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How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

The sad truth is that the people who are supposed to support you the most often don’t believe in your crazy dreams.

Your eyes are filled with wonder, your mind with potential, your heart full of daring. You approach your loved ones and tell them what you want to do.

This isn’t always the standard response, but their response could go a little something like this:

Parents: they hear your idea and are still for a moment. They sneak a glance at one another and try to communicate between their looks. They’re saying to each other:

“What do we say? Quick!

“I don’t know — you talk first.”

Then, as gently as they can, they start their spiel.

“OK dear/son/honey, that’s great! It sounds like an amazing idea.” They try to muster up the enthusiasm, but the statement falls flat.

Friends: you get an opportunity to talk about what you have been up to. Depending on how close they are to you, they’ll tell you outright, “what are you on?”

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If they’re not as close, they might just stare at you and try to figure out what to say to you. Like your parents, they might feign interest. They may be skeptical and say, “riight. And how exactly are you going to do that?”

This response actually isn’t that bad. They’re challenging you and forces you to come up with legitimate reasons and responses to their questions.

Spouse: they are your life partner. They love you for who you are and should learn to understand you as you grow and change… right?

It depends on their risk appetite. If you’re anything like my wife and I, one of us prefers stability and predictability. The other thrives in the unknown and acknowledges that stability and predictability are a facade that society creates.

Mentioning your dream can be awkward. Like your parents, they might try to be supportive of you. In the back of their mind, they know that as long as you persevere, you’re in it for the long haul.

No matter who it is, they have their reasons for not supporting you — at least not at the beginning.

maybe you’ve got a history of starting things and not going the distance, or starting and giving up as soon as the fire fizzles out,
perhaps they think you’re being naive and don’t want to see you get hurt or waste your time,
they believe that the best thing for you to do is settle and do what everyone else is doing. Wake up, force down breakfast, commute, 9–5 commute, force down dinner, sleep x 40 years.

Here are the key truths for you to understand if you are to succeed without the support of your loved ones:

#1 — you don’t need their approval to succeed

From an early age, our identity is molded by the need of approval and acknowledgement from others. First, it starts with our parents, then our friends at school, before moving out into the “real” world.

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Do you notice that the older we get, we seem to require more and more approval? This endlessly expanding web of insecurity binds us to the opinions of others, strangling our clarity of thought.

Ask yourself this:

What makes their approval more important than your own?

Sometimes the authority is self-appointed. Sometimes, it’s bequeathed by someone else. We are only accountable to ourselves. The moment you decide to strike out and do something that’s unique, you divorce yourself from the need for approval.

If you’re doing something for that approval, stop. You’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

#2 — you are different to them, but in a good way

Have you ever felt that the world you perceive is separate from the world that you live in? Like the world everyone you care about is a bubble and you’re right on the edge of it?

Or have you felt a greater sense of self beyond being caught up in hype and trends? Do you watch Game of Thrones? Do you play Candy Crush? Do you subject yourself to banal talk at the water cooler and pretend to like people?

It’s OK if you do — but the question is, are you aware that you’re doing it? Or do you do these things because you have given up and self medicate to detach yourself from reality?

The world around us is beautiful and if you want to do something crazy, you see this beauty. The beauty lies in animals, in friendly gestures, in humanity that’s still human. It lies in arts where dancers, painters, coders and entrepreneurs that turn lead into gold every day.

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If you see this beauty, you’re different. Embrace this. It might be hard to, especially if you like the comfort of the herd. But once you see this beauty, the seed has been planted.

You cannot go back.

#3 — you are responsible for them

You have acknowledged that you’re different. You have realized that you don’t need other people’s approval to proceed and succeed. The last step is realizing that you are responsible for them all.

They see you as being a bit crazy. You should feel sorry that they can’t see the world that you see. But don’t look down on them — it’s not their fault that they’re like this. Some people are just blessed with the gift of vision. Maybe something happened to you along the way that made you like this.

If your heart is in the right place, whatever you want to do will help many people. It will help your parents, your friends and your husband or wife. It will impact people on an emotional level and scratch an itch that they have had for years.

It might even help millions of people. Other non-believers like the ones you care about. All self-medicating and waiting for someone to come along and sweep them off their feet.

That person is you.

You’re responsible for everyone. Everyone will say you can’t do it. You have to look beyond this, look beyond their words and stare right into the sun on the horizon. It’s blazing and hurts to look at. But as your vision firms and you look through the mirage, you start emitting your own light. One that rivals the sun.

As you move closer to it, it’s not as big and powerful as it was when you were young. You have moved past your parents, friends and partner. They’re behind you, part of the crowd. They’ve seen with their very own eyes what you can do. They now support you.

You smile, not because of this change of heart, but because you feel the same way about yourself. You never let the faith in yourself waver. This has changed the behaviors of all the non-believers. Changing someone’s thinking and behavior is one of the hardest things to do —

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and you have just done it.

Once upon a time, there was a boy. In school, he was bullied — a lot. He was beaten and up came home bruised often. His parents broke up too, to compound the pain.

He was brilliant. He received his first computer at 9 years old and three years later, made $500 by selling a game he had coded himself.

17 years old: he had just graduated from high school and — without the support of his parents — decided to pursue the American Dream. From his home in Pretoria, South Africa he departed for USA. It would be three years before he would be allowed to set foot on her shores.

In the University of Pennsylvania, he realized that humanity had to expand the limits of its consciousness to ask the right questions. He also realized that wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.

Over the next 20 years, he held himself to this goal. He created PayPal and Tesla Motors. He recently landed rockets on platforms out in the middle of the ocean — something that had never been done before. He wants to save humanity by creating the first colonies on Mars.

You might know of this man as Elon Musk.

You might not believe it yet, but we are all Elon Musk. We have too much to live for, too many people to be responsible for and too many problems to solve.

That’s why if more of us realize that we are him, our parents, friends and spouses not believing in us will be the least of our concerns on the path to greatness.

What if you had the courage to only do the work you love?

How much happier would you be? What separates the people who have the courage and those who don’t? Vulnerability. Accepting that they’re good enough to do the work that gives their life meaning.

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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