7 Things You Should be Doing if You Want to be Successful

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When we think about success and how to achieve it, we always think about things we’re not doing. But what if we started to think about things we need to correct or change? In theory, no matter what we try to do right, we won’t achieve success if we’re doing one little thing wrong. At least not the level of success we strive to achieve. Whether personally or professionally, here are things you shouldn’t do if you want to be successful:

1) Don’t assume.

Think you know it all? You don’t. Never assume you know the answer to something. Unless you’re 100% sure about it, double or even triple check your work. Get a second opinion. Nothing looks worse than not having your act together.

2) Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Along the same lines, if you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s ok to admit that you don’t know it. It’s better to ask than to sit around confused and dazed. At the end of the day, the person who asked the question will be more able to do the task at hand than the person who just guessed.

3) Don’t be late.

Being “fashionably late” isn’t a real thing. It’s just unprofessional and serves as a sign that you don’t really care. As the saying goes, if you’re early you’re on time and if you’re on time you’re late. Respect everyone’s time and be there when you’re suppose to.

4) Don’t think you know it all.

No one likes a know it all. And no one really knows it all. Even if you’re an expert in a field, don’t come off as the end all and be all authority in something. Be open to other people’s thoughts, perceptions and ideas because you might actually be able to learn a thing or two from others.

5) Don’t sleep in.

Some of the most productive and successful get up early in the morning and take that extra time to do something they enjoy, start checking their emails, or just prepare themselves for the day. There’s something about getting up before the rest of the world that makes you want to just stuff done. When you sleep in, you might have missed something already.

6) Don’t complain.

Yes, we’re all going to have to do some not-so-fun things in our careers. Call it paying our dues or call it a learning experience. Whatever you want to call it, don’t complain about it. Everyone has been in the same shoes.

7) Don’t slack off.

And the most important of them all: don’t slack off. If you want to be successful, you have to be a hard worker. Earn it.

Is it possible to achieve the perfect work-life balance?

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Achieving work-life balance is a goal to which most of us strive. But that “perfect” balance is different for everyone. While some people are comfortable and happy putting 12 hours of work in a day, others just can’t do it. It depends a lot on who you are and what stage you are in life. If you’re a young 20-something trying to get your foot in the door, working long hours might be necessary for you. However, if you’re older and have a family, you probably need more personal time outside of work. Work life balance can be difficult to manage, especially if you’re an entrepreneur and have your own business, and there’s no magic number for everyone. There are ways, though, for you to figure out the perfect work-life balance for you and work toward achieving it.

How Much Time Are You Really Comfortable Working?

The first step is to figure out how much time you really are comfortable working. Just because your job requires you to put in a lot of hours doesn’t mean you’re comfortable with it. If you have the time to put in more than 8 hours everyday, then that’s really your decision. A healthy work-life balance doesn’t mean that you have to spend equal amounts of time on work and on life. It just means that you have to find the right balance for you.

What are your priorities?

When you think about work-life balance, you also have to think about your priorities. What’s more important to you, work or personal time? Within each category, figure out the things that are important to you or truly add value. They may be projects or tasks at work that you like doing more than others. At home, you might want to spend more time with your kids or significant other. It’s important to understand what your priorities are. Otherwise, you’ll just be spending time on the wrong things.

What can changes can you actually make?

While it may seem like your work-life balance is out of your control, it really isn’t. For the most part, you can change it or at least attempt to make it somewhat better. If you’re unhappy with how much time you’re spending at work, figure out what you’re spending too much time on. Is your workload too much? Are you not getting the support you need? Talk to your manager about it. Many people are too afraid to speak up if they’re overworked but your manager with appreciate the open communication. If you own a business, you may want to think about how efficiently your time is being spent and if it would be better to hire some additional help.

Achieving the perfect work-life balance doesn’t happen overnight. But once you find it, you’ll be surprised by how much easier your life is to manage.

4 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need to Overcome the Fear of Failure

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Back in 2005, I left a good job at the nation’s largest business advocacy organization to go out on my own and start my own business. My wife was pregnant with our first child, and we were in the process of selling a home and moving halfway across the country.

There certainly were risks. Yes, there was a fear of failure. But, perhaps because of youthful ignorance, I didn’t let that fear stop me. Today, 9 years and three successful startup companies later, is know the rewards certainly outweighed the risks.

Fear of failure, however, can be a powerful impediment to entrepreneurs. In fact, it can sometimes be the biggest obstacle.

This fear of failure can be crippling for anyone, particularly an entrepreneur. Becoming your own boss and starting your own business is a huge decision, both personally and professionally. Not only does it take a large financial investment but also a very significant time investment, as well.

Here are four reasons you should overcome this fear and move forward:

1) You Never Know Unless You Try

Do you want to be playing the ‘what if’ game for the rest your life? What if you did that or this? You’ll never know if you’ll succeed or fail at something until you try. Life is about taking chances. Regret is worst than fear. You don’t get many chances in life so don’t throw one away because you’re scared of what the outcome may be.

2) Time Is Money

Depending on what industry you want to break into, the longer you wait, the higher the chances are of your idea going stale or being taken by someone else. Time is money and if you have a big idea, you want to act on it as soon as possible.

3) The Value of Risk And Reward Is Different For Everyone

As an entrepreneur, you may try to get advice from those around you – business partners, colleagues, friends or family. While it’s always good to hear a different perspective than you own, it’s your decision at the end of the day. The amount of risk someone is willing to take for a particular reward is different for everyone. What may sound like a good idea to you may sound terrible to someone else. Everyone’s situation is different and only you can truly understand your own. Think it through. Just because someone is telling you it’s too risky doesn’t mean it’s actually true.

4) Don’t Be Reckless; Take Calculated Risks

With all this said, there’s also one caveat: don’t be reckless. There’s a difference between taking a calculated risk and a spontaneous risk. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Explore all your options and read all the fine print. Try to predict all the possible curveballs that can be thrown your way and prepare for them. And in the event that you do fail, have a backup plan in case.

4 Ways Improving Your Fitness can Improve Your Productivity

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Committing to improving your fitness is a huge step in the right direction. Fitness is obviously important to improving and maintaining your health but it will also have positive impacts in all areas of your life. Fitness isn’t only about looking good or being able to fit in a pair of jeans. Your overall health will improve if you’re in shape. Your mind will be sharper and you’ll feel more energized to tackle whatever is ahead. Your overall productivity will increase and you’ll reap the benefits in your work life and home life.

Here is why improving your fitness will increase your productivity:

1) You’ll Feel More Energized

This is the most obvious reason – being fit will put your body in good shape. When your body is in good shape, you’ll feel more energized. You will be able to get a lot more done, especially during those long days at work.

2) You’ll Be Less Prone to Illness

Good fitness will strengthen your immune system. If you’re constantly getting sick, it could be because you’re not taking care of your body. Eating healthy and working out will make you less prone to catching a virus. Less sicknesses means more time to focus on things you need to do.

3) You Can Relieve Stress

According to the MayoClinic, “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.”

If you’re feeling particularly frustrated, angry, or nervous about something, a good workout session can really help you get your mind off of it and release some of that pent up stress.

4) You’ll Have Better Memory

Exercise isn’t only beneficial to your body but your mind as well.

As it turns out, consistent exercise will make your mind sharper and more alert. Good fitness will can improve your memory, which is important in almost every aspect of your life. If you’re constantly forgetting important deadlines, it’s possible that you’re too fatigued or lethargic.

Check out this April 2013 New York Times story for more information about two recent studies that show the positive impact of exercise on memory and brain function.

Improving your health and fitness takes more than just wanting to do it. Fitness is just as much about mind as it is about body. The hardest part it committing to it and getting yourself to do it. What are your fitness goals? Often times, people create very vague goals, such as “workout” or “eat healthy”. If that’s the case, it’s pretty much the same as not making goals at all. Fitness goals should be measurable. Lose 10 pounds? Run 5 miles? Workout 5 times a week? Whatever it is, make sure it you hold yourself to it.