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Difficult People Suck: 5 Quick Tips on How to Deal

At AlleyNYC I manage a community with hundreds of people. In the past, I have hired and fired hundreds more. I have kicked ass and kissed ass. One thing I have learned over the years is how to deal with difficult people.

Here are five really quick tips on dealing with difficult people:

1. Perspective: The most difficult people teach us the biggest lessons. Think about playing a videogame with the setting on easy. You beat the game every time and you are never really challenged. Now think about playing with the hard setting. It’s a pain in the ass but, before you know it, your skills improve and you become a Ninja Master, Level: Expert. People are no different. Easy people to deal with keep you in your comfort zone. Difficult people shake things up a bit and you have to grow as a person in order to advance past it.  Having this perspective will keep you from getting overly mad.  If you really become a Jedi Master you will actually appreciate the challenge. The force is strong with this one.

Related: Forget This Work-Life Balance Blah, Blah, Blah

2. Look inside yourself: There is a reason why this person gets to you. There is a reason why this particular person pushes every button and hits every nerve in your body.  This is psychological. After it is all said and done, who is getting upset? Who is getting mad as hell and letting this person affect our thoughts and ability to get awesome things done? The answer is YOU. Learning to look inside yourself and at how this person is making you feel can make the emotions elementary. Why beat yourself up?

3. Get over it: This is one of my favorite truisms: Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to get over your feelings. You are trying to take over the world and that’s a HUGE job. This person is just another pawn in the game. If you get stuck on it, it’s going to throw you off your game. Be as polite as possible. Take an acting class and put on your best game face.

 

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15 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do Every Day

The most effective entrepreneurs view themselves as assets. They continually invest in themselves and in their future through continuing education and self-improvement.

If you want to become a better entrepreneur and successfully grow your business, dedicate time and energy to improve your daily habits.

Here are 15 things many business influencers make time for in their busy schedules.

1. Eat breakfast. To work at your peak performance, your body needs fuel. Rather than just grab a cup of coffee on your way to the office, take a few minutes to eat a meal or drink a protein smoothie — even if it’s on the go.

2. Plan your day. First thing in the morning, look at your calendar and prioritize your schedule. If you work best during a specific time of the day, block out those hours for quiet work time. I do my best work in the mornings, so I try to schedule at least 90 minutes to work on my writing before daily distractions begin. While you’re at it, schedule short breaks throughout the day to eat a healthy snack and keep your energy up.

Related: 5 Morning Rituals to Keep You Productive All Day Long

3. Don’t check email right away. It’s tough not to hop on your smart phone first thing in the morning and see who’s emailed you. Often checking email is a distraction from what you want to focus on early in the day. Try to wait until 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. to check email, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items. If you’re working on an important project, try not to check your email more than three times a day.

4. Remember your purpose. Take a few moments at the start of each workday to remind yourself of your company’s goals. Think about your core customer and which areas of your business are most profitable. We oftentimes get caught up in the minutia of daily tasks we lose sight of what brings us happiness and profitability.

5. Single-task. We live in a world that praises multi-tasking. Unfortunately, when you have too much going on at once you may become distracted by interruptions and unimportant glitches. To be productive and effective, prioritize, delegate whenever possible and focus.

 

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The 9 Questions To Ask Before Taking Your Business To The Next Level

So you’ve been in business for a couple years and you’re drowning, but in the best way possible. People love your products and they can’t get enough of them. You can hardly keep up and you’ve got back orders on back orders. You’ve considered your options and realized it’s to time to expand — or scale — your venture.

This is a big decision and you absolutely shouldn’t take it lightly. Here are some questions you should consider before scaling presented by American Express OPEN. Read on for some snackable knowledge.

Does my demand exceed my supply?

If so, go right ahead. Just make you you don’t compromise quality for quantity and that your infrastructure can support this move to more supply. If you’re outsourcing any part of production, find reliable vendors, build relationships and invest in them for the long term.

Do I have enough space to expand?
Make sure you don’t turn out like this guy and outgrow your place. Once you have enough profits to afford a bigger place, take the plunge and go for it. Not only will you be more comfortable, but so will your employees and customers.

 

It Takes a Little Work to Take a Vacation

Two years ago, Chad Oakley realized he had to change the way he took a vacation.

Afraid of what might happen if he were out of touch too long, Mr. Oakley, president of Charles Aris, a Greensboro, N.C., executive search firm, said he would spend most of his vacation time on the phone or at a computer, squeezing in “pockets of relaxation” when he could. The result: “I tried to do both things at once — work and be on vacation — and ended up doing both poorly,” he said. He returned home feeling more stress than when he left.

To take a real vacation, Mr. Oakley knew, would require planning. So he started to rely more on his 30 employees. He prepared those he worked with regularly on recruiting assignments and handed responsibility over to them well before he left. And he began letting his clients know he would be away. Now, according to Mr. Oakley, he is able to get a real break when he goes on a vacation with his wife and three children.

“I’ve found a way to make it work for everyone,” he said.

Of all the challenges small-business owners face, one of the toughest is taking a vacation. Like Mr. Oakley, many worry that they will lose potential business or alienate clients, or that the business will not be able to handle a crisis. And these days, with fast response to e-mails expected and the economy still rocky, many small-company owners are particularly unwilling to take a real break.

Such an attitude, however, can be bad for the health of both the owner and the business.

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4 Ways to Make Massive Progress Toward Your Goals This Week

Right now your calendar for the coming week probably has a lot of white space. You may have a few meetings and appointments scattered here and there, but for the most part you may have 25-35 hours of unscheduled time. For the record, white space is no good.

Most business owners and entrepreneurs spend their time in reaction, rather than being proactive.

One of the best ways to make marked progress towards your goals is to schedule every moment of your week in advance, as in before you walk in the door to your office Monday morning.

I recommend the following 4-step process for making the most of the time you work, so you can relax and enjoy the time you’re not working:

  1. Get clear on your top 3 goals.
  2. Treat each goal as a project and determine approximately how many hours you need to achieve your goal (complete the project).
  3. Based on the time-frame for achieving each goal, how many hours this week do you need to focus on each one?
  4. Pull out your mostly-empty calendar and block out time* to work toward their achievement.

*Note: This blocked-time becomes a non-negotiable appointment you have with yourself. Your goals, if well chosen, are worth it (and so are you). If something more important comes up (read: you get a meeting with a potential client, someone is writing you a check, signing a contract, or your office building catches fire), simply reschedule that blocked time so your project gets the necessary time needed for accomplishment.

Important: If something is non-revenue generating, delegate it, or do it during the time of day you feel least productive (even during non-business hours). Do business when it’s time to do business. Have fun and be off the clock when it’s time for that, too.

As an executive, you have two functions: make money and enjoy the money you make.

Here’s to a profitable, productive week — with some fun thrown in for good measure.

What is your best tip for staying productive and making consistent progress toward your goals?

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17 Habits For Success And Happiness From A Dad Who’s Found Both

My dad (Bill Murphy Sr., if you’re doing the genealogical math) has enjoyed business success as a lawyer who built his own firm, and who has worked for himself since the early 1970s. He and my mom raised five kids together, and they’re still going strong. They’re devoted to their grandchildren, and moreover my dad is a man who enjoys both his work and the rest of his life.

In fact, as I read his email, it occurred to me that he’s achieved many of the things that younger people tell me are among their goals in life. (Of course, I’ve been too close to realize it.)

My dad went on to offer four daily habits, each of which made great sense to me, and which I know he’s backed up with experience. However, I also know my dad well enough to realize that offering only four pieces of advice isn’t exactly his nature, so I racked his brain. Here’s what we came up with.

1. Carpe diem.

You know that this is Latin for “seize the day,” right? This is the first daily habit on my dad’s list. No matter how yesterday went — whether you had great triumphs or whether you wish you’d spent the whole day in bed, remember that every new day is a new opportunity. You can’t rest on yesterday’s accomplishments, and you never have to repeat yesterday’s mistakes.

2. Spend as much time as you can with the people you love.

Your spouse, your kids, your parents, your close friends — whoever they are — make sure that you find lots of time to spend time with the people you truly care about. If you want to feel really guilty about this, check out the calculator at seeyourfolks.com, which will calculate how many more times you’re likely to see your parents based on past experience and life expectancy. (We’ll wait here while you go give them a call afterward.)

3. At the same time, love the ones you’re with.

There are many different kinds of love, and here my dad is talking about showing respect and concern for the people you spend your days with. “That is simply, love everyone,” is how my dad put it, and he added a quote from Thomas Merton: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.

 

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10 Reasons You Should Stop Working Long Hours Today

If you have a job in the present challenging economic times, you are probably doing everything you can to hold on to it. If your employer asks you to put in 50 hours of work every week, you likely go further and put in 60 or more hours. You might think you are getting more done by working longer, but in fact every hour you put in over 40 hours a week is making you less productive, both in the short and long term. Studies have found that the “sweet spot” for optimum productivity is 40 hours a week. Here are ten specific reasons you should stop working long hours today if you want to maintain optimum productivity.

 

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What your poor e-mail etiquette says about your business

How you and your team present yourselves when communicating by e-mail says a lot about the quality of business you’re running. Based on the variety of e-mail approaches I’ve seen, many small business owners are not paying enough attention to this detail. Some of it is awful, and it’s not just employees who are getting lazy. It’s the owners too.

Take, for example, a recent experience I had hiring a local arborist to help clean the trees and branches from my yard after the Christmas ice storm in Ontario. I’ve got an over-sized lot, and had an above-average amount of damage. The trimming, chipping and disposal was going to be a job for a professional.

Within a couple of days of the storm, a local arborist had a hand delivered brochure in my mailbox, offering to solve my problem. Nice: An opportunistic arborist sees a need in the middle of what would normally be his/her slow season.

The brochure was professionally designed and printed and the website was equally well done — if not a little plain and to the point. But that’s OK. I didn’t need a whack of social media options, a blog, and embedded video to understand that this company was capable and qualified to trim and dispose of trees.

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Become an Information Exchange

Written by Jeff Wilson   

Networking involves constant interaction with people from all walks of life and, if you keep your ears open, you can learn a heck of a lot.

And, guess what?  Knowing a heck of a lot makes you smarter.  Guess what’s even better?  Being able to communicate what you know and using it to help people get what they need makes you a valuable contact and a master networker.  It makes you an information exchange.

Start by listening to everything. Train yourself to listen to conversations you might ordinarily tune out, and to evaluate every issue you hear with an eye to how it fits into the pool of talent, expertise and resources your network represents.

One way to enhance this skill is to write down a list of your networking contacts and their products, services and special capabilities. Read the list every day, keep it up to date and respond quickly when something you hear connects up with something else on the list.

Learn as much as you can about the special terminologies of your contacts’ businesses. When you’re referring someone with a problem to someone with a possible solution, it adds to your effectiveness and credibility to speak the language of both.  It also helps you recognize the connection.

Last but not least, always follow these tips when communicating information to those in your network:

  • Speak simply, clearly and  in plain language whenever possible.
  • Keep the message short and relevant.
  • End with your offer to help.

The Art of Conversation

Written by Saint Jon of Rochester   

In BNI we believe networking is the key to growing our businesses and networking means we must develop meaningful relationships. Relationships are built on communication so we must become experts at conversation.

Here are five areas we can grow in:

1.     BE more social

o    Arrive 15 – 30mn early each week to our BNI meetings and engage in conversation

o    Stay a few minutes late each week and converse with people

2.     BE a better listener

o    Give people our sincere attention

o    Resist the temptation to ‘rubber neck’ as people we know enter the room and distract us

o    Display attention with head nods, un-crossed arms, facing them, vocal cues like ‘yes’, etc.

o    Ask open ended questions that start with ‘why, what, and how’ and avoid questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’

3.     BE balanced

o    Meaningful conversations are a give and take

o    Don’t be an interrogator and ask all the questions

o    Don’t do all the talking

4.     BE prepared

o    Don’t show up to BNI with a blank slate in your mind

o    Read interesting articles and books

o    Watch interesting videos, movies, tv (is that possible?)

5.     Be influenced

o    Know a great conversationalist? Hang out with them and learn.

NETWORKING = RELATIONSHIPS = MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS

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