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Success & Career

How to find a career that will help someone change the world



10 Ways To Organize Your Life For Free

The fact is, if you really want to help change the world the most challenging and rewarding career is that of a startup founder or early employee.


Startups offer the greatest imaginable flexibility and opportunity to anyone with the drive and ambition to really make a difference, and provide their founders and employees with infinitely more challenge and self-fulfillment than any other career path in the modern world.


We all know the world is far from perfect. There are more problems out there than any one person or company can fix. But when you dedicate yourself to solving one problem, you can certainly make a huge difference. In fact, that’s what startup companies are, essentially: they’re machines that someone built to provide a product or service that solves a problem for people.

How to find a career that will help someone change the world

Whatever your own interests and skills, there’s a problem out there you can solve. There’s an industry, product or service that needs shaking up. Chances are there’s a young company out there that could use your help. If not, build your own!


Nothing comes easily to the early-stage startup. Funding may not happen. Customers may not show up right away. Tech problems may seem insurmountable. Suppliers you count on might go out of business. But it is the fire of these challenges that forges characters, teams and products that change the face of the world.


The good news is that it’s never been easier to step up to that challenge, and you have never had a better chance of success!


1.) The Right Point in Time

We live in a period of history during which it’s never been simpler to start a company, there’s never been cheaper, more direct access to technology and talent, and the means of public advertisement have never been more accessible to the average person. We can do things and gain reach that would’ve been unimaginable even a couple decades ago.


Not only this, but the traditional employment model has collapsed. The twentieth-century ideas of “a job for life” and “job security” now seem quaintly obsolete. Talented people don’t expect to work for the same company their entire working life, and they don’t feel loyalty to a single employer, because the old contract no longer exists. Most professionals work a variety of “gigs”, and those who don’t are looking to move in that direction. The employment market has gone global and workers are no longer cogs in the machine, they are traders of skills and time.


This is great news for anyone with the desire and ambition to become an entrepreneur in any walk of life. You have the lowest barrier-to-entry of anyone in modern history.


Of course, big corporations hate it. They have gigantic offices, armies of lawyers and accountants, boards full of stuffed-shirt executives, legions of professionals on full-time salaries, all sucking millions of dollars out of the company every year. You don’t need any of that. Aside from basic equipment, most everything you need is available free, at low cost, or pay-as-you-go.


And yet, if you have what it takes, you can build a product that is better than theirs. Not such a bad time to be alive.


2.) Finding the Big Idea

This all means an explosion in young, motivated people with big ideas forming teams to make a difference. What’s more, this innovation is happening at all levels, in every facet of our lives – from startups looking at making life in their home towns easier, to revolutionary employment platforms changing the way we think about building businesses and earning money, to biotech startups making great strides in life extension technology, and everywhere in between.


The gloves are off, and the rule book’s out the window. So get going! But where do you start?


First off, remember you don’t have to be the “ideas guy”. You don’t even have to be the co-founder working long hours for equity at no salary. You can be an early employee making good money and doing just as much good as those other guys – if you have the right skills.


Start off by checking out the big tech and startup blogs – places like TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, KillerStartups, OnStartups. Get used to scanning through them, learning the state of the market, seeing what you find appealing. Start following some of the people you think are interesting on Facebook and Twitter.


Next, have a look at some of the companies you’ve identified in greater detail. What’s on their Jobs pages? What kinds of technologies do they use? How can your skill areas dovetail with their needs?


Then, do the rounds of the job boards and marketplaces. This can be a tough grind, but you’ll find out exactly what these young (and some more firmly-established) companies are really looking for, and how you can hone your skills to become a great part of their team. Just like a startup’s product has to have a stellar value proposition to its target market, you have to have a stellar value proposition to your target employers. Practice your skills, build expertise, fill out your portfolio with great work.


Online is fine, but nothing beats meeting people face-to-face. Your city probably has a thriving startup scene – if not, a few hours’ drive will probably take you somewhere that does. Look out for startup weekends, hackathons, meetups, lectures, accelerators and incubators. You’ll start building up a contact network before you know it.


Remember, don’t invent problems for yourself. People love to say things like “I can’t get a job because I don’t have a degree” or “I can’t work for company X because I don’t live in San Francisco” because it validates not having to try. Maybe this kind of thinking had a grain of truth years ago, but it’s not good enough in today’s market. If you’re not told “You absolutely need certificate X” or “You absolutely need to live in city Z” – then it’s not a deal-breaker. Even then, it’s probably negotiable if your value proposition is strong enough in other areas.


Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. If – or rather, when – you hear “no thanks” remember it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. It just means that particular match-up wasn’t right, and that could happen for a thousand reasons, most of which are nothing to do with you. Either way, it doesn’t have any bearing on your next shot at a job. Every successful person has stories about the times they were turned away. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected by thirty publishers before he found the right fit! Sooner or later you’ll find a partner or a team that’s the right fit – and from there, the sky’s the limit.


3.) Being the Change

On the other hand, maybe you are the ideas guy. Maybe you’ve clearly identified the problem you’re going to fix. Maybe you know exactly who has that problem, and how you can reach out to them. Maybe you even have a handle on how you’re going to fix it!


If so, kudos. You’re well on the way to success. The most important thing to consider are the resources you’ll need. This takes us back to thinking about what a company really is. A company is not the sum total of all those things the big corporations waste their money on – all it really is, is a machine for solving a problem for some people. So that means you just have to figure out the smallest set of resources necessary to solve that problem adequately – and get paid for doing so – and then look at how you can get hold of those resources. The fewer resources you need, the greater the chances you’ll be able to get them.


For instance, when I started thinking about building Aegora, I knew I wanted to solve the problems that freelancers and their clients had finding the right partners and working with them. The freelancer-client business model has the potential to change the way we all work, freeing people around the world from the feudal, oppressive employer-employee model that prevents people controling their own income. But the existing freelance platforms weren’t fulfilling that potential.


I knew what their key problems were because I’d spent many years as a freelancer and a hirer-of-freelancers. I also knew that users hate features, because they have to learn them. So I set out to build a really simple product that consultants and entrepreneurs could use to easily find the right partners and work with them simply and comfortably, with the greatest possible chance of success and the minimum possible time spent learning.


Fast-forward two years, and we’ve just launched, with a few hundred beta-test users. Aegora is a professional network that uses degrees-of-connection to let you find the right people easily, a marketplace that lets you pay and get paid, and a project management system that lets you easily define projects and split them up into bite-size milestones. These three functions are seamlessly integrated into one another. It’s so simple our videos show you how to use Aegora to become an entrepreneur client or freelance consultant in only five minutes.


So this is a system people can use wherever they are in the world to radically improve their lives by finding great talent and great clients, making money and building businesses. Because I concentrated on keeping it super-simple, we were able to make this happen with a handful of supremely-dedicated people, two years of late nights, and a cash outlay of only a few thousand dollars. In contrast, our nearest corporate competitor has a staff of three hundred full-time employees, funding in the tens of millions, and an inferior product full of features no-one wants to use. We’re not going to cure cancer, but we can help people improve their quality and enjoyment of life, and that’s something.


So if you’re the ideas guy, ask yourself the basic questions about where you want to end up, what resources you really need to get there, and how you can acquire them. Once you have some believable, concrete answers, your startup roadmap practically writes itself.


4.) No Free Lunch

That’s not to say it’s going to be an easy journey, or that you’ll definitely reach the end in one piece. The writer Robert Heinlein popularized the phrase “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (or “TANSTAAFL” for short) meaning essentially, “you get nothing for nothing”. There are
no free rides in the startup world and a great deal will be expected of you – nobody gets to say “but that’s not in my job description!” You’ll have to be a ruthless self-disciplinarian. You’ll have to master skills you never planned on learning. You’ll have to do things you might think are beneath you. You’ll have to hold other people to that same high standard of work ethic – “when ditches need dug, everyone digs – no exceptions”. But it’s the world-changing vision that’ll pull you through and make you put your best self into your work. At the very least, you’ll come out of it a stronger, better-educated, all-round entrepreneurial fighter. And the more you work at it, the better the chances of success – of really changing the world for the better.

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Success & Career

5 tiny habits that can change your life and career



Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

When it comes to the daily grind, time seems to keep passing by – yet many things remain the same. We are so busy trying to get things done, keeping our heads above water, that we don’t take real time to think about things like balance, self-care, or making necessary changes.

Little do we realize that small tweaks at home and at work might create opportunities for us to have true balance, and even achieve that elusive success.

Let’s look at five tiny habits you can implement today to control the chaos – and start changing your life and career.


Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life and Career

1.) Embrace the concept of a “clean slate” at work.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

This involves implementing a few simple routines and organizational tools upfront. This will save you time in the long run, and will leave you feeling satisfied at the start – and end – of your day.

For example:

  • Create folders in your e-mail inbox by person and topic. Be sure to move applicable items there. The feeling of a clean inbox can reduce anxiety and enables you to find important material faster!
  • Write phone messages on a notepad next to you each day.
  • Return each call.
  • Note the status of what you were able to do, what needs to be done, and cross out which ones have been taken care of.
  • Complete your list before you leave work.

Nothing feels better than looking at the list and knowing that you have attended to every person, every item, and every task you started with. Yes, more may come in later. But these were your starting tasks.

You are leaving with everything crossed off, a clean slate for the day. You can start tomorrow with a clean slate as well. You’re more organized: able to look at a detailed history of each item you did, each person you spoke to, each item you completed.

A well-structured system and way of doing things is mentally good for you. It’s also a nice feeling to walk away with a complete sense of accomplishment for the day.


2.) Surround yourself with people who nourish your soul, NOT people who infect it.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Think about the people you chose to be with. Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries, no matter who they are. Be honest if someone is a “toxic” person in your life. Surround yourself with folks who build you up, support you, are honest but fair with you, and those who have your best interests at heart.

We of course need people who are going to tell us the truth. But remember that truth can be told with kindness. We can give ourselves permission to distance ourselves from, or let people go. These are individuals who make us feel bad about ourselves, or take every chance they can get to criticize our every choice.

There is enough negativity in the world. We don’t need to have it in those closest to us. You will be amazed at the difference when you give yourself permission to set healthy boundaries. So surround yourself with healthy relationships. Stop feeling like you must endure unhealthy ones.


3.) Clutter creates anxiety more than you realize.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Whether it’s your home or your workspace, getting organized makes a huge difference in your state of mind. So start practicing tiny habits that create structure.

At work:

Get those piles into drawers and desktop storage. File folders are your friends! Label by topic, date, etc. Having things organized and at your fingertips will save you time and a great deal of anxiety.

Have trays for things that are needed on a daily or weekly basis. Organize your office supplies neatly. Remember that your desk is also a presentation of who you are.

You may think that those piles make you look busy – but they really make you look disorganized. Create your own system so that you can locate anything instantly. That, is more impressive than a pile.

At home:

Think more in terms of scaling down to get organized. Make it a goal to make you space your solace. Organize, donate, and find a place for everything. If you have not used it in a year, consider donating. If things belong together, group them. Get the right storage to hold things.

Group things where they make the most sense. Move things where they work and function best. Get rid of things that no longer work, are expired, are outdated, or that could benefit someone else more than sitting in a pile at your home.

You will not miss them. You will probably feel pretty good for sharing the love. Nothing feels better as having a fully functional home where you can live and breathe; where there is no clutter, and where everything has a place.


4.) Practice good, daily self-care.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

It may seem so simple, yet we all seem to fall short when it comes to this vital area that impacts our lives and our careers. If we practice tiny habits of self-care, we function better, perform better, and surely, improve our opportunities for success.

Good self-care includes things, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep each night. This includes going to bed and getting up at the same time, seven days a week. When going to bed, there should be NO electronics, including screens or cell phones, as they stimulate the mind and keep you awake.
  • Eating food that nourishes you – such as whole foods, not processed foods.
  • Drinking eight glasses of water each day.
  • Enjoying treats in moderation, no need to crash diet!
  • Be sure to wake up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual to ease into your day, and allow yourself to practice your morning routine.

Whether it be reading the paper, listening to a podcast, watching a TV show, yoga, or morning meditation, how you begin sets the tone for the day. So set aside time in the morning so you are not rushed. This is an essential part of your day.

If you start rushed, you are going to feel that way the whole day. Starting with balance, leads to a balanced day.


5.) Self-talk is one of the most powerful habits we can change.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

If we think about how often we thought something negative about ourselves, someone else, or about a situation, we would see how powerful negative self-talk can be. Now think about how better our lives could be if we stopped ourselves before doing it. It’s possible – but it takes effort and conscious work.

You simply need to pay attention and catch yourself. But as you do, the difference can be profound. You start to see how by removing negativity and replacing it with realistic thinking, you feel more balanced. Imagine the impact it can have on your work and relationships, to not see things in the worst possible light?

By implementing these tiny habits, you can bring about tremendous changes to your work and personal life. A few would only be one-time tasks. While others require minimal, but – hopefully welcome – effort.

If things are not working well in these areas of your life, why not give these tiny habits a chance? You will at least be a little more organized. And hopefully, be well-rested at the end.



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Success & Career

7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success



Organize Your Day for Success

Nope, don’t panic. I’m not going to start by telling you to get up earlier! As an Integrative Nutrition® Health Coach, I firmly believe in bio-individuality. This is the idea that we are all unique: just as some people can’t tolerate gluten and some can, there are early birds and others are night owls. Neither is wrong – they’re just different.

So yes, just as our definitions of success look different, how we structure our days for success will vary as well. However, I believe that there are some things in common.

For the sake of having a starting point, let’s agree that success is showing up in your life (career, relationships, physical activity, etc.) in the most biologically effective way possible (i.e., you are healthy in every sense of the word).

So how would you organize your day for success? Here are seven ways to try:


7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success

1.) Wake up without an alarm if possible (see also #7).

Organize Your Day for Success

Jolting awake to an alarm is a sure-fire way to feel like you’re off to the races first thing in the morning. Instead, learn how many hours of sleep you are naturally inclined to. Then try to get that every night.

Waking up naturally prevents that influx of fight-or-flight chemicals coursing through your veins: nobody needs that kind of stress at the start of the day! Chronic stress can wreak all kinds of havoc with your body, starting a cascade of poor health outcomes.


2.) Start the day with screen-free “me time”.

The moment you check your email or social media, you are giving others power over how you spend your time. There will almost always be an email that just can’t wait or a post that brings on a severe case of #FOMO. Before you know it, you’re sucked in.

Instead of reaching immediately for a device, consider starting a new practice that can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes (or less) or as much time as you create for it: breathing, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, journaling.

The Web is full of resources for these – just don’t go looking for them first thing in the morning! Are you an early bird? Use this gift of time to work out, meal prep, read, etc.


3.) Create time blocks (see also #5).

Organize Your Day for Success

As much as we think we can multitask, research shows we really can’t. “Task-switching” – what we’re really doing when we think we’re multitasking – can cost us as much as 40 percent of our productivity.

The solution: block out specific times on your schedule for tasks that require your full attention. During those times, close all other tabs and turn off all your notifications – and I mean all of them!

In between these blocks and not before, take a break to check email, make some calls – take care of some smaller tasks. Set a timer that indicates your next productive block is starting.


4.) Schedule your workouts and meals.

We seem to have time for everything but what really nourishes us: fuelling our bodies well and moving them regularly. As a health coach, when you tell me, “I don’t have time to…” what I hear is, “I don’t prioritize…”

I see you rolling your eyes. Let me tell you: if you do that enough, they’ll stick back there. But seriously – it comes down to this: if you wouldn’t cancel on your work, your client’s needs, your spouse’s needs, your kids’ needs, why would you cancel on yourself?

Meaningful self-care is putting on your oxygen mask first so you can help those who depend on you. Organize your day and put those blocks on your schedule. Treat them as unbreakable appointments with yourself.


5.) Multitask…intentionally (see also #3).

Organize Your Day for Success

Yes, I know I told you not to multitask. Now I’m telling you it’s okay if you do it intentionally. What does that mean?

In my work, I talk a lot about primary foods – all the other things in our lives that nourish us (or don’t!) besides what we put in our mouths. Think: sleep, career, spiritual practice, physical activity, time in nature, etc.

The multitasking I encourage is the kind that helps us nurture ourselves on the primary level, NOT the type that tries to manage a staggering number of little tasks that make our schedules so overwhelming.

What this looks like:

  • Need to spend quality time with family members? Instead of adding an outing (with all the planning, preparation, and consensus-building it requires), combine it with another area that needs some attention: take suggestions on the week’s meals, shop together, do some meal prep, etc.
  • Missing time with your girlfriends? Combine it with a workout or better yet, a walk in nature.
  • Desperate to do a little meal prep for the week? Invite a few friends over to cook so that you all get to stock up for the week. (There might be wine involved?)
  • House feeling like a hardhat zone, but you’d rather read? Clean while you listen to an audio book.
  • Time constraints making you choose between a workout and your spiritual practice? Take a walk in nature or practice a walking meditation.


6.) Make a plan for tomorrow.

You don’t have to organize your day down to the minute (although that works for some people). Instead, write down 1-3 large tasks to be done tomorrow and prioritize those once you’re done with your “me time.”

Are the tasks unpalatable? Brian Tracy has written about this concept in his book ‘Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’. He calls the tasks we are most intimidated by (and therefore put off doing) as “frogs”.

His recommendation: start your work – not just the day – by “eating a frog”. If all the frogs look big and ugly, eat the biggest, ugliest frog first.


7.) Get to bed on time to get the sleep you need (see #1).

Organize Your Day for Success

Once you know how many hours of sleep you need, organize your day and figure out when you need to get to bed. Make sure to end the day as you began it: NO screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime!

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