Hard Work & Leadership
I think we undervalue hard work as a leadership quality. Understandable since it's not glamorous like courage and doesn't pull on the heartstrings like kindness. Never the less, the ability to get things done and push harder than anyone else is vital if you're going to succeed at anything. The most important business lesson my father taught me is to never underestimate the power of hard work. I'm actually pretty old school when it comes to leadership, which you can probably tell from reading my articles.
All the technology and clever strategies in the world can't help you if you're lazy and don't show up. ~ Narges Nirumvala
Watching my Father has taught me so much. On a personal note when I first met my husband (many years ago now!) I remember a common value we shared was a strong work ethic. We would share stories of the long hours and sacrifices our immigrant parents made to provide for us. It's something that draws us together even now and a value we live everyday. So I thought we could examine hard work in more detail and give it the focus it so rightly deserves:
1. Show Up.
Showing up is about being visible and taking action. Not just thinking about it and planning it, but actually doing it. It's about execution and about doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do. So even if you're exhausted with a bad cold, you dress up, you show up and you give it your best effort.    
I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often. ~ Brian Tracy
2. Don't Make Excuses.
We all have people we work with who make excuses rather than taking action. They are infuriating to work with, don't pull their weight and and rarely get anything done. They rely on other people to do the work for them, 'fake' competence and coast through life. Eventually it will catch up to them. People like that drive me crazy. They are toxic to teams and need to be mentored to improve or weeded out.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. ~ Benjamin Franklin
3. Make Priorities and Stick to Them.
How many times have you said "I'm sorry I can't do that I'm just too busy". I've said it too. The truth is we are rarely too busy, we just don't want to do it. It's not a priority to us. When something is a priority you make the time to do it. Because let's face it, we're all busy. Don't hide behind the 'I'm too busy' mask, if something isn't a priority then delegate it or let it go. 
4. Put In The Hours.
There's something inspiring about people who put in the hours to get work done. All the superstar entrepreneurs and amazing leaders I know share this ability. They are driven by passion, work hard and are proud of it. In an era of balance I know it seems contrary to praise hard work, but I think it's important to know when to plow through your work full steam ahead and when to take a break. Some tasks and projects take more time and effort. 
Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. ~ Vince Lombardi
5. Honour Your Word and Do Your Best.
I'm a huge fan of the book 'The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom' by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it. Both these points are from his book, which is why I put them together. Of the four principles he shares in his book these are the two that resonate with me the most. Being able to honour your word and always doing your best sound like the kind of advice a Father would give don't they?
My Dad epitomizes these two qualities. I've really taken them to heart and tried to make them part of my everyday life.
Great leaders are committed to everydayexcellence. They put 100% into every task for ultimate success. ~ Narges Nirumvala
One final point, every June I review my 'optional' activities, such as volunteer Boards and Committees  and 'let go' of the ones that just aren't working for me anymore. I have to admit I always feel guilty when I do it. I stepped away from a board position just the other day (which is not on my LinkedIn profile in case you were wondering) and within 24-hours I had a possibility of another board position. Sometimes you have close a door for the Universe to open a window. Do you agree or disagree with me? What's your opinion on the importance of hard work in leadership? Leave your feedback in the comments below!
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Credits
Posted by Narges Nirumvala 
 Article was originally posted on: http://executivespeak.com/


Happiness is here and now




Happiness is here and now 

Although it may be tempting to dismiss a call to happiness during this time of worldwide struggle and strife as overly optimistic or too simplistic, let me tell you now that I believe this is the perfect time for a reminder that when it comes to happiness, all of us have a choice.
In fact, choosing to be happy is one of the very few essential decisions that we get to keep regardless of age, stage of life, or present situation. It’s a decision that can’t be taken away, and no one else can make it for you.
Each one of us gets to choose, every single moment of every day, whether or not we decide to be happy.

It Pays to Be Happy
When we choose to be happy, the rewards are truly great. First and foremost, happy people are more likable and desirable to be around. Isn’t it amazing how we’re drawn to people with sunny dispositions? One of the many consequences of this phenomenon of human nature is that happy people regularly benefit from the enthusiastic help and cooperation of others.
Secondly, happy people consistently report an improved quality of life. They enjoy life and everything in it more than people who aren’t happy.
I can personally attest to the connection between happiness and improved quality of life. Many years ago, I decided that I would be intentional about choosing to be happy. I didn’t just say I wanted to be happy, I found out what I needed to do to make happiness a daily reality for me.

      Nine Choices Happy People Make

In their book, How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People, authors Rick Foster and Greg Hicks present the results of interviews with happy people all over the world, from all walks of life. They found and wrote about nine specific choices commonly made by happy people. As you can see, most of these are things we already know about, and may even already practice.
The key is to use your personal initiative to do the little things that are easy to do, and do them consistently. Here’s the list of choices that Foster and Hicks came up with:

1. Intend to Be Happy. This is the fully conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness. 
2. Be Accountable. You make the choice to assume full personal responsibility for your actions, thoughts and feelings, as well as to refuse to blame others for your own unhappiness. It is also the practice of seeing ourselves as having control over our own lives, rather than being at the receiving end of circumstances.
3. Discover Your Needs. This is the ongoing process of identifying for ourselves what makes us truly happy. 
4. Centralize Your Goals. Creating a dream list is the happy person’s non-negotiable insistence on making that which creates happiness a central activity in life.
5. Turn Problems into Opportunities.  Recasting is to change the form of something.  Look at experiences in positive ways and change your problems into challenges.
6. Explore Options. Make the decision to approach life by being open to any new possibilities and take a flexible approach to life’s journey.
7. Express Appreciation. Communicating gratitude and giving thanks to the people around you daily brings happiness8. Share Unselfishly. The art of giving is the act of sharing one’s self with friends, community and the world at large without the expectation of a ‘return on investment.’
9. Be Truthful at All Times.  Make a contract with yourself and design a means by which to check your thoughts and actions against your own internal, personal code.  For more thoughts on the value of truthfulness.
Image result for clovis de barros filho felicidade
Though I’m fortunate that I have experienced a rewarding career and professional life, it’s not my achievements that are to be credited for my happiness and the outstanding quality of life I now enjoy. Rather, it’s the little decisions I consistently make each day—just like these—that continue to help me in my choice to be happy.
If you’ve never considered happiness as a choice before now, let me say again that I don’t think there has ever been a better time than now to begin choosing happiness. Will you commit to being intentional about making one of the choices listed above each day for the next nine days? I hope you will.
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

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               Credits

Posted by Todd Smith


Be Free


Important Things to be Free
I wanted to share you a list with my comments, hoping it acts as a road map for a new life or a reminder if you’ve already started the process of sawing the heavy shackles that have held you down for so long.
– Living freely by crafting a life on our own terms.
I think so many live their lives on other people’s terms and it creates dark tunnels and dead ends.  I’ve been there.  Craving a life based on your own terms is the new horizon.  Kick down the picket fence.  Toss the time card.  Forget the idea of standards or what you believe your life should look like because parents, friends, society, or an older more afraid version of you drew a blueprint that “made sense” a long time ago.  Passion, drive, and truth is what creates magic and there is no room for it if you are not living life on your own terms.  What if you were to burn those prints and redesign your life?  What would that look like?  How would that change you?
– Being free in the moment from oppressions, of past hurts and present anxieties. 
This is a big one.  I don’t know if it’s possible to be completely free of this. But I don’t think that’s the way to approach it.  I think it’s about acquiring tools to manage oppressions, past hurts, and present anxieties. Processing, awareness, release / calm, breathing and balance.  You need someone to process.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a therapist or life coach.  It can be a friend or your partner.  Just make sure they have some capacity and emotional intelligence.  Release and balance can be done through various activities.  Not just yoga and meditation.  Weightlifting and motorcycle rides can bring them.  The key is to be aware and thread daily rituals into your life to feel, let go, and express yourself, through words, art, fitness, whatever works for you.
– Being lighthearted and spontaneous as free spirits.
I used to take life very seriously.  That’s why my furrows are so deep and ingrained.  I call them Marky Marks.  Today, I take life more seriously.  Because I feel like I’ve found my purpose, something I never felt like I had before.  But I’m much more light hearted and free than before.  The difference between then and now isn’t how serious I am.  It’s making a conscious choice to let go of things I don’t have control over.  Like other people’s opinions.  Reactions to me.  Random turn of events.  The ability to know what to put weight on and when to let go and allow God, the universe, destiny take the wheel and just ride shotgun.  To observe and learn instead of trying to smash things where they don’t fit.  This creates distance and allows me to pull from my heart instead of my ego.  It allows me to trust my story and be less afraid.  Your spirit must be free for you to have a voice.  Without a voice, you will never be free.
– Courageously speaking out thoughts, feelings, and ambitions with those around us, without concern about acceptance.
We all want to be accepted.  We all want approval.  But the question is at what cost?  Your potency will always live in your truth.  If you do not create a space to express it, you are not only losing your voice, you are losing your potential.  And we will be losing your gifts.  Where in your life do you allow yourself to be muted?
– Enjoying our free will to pursue abundant happiness, wealth, health, achievement, and contributions.
It’s okay to want things.  Many feel they don’t deserve the things what they want.  Or they feel guilty after getting them.  It’s okay to pursue in abundance.  This is America.  Your world will be brighter and you will be left with more fuel, assuming you know that the nectar is found in the chase, not the gold.  So go after whatever you want, run toward it with out limits.  And when you get there, celebrate your accomplishments.  Free yourself from the limitations you put on what you feel you deserve.  You deserve the world.  Go after it.

– Freely loving who we choose to with passionate abandon.
To me, this means to love without being afraid.  Love without thinking about the future or what the relationship is going to look like.  Love without a plan.  Love in the moment.  Without fear.  Without residue.  This is one of our greatest freedoms, yet one of the most difficult things to do.  We don’t allow ourselves to be free with love.  We hold, trap, define, judge, control, and become our own prisoners.  To tell yourself you are willing to be abandoned and yet choose to love as hard and honest as you can, is complete freedom.

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Credits

source: Angry

TAKE RISKS



Successful People Take Risks!


Too many people “play it safe.” This is the playground of mediocrity. It’s where average people live. They colour inside the lines, and always play by the rules. They fear the unknown, and rarely – if ever – venture outside the boundaries. People who “play it safe” are predictable. Their life is run by rules and routine. Their actions are often dictated by the opinions of others. This is the crowd that fights to keep things the same…
Risk-takers, however, are a different breed. They live in the realm of possibility and greatness. They are not afraid to live beyond the boundaries and to colour outside the lines. To them, there is no such thing as failure; only experiments that didn’t work! Risk-takers are marked by a sense of adventure and passion. They care little for the accolades of the crowd. They are more focused on squeezing everything they can out of every moment. They are not afraid to “boldly go where no one has gone before.”
Success without risk?
Think about it. Try naming one historical figure that made a difference by playing it safe and being average. The vast majority of successful people are remembered for the difference that they made in their lifetime. And that difference required them to take risks and challenge the status quo.
We are inspired by people who go beyond the norm and push the boundaries of possibility. Mediocrity, on the other hand, does not inspire. Nor does it lead to greatness. Success, however you define it, will elude you unless you are willing to push the limits you have placed on yourself, and that others have placed on you.
The Orville brothers would have never made their historical flight if they had listened to the naysayers. Henry Ford would have never invented the automobile if he had paid attention to his critics. David would have never defeated Goliath if he had allowed his own family to discourage him. The list goes on and on.
Every major breakthrough in history – in business, science, medicine, sports, etc. – is the result of an individual who took a risk and refused to play it safe. Successful people understand this. Their innovation is the result of their adventurous spirit. They invent, achieve, surpass, and succeed because they dare to live beyond the realm of normal.
Calculated risk
Successful people take risks, but they don’t take thoughtless risks. Only a fool rushes in. Onlookers might interpret their actions as unwise, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People who achieve greatness take calculated risks. They think things through and evaluate their options. They research and gain the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. They weigh the pros and cons. They ask the following three questions:
1. What’s the best-case scenario?
2. What’s the worst-case scenario?
3. What’s the most likely scenario?
In the age of the information super highway, getting your hands on valuable knowledge has never been easier. Weighing your options, performing due diligence, and “getting in the know” is more possible than ever. But what sets successful people apart from others is that after they have conducted their research, they ACT! They take the leap. They dare to charge ahead. They take the risk!
With most people, when all is said and done, more is ever said than done. Under the guise of evaluating their options, they get caught in the paralysis of analysis. Have you heard the saying, “knowledge is power”? Many believe this statement to be true. If that is the case, why are so many highly educated people not more successful? Knowledge only becomes power when it’s acted upon.
Success needs action
When is the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you pushed yourself beyond your limits? When is the last time you took a real risk? The answers to these questions may reveal much about your willingness to do what it takes to achieve your goals and dreams.
Many people have goals. Only few ever achieve them. Many people dream. Few people ever turn those dreams into reality. Successful people understand that risks must be taken in order to pull a dream out of the world of the ethereal into the realm of the natural. It is one thing to have a vision. It is a different matter altogether to be a visionary.
Take a moment to revisit your goals and dreams. As you review them, think through what risks you may have to take in order to accomplish them. Are you willing to risk ridicule, failure, misunderstanding, etc.? If you are, you can experience success and the thrill of proclaiming, “Wow… what a ride!”
Are you playing it safe?
Read Mark Frost’s quote. Read it slowly, out loud. Try placing the emphasis on a different word or phrase each time you read it. Let its meaning sink in. Now take a few minutes to write down what thoughts were triggered in your mind. Think about areas of your life where you are playing it safe and need to take greater risks.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming…. Wow! What a ride!” 


Mark Frost 

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Credits




My boss is not so smart



 What to Do If You’re Smarter than Your Boss


You want to work for a great boss — someone you can respect and learn from. But what if your manager isn’t good at his job? What if you’re more competent or have greater skills? Should you be raising a ruckus or keeping your head down? And how do you get what you need without making your boss look bad?

What the Experts Say
“There are a lot of bad managers out there,” says Annie McKee, founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute and coauthor of Primal Leadership. So it’s not unusual to feel smarter or more qualified than your boss. Still, being in good company doesn’t make the situation any more tenable. Toiling under someone who you feel is incompetent can be demoralizing. But not all hope is lost. Even less-than-great bosses have something to teach, says Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Collective Genius and Being the Boss: “There are very few people in this world that I don’t think I can learn from.” So try not to discount your boss completely. Here’s how to make the most of the often frustrating situation.

Be honest with yourself
Before you declare your boss an incompetent fool, take a close look at what’s really happening. “Some people need to believe they’re better to keep their self-esteem intact, or they may just be more qualified in one area,” McKee says. Ask yourself if you’re genuinely smarter than your manager or if it’s possible that you’re more qualified in some areas but not others. “As people move up it’s natural to get better at leading and managing while losing your technical edge,” says McKee. Be honest with yourself about what skills you have and which your boss lacks. “Being smarter than your boss doesn’t mean you’re going to be more effective,” says Hill. After all, to be good at your job, you don’t just need smarts. “You need experience, strong relationships, social capital, and emotional intelligence,” she says.

Focus on doing a good job Keep quiet
If after reflecting on the situation, you conclude that you’re actually smarter or more qualified, think twice before talking to anyone about it. McKee says it’s tempting to plead your case to higher ups or to try to prove that you should have you manager’s job. But this rarely works. “You put yourself at risk if you decide to go directly into that conflict because bosses usually win,” she says. Sure, you may want to vent to one or two trusted colleagues, but be careful. “If your boss senses you are critical or derogatory of her, that relationship may be over,” she says. Many people in this situation make the mistake of telling others how incompetent or unqualified their boss is. “You need to be respectful. If you badmouth your manager, it’s going to reflect badly on you. People notice and worry you’ll talk about them the same way,” says Hill. Nor should you take it out on her. “Don’t be mad at the boss, be mad at the people who didn’t make you the boss,” she says.
Don’t get caught up in ruminating about who should have what job. You’re better off focusing on your responsibilities, says Hill: “You want to make sure you do your work and people understand what you’ve been able to accomplish.” It might help to focus on the bigger picture instead of your relationship. “You have to find a higher purpose,” says McKee. “Take it outside of the interpersonal fight with your boss.” Hill agrees: “Don’t come in as the smart, young hotshot. Do what’s best for the enterprise.”

Help your boss be better
There’s no reason not to be generous. If your boss is successful, there’s a greater chance you’ll be successful too. “See yourself as a complement to the person. Find a way to compensate for her weaknesses,” says Hill. If he isn’t good at seeing the big picture, ask questions that help him pull back from the details. If she doesn’t understand the technical ins and outs of your product, offer to cover the part of a meeting where the features will be discussed. “Offer up ways that he or she can use you better,” says McKee.

Don’t cover up
“There’s a big difference between delivering on what you’re supposed to do and covering up your boss’s mistakes,” says McKee. If your boss has a pattern of making gaffes, it doesn’t serve you or the company to continuously clean up his mess. “You need to do your job well and you need to deliver on what your boss is asking of you, but if your work is being used to cover up serious deficiencies, you may need to have a conversation with HR,” says McKee.

Find something to respect
It’s easy to focus on the bad but even the worst bosses have redeeming qualities. “How can you find something you respect?” asks McKee. She recommends looking beyond the work environment if necessary. “Is your boss a good mom or a kind husband?” If you truly can’t find something you admire, you may need to find a new job. “If not now, soon,” says McKee. “It’s soul destroying to work for someone you truly don’t respect.” Hill agrees: “If you think you can’t partner with that person, then you need to think about whether you should be at the organization.”

Learn from someone else
If your boss isn’t giving you the coaching you need, “broaden your network,” Hill recommends. Take your learning into your own hands and, McKee suggests, volunteer for projects that will allow you to interact with other senior people in the company. Be explicit about what you want. You might approach another manager and say, “I’d love to learn more about how you do X. Do you mind if we spend a couple hours together over the next few months?” “You can choose to see every opportunity as a way to learn,” McKee says.

Principles to Remember

Do:
  • Help your boss do her job — see yourself as a complement
  • Find something you genuinely respect about him
  • Seek out other mentors to help you learn and grow
Don’t:
  • Assume that you’re more qualified than your boss— chances are she has some skills you don’t
  • Try to take over her job — bosses usually win
  • Cover up egregious mistakes or a long-standing pattern of ineptitude

Case study #1: Help out when you can
When Patricia Wright* was appointed by a government official in South Africa as an assistant, the job was meant to be administrative. But it was quickly clear to her and her new boss that she had valuable technical skills and experience. “My knowledge and experience on IT-related issues superseded those of my colleagues and my manager,” she says.
At the beginning, she found it irritating to know more than her boss. But he was “very open to learning and being shown how things should be done,” Patricia says. “We grew up in different eras so it did take time and patience to teach him but when he used my ideas, he would thank me and attribute the suggestions to me.” So her frustration soon turned to pride.
Eventually Patricia moved on because she wasn’t passionate about the work. Still she got a lot from her experience. “I learned to have plenty of patience and to be a ‘solution seeker.’ This way of thinking helped me get the job I have today.”

Case study #2: Make your boss look good
Soon after Abike Eze* became a marketing and business development manager at a financial services company based in Lagos, Nigeria, he got a new boss — we’ll call her Rose.* Rose moved to marketing from HR and had no background in the function. Abike found himself having to cover a lot of her work. “Even though she heads the marketing unit, I am responsible for coming up with the strategy to grow the business and for cutting costs,” he says.
He admits that it’s frustrating at times, especially when she makes decisions that go against what he thinks is best based on his expertise. Still, he does whatever he can to support her and make her look good. “Humility is the way to go,” he says. “I offer to help when I sense she may be struggling with a task or an idea.” And when he presents an idea to more senior executives, he often gives Rose the credit or at least says that they worked on it together. She is aware of what Abike does for her and returns the favor, saying good things about him to their boss.
This collaborative —rather than combative ­— approach has worked for Abike. He is well regarded by his boss’s boss and he has critical responsibilities in the company, even if he doesn’t hold the “head of marketing” title.  Besides he doesn’t see another good option. “If you have friction with your manager, and the company values him more than you, you may risk being let go,” he explains. “She’s been with the company for over a decade and I have only been here for eight months. Besides she is my boss after all,” he says.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

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