Stop Planning Your Career and Start Taking Action

curated from entrepreneur

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

You’re never too old to change your career path.

A perfect example of the concept of thriving despite changes of direction is Dr. Susan O’Malley. She is a cosmetic doctor and personal development expert who specializes in helping people transform their own obstacles into victory.

“All the stars will never be aligned perfectly and sometimes you have to make a decision with what you have. Start small and work your way up.”

Be honest about your career prospects.

Living up to your potential is about having a game plan and knowing what the end state you desire is in your mind, then doing the gap analysis and taking steps to fill the gaps one by one. You have to think like a chess player and always be looking toward the next move that will take you to your goal,”

“If you need to gain skills to make it to the next step, consider volunteering for projects that can help fill the gaps, taking bite-sized professional development courses or working with a mentor.”

 

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The Most Powerful Lesson I Learned From my Remarkable Mom

curated from inc.

I spent Mothers Day last year visiting my mother in the assisted living facility in Vermont where she and my stepfather lived. It was my first trip back to the East Coast after moving to Snohomish, Washington with my husband the previous fall.

On Mother’s Day this year, my husband and I have just signed a contract to buy a house. The two things may seem unrelated, but they’re not, at least not to me. I’m fundamentally risk-averse and commitment-shy. Bill and I were together for five years before I married him; the first time he asked me if I wanted to get married, I answered that I didn’t know. To his credit, he hung in there until a few more years together, combined with a moving family wedding, convinced me that — yes — marriage to him really was what I wanted.

What does this have to do with Mom? She was never someone who hedged her bets the way I do. She was all-in on everything she ever did. She married quickly, which led to one annulment and two divorces before she finally settled with my stepfather, the love of her life.

“Take a chance!” she would tell me while I endlessly debated some decision or other. Buying this house in this market, committing to be here perhaps for the rest of our lives — that is taking a chance.

Mom was all-in with her emotions, too. You always knew where you stood with her, whether she was lavishly loving or, at other times epically furious. In this way, too, I’m more reserved. It takes a long time and a lot of emotion for me to say, “I love you,” or “I hate you.”

There was a moment’s silence and then he answered, “Thank you,” clearly taken aback. But that was OK. It didn’t matter so much to me what he answered. What mattered was that I had done it — I’d said what I was feeling. I had taken a chance. I had gone all in.

Wherever Mom is, I hope she was listening.

 

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How Motherhood Prepares You for Entrepreneurship

curated from entrepreneur

I was an entrepreneur before I became a mother, but for many women in my circle, the opposite is true; motherhood has forged the path to entrepreneurship. For some, the challenges of motherhood have been the inspiration behind their companies while for others, the flexibility allowed by being your own boss has been the key to managing a career and family.

Motherhood identifies potential companies.

“More and more these days, moms aren’t necessarily living near their extended family and they’re turning more towards social media and online connections and not getting those in person relationships,”

“I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if it wasn’t for my daughter,”

Motherhood causes you to re-evaluate your time.

“[My daughter] caused me to completely re-evaluate how I was spending my time,”

“If I was going to be away from her for even a minute, I wanted to really feel conviction about the reasoning that I was away and feel passion for the work that I was doing.”

Motherhood teaches you to prioritize.

“Being a parent forces you to prioritize your time and make sure you’re making the best use of your time,”

Motherhood teaches you to multi-task.

“As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to jump around and serve a lot of different functions in the business, especially when you’re starting out,”

Motherhood teaches emotional intelligence.

“I feel like the two-year-old is the extreme example of the intensity and struggles that can come from working in a team environment and particularly a team where a lot of different personalities are represented,”

Motherhood prepares you for a business baby.

“The way that everything changes when you have a child is the same as how everything changes when you start a company,”

“there’s nobody more equipped to start a business than a parent.”

Motherhood prepares you to seek advice.

“It’s true in entrepreneurship and in parenting that there is no rule book,”

 

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Secrets to Being Both an Executive and a Mom

curated from entrepreneur

There is one way in which men and women will never, ever be equal: Women can get pregnant. Men cannot.

To be sure, in many families, childcare is a shared responsibility. But, being pregnant can really only ever be done by one person. And once the children are born, if one parent doesn’t put his or her career at least partially or temporarily on hold, the work-life balance dance gets ever more complicated to maintain gracefully.

Kira Wampler, the chief marketing officer of ridesharing platform Lyft and mother of two, says she doesn’t even try to achieve balance.

“Sometimes it is going to ebb and flow in different ways, and sometimes you are going to flow very heavily around work, because you are getting ready to relaunch the brand and try to hit these huge milestones for a startup within two months of joining,”

“A lot of your life’s decisions are going to be heavily impacted by your partner and by the choices that you and your partner make together,”

“When I look at the women who are successfully navigating both sides of their lives, or parts of our lives, that we have found a reason to be part of something bigger than ourselves and our professional lives.”

“Just because we don’t know how it’s going to work, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work,”

 

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Starting May 16, Entrepreneurs Can Raise Money in a Whole New Way. Here’s What You Need to Know.

curated from entrepreneur

Monday, May 16, 2016, will be a very big day in the world of crowdfunding.

“The implications of legalizing equity-based crowdfunding are both significant and far reaching. Crowdfunding has the power to help democratize the capital raising process by giving entrepreneurs, for the first time, direct access to tens of millions of prospective investors,”

So what’s changing?

In April 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act into law. Called the JOBS Act, the goal of the multi-pronged piece of legislation was to make it easier and faster for small businesses to get access to capital.

We’re not talking about tote-bag-for-a-donation Kickstarter-style crowdfunding here. What is equity crowdfunding?

Kickstarter made crowdfunding a nearly household idea. On Kickstarter, artists and entrepreneurs raise money to fund their projects by soliciting donations in exchange for token gifts, experiences or some sort of recognition.

“Now entrepreneurs can raise money and use it on any part of the business they think will help their business grow, without needing to offer some perk or commit to giving a pre-order for a product,”

OK, that’s cool. But why does it matter?

“This means more capital for entrepreneurs. While the number of startups will stay the same, the amount of money available to deploy into this asset class will grow. Therefore, the rule change will have a profound shift on the early-stage investment industry and the economy as a whole,”

“It’s pretty cool that for the first time in 80 plus years, normal people will be able to invest as little as $100 in a startup or small business that they love,”

 

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Want To Be Your Best Self? Put Your Sense Of Identity Ahead Of Your Productivity

curated from Forbes

Over the last year, I’ve been taking a deep look at what I did in the past, why I do what I do now, and what it truly means to reach my full potential in a way that’s authentic to my true identity.

Over the years, it’s been exciting to see the relational part of me develop more and more as I allow the labels of “high achiever, successful, top performer,” etc., to fall off.

A few signs that there’s a conflict between who you think you need to be and who youactually are, particularly at work, include:

• Dreading going into the office

• Feeling drained by the majority of the work you do

• Needing people to notice and acknowledge what you did

• Sleeping more than usual

  • Feeling like an impostor

So how do you discover your true identity and go from making smaller choices, like what to do this afternoon, to bigger choices, like whether to look for a new career? Here are a few strategies:

Look for accurate mirrors. 

Notice what gives you energy. 

Question your assumptions.

Remember your childhood.

I believe you and I can end the confusion about who we are and what we should do when we start to embrace our true identity and align our behaviors accordingly.

 

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5 Fantastic Tips From Entrepreneurs To Princeton Professors

curated from Forbes

Here’s a look at a handful of top tips from some of the women I’ve been lucky enough to communicate with recently about their experiences in the technology sector.

1 – Always Be On The Lookout For Inspiration

“I think we underestimate how much young college women could inspire junior high school girls to continue their studies in computer science and other technical fields,”

2 – Grow And Use Your Networks\

“I don’t think women use their networks as well as men do,”

People really do want to help and when you reach out authentically, and when you pay it forward, your network is invaluable,”

3 – Ignore The Haters

“Find a few people who believe in you, and listen to them. Don’t listen to the haters and the criticism,”

4 – Take The Lead In Making A Difference

You will spend a lot less energy catering to influences you cannot control, and a lot more energy building what you are good at: your company,”

5 – Be True To Yourself

You don’t need to change who you are, to fit what you think a woman in tech is supposed to look like,”

“The more women we have pursuing different styles and careers, the more options will seem available to girls today,”

 

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3 Gritty Tips That Will Make You Way More Exciting And Successful

curated from Forbes

Kim Chambers swims with the sharks. She is drawn to the adrenaline rush she gets from immersing herself into the unknown and feeling emotions she doesn’t experience on land. She’s one of the world’s best marathon swimmers. But if you would have asked her six years ago if she would be participating in a life-or-death sport, this former ballerina and rower at UC Berkeley would have said that you are crazy.

When You’re Most Afraid Of Something, Jump In

What Kim jumps into is different from what I will jump into. But that’s a detail, the lesson is universal. Here’s an excerpt from the podcast, Kim’s Mentoring Moment, in her words:

“It was August of last year, it was about 11:15 on a Friday evening. I had no other plans that night but to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge. There had been increased shark activity at the islands. These islands lay smack dab in the middle of the Red Triangle, the greatest concentration of great white sharks anywhere in the world. I like to say it’s shark inhabited, not shark infested because it’s their home and here I was on a Friday evening, about to slip into that water. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back. I wasn’t sure if I was slipping into the mouth of a great white shark. It’s pitch black. The adrenaline is pumping through my veins and I wanted to be very careful as to not wake the locals, the sharks. I didn’t know if they were sleeping so I decided that I would just to slip into that water.

power of the mind: If you think you can’t do something you can’t, but if you tell yourself you can, you sure can .

Turn The Unexpected Upside Down

Success isn’t about avoiding challenges, it’s about hitting them head on.

Don’t Stop When You Get The “A” Grade

How many times do we get the “A” grade and stop learning about that subject? Or stop dreaming? Kim doesn’t stop when she wins a world record. She does the exact opposite. A win makes Kim challenge her mind and body even more. Kim has stood at the edge looking down and now she’s looking up to see how far she can go.

 

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Lessons In Entrepreneurship: Let Your ‘Why’ Be Your Guide

curated from Forbes

Marketing might help you make a sale, but authenticity is how you earn loyalty… and that doesn’t come from data or slogans. It comes from personal stories, and a whole lot of soul.

To which I say… When you leave it up to someone else to decide what makes you special, they probably won’t – and the opportunity will go to someone else. You need a story that differentiates you from the pack, and to create a powerful one, you need to know your “why.”

1. Your story should explain your “why.” This is the element of your story that people will relate to even though they have nothing else in common with you. Think about the rags-to-riches story of a pro-athlete who overcame childhood tragedy and went on to become a star.

2. Your “why” doesn’t have to be complicated or Earth-shattering. Your “why” might be as remarkable as overcoming a life-threatening illness… or it could be as straightforward as identifying an everyday problem and creating a solution. Think about Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, whose “aha” moment came when she was struggling with pantyhose before a work dinner and realized that there was a need and a market for functional shapewear.

3. Everyone has a “why.” I often work with clients who are pursuing careers based on their college major, which they claim they picked because they thought it would give them job security. They don’t think that’s a worthy “why,” but there is always a deeper connection between what you’re doing and why you’re doing it if you’re willing to investigate your decisions.

4. Your story doesn’t have to resonate with all people – it just needs to resonate with the right people. Accept that you are not for everyone, just as everyone is not for you. Getting back to my friend and the tote bag: The “why” of the manufacturer of the tote in question is that joy doesn’t come from consumerism, it comes from having fewer objects of higher quality.

 

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If You Want a Solid Future You Need to Know Where You Are In The Business Life Cycle

curated from Inc.

Most businesses follow a fairly predictable life cycle. If you know the different business stages in the life cycle you can make better decisions and enjoy your successes that little bit more. Or to put it another way, you will know when to panic and when to celebrate. In my opinion there are 7 distinct stages to a business:

1. The DREAM stage

There is nothing quite like the dream stage of a business, when we have our big idea and it slowly starts to take shape. We talk to people about the concept, start developing logos and branding, register a domain name and get our website built.

2. The HONEYMOON stage

To me this is one of the nicest times in a business. Just like a traditional honeymoon, the world looks pretty good, you’ve got a little extra spring in your step and lots of anticipation about the future ahead.

3. The REALITY stage

The honeymoon is now well and truly over. The reality has set in that this whole business gig is much harder than you thought it would be. Sure, it’s rewarding and exciting blah blah blah, but it is a lot of hard work.

4. The DELUSIONAL stage

One day you get up, exhausted, battle scarred, but still believing that you are going to succeed. You pay all of your bills and for the very first time there is money left in your account. This feels weird. The orders are flowing in, as is the money, you’re able to take a little time out and remember what it means to have a life.

5. The TRUE SUCCESS stage

This is really the stage we all aim for. We have survived the winning stage, perhaps had a scare or two, but we have the right head space, attitude and approach to ensure that our business will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

6. The BORED stage

Generally we reach this stage after we’ve enjoyed being successful for a while. We haven’t had to struggle for a while, the business is running smoothly and all of the right mechanisms are in place so that you are now more or less obsolete.

7. The CROSSROAD stage

This really is the “where to from here?” stage. Your crossroad is about whether or not to stay in the business or leave it, and it is a big decision on many levels. You’ve moved beyond the bored stage, and it comes back to whether or not you have the energy and passion to stay on or is it time to find another challenge.

 

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