To a new breed of CEOs, mental and emotional health is as important as physical fitness
STEVE TOBAK CONTRIBUTOR | Managing Partner, Invisor Consulting
Everybody has ups and downs, but over the years I’ve noticed a long-term trend: I’m getting happier with age. While the unpredictable events of daily life obviously influence your state of mind at any given time, there’s definitely been a general upward trend – like the stock chart of a healthy, growing company.
The reason is hard to miss. I’ve had a career that followed pretty much the same sort of trajectory: plenty of high-frequency ups and downs but generally up and to the right over the long haul. While that’s nothing to write home about, I think you’ll find the factors behind it illuminating, if not surprising.
Maturity … sort of. When you’re young your world is small but your ego is huge so, relatively speaking, every little thing matters a lot. Growing up is about realizing you’re not such a big deal after all. When you stop taking yourself so seriously and start lightening up, life gets a lot easier. While I’m still a kid in many ways, it’s balanced by a sense of humility.
Work-hard, play-hard attitude. I used to think of my dad as a tyrant for drumming a compulsive work ethic into me every day of my life. Meanwhile my mom was pretty laid back about everything. She was a real partier. Put them together, you have me. They’ve been gone a long time, but I’m grateful every day for that strange combination. It’s a real gift.
High aspirations, low expectations. We didn’t have much growing up so pretty much anything was an improvement. And while I admit to having been a little jealous of the nicer things my friends had, rather than a handicap I used that as an incentive to work hard and strive to achieve great things. That relentless drive is critical to success.
Unquenchable thirst for knowledge and experience. I always had this insatiable hunger to learn: to explore, to figure out how things work, to know everything about everything. My parents encouraged that by buying me tons of books, although I don’t know how they kept from going nuts. I was like that annoying kid who’s always asking stuff like, “Mommy, why’s the sky blue?” I literally never shut up.
Knowing who to listen to. I’ve never been shy about asking advice of those who had achieved what I aspired to be. More importantly, I listened. Sure, I trusted my gut, but when their words really resonated with me, I acted without hesitation. That proved remarkably beneficial in choosing the right path when I was at a crossroads.
Knowing who not to listen to. Having grown up on the streets of Brooklyn, where everyone had an opinion on everything, I learned early on how full of crap most people are. So I’ve never paid attention to what anyone says about how I behave or live my life. My methods and choices are mine and nobody else’s. That’s worked out pretty well.
At peace with who I am. Life offers two distinct choices. The first is to reach for the stars. If you make it, great. If not, you have nothing to feel bad about. The second is not to go for it and spend the rest of your life beating yourself up over what you’re not and all the while wondering what could have been. Regret is a bitter pill to swallow.
What I thought you’d find counterintuitive is that it’s all sort of work related. The reason is simple. My priority has always been to do what I love for a living so, for me, hard work has always been fun and fulfilling. That’s probably why I’m good at it. And, over time, that brought freedom, flexibility, and a good life. A happy life.
But there is a catch. It doesn’t happen overnight. One thing I noticed somewhere along the line is, the less I pressured myself in the short-term – the more I learned to let go and relax – the more successful I became over the long-term. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the finish line. You’ll get there soon enough.
Excerpted article By Grace Bluerock | Entrepreneur
Oprah Winfrey was born on this date — January 29 — 62 years ago. She is among the most successful entrepreneurs of all time with a net worth of $3 billion. Life magazine has named Oprah the most influential woman of her generation. Business Week has named her the greatest African-American philanthropist in American history.
Oprah was was born in poverty to an unmarried teen mother. She was sexually abused throughout her childhood and became a troubled, rebellious adolescent. She ran away from home at age 13.
Despite her difficult upbringing, Oprah did not allow her past to determine her future. She demonstrated that regardless of the obstacles we face, we can achieve anything through passion, determination, and hard work. Here are 24 of her greatest quotes on life and success to inspire and empower you.
1. Find your calling.
“Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.”
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”
5. Make a difference.
“You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”
6. Do your best.
“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
7. Know your purpose.
“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”
“The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”
9. Celebrate life.
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
10. Follow your own path.
“Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.”
11. Choose excellence.
“The choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.”
12. Keep good company.
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”
14. Do what you love.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
15. Be the artist of your life.
“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”
16. Leave your comfort zone.
“I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.”
17. Make a difference.
“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life but in other people’s lives.”
18. Stay positive.
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
20. Be limitless.
“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
21. Take risks.
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
23. Follow your passion.
“What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”
24. Take action.
“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
Noise in the workplace annoys us – a lot.
If your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, here’s an idea to help you get back on track: Find a mentor. In an Accountemps survey, 86 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said having a mentor is somewhat or very important for career development, yet only 26 percent of workers have one. Only 18 percent of female professionals interviewed said they have a mentor compared to 33 percent of male respondents. Among the greatest benefits of this relationship, according to CFOs, is learning firsthand from someone in a role to which you aspire.
Workers were asked, “Do you have a mentor?” Their responses:
“An experienced mentor can be a catalyst to help professionals at all levels advance their careers,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps. “A mentor can help navigate career challenges, provide encouragement, and share insights from past successes and failures. Frequently, mentors inside the company end up being strong career advocates for those they take under their wings, helping them rise through the organization.”
Driscoll added, “It doesn’t have to be a one-way street. Often, the mentor may learn new skills from the mentee. Companies can help develop their staff and encourage cross-training by offering formal mentorship programs.”
Accountemps offers five tips for fostering mentor relationships:
- Pick the right mentors. Think about individuals you’d like to emulate. An advisor within the company may be better equipped to help you navigate personalities and politics, while an external mentor can serve as a sounding board and help you stay current on industry trends.
- Follow up regularly. Make it a priority to stay in touch with your mentor at a frequency that works for both of you. Send an occasional email update or ask a question when you run into a challenge.
- Come prepared. Use time with your advisor wisely by setting an agenda in advance of the conversation. What do you want to take away from the meeting? The more specific you can be, the better the outcome.
- Show appreciation. Mentoring requires commitment – make sure you show gratitude. Tell your mentor how his or her guidance has helped you on your career path.
- Identify when it’s time to move on. Busy schedules, changing career paths and major moves could all change the relationship. When you see signs that a mentorship has run its course, it’s okay to part ways. Just don’t sever ties completely – your mentor will always be a valuable contact for you.
About the Research
The surveys were conducted by an independent research firm. They include responses from more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years or older and employed in office environments.
Source: ILScorp Blog
The exercise equipment gathering dust in Canadian’s bedrooms and basements is a familiar sign of the way New Year’s resolutions often are quickly abandoned. But a few resolutions you’ll not only want to make but also stick with involve being more prudent about insurance.
That means spending wisely and getting the coverage that matters most. It’s a good idea to start each year by taking stock of your coverage because auto, home, life and other insurance needs change over time — as you move, switch jobs, add to your family, change vehicles and grow older.
When you have to use your insurance, the last thing you want is to learn that you don’t have enough coverage. But you also want to make sure you aren’t carrying more insurance than you really need.
Here are some New Year’s resolutions to help you fine-tune your insurance policies.
Because auto insurance premiums may be tied to how often you drive and to your vehicle model, make certain you’ve alerted your insurer to any changes in driving habits.
Consumers should make sure their policy accurately reflects how their vehicles are used. Back when gas prices were low, we wanted to take the big luxury car to work. Now, with gas prices, you’re driving the compact, and that can make a difference.
Another great resolution is to drive carefully. The most important thing that determines what you pay for auto insurance is your driving record. Observe the law.
The start of a new year is a great time to update the inventory of your possessions. You’ll need an accurate list if you ever have to make a home insurance claim.
You probably have received (holiday) presents, and there are new things in the house. Some of them could be worth a lot: your TV, your stereo, your computers, your clothes.
If you don’t want to take time to write things down, a very common way is to make a video recording of your home. If there is a theft, you can go back and say ‘I had this stuff.’
Consider a special rider to cover expensive items that may exceed the limits of your home policy. If you have a big flat-screen TV, you may want to schedule that separately. The cost for a rider is usually pretty inexspensive. You can make sure your TV is covered for everything, including your 6-year-old kid hitting a ball through it.
Finally, make sure your home insurance coverage remains high enough if you ever have to repair or rebuild at today’s construction prices.
As you launch into a new year, look for ways to cut life insurance costs. Have you become healthier? Did you stop smoking? Did you lose a significant amount of weight? Are you off medications? You may now qualify for preferred rates.
If you’re the family breadwinner, it’s a good idea to make sure a nonworking spouse or domestic partner also has adequate coverage. The main reason for life insurance is to replace lost income, but a homemaker’s work has value, too. Think about what your partner does in any given month to keep your family functioning. You would have to replace that expense.