Quote Of The Week #87

Quote Of The Week #87 Well-behaved women rarely make history. — Eleanor Roosevelt #character #success #quotes #quote #inspiration

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The Obstacle is the Way : The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Not everyone knows how to handle obstacles. Most people tend to quit at the sight of adversity.

Overcoming obstacles and standing tall in adversity are a learned behavior. To turn your trials into triumphs, you must:

  • Change our bad perceptions of events.
  • Take directive actions.
  • Strengthen your will power.

The Obstacle is the Way _ The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Change your perception

Your perception has power over you and your decisions.

Building up your perception takes time and a lot of practice. You must discipline your emotions and objectively perceive your world for what it is and not for how it wants to be seen in order to :

  • Temper your passions and primal feelings,
  • Become objective and access the truth.
  • Stay cool under pressure.
  • Stay present and positive.

Your mind is a powerful tool. To actively change your perception:

  • Understand that you cannot change the obstacles.
  • Understand that you are in control of how you perceive the world and your obstacles.
  • Believe that you can choose how to respond to different situations. You can always oppose negativity or shake it off.
  • Trust that you are the one who decides of the outcome of the situation.
  • Assume that there are no good or bad events in life. By thinking so, you make it so.
  • Feel your emotions but get your emotions under control.
  • Tell yourself the truth and be authentic.
  • Use your personal resources wisely. For example, don’t waste your time trying to understand why a situation is the way it is. Those reasons don’t matter.
  • See obstacles as challenges or opportunities to observe, to grow, to improve yourself, to acquire new skills and to try new tactics.
  • Do not make assumptions.
  • Be present, be bold and take calculated risks.
Our perceptions can be a source of strength or of great weakness.-Ryan Holiday in The Obstacle is the Way : The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. Click To Tweet

Take directive action

After you have corrected your perception, it is time to learn how to act it out.

Each and every one of your actions must serve a purpose.

To act towards your goals with your new perception:

  • Remember that where you start is not where you will end.
  • Start somewhere and fight to create momentum in whatever you undertake.
  • Take the time to explore and to learn.
  • Avoid complaining and take “directive action”. If you have taken action, persevere and don’t quit no matter what.
  • Expect the execution of your plan will be difficult.
  • See obstacles as a way to test your character.
  • Turn negatives into positives.
  • Do not dwell or waste time dwelling on the hand that life has dealt you.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Don’t let distractions or failed actions stop you. Instead, fail forward, learn from your failures and don’t take them personally.
  • Manage your energy and always do your best with what you have.

Increase your will power

Your will power is something that can never be taken from you.

Maintaining it requires a deep understanding of life.

To increase your will power:

Review

The Obstacle is the Way : The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph is a motivational book that encourages people to withstand adversity and to take action despite adversity.

Ryan Holiday shares a philosophical approach, rooted in stoicism, that will help you confront obstacles and turn them upside down.

The Obstacle is the Way : The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph is destined for leaders and entrepreneurs who:

  • Face challenges on a daily basis,
  • Need to make pragmatic decisions and take calculated risks,
  • Want to take their career or business to the next level.

Holiday‘s entire book is based on classical references, historical figures and war leaders, who have distinguished themselves in life and who have adopted stoicism as a life strategy.

Finally, Ryan Holiday also incorporates reputable leaders and entrepreneurs as examples of resilience and will power.

If you want to stay motivated and push through your challenges, this book is for you.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

Our perceptions can be a source of strength or of great weakness. If we are emotional, subjective and shortsighted, we only add to our troubles.

Obstacles make us emotional, but the only way we’ll survive or overcome them is by keeping those emotions in check—if we can keep steady no matter what happens, no matter how much external events may fluctuate.

Focusing exclusively on what is in our power magnifies and enhances our power. But every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted—self-indulgent and self-destructive. So much power—ours, and other people’s—is frittered away in this manner.

If you mean it when you say you’re at the end of your rope and would rather quit, you actually have a unique chance to grow and improve yourself. A unique opportunity to experiment with different solutions, to try different tactics, or to take on new projects to add to your skill set.

Leadership requires determination and energy. And certain situations, at times, call on leaders to marshal that determined energy simply to endure.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Ryan Holiday

7 Steps To Be A Positive Leader In Adversity

From workplace bullying to job loss, from an unsatisfied customer to a tough team, from company crisis to personal drama, adversity often catches us by surprise.

Indeed, we never see it coming. If you are a leader, you will definitely be subjected to it and will have to learn how to wear adversity like a badge of honor.

Wondering how to stay positive in the face of adversity?

7 Steps To Be A Positive Leader In Adversity

Why be positive?

Without adversity, we wouldn’t do, create anything or grow as people.

The most effective way to deal with adversity is to stop worrying, to maintain a positive and optimistic attitude.

People enjoy positive people and are most likely to help them. Positive people:

  • Are able to overcome adversity.
  • Are high performers.
  • Are most satisfied with their relationships.
  • Focus on the future and are resilient.
  • Focus on their strengths.
  • Have clear goals. They actively work towards their goals and understand that they can change the outcome of a situation.
  • Have control over their lives and see stress as a small bump in the road.
  • Know that their mood can be controlled.
  • Don’t waste their time and energy on drama.
When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “why me”, say “try me”. Click To Tweet

There are a few strategies to keep your composure and maintain a sense of self.

#1. Assess the situation

Adverse situations are necessary and often come out of the blue.

Sometimes, the situation is not as bad as it seems.

The first step is to identify the origin of the situation and the possible outcomes.

Then, assess the criticality of the situation.

Finally, come up with different potential solutions to your problem.

#2. Change your mindset

Once, you have assessed the situation, it is detrimental to accept your reality, let go of the past and rework your perceptions of adversity.

You can tell yourself that there are always solutions to a problem, that your situation is not as bad as it seems, is only temporary, or can be an opportunity in disguise.

In addition, to change your mindset:

  1. Visualize yourself beyond your situation.
  2. Be grateful for what you have. There are people who are in worse situations than you are.
  3. Understand that your situation is temporary and that you are passing through and will come out safe.

#3. Gain control over your situation

Staying organized and focused will help you gain more control over your situation.

  1. Focus on what you can do and measure your progress.
  2. Write down your task for the day in order of importance so you can focus on it.
  3. Learn your job and become an expert in your field.
  4. Learn to say no without having to explain yourself. There are different ways to politely express refusal. “I’ll think about it”, “I’ll get back to you”, “I have a prior engagement”…

#4. Gain control over yourself

Adversity makes everything seems out of control and generates a lot of extreme emotions.

Keeping your composure requires a lot of emotional discipline. To do so, take care of your mind, body and soul.

Take care of body

Exercise to keep your confidence up and to quiet your mind.

Take care of your mental health

  1. Work on your mental health.
  2. Take time off and stay in a quiet place to meditate, to make peace with yourself, to cope with your problem, to sleep.
  3. Quickly identify your thought pattern.
  4. Express your facts, emotions and your adversity in writing.
  5. Write down your past achievements and what you did to overcome past obstacles as well.

#5. Keep your vision alive

To stay positive, you must keep your goals and your vision alive.

In doing so, remember your mission statement, your purpose and the reasons why you have joined the company.

#6. Maintain your sense of humor

Making fun of your problems can help you understand them and alleviate your load.

Maintaining your sense of humor in times of adversity is a conscious choice. To do so:

  • Have a good laugh and make fun of yourself.
  • Try to start your day with a smile on your face.
  • Look around and find things that will make you smile.
  • Be kind to other people, compliment them and put a smile on their face.
  • Give back to your team or to your community.

#7. Muster up a strong support system

Your relationships are what will get you through in hard times. That’s why you don’t have to shut yourself off and you must:

  • Surround yourself with successful and positive people.
  • Take the time to vent and talk things through with someone you trust.
  • Ensure that you make time for intimacy.

Last Words Of Advice!

It is important for you to know when it is time to move on.

Moving on doesn’t mean that you are weak or that you cannot handle yourself.

It simply means that you have control over your decisions, that value your health and sanity more than your job, that you understand life and are at peace with yourself.

Furthermore, remember that:

  1. You are only human.
  2. You are not the only one going through adversity.
  3. Your story can help someone overcome theirs.
  4. Your past mistakes don’t define who you are.
  5. You must not take your problems personally.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Unfortunately, we have all experienced toxic leadership at some point in our career.

Toxic workplaces and toxic leadership foster because the leader is either encouraging it, participating in it or ignoring it.

Toxic leaders are corrosive on the long run. They erode their employees confidence, motivation, productivity, trust, loyalty and respect.

Wondering if you are a toxic leader or are in the presence of one?

12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

#1. Toxic leaders retain useful information

Knowledge is power and toxic leaders know that.

The longer they can keep you in the dark, the longer they have control over you and the longer they stay in power.

In fact, leaders who retain information are insecure and are afraid of being replaced.

#2. Toxic leaders abuse their power and authority

Any chance that they get, toxic leaders need to remind you that they are in power and that they have leverage (financial leverage most of the time) over you.

This type of leaders have huge egos, consider that their employees are subordinates, and do not care who they have to step over to get what they want.

#3. Toxic leaders micromanage their employees

They don’t give people the time or the space to do their job. Instead, they breath down people’s neck.

In fact, micromanaging leaders are counterproductive and create a stressful work environment.

Which, in turn, slows down team work and efficiency.

#4. Toxic leaders condone poor behavior

They accept poor behavior from their team as long as the team produces results.

For example, they would tolerate workplace bullying if it would bring their team closer together.

In turn, they use fear and diverse punishments to incentivize their team.

#5. Toxic leaders manipulate and play aggressive office politics

They play mind games, use information about you against you, love to manipulate and gas light their own team just to stay in power and to advance their career.

#6. Toxic leaders shift responsibility

They talk about accountability but when push comes to shoves they avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Besides, when things are great, they take credit for your success. When things go bad, they question your abilities and your failures.

#7. Toxic leaders give orders and don’t expect feedback

For them, it is their way or the high way.

They expect you to follow orders whether that order is right or wrong, whether that order benefits them or not.

The truth is they think that they know best but they actually don’t.

#8. Toxic leaders lie for no reason

They backtrack, bend the rules, adjust procedures, make up stories and rumors to for their needs.

They do not care about the impact of their words and create a culture of distrust.

#9. Toxic leaders protect the status quo

They deeply believe in hierarchy.

They don’t promote change or push innovative ideas.

In addition, they are locked in a particular era, in a particular setting. They don’t wish to modernize or adapt to change.

#10. Toxic leaders are overly emotional

They dramatize everything, have a temper and haven’t got a hold of it.

Their mood usually fluctuates throughout the day.

As a result, their behavior makes people walk on eggshells around them.

#11. Toxic leaders are passive aggressive

Either they play nice to your face and stab you in the back.

Or, they hold their feelings in and act it out instead.

Passive aggressiveness is very difficult to deal with as they don’t offer you any type of resolve.

#12. Toxic leaders lack core values

These leaders are entitled and self-serving.

They do not care about people and put their own interest first, no matter what.

Last Words Of Advice!

Toxic leaders often scare away their best employees.

Toxic leaders are simply fooling themselves because they live in constant fear.

They are afraid of losing control, of losing power, of seeming inferior, of being replaceable…

Furthermore, they let their fear control them and influence their behavior.

It is not necessary for you to play into their hands:

  • Learn from your experiences, about yourself and your limits. You can always extract lessons from a negative experience.
  • Emotionally and physically discipline yourself. Don’t lose your cool. By loosing your cool, you are giving them power over you.
  • Don’t take things personally and don’t let their problems become yours. It’s not about you but it’s all about them.
  • Find emotional support outside of work.
  • Keep your dignity. Don’t let other people actions define your character.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

When you are a leader, people will be watching your every moves like a hawk.

So, there are a couple of things to do and not to do in order to be unimpeachable and to represent your true self well.

Sometimes, the novelty of the job, the number of people you meet, the quantity of information transiting in your direction, the new type of pressure tend to make you forget your role as a leader.

The truth is that you do during your first few days as a leader will mark memories in the long run.

10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

#1. Create work-life balance

Congratulations on your new position!

  1. Take a moment to drain it all in and celebrate success. When you access a new position, you are either frightened or excited.
  2. Take some time to assess your new role and the advancement in your career, on your success.
  3. Get your personal life together. Have hobbies and a strong support system in place.
  4. Prepare your transition to your new position.

#2. Mind your character

When you meet someone for the first time, they will have a tendency to test you, your principles, character, core values and boundaries.

For example, from your boss to the cleaning lady, they will all check if you get angry easily or his much patience you have.

It is important to always be developing yourself as a leader.

#3. Check your attitude

A positive attitude is everything and will determine your heights to success. During the first few months, it is detrimental to:

  1. Stay visible.
  2. Adopt a winning strategy.
  3. Be aware of your actions. You are now a role model.
  4. Keep a positive attitude and body language, even when you don’t feel like it.

#4. Be approachable

Sometimes, it’s important to seem approachable:

  1. Introduce yourself to people even if you don’t know them or are not introduced. Don’t wait too long before introducing yourself or else it will quickly get awkward.
  2. Remember names when you are being introduced.
  3. Try to get along with people for the first few days.
  4. Help others find their motivation.

#5. Groom yourself and dress like a leader

No matter what people say, first impressions matter unfortunately. Dressing like a leader will help you feel confident and will in consequence increase your ability to lead.

Even though you know that clothes don’t define your character, most people make snap judgments.

Also, observe the company’s dress code and dress accordingly.

#6. Keep learning

Learning is a humbling process. Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

  1. Make sure that you study and learn the corporate culture.
  2. Evaluate what you have learned from your previous jobs and from the previous one in your position.
  3. Ask questions even if they make you look or feel incompetent.
  4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to perform.
  5. Don’t stop learning. Not because you have reached a leadership position that you have to stop learning and stop asking questions.

#7. Build relationships

Building the right relationships is a cultural key to success.

To quickly build relationships and to grow your network, put your interpersonal skills to the test and make a positive first impression.

#8. Watch out for office politics

Office politics in the first few days is risky.

  1. Be mindful of office politics and the cliques that already exist.
  2. Choose your clicks wisely you want to belong to. Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.
  3. Keep your opinion about your colleagues and your work to yourself. There is nothing more disgraceful than a gossiping leader that nobody can trust.
  4. Find out how your new team operated in the past.

#9. Assess your strengths and weaknesses 

You do not want to reach these heights and find out that the positions is not made for you, that you are not capable of achieving success, job fulfillment, job satisfaction.

  1. Understand that different skills will be demanded in your new role. What got you here won’t get you there.
  2. Make sure that you really want this position and that it’s right for you.
  3. Get a hold on your purpose. You will know if you are walking in your purpose by the amount of joy you experience while executing your purpose.

#10. Earn your respect

In your first few months:

  1. Do not try to be liked but to be respected. This is an advice for mostly women who have to annoyingly smile and forcefully be polite.
  2. Don’t be too quick to use your new authority or power.
  3. Start taking responsibility for your actions.
  4. Share your core values and set high expectations for performance, results, conduct, alignment and engagement.
  5. Give respect. Find out where your role starts and ends. There is no need to step on anybody’s toes.

Last Words Of Advice!

The first months are the right time to set right habits.

  1. Don’t stop growing and expect discomfort.
  2. Remember that you are the one who makes the decision.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

11 Habits Of Emotionally Disciplined Leaders

There are no good or bad emotions per se. However, some emotional displays are more socially acceptable than others, depending on each individual’s socio-economic background, appearances and attached stereotypes.

For example, being spiteful and openly provoking someone is socially accepted. However, a person reacting to that provocation with anger is not.

Furthermore, in the workplace, you must leave your emotions at the door, and display a confident and positive attitude. Demonstrating that you are having a bad week will probably get you removed from the project.

When the pressure is on, organizations look to leaders to take action and to safely bring the organization out of hot waters. Leaders who are unable to step up to the plate will potentially be removed from their position.

As a leader, you must discipline your emotions, always have a clear head, continuously deal with challenges, give and receive feedback, keep your employees motivated and on task, even when you are tired or fed up.

Wondering how to discipline your emotions and improve your leadership skills?

11 Habits Of Emotionally Disciplined Leaders

What being emotionally disciplined means…

Emotional discipline is about being able to effectively manage your feelings. Being emotionally disciplined means that you are also able to:

  • Stay calm in challenging situations and overpower your own emotions. You can then deal with a tough situation, without making it worse.
  • Respond and not react to triggering events.
  • Gain more power over yourself and control yourself instead of being controlled.
  • Separate your inner voice from the outside noise.
  • Remain in the present, avoid dwelling on the past and obsessing about the future.
  • Decide and act how you want to really feel.
  • Acquire the freedom to express yourself freely and to engage in activities that make you happy.
  • Avoid getting tangled up in someone else’s web and positively interact with people. Let’s be honest, emotional discipline is useful to gracefully put people back in their place.
  • See people for who they really are and for how they really make you feel.
  • Gain new perspectives on your problems and navigate different situations.
  • Effectively address important and difficult issues.
  • Take advantage of a given situation and delay instant gratification for long-term rewards.
  • Possess several strategies to overcome most challenges.

Why discipline your emotions?

People will try your patience and your peace of mind on a daily basis in life and in the workplace.

The way you feel has an impact on your behavior, on the way you lead and the way you think. Your emotions also affect your health, your self-talk and your work performance.

Needless to say, becoming emotionally disciplined requires a lot of self-reflection, quiet moments with yourself and understanding that no one can harm you without your consent.

It requires growth, that you build up your resistance and become thick-skinned. It is not an easy nor an overnight process.

How leaders strengthen their emotional discipline?

Most people who possess emotional discipline are successfully placed in leadership positions because they are able to work through their own discomfort. To strengthen your emotional discipline, it is imperative to acquire the following habits.

#1. Leaders have a strong hold on their identity

They know their core values, their strengths and weaknesses. They also know where to apply them and they learn about themselves through their emotions.

In addition, they do not let stereotypes and assumptions define them.

#2. Leaders understand their triggers

This step is time-consuming because people might not want to immediately confront their emotions and they might resist the drive down memory lane.

When the pressure is on, leaders are able to quickly identify the origin of your emotions. They know their triggers, understand why that situation or this person is triggering them.

Furthermore, they don’t let anyone push their buttons or control them, they don’t react but they respond to negative behavior.

They navigate office politics well and they know how to deal with toxic people.

Remember, it is essential to not give the people who are triggering you satisfaction.

#3. Leaders stay on purpose

They have a goal and vision for their life.

They wake up in the morning ready to achieve their goals for the day and to make the right decisions for themselves.

#4. Leaders walk with integrity

They do what is right because doing the wrong thing requires too much emotional effort.

Moreover, they take accountability for their actions and don’t shift blame.

#5. Leaders stay in the moment

Most of the time, being in the moment will give you the opportunity to feel your emotional response and give you the appropriate response to any situation.

#6. Leaders identify the emotions that overcome them

If you cannot find the right words to describe your emotion, postpone your self-reflection until later, when you’re in a quiet place.

#7. If they can, leaders write down their thoughts on paper

This way, you will notice your thought patterns, illogical and irrational thoughts, the assumptions that you make, the systems of beliefs, the solutions to your situation, what you need to feel better and to clarify your situation.

#8. Leaders practice self-care

They work out regularly, eat well and do things that you enjoy.

In addition, they take the time to meditate, to quiet the noise in their minds, to improve their self-talk and to employ the power of positive affirmations.

#9. Leaders see people for who they truly are

Leaders are not only self-aware but they are aware of other people’s intention.

#10. Leaders have a strong support system

They have an emotional support system in place that helps them reason, that they go to regularly and that act as a sounding board.

They also surround themselves with people who are emotionally healthy.

#11. Leaders don’t take anything personally

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can harm you without your consent.

So, emotionally disciplined leaders look for solutions instead of dwelling on their circumstances, focus on the positive and don’t dwell on the negative.

Last Words Of Advice!

You cannot run from your emotions and project false ones. 

Eventually, they will catch up with you. One small insignificant incident can trigger and instantly download all the emotions that you haven’t dealt with.

Don’t be afraid of your emotions. They are there to help you and they will ease up once you have confronted them.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the reasons why we are afraid of being vulnerable, the different ways we protect ourselves from vulnerability, and how to become more vulnerable in our society.

Daring Greatly means being vulnerable, being engaged, being exposed and avoiding being perfect.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

A Narcissistic Society

Many researchers have shown that the American culture has turned into a narcissistic influenced culture, a culture of scarcity, a culture where people put themselves first, think that they are special, are always connected to social media, go after money and power, chase beauty and other vanity, compare themselves, are disengaged and concerned with the idea of lacking.

Instead of putting sown narcissistic people and showing them that they are not special, it is better to seek understanding and find the root of the problem.

Being narcissistic stems from a feeling of not being enough and of being ordinary.

Vulnerability & The Feeling Of Not Being Enough

The feeling of not being enough brings about shame and stops us from being vulnerable. Shame is a universal emotion, is corrosive, “keeps us small, resentful and afraid”.

Furthermore, we become disengaged when we are too afraid to be vulnerable, when we are ashamed, when we lack purpose, when a social contract is not met.

It is critical to speak out on your shame, to be self-aware, to know your self-worth, to ask and receive feedback because knowing your worth will help you become more vulnerable.

To eradicate the feeling of shame:

  • Identify your shame triggers.
  • Observe your self talk.
  • Practice authenticity.
  • Accept your experiences.
  • Share your experience, be vulnerable with someone who genuinely cares about you.

Common Misconceptions About Vulnerability

We are thought not to be vulnerable, not to show our emotions, to look down on those who do. There are several misconceptions when it comes to vulnerability.

Misconception #1: “Vulnerability is weakness”

The reality is vulnerability is not a weakness, is not good or bad. Vulnerable is the origin of all emotions. It therefore becomes important to acknowledge your vulnerability.

Besides, the people who think that they are impenetrable are in fact the most vulnerable.

Misconception #2: “I don’t do vulnerability”

Vulnerability is unavoidable. When we try to avoid it, we often exhibit unusual inconsistent behaviors.

Misconception #3: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out”

You cannot be vulnerable with everyone. It is important to build trust and boundaries before being vulnerable. Otherwise, more times than ever, you will end up getting betrayed and hurt.

Misconception #4: “We can go it alone”

Individualism and going it alone are highly regarded in American culture. In this case, it is essential to construct a support system, to ask for and receive help

Shame As A Management Tool

Most of the time, shame and the blame game are used as management tool, yet is ineffective.

Subsequently, the situations that we face on a daily basis, in the education system, in the workplace, force us to keep our head down and our mouth shut which doesn’t encourage innovation, creativity or the learning process.

Vulnerability & Protective Mechanism

Our protective mechanisms are survival strategies, used to shield our vulnerability. Those shields can go from foreboding joy, to perfectionism to numbing down your emotions.

To avoid shielding vulnerability, it is critical to:

  • Practice gratitude.
  • Appreciate your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Confront your emotions.
  • Live a more fulfilling life and feed your spirit.
  • Focus your time and energy on the essentials.
  • Consider how your behavior affect those around you.

Shield #1: Victim mentality

Some people go through life with a victim or perpetrator, win or lose mentally and subsequently fall into one of these categories.

Surprisingly, the people who have been through the most trauma, demonstrate the most resilience. And, people who don’t feel like victims or perpetrators, see themselves as thrivers.

Shield #2: “Floodlighting”

Floodlighting is essentially oversharing and stems from a need for confirmation and validation.

We have to be careful not to share vulnerable stories too soon with people who have not earned the right to hear them. The people on the receiving end often shut down, lack empathy or feel disconnected.

Shield #3: “The smash and grab”

With this shield, some people use vulnerability as a manipulation, sensationalizing tactic that is common in celebrity culture, as an attention seeking tool.

Shield #4: “Serpentining”

Serpentining is a draining and an avoidance behavior. It happens when people are not facing a situation head on for fear of being vulnerable, of not being present.

Shield #5: Mean-spiritedness

In this case, people use criticism, cynicism and mean-spiritedness to protect themselves. They are mean to people who dare demonstrate vulnerability.

Review

Daring Greatly is essential to leadership, parenting, relationships, finding your purpose and your passion.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown gives insight into the corporate and the western culture where being vulnerable equals being weak and lets you open to different attacks.

Through Daring Greatly, Brown has gathered data from people from different walks of life so we can somewhat self diagnose and become more aware of some of our toxic behavior.

Brené Brown makes some pertinent point and writes exactly like she speaks. Furthermore, Brown is very open and authentic, shares her anecdotes, fears and doubt. For example, she is vulnerable with us, mindful of the stories to share, lets us into her conversations with her therapist.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Favorite quote(s)

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying. Researchers don’t find shame correlated with positive outcomes at all—there are no data to support that shame is a helpful compass for good behavior. In fact, shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and
hurtful behaviors than it is to be the solution.

Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Brené Brown

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.

What is focus?

Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.

The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.

Why do you need to effectively manage your attention? 

Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.

Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.

However, gaining better focus will help you finish all your tasks on time, make better decisions, solve problems, become more productivity, get a successful work/life balance, embrace failure and learn  from your mistakes.

By improving your focus, you can reserve your energy for relationships, build stronger connections, become more present, increase your memory, achieve greater self-confidence, handle and overcome adversity.

Why are people so unfocused?

Nobody is impervious to distraction. People are easily distracted because they usually:

  • lack interest, are unable to commit or stay engaged to a particular task.
  • lack emotional intelligence and are submerged by fear.
  • are disorganized and don’t structure their day.
  • lack energy. They don’t sleep, eat or exercise correctly.
  • lack control or discipline.

Creating an environment to focus

Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:

  1. Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
  2. Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
  3. Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
  4. Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
  5. Breathe clean air.
  6. Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
  7. Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
  8. Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
  9. Monitor your time to measure your progress.
  10. Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades (3)

Strategies to overcome mind-wandering

There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.

  1. As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
  2. Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
  3. Identify the purpose for every task.
  4. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  5. Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
  6. Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
  7. Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
  8. To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
  9. Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
  10. Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
  11. Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
  12. Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
  13. Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
  14. Stay away from internet.
  15. Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
  16. Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
  17. Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
  18. Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
  19. Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
  20. Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
  21. Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
  22. Stay away from perfectionism.
  23. Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
  24. Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.

Review

Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.

Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links  and tools to enable your productivity.

It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.

I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.

All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.

Favorite quote(s)

When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.

Ratings 2.5/5

Author

Damon Zahariades

Damon Zahariades

MEET THE AUTHOR

Damon Zahariades is a productivity expert, owner of the blog Art Of Productivity and the author of Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!.

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself By Henri Junttila

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila is a self-help book that encourages people to find their passion and get the life they want.

Finding your passion is about exploration, living the life of your dreams, getting out of your comfort zone, overcoming obstacles and bringing out your inner joy.

Passion is waking up energized and motivated to do the things you love. It means being able to persist through adversity.

To identify and live your passion, Henri Junttila poses 25 questions that will help you assess yourself, overcome roadblocks and successfully create your life goals.

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself By Henri Junttila

Self-Assessment

First, you must get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests.

Your definition of passion

According to Henri Junttila, you must first discover what the word passion means to you and what it means to people around you. You must also be able to envision yourself living a passionate life and find out how it feels to be passionate.

Keep in mind that your passion is personal, internal and intrinsic to your being. It is not what society, friends and family tell you it should be.

Talents, strengths and weaknesses

Everyone has a gift and it is your duty to find out what you are gifted at because most of the time, your passions lie within your gifts.

Besides, tapping into your strengths will make you a happier person. Not doing so will definitely make you feel miserable, out of focus, burnt out.

It is therefore detrimental to:

  • Explore every single one of your interests and natural inclinations. For example, what do you find yourself naturally talking about? People can have several passions. They should explore all of them and see which ones resonates the most.
  • Remind yourself of your dreams, strengths and passions as a child.
  • Analyze the reasons why you are interested in certain activities.
  • Evaluate the advice that is requested from you and the advice that you give.
  • Take strengths and weaknesses assessment tests.
  • Analyze your situation, how people feel about you.
  • Do things that are out of your comfort zone.
  • Value your natural gifts.
  • Find out how you can apply your strengths in different areas of your life.
  • Don’t take advice from people but instead follow your gut.
  • Strengthen the connection to your inner voice. Your intuition has your best interest and can never lead you astray.
  • Determine what angers and disturbs you so you can avoid settling for mediocrity.

Making A Life Plan

Goals ate milestones. They are there to measure your progress and your passion.

  • Figure out your life goals in five or ten years.
  • Identify the pros and the cons of success. Check if they are worthwhile and if you can tolerate them. Usually the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
  • Work like you will succeed and dream like you cannot fail.
  • Visualize your goals, yourself living a successful life and take the steps needed to achieve that.
  • Detail your plan and the life you want.
  • Improve your problem solving sills.
  • Don’t make assumptions.

Finding Your Passion and Self-sabotaging

We are sometimes our worst enemy. Our assumptions about people or about ourselves are hard to shift or to disable. And sometimes, they can hold us back.

To get rid of the debilitating assumptions that you make about yourself:

  • Find out what you hate, what would hinder you as a human being, what you wouldn’t do, what would go against your core values.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Don’t impose limits to your imagination.
  • Change your perspective on your problems.
  • Review your systems of belief and integrate the ideas needed to succeed.
  • Don’t listen to naysayers. This is hard because naysayers are mostly family and close friends who are afraid of facing their own realities and who are afraid that you will outgrow them.
  • Dream big but don’t settle.
  • Don’t give up on yourself and your dreams.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

Overcoming Factors Out Of Your Control

In life, there a numerous obstacles to success and to happiness: money, death and other factors.

Indeed, money or lack thereof is limiting. People need money to go after their passion, to recover from failure, to have the opportunity to explore, to remove fear.

However, finding your passion is all about being resilient and understanding that not everything is going to go your way. You must also:

  • Understand that to every problem there are multiple solutions.
  • Understand that nothing will never be perfect and that there is no right time to start.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure or of success. Work like you cannot fail.
  • Follow your passion whether you have money or not.
  • Even when facing obstacles or feeling stuck, take baby steps no matter what.
  • Think about your own death and the legacy you want to leave. Thinking about your own death will help you prioritize and focus on the essentials.

Review

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila is a relatable, quick and easy to read book that helps you to get to know and love yourself just the way you are.

It is primarily written for people who feel lost in the world, who are fearful, who go through life without passion or without a clear purpose. The silver lining is that it’s never too late to find and follow your passions.

In Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself, Henri Junttila was able to share all this useful information in such a concise book. He also provides us with additional insightful questions and a complete workbook, which makes the book completely unreadable without a paper and a pen.

It is imperative that you keep this book close by, that you take your time to answer these questions and that you don’t censor yourself. Your answers may not come to you at first but you can always revisit the book.

Be authentic with the world and with yourself and you will never fail.

Favorite quote(s)

When I see people limit themselves, I get angry. I see the potential in people, but they don’t do anything about it. They settle for mediocrity, and they believe they can’t do better.

Living a passionate life doesn’t happen overnight. It’s hard work, and it’s not as glamorous as people make it out to be. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after it. It simply means that it takes more work than you’d expect.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Henri Junttila