Thursday, January 18, 2018

EQ Can Make you Wealthy and Successful...

EQ can make you wealthy and successful, according to science—here's how to build yours

This week's blog article was written by CEO Elle Kaplan.  It's true, building a higher EQ really is the way. Fantastic article, Elle!  Click here for the original article.

Aspiring for more success and wealth drives most to concentrate on boosting their IQ levels for that competitive edge. While I fully advocate sharpening your skills and memory, for holistic self-development, there's an often overlooked factor that's equally important: building your EQ.

EQ, or emotional intelligence, is just as if not more vital for a person's growth. Extensive studies show that it plays a huge role in building one's personal and financial success. One even tracked a group of people from age one to 30 and found that EQ was the single biggest predictor of monetary success.

The good news is that one's emotional intelligence is something that can be shaped by habits to deliver wealth and achievement. Without further ado, see what traits you need to focus on to boost your EQ and future success:

1. Take control of your emotional state
Warren Buffett once said that "if you can't control your emotions, you can't control your money."

To shape your fate, you need to harness your emotions. Your mind is a powerful tool, and it can't work to full capacity if you're hindering it with irrational feelings, like anger. This is truer than ever when it comes to money, where emotional spending or investing can wreak havoc on your finances.

To manage your emotions, you need to see situations through a rational, long-term lens. Don't let temporary emotional states become permanent mistakes.

One technique that most successful people use, including Warren Buffett, is the 10:10:10 method. Before arriving at conclusions, ask yourself how this will make you feel after 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. Giving utmost consideration to your future self is key in creating a successful mental and emotional state.

2. Learn how to lead different personalities
For billionaire and hospitality titan Tilman Fertitta, one of the key secrets to success is being an adaptive people person. It's what helped his company, Landry's Inc., become one of America's most powerful and far-reaching restaurant corporations.

"People want to be led, but you've got to know how to lead different people," Fertitta says. "I treat everybody differently depending on how I've evaluated that person. And if you do it that way in business, you're going to be a lot more successful."

3. Be curious
Innate curiosity makes a child develop new skills. This is also the same case for adults who do not lose their curiosity in life. Even Steve Jobs acknowledged the fact that his voracious curiosity led him to succeed in life.

Research shows that curiosity prepares the brain for learning. It drives you to get involved in things you have not encountered before and therefore stops you from procrastinating. It also opens your mind to new concepts that are useful in order for you to progress in your endeavors. By being able to instinctively recognize gaps, you're able to generate tools to improve your performance.

4. Impose self-discipline
Discipline acts as your compass providing directions to your goals. It is like an imaginary voice inside your head telling you what to do or what to avoid depending on how you think it will be instrumental to your future success.

It is also a powerful tool when it comes to growing your wealth. Taking the time to impose self-discipline with the financial decisions you make today impacts your success tomorrow. By sticking to your long-term goals, regardless of ups and downs, you'll find returns that are more substantial over time.

5. Be empathetic
For Oprah Winfrey, leadership is all about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people to empower them.

We need to belong to grow as an individual and at the same time develop our own identity. However, along the way, we often neglect the significance of others in our lives as we focus only on ourselves. But if you want higher chances of success, you need to have empathy.

Our EQ feeds on how much empathy we have for other people. It is in our ability to recognize others' need that we learn to sacrifice and go the extra mile. If you only do things for your own benefit and forget about compassion, you'll find it hard to move forward as we will become difficult to work or get along with.

6. Handle rejection
On our quest for success and happiness, it's inevitable that things will not always go as planned. It's important to remember that progress is largely driven by mindset. Negative thoughts and feelings can often be hard to shake, causing our ability to focus on a goal that much harder. The best thing to do is channel them into means of motivation.

Successful people know how to move on and leave the past in the past. If you latch onto to your latest mistakes they will inevitably slow and bring you down. Instead, learn from them, see challenges as opportunities (sometimes to even bigger challenges), surround yourself with positivity and stop complaining.

7. Constantly seek out people smarter than you
In today's hyper-competitive business world, one might think that ultra-successful people wouldn't even give each other the time of day.

The opposite tends to be true, like with Former Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz, who said: "Don't be threatened by people smarter than you."

Whether it's meeting with a competitor to exchange information, or seeking out a mentor, the path to billionaire status involves constantly seeking out brighter and more talented people, rather than trying to squash them.

Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager at LexION Alpha, her systematic hedge fund that will soon be open to new investments. It is one of the only women-owned and run hedge funds in the nation.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Want to Achieve Your 2018 Goals? Dig Deeper

This week's blog comes to us courtesy of Michael Schneider at Inc. Magazine.  Thanks, Michael!

It's an exciting time of year. You're in the process of closing out 2017 while simultaneously gearing up for a successful 2018. If you're like me, you've already started to draft a list of New Year's resolutions and have tons of ideas on things you want to accomplish to make 2018 your best year yet.

In 2017, these were the Top 10 New Year’s resolutions from Statistic Brain:

1. Lose Weight/Healthier Eating
2. Life/Self Improvement
3. Better Financial Decisions
4. Quit Smoking
5. Do More Exciting Things
6. Spend More Time with Family/Close Friends
7. Work Out More Often
8. Learn Something New On My Own
9. Do More Good Deeds For Others
10. Find The Love Of My Life

I don't want to crush your hopes, but statistically speaking, only 9.2 percent of us will actually achieve our wishes.

The reasons behind the loss of good intentions are vast. But, I am willing to bet that they all boil down to one thing -- a lack of sustainable motivation.

One of my go-to resources on the subject is Jen Shirkani's book Choose Resilience: Break Out of Your Comfort Zone Using the Power of Emotional Intelligence. In it, Shirkani (EQ expert) talks about the hurdles she's overcome throughout her life and the best practices that helped her choose resilience when everything seemed to be taking a turn for the worse.

Shirkani encourages everyone to find "the spark to move" (a source of sustainable energy). Through her experience, Shirkani has found that "the best way to cultivate that energy is to better understand why you desire the particular change in the first place."

Here are the eight common motivators that Shirkani says can help you choose resilience in the face of adversity:

1. Recognition
"You are energized by public acknowledgment and by being praised and valued for the things you do."

If this is the case, then a good strategy is to find an accountability partner or to tell others that you're working towards a specific goal. In my case, the fear of letting someone else down (other than myself) motivates me to push forward. 

2. Challenge
"The high you get from fixing things that others can't, you specialize in creative solutions for difficult situations."

If you feel a great sense of accomplishment after tackling a colossal feat, then it's a good sign that you're motivated by challenging work. To set yourself up for success, make sure to identify goals that allow you to take interpersonal risks and think creatively.

3. Opportunity for growth
"You feel most alive when you are learning, so you take opportunities to develop yourself..."

If this is you, then make sure that you set aside frequent opportunities through 2018 to work on developing your abilities. Most companies have budgets for this that no one even knows about. Make sure to voice your interest and map out a plan of attack to ensure you acquire the skills necessary for progression.

4. Career advancement
"You derive satisfaction from building your responsibilities at work and progressing up the organizational chart..."

More than likely, your organization has a succession plan that they can share with you if you're interested in moving up the ladder. The important things are to uncover those competencies early and start practicing them now.

5. Money
"You feel jazzed about working hard to earn bonuses, commissions, or financial rewards..."

If that's the case, then figure out your earning potential (merit increases, bonuses, and commissions) and post them everywhere you look. More importantly, develop a plan to ensure you hit your targets.

6. Making a difference
"You experience a sense of peace, happiness, and meaning when you work to improve the lives of others or contribute to society."

All this usually takes is a perspective change. Every day, all around us, are opportunities to serve others. Instead of dreading your work or the process of achieving your goals, envision that you're doing it for someone else, i.e., your manager, family, or in service for the greater good. 

7. Incentives
"You love the thrill of competitive activities and enjoy earning prizes associated with success..."

Whether it's salesman of the year, rookie of the year, or most improved, if you're motivated by recognition or contests, then ensure you frame your resolutions for 2018 around an incentive that is worth making sacrifices for.

8. Work-life balance
" You have more energy for participating or leading when you have flexibility in your schedule..."

For some of us, our most reliable sources of motivation are our families, friends, or hobbies. It's having the balance between goals and the people/things that inspire us. Totally immersing yourself in your aspirations can lead to early fatigue and burnout. It's counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to push forward is to take a break and enjoy the things in life that energize us.

If you've had a hard time keeping your resolutions, then maybe it's time for a gut-check. Tapping into one of these motivators could be the key to helping you achieve something never before possible.

Michael Schneider is a human capital specialist. He concentrates on talent management, specifically employer branding, recruiting, onboarding, and talent development. Schneider believes that people are an organization's most reliable form of sustainable competitive advantage and focuses on strategies to maximize their potential. He describes himself as a people geek, HR innovator, and, most important, an employee advocate.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Month in a Minute

Clockwise from top left: Snowfall in NH; Dana Point Harbor, CA; Me with Diana Halper and Nicole Lorey of Kaiser Permanente; Fires in CA from the plane; Speaking; View from atop Usery Mountain, Mesa, AZ

Happy new year! I always love the idea of a new year with a fresh slate ahead of us, ready for us to create anything we want to accomplish on it. 

In December, I had the pleasure of visiting a group from Kaiser Permanente to share the principles of EQ and ways to build resiliency. They are doing some wonderful work in healthcare, check them out. We flew into Burbank for the day and got a good picture of the Ventura fire from the sky. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by all the California fires. 

I am so grateful for many things this year. Firstly, the amazing people I am so lucky to work with - Angela Bearor, Steve Friedlein, Jim Kimberly, and Jane Mata. And the wonderful clients we have had the pleasure to help this year from AICPA, Alkermes, Altman Vilandrie & Co, Axon, BOMEX, CHG, Commonwealth Financial, CompHealth, Eaton Vance, Fidelity, First American, General Motors, Glidewell Labs, Harbor Forum, Highgate Hotels, IR+M, Kaiser Permanente, LockNCharge, McDonnell Investment, Merrimack College, Nationwide Insurance, Schroders, SNHU, Tecomet, UniFirst, Utah Housing, and Williams Energy - thank you for your business. And I appreciate all of you - the readers of my articles, books and ramblings. I am so honored to do the work I do and wish you an amazing 2018.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

5 Ways to Be Mindful in 2018

What is Mindfulness Anyway?

According to Ellen Langer, author of several groundbreaking books on Mindfulness, the term Mindfulness is the opposite of Mindlessness, which involves automatic, habitual thought that is most frequently associated with behaviors of people who are distracted, hurried, multi-tasking, and/or overloaded.

Conversely, mindfulness means being continually aware and dialed into the moment and those participating in our moments. It is an "attunement to today's demands to avoid tomorrow's difficulties". This mindset creates an openness to new information (creativity), an awareness of multiple perspectives (empathy and insight), and a quiet mental room in which to explore and examine what would otherwise be performed on autopilot (critical thinking).

Adopting a habit of mindfulness in the workplace simply means approaching everything on your list and in your day in a thoughtful, objective, and holistic (tasks/goals and people/relationships) manner. It requires that you mentally "check in" on what is happening within yourself and around you. Here are 5 ways to make 2018 your most mindful year yet.

1. Check Your Pace

There are a lot of problem solvers out there who go right into fix-it mode. This approach gets results and therefore reinforces a mindless pace that is riddled with the blind spots of an overly outcome-centric approach. To be mindful doesn't mean being slow or ineffective. Rather, it is a mental check-in that thoroughly assesses the situation to determine the most balanced and effective method and pace for accomplishing the task at hand. Mindfulness is an assessment prior to an action. Instead of moving at the speed of the culture or others demands, mindfulness provides a stop gap that helps us focus, increases our energy and allows us to more skillfully apply our talents. Without this mindful pace check-in, we miss important details and fail to understand root causes, almost guaranteeing a reoccurrence of the issue. Mindlessly, we might actually make the problem worse.

2. Check Your Control

Keeping up with an intense workload is a common cause of mindlessness. Conversely, practicing mindfulness snaps your brain out of autopilot by reexamining everything you had previously accepted as part of the necessary evils of the job. Simply put, how much are you managing your environment and how much is it managing you?  It's not a matter of controlling your time; it's merely a matter of learning HOW to do it. A good technique for creating a mindful work pace is to start by assessing how you currently schedule your days. Are you booking yourself too tightly or committing to unrealistic deadlines? Push back on timelines that don't feel balanced or necessary and be sure to schedule chunks of time in between meetings to process and plan around what you've heard. (For more info on this click here)

3. Check Your Plate

Should everything that is on your list actually be on your list?  This is where you check-in that you are asking for help when needed, not assuming the problems of others instead of coaching them to do it themselves, and having the confidence to push back on a task or deadline that either doesn't belong with you or will cause undue stress to accomplish it in the time allotted. Are you delegating enough? Stay mindful of what you take on, what resources you'll need, and what commitments you'll need others to make for you to be set up for success, not stress. (For more info on this click here)

4. Check Your Engagement

Studies show that 60% of the US workplace is disengaged. Non-engaged employees have essentially ‘checked out.’ They sleepwalk through workdays. They put in time but don’t approach their work with energy or passion. You can imagine how this results in a mindless approach to work and coworkers. One of the EQ skills is Self-Actualization. This is feeling fulfilled by the work we do, a sense that we are utilizing our strengths and talents to add value. If you want to be more mindful, ask yourself why your work is unfulfilling and what it would take to re-engage you? Consider if your motivation drivers are being met and if not, have a conversation with your manager about what you need.  

5. Check Your Attention

One huge benefit of increasing your mindfulness is your memory will improve. Being fully present in meetings allows your brain to focus and process what is happening in a more permanent way. To keep yourself attentive, make mental notes of what people are wearing, what body language they are presenting and the interpersonal dynamics of the room. Notice details that you would otherwise miss if you were multi-tasking.

If you struggle to find the time to think, then take this opportunity to stop and awaken to another option. A mindful mindset is counter to our modern world and will take practice. Start by taking one thing on your plate today and mindfully assess it with fresh eyes. Less stress, more fun, collaboration, and meaningful never know what else you might discover.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

21 Quotes to Inspire Your Holiday and Your Life

As we wrap up 2017, our team is counting our blessings. Thank you for your continued support and interest in the work we do, and your commitment to being stronger leaders and building stronger organizations that serve others. We are very grateful for the opportunity to know you, support you, and correspond with you on your own journey to success. We have collected this series of quotes to leave you with some inspiration (and a smile) as we look toward the promise of a new year.

On Giving:

"What do we live for, for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" 
-George Eliot

"If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers."
-Whoopi Goldberg

"Your luck is how you treat people." -Bridget O'Donnel

"Giving whether it be of time, labor, affection, advice, gifts, or whatever, is one of life's greatest pleasures."
-Rebecca Russel

"Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving."
-Erma Bombeck

On Family:

"One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family."
-Jonathan Safran Foer

"The family is a haven in a heartless world."
-Christopher Lasch

"Family makes you who you are and aren't."
-Marcelina Hardy

"I said to my mother-in-law, "My house is your house."  She said, "Get the hell off my property!" 
-Joan Rivers

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
-Jane Howard

On Happiness:

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory."
-Ingrid Bergman

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears."
-John Lennon

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."
-George Burns

"Happiness is not a goal, it is a
-Elenor Roosevelt

On Learning:

"If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of."
-Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

"Do not get obsolete like an old technology, keep innovating yourself."
- Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows

"The mind is just like a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand."
-Idowu Koyenikan

"Everyone you meet knows something you don't know, but need to know. Learn from them."

"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others this is possible."
-Cadet Maxim, U.S. Military Academy of West Point

On New Beginnings:

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
-T.S. Eliot

"Every sunset is the opportunity to reset."
-Richie Norton

"Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know."
-Pema Chodron

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."
-Oprah Winfrey

"May all of your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!"

-Joey Adams

Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

That Elusive Engagement

The dictionary definition of the word engage is to occupy the attention or efforts of a person or persons.  In the performance world, the concept of engagement refers to employees' willingness and ability to contribute to the company's success; people's desire to give discretionary effort in their jobs.  
The real challenge in achieving engagement is that what engages us today, may not be what engages us in the future. And what engages me may be very different from what engages the person sitting in the cubicle next to me.
What this means is that organizations and leaders have to be very nimble, creative and individualized in how they continually re-engage workers to the work they do.
The individualization component ends up being a very thorny issue. Employment law requires "equal treatment" so most organizations end up following a black and white, by-the-book, written-by-lawyers policy that disallows individualized compensation, reward, recognition, perks or incentives. So what is a leader to do?
Old school managers throw their hands up and stop trying, leaving employees to figure out for themselves how to stay self motivated. Progressive leaders roll up their sleeves and find ways to maintain the spirit of the law, while equally meeting the needs of unique employees.
Does it take more effort? Yes.
Does is require creative thinking and challenging ineffective policy? Yes.
Does it pay off? Well, Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost US businesses as much as $350 billion a year. So this is not just about employee satisfaction, your choice may come down to employees who make meaningful contribution to the organization or actively sabotage it.
Daniel H. Pink, in his book DRIVE discusses the death of our old notions about motivation and worker satisfaction and challenges us to consider the ways to meet the needs of today's employees while still keeping that labor attorney happy. The best approach to getting the best performance and engagement "emerges when people have autonomy over four T's: their task, their time, their technique, and their team."
According to Pink, autonomy is where it's at. Too many of our workplaces and institutions assume that employees need to be told what to do with laundry lists of job duties and procedure manuals, and supervisors who focus too much on controlling the work of others and too little on providing freedom of choice.
Tune into what natural motivators exist in your employees - do they get excited about solving difficult problems? Do they spend extra time to coach or mentor new employees? Do they put in extra hours when a contest is in place? Once you know their preferred four T's, you can begin to match the level of autonomy you offer with the activities that trigger their intrinsic motivation.
The good news is that engagement can't be bought. Even with limited (or no) budgets and resources to put toward traditional reward systems, you can still keep a highly engaged workforce. The things that drive the greatest loyalty and commitment in your employees cost you no money. Just remember: a one-size-fits-all leadership style fits one. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Month in a Minute

Happy holidays!

We had a busy November with travel and events throughout the month. I had one interesting experience while speaking at the AICPA Women’s Global Conference in Chicago. In the middle of my talk, the side doors to the ballroom directly next to the stage suddenly swung open. A hotel employee began to wheel in a large cart filled with high stools. Apparently, the session after mine was going to be a panel discussion and this employee decided to come in early to set up. He seemed oblivious to the fact that a session was still in progress and a full ballroom of people were watching him. I tried to maintain my focus and keep talking, hoping he would just quickly and quietly take care of his set up. Within a minute, I hear a shout from the hallway (which startled both him and me) so we turned to look and a small group of hotel employees were gesturing him to get out of the room and come back into the hallway. He paused, and proceeded to load back up the three chairs he set on the stage and slowly wheeled his cart right back out of the room. It was hard not to have a little chuckle with the audience, as my topic was on situational awareness and employee engagement. Someone had told him to set up for the panel, and by golly, that is what he was going to do.

Clockwise from top left:  An interview by the lovely Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, AICPA Chairman; the "ballroom" mentioned above in Chicago; Women's Harbor Forum, Portsmouth, NH; Steve Friedlein and me at SNHU; Speaking at Fidelity Investments; Can't go to Chicago and not have deep dish!
In one of the fancy hotels I visited this month, I was in the ladies room at the sink, ready to wash my hands. I waved my hand under the faucet to start the water and the sensor wasn’t working. So I moved to the next sink and the same thing happened. Annoyed, I moved to the next one and still no water. I started wondering if there was something wrong with the water in the hotel when a housekeeper came in. I mentioned that the water wasn’t working and she walked over to my sink and turned the knob.