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Let’s face it—taking risks can be scary, especially when the stakes are high.
I remember when I was presenting a business initiative at the UN a few years ago and the performer that was going to kick off the big announcement was unable to make it last minute. I decided to show the production organizer some of my songs and offered to sing as an alternative. I got the gig and was live in 12 hours.
I ended up doing a twenty-minute improv set the next day, making songs up on the fly. I was met by roaring applause and ovation. Today some of my best contacts come from that event, not because they remembered my business initiative but because they remembered my soul and my voice.
That’s because business thrives on relationships. One-third of employers rank personality as a worker’s most important quality, above skills and experience. When deciding which brands to buy from, consumers choose brands that have a personality they can identify with.
Today’s most successful Millennials all have one thing in common: they lead with their personalities. Whether you’re looking to get promoted, build an audience, or find the right business partner, leading with what makes you unique is a worthy risk that will help you advance your career.
YouTube sensation JP Sears says his online presence exploded after he decided to share his sense of humor with his audience.
If you don’t know who Sears is, he’s a YouTuber with a rapidly growing following of 1.5M across social platforms, and over 100M video views. He’s most known for his hilarious spoofs on New Age culture, and his book, “How To Be Ultra Spiritual, which launched March 7. Sears is also an emotional healing coach, a retreat leader, and an international teacher.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Sears shares how taking this key risk of leading with personality was the accelerator for his brand’s success.
According to Sears, it wasn’t until two years and 150 videos into his YouTube career that he decided to let his humor appear on camera. Before launching his ‘Ultra Spiritual’ comedy series, Sears’ channel was reserved for sincere life advice.
Though his channel was successful, Sears says he felt like something was missing. Humor had always been an integral part of his personality, but he worried it would damage his professional image. “I had told myself a story that it would be bad for business to let my sense of humor out on video,” he says.
In spite of his fear, Sears decided to film his first comedy video. “At the time I thought, this isn’t a good idea, but I’m going to do it anyways,” he recalls.
The video went viral and spawned demand for a comedy series, which is now the namesake of Sears’ brand. The ‘Ultra Spiritual’ series has over fifty videos and counting, and has done wonders for his business, enabling him to effortlessly sell out coaching sessions and international speaking commitments, as well as propelling him to social media stardom.
Sears’ message is that risking being 100% authentic is your greatest asset. “You always win when you’re yourself. You can’t lose,” he says.
Below, Sears shares tips to lead with your personality and showcase what makes you unique.
Get Connected To Your Why
Being authentic can be scary, and if you’re not connected to why it’s important, it’s much easier to just play it safe and hide.
Sears says what drove him to release his first comedy video was the pain of withholding a key part of himself from the world. If he never stepped up to the plate and shared his humor, he said he’d resent himself and feel empty inside.
Ask yourself, what would it cost me if I lived my whole life never letting this part of myself shine? Be honest, connect to the pain, and use this propel you towards courage.
Embrace Your Insecurities
One of the biggest roadblocks we encounter in the way of being authentic is insecurity. When we judge ourselves, we anticipate others will judge us too, which can keep us from sharing certain aspects of ourselves.
“It’s ok to feel insecure,” says Sears. “All people are insecure. We have to be willing to embrace the insecurity as part of our nature, and to become aware of it. The more we know what our insecurities are the more we can grow beyond them and live with them.”
Ask yourself, what are my insecurity-driven behaviors? What do I avoid doing? Once you gain awareness of your insecurities, you have the power to recognize them for what they are and show up powerfully by acting in opposition to them.
Flex The Courage Muscle
“There’s a lot of wisdom in intentionally making ourselves uncomfortable,” Sears says. “Courage is a muscle. If we’re fearless we’re not in a courageous state, we’re doing something that’s easy for us. Courage is we’re doing something that scares us.”
In order to flex your courage muscle, Sears recommends doing something everyday that scares you both physically and psychologically. When you challenge yourself to acclimate to greater and greater thresholds of discomfort, difficult feats, like being authentic, will become more effortless for you.
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Let’s face it, figuring out what you want to do with your life can be quite stressful. For many millennials, the single most important factor in the workplace is finding work that is purposeful.
Though the search for purpose is front and center, it can also be the thing that is most elusive. In a culture that is perpetually focused on the “next” big thing—like the press feature or promotion we dream of—it’s nearly impossible to experience fulfillment today.
How are you supposed to know if you’re on the right path if what you want is always a few steps ahead of you?
One millennial thought-leader says the key is a simple shift in focus: it’s not about getting something or somewhere but rather about giving something.
This week on Unconventional Life, Kelly shares how to align yourself with the career path that’s best for you.
Growing up as one of four kids with a single mom in Perth, Australia, Kelly says she developed a strong work ethic from an early age.
Work for Kelly initially looked very traditional, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s en route to a Ph.D. But midway through her Ph.D. program, she experienced a “big whack” from her intuition that sent her spinning in an entirely new direction: entrepreneurship.
“I began to feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction and misalignment. I had no choice but to listen,” says Kelly.
Since making that transition, Kelly has gone on to lead others who find themselves at a similar crossroads. Her event, The New Way Live, serves as an awakening ground for thousands to reroute themselves on their own creative career paths.
The access point to discovering the path that is right for you is what Kelly calls your “zone of genius.”
“We all have a zone of genius,” Kelly says. “Unique talents and abilities. We have this zone of bliss, creativity, productivity, effectiveness and efficiency that we can live in… But we can’t live there if we are only moving based on what’s practical and logical. Excitement is the compass.”
If you’re feeling uncertain about whether you’re on the right career path, tapping into your zone of genius could be the solution for you.
Below, Kelly shares 7 ways to know if you’re living from your zone of genius and are on the career path that’s right for you.
1. You’ve quieted the noise. You’ve quieted the external noise in your life that prevents you from doing you. The voices of other people—the expectations, the “shoulds,” the “what will they they thinks”—are no longer a factor for you. You are deeply connected to your innermost desires and often take quiet time to deliberately discern what your next move is.
2. You’re doing what excites you the most. You wake up in the morning and the first thought on your mind is how excited you are to do what you’re most passionate about. You can hardly call it “work” because it feels like play for you—you’d do it even if you weren’t being paid and weren’t on the clock.
3. You’re a master at what you do. The work you do is inspired from the gifts and abilities you were born with. You do what you do better than anyone you know, and it’s effortless for you. Forget the grind, the stress, the 10,000 hours—you’re simply playing your muse.
4. You don’t settle for mediocrity. You don’t have time for a thousand and one “side” projects. You are focused on what you do best and you aren’t watering the things you’re just mediocre at. “Was Steve Jobs a fashion icon? Was Albert Einstein a great cook? Was Nikola Tesla the world’s best tree lopper? No,” Kelly jokes.
5. You don’t work for your schedule, it works for you. Your work schedule is centered around the time your creativity is most active. If you thrive at 2:00 in the morning, you’re working then. You save the times you’re prone to feeling brain dead for things like responding to emails, and you’ve got at least a few hours each day reserved for play.
6. Everything in your life is “working.” You experience a deep sense of alignment in everything from the thoughts you think about yourself, to the opportunities that show up in your life at the right time, to the ample resources you have to do the things you love. You’re not crunched for time or money, and you no longer have limiting beliefs that put a cap on how good your life can become.
7. You’re committed to service. Your primary focus is on the impact of your work. You thrive on contribution and are aligned with a business that serves the needs of the planet. You don’t support businesses that are centered around one person, but rather that are centered around a collective. You are constantly looking for new ways to create solutions for humanity and positive change in the world.
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There’s a big difference between being busy and being effective.
For most of my early entrepreneurial journey I often found myself spending hours at my computer only to look at the clock mid-afternoon to realize I hadn’t really accomplished anything.
It turns out this is a common thing for entrepreneurs—entrepreneurs work 63% longer than the average employee, working an average of 52 hours a week.
If you feel like you are always working but not advancing in your career one successful entrepreneur has a solution. He says there’s three skills he mastered to build his business to 7-figures in annual revenue in just two years. If you can master these skills, you’ll be able to put an end to “busyness” and advance your career in a fraction of the time.
Meet John Lee Dumas, founder of the daily business podcast for entrepreneurs “Entrepreneur on Fire,” which gets 1.2 Million monthly listens and generates 7-figures in yearly revenue. Entrepreneur on Fire has featured distinguished guests like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferris, and was awarded ‘Best of iTunes.’
This week on Unconventional Life, Dumas shares the three skills every entrepreneur should master to advance their careers in 2017.
Dumas says he can relate to feeling challenged in the early days of his entrepreneurial journey. When he first launched Entrepreneur on Fire, he had no experience with podcasting and had been told by his mentors it was a bad idea.
Though the odds were stacked against him, he saw a need for daily content for entrepreneurs and wanted to fulfill that need. “I wanted more content, fresh content every single day waiting for me and I didn’t understand why it didn’t exist so I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world,” says Dumas.
Roughly four years later, Entrepreneur on Fire has become one of the most listened to and valued podcasts by entrepreneurs. Dumas has released over 1,500 episodes, which collectively have over 43 Million listens.
Dumas accredits his success to three key skills—productivity, discipline, and focus. He says these skills are the horsepower behind execution and separate those who follow through from those who don’t.
In mastering these skills, you can be sure you’ll be able to conquer anything in your path. Below, Dumas shares his tips to master productivity, discipline and focus.
1. Operate In Your Genius. Being productive is effortless when you enjoy what you do and you’re good at it. Dumas calls this your “zone of genius.” You can uncover your zone of genius with a simple 5-day exercise. Draw a line down the center of a blank piece of paper and label the left side, “things I enjoy,” and the right side, “things I’m good at.” For ten minutes each day, write down as much as you can on each side. Repeat the exercise for five days in a row.
2. Own Your Strengths. “We have way more weaknesses than we have strengths,” Dumas says. “The problem is people spend their time on all those weaknesses trying to be ok at something they’re crappy at. Nobody wants ok, you might as well stay crappy.” Forget your weaknesses; identify what your natural strengths are and work on developing them to a level of mastery. You’ll work your “discipline” and “focus” muscles in the process.
3. Outsource. You can free up a tremendous amount of time and energy with outsourcing. Check yourself by calculating your “hourly wage,” or the amount of money you make divided by the hours you work. If your hourly wage isn’t what you want it to be, consider hiring someone to do simple things like website maintenance or responding to emails that aren’t an effective use of your time.
4. Put The Blinders On. Those who try to do too many things at once rarely get anything done. Select one project you want to see to completion and make it the sole object of your focus until it is complete. Eliminate distractors and execute your project with laser-like focus for maximum productivity.
5. Plan. Your goals can feel overwhelming and unattainable when you don’t have a concrete plan of action to achieve them. Determine what your goals are and create a realistic plan with daily action steps that will take you to your goal. In creating your plan, make sure your roadmap is guaranteed to work. You don’t want to waste your energy doing things that don’t produce results. Your plan should give you confidence and peace of mind that every single day you are making progress and are certain to arrive at your goal.
6. Stick To A Routine. Routines are a great way to establish structure and hold yourself accountable to your best work. Dumas says he starts every day with running, meditation, and journaling to put himself in the frame of mind he needs to be successful. Maybe your daily routine involves coffee and rejuvenating breaks. Design a framework that will enable you to do your best, day in and day out. For even greater structure, check out Dumas’ Mastery Journal designed to guide you to productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com
I remember the first time I told my Dad I had co-founded a publishing company with my boyfriend. It was five years ago. I was twenty-three and fresh out of college. He sat me down and told me I was making a big mistake and that it was foolish to mix my personal life with my professional life.
Flash forward several years later, and my personal life is nearly indistinguishable from my work life. My boyfriend constantly jokes, “all you do is talk to your friends on Facebook all day and somehow you make money doing it.”
That’s because many of my friends are contributing to my business. The speakers, attendees, and team behind my international accelerator events are all those who I’ve met over the years, or who i’ve been connected to online, or who’ve been connected to me through another friend.
For my Dad’s generation, personal and professional were two distinct categories that didn’t mix.
But it doesn’t look this way anymore for millennials—we’re preferring to integrate all areas of our life, resulting in successful business collaborations with trusted friends and more time spent with those we love.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect business partners, they could be already among you.
Three millennial co-founders who have been best friends since elementary school are illustrating this concept perfectly.
Meet Russell Howard, David Lasman and Adam Malka, the co-founders of Signature Tracks, a music production company focused on bringing current sounds to TV series. Signature Tracks has served major TV networks like MTV, ABC, and CNBC, shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Bachelorette, as well as celebrity artists like Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Miley Cyrus.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Howard, Lasman, and Malka share why running a business with your friends can be extremely rewarding both professionally and personally.
Below, discover why friends make the best business partners.
You’re Highly Compatible
The benefit to working with your closest friends rather than a strictly “work-specific” team is that you and your friends have already established a high degree of compatibility. 67% of American workers say having tight-knit relationships at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable, which can also increase productivity.
The key to a successful collaboration is combining your greatest strengths. A team comprised of your closest friends can perform highly by identifying where you each excel, and localizing your tasks to that specific area. “Russell is the head creative of our group, responsible for branding our sound” Malka says. “Each of us have our own function. Our synergy is based on friendship..”
You Know How To Navigate Conflict
According to a survey by the HBR, half of all employees surveyed said they didn’t feel safe to speak up at their place of work. Within traditional companies, it’s not uncommon for there to be a “fear culture” around voicing unpopular opinions, especially among lower levels of the ladder.
When it comes to the innovation and expansion of any business, open dialogue is essential. With your closest friends by your side, you can trust that you’ll be able to speak your mind without fear of reprehension or losing your job. Chances are, you’ve already navigated conflicts in your friendship, and your bond has the fortitude to withstand any challenges that arise within the work environment in a way that honors all parties and promotes business development.
“With three best friends, there’s little things you’re fighting over in the beginning, but it’s also amazing. We each own 33% of the business, so there’s no boss. Defining roles has been good for us,” says Lasman.
You’re Able To Strike A Healthy Work-Life Balance
The average worker falls disappointingly short of work-life balance—with 80% failing to get the recommended amount of weekly exercise, and 38% missing important life events. But for Howard, Lasman, and Malka, work-life balance is an everyday reality.
Working with friends can help create a built-in structure around balance, whether it’s holding one another accountable to setting aside time for self care or time to relax and unwind. “I start every day with putting me first,” Howard says. Some call it the “power hour.” I have to get in some meditation, some reading, some exercise. That self care—kind of like a chiropractor—aligns me so I can focus on what I want to do, rather than what I have to do.”
Malka adds, “We make sure we spend time the three of us together, really doing stuff that’s fun, and also taking our team out and having that break where we can all hang out and have a little bit of fun, sometimes a work trip back east.”
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