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What motivates you to take action?

School taught us to answer a simple question, “will this be on the test?” If the answer is no, we’ve got no time for it.

Work taught us to fear the boss and the review and our performance ranking. And we are motivated to do the work if we get paid for it, because, after all, that’s why we call it work. Do the least, because you're always going to get asked to do more.

Or we could be motivated to avoid shame, or to take advantage of the sale that’s about to end. Motivated by deadlines, by crises, by the media "breaking news" out of the situation room.

Is it any wonder, then, that we end up as short-term, unhappy, profit seekers? And that marketers and others that seek to engage with you build their offerings around your motivation?

Millions of students are in college, many going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. They are surrounded by huge libraries, high-speed internet access and educated people, and yet the dominant dynamic remains: how little can I do? Will thi…
Recent posts

Children Need a Sensei

It's my absolute pleasure to be featured on my friend Patti's blog for the second part of my article on the DaveRules: Children Need a Sensei

I had the pleasure of referencing my friends Laura and Matt in the article. They were quite pleased!

Ten Things You Can Negotiate In A Job Offer

Here are ten things you can negotiate in your job offer (not all in one conversation, however!) apart from your base salary:

1. Additional vacation time

2. Flexibility in your work schedule

3. The ability to work from home

4. Tuition reimbursement

5. Professional dues

6. Conference attendance at the organization's expense

7. Your job title

8. A one-time sign-on bonus

9. A guaranteed first-year bonus (after all, you have no idea how realistic or unrealistic your assigned goals might be — and most often, neither does your hiring manager)

10. A car allowance

Becoming a more confident negotiator is not as scary as it sounds.

Every step you take will make your muscles stronger. No one who matters will be upset with you for speaking up on behalf of your value. The people who matter will applaud you for it!

Read more on Forbes

Everyone is a "person with special needs"

I recently had the pleasure of joining the Jr. Leader's Club (6th-8th graders) of the Patrick Henry YMCA to discuss working with people with special needs. A few take-aways that I'd like to share with you!

Everyone likes candy. That, and establishing the ground rules for a discussion, are great places to start. As a presenter, always tell stories. Especially self-depreciating ones. Use of the word "retard/retarded" is still prevalent these days, but it's an all-or-nothing thing. I am pleased to report that while many teens know that one kid that says the "R"-word all the time, 99% of people do not.There are more young people than you think who are no-nonsense fighters standing up to the 1% of people making the wrong decisions.There are more young people than you think who have personal experiences with other people with special needs. This is the new normal. And young people don't see it as anything other than normal.There are more young people than …

Pride, gratitude and compassion reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the future.

Our research also shows that when we make people feel grateful, they’ll spend more time helping anyone who asks for assistance, they’ll make financial decisions that benefit partners equally (rather than ones that allow profit at a partner’s expense), and they’ll show loyalty to those who have helped them even at costs to themselves.
What my lab, and others, found when we looked at pride was similar. Making people feel proud — not arrogant, but proud of the skills they have — makes them more willing to wait for future rewards and more willing to take on leadership roles in groups and work longer and harder to help a team solve a difficult problem. Likewise, when we make people feel compassion, they’ll take on the burdens of others, spending more time and effort to help get others out of jams and ease their distress.
What these findings show is that pride, gratitude and compassion, whether we consciously realize it or not, reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the …

Money Mantras

The best way to build resiliency is to know yourself

When we think about “resilience,” we typically imagine bouncing back from major hardship. Management theorists have increasingly put forward a more nuanced definition, however: resilience as the ability to adapt to complex change. But in today’s world, that means the demand for resilience is almost constant. With the ongoing onslaught of problems leaders face, and change being the only constant in organizational life, leaders must cultivate resilience as an ongoing skill, not just for the “big moments” of painful setbacks or major change.
After more than 30 years working alongside senior leaders amidst profound change, I have found that there are four strategies you can use to build resilience. These recommendations stem from a significant study of 167 leaders, which revealed that the most resilient leaders know themselves well — their strengths, their triggers, and their convictions. Here’s how to build your resilience through deeper self-knowledge:
Take honest stock of your skills.

Ten Ways Ridiculously Successful People Think Differently

Obstacles do not block the path; they are the path.
This perspective helps successful people to think differently to everyone else, which is important, because if you think like everyone else, no matter how smart or experienced you are, you’ll hit the same ceiling. By thinking outside the box and going against the grain, successful people rise above their limitations.
We all know how important it is to approach problems with radical optimism and creativity, but this is easier said than done. In a study conducted at Adobe, 96% of employees identified creativity as essential to their success, both in terms of their income and the value they bring to the world. What’s more, 78% wished they were capable of thinking differently, believing that they would progress through their careers more quickly if they did. 
Too often we attribute creative and “different” thinking to natural, innate characteristics that belong only to the lucky. The truth is that you can study how ridiculously successfu…

Learn how to sell. It's the best investment you will ever make. Mark Cuban says so.

So when he was asked what he would do if he lost everything, here's what he said he would do first:

"I would get a job as a bartender at night and a sales job during the day, and I would start working. Could I become a multimillionaire again? I have no doubt."

Why does he feel that way? Success is based -- in almost any field -- on solid sales skills.

Don't believe me? Granted, many people feel "selling" implies pressuring, manipulating, misleading--the sell-at-all-costs salesperson stereotype.

But if you think of selling as explaining the logic and benefits of an idea, a decision, a project -- of anything worthwhile -- then everyone needs sales skills. Everyone needs to have the ability to convince other people that an idea makes sense, to show bosses or investors how a project or business will generate a return, or to help employees understand the benefits of a new process.

Sales skills are, in essence, communication skills. And since communication skills…

Water it!