6 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself Daily

This article was written by  – @LOLLYDASKAL and was originally posted on Inc.com

Intelligent and successful leaders all do one thing better than anyone else. They are constantly asking themselves questions to stay relevant and insightful.

Whether you’re running a company, heading up a startup, or leading a team, asking yourself these questions every day will help you get the most out of your work and leadership and make the difference in your success:

1. Did I work toward my goals today? 

Successful leaders understand the importance of goal setting in everything from long-term vision to short-term motivation. Focusing on your goals helps you organize your actions and make the most of your ambition and aspirations.

2. What bad habits do I need to stop? 


Your bad habits–and we all have them in some form–may be damaging your credibility and your business. It is well worth putting in the daily time and effort to overcome them and replace them with things that will serve you better.

3. What motivated me today? 

Motivation is the force that keeps pushing you forward. It is your internal drive to achieve, produce, and develop–and it’s always to your benefit to pay attention to the things that feed your personal motivation.

4. Have I been the kind of person I want to be? 

Character rules. You’re not born with the qualities that make up your character, but they develop as you go through your experiences, your failures, and your wins. Govern your sense of responsibility and responses to events to develop the character you’d like to have.

5. What mistakes did I make today, and what can I learn from them?

We all experience failures and mistakes; it’s how you respond that makes the difference. You can choose to see failure as proof of your inadequacy, or recognize it as an incredible learning experience.

6. What am I grateful for today?
 

There will always be bad days and good days, bad luck and good luck. Through it all, gratitude remains among the most useful tools to have. It shows you what really matters and what’s important, and it keeps you levelheaded and focused on what is important.

If you want to create a shift in your business and your leadership, make a daily practice of asking yourself the right questions–because it is the right questions that lead us to the right answers.

Follow Lolly on Linkedin or Twitter and her blog at www.lollydaskal.com

5 Morning Rituals That Will Keep You Productive All Day

This article was originally posted on 1.15.14 at Business Insider and was written by
Most of us work long hours: 40, 50 or even 60 hours each week. But chances are, given distractions like online entertainment, office snacking habits and ill-designed time management, we’re only churning out high-quality work a portion of each day.

Here are five practical steps to incorporate into any morning routine to optimize your time at the office and maintain productivity all day long:

7 minutes of exercise. Yep, not 10 — just seven. Why? It’s short enough that it won’t impact the rest of your morning routine and long enough to shake off any residual sluggishness from the night before — including that extra glass of wine.

There are endless fitness routines to turn to, but the one I like best is called the 7 Minute Workout (and yes, there’s an app for that). In just seven minutes, it works all major muscle groups with 12 total exercises.

Start your day out green. Sure, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s pretty easy to reach for a bagel, bowl of cereal, egg sandwich or cup of yogurt to get your metabolism going.

While all of these options are fine choices once in a while, you’ll be shocked at the morning lift you can get from a green smoothie. And healthy juicing requires less time in the morning than toasting a bagel and slathering it with low fat cream cheese.

I go quick and easy, blending (for about a minute): one apple, one banana, one orange, a handful of spinach, half of a cucumber, any juice or coconut water on hand, a few cubes of ice and some flax seed. It’s cheap, easy and energizing.

Pick 3 wins for the day. While you’re waiting for that smoothie to blend, get ahead of the evening’s conversation with your significant other — you know, the one that starts, “How was your day?”

Decide on the three things that you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 hours in order for you to feel like the day was a success. Sure, not every day will be an epic win, but strategizing in this way will help to move the ball forward.

Block your calendar to achieve wins. One of the most common mistakes people make at the office is not turning to-do lists into time-bound, effective project lists. I’ve found that people who have mastered this hack are far more likely to deliver tasks on time.

It’s simple: For each of the big things on your list, block off the amount of time on your calendar that you estimate the task might take — and then add 33% more time just to be sure.

If a project is multi-day or has dependencies, break it up into digestible chunks. Use one block to plan and a second or third block to accomplish.

This simple method will help hold you accountable and immediately help you refocus on the tasks you’ve prioritized when you do get distracted. Too often, we let one distraction steamroll an entire morning — now you don’t have to let that client email derail you from your winning plan for the day.

Power up after lunch. Take the 15 minutes right after lunch to refocus on the day — a kind of professional meditation. Get away from your computer, turn it off, go sit in a conference room and determine what you have on tap for the rest of the day.

Think about how the list you set in the morning is shaping up. Are you ahead of schedule? Behind schedule? You’ll find that these 15 minutes help you identify how you got derailed, what’s causing you distractions and help you to rediscover a rhythm to be productive all day long.

Give this simple formula a try for a week and I think you’ll be pleased with the results. Here’s to a more productive 2014!

Inspirational Quote: November

Whenever I feel bad, I use the feeling to motivate me to work harder. I only allow myself one day to feel sorry for myself.

Beyonce

I believe that adopting Beyonce’s attitude towards moving forward when the going gets tough is important. I  live a better life than this mega-star being that the world isn’t watching when it comes time to air my dirty laundry.  When she was dealing with the very public issues with her father you never really saw her saw her sweat just a very politically correct response and adjustment to her game plan. She came back on top and now is doing better than I think she can even believe herself. Kudos to B, and best of luck to each of you as you reach trails and tribulations. As you push through just remember that the best revenge is to come back stronger than before. If you need a song to encourage you check out Beyonce’s own Listen from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack.

Inspirational Quote: October

You stop being average the day you decide to become a Champion, because the average person won’t make that decision.

Tom Hopkins

I, Arielle M Dixon, am committed to making mistakes because I know that the lessons learned will put me on the road to greatness.  Armed with a goal and the drive to persevere for the long journey, I am taking my future into my own hands. Taking the road less travelled is going to be difficult, but I know that the outcome is well worth the sacrifice. I am armed with an amazing support system that pushes me to be the best, I look forward to making you all proud AND meeting you at the finish line!

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do

Originally posed at EliteDaily
 • JUL 29, 10:34AM

15 Things Happy People Don’t Do

Happiness: something everyone hopes to achieve in his or her lifetime. Such a simple concept, yet many have trouble realizing how to obtain it. Sometimes we unintentionally create our own obstacles that prevent us from achieving this goal. It is ever so important to realize the ways we are limiting ourselves so we can fully reach happiness.

Happy people and unhappy people see the world through two completely opposing views. Let’s look at the ways happy people stay happy, while the unhappy remain miserable.

1. Gossip

The only people who gossip are people whose personal lives are not fulfilling enough. If you are happy and content with your life, why do you even care what is going on in someone else’s? There is no reason to engage in this petty behavior — all it does is make you look pathetic and jealous.

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2. Concern Themselves With Other People’s Problems

People who are unable to mind their own business are most likely internally miserable. They seek to find faults within others just to make themselves feel better. They tend to lead boring lives and have no excitement in their own, so they act in this manner to create something out of nothing. They seek to fill the gap in their lives by discussing the lives of others and judging them harshly, so that they can feel better about their own miserable existences.


3. Think Negatively

There are the miserable people, who are always complaining about anything and everything, while on the other side, we have the optimistic people who always look at the glass as half full and are constantly looking for more out of life. Thinking positively will directly affect your happiness since you are focusing on the good as opposed to the bad.


4. Act Jealous

There is no reason for a happy person to act jealous towards others. They recognize the good fortune they possess and relish in it. They do not compare themselves to others since they are more than likely content with themselves. Instead of acting jealous towards others, they take pleasure in their success and celebrate their accomplishments with them.

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5. Seek Validation From Others

Happy people do not look to others to confirm their self-worth. They recognize their value on their own and don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. They do things for themselves that they believe will advance them in life. By not concerning themselves with the opinions of others, they can focus on personal growth.


6. Seek Revenge

There is no reason to actively seek revenge against another person. Leave that up to karma and just continue living your life accordingly. Instead of focusing on revenge, happy people try to make peace with the issue. The only way to stop revenge is to give up and to accept it. Replace the evil feelings with opposite thinking. This is the only way; rise above it and let it be.


7. Hold Onto Resentment

By holding onto resentment, all you are doing is continuing and intensifying your own sadness. Learn to let things go, especially those which are unchangeable and that are in the past. This feeling will eat at you from the inside and cause stress. There is a unique sense of freedom once you let your anger go.


8. Argue For The Sake Of Being Right

It’d be easy to voice my thoughts rationally, but quite as easy to do it condescendingly as well. Many people will have a belief and will hold onto it even when contrary facts are presented to them. If it is a topic that you know they won’t listen to with open ears, don’t open your mouth just so you can appear wiser in the eyes of those around you. You’re only boosting your ego. Do not force your opinions on others or think you know best, as everyone is coming from somewhere. State your point calmly and listen to others. At the very least, you can always agree to disagree.

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9. Have Expectations

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is learning to accept people for who they truly are. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change people, the better off you will be. The problem will arise when the expectations do not materialize. Unrealistic expectations will, can, and most often do lead to disappointment. Do not expect things out of situations; just go into them with an open mind. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself without the pressure of living up to preconceived notions.


10. Avoid Personal Problems

When a problem arises, it is the unhappy people who tend to ignore it. This is an awful way to handle situations as the longer you let a problem linger, the greater it will become. You need to tackle issues head on and as soon as possible in hopes of rectifying the circumstances. The stress and anxiety of ignoring such things can and will make you miserable and consumed with worry.


11. Look For Happiness Externally

Your happiness is contingent upon your outlook and not the actual situation. You have the power to view things in certain ways, so it is crucial to try and remain positive. Look within yourself to create your own happiness. Do not look at others to fulfill you, you are more than capable on your own. No relationship or material possession can bring you true happiness until you are happy on your own, first and foremost. This is a fatal error far too many people make in their lives.


12. Over Think Things

Over thinking is what creates problems from nothing and is probably the leading cause for arguments between two people. Many people falsely believe that by over thinking certain things, they can garner a better result. There are actually little to no benefits to overanalyzing any given situation. All this will do is cause a person stress and anxiety. The more time a person analyzes a decision, the more time this person makes themselves susceptible to negative thinking. Rational decisions can become clouded when a person lingers on them for too long. The motivation and drive behind the initial idea can and will start to obscure.

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13. Live In The Past

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The past is the past for a reason — it has already happened. There is no reason to linger there since it cannot be changed. Happy people tend to make peace with their past and focus on the future. They actively seek out different opportunities in order to make the most out of their lives.


14. Follow The Crowd

Confidence is a crucial aspect of any happy person, just like this is a critical characteristic for a leader. Happy people tend to be secure in their values and beliefs and, as a result, have a propensity to be leaders as opposed to followers.


15. Take Things Personally

When you hear a comment that you think is directed at you, take a moment and think. Do not over analyze the situation at hand, just let the other person speak freely. Listen completely to what this person is saying – selective hearing is the cause of these misinterpretations. People tend to get caught up in petty drama, which typically occurs when one person takes something the wrong way. When it comes down to it, you’re in control of how you interpret things. Think of how much more you could achieve with a new perspective, one seen only through your eyes.

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