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How a 14-Year-Old Girl Became a Millionaire

How a 14-Year-Old Girl Became a Millionaire

One could argue that being a teenager is one of the hardest times in a person’s life. It can be a period of both confusion and self-discovery. But some teens have a better grasp on adolescence than others. They are self-assured and know who they are and are ready to change their lives because of it. According to Entrepreneur’s Bryan Elliott, knowing who you are is one of five signs that you are ready for success. In 2013 Listverse published an article in 2013 listing 10 self-made teen millionaires. They’ve become millionaires doing everything from making jam to creating greeting cards and apps. It’s certain these teens are self-assured and are comfortable with who they are.

Isabella Weems is one of these dynamic millionaire teens. If you haven’t heard of her, maybe you’ve seen her jewelry. At age 14, Isabella “Bella” was the founder of the now multi-million dollar jewelry company,Origami Owl. These lockets can be bought in many shapes and sizes and you can even mix and match your chain. You then fill these lockets with as many charms as you want. With hundreds of choices it’s not easy to pick! They make amazing gifts (I should know as I bought them for my bridal party), or they are great just to buy to treat yourself (which I’ve also done)! The success has been so high for Origami Owl that they have started to branch out to other types of jewelry as well. They sell not only other types of necklaces, but also lanyards, earrings, and bracelets.

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    Bella shares her story on her website, telling readers that she was only looking for a way to buy a car. With only a few hundred dollars she created an idea where you could personalize a locket by adding charms inside. While she is now branching out to other items, the locket remains her most popular piece. With the quick growth of the company, these personalized lockets became a hit. They can be ordered online and found at vendor shows. But the most fun way to buy the jewelry is through home jewelry parties. Site visitors can sign up to be a consultant and for $149.99 you can host your own parties and sell the jewelry. Part of the profits go back to Origami Owl while the rest stays with you. It gives anyone a chance to run their own business while utilizing a million-dollar idea.

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      While it was Bella’s initial idea, and her initial $350 that started her on her way, Elliott points out in his article that listening to your support system is also another sign you’re ready for success. Bella was lucky to have so many people supporting her. In an article in Forbes, they share that she gets a lot of help and support from family. Mom, Dad, aunts, and uncles all have jobs in their own specialities helping Bella. As a group they all take part in making her business a success. And what a success it is! In the same interview Forbes reports that as of 2013 Origami Owl was set to make around $250 million!

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      Isabella has all the makings for continued success. She works hard at her company and pushes the envelope of her success. She implements new ideas for her line of jewelry that make visiting her site always fun. It’s exciting to see what new pieces, charms, and lockets Origami Owl creates. This teen is a great inspiration to everyone.

      Bella Weems is proof that with an idea, determination, support, and just a little bit of money- anyone can really change the world! Way to go Bella!

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      Featured photo credit: Origami Owl Facebook via facebook.com

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      Published on May 18, 2021

      How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

      How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

      We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

      The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

      Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

      Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

      Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

      There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

      Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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      Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

      We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

      Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

      A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

      The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

      Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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      Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

      Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

      Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

      While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

      Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

      These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

      Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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      Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

      Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

      Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

      Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

      Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

      Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

      As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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      This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

      Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

      Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

      These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

      Actions Speak Louder Than Words

      Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

      Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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      Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

      More Tips Improving Listening Skills

      Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

      Reference

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