Why My Christmas Day This Year Tops Them All And How You Can Replicate It For Next Year.

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/why-my-christmas-day-this-year-tops-them-all-and-how-you-can-replicate-it-for-next-year/

Its taken two years, and this Christmas I finally got to spend it with 300 homeless / disadvantaged / victims of domestic violence. A lot of them have had the toughest year of their life and I have been determined to make a difference.

My opportunity to help came and I took it. I know what it’s like to go through really hard times and I feel that this has given me the tools to help others. So, no more excuses, this Christmas has become everything I dreamed it could be.

After a bit of planning, what followed was the best Christmas Day I have ever had. I changed what Christmas meant to me and I want to share that gift with all of you. I want you to have the best Christmas Day ever, as well as learn some valuable lessons that will change your perspective.

Here’s why this year’s Christmas Day was the best ever and this is how you can replicate it:


Show that strangers care.

At the Christmas lunch I volunteered at to serve those in need, I heard a story of a little boy whose mum was the victim of domestic violence. She has nothing and her boy doesn’t have much of a Christmas. His one wish was to be able to go to soccer practice with a pair of boots and a ball.

I decided to buy him both these presents to show him that strangers care. It’s not about the gift that I gave him – what I wanted him to see was that strangers care. This gift gives him the ability to have hope that his family’s situation can change.

During the Christmas lunch, one of the volunteers tipped off this little boy’s mother and told her that I had bought the gifts for her son. Unexpectedly, she came over and hugged me. She was very emotional and thanked me for helping.

I didn’t want thanks and I told her so politely. I told her one thing:

“What I’ve done is show you that strangers care. You don’t need to thank me. What you must do when you are able to, is pay it forward.”

I wanted her to understand that giving is about sharing the message and doing the same for others who need help. This one lesson was the highlight of my Christmas Day.

Replicating my Christmas Day requires you not to give blindly to a charity, but to get out there and show your face and help people. The best gifts you can give are your time, your advice, your kindness and your faith in humanity.


Make Christmas Day about somebody other than you.

Without a doubt, my Christmas Day was the best ever because I made it about someone other than myself. Every other year has been about what I want and what will make me happy. The decisions I have made on previous Christmas’s have been self-centered and that’s hard to admit.

This year, I made Christmas about helping those who have nothing. It took the focus away from me and put the spotlight on somebody else and how I could make their day awesome. Seeing others happy on Christmas is what made me feel so good and words can’t describe it.

Replicating my Christmas Day starts with taking the focus off yourself.


Forget the word “SHOPPING.”

Don’t let any day of the year determine your spending habits or make you spend money. I did zero Christmas shopping this year and chose to buy a few things for strangers instead. Not because I needed to demonstrate that gifts matters, but because the gift I gave these people in need, was hope.

Shopping benefits business and does very little to help the average person. The only gift I got this Christmas was a handmade card, and it was so special and cost zero dollars.

Replicating my Christmas Day involves ditching the whole idea of shopping.


Think about the presents you’ve received in the past.

I’m willing to bet that most of the gifts you’ve received on Christmas in the past never got used or at the very least, never made you happy. Ask yourself “Do I really need another gift?”

I can guarantee you the answer is no. You don’t need gifts to have self-worth. The number of gifts or the dollar value of the gifts you get does not validate who you are. Most of us have more than what we need.

Replicating my Christmas Day involves rethinking the idea of gifts.

Image Description: Those in need receiving generous food hampers that were donated.


See the good in people.

Many people at the Christmas lunch I volunteered at were from questionable backgrounds. Some had been in prison and many were addicted to illegal drugs. Seeing the good in everyone on Christmas allows you to be compassionate and help others to see what’s possible.

I saw my job on Christmas as not looking down on people. I made it my job to see the best in people despite where they’ve come from.

Replicating my Christmas Day involves you seeing the potential for everyone to be good.


Consider what you eat on Christmas.

Is stuffing your face really required? All of us already consume far too many calories. Instead of overindulging on heaps of food while others starve, could you not try something else?

Many of the people I spent Christmas lunch with wondered why I didn’t have any food. The reason was because I wanted them to eat and to resist the temptation of falling for the idea that Christmas should be about overeating.

Replicating my Christmas Day involves giving a meal to someone who really needs it.

Image Description: Setting the table for 300 homeless / disadvantaged.


Forget everything you know about Christmas.

That’s what I did this year. I wanted to see if there was another way to think about this special day and I experimented with every aspect of Christmas to challenge the status quo. The end result showed me that what I thought Christmas was, was in fact completely wrong.

I’d been programmed to follow what everyone else did without knowing why. I changed that why and I recommend you do the same. Christmas can be magical if you turn the whole idea on its head and question everything you thought you knew prior.

It’s time to live the real meaning of Christmas. I want all of you to experiment next Christmas.

Live the true meaning of Christmas. Make a difference. Inspire strangers.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

Using Google Trends for Keyword Research

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I’m always looking for new ways to perform keyword research and have been experimenting with Google Trends. For those of you NOT aware of Google Trends, here something directly from Google:

“Google Trends is a public web facility of Google Inc., based on Google Search, that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.”

Basically, you can type in a search phrase and find out how it’s trending in popularity throughout the month. For example, if I type “link building”, I’ll be able to find how popular this keyword is over the last few weeks and also find relative phrases. Some suggestions have search volume and will be awesome keywords for content writing. Google Trends will provide a “Top Rising” or “Breakdown” section, showing which phrases have gained momentum.

Google Trends has worked magic for me and I would like to provide you with a few pointers when using this strategy to find effective keywords for your content. Even though this strategy does work pretty much out of the box, it’s important you know what factors are important when choosing the right keywords. Let’s get started…

Niche Relevant

When using Google Trends, you’re NOT changing your main keyword when searching. I always encourage clients to start with their main keyword because many research tools have been configured to narrow down, providing a handful of suitable results. For example, when I type in “link building” within Google Trends and scroll to the bottom, here’s what the results provide…


You’ll also notice the results will allow you to narrow by Country and then City/State. This means if you have a geo-location blog, you’ll be able to narrow down to your location to find keywords that way, too. Another trick is to click on various keywords to keep narrowing down.

Once you’ve gathered a cool handful of keywords, you can move to the next step.

Head over to Google Keyword Planner and start punching in the keywords to find out current search volume. Google Trends is awesome for finding keywords, but NOT finding current search volume by month. This is why you need Keyword Planner to really narrow down the keywords you have. Depending on the length of your content, you can use all the keywords but if you have 10-15, then I would suggest using 6-7 of the best keywords.

When I take the following, which I copied from the example above, here’s what the Google Keyword Planner tool provided:

  • seo link building
  • google link building
  • link building services
  • link building service
  • building links
  • free link building
  • website link building

You can see from the illustration above that NOT only did Google Trends provide me with niche relevant keywords, but also those with a suitable search volume each month. You can now use this information to keep researching more keywords or simply start embedding them in your content as long as your post is relevant to “link building”, which is our root keyword.

Google Trends is very effective if you know what you’re doing because it’s pulling information from the search engine directly. It’s pretty much taking a search pattern seen throughout the months and presenting it in an organized manner. Even though you can use this information effectively, you just need to know how to use the tool and narrow down the right keywords going forward. If you can master this strategy, then, you won’t have any problems finding the right keywords for your content and SEO campaigns.

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

8 Quick and Easy Meditation Techniques to Calm Your Anxious Mind

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Have you ever found it hard to motivate yourself to do something that was good for you, only to eventually do it, feel amazing, and wonder why you waited so long?

That’s what meditating was like for me. Even though I knew I could do it for only five minutes each day to feel calmer, less stressed, and more present, I found excuses not to do it regularly for years.

I’d tell myself five minutes wasn’t enough; I really needed thirty or more, and I didn’t have that time, so why bother?

I’d lament that I was too anxious to sit still (ironic, considering that I knew meditating could calm my anxiety).

I’d complain that my environment was too distracting (irony yet again, since meditation ultimately helps us focus and better deal with distractions).

And then there was my most commonly used excuse: “It just doesn’t work for me.”

Of course it didn’t “work.” I wasn’t meditating with any consistency. And when I did, I got impatient with my own busy brain, like watching the proverbial pot that wouldn’t boil, instead of simply easing into the experience.

I was approaching it with a perfectionist mindset, as if I needed to eventually have a completely clear mind to be “good at it.”

Everything changed for me when I realized I could meditate in many different ways, to suit my schedule, moods, and needs; and that the only goal was to show up, mindfully observe my inner life, and practice detaching from my thoughts.

It was okay if I never achieved complete mental clarity. The practice itself, with its mental messiness and mind wandering, was the path to more clarity in my daily life.

And it’s not just about mental clarity. Adopting a regular meditation practice—even just five minutes a day—can improve your sleep, regulate your mood, boost your resilience, and help ease and prevent a number of physical ailments.

No other habit positively impacts so many areas of your life simultaneously. Because meditation helps reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and anger, while improving your focus, presence, and physical health, it bleeds into all areas of your life—your work, your relationships, your hobbies.

Literally everything can transform, over time, with just five minutes each day.

Whether you’re new to meditation or just looking for some alternative ways to fit mindfulness into your daily life, you may enjoy trying one or more of my favorite practices, including…

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Hold your left nostril down with your left thumb and inhale through your right nostril. Then close your right nostril with your left index finger, so both are closed, and hold the breath. Release your left nostril only and exhale.

With your right nostril still closed, inhale through your left. Now close your left nostril with your thumb, so both nostrils are closed, and hold the breath. Release your index finger from your right nostril and exhale.

This is one set. Complete a minimum of five sets to harmonize the left and right hemispheres of your brain, calm your nervous system, and create a sense of relaxation and ease.

2. The 100-Breaths Technique

Close your eyes. Feel your back against your chair and your feet pressed firmly on the ground, then gently bring yourself into the present moment. Now start breathing through your nostrils and counting as you go, thinking “and” for every inhale, and the number for each exhale—inhale “and,” exhale “one”; inhale “and,” exhale “two.”

Feel your belly rise with each inhalation, and let the breaths slow as you count yourself into a greater sense of relaxation. After you reach 100, open your eyes, move your fingers and toes, and bow your head in gratitude for the mental space you created.

3. Full Body Breath Scan

Start by inhaling through your nose, expanding your stomach, and counting to five. As you breathe in, visualize soothing warm light filling your feet, and then exhale through your lips for a count of five, while visualizing yourself releasing any tension you may have been carrying there.

Repeat this process for your ankles, your shins, your knees, and so on, all the way up to your head. After you finish scanning your entire body, you’ll likely feel lighter, calmer, and more at ease.

4. Lip-Touching Breathing

When aroused, your sympathetic nervous system puts you in a state of high alert—that sense of “fight-or-flight” panic that tells you there’s some sort of threat. Your parasympathetic nervous system, when aroused, produces the opposite feeling—a sense of relaxation and ease.

In his book, Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson suggests a few simple ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system—the simplest of which is to touch your lip with two fingers.

The lips contain parasympathetic nerve fibers, making this is a simple approach to create a sense of calm that you can use anywhere, anytime. To reap the benefits, all you need to do is touch your lips, breathe slowly, and tell yourself, “I am safe.”

5. Walking Meditation

Though you can practice this any time you’re walking, you may want to find a peaceful place to stroll, away from crowds, chaos, or noise pollution. If it’s safe to walk barefoot, this will give you a sense of being more connected to the earth.

Stand with your spine straight, with your shoulders and arms relaxed, and take a few inhalations and exhalations to breathe in calming energy and breathe out tension.

Now begin slowly moving forward and sync your breathing with your steps—right foot, inhale; left foot, exhale. Use all of your senses to fully experience where you are—the warm feeling of sun on your face, the soft sound of wind rustling leaves on trees. The goal is not to arrive at a destination; it’s simply to be present in the experience of walking.

6. Meditative Shower

It’s easy to let go of all other thoughts when you’re standing under a stream of water, set to the perfect temperature for you.

Take this time to tune into your senses. Choose a soap you love so that the scent is intoxicating. Enjoy the sensation of the water on your skin, and feel it drip down your back, your calves, and your heels.

Notice when you begin thinking about the day ahead (or behind you). Don’t judge the thoughts or yourself for having them. Instead, visualize them going down the drain and then bring your focus back to the experience of cleansing your body and mind.

7. Chore Meditation

Whether you’re vacuuming, dusting, or washing dishes, it can be your meditation if you immerse yourself completely in the activity.

Washing dishes, for example, can be both satisfying and grounding. Feel the warm water on your hands; let yourself enjoy the experience of making something dirty clean again. Don’t think about finishing or what you’ll do when you’re done. Focus solely on the doing and see if you can find a sense of acceptance and presence in doing it slowly and well.

8. Mindful Eating

Instead of eating quickly with one eye on your food and the other on your iPhone, turn mealtime into meditation. It doesn’t take long to eat, so why not put everything aside and take this time for you? Your texts, emails, and social media pages will still be there when you’re done.

Breathe deeply and try to identify the different nuances of scent in each item on your plate. When you’re eating, take deep breaths between each bite, and think about your meal like a foodie, appreciating the different flavors and textures.

If you find your thoughts wandering to things you’ve done or have to do, bring your attention to the feeling of the fork in your hand. Then breathe deeply, take a bite, and focus on savoring the food in front of you.

You can incorporate any of these techniques into your day to begin to reap the benefits. And it really only takes five minutes, though you may be tempted to do more once you get started. Mindfulness just feels that good. In a world where it’s all too easy to get distracted and caught up in your thoughts and fears, there’s nothing quite as calming as a few moments of pure presence.

If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and meditation, I highly recommend Tara Brach’s online course, Flourishing in Stressful Times.

Tara Brach is a world-renowned teacher in the meditation world, equipped with a Ph. D in Clinical Psychology and a five-year Buddhist teacher training program under her belt. She blends psychotherapy and meditation into a beautiful mindfulness practice.

This particular course was designed for people who are plagued by stress and anxiety and/or caught up in destructive behaviors. If you’ve never visited Udemy before, you may want to check out their other offerings here.

**Though this post was sponsored by Udemy, you can trust that I only promote products and courses I personally love.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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

The post 8 Quick and Easy Meditation Techniques to Calm Your Anxious Mind appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

7 Tips For Amateur Photographers You Need To Know

Posted from https://www.dumblittleman.com/tips-for-amateur-photographers/

Photography is a fantastic hobby. For some people, it’s a lifelong profession. It gives people the chance to create works of art, capture precious moments, and make lasting impressions of our world.

If you are looking at taking up photography as a hobby or have already purchased a DSLR camera, you may find the process of getting started a bit daunting. After all, photography isn’t just about “pointing and clicking”.

To help you get started, here are 7 really helpful tips for amateur photographers.

Understand how to hold your camera

This might seem like a really basic tip, but you’ll be surprised to find a lot of photographers overlooking this critical point. A DSLR camera or any advanced camera is usually heavy and bulky. There is a wrong way and a right way to hold it.

Here’s how:

  • Hold the camera with both hands.
  • Pull the camera close to your body and use the viewfinder.
  • Ensure your elbows are tucked into your chest to provide extra support and stability. Some people simply hold their camera at arm’s length and this makes them less stable.
  • Use your right hand to hold the camera grip while keeping your index finger above the shutter. Your left hand should be cupped underneath or around the base of the lens.

Most importantly, ensure that you are comfortable!

Consider the importance of light

Light is one of the most important factors to consider when taking a photo. A digital camera has a sensor. This sensor is exposed to light when the shutter button is pressed and makes an imprint to create the photo. If too much light hits the sensor, the photo will be over-exposed. Alternatively, if not enough light hits the sensor, the photo will be under-exposed.

underexposed photo

Underexposed, normally exposed and overexposed photo

Note: Sometimes, photos with different exposures are taken on purpose for HDR photos

Try to look at the light balance in a photo and consider manually changing the exposure. If there are any predominantly light areas, lower the exposure. Conversely, if there are any darker areas, consider increasing the exposure. If you cannot get your exposure levels right, you can always alter them using a post-processing software.

Light also creates depth and can turn a plain photo into something special. Keep in mind that natural sunlight can provide beautiful highlights and add definition to objects. On the flip side, a lack of light can create haunting silhouettes and interesting shadows. Make sure to use light to your advantage!

Learn the various functions of your camera

As mentioned above, DSLR cameras have a plethora of buttons, features, and settings. Before you even start taking photos, it is advisable to have an extensive play with your camera. Read the manual, test out the buttons, and try manually altering the focus.

You should also dissect your camera menus. Find out how to change your image settings, how to format your memory card, and how to switch between single and multi-shot.

It is also advisable to be fully aware of how each part of your camera works.

Where does the battery pack go and how does it slot in? Where does the memory card slot in? How do you swap camera lenses or attach a flash device?

As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

Do not use flash excessively

Flash in photography can be truly frustrating. Most new photographers will simply use their flash to take low light photos and wonder why the results are poor.

It is important to remember these simple pointers:

  • DSLR cameras can take much better low-light photographs without the need to use flash.
  • Using flash to illuminate a dark photo will generally result in an overly bright and harsh concentration of light around your subject.
  • Use flash sparingly and when you do use flash, consider changing the flash settings to tone down the light intensity to try and create a softer effect.

Learn how to focus

To create clear and sharp photos, you must understand how to focus on an object or a particular part of an image. A DSLR will usually have a series of focus points on the viewfinder, which is usually small white squares.

If you half-press the shutter button, some of the focus points will turn green. Those green points are where your camera is focused on. Depending on the aperture, it’s what will appear “in-focus” in the photo.

blurred photos

Note: Blurred photos can also be taken on purpose – for example, to create bokeh effect

Most DSLR cameras have an auto and manual focus feature. To manually focus your camera, you usually have to twist part of the lens. As you twist it, the focus will move forward or backward. Take time to test both the manual and auto focus features and get accustomed to how they work.

Consider the composition of your photograph

Image composition can turn an OK photo into something spectacular. There are several rules and pointers to remember when composing your photo. For example, there is the rule of thirds.

This means that if you are shooting an object, it should be positioned in the left or right third of your photo horizontally and the top or bottom third vertically.

leading lines

Another rule says to consider making use of leading lines. Look for any sort of flow or lines within your photo that directs your eye towards a particular area or object. Make use of leading lines to naturally draw attention to parts of your photo and to make it easy to follow. For example, leading lines can be found on the sidewalk or pavement of a road leading off into the distance.

roads photo

Roads are one of the most obvious examples

Learn how to perform basic post-processing

Many beginners believe that once you have taken a photo, that is it. You can’t do anything to fix or improve it.

However, in today’s modern world, we have plenty of post-processing programs, such as Photoshop, Luminar, or GIMP, which allow users to edit their photos and improve their quality ten-fold.

You can change the white balance and exposure and also improve color saturation. You can also re-position photos that were mistakenly taken at an angle. In short, you can use a post-processing software to salvage photos you felt were unusable and add that finishing touch to your work.

We hope you have found these tips for amateur photographers both insightful and interesting. Photography is a fun hobby and once you understand the basics, the quality of your work should improve!

The post 7 Tips For Amateur Photographers You Need To Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

The Best Way to Success Is to Be Severely Tested

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Want to know the best way to get to success in life? You must be severely tested.

What if I were to tell you that the essential skills of successful leaders are the same as the skills that allow a person to find the meaning of an adverse experience? Would you believe me?

In Crucibles of Leadership, Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas argue that strong leaders are those who overcome adversity. In interviewing more than 40 top leaders in the world, they uncovered a surprising conclusion. They found that all of the leaders interviewed, both young and old, were able to point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that had transformed them.

Bennis and Thomas call these experiences crucibles. So, what is a crucible?

What Is a Crucible?

A crucible is literally a container that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Think of a metal container in which metals are melted. This is the container you would use to fill a mold with liquid metal.

A crucible can also be that of a severe trial, in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new. A metaphor for this is – a relationship was forged in the “crucible” of war.

For our purposes here, a crucible is a transformative event involving a severe test or trial – where the crucibles are intense, often traumatic, and always unplanned.

Crucible Experience

For the leaders interviewed by Bennis and Thomas, the crucible experience was even more than a trial or test, it was a point of deep self-reflection that forced a leader to question who they were and what mattered to them.

They found leaders were transformed from the experience and came away with an altered sense of identity. These experiences required each leader to question their perceptions of reality. In turn, they emerged from their crucible experience stronger and with a sense of purpose. Bennis and Thomas concluded that they were all significantly changed in some fundamental way.

The crucible stories discussed were similar to my own. As a child growing up in a destructive life and in the foster care system, I immediately related to these stories. Some crucible experiences illuminate a hidden and suppressed area of the soul. I found that some of my own personal stories were hidden deep within my own soul.

I have previously discussed some of my experiences in my book Succeeding as a Foster Child, yet I have not previously thought of them as crucibles until now. My crucible experiences, at times, were among the harshest a person should experience. They took the form of roughly my entire early life as a child and into early adulthood. My parents brought forth the majority of these experiences.

My father committed suicide when I was 18 years old. He seemed to have spent his life in and out of darkness. He was an alcoholic – yet, in the end – drugs, depression, and a rifle in his own hands took his life. My mother is still living; however, in a shell of the person she could have been. She is an alcoholic, yet her vice is drugs. Growing up with my mother was a dangerous experience. She was severely beaten by different men and would expose her children to nightmarish experiences. One such experience at the age of ten, found me walking through a drug-infested mobile home trying to avoid stepping on used needles just to go to the bathroom.

Darkness Will Not Win

Around the age of 12, I was placed into foster care – where surprisingly, my transformation started to begin. I was placed into a foster home in a small town in Kansas – Kensington, Kansas. [1]

The people in this town shared with me the power of building relationships. I now understand how relationships provide purpose and meaning in my life. I came to believe that when people feel strong about something, most of the time they will succeed.

I would do extremely well for a while in foster care, yet I could not continue moving forward as I would return to my biological parents. Essentially, I began to move back into their darkness. However, I would always find my way back to Kensington. Every time I found my way back to this small town, my consciousness would be raised to a higher level. One foster parent in particular (Robert Bearley) helped me raise my consciousness.

I found that every time I left my mother and father that I was able to understand my environment better. By better understanding my environment, I was then able to start to understand that I was in control of my own reality. However, it took a while and some additional crucible experiences for me to truly grasp this.

Developing Future Leaders Through Crucible Experiences

I specifically remember a couple key events during my teenage years that established the foundation for my life as a leader in today’s military. One such moment established the foundation for what would become a career in leadership and lifelong learning. Robert Bearley helped me establish a set of values. He demonstrated to me one of the same points described by Bennis and Thomas – that life is not about rewards or results, but it’s about what you do and how you go about achieving those results. Essentially, he showed me the importance of the process in achieving something and how great leaders care about the process just as much as the result.

Moreover, at the age of 16, I remember picking up my mother from a hotel room, where she was staying with an unknown man. She was both drunk and high at the same time. I pulled her out of the hotel room and took her on a long road trip to my grandparent’s. I was living with my father at the time and I remember wanting to get back to the Kensington community. I was no longer in foster care, yet I wanted to live with my grandparents who lived near the community. They told me the only way I would be allowed to live with them is if I could bring my mother home. I remember the experience vividly, yet previous crucible experiences allowed me to carry out this task as if it was a normal occurrence.

Looking back, I wonder if I could have done this without living the previous 16 years in hell. Imagine pulling a prostitute out of a hotel room, one who is both drunk and high. Now imagine that prostitute is your mother.

The Best Way to Get There Is to Be Tested

It took quite a few failures and horrible situations throughout my life, but each one of these experiences or crucibles created who I am today. These crucibles established a lifelong enjoyment for reading, writing, thinking, and the pursuit of knowledge. These experiences developed a specific mindset to live by. They created a maverick mindset and a no fear approach to questioning everything.

I emerged from these crucibles knowing that nothing can break me. Each test or each crucible changed me fundamentally as a person. Where others, to include my younger brother, found despair, I found opportunity from each crucible.

Essentials of Leadership

Bennis and Thomas asked one key question in their research. Let’s take a look at the question and what they found to be the answer.[2]

Question: So, what allowed these people to not only cope with these difficult situations but also learn from them?

Answer: We believe that great leaders possess four essential skills, and we were surprised to learn that these happen to be the same skills that allow a person to find meaning in what could be a debilitating experience.

So, what are those essential skills of successful leaders and those that allow a person to find meaning from an adverse experience? Just don’t forget that they are the same.

Four Essential Skills

  1. The ability to engage others in shared meaning. Think of my discussion of relationships in foster care. When we feel strongly enough about something, we increase our likelihood of success.
  2. A distinctive and compelling voice. Think of examples throughout history of people who used the power of words to bring about change. Here, I think of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., and even leaders from my time in foster care.
  3. Sense of integrity. Think of the discussion about establishing a strong set of values in foster care.
  4. Adaptive capacity. Bennis and Thomas inform us that this is by far the most critical skill of the four. They explain that this is applied creativity and is a magical ability to transcend adversity, with all its attendant stress – to emerge stronger than before.

Learn to Be a Chameleon

Bennis and Thomas explain that adaptive capacity is composed of a combination of two primary qualities.

  1. Ability to grasp context. This is our ability to see multiple perspectives of a situation and connect with people. For me, this was my ability to see past insults and the stigma associated with being a foster child.
  2. Hardiness. This is perseverance and toughness enabling people to emerge from a traumatic event without losing hope. For me personally, this was my ability to remain healthy despite living a difficult life. I do not drink, smoke, or do drugs because of what I witnessed. Yet, my younger brother took the opposite route and has developed similar health and addiction problems to that of my parents.

Adaptive capacity allows a person to not just survive a horrible or traumatic event, but to learn from it, and to emerge stronger and more committed than ever before. Essentially, this is what turns the situation into a crucible or transformative event.

Post-traumatic Growth (PTG)

I do not disagree with anything provided in Crucibles of Leadership, but something is missing. The missing component is Post-traumatic Growth (PTG) and should be added as a skill within or after adaptive capacity. We can all persevere and become stronger (think hardiness), yet PTG better explains growth from the crucible experience.

PTG is a positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.[3] Furthermore, PTG is not about returning to the same life as before, but to become better after the life-changing event. Here, the life-changing event is the crucible. This contributes to an intimate process of personal change, providing a purpose that is deeply meaningful.

One key point contrasting PTG from hardiness, perseverance, or resilience is that PTG refers to a change in a person that goes far beyond the ability to resist. Essentially, not to be damaged by the traumatic event. Moreover, there are certain characteristics of PTG. Let’s take a look at each and how they apply to my story.

Characteristics of PTG:

  • Greater appreciation of life. It would have been easy for me to give up and follow in my parent’s footsteps.
  • Changed sense of priorities. As a leader in the military, my experiences as a foster child established the importance of setting the right priorities in my life. If I have the wrong priorities, my soldiers and family will have the wrong priorities.
  • Warmer, more intimate relationships. I now have an unbelievably great relationship with two beautiful girls – my wife and young daughter.
  • Greater sense of personal strength. The crucibles of my life as a young child have provided me a powerful maverick mindset.
  • Recognition of new possibilities of paths for life and spiritual development. The small community I lived in during my time in foster care provided me an awareness of what could be possible. Spiritual development played a huge role during this time in my life and saved my life.

Crucibles Create Strong Leaders

My personal experience through each crucible has made a profound impact on my role as an organization-level leader in the U.S. Army. Bennis and Thomas explain that the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is our ability to find meaning from negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances. In my career field, failing to possess this mindset can literally get you killed – either by an enemy or by your own hand.

The skills required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders. Leaders who recognize this will develop and lead organizations with a positive organizational climate.

My crucible experiences developed a person who is perfect for the military. By this I mean, if I see a dangerous situation or if I notice someone is in danger, I will not hesitate to leap into action. I will not hesitate to help someone in physical and life-threatening danger.

Each crucible experience changed me for the better. After each crucible, I did not return to the same life as before, but became better after the life-changing event – even if I did not realize it at the time.

Finally, let me share with you one last personal example. If you ask my wife, I love cloudy weather and enjoy the rain. One of my crucible experiences took place during a storm. Every time it rains I remind myself that nothing can kill me – not my parents and not the storm. The rain is my reminder that I will never fear a person or the storm again.


[1] Dr. Jamie Schwandt: What the world can learn from this small Kansas town
[2] Bennis & Thomas: Crucibles of Leadership
[3] Wiki:Posttraumatic Growth
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By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

5 Common Mistakes When Apologizing

Posted from https://www.dumblittleman.com/how-to-apologize/

Do you really know how to apologize?

In some cases, saying sorry isn’t enough. Instead of smoothing things over and making the situation better, it just leads to an even bigger explosion and mess. Often, we just put our hands on our hair and wonder why the other person doesn’t seem to appreciate what we’re doing.

Why do other people always have to see what you’re saying in the worst light?

Well, it might not be their fault.

It’s possible that your apology isn’t coming over as sincere or as well-meaning as you intend it to be. That’s because many of us make mistakes when we apologize. We say and do things that don’t help what we’re doing.

For that reason, here’s a helpful guide on how to apologize.

Including the word ‘but’

In Game of Thrones, they compared everything before the word ‘but’ to horse manure. Well, that’s true, particularly when you’re apologizing.

If you say “I’m sorry, but it’s your fault, too”, then what your audience will hear isn’t the “I’m sorry” but the “it’s your fault” instead.

The best advice when you apologize is to focus on actually apologizing and leave the quibbling for later. If you’re finding it hard, just remember this: Apologies wouldn’t mean much if they were easy.

The golden rule

Do you know what the norm of reciprocity is?

It’s the one where we do unto others what they have done unto us.

For example, if you go to somebody’s house and he gave you a bottle of wine, you should do the same. If someone sent you a postcard or messaged you on your birthday, then you should do the same thing.

Often, if you want an apology to run smoothly, you should apply the same idea.

You apologize and the other person returns the apology. If you don’t do that, then things can easily get out of hand. The person who apologized first will feel that he put himself out there only to be ignored.

You’re not sincere

unsincere sorry

Apologies only work if you mean them. Often, people will say ‘I’m sorry’ and then insist that it’s not really their fault.

That’s not an apology. That’s just saying ‘I’m sorry’ before complaining.

Focus on being sincere and taking responsibility for your actions. Later on, when you’ve repaired the breach in your relationship, you’ll have time to deal with the unfairness of the world.

You’re not recognizing the other person’s feelings

Yes, it’s you that’s apologizing. All the same, that doesn’t mean it’s all about you.

To apologize effectively, you need to not just accept responsibility for what you’ve done, but also take the other person’s feelings into account.

Things like ‘I can only imagine how this makes you feel’ or ‘I understand that this wasn’t nice for you’ will demonstrate that you’re considering the other person’s feelings. It will show that you’re capable of showing empathy which can really help soothe the other person’s anger.

You’re hurrying through

Rushing through the apology and not leaving enough time for the other person to decide if the apology has satisfied him creates a bigger problem.  He can end up feeling like he’s been cheated, leading to all sorts of resentment.

So, how to apologize?

Say ‘I’m sorry’ and then give the other person enough time to respond. Practice active listening and pay close attention to what he’s going to say.

When you do this, you’ll be able to understand and respond to the actual issues you’re dealing with. It will encourage the other person to accept your apology and see it as sincere.

im sorry

See Also: 5 Ways to Say Sorry

Last words

Apologizing is a fact of life. We all screw up. Nobody is perfect. Heck, sometimes it is even a good idea to apologize when we’ve done nothing wrong.

For example, a very useful apology when you’ve done nothing wrong but the other person is still angry is to say ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. This shows empathy and can help mollify another person’s anger. It puts you closer to fixing a problem and moving on from it.

The post 5 Common Mistakes When Apologizing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

3 Immediate Follow-Up Ideas to Close More Sales

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/3-immediate-follow-up-ideas-to-close-more-sales/

If you are in sales then you know the follow-up is crucial to your business and the paycheck you are wanting to earn. The crazy thing here is that most simply stink at following up or don’t even follow up at all. Then these sames individuals are the ones living payday to payday or complaining about the lack of money they are making. Seeing the disconnect yet?

There are so many ways you can follow up but I wanted to take a moment and focus on three specific ways you can immediately follow up with a prospect to ensure the closure of more sales and opportunities to present your product or service.

1. Make The “In Advance” Call Back

Setting your calendar reminders are important. Don’t get me wrong here; however, what can be a more powerful tool to ensure your prospect shows up to the meeting scheduled than by placing another call back to them 24 hours in advance? How many of you are doing that? It’s simple you know you have a call scheduled for the next day.

While you should send a calendar reminder or email reminder, you should make the call and verify with that person on that meeting. One, this is personal and shows even more commitment and conviction on your end that the meeting is important. Two, it is another way to recap, reclose, and even refresh your prospect on what the meaning of the call is all about. Be the aggressor there.

“Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

2. Send A Video Message

This is key personal touch that very few do. Prospects or potential customers like to be engaged. They are used to phone calls, emails, and even mailers. However, what they aren’t used to is when they are done talking with someone who is offering them a product or service sends them a personal video message.  This message could be something simple as a “thank you” or even to confirm another meeting that was set at the initial conversation.

What will make this even more impactful as a follow up tool is the speed of implementation that you use with it. Don’t wait days after your prospect and you have spoken before sending them a video response.  Do it within minutes and set the tone early that you are someone that will follow up and set the expectation of how you want the interactions to take place moving forward. Take control and be the professional.

“Nobody likes to be sold to, but everybody likes to buy.” – Earl Taylor

3. Send The Calendar Invite In Real Time

It drives me nuts when I hear my sales staff tell a prospect that “as soon as we hang up” I will send you a calendar invite for our meeting.  Don’t do that.  Send it right then with the prospect on the phone. At the same time, instruct them to go ahead and check the ACCEPT button on the invite so both of your calendars match the date and time for the follow up call or meeting.  

This is important to start your prospect on the path of commitment. You also are taking control of the process at the time of conversation.  How many other emails or calls is your prospect getting that day?  You don’t know. What you do know is what and how your call goes while you have their attention. Keep their attention and ask for the acceptance while you know they are looking at their emails. Don’t just trust the process you are working in, verify it.

What are some follow up tips you do in your business? Comment below!

By |December 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

The 5 Key Yoga Poses For Women Over 50

Posted from https://www.dumblittleman.com/yoga-poses-for-women-over-50/

Let’s be honest.

Turning 50 doesn’t really mean much anymore when people are healthier and living longer than ever. However, society still sees this as a milestone. That being said, for some women over 50, a whole new chapter of growth and excitement could be opening up. If you are one of those women, this means a lot more free time for new experiences.

Being over 50, whether male or female, also means physical changes could be occurring in your body. For women, the list includes arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic back pain, heart disease, and a loss of flexibility. There’s the horror of menopause, too.

In the words of Dr. Christiane Northrup, a renowned expert in women’s health, “Getting older is inevitable; aging is optional.”

If you’ve seen women in their 80s and 90s doing yoga, you know this is true!

The gentle exercise of yoga and the inherent practice of mindfulness can drastically change the way you see your own body and life. It’s also an inexpensive tool to combat stiffness, arthritis, and chronic pain.

Interested in trying yoga? Here are a few yoga poses for women over 50 you can try today.

Downward Facing Dog

downward facing dog

Downward Facing Dog is a yoga classic that no practice is complete without. Down Dog, as it’s called colloquially, stretches the entire back while allowing the neck to relax. This makes it a favorite for those with chronic lower back pain as well as those who work behind a computer all day. It also helps strengthen the shoulders, but exercise caution and listen to your body if you’re recovering from a shoulder injury.

See Also: Top 10 Yoga-Before-Bed Poses to Reduce your Back Pain

Modified Tree Pose

modified tree pose

Tree Pose is a balancing pose. Like all balancing poses, it brings strength to the feet and a mild workout to the abs. Tree Pose also provides a gentle stretch to the hips.

From a spiritual perspective, yogic wisdom holds that balancing poses inspire confidence. Similarly, core strengthening is meant to cultivate willpower while hip openers are said to release emotional blockages. God knows you’ve probably accumulated some of those.

To modify this pose, place your hand on a sturdy chair before executing the balancing aspect of the pose.

Crescent Pose

crescent pose

Crescent Pose, also known as High Lunge, builds strength in the legs while delivering a delicious stretch to the hips, chest, shoulders, and the all too forgotten ankles.

For a milder pose that requires less balance and muscular engagement, feel free to perform this pose with one knee on the ground. If you have knee troubles, be sure to use a thick mat or put a towel under your knee.

Triangle Pose

triangle pose

Triangle Pose or Trikonasana is one of the best poses for a full body stretch. While opening the entire front body, this pose also delivers a much-needed stretch to the ankles, hips, legs, and back. Women who are braving menopause particularly love this pose, claiming it helps relieve constipation and lower back pain.

Restorative Bridge Pose

restorative bridge pose
Via breastcanceryogablog

Restorative Bridge Pose is a modification of the Bridge Pose. It creates a more restful posture, which is perfect for nights when you can’t fall asleep. This relaxing pose is also said to help relieve digestive discomfort while opening the chest.

For this pose, you’ll need a block or bolster. Simply assume the position of traditional Bridge Pose. You can use your prop to support your lower back. Then, relax and allow gravity to deliver a gentle stretch to your lower back.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Treat Yourself

No matter what your age is, there’s no question that yoga can radically change your life.

If you’re craving for more flexibility or relief from chronic pain, yoga might be one of the most cost-effective solutions you can find. If you are dealing with menopause, yoga can help you survive those painful days and sleepless nights while the meditative aspect of the practice can help with your mood.

As a woman, you’ve probably been taking care of other people your entire life. However, you have to remember that taking care of yourself is actually the first step in helping others. Take time to do something for yourself by introducing yoga into your routine. Your body will definitely thank you for it.

The post The 5 Key Yoga Poses For Women Over 50 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

By |December 29th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

Shopping for a New Lamborghini – Which One Should I Buy?

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JohnChowDotCom/~3/dlKz4ZwjGEw/

On this episode of the Dot Com Lifestyle vlog, Sally and I go check out South OC Cars & Coffee in San Clemente, then head to Newport Beach to shop for the new Driving with John Chow Lamborghini. Enjoy the vlog and remember to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

How To Live The Ultimate Dot Com Lifestyle

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The best way to start is by applying for the 21 Step System. This is a step by step system that I created with MOBE to help you make your first $1,250, $3,300, $5,500, and even $10,000 online. In addition to the steps, you’ll also be given a one-on-one coach who will help you get started on the right track. I can’t promise that you’ll make $1.5 million a year, but you will make money if you follow the steps and plug in with your coach.

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By |December 29th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

5 Simple Strategies for When You’ve Made a Business Mistake

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/5-simple-strategies-for-when-youve-made-a-business-mistake/

Anyone in business with years of experience will likely be able to cite a variety of past mistakes, whether they involve missing a meeting, not delivering content by a deadline or upsetting a client. The reality is, it’s impossible to be error-free in the demanding world of business, where deadlines and individual client preferences are numerous.

Ideally, businesses have a structure in place that helps prevent mistakes before they occur, even though they may still happen. As a result, businesses should realize that a mistake shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. A mistake can present an opportunity to solidify a client relationship, by giving you a chance to make up for it and more.

Here are five simple strategies to address mistakes in business, with integrity and honesty:

1. Provide Clients With Transparency

Businesses that make a mistake and refuse to tell a client about it until questioned will find themselves at the receiving end of an understandably irate client. Giving clients a heads-up shows integrity and a steadfast commitment to making it right, especially if they are not yet aware of the issue.

Ideally, you can address the issue with the client in person, or at least by phone. Showing an apologetic tone in an email is difficult. When apologizing, don’t beat around the bush. Directly clarify the mistake, why it happened and the resolution in progress. By telling a customer or client about a mistake before they realize it on their own, you enforce a willingness to take responsibility and right wrongs.

2. Offer Reassurance on Resolving the Issue

Being transparent about a business mistake is just the first step. It’s equally important to clarify with a client how you will resolve the issue. Since the last thing anyone wants is for the partnership to dissolve with a refund or termination of a contract, the best route is to offer a clear plan on how the project’s results will improve. You should also clarify what steps have been implemented to ensure the mistake does not occur again.

For example, if a PR agency sends out a press release for a client with erroneous content, it can immediately notify the client of the issue, while ensuring them that this round of pitching and its corrective follow-up round will be free of charge. This shows a business taking responsibility for its mistakes, while also offering a solid plan as to how it can resolve the issue without taking more resources or money from the client.

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” – Dalai Lama

3. Ask for Their Resolution Idea

After providing your own reassurance and strategy to amend the mistake, you should ask the client if there’s anything else you can do. If you proposed a firm plan for correcting the issue, then it’s likely they will simply say no — though the question provides room to make things right if they are not satisfied with your proposal.

If you intend on providing a discount due to your mistake, it’s better to ask the customer for their idea of a resolution before offering a discount, as their ideal discount may be less than what you initially intended on proposing. By accepting their idea for a resolution, the business is essentially admitting all wrongdoing while increasing the confidence of the client.

Additionally, for whatever the customer proposes as a solution, it’s a good idea to increase their desire slightly. For example, if a customer feels that a 10 percent discount is fair, counter with something like, “10 percent is very fair, and I’m very apologetic for our mistake. As a result, I will provide you with 15 percent off as a thank you for your understanding.”

4. Value the Power of Word-of-Mouth

Most clients are knowledgeable enough to know that mistakes happen. Their evaluation of a business incorporates how it responds to its errors. Especially in the digital age, reviews of a business are prevalent on social media and various review platforms.

A business that goes above and beyond to amend its mistake, by informing the customer of its error and offering a fair compensation, is likelier to be praised in reviews as taking charge of mistakes. Combined with other reviews from clients who ideally did not experience mistakes, a business will have an excellent review presence online.

“Free publicity and word of mouth is probably the best and cheapest form of advertising. Learn to use it to your advantage.” – Richard Branson

5. Don’t Stress That It Wasn’t Purposeful

If a client or consumer has spent time and money on your services, then they likely already know your mistake was just that, not some intentional sabotage. As a result, continually stressing that your mistake wasn’t on purpose is a waste of time, especially when you can be spending the dialogue on ideas for resolution and compensation. Taking the lead on amending a mistake is significantly more important than declaring its intent or lack thereof.

Mistakes happen in business, quite often. Eliminating these mistakes is ideal, but when they do occur, it’s possible for a business to salvage a client relationship with transparency, reassurance and a viable resolution.

How do you recover from a business mistake? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

By |December 29th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments