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Achieve Unique Success by Emphasizing Unique Skills

Achieve Unique Success by Emphasizing Unique Skills

    I’ve read innumerable seas of professional biographies — not books, but blurbs you often see on the “About” section of a company’s website. Most of them are boring, presenting similar information in a Mad Libs-style cookie-cutter format. How many times have you seen a phrase like “brings over 15 years of experience to the team” in a bio, followed by a list of prestigious educational degrees? These do matter, but you know what’s missing?

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    Hobbies and passions off the job.

    Antiquated thinking would have us not mix work and play, but in an era where Casual Fridays have turned into Casual Everydays, the truth is someone’s personal interests have a lot to do with their success, particularly if they’re in an idea-centric field. Which means just about every job that has problems which require creative thinking to move forward.

    If it was revealed that a brainy physicist likes to figure skate, what would that tell you? At first glance, it seems like academia-meets-the-ice isn’t a good idea. But think about the similarities between the two fields: beauty in symmetry, bodies in motion, and perhaps not-so-obvious, a profound public presence.

    I’m referring to Michio Kaku, who is undoubtedly one of the most renowned physicists in the world. He’s a heavyweight hitter of grace, continuing Carl Sagan’s lineage of science popularizers. Clearly, he’s very successful at what he does, and a large part of his success comes from his diverse skillset, including a knack for Siamese-twinning real-world science with speculative fiction. This has made him into a media star, with each spotlight appearance feeding another.

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    It’s no coincidence some of the most profound and popular scientists are also musicians: Albert Einstein played the violin, and Brian Cox rocks out on synths. Music performance itself requires a sense of timing, pitch, and if you’re doing it in front of others, charisma and the uncanny ability to engage the audience.

    Many charismatic personalities are either avid music listeners or players themselves — but you won’t find their sonic proficiencies on their bio. These might as well be called unsung skills.

    Think about yourself…

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    What skills do you have that aren’t officially job responsibilities, but get applied nonetheless?

    For example, when I was a wee tot, I scribbled stories. As a teenager, I learned about typography. Now at my job as a Resident Enlightenment Manager, I do a lot of communication. While copywriting isn’t formally amongst my responsibilities, when highlighting new product features, my background in writing comes into play every single time.

    Here’s another wonderful example: Steve Jobs. Numerous bios of Jobs (none of which are official, but that’s another story) cite his schooling in calligraphy as a driving factor for why the early Mac computers were so far ahead in terms of graphics. It takes a rare mind to appreciate both technical underpinnings and aesthetic excellence, and Jobs is now an icon because of insights like that.

    Time and time again, you’ll find remarkable humans who have achieved tremendous results because they wove a deceptively unrelated web of talents together. By making magic that could’ve only come from them, it paid off big.

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    Do this fun exercise:

    1. On the left-hand side of a piece of paper, write a list of your favorite career moments across your entire life. They can be specific achievements (you solved an especially thorny problem), glowing moments (your boss praised you at a company party), etc. Even if you telecommute, find something you’re proud of.
    2. Beside it on the right, write a list of your hobbies and leisure activities off the job. Don’t spend too much time on this: 5 minutes is good.
    3. Draw a vertical line between the two. Like a wall that separates them.
    4. Now, the fun part: draw circles around something in the left column that happened because of something on the right. Join them with a line that breaks through the center “wall”. For example, you were designing a website for a client. Later that day while playing Ultimate Frisbee, the mesmerizing patterns of the disc inspired you to experiment with a new color scheme which turned out to be a hit! So, you’d circle both “webdesign project that won me prizes” and “frisbee”, and connect them with a line.

    The connections are now much clearer. By recognizing how various parts of you falsely appear miles apart but are actually adjacent in their applicability, you stand a much higher chance of succeeding at what’s important.

    Just as physicists theorize about folding space-time, you can fold the distances between skills for a better, unified you.

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    Last Updated on November 20, 2020

    Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

    Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

    Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

    One 2017 study found that:[1]

    “after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

    This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

    Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

      As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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      Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

      1. Remember Your Why

      It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

      Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

      2. Go to Bed Early

      If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

      This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

      3. Make a Commitment

      I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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      Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

      You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

      4. Find a Friend

      If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

      Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

      Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

      5. Treat Yourself

      We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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      You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

      6. Change your Mindset

      Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

      When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

      7. Plan Your Day

      You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

      Time blocking

        8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

        Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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        For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

        9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

        Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

        10.  Set Multiple Alarms

        Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

        Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

        Final Thoughts

        About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

        Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

        More Tips on Morning Exercises

        Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

        Reference

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