and share it with others?
-How can I use this to better myself and others?

Become aware of the questions you have on a regular basis. Try rephrasing them in a way that improves your state of being, and watch the difference this subtle change can have on your life.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has it's own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little mystery every day. Never lose holy curiosity. " -Einstein