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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Three Points Proving That Philanthropy Is The Essence Of Christmas

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…
yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother

and offer him your hand. – Mother Teresa.

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most popular and celebrated holidays in the world. So many people look forward to this occasion because of the pleasant things it represents. This is the time of the year for posh parties, happy reunions, and gift-giving. Amidst the celebrations, it is easy to forget that Christmas is also the best time to spread love and goodness. In fact, your Christmas celebrations may even be happier and more meaningful if you focus on sharing your blessings with others. When you come to think of it, philanthropy is indeed the true essence of Christmas. The following are reasons that prove this point:

It is a perfect example of humility.

Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ who was born in a manger during the coldest and longest night of that year. His whole life is a story of humility. The simple life he led teaches that we do not need an abundance of material things to make a difference. Thus, instead of focusing on things you want to have, you can try shifting your focus on things you can share. It will make you realize your blessings and at the same time make a positive impact on the lives of others.

It highlights the importance of kindness.

According to the tale, there were no more inns for Joseph and Mary. Fortunately, someone allowed the couple to stay in a stable. It was not the most comfortable place, however, it provided a safe place for Mary to give birth. Recalling the story of Christmas should remind us of all the power of a single act of kindness. It doesn’t always have to be a grand action, sometimes even the smallest gesture to show kindness is more than enough.

It is an example of unconditional love.

Christians believe that Jesus is sent by Father God to redeem the world from sins. The birth of Christ is one of the strongest messages of God’s unconditional love for humanity. Of all the things to give, God chose the most precious one which is his son. Since no other gift can be greater than this, Christmas should remind us to be less concerned about the things we want to receive but of the amazing gift which God has already given us. Christmas should also teach us to consistently show mercy and compassion to others because God never fails to show the same to us.

Christmas is one of the most awaited times of the year. Every year, we think of ways to celebrate it in the most joyous way. Make it more special this year by taking the time to be a blessing to others.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Points Proving That Philanthropy Is The Essence Of Christmas
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Travel Tips: Five Quick Tips to Save Money on Travels

To go on a vacation is a luxury and people usually go on a holiday to splurge. Still, who would frown upon a chance to save some bucks while out on a trip? In the first place, a great vacation doesn’t necessarily have to be too costly. The following are travel tips you can do to ensure that your trips will not burn a hole in your pockets.

Try less popular destinations.

Tourists tend to flock to famous spots and the high demand for these places increases its value. Thus, going here may mean you have to shell out more money. If you wish to avoid the crowds and enjoy some savings too, you may choose to go to equally amazing yet unpopular destinations. Not so many people know about this place yet so rates can be a lot cheaper.  

Travel during off-peak seasons.

Perfect timing can make all the difference. To pay less for travel, it is recommended to travel during off-peak periods. Hotel and airlines are known to lower their rates during slow months to still encourage people to travel. Take advantage of the huge discounts by traveling during this time.

Opt for an apartment rather than a hotel.

Accommodation can occupy a big chunk out of your travel budget especially if you stay in high-end hotels. One option you can try is to rent an apartment instead. You can still have a comfortable stay and you may even have access to the whole house itself. Likewise, if you are traveling as a group, an entire apartment can be big enough for all of you. Apart from being cheaper, you can even prepare your own meals here so you can cut down on your food costs too.

Pack snacks and bring water while on the road. 

Traveling is all about exploring the place but to stay energized while on the road, do not forget to come prepared. Put your travel backpacks to good use by bringing snacks and water with you. You are bound to get thirsty and hungry while out and about but it would not be a problem if you have drinks and food with you. This simple tip can save you lots of time and money as well. 

Hunt for discounts or freebies. 

In a way, scoring great deals and packages is a great gauge to measure the success of your travels. So be on the lookout for anything that can help you save money. You can do research about places or activities that you can visit or do for free in your destination such as museums, libraries, or parks. Your airline may be offering some discounts and your accommodation may be offering some freebies which you can avail. Following the social media accounts of airlines and hotels can help you stay informed about these deals. You can also sign-up to be a member of their community to earn points you can redeem later on.

Money matters and it is one of the reasons why many put the idea of traveling aside. However, if you will just make an effort to be a more resourceful and creative traveler, you can discover easy ways to stretch your precious dollars. 

Brad and Julie DuncanTravel Tips: Five Quick Tips to Save Money on Travels
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Three Adventure Ideas To Enrich Your Soul

Jobs fill your pocket but adventures fill your soul.
– Jamie Lyn Beatty

Everybody needs a little adventure. We all want and need to try something new every once in a while because it makes life more fun and exciting. Likewise, the risks and uncertainties that come with adventures can also lead to valuable lessons that enrich our lives. These escapades are supposed to make us stronger and wiser. However, the outcome of your escapades would depend on your attitude and the type of adventure you choose. For adventures that can help you see life in a better light, the following are some suggestions:

Go somewhere all by yourself. 

Traveling by yourself is beneficial because it improves your well-being and widens your knowledge. However, while it is surely rewarding to visit new places with your loved ones, you would likely gain more benefits by giving solo travel a try from time to time. Solo travel will require you to be more independent, resourceful, and courageous. By having no one to rely on but yourself, there is a big chance for you to go home feeling more confident.

Join a cultural adventure trip. 

A travel itinerary to famous destinations would typically include visits to popular tourist sites and attractions. To veer away from the usual, you may want to join a cultural adventure. This is a trip where the aim is to truly experience local traditions and customs of the place they are visiting. Attending local festivals, trying exotic dishes, and visiting local homes are just a few activities that you can try in a culture trip. The opportunity to mingle with the locals and experience how they truly live can teach you lessons and can results in insights that you can never get from anywhere else.

Take the risk to do something you always wanted.

Have you always wanted to start a business, pursue your passion, or change your career? We are often advised to take precautions for plunging into things like the ones mentioned because they are considered risky. A business can fail and your dream job may not turn out well. Still, it will also be sad to spend your whole life just thinking about how things could have been if you try. So for once in your life, you may want to give yourself a chance to do what you have always wanted. You can fail or succeed, but either way, you will surely gain wisdom.

Although we can also discover amazing things in our daily routines, no one can deny that the unique experiences we get from little adventures gives color to our lives. Just do not forget to choose adventures that can improve your overall health and well-being. 

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Adventure Ideas To Enrich Your Soul
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Three Ideas To Celebrate Thanksgiving With Philanthropy

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
Is the true measure of our thanksgiving – W.T. Purkiser

Out of the numerous special events in a year, one occasion proves to be an important one for Americans – the Thanksgiving! Many look forward to the fourth Thursday of November because this federal holiday is filled with exciting events such as colorful parades, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Moreover, it also opens an opportunity to bond with family. While the traditional way of celebrating Thanksgiving is always a great option, it is likewise a great idea to try new ways of commemorating this annual holiday.Since the day is about expressing gratitude for the bountiful blessings we received throughout the year, you may want to make Thanksgiving more meaningful by making an effort to give back to others. Thanksgiving and philanthropy are two different yet closely related concepts so there are surely plenty of ways to combine the two. The following are some of them:

Open your house to others.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy occasion but people who are living alone or are struggling financially may think otherwise. Help others have a joyful celebration as well by opening your house up to them. Who knows, your company and hospitality may lift the spirit of someone who may be feeling down? Your guests on the other hand will take your family dinner to the next level as their stories may impart valuable lessons. They may even become lifelong friends of your family.

Do some volunteer work.

Your Thanksgiving schedule may be full with sumptuous dinners to attend to or shopping deals to check out. But with your time-management skills, you can definitely squeeze in some time for some charity work. You (or better yet, get the whole family involved) can a few hours or a whole day helping out in a hospital or doing some work at an animal shelter. You can also allot some time doing community service. You are free to choose where to spend your time as long as you do something to help move a cause forward. 

Make donations. 

To realize that you have a lot to share is surely something to be thankful for. Especially because not everyone has this privilege. So spend time to sort out your things and you may discover way too many items you don’t really need but others may still find useful. If you have money to spare, you can also choose an organization to make some donations. It may also be a nice idea is to make it a family project to save money to give for donations at the start of the year until Thanksgiving day.

In many ways, Thanksgiving is a time to indulge. We enjoy sumptuous dishes, drink exquisite wines, and sometimes shop our hearts out. However, while we fill our tummy with good food and satisfy our shopping needs, let us not forget to take time to give back as well. These activities can make your Thanksgiving more rewarding.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Ideas To Celebrate Thanksgiving With Philanthropy
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Traveling Abroad? Use These 6 Tips to Travel Safely

Embarking on a new country can be the adventure of a lifetime. Experiencing new cultures, seeing new terrain and trying new foods are just a few of the benefits of venturing out into uncharted land, but it’s important to stay safe as well. Here are six tips to keep you safe will traveling abroad.

1. Check the US Passports and International Travel Website for Information 

The United States government maintains a website that informs Americans citizens of current safety and security travel concerns. It details the locations of every U.S. embassy and consular office, as well as travel alerts, warnings, advisories, and things to be mindful of.

2. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a service that allows United States citizens and nationals to register their travels with the nearest embassy or consulate. Doing so will automatically enroll you to receive updates on safety information, and allow officials and your family to contact you in the case of an emergency or natural disaster. 

3. Share Travel Information with Friends and Family

Before leaving for your trip, inform your close social circle of your travel plans. While it is unwise to notify social media right away (where strangers and robbers may be lurking your statuses), your family and friends can help keep you safe. Send a quick text with your flight details, your room accomodations (address, room number, etc.) and let them know when you’ve arrived safely. Throughout your trip, check-in with your social circle with short messages or calls about your plans for the day. Although these updates may seem unnecessary, when you’re far away from home, they are the only way anyone can be sure you’re ok without assuming.   

4. Safety In Numbers

It’s always safer to travel in groups. Whether leaving the hotel to grab a bite to eat or checking out the sights, remember to grab a buddy (or two) and stick together for maximum safety. If you plan to venture into crowded areas, stick with your group closely and plan meeting spots in case someone gets separated. For extra safety, wear the same colors or an easily identifiable article of clothing to help you reconnect with your travel mates if you lose each other in a crowd.

5. Make Copies of Documents

Passports, travel arrangements, confirmation numbers, boarding passes, licenses, etc. are all vital documents that can make or break your trip. Instead of relying on digital or original versions of such items, make extra paper copies as backup. Place backup copies in various places to ensure that if your luggage is lost or stolen that all your documents won’t be gone as well.  

6. Don’t Be the Center of Attention

As a tourist, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. Avoid flashy jewelry, wear clothes that blend in and assimilate with the culture as respectfully as possible. Behave politely and avoid conflict when possible. When on foreign soil, it’s difficult to know every law (both written and implied). To protect yourself and make it home safely, it’s best to fly under the radar by being as invisible as possible while enjoying your trip. 

Traveling is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It can change the way we look at the world around us, the way we look at ourselves, and the way we look at others. But even as we set out on such important soul-changing journeys, we must keep safety first. Prepare with these six safety tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your travels without worry.  

Brad and Julie DuncanTraveling Abroad? Use These 6 Tips to Travel Safely
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Three Cool Adventures to Try During Winter Months

Feeling the chilly weather, experiencing early sunset, and craving for hot dishes – these are just a few signs that winter is coming. The cold breeze in the air can indeed tempt you to curl up in bed and stay home all day. On second thought though, winter is a wonderful season that only comes a year. It would surely feel like an awful waste to spend it holed up indoors. Despite the freezing temperature and thick snow to deal with, winter is no way short of fun activities to try. Winter even offers unique adventure ideas that you cannot experience during other seasons. The following are some suggestions:  

Try snowmobiling or snowshoeing.

Winter landscape is a sight to behold and one thing you can do to easily explore the gorgeous scenery around is snowmobiling. This activity may let you discover that staying outdoors is a better way to spend the winter as you can conveniently ride a sleek motor sled that is specifically designed for the snowy road. 

If you want to flaunt your skiing skills, you may have more fun while snowshoeing. Instead of a motor sled, special footwear will help you traverse the snow-filled ground. Since you will practically walk and cruise along the road, snowshoeing may prove to be a better way to exercise. You can check out hiking trails to make this activity more challenging. Snowmobiling and snowshoeing are worth a try as both are activities you can enjoy with the whole family. 

Book a winter getaway. 

For homebodies who want to spice up their weekend during the winter months, booking a stay in a cozy cabin is a lovely option. There are plenty of log cabins to choose from depending on the amenities your desire and your budget. To make it even more exciting and memorable, you can choose a location that you will be visiting for the first time. Staying in a beautiful cabin during the cold days may just give the total relaxation you are looking for in a vacation. 

Winter camping 

If you want a taste of what it is like to be living an intense cold, winter camping is the way to go. It would be a great experience to set up a tent on the snow where you will sleep, eat, and hang out. A warm bonfire in the middle of your camp sure sounds something for the books. This activity would need thorough planning and preparation. You can join groups that are trained to organize this kind of outdoor activity or organize a winter camping of your own. Winter camping is not for everyone so make sure you are ready for it before attempting to brave the harsh weather.

Reminder:
As with any adventure, it is advisable to observe safety measures to avoid any untoward incidents. It is wise to do necessary precautions before setting out for an adventure such as donning appropriate attire and bringing winter gear. Winter can get so extreme as well so do not forget to monitor the weather bulletin before heading outdoors. You may also want to keep a copy of hotline numbers you can contact in case of an emergency.

Adventures are not exclusive to sunny days and fair weather. In fact, people always longing for new experiences can see opportunities for adventure in everyday life and in every season. So for a happier and more memorable winter this year, start planning your winter adventures today

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Cool Adventures to Try During Winter Months
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Vital Factors to Consider When Choosing A Charity To Support

Your decision to venture into philanthropy will likely be followed by a series of questions. You may start to ponder why you want to support altruism projects. It will not be surprising either if you start wondering about how to be an effective philanthropist. Another important question you want to answer is: how to choose which organization or cause to support? There are so many altruistic groups out there but sadly, not everyone is genuinely doing a noble deed. Some are bogus charities while some genuine ones lack dedication and commitment to truly make a difference. You surely do not want to see your initiatives to help go to waste so there is nothing wrong in being meticulous in deciding the charity to support. To help you sort out the best organizations from the bad ones, the following are factors you may want to consider:

Good charities are not stingy with information.

It is but natural that you want to gather as much information as you can about a group before you can assess if it will be worth the effort. Ideally, there should be many ways to read up about the background of the group you are eyeing to be affiliated to. Nowadays, you can expect them to have a social media page, an official website, or a printed brochure where their mission, goals, and projects are conveyed in detail. In case the said sources are not available, a legitimate charitable organization should at least have a contact number that you can call for inquiries. Of course, you can expect its staff to have adequate knowledge about their group. However, it is likely time to move on to your next option if a charity seem to be stingy in providing information or cannot explain their purpose clearly.

Good charities provide updates about their achievements.

Along with having a solid mission and vision, a good charity also updates their supporters about the outcomes of their projects. You will be more confident that you are working with a legitimate and reputable group if transparency is obviously not a problem. Thus, if a group conducted a fundraising event, it is but fitting to report the total number of funds collected and a breakdown of how it was utilized. This is essential to further inspire people to give.

They reflect your own values and preferences.

To further make your charitable works rewarding, you want to choose a group that supports a cause that holds a special meaning to you. It can also be a cause that coincides with your passion and interests. For example, pet lovers will be eager to work with an organization pushing to end animal cruelty. Likewise, you will be eager to work with a charity supporting medical treatments if you are close to someone battling a fatal disease,  Of course, charities with causes you are unfamiliar with can still be a good option, but you may need added motivation to volunteer your time or resources in it. On the other hand, by considering your own values and interests, philanthropy will cease to feel like work or obligatory because you love what you are doing.

People who are purposely doing philanthropy understand that it comes with a responsibility. It is not a single act where you simply give money or donate items to support a cause. Instead, you continue to support a cause in an aim to see the positive changes that your actions bring. Your goal is possible if you start your philanthropic journey by wisely picking the best charity. 

Brad and Julie DuncanVital Factors to Consider When Choosing A Charity To Support
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Four Simple Hacks To Make Leadership A Lot Easier

Leadership is surely not a role for people who want things easy. More often than not, this job comes with many tasks, huge responsibilities, and high expectations. However, if your wish is to be a competent leader, you do not allow the said challenges to scare you away from the job of supervising people. Instead, you strive to develop hacks and tactics that will help you rise above the overwhelming duties that come with leadership. Current and aspiring leaders may find the tips that are briefly discussed below helpful:

Plan and organize your day.

Success and idleness rarely go together. Therefore, leaders should aim to be as productive as possible. However, it will be harder than ever to maximize your productivity if you do not know the things you want to accomplish. Planning and listing your tasks for the day may be an age-old tactic but many still avoid doing it. It is therefore wise to start your day with a plan. Another option is to list down your goals for the day the night before. Listing too many goals can backfire so you may want to narrow down your goals to the most important things you want to achieve.

Welcome feedback.

Good communication is a major factor in effective leadership. Ideally, you and your team should be on the same page when it comes to matters that involve the group. One way to ensure this is by giving feedback and welcoming feedback from your members at the same time. Making the exchange of feedback a regular habit paves the way for the group to communicate more efficiently. As a leader, you gain insights on how you can further enhance your leadership skills. For the members, it sends a message that you are genuinely concerned about the growth of your people, which can motivate and empower.

Delegate tasks.

Are your tasks piling up by the minute? You do not have to panic because the seemingly impossible situation can be solved by simply assigning some of the duties to your members. Attempting to do everything will likely lead to burnout. It can also make your team members feel bored and unappreciated. On the other hand, trusting your people with certain tasks will lighten your workload and at the same time lift he group’s morale. You also train the skills of possible future leaders in your group. 

Encourage learning and innovation.

Wise leaders know the value of continuous learning. To stay ahead and relevant, it is necessary to keep up with the latest trends and invest in continuous education. You can make it easier by seeking advice and suggestions from your team. A monthly contest where members can pitch new ideas that the team can start is one example. You can also organize a weekly meeting where members report about a new trend or share something they learned to the group. Fostering a culture that encourages learning and innovation will certainly make the whole team stronger.

Needless to say, leadership is a highly stressful job. However, the best leaders know how to cope with these demands and even turn them to their advantage. Thus, when things start to feel heavy and unmanageable, take a moment to remember that many things can be solved with a simple hack.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Simple Hacks To Make Leadership A Lot Easier
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5 Ways Traveling Can Help In Your Personal & Professional Growth

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
-Anonymous

People have a variety of options when it comes to fun and adventure. However, if your wish is to enjoy and learn at the same time, traveling is the way to go. Meeting new people and seeing new places open vast opportunities for lessons that can help you grow personally and professionally. You may not realize it at once but traveling changes you. As you explore unfamiliar territories, you may find your views on certain matters changing as well. In many ways, you can gain fresh perspectives and acquire new skills. The following are some ways on how travel brings about personal and professional improvements:

Personal Improvements.

  • Boosts self-esteem.
    Even with the planning and preparation, going somewhere new can still feel like an adventure into the unknown. You are technically leaving your comfort zone so It is normal to feel excited and nervous at the same time. As a traveler, you learn to cope with unexpected moments and even turn it to your advantage. The ability to deal with unavoidable travel woes increases your confidence to face any adversary that may come your way. 
  • Increases self-awareness.
    As Aristotle said, “ Knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Self-awareness is important because it allows you to fully understand your wants, needs, and limits. This means you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses that will help you set realistic goals and avoid mistakes. Knowing oneself will require time for reflection which you can get from traveling. The new scenery can also help you see yourself in a new light making it easier to understand yourself better.
  • Increases general knowledge.
    Traveling is like opening a treasure chest of knowledge. For people hungry for knowledge, every turn in your journey is a chance to learn something new. This is information that you cannot learn just from reading books or watching documentaries. You can learn a new language or be adept at a new skill. Bits of info and trivia you pick up during your escapades increase your general knowledge.

Professional Improvements

  • Improves communication and organizational skills.
    You may not give much thought on the way you communicate when you are in your hometown because people generally talk the same way. On the other hand, you may find yourself paying more attention to your speaking, listening, and comprehension skills when you are in a place where people speak a different language. As you go about from place to place, you also learn to be conscious of how you organize your time and things. Poor communication and organizational skills can jeopardize your vacation so you find ways to improve it. With better communicating and organizing techniques, you will certainly increase your value as a professional. 
  • Discover wonderful opportunities.
    Companies are always looking for fresh ideas, which can sometimes be hard to come by. It is especially difficult to think creatively if you stay in the same place day in and day out. Traveling, on the other hand, can make you discover new ventures and ideas. Who knows? You may see a product or system that is not yet available in your hometown. New things you see from traveling can help you come up with ideas that can be a hit back home.

Traveling may be considered an expensive and exhausting hobby but exploring different destinations give many benefits that make it all worth it. Make the most out of your travel experiences by welcoming changes that help you become a better person.

Brad and Julie Duncan5 Ways Traveling Can Help In Your Personal & Professional Growth
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