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Ask The Entrepreneurs: 13 Golden Rituals That Keep Entrepreneurs Sane

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 13 Golden Rituals That Keep Entrepreneurs Sane

    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What daily/weekly ritual do you keep that keeps you sane as an entrepreneur?

    1. Meditate Stress Away

      “My daily ritual always involves at least fifteen minutes of meditation. When I meditate I give my brain a break. As an entrepreneur my brain is on overdrive. The key to getting real, quality work done is to take a break and tune in. Meditation offers you time to release and recalibrate. For my free guided meditations visit www.gabbyb.tv.”

      Gabrielle BernsteinGabrielle Bernstein Inc.

      2. Feed Yourself with Inspiration

        “You know when you read a quote and immediately it gives you that instant boost you needed in that moment? I keep my favorite quotes with me and look at them daily to remind myself that no matter what, it’s going to be okay and I can push through. Sometimes you need to be reminded of the simple things, even if it’s through a quote.”

        Ashley BodiBusiness Beware

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        3. Lift Off the Frustration

          “Lifting weights, especially heavy ones, has been something that I have come to rely on as an entrepreneur. The frustrating obstacles that we face every day while blazing new trails can add up. Personally I am driven by my own stress and anxiety, of which I have plenty. Sometimes the only thing that can relieve some of the pressure is a good ass whoopin’ at the gym!”

          Andrew BachmanScambook.com

          4. Stretch to the Limit

            “It seems cliche, but yoga has been my saving grace. It pumps me up for a day of productivity, while simultaneously reducing stress. It helps balance my mood at a time when the days get darker sooner. It stretches me out after hours at the computer. It helps me shut my brain off before going to sleep. I go to a yoga studio five days a week. Scheduling that time for myself keeps me sane.”

            Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

            5. Break the Rules!

              “During my work week, I’m super strict on my nutrition, workouts, sleep and business regimen. To combat this, I constantly break the rules on purpose and have a “cheat day.” Blow off an event, put back a few beers, or sleep in on Friday. Remind yourself that you are human, and the reason you are an entrepreneur is so you can have the freedom and flexibility to make these decisions for yourself.”

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              Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

              6. Focus on Loved Ones

                “Playing with my son every day and spending time with my family keeps me grounded and focused on why I’m doing what I’m doing. I always think of how my business and work affects my family, and ways to constantly improve upon that.”

                Tim Jahn, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd

                7. Join the Team!

                  “I try to play at least one team sport every week. I find that while your head is in the game and you’re cheering for your teammates, all the stress and work waiting for you washes away. When I return from the game, I find that much of that stress turns out to be gone for good, and I’m refreshed and ready to take on the week’s challenges.”

                  Jason EvanishGreenhorn Connect

                  8. Coach a Team!

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                    “I coach 3rd-5th grade AAU basketball. No matter what’s going on with Modify or in my personal life, I always forget everything stressful when I walk onto the court with the kids. They’re eager to learn and I can’t help but focus only on their growth. And if I’m really stressed, I can just tell them to do more sprints! (Just kidding.)”

                    Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

                    9. Touch Base Often

                      “I begin each day with a 5-minute check-in call with my accountability partner. We share our daily goals and discuss on-going challenges and projects. This daily check-in ensures that I make steady progress, and it’s great to know that someone who understands is just a phone call away for support and encouragement.”

                      Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

                      10. Mentor Another Entrepreneur

                        “Sometimes running your own business can be exhausting and you can lose track of end goals and the passion that got you started in the first place. I find that mentoring other young entrepreneurs reminds you why you started your business. Also, the feel-good vibes you get from helping others are the best way to recharge.”

                        Vanessa Van PettenScience of People

                        11. Read Your Calendar

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                          “Our calendars hold a lot of information about how we spend out time. If you sit down and scroll through your calendar to take a look at the meetings, phone calls, projects, and tasks that you have had over the past week, it will give you clarity about the things that you have accomplished and about what you can do differently.”

                          Dmitriy KatselAdU Network

                          12. Set Boundaries for Sanity

                            “I will not and do not (except before a big launch) answer or read emaisl within a few hours of my shut-eye time—nor will I read email on my phone IN bed. Sleep is sacred, and so is my schedule. A client wouldn’t dare call me at midnight; so why would they expect an email reply? YOU need to cut the email cord, not them. So do it. And turn off push notifications on your phone while you’re at it!”

                            Lindsey DonnerWell Versed Creative

                            13. Surf…the Internet?

                              “I’ve found that the best ideas and most productivity occurs when you actually completely disconnect from the work you’re doing. For me this has been surfing…in the ocean! Anything that forces you to be completely present for even a few hours a week does wonders for your mind, body and, as a result, your business.”

                              Srinivas RaoBlogcastFM

                              (Photo credit: Businessman Standing Alone via Shutterstock)

                              More by this author

                              9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

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                              Last Updated on June 18, 2019

                              5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

                              5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

                              It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

                              The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

                              With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

                              5 Types of Leadership Styles

                              I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

                              The Democratic Style

                              The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

                              The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

                                The Autocratic Style

                                The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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                                The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

                                While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

                                  The Transformational Style

                                  Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

                                  Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

                                  Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

                                    The Transactional Style

                                    Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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                                    The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

                                    The Laissez-Faire Style

                                    The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

                                    In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

                                    Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

                                    You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

                                    Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

                                    The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

                                    Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

                                    I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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                                    In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

                                    What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

                                    Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

                                    1. Context Matters

                                    Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

                                    2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

                                    When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

                                    As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

                                    “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

                                    The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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                                    As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

                                    When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

                                    The Way Forward

                                    To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

                                    As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

                                    “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

                                    The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

                                    If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

                                    Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

                                    Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

                                    More About Leadership

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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