Establish a long-term career plan

To create long-term success, all you will need is a pen, some paper and time to plan. Here’’s how:

  • Think about where you want to be in three years. That is a reasonable time frame to make big changes in your career.•
  • Examine your goals. Are they lofty enough? You won’’t take your plans very seriously if your aim is merely to not fail.
  • Break it down. Consider the steps that you will need to take to reach a goal. Sketch out broad steps, including a time frame for completing them.
  • Identify missing skills. Don’’t set yourself up for failure—. Think your goals through. List all the skills and  competencies you need to gain or improve upon. Again, include a time frame for each.
  • Evaluate each goal. For each item on your list, ask “”Is it achievable?”” If, for example, you would need to gain a great number of new skills, can you afford the training, —in terms of both time and money?
  • Create a one-year plan. You began the exercise with a longer-term plan that helped you see what you can achieve. Now you need to break out interim steps. Be sure to include deadlines for hitting those targets.
  • Commit to it. Add those one-year-plan steps to your calendar or organizer. For each major milestone, make an entry. That increases your commitment to meeting that goal.
  • Check in. While you have your calendar in front of you, schedule a brief review session for each month of the coming year. Use that time to check your progress, set new interim deadlines, rework your goals and expand them as necessary.

—-Adapted from “”10 Simple Steps to Setting Your Marketing Goals,”” Jennifer McCay,

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Quick Tip: Rework Your Call to Action

Avoid these phrases when you need something from coworkers, vendors and customers: “at your earliest convenience ”or “as soon as possible

Although such phrasing may seem polite and formal, in reality those words give others permission to procrastinate.

Instead, convey a sense of urgency by providing specific deadline.

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Rein in Runaway Meetings

Meetings that run long rank high on nearly everyone’’s list of workplace complaints. Use these smart strategies to end team meetings on time:

  • •Unplug. Set firm rules. Examples: Laptops will remained closed and phones and other devices should be left behind at employees’ desks. Schedule breaks so participants can check their messages, but don’’t let anyone hijack your meeting with electronic gadgets.
  • Schedule “guests.” Don’’t ask people to sit in a room for 30 minutes if only five minutes of the meeting will be relevant to them. In the agenda, note who needs to be present and when for example, “Jim, please be present from 10:15-10:45 to present the sales figures.””
  • Appoint a time guardian. Tell the person to keep an eye on both the clock and the agenda and not to fear interrupting to point out that the meeting is running long, that time is about up, or that things have veered off track. Example: ““OK, we have three minutes left for this. Let’s wrap up with any questions for Ann.””
  • Focus. If two people become involved in a dispute about facts or plans—, and if the entire group does not need to be involved— in the discussion, ask them to continue the discussion later and report their findings and resolution back to the group.

—-Adapted from “”9 Tips for Running More Productive Meetings,””

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How to Overcome Excuses: 6 Tips to Gain the Edge & Meet Your Goals

This is a guest post by Dan Waldschmidt.

Great people throughout history often fail, quite miserably, before finally reaching their goals, says international business strategist Dan Waldschmidt.

“Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime; Winston Churchill lost every public election until becoming prime minister at age 62; Henry Ford went bankrupt five times; Albert Einstein was a terrible student and was expelled from school; Sigmund Freud was booed from a stage,” says Waldschmidt, author of “Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success,” (

“Ideas, brilliance, genius – they all mean nothing without the guts, passion and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals.”

Most of us have dreams, and many of us have big ones, but few of us actually see them through, he says.

He offers six tricks for jumping off the excuse train and forge the path to your goals.

  • Avoid the need to blame others for anything. Mean, small-minded people know that they suck. That’s why they are so cranky and eager to point out others’ mistakes. They hope that by causing others to feel inadequate, everyone will forget about how woefully off the mark their own performance is. Don’t blame anyone, for any reason, ever. It’s a bad habit.
  • Stop working on things that just don’t matter. If you work for a boss, then you owe the person solid time. You can’t cut that out. You can, however, cut out television time, meetings and anything else that gets in the way of achieving your goals. Replace [wasted time] with activity toward your goal.
  • Refuse to let yourself wallow in self-doubt. You’re alive to succeed. Stop comparing your current problems to your last 18 failures. They are not the same. You are not the same. Here’s something to remember: Your entire life has been a training ground for you to capture your destiny right now. Why would you doubt that? Stop whining. Go conquer.
  • Ask yourself, “What can I do better next time?” And then do it next time. If you spend a decade or two earnestly trying to be better, that’s exactly what will happen. The next best thing to doing something amazing is not doing something stupid. So learn from your mistakes and use the lessons to dominate.
  • Proactively take time to do things that fuel your passion. Exercise is a great example. Living in the moment requires you to live at peak performance. A huge part of mental fitness is physical fitness. A sparring or running partner is a great way to refresh physical competition. Physical activity accelerates mental motivation.
  • Apologize to yourself and those around you for having a bad attitude. Do this once or twice and you’ll snap out of your funk pretty fast. When you start genuinely apologizing for being a bad influence on those around you, you learn to stop whining and start winning.

About Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt is the author of “Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success,” ( He is an international business strategist, speaker, author and extreme athlete. His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world.


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Eliminate 6 Bad Meeting Behaviors

Remove all doubt about why meetings feel like a waste of time. Videotape a few sessions and then review the participants’ behavior. As an observer you will see patterns that are hampering the group’s effectiveness. Watch for these behaviors:

  • Dominating the discussion. Some people feel that they have to say something about everything, and they will go on at length if you let them. Urge them to speak only when they have something of value to add.
  • Repeating. Listen for people who frequently chime in just to echo or support what someone else has said. If an idea isn’t up for debate, attendees don’t need to endorse other people’s positions.
  • Veering off track. Monitor how well the meeting attendees stick to the agenda. Adopt the practice of placing new items on an agenda for another meeting.
  • Failing to participate. If someone is just sitting there, not engaging in the discussion, does that person need to be in the room?
  • Rehashing the past. Someone who keeps raising what happened before or what should have happened but didn’t needs to look forward and focus on the future. If it isn’t relative to what you are planning, that person doesn’t need to offer a history lesson.
  • Bullying. Some people ask “Why?” as a way to pressure others. Observe the group dynamics. Explain what behavior is acceptable and what you won’t tolerate.

Discuss the behaviors that are hampering your executive meetings and gain the commitment of all attendees to overcome those barriers. In a few months, videotape another meeting to see whether the team is on track or needs more coaching.

— Adapted from “How Should You Run an Effective Executive Management Team Meeting?” David Peck,

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Set Up a Calendar that Works

Manage your time effectively. Choose the right calendar for your work style and plan now how you will use it. Follow these guidelines:

  • Pick one that you can take with you. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a paper or digital calendar, but always carry it with you so that you easily can check your commitments and add appointments. Writing a note to add something to your calendar later is an unnecessary step.
  • Use only one. You can’t be in two places at once, so don’t schedule work and personal commitments on separate calendars. Instead, use color coding or categories to distinguish between work and home obligations.
  • Share the openings. Digital calendars make it easier to show people when you are available, either directly through a program such as Outlook or through a Web-based system where you allow people to see your openings and request meetings. If you choose a paper calendar, designate specific times each week that you leave open for meetings, such as Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
  • Schedule yourself first. Before you begin filling in other appointments, block out time for yourself to work on important projects. Doing so ensures that you have enough time for that work. Key: Reserve the days and times when you are most alert for the tasks that require your full concentration.
  • Adopt routines. Ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and you aren’t pushing tasks back each week. Set regular times for dealing with common tasks, such as managing your email, approving budget requests and managing your files.
  • Widen the view. Adopt a habit of looking ahead on your calendar at least once a week. Check the following week and two months ahead to prepare for what is coming up.
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Three Ways to Stop Your Job from Ruining Your Life

This is a guest post by Dr. Tasha Eurich.

He can’t be serious, Jim thought. Jim had been recruited away from a Fortune 500 firm by a fast-growing start-up, and it was his first day. The president of the company had just handed him a BlackBerry and said, “Keep this with you at all times.” Jim thought, Really?
That Saturday morning, one of the founders sent an email to the senior leadership team. By 5:00 p.m., there were more than thirty replies. Jim soon learned that at this company, there was no concept of detachment from work. He grieved the loss bitterly, and his friends would mock him for stepping out of the bar to check email at 10:00 p.m. while they were out for a few pints of beer. In a matter of months, Jim’s job began to seriously interfere with his relationship with his wife.
One study found that half of employees believe their current workload is unsustainable. As a result, 33 percent of people start thinking about work the moment they wake up and 75 percent think about it until they go to sleep at night.
Luckily, Jim’s story has a happy ending. Less than a year after being handed that BlackBerry, he left the company for a job that allowed him to have a life. But for many, especially in the cold, dark days of February, the concept of a real life outside of work is like a unicorn—it might exist, but you haven’t seen it.
So whether you’re spending too much time at the office or taking your stress out on your family, allowing your job to take over your life is a slippery slope of misery.  More scientifically, research shows that workers who experience such conflict are less healthy, less happy, and more likely to engage in passive coping behaviors like overeating, drinking, or drugs.  
Want your job to stop ruining your life? Here are three tips to end the madness:
Stop Wasting Time at Work
More hours at work don’t always make us more productive. Think about a typical day in the office. You arrive, fire up your computer, and answer email. Then maybe you wander down the hall to the coffee machine and leisurely pour a cup of coffee. You run into your friends and discuss last night’s football game. You wander back to your office, start a task and get interrupted by a member of your team. And on it goes. By the time you leave at 7:00 p.m., you might have had only five to six productive hours. Do you ever wonder if there’s a better way?
We live in a society where the number of hours we spend at work can be a barometer for our self-worth. Because I spend twelve hours per day at work, we think, I must be important and valuable. This reasoning is dangerous and illogical. It is not a crime to do things efficiently; if you can get the same result in eight hours versus ten and spend two more hours with your family, do it!  
To get more done in less time, use the One Less Thing Principle. For every work activity, ask yourself:
  • Can this activity be focused so less time is spent completing it?
  • Can I delegate this activity to another person or group?
  • Can I stop this activity?

Harness the Power of Power Breaks

Just like Jim discovered, being tethered to your e-mail 24/7 isn’t a good idea.  One study examined the effect of uninterrupted work on our ability to focus. The researchers asked two groups of students to complete a forty-minute task that required concentration. One group simply completed the task. The other group was asked to stop the task and memorize a set of numbers at three points while they completed it.
The results were striking. Even though the second group spent less time on the task, they performed better. Viewing the numbers served as a “power break”: something that let them briefly turn their attention from the task to something else.
Similarly, power breaks from work help us perform better. Certainty, it’s not easy to take a three-week vacation and lock your phone in the hotel safe. But at a minimum, carve out evenings and weekends to escape your “technology tether.” Perhaps you can’t unplug every evening—then aim for three evenings per week. If you have to work on a Saturday, don’t work on Sunday. Find what works for you.
Get Moving
There’s a great deal of evidence that exercise reduces stress—in particular, high-intensity workouts have proven effective in reducing anxiety. And recent research suggests that exercise actually decreases work-family conflict. In a study of 476 workers, Russell Clayton and his colleagues found that people who exercised regularly had less conflict between work and home. Why? They argue that exercise can be a powerful way to “psychologically detach from work.”
Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, speaker and New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Bankable Leadership: Happy People, Bottom Line Results and the Power to Deliver Both. Her life’s work is to help organizations succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders and teams.
As a proud leadership geek, Dr T. (as her clients call her) pairs her scientific grounding in human behavior with a practical approach to solving leadership challenges. Her ten-plus year career in the Fortune 500 world has spanned roles as an external consultant and a direct report to both CEOs and human resources executives.
 With a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University and BAs in Theater and Psychology from Middlebury College, she serves on the faculty of the Center for Creative Leadership, one of the top ten executive development institutions in the world.
She’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and her expertise has been featured in The New York Times and Forbes.
In 2013, Dr. Eurich was honored as one of Denver Business Journal’s “40 under 40” rising stars in business. In 2014, she was named a Top 100 Thought Leader by Trust Across America alongside the likes of Franklin Covey, Jim Kouzes, and Bill George.
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