Pursuing Adventure by Facing Your Fears

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

This is a popular quote that many have heard but few have abided by. So what’s so difficult about pursuing fear? You’ve been conditioned to think of fear as a feeling we should avoid. The word fear has been connected to other terms that have negative connotations: danger, consequence and even intimidation. When you imagine being afraid you probably think pessimistically. You visualize the worst possible outcome no matter how likely it is. You’ve learned to fear fear itself. But fear is nothing more than a feeling – not an actualization of dread, tangible evidence of consequence or anything concrete at all. If you remember that caveat, it’ll help you tackle the issue from the proper perspective. Because fear is an emotional response, a psychological element in the mind, it can be conquered.

For most, daily life is composed of repetition and fulfilled expectations. You wake up, head to work, come home and repeat the steps the following day. Sure, random surprises pop up here and there, but rarely is there a major divergence from the norm. Going about life in this manner is comfortable and keeps your mind at ease, but it lacks excitement because thrill requires fear. Adventure is a process that includes encountering discomfort, facing it and then overcoming it triumphantly. It needs a bit of discomfort in order to celebrate the bravery it takes to succeed. The build up of nervous tension peaks and becomes gratification.

Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Have you lived life cautiously thus far? Have your negative thoughts prevented you from accomplishing your wildest dreams? Take a minute to think of all the adventures you’d pursue if you dismissed those anxieties. Use that thought as motivation. No matter how afraid you are, remember that fear is not a bad thing; it’s simply a part of the process. Whether swimming with sharks, climbing the highest mountain or speaking publicly, nothing is beyond your reach. And while you may feel apprehensive initially, the feeling will pass.

You are bigger than your fears. Don’t allow missed opportunities to become your life story. Make the decision to always follow your heart, exude confidence and be brave. Get in the habit of maintaining a healthy perspective of the larger picture instead of focusing on just the parts that scare you. Alter your mindstate and start asking yourself, “What if I succeed?”

It’s natural to feel anxious when faced with uncertainty, but you don’t have to let the anxiety rule you. Convert your anxiety to adrenaline and use it to your advantage. Embrace the discomfort and remember that it’s temporary and will be followed with emotional reward. On the other side of fear is accomplishment, pride, inspiration and passion. Adventure awaits!

Brad and Julie DuncanPursuing Adventure by Facing Your Fears
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Introverts Make Great Leaders Because Of These Traits

Leadership requires a great deal of courage. As the authority figure in a group, leaders are often portrayed as tough and strict. You are expected to set the rules and the direction for the whole team to follow. These tasks require a certain level of assertiveness and confidence; traits you would usually see in an extroverted person.

Does this mean that people who are naturally quiet and reserved should abandon leadership goals? Definitely not! A 10-year study done by ghSmart, an entrepreneurial consulting company, revealed that the most successful CEOs display introvert traits. Some of these traits are listed below and show why introverts make great leaders.

Observes and listens well.

Introverts are probably not the first one to share ideas or voice out concerns in a meeting. Instead of doing all the talking, they are happy to listen to what others have to say. They are great observers, too, allowing them to carefully assess the situation. This trait makes it possible for them to see a situation in a new perspective. Once introverts decide to speak up, they may surprise everyone with fresh and brilliant ideas. An introvert’s ability to listen intently to others and think things through are essential traits for leadership. Filtering ideas in one’s head before spilling it out avoids confusion and helps a team focus on the key points of a project.

Makes careful decisions.

Decision-making is one of the most difficult tasks for a leader i and being impulsive will not help., You cannot afford to make hasty decisions when managing a group because the choices you make affect the whole team. While others may find it hard to hold off on making decisions, taking time to reflect before deciding is one of the strengths of an introvert. A leader who decides after thoroughly evaluating all sides of a situation usually makes the right choice. This helps a leader earns a team’s trust and respect.

Can work independently.

Being a social butterfly may not be the best asset of an introvert who is seen as someone who dislikes crowds or events. Though introverts are not necessarily anti-socials, they do not mind being left alone in a task. The ability to function well even while alone is beneficial as a leader. As the head of a team, you cannot rely on the support of others all the time. Instead, you should  learn how to perform tasks independently.

Can control emotions.

Conflicts are a part of life but some people cannot help but panic when things suddenly go wrong. Extroverts may have a hard time controlling their emotions. On the other hand, introverts who spend a lot of time processing thoughts in their head can think about the most appropriate reaction to a situation. The calm nature of an introverted leader can ease the worries of group members. It will also keep the motivation of a group running high despite tough times.

The notion that someone with an introvert personality will be an ineffective leader is one unfair misconception that should be broken. If you see yourself as an introvert, your chance to be a good leader is as good as that of an extroverted person. So do not ever hesitate to take a leadership role. Your innate traits as an introverted person can even make you a better leader.

Brad and Julie DuncanIntroverts Make Great Leaders Because Of These Traits
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Creative Ways To Reinvent Yourself & Discover New Passions

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting… – Paulo Coelho

Do you feel stuck in a boring routine that you are no longer excited to face each day? Are you longing for something new to inspire your creativity? If you feel so unmotivated because of doing the same thing over and over, it is probably time to reinvent yourself.

Life offers endless opportunities for growth and learning and the road to reinvention is a path open to everyone. Sometimes it is even necessary in order to keep up with the demands of the fast-changing world we live in. Some people may associate reinvention with drastic changes, but do not let that scare you. With bravery and creativity, small changes can successfully awaken your zest for life and let you discover new passions.

Mingle with a new crowd.

Been hanging out with the same folks for years? You may want to widen your social circle and meet new people. This doesn’t mean you have to break old friendships or cut ties with your constant companions. It just means you should explore new grounds by connecting with other people. One way to do this is by joining organizations that reflect your interests and participate in their activities. New friends or contacts can broaden your perspectives or offer a new way of doing things.

Change your look.

The way you look and dress affects your mood and conveys a message to others. Sometimes, reinvention is as simple as changing your outfit. Donning the same style of clothes or refusing a new kind of hairstyle could be subtle indicators that you dislike change or trying new things.

Change is essential for reinvention to take place, so be bold and experiment with new looks. Of course, you want the style upgrade to increase your confidence and enhance your appearance. Ideally, the positive effects of your new style will also make you feel eager to tackle new tasks.

Ask questions.

The plain old routine you are accustomed to may have worked for years. But it is likely your reliable routine will also benefit from improvements or upgrades. So be brave and ask questions about the existing procedures or routines you are following. Your “why’s” and “what ifs” may sound ridiculous at first, but just maybe, it can start a change that will dramatically improve your way of life.

Think out of the box.

Maybe you have fully mastered a certain craft and you no longer find it challenging. Hang on and do not embark on an entirely new career all at once. Continue to study your craft, push yourself and dare to innovate. The new techniques you may discover along the way might just be the spark you need to revive your interest on your passions.

Have a break.

Examine your lifestyle and you may just see that the reason your days feel dreary is due to exhaustion. So be kind to yourself and take a break. To embark on new interests or pursue fresh goals, you need a clear mind that is free from stress. Taking a trip to a relaxing place or simply having some quiet time will get you ready for new challenges. The new surroundings will also help you see old things in a new light and nurture your inner spirit. After the break, you may find yourself bursting with vibrant energy and cool ideas

Change offers no guarantees so most people choose to stick with the safe, but monotonous way of life. Oftentimes though, this is not the way to go if you do not want to simply breeze through life. The commitment to continuously improve yourself through reinvention will allow you to experience the joys of immense self-fulfillment.

Brad and Julie DuncanCreative Ways To Reinvent Yourself & Discover New Passions
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How To Regain Team Spirit After Failure: Leadership Tips

A good leader is supposed to motivate and guide a team to victory. Oftentimes, the vision of success and all the rewards that come with it is a powerful way to keep the team spirit up and running. Yet the chance of failure looms in every endeavor. A Harvard Journal survey even states that nine out of ten business start-ups fail.

So in the unfortunate scenario of failure, where and how does a leader gather the nerve to convince the team to look at the bright side and start over? The task of inspiring people is always a challenge, but to have the courage to keep on persuading everyone to give their best efforts in times of defeat is the mark of a true leader.

Prioritize your well-being.

A leader is not immune to the devastating effects of failing to accomplish a target. Just like team members, the one in charge is likely to suffer from bruised ego and crushed confidence. In fact, the head of an organization may even feel worse.

So, first things first. As a leader, start the healing process by taking steps to manage your own emotions. Make sure that you are not shrouded in negativity once you decide to face your group after a loss. It does not mean putting on a false front but showing them that you are in no way about to give up. A research study published by the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded that a leader’s mindset affects the mood of team members. It is therefore important that a leader continue to cast a positive mood even through tough times.

Give ample time for recovery.

Even though you want to make it clear that you are all moving forward, you do not have to rush into things. If you pressure everyone to move on too soon, you may end up with stressed and frustrated team members. On the other hand, giving everyone a chance to feel bad or vent about it can pave the way to a fresh start.

Discuss what went wrong.

The worst thing you can do is totally forget about the failure. Instead, you want to emphasize all the valuable lessons that the team can learn from it. So it is advisable to set a special meeting where everyone can freely talk about it. If you want this meeting to achieve its goal, acknowledge the mistakes done but do not resort to pointing fingers.

You may have set an unrealistic target or failed to lay a contingency plan. Whatever the reason, a thorough discussion about the circumstances that lead to failure will help the team avoid the same problems next time. Even so, while reflecting on the mistakes, you should also recognize the right things done. Aside from letting the team see that failures are sometimes inevitable, it is also a good reminder that failures can sometimes be a prelude to success.

Get the team ready.

While healing takes time, your team cannot get stuck in a roadblock for too long. As the team rise from the failures, an effective leader lifts everyone’s morale and gets them ready for new goals. At this stage, it is also a good idea to encourage everyone to contribute new ideas or share suggestions. After a failure, you want to see a stronger and wiser team that is ready and eager to tackle challenges ahead.

Failures can happen but the exceptional leader takes it as an opportunity to show how an organization can learn and grow from it. A leader also knows that the process of getting over a loss may be difficult, yet understands that sometimes it is just a phase that they need to go through to reach success.

Brad and Julie DuncanHow To Regain Team Spirit After Failure: Leadership Tips
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Six Easy Ways to Be an Amazing Motivational Leader

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Great leaders know that motivation is the key to success. Motivation is all about inspiring people to want keep going. People only give their max effort to those who will value it the most. You have to find a way to show them that you are that person. Keep reading for 6 ways to motivate your team:

Recognition

The best leaders take time to recognize accomplishments, improvements, and efforts that go above and beyond. Giving it your all, only to receive no acknowledgement, is demotivating. Some leaders make the mistake of justifying their inaction with sentiments like, “You should work hard, no matter who notices.” While most people do work hard, no matter the circumstance, a lack of acknowledgement can make employees feel that their efforts are intentionally being ignored. Resentment builds and before they know it, their hardest worker is now doing the bare minimum, out of spite. This can be avoided by being intentional about praise.

Empathy

People are more intrinsically inclined to produce their best work when they feel they are valued and understood. A little empathy goes a long way. Whether employees are feeling under the weather, or facing personal tragedies, they will undoubtedly feel comforted knowing their leader is genuinely concerned. Putting yourself in their shoes gives you a different viewpoint and helps you respond from that perspective. It allows you to show patience instead of frustration, kindness instead of annoyance, and mercy instead of punishment. Empathy allows you to be more human than business minded and sometimes, that’s what chaotic situations require. Real people face real problems. Everyday won’t be ideal. Having a leader who understands and respects that makes all the difference in how employees feel overall about their job and leader.

Trust

Trust is motivating factor that is often overlooked in the business realm. When a leader extends her trust, it illustrates her confidence in her employees. Having a leader who knows that you are reliable and capable motivates you to do all that you can to continue to be trustworthy.

Trust at work can present itself in many different forms. Leaders should trust employees to:

  • Problem solve without being micromanaged
  • Share their thoughts
  • Handle greater responsibility
  • Be autonomous
  • Choose how they work best
  • Manage when they need time away from work

If your team has shown themselves to be worthy of trust, give it to them. They won’t let you down.

Rewards

Most people are loyal to their company, regularly go beyond the call of duty, put in more hours than they have to, and take pride in their work. While gratefulness and words of affirmation are both necessary and appreciated, tangible gifts really drive the point home. It’s one thing to say you value strong work ethic; it’s another to prove it.

Consider giving:

  • Random days off
  • Catered lunches
  • Vacation packages
  • Gift cards

Fun Environment

Fact: Happy people are more effective. No one wants to wake up early, get dressed, and sit in traffic only to spend 8 hours in a place that they hate. The nature of the work may be serious, but that doesn’t mean that the office needs to be stuffy. Create an environment where stress is low, laughs are plenty and your staff actually wants to smile. Schedule team builders, leave the office occasionally, decorate, open some windows. Consider implementing spirit weeks and parties. Relax the dress code. Play games, sing karaoke, take dance breaks – be lighthearted.

In the same regard, make sure to have strict policies against things that cause bad feelings in the office. Bullying, sexual harassment, and workplace gossip should all have a zero tolerance policy.

Advancement

Humans desire growth; it’s in our DNA. While familiarity is comfortable and change can be scary, most of us still set goals in pursuit of the next level. We desire challenge and celebrate our ability to conquer it. Even with the best pay, benefits, and leadership, an unchallenged employee will leave. As a respected leader, know that this is true and plan ahead. Encourage employees to continually pursue higher education and advanced certifications. Don’t frustrate your team by failing to provide new opportunities. Prove that you see the progress they’ve made and you have a vision for their potential. Give them new responsibilities that you think they’d do well with. Offer new roles and compensate accordingly.

As a leader, your job is to continually bring out the best of each member of your team. If you prioritize your employees and they will, in turn, prioritize the business. The 6 methods above will help you make motivation your mission.

Brad and Julie DuncanSix Easy Ways to Be an Amazing Motivational Leader
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