Three Important Roles That Mindfulness Play In Leadership

“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.”
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

The ability to remain calm under pressure and stay focused in the midst of problems  – these are just a few traits we expect from people of great wisdom and character. Since we usually hold leaders in high esteem, it is but natural for us to assume (or require) that the head of a group possesses the said characteristics. However, as the world continues to get increasingly competitive, staying cool amid stressful situations is definitely not easy. One thing that can help leaders overcome this challenge is through mindfulness.

What is mindfulness and how to practice it?

We are often oblivious to it but our minds tend to wander all the time. This is why in one or more instances, you probably find yourself guilty of the phrase, “physically present but mentally absent.”  You want to avoid this by practicing mindfulness which is simply the process of training your mind to stay in the moment. Mindfulness can trace its origins in Buddhist teachings and has been used as a basis in designing therapy and wellness programs. 

It is a process of controlling thoughts so you manage to deliver the most appropriate reaction to a certain situation. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are some of the techniques you can use to develop mindfulness. Since mindlessness potentially robs you of the opportunities of the present moment, everyone is bound to benefit from practicing mindfulness. It will most especially be helpful in improving leadership skills. Some of the benefits a leader can gain from it are briefly discussed below:

Promotes self-care.

Too often, leaders find themselves juggling several tasks at once as they try to fulfill  the enormous responsibilities that come with their position. Sadly, this attitude often leads to burnout and stress. Mindfulness, on the other hand opens your eyes to the reality that multitasking does not always lead to productivity. It teaches you to slow down and relax, allowing you to give yourself proper care.  By making self-care a priority, you also make work-life balance possible. In the end, a well-rested leader is most often a better leader. 

Improves work quality.

Mindfulness encourages your mind to tackle one task at a time. This practice may seem to be a slow process compared to others who try to do several things simultaneously. However, giving one task your undivided energy and attention will likely result in an output of higher quality. With more time to polish your work, you also avoid errors and create excellent work.

Strengthens mind power. 

We live in an unpredictable world but while it is almost impossible to control many circumstances, mindfulness teaches us that we can always control our reactions to it. Leaders who follow this principle learn to deal with any situation without breaking down or panicking. As they train their minds to rise above any circumstances, they can successfully avoid being distracted in a chaotic environment. They can likewise be able to make better decisions even during a crisis. 

Leadership is definitely not easy but it doesn’t have to feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders all the time. More likely, a simple change in your mindset can make all the difference. With that, you may want to begin practicing mindfulness today. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Important Roles That Mindfulness Play In Leadership
Read More

Six Guidelines To Observe When Using Social Media for Philanthropy

Philanthropy may be an age-old practice but that doesn’t mean it has no place in the digital world. Just like other fields such as education and commerce, charitable institutions (and even private individuals with a cause to support) also need to keep up with technological advancements. Indeed, it is not unusual to see fundraising campaigns in your social media feed nowadays. Non-profit organizations are also discovering the benefits of having their own website or social media pages.

Turning to social media to promote an important campaign is undoubtedly a brilliant option. However, responsible philanthropists who wish to see their online advocacy succeed observe rules and practice discipline in their social media activities. The following are some guidelines you should remember to abide by when using social media for philanthropy:

Craft a strategy.  

As a highly effective communication tool, a single post on Facebook or Instagram can possibly go viral in a matter of minutes. However, the success of your online campaign is still not guaranteed, especially if you are clueless about social media management. Increase your chances of seeing positive results by devoting time to study how to  manage a social media page and create an online campaign. With adequate knowledge, you can then start planning wise strategies for your philanthropic causes.

Work on your social media page profile. 

In many ways, social media is like a crowded marketplace. Many things are going on at the same moment. Therefore, you literally have to exert effort to gain people’s attention and trust. Thus, simply having a social media page or an official website is often not enough. You want to offer something that will make your post stand out from the rest and at the same establish your page as a trustworthy one. You can do that by working on your social media profile. Try to erase doubts about your cause by including content in your profile that prove your credibility.

Provide adequate information. 

People who want to support you may get discouraged if you do not provide clear and adequate information about your cause. Be generous instead of stingy when it comes to information because people are naturally curious. Anticipate questions that people would have and make sure to provide answers to your post or profile. To get ideas on what people want to know, you should likewise pay attention to the comments, suggestions, and inquiries that you receive on your page. 

Make it easy to help. 

To ask for help without giving clear instructions and options to people who want to respond is one of the biggest mistakes you can do. Do not make things hard for people by avoiding complex or incomplete instructions. If you are in need of volunteers, you may want to include a sign-up form or list contact details of people they need to get in touch with. For requests for cash donations, it pays to have a several options where people can deposit money.

Express gratitude. 

You want to encourage a habit of giving so do not forget to express how grateful you are for the help you receive. Even if you are doing things online, there are many creative ways to say thank you to the people who went out of their way to respond to your pleas. This practice will not only make people feel good about engaging in philanthropy, it can likewise encourage them to convince others to help.

Help other causes as well.

A non-profit organization should not see any group with the same advocacy as competition. Instead, nonprofits should empower and help each other. Thus, you can also use your social media page to show support to other charities. Sharing and promoting their posts even makes you a better philanthropist because you get to help more.

Today, social media is the best place for people who want to be seen and heard. It is therefore not so surprising why so many spend way too much time online. The good news is that there are many ways to  turn your social media time into meaningful and productive ones. One of that is by using it to support or campaign your chosen cause or charity. Make the most of the digital technology by using social media wisely. 

Brad and Julie DuncanSix Guidelines To Observe When Using Social Media for Philanthropy
Read More

Three Travel Tips to Take Better Pictures on Your Next Trip

We’ve all returned home from an amazing trip, looking forward to posting pictures on Facebook or Instagram, only to discover they aren’t “post-worthy.” No one wants to show off a dull sunset, scene-ruining photobombs, or wayward thumbs that accidentally find themselves in front of the camera’s lens. So how can you avoid these common mistakes? Here are three travel tips on how to take better pictures on your next vacation.

1. Maximize What You’ve Got

Most tourists travel light, bringing nothing more than their cell phones, and that’s perfectly fine. Many professional photographers are quick to admit that it’s not the camera, but technique that creates the best results. So if all you’ve got is your phone, don’t count yourself out.

  • Cell Phone Photography
    Start with the basics. We unintentionally smudge both the front and back lens through normal use of our phones. So before you take a picture, pause to wipe off your camera’s lens. Now that your lens in clean, it’s time to focus on your screen. Go into the camera app’s settings and turn on the grid feature to help you better frame your scene. Last, use the advanced features to your benefit. Modern smartphones are packed with photo features. Play around with your settings, or head over to YouTube for a tutorial on all your phone has to offer.  

2. Plan Ahead

The second way to become an enviable vacation photographer is to plan ahead. There are many factors that go into bringing your photos to life. Most can be controlled with a little planning. 

  • Time of Day
    First, consider your location of choice. Getting the perfect shot, in popular area, during peak visitation hours is extremely difficult. But if you show up early in the morning, or later at night, your chances of success increase exponentially. Also remember to be mindful of nature. Lighting is one of the biggest factors that play into how a photo turns out. If it’s too bright, the photo will be overexposed. If it’s too dark, you won’t be able to clearly see your subject. So before you plan your trip itinerary, make a list of the locations that you want to photograph and schedule your visits accordingly. 
  • Be Patient
    Even in the best of conditions, it may still come down to being patient (with yourself, your scenery and your camera). Sometimes you’ll need to take the same picture more than once, at different angles, in various light, after adjusting your camera settings multiple times. Don’t let the process deter you from getting your shot! Know that everyone has faced the same challenge and what matters most is the end result. If you get frustrated, take a deep breath, or pass your camera off to someone else for a while, but don’t give up! 

Upgrade

One of the most effective ways to take better vacation pictures is to make a few upgrades! 

  • Knowledge
    Upgrade your skills! Although things can get technical pretty quickly, investing a bit of time into mastering aperture, shutter speed and ISO can quickly improve your photography skills. Fortunately, there are many videos, articles and books that offer detailed explanations of each. Before your next trip, set aside time to study and practice so you’ll be ready to jump into action with no hesitation.
  • Equipment 
    The last, and most expensive step, is to upgrade your equipment. Cameras and lenses today are manufactured to conveniently accommodate the trickiest of conditions. Even the accompanying accessories can make all the difference in capturing impressive vacation pictures. If you are open to making a financial investment, it’s worth the effort to research tripods, DSLR and mirrorless cameras, lenses, and even editing software like Lightroom or Paintshop Pro

Pictures are a physical reminder of the memories we’ve created over the years. Having the ability to capture perfect photos with your loved ones is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Why not work on living up to your full vacation-photographer potential? Next time you are ready to plan some time away, remember these three photography tips to ensure you’ll return home with memories worth posting. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Travel Tips to Take Better Pictures on Your Next Trip
Read More

Four Extreme Sports to Satisfy The Adventurist in You

Do you love the feeling of pushing yourself to the limits? Do you enjoy physical challenges that make your heart race and palms sweat? If so, you are the perfect candidate for action sports. Action sports, better known as extreme sports, up the ante when it comes to undertaking thrill-seeking adventures. If traditional sports like basketball and football just won’t do, it’s time to try your hand at going extreme. Here are four extreme sports to satisfy the adventurist in you. 

Canyoning (Gorge Walking)

Canyoning is an extreme outdoor sport whose popularity has grown exponentially since the 1980s. Its origins can be traced back to Edouard Alfred Martel, a French scientist who had a penchant for cave exploration. Today, canyoning is a modern test of athleticism that requires participants to intertwine rock climbing, cliff jumping, scrambling, and swimming skills to reach the end of mountainous courses. 

For more information click here.

Snowkiting

Snowkiting is an exhilarating winter sport that requires nothing more than a snowboard (or skis), a snow kite, wind and an open area filled with snow or ice. Snowkiters hold a handle that’s attached to a parachute-like kite. The tension from the wind then allows you the freedom to soar across the snow, while completing impressive spins and flips, adding more adventure to this  adrenaline filled sport.

For more information, click here.

Microlighting

Microlighting (also known as ultralight aviation) is defined as the operation of an extremely light, small-engined aircraft that can carry up to two people. You can also participate in microlighting by sitting in the passenger seat of the plane. Ultralight aviation is unique because it allows you to fly low, bringing you closer to beautiful scenes below. If you choose to fly solo, this sport is one of the few forms of aviation that doesn’t require the plane’s pilot to be licensed (although in-depth training is strongly advised). However, if you want to fly a two-seater ultra light, you will need a Sport Pilot Certificate to fly. 

For more info on microlighting, click here

Abseiling (Rappelling) 

Abseiling comes from the German term “abseilen,” which means to rope down. In the United States, this sport is better known as rappelling. Abseiling can be used to lower yourself down steep cliffs, mountains, buildings, bridges, and much more. It involves attaching a rope to an object, then binding yourself to the rope. After securing your rope, you lower yourself down the side of an object, while releasing rope to increase your distance from your starting point. This useful technique, turned sport, was created by an alpine guide named Jean Charlet-Straton, late in the 19th century.

For more information on abseiling, click here

Obstacle Course Races (OCRs)

Modern obstacle course races range from traditional to outrageous. Over the past decade, the rise in big-market, annual obstacle course racing has surged dramatically. Currently, there are thousands of OCRs that span the globe. Some require participants to conquer their greatest phobias (ex: heights, tight spaces, fire, water and electricity), while others demand racers to slither through mud, carry partners on their backs and brave overnight challenges. The unique part of obstacle racing is, for many of them, participants don’t need to be hardcore athletes in order to qualify for entry. 

For more information on the history of OCRs, click here

(Still want more options of extreme sports? Click here!)

As with all physical activities, it’s important to use caution when participating in sports. However, when it comes to extreme sports, you need to be even more careful. Make sure to wear appropriate gear, advise weather conditions, applicable laws and any other safety rules put in place for your protection. And once you’ve taken care of those things, you’re free to have fun! Keep these four extreme sports in mind next time you are in need of a little adventure.  

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Extreme Sports to Satisfy The Adventurist in You
Read More

5 Ways Storytelling Makes You A Better Leader

Leadership is a role that requires one to wear many hats. In many situations, leaders may find themselves as planners, organizers, and mentors all at once. With such a huge task on their shoulders, leaders should constantly be eager to learn tactics that will make their job so much easier. One strategy they can apply that has great potential to significantly improve their leadership is storytelling. As to why aspiring leaders should strive to master the craft of telling good stories, check out some of the reasons presented below:

You can use stories to form a connection.

Due to the privileges that come with their status, many managers can appear intimidating to their subordinates even without intending to. Unfortunately,  these impressions can make people feel awkward around their superiors and hinder positive working relationships. To solve this problem, leaders can share personal anecdotes that will help their followers see them in a new light. By sharing stories that people can identify with, leaders transform into a warm person that is easy to feel comfortable with.

You can use stories to inspire.

It is hard if not impossible to accomplish something notable if a team lacks motivation or purpose. However, since not everyone has the drive to do more than what is expected,  the mission to inspire a group of people can be very challenging. Leaders who are gifted storytellers know how to use the power of stories to push people to give their best at all times. With stories that highlight the role that hard work and commitment play in the road to success, leaders can keep a team’s spirit up and running even during bad times.

You can use stories to educate.

Continuous learning is necessary for a team’s growth. For this reason, a leader is also tasked to facilitate or organize activities that help the team acquire new skills and knowledge. Stories can indeed make learning sessions in a group more interesting. With the creative use of stories, it can also make retaining knowledge easier and this theory is backed by research. According to a research done by psychologist, Jerome Bruner, the possibility of students to remember facts significantly increases if they are told through a story.

You can use stories to resolve conflict.


Group members can sometimes clash and in many situations, the leader has to act as a mediator. Stories that will remind people about the value of each person in the group can help fix this delicate situation. To discourage people from engaging in unnecessary spats, leaders can also present sad examples of groups that allowed small misunderstandings to get in the way of their overall goals.  

You can use stories to generate ideas.

Leaders who know how to use the power of stories know how to use creativity to avoid boring their listeners. They do it by freely exploring different ways of sharing anecdotes. Sometimes, the leader can tell stories the typical  way, with a fixed beginning and end. Other times, stories can be open-ended and the listeners can either change the plot or design a new ending. These story variations teach people about new possibilities and may help them see things in a new perspective.  It would not be surprising at all if sharing stories can lead to new ideas and innovations.

To be a competent leader is no easy feat. You may have to face a long list of skills and traits that you need to master to be one.  However, since everyone has a story to tell, how about starting your journey by honing your skills as a storyteller first?

Brad and Julie Duncan5 Ways Storytelling Makes You A Better Leader
Read More

Are You Ready For Adventure Philanthropy?

We all need a little adventure in our lives. A quick break from our daily routines to venture into the unknown keeps the zest in life burning. Meanwhile, setting aside time for altruistic endeavors gives us a sense of purpose. Needless to say, adventure and philanthropy play important roles in making our lives happier and meaningful. These activities help us discover our strengths and weaknesses, and ideally makes us a better person. It is therefore a good idea to continually seek adventure and pursue philanthropy throughout life.

But do we have to do these two things separately? Apparently not, as these activities complement each other well. When you come to think of it, every philanthropic act is an adventure on its own. On the other hand, an adventure becomes more colorful and challenging when it opens an opportunity to lend help to others. It is no wonder then that adventure philanthropy or the act of tying up travel or other exciting activities with community outreach or social services is gaining popularity. There are groups and organizations offering adventure philanthropy for passionate adventurers who want to give back and have fun at the same time. You are likewise welcome to organize a philanthropic adventure of your own. However, just like any other venture, you cannot simply jump into it without fully understanding what you are getting yourself into. To gauge your readiness for adventure philanthropy, you may want to ask the following questions to yourself:

Have I done any research?

An adventure trip would be more memorable if you immerse yourself with the culture of the people.This would involve a lot of interaction with the locals. It would be beneficial if you can dig some valuable information about the place you will visit and the people residing on it. A bit of research will help you see and understand the problems in the area. You can also avoid making any offensive gestures or comments.  It will also help you empathize with the people you will meet on your trip. The more you know about the community you are visiting, the greater the chance to create a positive impact. 

Do I need proper training?

Some adventure travel may bring you to towns where people need medical assistance. In other places, you may have to offer psychological counselling. It is also possible to visit towns where children need  educational help. In cases like these, your intention to help may just not be enough because proper training is necessary. The organization you are with should offer some seminars and trainings before your trip to make you well-equipped to offer any assistance that may be needed. You can also check the services that you can render and give yourself proper training or education to be prepared.

What are the possible problems I may encounter?

Adventure is going out of your comfort zone so be ready to experience some hazards. It is advisable to study the area you will visit prior to the trip so you can assess the possible difficulties or problems you may encounter. You are free to decline a trip if you are sure that you will be a burden rather than an asset to a group. However, if you are determined to be adventurous and philanthropic at the same time, you strive to think of ways on how you can cope with the discomfort you may experience.

How can I apply my learnings to my own community?

Adventure travel is an opportunity to share and learn at the same time. The experience can give you fresh insights that you can apply to your own community as well. If you can extend help to people living in far places, you should also somehow make an effort to help the people in nearby communities that may be experiencing the same plight. So while doing altruistic work in a new place, keep your hometown in mind and you may just come up with ideas on how you can apply your new knowledge upon returning home. 

People travel and seek adventure to gain new experiences and create memories. For unique escapades that enrich the soul, you may want to give adventure travel a try. This activity is open to all but to create a lasting and positive impact, you first want to make sure that you are ready for it. 

Brad and Julie DuncanAre You Ready For Adventure Philanthropy?
Read More

4 Stress-Relieving Adventures to Pursue this Summer

You’ve worked hard for the first half of the year, and now it’s summer. What a perfect reward! For most, the summer months are enjoyable because of the warmer weather, water activities, freedom to wear lighter, more comfortable clothes, and flexibility to vacation. However, the fun isn’t limited to just those few perks. Here are four stress-relieving adventures to pursue this summer. 

Book a Quick Staycation

The best things about vacations are obvious. Unwinding with your friends and family, touring new areas, and taking in unseen sights are all great reasons to excitedly book a flight. But the downside of traveling is equally obvious: travel expenses, securing vacation days away from work, and finding the time to plan a trip. If you want to avoid the high airfare and extended rental car fees, try booking a staycation! Keep it local and schedule some fun at a resort near home. Staycations are flexible, can save money, and are ideal for those who are in need of rest and relaxation but are short on time. So, if you want to eliminate a bit of travel stress, a staycation is your best bet. 

Pursue a Passion Project 

When we think of summer learning, children are usually the first group who come to mind. Fortunately, summer classes are for adults too! With all of the stress of life, investing time in yourself can fall to the bottom of your priority list. So push the reset button this summer and take some time to pursue a passion. There are many great opportunities for adults to experience structured sessions to enjoy a hobby or learn a new skill. If you’re having trouble choosing a subject, consider what you find enjoyable, calming, or entertaining. To find classes, a little online research goes a long way, but if you want to be more hands-on in your pursuit, visit or call your local library, art museum, or community/recreation center to learn which classes are available. Not only will pursuing a passion help fill your time, but it will also provide a sense of productivity at the end of your summer. 

Tackle a Fear

For those willing to exercise their courage and strive to be better, this one’s for you. Take some time for self reflection to identify the fear you feel most ready to pursue. Maybe you want to finally be able to speak in front of a crowd, squash your fear of heights or dance like nobody’s watching. Whatever the case may be, make it your goal to tackle your fear this summer, so you’re able to take on the rest of the year with your head held high and your fear proudly conquered. 

Attend a Festival 

Summer can be a great time to be outdoors while being a part of an exciting event. Throughout the summer you will be able to find different types of festivals to enjoy with friends, your spouse, or even your little ones. Kid-friendly festivals centered around art or animals are popular throughout the summer, making it possible for your kids to join in on the fun. Occasionally, family festival tickets are offered at a discount at your local grocery store. If you decide to leave the kids at home, adult events can include full weekends of music and high-end culinary and wine festivals. 

There are endless ways to make the most of the summer time. Don’t let the long days full of sunshine and good weather go to waste. Use these four stress-relieving activities to take a much needed break and make new memories.

Brad and Julie Duncan4 Stress-Relieving Adventures to Pursue this Summer
Read More

Is Travel Insurance Necessary? 3 Things To Check When Buying One

With a multitude of things a traveler needs to prepare before a trip, it is often easy to forego purchasing insurance coverage. A national survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates in 2013 shows that only 21% of the respondents reported buying travel insurance. The same study also reveals that 49% of people included in the study did not purchase travel insurance policy because they do not understand the importance of having one. The reason for its unpopularity is quite understandable. Traveling is already an expensive venture, making travel insurance an additional cost some might pass up on. On the other hand, the extra fee will offer the protection and security that you want for a more blissful vacation.

So one question that may start hanging over your head is: do you really need travel insurance?  

The importance of travel insurance cannot be undermined because you cannot entirely be certain of future events. Still, since the trip details such as length of travel and the number of travelers vary, travel insurance is likewise not necessary for every trip. One way to determine if it is a wise choice to buy travel insurance is by examining the cost of the policy and the financial risks you are taking by deciding to skip it. In general, the insurance cost will be equivalent to 5-10% of your total travel cost. 

This amount will save you worries from any unforeseen trip cancellations or missed flights. It will also cover your expenses for any unexpected accidents or illnesses you may encounter while on the road.  Being in a place where your existing health card is not valid increases the risk of you spending more on healthcare. Therefore, if you have health concerns and plan to stay overseas for a while, it is probably wiser to purchase insurance coverage. Meanwhile, if you purchase airfare at a budget rate and the flight schedule is in a few days, buying travel insurance may not be helpful since there is a low chance that you will cancel your flight. Many other scenarios can determine if you need or do not need travel insurance. Therefore, weigh the pros and cons depending on your own circumstances. Once you realize that getting insured is indeed the better option, the following reminders can help you get the most out of your coverage:

Read the terms. 

It is never wise to sign a document without reading what is written on it. The same is true in travel insurance. Therefore, allow some time to sit and read through all the terms written in your policy. You want to take note of the benefits you can get in cases such as accidents, illnesses, or flight delays and the conditions for availment. Aside from the inclusions, you also want to be on the lookout for things that are not covered by the policy. Do not hesitate to consult with the insurance company any inquiry you have or clarification you want. 

Be meticulous. 

Not all insurance providers are equal so a bit of research to check the background of the company will go a long way. Choose a provider that has a good reputation in terms of paying claims and providing assistance. You will gain insights into their services by reading testimonials or reviews from past clients. You can also check the services of several insurance companies so you can compare and assess which provider gives the best offer.

It pays to be prompt. 

You do not want to procrastinate if you want to enjoy the protection of travel insurance for a longer period of time. This is because some insurance policies get you covered for up to 2 months before your actual trip. So if your trip is finally confirmed, do not waste time by delaying your purchase to get protected as soon as possible. If you wait for something unexpected to happen before purchasing insurance, the company may have reasons to deny your request for reimbursement. Some insurance also offers a review period for a number of days so you can freely make changes to your trip or plans. 

Being a savvy traveler requires a lot of research, planning, and preparation. But as you start booking airfare and checking hotel rates, do not forget to give travel insurance some thought. It can be the key to your best vacation ever.

Brad and Julie DuncanIs Travel Insurance Necessary? 3 Things To Check When Buying One
Read More

3 Ways Wise Leaders Make Team Meetings More Productive

Along with so many other responsibilities, a leader is also tasked to call and conduct team meetings. Unfortunately, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review showed that not everyone is thrilled to attend meetings. For many people, sitting through a meeting is unnecessary, boring, and unproductive. Others even blame meetings for failure to finish an assigned task. Still, in spite of its unpopularity, team meetings are not something you can easily dismiss. 

These scheduled sessions serve many important purposes such as keeping up with members, updating overall goals, and discussing solutions to problems. Therefore, it is a challenge for leaders to ensure that the time taken  to talk with the whole team will not go to waste. With a few pointers, you can make a group look forward to insightful and productive meetings. Check out the following suggestions:

Announce the key questions/topics beforehand.

Ideally, a leader expects everyone in the meeting to actively participate but this is not always the case. Often, the leader and a few people are the only ones doing the talking while the majority choose to sit back and keep silent. It is not entirely because some people are uninterested or have no ideas to share. Most probably, some people just need some time to think things through and understand a topic before blurting out their opinions. Others may also hesitate to talk for fear of committing mistakes. To give everyone a chance to speak their mind, a leader can inform the team of the topics to be discussed and the questions to be asked before the actual meeting takes place. This way, meetings cease to feel like a classroom setting where students are about to take an oral exam. Instead, you give everyone a chance to prepare about the topics and ponder the answers to give. Moreover, this technique even increases the chance to get better suggestions from the team.

Prepare an agenda and follow a schedule. 

Meetings are notorious for being time-wasters. Due to dilly-dallying and pointless talks, a one-hour meeting can easily turn into a 4-hour discussion. The worst part is to discover that in the end, no issue was resolved or any plan created. To avoid these traps, it is a must to set clear objectives for every meeting organized. Along with setting goals, the leader should also prepare a detailed timetable of the flow of the meeting. A specific time should be set for each topic or issue so the leader will be alert when the team is already spending way too much time on a small issue. It will also prevent the meeting from going towards the wrong direction. To make it a team goal to achieve something worthwhile in the meeting, it is best if the leader lays out the agendas for everyone to see. 

 Hold meetings in a new location.

Take note of how people react when you remind them about an upcoming meeting. If your meeting reminder is rarely met with enthusiasm, a simple change of venue can make all the difference. You may have been conducting your meetings in a specific room in your office for the longest time so how about booking a place where the whole gang can go to discuss? The change of scenery is likely to spark excitement so the meetings can also serve as an easy treat for the group. This simple change shows how a leader values the meeting time and can ultimately inspire members to contribute more to achieving the goals for the discussion.

Meetings and the way you conduct them are crucial in the growth and success of a team. Among others, it can prevent miscommunication problems and boost everyone’s spirit. If not done right though, inefficient meetings can even prevent a team from reaching targets. A great leader knows the right techniques to make every meeting a big step towards the completion of goals. 

Brad and Julie Duncan3 Ways Wise Leaders Make Team Meetings More Productive
Read More

How to Foster a Healthy Sense of Adventure in Your Children

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”
-Mary Schmich

Adventure requires risk. According to Merriam Webster, risk is defined as the possibility of loss, injury or peril, and adventure is what follows. Adventure starts the moment you decide to expose yourself to an unknown outcome. Adventure is what happens when you push forward. Despite the fear. Despite the trepidation. Despite the negative possibilities. Adventure is the physical manifestation of the abstract concept of what it means to truly live.

Risk taking is a part of life. We’ve all faced the crossroads of deciding whether to cling to stability and familiarity, or throw caution to the wind and leap into the unknown. Although it’s comfortable to follow a predictable outline in order to arrive at an expected outcome, doing so isn’t always the best option. Setting aside predictability, in the name of adventure, can result in some of the most memorable, life changing experiences, lessons, and opportunities.

As adults, we’ve seen proof and heard success stories about how big risks can pay off. We understand that adventures don’t always end in triumph. However, are still undeniably worthy of pursuit. We’ve experienced the highs and lows of our own risk taking and have learned that a strong sense of adventure is a valuable quality to have.

As parents, it’s our job to pass that knowledge on and teach our kids to be confidently adventurous. Here are three ways to foster a healthy sense of adventure in your children:

Support Safe Risks

As children grow and interact with their world, they will naturally encounter obstacles that’ll force them to decide whether to be daring or cautious. Use those experiences as teachable moments. Model how to weigh the pros and cons of possible consequences. And if the risk is safe to pursue, encourage your little one to go for it! The way you choose to respond heavily influences the type of response your child employs. So, instill confidence by providing the proper problem solving skills to analyze the safety level of the risk, then be supportive when the adventure begins.

Don’t Project Personal Fears

As much as we hate to admit it, parents’ personal phobias and negative self-talk is contagious. Children are perceptive and impressionable, causing them to absorb and mirror the behaviors that surround them. Your attitude, perspective and outlook is the blueprint for your children’s foundation. Therefore, be aware of how you handle risks. Think of the example you’re setting and adjust accordingly. Lastly, when speaking to your children, equalize your emphasis on potential outcomes by highlighting what may go right, instead of only discussing what may go wrong.

Regularly Expose Your Kids to New Experiences

Humans are granted such a short period of life to feel unburdened by the stressors of adulthood. By design, childhood is absent of major responsibility. It is a safe space. To learn, to play and to fail. School-aged children have the luxury of experimenting and discovering who they are, while still covered safely under the umbrella of financial and emotional support. So be intentional. Foster their sense of adventure by tailoring their exposure. Seek frequent, meaningful risks and experiences that will help build character and shape their worldview. Give your child the best start possible to their lifelong pursuit of adventure.

Author Neale Donald Walsch stated, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Risk can be scary, but it can also be gratifying. Do your part to guide your children through coping with the fear and celebrating the reward. Use the three tips above to help foster a sense of healthy adventure. By doing so, you are opening the door to a lifetime of fulfillment.

Brad and Julie DuncanHow to Foster a Healthy Sense of Adventure in Your Children
Read More