The Affiliate Summit Meet Market #ASE17

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Affiliate Summit open yesterday in New York City at the Marriott Hotel with the Meet Market. This is the place for affiliate marketers to meet face to face with affiliate networks.

The Meet Market is always crowded and noisy. This is because it’s only open for six hours. The event is very popular with start-up networks that cannot afford the cost of going to the trade show floor. Every merchant get a table, and there’s no need to set up fancy or expensive displays. The Meet Market is so popular that most of the big networks have a table as well. It’s kinda like a mini Affiliate Summit.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

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How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

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Reading is a profound human ability, and its one that doesn’t receive enough attention these days. We expect everything to come to us quickly, and information is no exception. At this point, most people are scrolling and surfing instead of actually reading. According to a study by the Pew Research Center,[1] around 26% of adults in America didn’t pick up a book at all in 2016.

When we mindlessly scroll, we aren’t learning in the same way that we do when we read. Avid readers experience decreased anxiety when they get lost in a book, and reading builds empathy.[2] There are plenty of reasons to crack open a book on a frequent basis, if you want to know more you can readReading With Purpose Can Change Your Life.

Reading doesn’t have to be a slow process. If you think that reading is too time consuming, you might want to give speed reading a try.

You can read 6 times more books if you know how to speed read

When you speed read, you can take in significantly more information than the average person. A recent study suggests that the average adult can read about 300 words per minute. Proficient speed readers can read around 1,500 words per minute.[3] For those of you keeping score at home, the speed reader is able to consume five times as many words as the average adult. There are a few anomalous individuals who can read even more.

To put that into perspective, let’s say that the average book is around 100,000 words long. The average adult reader will spend approximately 5.5 hours reading a book of that length. A speed reader can complete the same task in about 50 minutes. This opens up significant possibilities for the speed readers to take in a book every day with a commitment of less than an hour, or 7 books per week. The average reader will only be able to enjoy 1.27 books per week if they read for an hour per day. At the end of the year, the speed reader could read over 365 books, while the average adult will complete 66.18.

These are the techniques that fast track your reading

Speed reading does take some practice, but you can start reaping the benefits of this reading method almost immediately.

1. The table of contents should be the first thing you read

We skip over the table of contents far too often when starting to read a book–especially if we intend to read the book in its entirety. The table of contents is a reader’s roadmap through the book. Since speed readers aren’t fixated on absorbing every word, knowing the big ideas of each chapter primes their brains to take in the information.

You wouldn’t head on a road trip without consulting a map. Reading aimlessly makes as much sense as driving without reading road signs. Sure, you can get through a book without looking at the table of contents, but you’re more likely to lose focus or waste time wondering about structural questions that could be answered with a quick look at the front matter.

If you need to know specific information from the book, the table of contents can tell you which chapters are relevant. This lets you skip over parts that aren’t pertinent to your research.

In some cases, the table of contents doesn’t offer much detail, or the author might use it to entice you to read more. Taking a quick look at the first chapter or two can offer you insight into how the author structures their work if the table of contents fails to give you clues.

2. Always read with an intention

After you identify the subject of the chapter, you’ll need to keep a question in the back of your mind. Asking, “What is the author trying to tell me?” is a great way to frame your thoughts. Your brain will work to figure out the answer to this question as you read.

When you read with a purpose in mind, you’ll be able to process relevant information and filter out extraneous material.

3. Identify the author’s point of view and read just enough references to understand

Books generally contain references to other academic works to support their standpoint. By taking a look at what the author chooses to cite, you can learn a bit more about how he or she will formulate their key points. This information can guide your thinking as you speed read.

Glancing at the references doesn’t mean that you need to stop to read through every note or source. References that merely reaffirm what the author says will quickly become monotonous to read. You just want to get the general idea. After you have enough information to make sense of the material you won’t gain anything extra by continuing to consume the same information.

Think about reading the way you think about eating. Just because the buffet is full of all sorts of delicious options doesn’t mean that you have to eat all of it. Just like you stop eating when you are full, you can move on from the references after you have enough information to understand the concept.

4. Never read aloud (or in your head)

Reading aloud is great for developing fluency in emerging readers, but it is a surefire way to slow you down. When kids read passages out loud in school, it’s for a specific purpose, but it’s unnecessary in the context of speed reading.

When we read passages out loud, our brain has to work a bit harder than when we read silently. The act of reading uses the same parts of your brain whether you read the information aloud or reading it silently.[4] The major difference between silent reading and reading aloud is that the act of speaking requires your brain to take an extra step.

Brocas’ Area is the part of the brain associated with turning the thoughts in your head into meaningful expression through speech. Wernicke’s Area is responsible for comprehension.[5] If you can minimize sub-vocalization and reading aloud, then you can eliminate the extra step of having to read and comprehend speech in Wernicke’s Area and then vocalize it in Broca’s Area.

When we read aloud, our brain not only sees the words on the page, but it also goes through the trouble of hearing the words and producing speech. We really don’t need to vocalize what we are reading to understand it. The extra steps can slow us down significantly.

You might have noticed that sometimes when you read aloud, you might have trouble comprehending what you just read. It may even be necessary to re-read the same sentence so that you can confirm that what you saw and spoke are in true alignment.

When you apply the third technique in this list, it becomes even more impractical to read out loud. That method requires you to consider chunks of information larger than sentences. When you are working through books paragraph by paragraph to identify the author’s perspective, having to go line by line to produce speech is a waste of time.

Speed reading is like enjoying the garden view instead on focusing on every single petal

When we read at a leisurely pace, it gives us a chance to appreciate words in a different way. Think of reading line by line like stopping to appreciate a beautiful flower garden with a magnifying glass or spending thirty minutes examining a piece of artwork three inches in front of your face. You might think that you need to look that closely, and you may see some incredible things, but you’re missing the totality of the scene.

Speed reading gives you the opportunity to look at the big picture so that you can see how many kinds of flowers there are or how different brush strokes combine to make a cohesive image. When look at the big picture, you can extract more meaning from what you see.

Instead of wasting time focusing on the petals of a single type of flower, you can enjoy the whole garden. Applying speed reading comprehension techniques makes it possible for you to extract more of the big ideas from the things that you read. You not only get more information from every book that you read, but you get to enjoy more books along the way, too.


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12 Characteristics of Toxic People and How You Can Deal With Them Effectively

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We live in a world full of all kinds of different people, and learning how to interact with them successfully is a foundational life skill.  When we’re young, we often enter into relationships believing we will be able to change the other person. The sooner we realize nobody changes just because we want them to, the sooner we can get to work on resolving interpersonal issues.

A caring attitude, mutual respect and clear communication are usually enough to break through roadblocks between friends, lovers and co-workers. When we’re dealing with toxic people, however, the standard rules do not apply.

Toxic people can be extremely charismatic. We often find ourselves charmed and immersed in a relationship before we realize what’s happening. Because toxic people behave in ways that are damaging to others, it is important to recognize them early.

Here are 12 ways you can recognize a toxic person:
  1. Toxic people live lives of intense drama, and it’s easy to get sucked in.
  2. Toxic people are completely self-centered. They make sure all attention focuses on them.
  3. Toxic people often appear to need constant rescuing.
  4. They are mean. A toxic person may mistreat you over and over, if you allow it.
  5. Toxic people try to control you through emotional manipulation.
  6. You never know what behavior to expect. Toxic people can be alternately kind or hurtful, calm or enraged. They keep you off balance.
  7. Toxic people frequently test you, asking you to prove your love or friendship.
  8. Toxic people lie. You can’t believe anything they tell you.
  9. Toxic people may be around when you have a crisis, but they will rarely share a happy moment. They like it when you are struggling more than when you are succeeding.
  10. They take every chance to bring you down.
  11. Toxic people judge you.
  12. They manipulate conversations to keep you confused.

“Sometimes you have to accept the truth and stop wasting time on the wrong people.”

How can you protect yourself from a toxic person?

Once you have identified a toxic person, the best way to deal with that person is to keep your interactions at a minimum. When possible, detach from the relationship altogether.  Of course, complete withdrawal is not always practical.

Sometimes the toxic person is someone you must see at work, or a person in your family. If you make the choice to continue interacting with the toxic person, it is vital that you determine in advance the form of your interaction. Make a decision in which you will approach every interaction feeling centered and clear.

See the toxic person when necessary, but keep them at arm’s length. Check in with your body, and note any inner tension or anxiety. Give yourself plenty of space.

Do not be drawn into unnecessary conversation with a toxic person, and never attempt to justify yourself. Toxic people approach conversations as a win/lose proposition, so don’t waste your valuable time. Keep your interactions brief, polite, but superficial.

Have a clear sense of your own boundaries. If you are in a position of working with a toxic person on a project, decide early on what you will do and what is not acceptable to you. Be courteous but consistent. Having a toxic person in the vicinity is a great opportunity for you to practice establishing and enforcing your personal boundaries.

“Because at some point you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.” – Sandi Lynn

Most of us will encounter at least one toxic person during our lifetime. When you are able to identify them and protect yourself, you can think of this as a gift. Toxic people provide a great opportunity to practice operating autonomously, from a position of your own personal power.

How do you avoid letting toxic people into your life? Let us know by commenting below!

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Why Meditation & Mindfulness Make You Awesome

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Everything in life, including your work and personal commitments, depends on the way your brain works. Most of us today are severely affected by stress. According to the American Psychological Association, stress has a negative impact on our mental and physical health. However, many feel not enough is done to manage stress. When we are […]

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How And Why To Work On Your Emotional Intelligence

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Parents and educators have done a serious disservice to many people by leading them to believe that IQ is everything and that your grades actually matter once you are out of school. Learning is good and getting good grades can certainly open a lot of doors, but your IQ is basically set for life in childhood. So, if you are going to depend on that for the rest of your life, it will just be a losing game for you.

There is good news, though.

Your emotional quotient, or EQ, can be developed throughout your life and can have a greater impact on your career success than anything else. How to work emotional intelligence? Read on.

What Is EQ?

Your emotional quotient, like your IQ, is a measurement of your emotional intelligence. The more you develop different areas of your emotional intelligence, the higher your EQ climbs.

These are things like:

Social skills – How well do you interact with people and get along with your coworkers?

Empathy – Can you put yourself in other people’s shoes to really understand their point of view? Are you in the habit of doing this regularly?

Motivation – Are you passionate about your work or your hobby? Are you motivated by money and power?

Self-regulation – Are you able to accept things that are out of your control and think before you act?

Self-awareness – Are you aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses? Can you acknowledge these and admit your mistakes?

How Are EQ And IQ Different?

Your IQ is consistent throughout your entire life. It basically measures your ability to learn. There are no major differences between men and women.

Your EQ, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with a little effort on your part. There may be some differences between men and women in general, but it is unclear whether they are biologically or socially driven.

Typically, 70% of the time, a person of average intelligence will outperform someone with high intelligence and EQ is likely the reason behind that.

Some Of The Most Successful People Have High EQs

oprah winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is so well known for her emotional intelligence that it has its own name: Oprahfication. She has used her ability to get people to open up to build a television empire.

Matt Damon has also used his emotional intelligence to build and maintain relationships with fellow actors as well as to launch the H2O Africa Foundation. Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi once wrote to the parents of 29 of her employees to tell them they had raised good kids.

Emotional intelligence traits like these have allowed each of these people to accelerate their professional lives much more than if they were completely reliant on IQ.

Why Work On Emotional Intelligence?

People with high levels of emotional intelligence earn on average of $29,000 more per year than those with low levels of emotional intelligence. In fact, for every point your EQ rises, you can expect to earn an average of $1300 more a year. The majority of top job performers have high emotional quotients. Clearly, increasing your emotional quotient is something you can’t afford not to do.

See Also: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader

How Can You Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?

There’s no one way to improve your EQ and there’s no magic class or text you can take. It comes from hard work and perseverance. You will have to do some hard work and some introspection.

Here are some of the things you can start on:

Practice empathy – Putting yourself in another person’s shoes is something you have to consciously do. It won’t come naturally at first but once you do it enough, it will become second nature.

See Also: How To Develop Empathy By Understanding Subjective Hardship

Admit your own faults – Know your limits and admit to them. If someone else is better at something than you are, acknowledge it!

Listen – Don’t shut someone down because you think you know more than he does. Listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from.

Deal with your stress in a positive way – If you notice it building, take up yoga or meditation to keep it under control.

yoga mental health

Give honest feedback nicely – Sometimes, tough things need to be said. Learn how to do it in a constructive way.

Look at failure as an opportunity to learn

Check out this infographic to learn more about emotional intelligence.



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I Survived Burnout More Than a Few Times, and Here's What I Learned

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Burnout used to be like an old wild and disruptive friend who would show up in my life at the most unlikely times. One summer in particular when I was on a vacation with my family, I was a wreck. I couldn’t enjoy my time with my husband and daughter who were soaking up the sun, swimming, and enjoying their free time. I, however, could only see life through a very negative lens and spent more time brooding than playing. In the weeks and months leading up to that vacation, I had worked myself to the bone, was feeling under pressure on some personal family matters, and hit the proverbial wall. I had nothing left in my engine for myself or anyone else.

Burnout is a regular visitor to my life as I always step in to help others

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time burnout showed up. A hard worker and high achiever dating back to elementary school, my primary focus was on achieving at all costs. I am also a caregiver by nature feeling the need to step in and help when others need help. Through law school and then working in the nonprofit sector, I would work and work and work ignoring my building stress until I flamed out.

On that particular vacation though, I finally grew tired of burning out. Because after I came home, I decided to do something different. I decided I was tired of hitting the burnout wall and instead wanted to figure out how to avoid it the next time around.

In time, I came to learn the early warning signs of burn out and how to face it off before it took over. And here is what I learned.

The fine line between “stressed” and “burned out”

Burnout happens when you are under excessive and prolonged stress. People are often able to respond to short bursts of pressure and demand without much trouble. But when that pressure continues day after day without a break, the stress can mound and potentially become burnout.

Importantly, you can be stressed but not burned out.

When you are stressed you are facing a lot of different pressures both mentally and physically but even still you can imagine getting things under control. On the other hand, if you have burnout, you are feeling empty, a lack of motivation, and don’t see a hope of positive change. Burnout is when you begin to detach and feel cynical or ineffective.

You may not recognize burnout when it’s right in front of you

We often think “burnout” looks like someone who is so incapacitated they are unable to work. Burnout doesn’t have to look so extreme. You can continue to work when you have burnout but instead feel every day at work is a bad day. You could be feeling disinterested in your work or maybe even depressed by it. You could feel overwhelmed by responsibilities and turn to distracting activities like drinking or social media.

The most common sign of burnout is when your stress is so high you start to see diminishing returns at work and you are lacking interest in work or life.

Some of the other warning signs:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to focus
  • Physically and emotionally exhausted
  • Drained and depleted
  • Low or no motivation
  • Forgetful
  • Physical stress (e.g. chest pain)
  • Getting chronically sick
  • Anxiety
  • Anger

To be clear, there is not an official diagnosis of burnout – unlike depression which is a widely studied condition. And sometimes burnout may start to look more like depression which is why it can be important to seek professional attention. What is most insidious about burnout is that it creeps up on you over time. All of the indicators may be there but you may fail to recognize it when it is right in front of you.

Types of people who are more prone to burnout

The best place to start is to identify what is causing excessive and prolonged stress in your life. This can come from the workplace, home, or both.

So while there isn’t any one type of person that is prone to burnout, there are some common themes of the types of people who are more likely to face burnout:

  • People who face heavy workloads or high stress positions.
  • High achievers
  • Caregivers including healthcare professionals at the front line of care
  • Working parents
  • Students

Burnout may not simply come because of excessive work

Keep in mind that burnout doesn’t just happen because of significant demands on people lives. It can happen if our mindset shifts.

In my coaching work, I have clients that exhibit signs of burnout but it may not come necessarily simply because of excessive work. Take, for example, Jennifer (name changed to protect confidentiality). She has an intensive job that has her working many evenings and most weekends. This is something she has been doing for years. But recently she has realized how exhausted she is from work. She is getting more upset with demands made on her than she has in the past. She is beginning to hate her job and can’t understand why all of a sudden she can’t “deal” with work. For Jennifer, the cause of the emerging burnout wasn’t the demands of the job itself. It began when she felt unappreciated and ignored. Therefore, burnout can manifest when we become disappointed by dashed expectations.

Create ‘margin’ in your reschedule

We tend to over schedule our lives. So our days can be jam packed with work, appointments, and other obligations. This has us running from place to place without a moment to breathe. Look at how you can start to schedule breathing room in your day. Avoid scheduling meetings back to back in your day. Schedule out time on your schedule to do some important catch up.

Adopt resilience tools at work

While work itself can be stressful, there are ways to build in strategies that allow us to de-stress during the day. This includes doing some deep breathing, meditation, or just taking a walk outdoors. Productivity hacks suggest dedicating specific chunks of uninterrupted time (read: no email or social media) and then taking solid breaks around 10 or 15 minutes to clear your mind.

Adopt the strategy of “no”

People feeling burnout are often feel they must “do it all.” Stepping back from burnout means finding ways to lessen the stress which means saying the powerful two letter word NO. It may be hard at first but look for opportunities to delegate demands to others, shift priorities off your plate, or delay obligations.

Find regular times to unplug yourself

Don’t be under the illusion you always need to be moving to make progress. Sometimes, doing nothing is exactly what your body and mind are looking for. Find time to recharge by unplugging from it all. Taking real breaks – to eat, sleep, decompress – can give us the energy we need to remain productive.

To be sure, taking a real break can be difficult in today’s world when we are all expected to remain in constant communication though messaging and email. Consider giving yourself an electronics-free time so you can remove yourself from the noise of work, social media, and email.

There was a time I was convinced that I was on a regular cycle of burnout and that my old familiar friend would re-enter my life maybe once a year or every couple of years. I thought I was just a person who faced burnout and that was just part of who I was. But that trip to the beach woke me up and forced me to finally face down how I was the cause of my own burnout.

I now have a personal program to manage my stress and avoid burnout. Sure, I can still get pretty stressed at times but I am much quicker to see the signs and take immediate action. You too can be empowered to tackle and stop burnout in its tracks.

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7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Start Loving Yourself More

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“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving,” ~Kim McMillen

I started learning about self-love a long time ago.

In fact, I started learning about self-love so long ago that when, fifteen years later, a shaman in Peru I told me that self-love was the answer to all my questions, I got really pissed off!

I had struggled with depression as a teenager. For about two years, I lived a very sad life. I don’t even remember much to be honest. I felt the pain of existence. I avoided people. Every day felt like yet another obstacle to overcome. I existed rather than lived. Eventually, I overcame it and discovered some tools that I still use to help me with any low moments l might have today. One of them was the practice of self-love.

I found a few helpful books on meditation, the Silva Method, visualization, and the famous book You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.

I wrote affirmations daily. I kept doing my mirror work. I started to be more appreciative and kinder to myself. I meditated regularly and gradually rebuilt myself. I thought I had nailed self-love. I thought I had really understood what self-love was.

I was wrong.

I was in my early thirties—single and not entirely thrilled about it. Not fulfilled in my corporate career. Living in a converted garage in London and wondering what to change in my life to feel happier.

When my friend asked me whether I would be up for travelling to Peru, I didn’t think twice.

It felt like the right adventure at the right time.

We had a magical time for three weeks. We visited many ancient places, took part in spiritual ceremonies, met and worked with shamans, and visited some old communities living a modest life in the middle of the Andes. We experienced everything that Peru had to offer.

One day, my friend and I decided to go for a coca leaf reading. It was mainly out of curiosity but as with previous past readings, I wanted to be reassured that my life was going to change and that I would soon be in a better place.

Now I know better than to turn to a psychic to ease my anxiety. Once during a reading a psychic told me that there are a few future possibilities for us, based on our choices. So, I started to trust my choices more and become comfortable with uncertainty, as there is always a solution to our problems. I also trust that whatever I experience I’m having is for my highest good and the exact lesson I now need.

Back to my story: So, we went to a back room of a very run down massage place that we’d come across a few days earlier.

The shaman came and set himself up. He couldn’t speak English and had a Dutch translator.

My friend went first and asked her questions and got guidance.

When it was my turn, I started to ask the usual questions: When will I meet the love of my life? When will I find a better job? What job would it be? When will I find a better flat? When will I start earning more money?

After I asked the first question, the shaman stirred the leaves in his palms and threw them up. When they fell, he looked at them and said to me, “When you start loving yourself.”

Fair enough, I thought to myself, and asked another question.

The shaman threw the leaves again, contemplated a little, and gave me the same answer, “When you start loving yourself more.”

I thought “okay” and agreed silently with him. I still felt I could love myself more.

I asked another question and got the same answer. And another question and got the same answer.

Doubts began to appear and I started to feel a bit uneasy.

I felt like we were a bit naive going to a shaman we didn’t know and that nobody had recommended him to us.

When I heard the same answer for the fifth time, I lost it.

I snapped at the translator, accusing the shaman of being fake and not knowing what he was doing.

The translator started to calm me down and tried to convince me that the shaman was very popular and he knew his stuff. Apparently, many people kept coming back to him because of his accurate readings.

Somehow it was hard to believe.

We completed the reading and left.

My friend tried to help me make sense of this experience but I completely dismissed it.

I was furious. Not even about the reading but the realization that I thought I had done so much work around self-love and was convinced I knew how to love and respect myself. But here a stranger was pointing out to me that there was yet more work to be done.

I remember asking my friend angrily, “How much work on self-love do I need to do to actually start loving myself? Is fifteen years not enough?”

I felt helpless and discouraged.

It felt like all the work I had done on myself up until that moment in Peru had meant nothing.

I was frustrated because I assumed that after all the inner work I had done, I should have known better. I should have attracted higher quality men. I should have had a better job. I should have earned more money. I should have been happier.

My life had a few more lessons for me before I actually got what self-love really meant.

A few years later, I was even more frustrated in the new job—and still single after dozens of failed dates with men who didn’t even remotely fit the description of my dream man. Not much happier, I had a moment of realization when I was drying my hair.

It just hit me out of nowhere. I felt in my whole body what it was to love myself. I felt flooded with self-appreciation for no reason. I was overcome by kindness and compassion for myself.

In that moment, I saw how unloving I was toward myself. I realized that through my entire life I had been betraying and abandoning myself.

I completely understood what the shaman in Peru really meant!

Until I truly loved and honored myself, I wouldn’t get a better job, find a loving man, or feel happier.

I wouldn’t because I didn’t love myself enough to feel worthy of it all.

It took me a while to integrate my insights and realize how the love I had (or lack of it!) for myself was directly responsible for my unfulfilling love life, draining career, and overall unhappiness with life.

A few years later, I now have my own definition of self-love.

I believed for a long time that self-love was merely a feeling toward myself.

Now I know better. It is way more than just a feeling.

For me, self-love is a practice. It is a practice of choosing myself, putting myself first when I can, making myself important, and being kind and compassionate with myself. Also, self-love is about choosing things/people/situations that are good for me, feel right, and serve me.

Self-love is an on-going conscious choice!

When I started to practice consciously choosing myself over others, over damaging situations, over unfulfilling friendships and relationships, things changed dramatically.

To illustrate why you need to practice self-love, here are a few examples from my own life.

1. You will start to feel more in charge of your life.

I realized that I had always a choice. I could make poor choices out of fear, guilt, and shame or empowered choices that were aligned with who I was and what felt authentic to me. So, I stopped trying to please people, accommodating men unworthy of my attention, and doing things that didn’t bring me pleasure or satisfaction.

When you start loving yourself more, you too will realize your wants and needs are important, and you have the choice to honor them.

2. You will set stronger boundaries around dating and love.

As a result of honoring my needs, I started to feel more confident and assertive. I became more purposeful with dating. I stopped wasting time on the wrong guys and started making more empowered romantic choices. The final outcome: I found the love of my life after struggling in the love department for years.

When you strengthen your boundaries from a place of self-love, you too will feel more empowered and you’ll stop repeatedly choosing partners who aren’t good for you.

3. You will stop seeking approval.

This was the most liberating thing. As I loved and respected myself more, I stopped worrying about how much others liked or approved of me. I stopped doing things to be liked. This created more space for being more authentic and less defensive, for being more myself.

When you have your own approval and acceptance, you start caring less about other people’s opinion of you and living a life that is aligned with your own values.

 4. You will start to make more courageous and conscious decisions.

I gave up my draining corporate job out of respect to myself.

I moved out of London after fifteen years to have a slower and more peaceful lifestyle.

I fell in love again. (This takes lots of courage if you have been hurt over and over again!)

I got pregnant and had a natural birth. I had no clue how this happened, as I formerly had broadcasted everywhere that if I ever got pregnant, I would be the first to ask for an epidural. But I listened to my body and having an epidural didn’t feel right.

I became a mama to my son. This is probably the bravest thing I have ever done in my life, since I love my freedom so much. But the love for my son helps me forget how important my freedom was to me before.

Self-love will give you the courage to get rid of things that don’t serve you and make space for things that will help you grow. When you truly value yourself, you make decisions that honor you rather than harm you.

5. You will start to enjoy being with yourself.

I stopped filling my days with meetings, dates, and outings, as I did in the past just so I wouldn’t feel alone. I stopped running away from myself into the arms of unsuitable men. I stopped meeting friends just to have some company.

Instead, I started to do more things I loved doing: swimming, yoga, writing, watching movies, meditating. When I reconnected with myself deeply, spending time in my own company didn’t feel scary anymore. I stopped being afraid of being alone.

You too will find that when you become more loving toward yourself, you will start being more comfortable being in your own lovely company.

6. You will develop a stronger relationship with yourself.

As I spent more time with myself I deepened the connection I had with myself. I stopped being desperate for a romantic relationship because I started to have more fun on my own. I became my own friend. I started to feel more secure as a person as I tapped into my true inner being. I started to believe in myself more. I started to trust myself more.

When you deepen your connection with yourself through self-love, you’ll connect on a deeper level with others too. As your relationship with yourself improves, your others get stronger as well.

7. You will stop seeking happiness in relationships.

Loving myself helped me realize that I didn’t need a man to be happy. All the love I needed to be happy was within me already. I took more responsibility for my personal happiness and stopped giving my power away to men.

I understood that happiness was constantly present in my life. It wasn’t somewhere in the future. I just needed to change my focus and learn to appreciate what I had rather than dwelling on what I didn’t have.

When you start to love yourself more and feel happier, you too will likely feel less desperate for a romantic relationship. You’ll realize you don’t need a partner to be happy. You just need to be happy and the right person will show up in time.

So how do you start loving yourself more? Start choosing yourself daily and doing what feels right for you.

Introduce a daily practice of checking in with yourself every time you need to make a decision or a choice.

First you ask yourself: What would feel loving in this situation?

Once you have the answer, ask yourself these thee powerful questions:

Does it feel good/right for me?

Will it serve me?

Will it make me feel energized?

These questions will help you honor yourself and your needs and stay true and loving to yourself.

There is much more I want to say on this subject, but I will leave it for another article.

Let me just say this: Self-love will transform your life—so start practicing!

About Aska Kolton

Aska Kolton helps single women unleash the high-quality woman within so they stop making mistakes in love, start making more empowered romantic choices, and finally attract the quality guy they deserve. Grab a free Love Life Makeover Session with Aska HERE, and download her Get Ready For Love With The Dating Detox Guide HERE, and join her Facebook Group.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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10 Reasons Why Introverts Should Become Writers

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You're reading 10 Reasons Why Introverts Should Become Writers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Are you an introvert? Yes? Then there are two of us. Nobody knows better what it means to be unable to fit into the society than introverts. We’re too quiet, too withdrawn, too lost in our heads and too individualistic to be accepted by the extrovert majority. Our friends and family find it hard to believe that we might in fact WANT to spend our free time alone, on a comfortable armchair, under a blanket, with a book in hand and hot tea on the table. What’s wrong with that? Don’t worry about what other people say! Do what makes you happy! I know from experience that what gives an introvert sleepless nights is finding the ideal profession. Thus, let me share with you my golden means to a happy and satisfactory life.

I don’t fit anywhere.

It’s difficult to find a perfect job. You’re right. It’s easier for extroverts. Since they are outgoing, sociable, enthusiastic and attention-seeking, they feel great in professions where human interaction is a must. For introverts, on the other hand, the choice of profession is tough to make. Although you might find many jobs difficult to cope with, there are still those that are suitable for you! One of them is writing.

Why should I become a writer?

If you’re wondering why you should become a writer, check the 10 ultimate reasons why this job is ideal for you. Let’s begin!
  • No more recharging!
Isn’t working alone a dream come true? When you write, it’s just you, your laptop and a coffee on the table. Nothing else. No direct human contact needed.
  • Creativity appreciated!
Aren’t the creative tasks or hobbies those that you enjoy most? It’s been proven that introverts might be the most creative people, so why not to have a profession that will allow you to express that creativity?
  • Daydreaming allowed!
How much time do you spend in your head pondering about new ideas, rehearsing for possible future conversations or imagining yourself in various situations? You adore it, don’t you? But, you are also being scolded for it. What would you say if you could have an excuse for living inside of your head?
  • No more uncomfortable communication!
Isn’t it hard to give immediate feedback once you’re asked a complicated question? No wonder. Unlike extroverts, you need time to process information, so speaking off the cuff is difficult. Discussing issues, especially with a group of people, is also tough. Ask yourself, do you prefer oral or written communication?
  • Reading! Reading! Even more reading!
You love reading, don’t you? There isn’t a better evening than the one spent in bed with a new bestseller. As Stephen King teaches us, good writers read a lot. Doesn’t it mean you might be perfect for this job?
  • Boredom at bay!
What would you say for going to a party? Do you want to say, “spare me, please”? I know what you mean. Nothing makes introverts more exhausted and bored than such socializing. Writing, on the other hand, will keep you engaged all the time. Isn’t it fascinating to spend your time creating new worlds and characters, educating others by writing compelling posts or researching topics and writing down your opinions and findings?
  • Comfortable clothes allowed!
Do you like dressing down? It’s been observed that introverts prefer comfortable and practical clothes. Isn’t it great that once you’re a writer, you can dress the way you like? If you work from home you can even write in your pajamas!
  • Work in the right environment!
You easily get distracted by over-stimulating environments, don’t you? You need peace and quiet for good concentration (check the success guide for all introverts). Thus, working in such places as hospitals, restaurants or schools sounds uninviting. Wouldn’t it be easier to choose the place to work? Depending on the type of the writing job you have, you can either work in a quiet office or at home. Wouldn’t you like that?
  • Feel energized for social interaction!
Do you seek solitude? That’s because unlike extroverts, you gain energy by spending time alone. Imagine how energized you’ll be if you spend most of your day on such a solitary and fun activity as writing. It will prepare you for meeting your friends, family or the significant other. Will you not have more strength to spend time with people once you spend some time alone?
  • Recover through writing!
Do you suffer from depression? Since introverts are the most misunderstood people (deemed to be anti-social, unemotional or no fun), they tend to have a lot of social problems. Many find it difficult to make friends. Others feel they don’t belong anywhere. If you also have such problems, writing might help you recover! Won’t you give it a try? As you can see, writing has a number of benefits for introverts, thus it makes a desirable profession. There is one problem, though.

Can I earn my living by writing?

Yes, you can! Depending on your aspirations, talents and aptitudes, you don’t have to be a novel writer. If you want to have a job with a steady income, you might consider being a freelance writer, journalist or a blogger. There are many possibilities! Need more reasons to start your writing career?

You've read 10 Reasons Why Introverts Should Become Writers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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10 YouTube Channels You Need to Start Watching

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No matter what kind of online business you run or whatever endeavor you’re considering, it’s a good idea to learn from the people who have already been there, done that, and been successful at it. That’s why it’s in your best interest to read some of the biggest and most popular blogs in your niche. That’s probably why you’re reading this blog too.

But blogs are certainly not your only source of insight, wisdom and information. The Internet is literally overflowing with great ideas that you can implement in your own business. You should be subscribing to podcasts to listen to in your car or during your workout session at the gym. And instead of binge-watching another reality TV series, you should be expanding your knowledge base by following these YouTube channels.

You’ll learn about social media best practices. You’ll learn about Internet marketing. You’ll even learn about how you can maximize your success on YouTube by watching YouTube videos. If you’re thirsty for knowledge, these ten channels are good places to start.

There’s a reason why Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media dashboards, both among individuals and businesses. It’s a great way to manage multiple accounts, view your information across multiple tabs, and take advantage of additional functions like syndication and autoscheduling. The accompanying Hootsuite YouTube channel helps you maximize your experience with the social media manager, teaching you how to use insights, how to save drafts, how to collaborate with team members and more.

VerticalResponse offers a suite of marketing solutions that cover everything from social media marketing to direct mail marketing, from email marketing to online surveys. They focus primarily on the small business sector, which probably covers most of the people who are reading this blog. The channel discusses how to use their tools, but you also get more general insights into Internet marketing too.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in today’s Internet, you really should be getting into video. That could be in the form of vlogs or explainer videos or product views. With Sold With Video, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to make the best possible videos for YouTube, from sourcing royalty-free music to buying the best equipment. Want to know if a certain wireless mic is worth the money? This is a good channel to follow.

You’ve probably heard of Jay Baer before. He’s been a keynote speaker at several events and he’s a New York Times best seller. He also knows a thing or two about business strategy, having worked with more than 700 companies over the course of his career, including Nike and Allstate. On his YouTube channel, Jay explores why customers who complain are actually a good thing, why customer service has now become a spectator sport, and how to find and activate the influencers in your space.

If you’re a fan of Entrepreneur Magazine, where John himself was once featured, then there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy the business-oriented content posted to the accompanying Entrepreneur Online YouTube channel. With over a quarter million subscribers, this YouTube channel mostly features shorter videos that you can watch in under ten minutes. Learn about scarier topics like legal documents and business banking, as well as more exciting subjects like content marketing and the qualities that make a great leader.

Have you ever looked at a big company and wondered how the founder got the business to that level in the first place? Behind the Brand is a wonderfully insightful channel that interviews a great number of high power celebrities and entrepreneurs. Past interviewees include such huge names as Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk and rap mogul Russell Simmons.

Just about every successful Internet marketer should know about Joel Comm. He’s a successful Internet pioneer, international keynote speaker, and self-described futurist. He knows what it takes to build a business, particularly in the tech sphere, and develop solutions that people really love. Fun fact: Joel wrote the foreword to the book I co-authored with John several years ago, Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul.

Here’s another one of those great YouTube channels that is effectively about YouTube itself. In addition to the Think Media TV channel, co-host Sean Cannell also works with Benji Travis on the Video Influencers channel. There, they interview some of the top YouTubers and video creators about what they’re doing to “crush it” with their videos. They also offer advice on choosing the best vlogging cameras, coming up with video ideas, get more subscribers and make more money on YouTube.

The best way to learn about video marketing is from watching videos about video marketing. Derral Eves works as a consultant and he has considerable background in marketing, not only with video, but also with social media and mobile. On the channel, he goes through a variety of subjects related to how you can maximize your efforts with video marketing, like how you can add comment moderators to your channel or how you can blur faces in your videos without having to invest in expensive and confusing video editing software.

When it comes to search engine optimization and site analytics, Moz is one of the best in the business. The YouTube channel digs into everything you might want to know about SEO and related subjects, both in terms of using Moz tools and as part of your overall strategy. Yes, if you live by the Google, you die by the Google, but by ignoring the Google, you’re also leaving a considerable audience in the dark about what you have to offer.

Do you have any favorite YouTube channels for learning about blogging, vlogging and Internet marketing?

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

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To Be AND Not to Be: Honoring a Life Lost to Suicide

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“To be, or not to be—that is the question.” ~William Shakespeare

This Sunday marks one year since my friend took his own life. It both is and isn’t a big deal. It is in the sense that we like to commemorate things: one-year-old, one year at a new job, one year since 9-11, one year sober.

It isn’t in the sense that my to-do list that day includes “thaw and marinate chicken.”

When a person takes his own life, it creates a cosmic shift in the universe.

It also doesn’t.

The first few days after a person takes his own life are the weirdest. He was here. Now he’s not.

The disappearance of a human being is beyond comprehension. A whole human vanishes. Six feet one inch tall. One hundred and sixty pounds. Blue eyes. Salty blonde hair. Brilliant veterinarian. Father of two young daughters. Husband. Son. Friend.

Perhaps the coroner has determined that the cause of death was self-inflicted gunshot wound. But it is equally as believable that he took a last minute trip. He had to go unexpectedly, but he will be back. He is out running errands. His flight was delayed.

But as time passes and the person doesn’t come walking up the drive and through the door, his favorite hat bee-bopping up and down with steady gait in the yard, deep sadness swells around the supernatural weirdness of it all. The sadness makes it difficult to breath, at times. It is life altering and universe shifting. It is monumental.

Except that it isn’t. No matter how deep our grief, schools continue to meet. Clients continue to call. Crimes continue to be committed. Babies continue to be born. Cars still need oil changes.

Neighbors still drive out of their driveways in the mornings. They still look carefully before exiting their driveways into the street. They still stop to check their mail, which keeps coming by the way, even when someone we love is suddenly gone.

Just as our own serious injuries may frantically send us to the ER, once we are sitting in the waiting area, we look around and realize we are merely one of many. Death is plain.

The ordinariness of it all can make it seem like our person didn’t mean very much. Sometimes it feels like he never even existed.

Except that he did. His half-used soap bar remains in the shower. His razor sits on the counter with tiny hairs embedded in its blades. His cell phone rests on the nightstand with three unread text messages. His bills sit an unopened still-life on the kitchen counter. His half eaten banana slowly turns brown.

His stuff suggests he was real. That he was here despite his sudden disappearance.

As his loved ones tasked with cleaning up what he left behind begin to eradicate the trail he left of his final days, when the soap has cracked and the fruit has become rotten, it can feel as though all evidence of his existence has vanished.

Still, even if every shred of evidence of a person’s existence is lit on fire and turned to ash, our memories, or experiences, and our love for people who disappear will live on. Those memories, intangible ghosts in our minds that cannot be touched, seen, or proven, both are and aren’t real.

For me, the best space within which to honor those we have lost is to live in the in-between, a place where they both did and did not exist. Where they both did and did not die. Where their loss both is and is not extraordinary.

This Sunday, I plan to commemorate the day by getting what is and is not meaningful: a tattoo. The experience will and will not be important. It will be important in the sense that I am getting a semi-colon tattoo to represent mental illness and suicide awareness in honor of my dear friend. It isn’t in the sense that millions of people get tattoos every day.

This Sunday, I will be sad. The sadness that comes with suicide doesn’t ever truly disappear. Because it is always there, I suppose the sadness left over after a person takes his own life both is and isn’t important. It is in the sense that it lives down low beneath the joy, laughter, excitement, and other emotions that continue to be felt despite the life altering loss.

But it isn’t all that extraordinary either. Sadness is not exclusive to me. And despite my sadness, this Sunday will be regular. We will laugh when it makes sense to laugh. We will watch our usual TV shows. We will wash laundry for the week. We will return emails. We will grade papers.

When someone we love dies, we swear we will never take our lives for granted. Every moment will count; every day will be lived fully. Similarly, we swear we will never take for granted our friends, our spouses, our children. We will keep our eyes on the big picture. We won’t sweat the small stuff. We will stop drinking, stop smoking, stop yelling, start meditating.

Except when we don’t. And that is okay. Because although we aim to see the death of our loved ones as a monumental turning point in our lives—one that will push us to live our best life—the fact also remains that life is ordinary. Death is common. Our health will fail one way or another. We will yell again. We will take things for granted.

Because the finite nature of our capacity for understanding pushes us into the realm of “either/or,” we believe that we either appreciate our lives, or we don’t. We are either happy or we are sad. We are either healthy or we are sick. We are either alive or we are dead.

I suspect that, if we could hear the voices of ghosts, they’d tell us that our finite view causes us much suffering. That Hamlet’s contemplation of his own being when he asks “to be or not to be?” is the wrong question with no real answer. For even when one takes his own life, he does not cease “to be.”

After all, my friend is gone, but his memory lives on. I can see his sweet spirit in the eyes of his children. I can feel his love for nature as the wind blows through the leaves of trees, dancing alive. He is here, and he is not. His ashes will return to the earthen ground from which he came. Perhaps he will become part of a cloud, a stream. Perhaps his remains will enrich the earth that grows the tea we drink.

The sooner we accept that the universe is infinite and that our capacity to understand is finite (despite whatever technological advances we believe humans have made), the sooner we will find the peace that can only come from living outside of the duality of either/or.

For me, I accept that my dear friend died because he took his own life. I also accept that he did not die.

This sort of wild, fantastical thinking is not the kind one might see in popular culture movies depicting communication with the deceased in the afterlife. It is the kind of thinking that arises from acceptance of the infinitesimal universe that is beyond our own finite understanding. Once we accept this truth, the spirit of those we have lost is freed beyond the grave.




About Ashley Sillay

Ashley Sillay is a criminal defense attorney and instructor of legal writing in Macon, Georgia. She enjoys the ocean, vodka, and family. She writes this article in honor of her dear friend, Russ Edwards, a beloved and gifted veterinarian, who passed away on April 30, 2016. She hopes to destigmatize grief and loss one person at a time.

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