3 Topics to Cover with Your Newer Team Members

Finding your footing in a new career can be tough. Struggles and feelings of uncertainty are not uncommon but are often hidden or pushed aside, leaving younger team members feeling isolated. Managers have the opportunity to offer support and helpful words of advice. Here are three topics every leader should cover with new team members.  

1. Progress Journal

Little by little becomes a lot.” – Anonymous

When starting a new career, progress can feel slow. As a leader, it’s your job to help your new team members see that growth is happening. One way to monitor growth is by keeping a journal. Suggest your mentee write down both their struggles and successes. Remind them to date each entry and to be open and honest, as their journal is for their eyes only. Later, in a moment when they feel stuck in a rut, you can tell them to look back through their journal. Often, we feel like we aren’t seeing any movement in our careers when in reality, we are progressing little by little. By journaling, we have anecdotal records of the obstacles we’ve overcome and the strides we’ve made, inspiring us to continue to push forward.

2. Focus

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.
The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
– Alexander Graham Bell

It’s difficult to master anything when trying to master everything. This is an important lesson to pass along. People in new careers are often anxious and feel pressure to “catch up” to those who are more advanced. This results in having too many irons in the fire, feeling overwhelmed and experiencing career burnout. To prevent this common pitfall, focus is key. Help your newer team members prioritize and focus on a few key goals at a time. Not everything is imperative. Stress that, then help them identify what is. Eliminate the background noise and hone in on what will produce results. Teaching the skill of focus will help your young team members produce long term growth throughout the life of their careers.

3. Comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy” -Theodore Roosevelt

In today’s world of social media, where everyone’s “best self” is constantly on display, it’s difficult not to fall victim to the temptation of comparison. While it’s true that comparison can be used as a motivator, it can also serve as a stumbling block. Sometimes we find ourselves looking at the next person’s accomplishments and wondering why we haven’t amassed the exact same success at the same rate. Our self-esteem plummets and we begin to question what’s wrong with us. As a leader, you can help your team members understand the difference between healthy comparison that propels people to action, and toxic comparison that tears people down. Additionally, you can provide ways to channel the emotions attached to comparison into productive action that will result in the accomplishment of goals.

Great leaders have the foresight to help their mentees avoid potential storms. Offering advice that will acclimate your younger team members to their new careers may lessen some of the stress they experience throughout their first year. By covering these three topics early on, your novice team members will be prepared to handle whatever comes their way. 

Brad and Julie Duncan3 Topics to Cover with Your Newer Team Members
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Three Romantic Locations For A Valentine Trip

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses and a teddy bear. But let’s be honest, if you’ve been together for a while, you’re probably ready to switch things up. If dinner and a movie just won’t cut it, why not go big? Clear your schedule and get ready to pack your bags. Here are three romantic locations for a Valentine trip.

  1. Tulum, Mexico 

Tulum’s popularity has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to its picturesque beaches, trendy restaurants and close proximity to Cancun. But in addition to its modern attractions, it’s also the home of ancient Mayan ruins and plenty of rich culture worthy of exploration. In February, Tulum’s weather is nearly perfect, averaging in the 70s and 80s. The warm days make it easy to take a stroll on Playa Paraiso Beach,  go snorkeling in the Gran Cenote, or visit the Coba Ruins. However, if you want to turn the romance up a notch in honor of Valentine’s Day, Tulum has plenty to offer. With no shortage of luxury spas, fancy local restaurants and outdoor adventures to uncover, you and your sweetheart are bound to fall in love with this beautiful city. 

  1. Santorini, Greece

The Santorini islands are known for romance. Honeymooners from all over the world travel here year after year just to ensure that this beautiful locale is forever cemented in their newlywed memories. But this Greek paradise is perfect for Valentine getaways too! Fira, the island’s capital, boasts amazing views of the deep blue waters that surround the stark white architecture that Santorini is famous for. Couples can lounge on their balconies, explore the culinary offerings in the villages, hike along the caldera, or take a catamaran cruise at sunset. With Santorini as your backdrop, almost anything you do will have a hint of romance so hold your valentine close and enjoy the view.

  1. Hawai’i Island, Hawaii

Hawai’i Island, better known as “The Big Island”, is the largest island in the United States. If you and your love are nature fans, this might be the perfect trip for you. This tropical paradise has white, black and green sand beaches, Kilauea (one of the most active volcanoes in the world), waterfalls, intense sunsets, and stargazing like you’ve never seen before. Top to it off, the island offers countless water activities that are bound to get your adrenaline pumping. Night dives, surf lessons, whale watching and snorkeling are just a few of the many. Although there are hundreds of things to do and see, the island is so beautiful and serene that many people choose to simply find a spot on the beach to take it all in. What could be more romantic than that? 

Regardless of which destination you choose, the most important part is being in the company of the person you love most. Make the occasion special by choosing one of these three locations for a romantic getaway, and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation with your Valentine. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Romantic Locations For A Valentine Trip
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Three Destinations For an Awesome Science Adventure Trip

Science and adventure are alike in many ways. Both fields provide opportunities to quench curiosity and expand knowledge. Thus, adventure and science enthusiasts are often times more eager to explore unique places and discover something new, than other individuals. So how about taking your trip to the next level by combining it with some science exploration activities? You just might be surprised by the rush that delving into the realm of science can bring. The following are three awesome places to explore if you are in need of science adventure trip Ideas: 

Florida’s Space Coast

Are you a beach lover who has always been fascinated with space travel? Then Florida’s Space Coast is a perfect destination. With its year-round sunny weather and 72-mile shoreline, the area is minutes away from some of Orlando’s best beaches. You can easily spend a day by the ocean and even be delighted with marine life you may see along the coast. Moreover, it is also home to Kennedy Space Center, a place where you can explore NASA’s working spaceflight facility and even watch actual rocket launches. To make the most out of your trip here, it is best to check out the schedule of the facility and prepare an itinerary.

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

Outdoor adventures are often a way to marvel at nature and a great place for that is the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Nebraska. It will not be a typical visit to the park as it features the remains of animals that perished during a volcanic eruption that happened millions of years ago. The natural landmark is like a wonderland for those who love archaeology and paleontology as it offers a close glimpse of prehistoric life. It also opens your eyes to the devastation that natural disasters can create.

Museum of Science and Industry

If you happen to be in the windy city of Chicago and  wish to be amazed by the power of science and technology, you may want to drop by the Museum of Science and Industry. This 14-acre museum in Lake Shore Drive, Chicago features various interactive science exhibits that inspire visitors to be inquisitive, creative, and inventive. Among others, there is a Storm Exhibit that  educates visitors on how tornadoes are formed. You can also check out the Forward Exhibit that gives an idea about what the future world will be like. Since it is a huge place with so many things to see and do, it is best to check out the museum map and available exhibits prior to your visit.

Taking a science adventure trip is a great way to combine your love of learning and traveling. It is also a unique way to let out the science geek in you and satisfy your wanderlust at the same time. Moreover, you are likely to come home feeling a lot smarter and stronger, making your trip more rewarding and memorable. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Destinations For an Awesome Science Adventure Trip
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Climate Philanthropy: Four Simple Ways To Help Save Mother Earth

We tend to see philanthropists as people who want to make this world a better place through their actions and decisions. No matter how small, their efforts can help solve some of the most pressing issues in society. Nowadays, climate change is one of the biggest problems that humanity is facing. As we continue to feel and observe the frightening effects of global warming in various parts of the world, the need for a new kind of altruism is emerging – climate philanthropy. Governments and institutions around the world are organizing programs and allocating funds to help address the problem of climate change. However, to successfully combat the threat of climate change, everyone must do their share.

The good news is that doing something good for the environment is not that difficult. It does not necessarily mean donating huge amounts or taking big steps. On the contrary, your fight against climate change may even be more effective by incorporating earth-friendly habits in your lifestyle and routines. The following are simple ways you can do to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle and help save our planet:

Conserve energy. 

Energy usage is one of the major reasons why the earth’s temperature is rising up. Thus, using energy wisely can greatly help keep our planet habitable. You can do this by choosing energy-efficient appliances in your homes. It is also advisable to switch to compact fluorescent (CFLs) and LED light bulbs because they consume less energy. Simply remembering to turn off lights and other electrical items when not in use can also go a long way to protecting the Earth.

Choose to be a minimalist. 

Another great option to be an earth warrior is by choosing minimalism. This kind of lifestyle embraces simple living by concentrating on basic needs instead of splurging. By deciding to consume less, you help address another environmental problem brought about by the massive amount of waste people produce every day. You can help in waste management too by reusing and recycling as much as possible.

Get healthier.

Meat consumption is another culprit for climate change as methane emissions from livestock animals when digesting food cause damage to the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, you can help preserve the ozone layer by eating less meat. You can choose to increase vegetable intake or try meat substitutes such as tofu and mushroom. Aside from changing your diet, you can also commit to doing more exercise. One way to do this is by choosing to walk to nearby places instead of using your car. You will save energy and achieve your fitness goals at the same time. This shows that being earth-friendly is beneficial to the environment and to yourself.

Get involved. 

Many groups aiming to help sustain our healthy environment are being formed as more people become aware of the realities of climate change. Events with the goal of raising funds for environment-friendly projects are also being organized. Instead of ignoring, show your support to these undertakings. Try to reach out or participate in groups that want to help keep the Earth a safe and beautiful place.

Climate change is a big problem that cannot be ignored. To solve this global predicament, everyone must do their part in caring for the environment. Fortunately, small changes in your lifestyle can already make a huge positive impact.

Brad and Julie DuncanClimate Philanthropy: Four Simple Ways To Help Save Mother Earth
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Four Thrilling Coastal Trips to Take This Year

Now that we’ve rung in the new year and started to embark on our goals, many of us have decided to devote more attention to our self-care. In addition to drinking more water, exercising daily, and eating right, self-care includes creating balance in your life. One way to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance is by vacationing! Your mental health suffers when you subscribe to the mantra of “all work and no play.” So this year, get out of the office and enjoy life. Here are four thrilling coastal trips you should check out.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, the self-titled “small-town village by the sea,” is an hour-and-a-half northwest of the more well-known tourist city, Portland, Oregon. However, Cannon Beach has managed to earn quite the reputation for its beauty. It’s been named Best Beach on several occasions, drawing the attention of curious travelers from all over the world. With a combination of gorgeous shorelines, mountains, and natural wonders like Haystack Rock, there’s no shortage of things to see. Experiences like the Lewis and Clark History Expedition, Classic Cottage Tours, and live glassblowing demonstrations, guarantee that visitor’s trips to Cannon Beach are memorable.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Washington’s beautiful San Juan Islands are accessible by ferry, traditional airline, seaplane, or boat (specifically the San Juan Clipper) and boast accommodations that range from farm stays, to glamping, to luxury vacation suites. One of the island’s most famous landmarks is its scenic byway. It’s composed of three segments: the blue marine highway, a driving tour around the island itself, and last but not least, a driving tour through neighboring Orca Island. In addition to the scenic byway, San Juan Islands offers many family-friendly activities to enjoy. Whale and Wild Life Tours, Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, the extremely popular Pelindaba Lavender Farm, and multiple museums, are just a few possible items to add to your family’s to-do list. For adventurous travelers, the island offers hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and much more. 

Key West, Florida

Just off of the southern coast of Florida, the island of Key West is a tropical retreat. To start, you can relax on one of the southside beaches or enjoy a stroll through one of the many parks. But one thing’s for sure while visiting Key West, you’ll never have reason to be bored. For the art lovers, the island offers live-performance theatres, art galleries displaying diverse arrays of talent, and antique shops. Naturally, along with dolphin encounters, watersports also thrive in the area, making kayaking, jet skiing, and snorkeling extremely popular activities. But many visitors simply love walking down Duval Street – an active 1.25-mile road where tourists come together to eat, shop, and have a good time. 

Portland, Maine

Upon first glance, Portland may appear to be nothing more than a hardworking fishing community that specializes in shipping from its harbor. But look a little deeper and you’ll find a city deeply rooted in culture and history, and worthy of the tourist attention that it draws. With its art district, historical parks and gems like the Portland Observatory, this coastal city has many attractions for visitors to explore.  Many travelers’ most memorable stop is Portland’s Old Port district, where patrons can indulge in any number of the plethora of high-quality eating and drinking establishments downtown. Maine is famous for its fresh seafood, but in addition to its lobster rolls, Portland is also known for being extremely vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

If your vision board included travel, adventure or life balance, then these four coastal cities are for you. Gather your family or a couple of friends and plan some time this year to recharge. Every city on the list is full of unique culture, natural wonder, and friendly locals waiting to share their towns’ history. So check your calendars, book your flights and get ready to enjoy your coastal vacations! 

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Thrilling Coastal Trips to Take This Year
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Four Leadership Resolutions To Start The Year Right

Leadership is an esteemed post that comes with tough responsibilities. And in the course of trying to be the best leader for a team, mishaps can happen. Once in a while, you may find yourself guilty of making wrong decisions or judgments. It is also possible for a well-thought-out tactic to fail due to hasty moves or wrong tactics.

However, strong and smart leaders do not allow those blunders to define them. Instead, they always find a way to bounce back and rise again. Incidentally, the first month of the year is one of the best times for a fresh start. For a much better year as a leader, the following are some leadership resolutions you may want to consider:

Stay calm and patient.

Managing a team is a huge task so leaders can sometimes get cranky, irritated, or annoyed. These bursts of emotions are understandable but if you wish to be a better leader, learn how to control your reactions to circumstances. Loosen up a bit and relax because your mood greatly affects your team performance. To keep everyone inspired and motivated even in stressful situations, learn to stay calm and patient. 

Encourage feedback.

Are you wondering if your leadership style is working on your team? The best way to know is to ask your team members themselves. We usually expect leaders to be the ones giving feedback but you can also greatly benefit from giving your people a chance to voice out their opinions. You can use the comments to improve your leadership and at the same time foster better communication and camaraderie within a team.

Take a break.

It will be difficult to be an effective guide to others if you do not know how to take care of yourself in the first place. Thus, do not forget to have a break even as you try to be as productive as possible. It is sometimes tempting to sacrifice our time-offs so we can accomplish more tasks. However, slaving yourself up to exhaustion can just lead to burnout. It can also prevent you from giving your 100 percent to a job. On the other hand, a few days of break can put you in tip-top condition that will help you do a better job.

Commit to learning more. 

Leaders are often considered as experts in their chosen fields but it should not stop them from further widening their knowledge and enhancing their skills. This is especially important nowadays when technology is developing at a rapid rate. To stay as competitive as ever, never stop learning. Aim for more personal and professional growth by finding more opportunities to keep up with the times and learn something new. As you nurture your love for learning, you can also discover more ways to empower your team. 

The best leaders are not the ones who do not commit mistakes. Rather, they are the ones who continuously seek ways to improve their managing styles and broaden their knowledge. They will also be a good example that can inspire their team to achieve excellent things.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Leadership Resolutions To Start The Year Right
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Four Ways to Make Philanthropy a Way of Life

Philanthropy is undeniably a commendable act. To see people take time to share blessings reminds us that we are all intrinsically good. However, not everyone understands the true meaning of altruism. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it is a one-time thing. Some think that engaging in philanthropy only happens when you allot a certain amount to fund a cause, gather a number of items to donate, or participate in a community program. But genuinely practicing philanthropy means making it a part of your life. To be truly philanthropic in everything you do, here are some things you should start doing:

Live frugally.

People have this impression that philanthropists are supposed to be wealthy. However, a person who is genuinely generous can find ways to give even without much money. They are able to help others by choosing to live within their means. To live frugally does not mean depriving yourself of the good things in life. Rather, it means not being wasteful and giving importance to the more essential things in life. By not being too materialistic, people who live frugally rarely run out of things they need and always have something to give. 

Choose kindness.

We all know the importance of being kind. Still, there are days when it is simply too difficult to be considerate and patient. But a commitment to choose kindness regardless of the situation is a must if  you wish to practice philanthropy in your life. It can be as simple as being extra patient to a new co-worker who still has to learn the ropes or choosing to smile to a tired cashier in the grocery despite the long lines. It also means being more tolerant of others and not being judgmental. Your simple gesture of kindness can go a long way.

Be involved.

Philanthropic people are not living in their own bubbles. Rather, they tend to be active participants in the community or any group they belong to. They keep themselves updated and involved in whatever is happening around because they are always seeking out ways to be of service to others. They are always the first to volunteer, sign-up, or show support for any cause that needs a helping hand.

Be genuine. 

Philanthropy should be done because you genuinely want to. It is not something that should be forced or done just to look righteous in the eyes of others. To do this, it is necessary to be true to yourself in everything you do. Instead of being pretentious, you are honest in your words and actions. Being genuine allows you to do everything from the heart. People can usually tell if someone is just faking things so being genuine will also make others appreciate you more.

People who are truly philanthropic always add value to everyone they meet or every situation they are a part of. Thus, if you really want to be philanthropic, always be on the lookout for opportunities to help or do more. At the end of the day, your good deeds will benefit you more than anyone else.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Ways to Make Philanthropy a Way of Life
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Four Ways To Fuel Your Adventurous Spirit

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
– Helen Keller

Do you consider yourself adventurous? Answering yes means having the courage to pursue your passions and live your dreams. It is taking the initiative to fulfill your goals and aspirations. Likewise, being adventurous means having the guts to speak up when you have something important to say. You fully understand the risk of your every word and action yet remain unfazed by the possibility of failure and embarrassment. This is because you cherish the experiences and embrace the lessons that will come out of it. The above descriptions suggest that being adventurous is essential to truly live life to the fullest. Adventures can lead to nerve-wracking and uncomfortable situations but it can indeed pave the way for a happier and wiser you. Thus, if you wish to see a better version of yourself, eliminate the fear of trying something new. The following are things you can do to nurture an adventurous spirit:

Say yes more. 

It is often too convenient to just say no to a lot of things because saying yes may mean you have to exert more effort or squeeze more time out of your calendar. However, this attitude can also make you miss a lot of opportunities. So how about attending that event you are invited to or joining that excursion trip. You may also want to say yes to more work tasks that will help you learn a new skill. Just remember to say yes not to please other people but for being willing to experience new things. This way, choosing to say yes can open doors to learning and favorable circumstances. 

Express yourself more. 

it is sometimes easier to just stay silent for fear of offending someone or causing conflict. However, there are also many times when you simply have to voice out your opinions or concerns. If you wish to be more adventurous, you should not be afraid to speak out when you need to. It also means not being scared of letting others know the real you. In a way, being adventurous also means being genuine because you are expressing yourself truthfully. 

Seek new challenges. 

Adventure is learning so it means being hungry for new knowledge. You may think that you are already too wise or too skilled but if you wish to keep improving, you must seek out new challenges once in a while. There is always something new to learn such as picking up a new sport, learning a foreign language, or trying a new job. These challenges can test your resolve and strengthen your character but can ultimately lead to self-improvement

Quit perfectionism.

You may have a number of plans but you cannot seem to take the first step to bring it to fruition because you keep waiting for the right moment. You are such a perfectionist that you obsess over every little detail to make everything flawless. Thorough preparation is always necessary but sometimes you have to let go of other things to finally start something. By letting go of perfectionism, you will be more carefree and have more adventures.

To have an adventurous spirit does not always mean doing scary stuff such as jumping off a high cliff or walking on a thin wire. Most of the time, it is just bravely facing the many challenges that this life may bring. These adventures can take you out of our comfort zones but can also keep your zest in life burning.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Ways To Fuel Your Adventurous Spirit
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Three Things to Avoid When Using Social Media While Traveling

Are you all set to have a wonderful vacation? You are probably excited about the places you will visit and cannot wait to share details of your escapades to all your family and friends. Undoubtedly, the best way to do that today is through social media. Posting on sites such as Facebook or Instagram is indeed a fast and easy way to update your network about your whereabouts. However, since these online platforms are accessible to anyone, it pays to keep in mind that social media usage should be done responsibly. For your safety and to avoid unintentionally offending anyone, here are some things you should not do when sharing details and pictures about your trip on social media.

Do not over-inform the public about your travel details.

No matter how eager you are to share your travel fun, there are things that are better kept private. Your travel itinerary and length of stay in your destination are just a few. It is also not advisable to announce your exact location when posting online. This is because the said information can jeopardize your safety as it makes it easier for people with bad intentions to track you down. Letting the public know the days when you are out of town also reveals the times when your house will be empty. These details can encourage thieves and burglars to break into your house. 

Do not post updates and pictures to brag.

One thing to do before posting your vacation pictures is to reflect on your true intention. Are you sharing your travel adventures to impress and brag? If the answer is yes, then your social media updates may make other people feel dissatisfied or unprivileged. As the owner of your account, it is true that you have the right to post anything you want, regardless of what others may feel about it. However, you also have the option to use the platform in a way that will inspire and encourage others. You can do this by posting updates that inform or educate other than show off material things. Instead of flaunting the amount of money you spent on the trip, it is better to show bonding moments or lessons learned during your travels.

Refrain from posting pictures of others without asking prior permission.

Traveling will give you hundreds of interesting scenery and images. Sometimes, it is a person or a group of people that will catch your attention.  In times like this, remember that others are also concerned about their privacy. Thus, make it a habit to ask permission before taking a picture of a stranger and also inform them of your plan to post them online.

The influence of social media is so great that it has become a part of people’s daily lives. It would not be surprising that we take advantage of the online platform as a way to keep special days such as travel times more meaningful and memorable. As long as we do not forget to be responsible, social media will always work to our benefit.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Things to Avoid When Using Social Media While Traveling
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Thoughtful Gifts To Give A Leader This Christmas

It is a great privilege to be under exceptional leaders. Their leadership skills and styles are likely to leave you with a wealth of lessons that will help you grow both personally and professionally. Amazing bosses are hard to come by so it is a must to show your appreciation if you come across one. As Christmas is just a few days away, you have a nice excuse to express your admiration for your leader. One thing you can do is giving your boss a useful and thoughtful present. The following are some suggestions for gifts:

Stress-relieving items.

Leaders are usually slumped with so many tasks that stress can become a normal thing for them. Thus, they will surely be grateful for items that can help them maintain grace under pressure. So next time you are out shopping for gifts, keep an eye out for stress-relieving objects that you can give your boss. Scalp massagers, squishy rubber toys, and mini board games are examples of gifts for a leader. Other options include a snow globe that is relaxing to watch or a travel pillow that can make their office cozier. The said items can be carried anywhere or put on a work desk so they can use it whenever needed. You can also choose to give adult coloring books or aromatherapy diffuser.

Items to help them stay organized.

Good leaders are likely to be well-organized so you may want to give them things to help them keep everything in order. A dainty desk storage to hold their pens or even gadgets can keep their workspace tidy. You can also opt for a wall calendar or clock so they never have to worry about time. A nice little journal to list down their schedules or a cute little bag to hold their business cards may seem simple gifts but can be very useful for your leader.

Relaxation vouchers

Some leaders are so busy that even finding time to look for a way to relax can feel like a huge chore. Make things less difficult for them by purchasing a prepaid voucher that they can use to unwind. It can be a voucher that will allow them to have a lovely dinner with their family in their favorite restaurant. Or a gift card that will entitle them to a day of pampering at a spa center. A subscription to a fitness gym so they will be forced to allot time for their health is also a great idea. Your gift will be more meaningful if you base it on the specific circumstances and interests of your boss.

Christmas is a wonderful time to show how much we appreciate the significant people in our lives. If you have a great boss, do not let the season pass by without letting them know your gratefulness. Your simple gesture will motivate them to be even better leaders. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThoughtful Gifts To Give A Leader This Christmas
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