Thursday, March 26, 2015

7 Inspirational Steve Jobs Quotes That Will Take Your Career to the Next Level

One of my favorite websites, TheMuse.com, recently published an article by Jeff Haden of Inc.com, and it has helped me stay motivated all week. I wanted to share these inspirational quotes with everyone, and I hope you find this article as helpful as I did!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

You Will Wish You Paid More Attention to Physics Class

I found this article while browsing one of my favorite websites, elitedaily.com, and it really hit home with me! Turns out that back when I was 17 in my high school physics class, I was actually learning things I could use in real life. These lessons have become my mantra   and you'll find a note in my office that actually says," An object in motion stays in motion! GO!" Just looking at the message gets me motivated and positive, and I hope it can do the same for you! 
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his groundbreaking book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which described his three laws of motion.
In the process, Newton laid the foundation for classical mechanics and redefined the way the world regarded physics and science.
What most people don’t know, however, is that Newton’s three laws of motion can be used as an interesting analogy for increasing your productivity, simplifying your work and improving your life.
Allow me to present this analogy as Newton’s Laws of Productivity:

Newton’s First Law of Productivity

First Law of Motion: An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. (I.e. objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.)
In many ways, procrastination is a fundamental law of the universe. Objects at rest do tend to stay at rest.
The good news? It works the other way, too. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When it comes to being productive, this means one thing: The most important thing is to find a way to get started. Once you get started, it is much easier to stay in motion. [1, 2]

physics of productivity first law

So, what’s the best way to get started when you are stuck procrastinating?
From my experience, the best rule of thumb for getting started is the Two-Minute Rule
Here’s the Two-Minute Rule, adjusted for productivity: To overcome procrastination, find a way to start your task in less than two minutes.
Notice that you don’t have to finish your task. In fact, you don’t even have to work on the primary task. However, thanks to Newton’s first law, you’ll often find that once you start this little two-minute task, it is much easier to keep moving.
Here are some examples:
– Right now, you may not feel like going for a run. But, if you put your running shoes on and fill up your water bottle, that small start might be enough to get you out the door.
– Right now, you might be staring at a blank screen and struggling to write your report, but if you write random sentences for just two minutes, then you may find that useful sentences will start to come.
– Right now, you might have a creative block and be struggling to draw something, but if you draw a random line on a sheet of paper and turn it into a dog, then you might get your creative juices flowing.
Motivation often comes after starting. Find a way to start small. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

Newton’s Second Law of Productivity

Second Law of Motion: F=ma. The vector sum of the forces on an object is equal to the mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector of the object. (I.e. force equals mass times acceleration.)
Let’s break down this equation, F=ma, and figure out how it can apply to productivity.
There is one important thing to note in this equation. The force, F, is a vector. Vectors involve both magnitude (how much work you are putting in) and direction (where that work is focused).
In other words, if you want to get an object accelerating in a particular direction, then the size of the force you apply and the direction of that force will both make a difference.
Guess what? It’s the same story for getting things done in your life.
If you want to be productive, it’s not merely about how hard you work (magnitude), it’s also about where that work is applied (direction). This is true of big life decisions and small daily decisions.
For example, you could apply the same skill set in different directions and get very different results.

physics of productivity first law
Note: the idea for this image came from artwork created by my friend, Oliver Emberton, in his wonderful post titled, “Life is a game. This is your strategy guide.” Thanks Oliver!

To put it simply, you only have a certain amount of force to provide to your work and where you place that force is just as important as how hard you work.

Newton’s Third Law of Productivity

Third Law of Motion: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. (I.e. equal and opposite forces.)
We all have an average speed at which we tend to perform in life. Your typical levels of productivity and efficiency are often a balance of the productive and unproductive forces in your life — a lot like Newton’s equal and opposite forces.
There are productive forces in our lives like focuspositivity and motivation. There are also unproductive forces like stresslack of sleep and trying to juggle too many tasks at once.

physics of productivity third law

If we want to become more effective and more productive, then we have two choices.
The first option is to add more productive force. This is the “power through it” option. We gut it out, drink another cup of coffee and work harder. This is why people take drugs that help them focus or watch motivational videos to pump themselves up.
It’s all an effort to increase productive force and overpower the unproductive forces we face.

physics of productivity third law

Obviously, you can only do this for so long before you burn out, but for a brief moment, the “power through it” strategy can work well.
The second option is to eliminate the opposing forces. Simplify your lifelearn how to say nochange your environment, reduce the number of responsibilities that you take on and otherwise eliminate the forces that are holding you back.

physics of productivity third law

If you reduce the unproductive forces in your life, your productivity will glide forward naturally.
It’s like you magically remove the hand that has been holding you back. (As I like to say, if you eliminate all of the things distracting you from being productive, you wouldn’t need tips on how to become more productive.) [4]
Most people try to power through and hammer their ways past the barriers. The problem with this strategy is that you’re still dealing with the other force.
I find it to be much less stressful to cut out the opposing forces and let your productivity naturally flow forward.

Newton’s Laws of Productivity

Newton’s laws of motion reveals insights that tell you pretty much everything you need to know about how to be productive.
1. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Find a way to get started in less than two minutes.
2. It’s not just about working hard; it’s also about working on the right things. You have a limited amount of force and where you apply it matters.
3. Your productivity is a balance of opposing forces. If you want to be more productive, you can either power through the barriers or remove the opposing forces. The second option seems to be less stressful.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Last Year's Best Graduation Speech

Last year The University of Texas at Austin (Hook'em!) asked Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who commanded the operation to get Osama bin Laden, to speak at their graduation. He focused on the 10 most important lessons that stuck with him as a result of getting through the notoriously difficult SEAL training program. 

Reading these 10 lessons, it's easy to see why it relates so well to how we strive to live our lives. The entrepreneurs and go-getters need to surround themselves with like-minded people, be hungry for knowledge, and most importantly build resilience.  Take a couple minutes to read these 10 lessons from McRaven, and work on implementing these into your daily routine! Just do your best everyday! 

1. Start the day by making your bed.
Is it surprising that a four-star admiral known as the world's deadliest man begins by telling you the same thing that your mom probably got after you to do as a little kid?
Start every day making your bed, McRaven advised, which was the first task of the day at SEAL training. If you do so, it will mean that the first thing you do in the morning is to accomplish something, which sets the tone for the day, encourages you to accomplish more, and reinforces that little things in life matter.
"And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made--that you made," McRaven said, "and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."
2. Find the right people to help you.
Each day at SEAL training, the volunteers had to paddle several miles down the San Diego coast in heavy surf, using small rubber boats. Everyone had to paddle together, he said--on a synchronized count and with similar strength--otherwise the boats would "turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach."
That metaphor carries over into life, McRaven said.
"For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can't change the world alone--you will need some help-- and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them."
3. Attitude and heart can outweigh other advantages.
One of the toughest groups of guys at SEAL training was a boat crew of six men, none of whom was more than five feet five inches tall, McRaven said. The bigger students referred to them as "the munchkin crew."
Simply enduring the training was proof of toughness--the munchkin crew was among just 35 men in the original class of 150 who stuck around--but McRaven said these smaller guys "out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews."
The lesson? "SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status. ... If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
4. Keep moving forward.
Some of the most uncomfortable moments during SEAL training came when the students were punished for small infractions--having a smudge on a belt buckle during uniform inspections, for example.
"For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surf zone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand," McRaven recalled. "The effect was known as a 'sugar cookie.' You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day--cold, wet and sandy."
Many students couldn't endure the pain, but the key to succeeding was to accept that sometimes, life just sucks. But you have to move forward.
5. Don't be afraid of the circuses.
The "circuses" during SEAL training referred to remedial physical training--an extra two hours of calisthenics for failing to meet a standard during the day. Circuses were "designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit."
Nobody wanted to fail at anything; nobody wanted to have to go to the circus at the end of the day, when they were already exhausted from training. As painful as it was, however, McRaven said the extra two hours of working out started to pay off. The students who were "constantly on the list ... got stronger and stronger."
Pain builds strength and resiliency, McRaven said, both in training and the real world. Don't be afraid of it.
6. Be resourceful and innovative.
It probably won't surprise you to learn that SEAL training included an obstacle course. One of the obstacles was called the "slide for life," and consisted of a 200-foot rope stretched between a 30-foot high tower and a 10-foot high tower.
The record for completing the obstacle course had stood for years by the time McRaven went through. He recalled that another student in his class shattered the record, in part by racing down the slide for life head-first, instead of the slower, safer method that everyone else used.
Taking risks and being innovative often pays off.
7. Don't back down from the sharks.
I have to admit that the idea of volunteering for something like SEAL training never would have appealed to me, and by this point in McRaven's description of the course, I'm confident that I made the right life choice. The next training exercise he described in his speech is the "night swim," in which students have to swim through shark-infested waters.
"They assure you ... that no student has ever been eaten by a shark--at least not recently," McRaven said. "But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position--stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you ... punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away."
If you can face a shark alone in the Pacific Ocean, you can probably face most of life's other sharks. Don't be afraid of them.
8. Be your very best in your darkest moments.
Among the many missions Navy SEALs tackle is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. This involves a pair of SEAL divers swimming two miles underwater, "using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target."
Most of the way during the swim, at least some light can reach the depths at which the SEALs are swimming. Close to the target, however, the shadow of the ship itself blocks all the light, and the SEALs find themselves working in pitch dark, McRaven said.
"Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission--is the time when you must be calm, composed--when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear."
9. Sing when you're up to your neck in mud.
"Hell Week" is the ninth week of SEAL training. It involves six days of almost no sleep and constant physical challenges. Part of this takes place at a swampy area between San Diego and Tijuana known as the Mud Flats.
At one point in McRaven's Hell Week, the instructors ordered the class into the freezing mud for hours, which "consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if ... five men would quit."
Instead, one man in the group started singing. Another joined in, and then another. The instructors threatened them, but they kept singing--which made the whole exercise just bearable enough to finish.
10. Never quit. (Never "ring the bell.")
In SEAL training, students can quit anytime--and many ultimately do. There is a brass bell at the center of the training compound, and if you decide you want out of the course, all you have to do is go up to it and ring it.
"Ring the bell, and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o'clock," McRaven said. "Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT--and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell."
The ultimate key to success, McRaven said, is never to ring the bell. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Keys to Success 2015: Work Hard, Play Hard

     This past weekend our Management team traveled the three and a half hours to Dallas, TX to meet with coaches, mentors, friends, clients, and to have some major fun.  The 7 of us arrived by Friday with the anticipation of seeing our friends from across the country, and seeing some award winners and bonus recipients.  This weekend was mostly about going back to basics and reviewing the fundamentals of what makes a company successful.  The lessons we learned have us all motivated to work harder than ever, and we are so excited to be back in action and ready to see sustainable, exponential growth.  

    Top Account Manager, Mike Archa, not only had fun networking with friends and mentors in our business, but he was inspired by the philanthropic duo who founded Operation Smile, Dr William Magee and his wife, Kathleen. At Austin Communication Group we often hold events so we can donate to Operation Smile, so it was great to hear about its origin and what the future holds, as well.  Mike said, "I was most excited to hear from the founders of Operation Smile. They delivered a moving message about turning our 'shoulds' into 'musts' and shared how making those decisions early on helped birth his organization."
     
     Mike was also moved by different breakouts concerning being intentional.  Something that really stuck out to him was when one of his mentors said, " The reason why we go through life not being intentional is because we don't get it in our head of what a life well-lived looks like."  Since hearing this, Mike has said,"This event got me refocused on the vision of our company and my personal vision of creating more opportunity for others, specifically the next generation. I will continue to stick to my core values and implement them into our leadership development courses."Managing Partners, Neha and Austin, both seem extra-motivated after this conference.  They have both are planning to hold themselves and their business to a higher standard, provide more opportunity, and work harder to help others hit their goals.  Neha was especially motivated by other strong entrepreneurs who gave her strong advice about developing the people in our office, and going out of your way to build strong relationships with everyone.  Austin feels that he's more determined and focused than ever. His motto is to, "Plan the attack and attack the plan!" 


    Speaking for the HR team, I think it's safe to say we're all extremely motivated to provide more opportunity for our office.  We all have very high goals, and in order to achieve them, we will have to dedicate a lot of time and energy.  We heard from entrepreneurs, consultants, mentors, and peers who all spoke about having high standards, great student mentalities, positive attitudes,  and sticking to your core values in order to be successful.  Needless to say, we are all pumped and ready to attack some goals.  Watch out for big things from Austin Communication Group in 2015!


Monday, February 2, 2015

How to impact the business with a positive attitude and by being more resilient.

     I really wanted to write this blog and keep with the theme of positivity, because I have noticed a major difference in my office since it became a more positive environment.  People are becoming more resilient and bouncing back from their challenges and adversity in a very timely fashion.  Resilience by definition is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Resilient people don't give in to anger or despair when faced with a setback. Instead, they tap into a greater purpose to bounce back stronger than ever.  Highly resilient people know how to bend to inevitable failures and tragedies and not break.  It is a quality that all top performing owners, recruiters, reps, CEOs, Presidents, and top performers of any kind possess.  You may be asking yourself, what can I do to become more resilient? The answer is simple but the process takes time and effort: Practice the habit of being positive.


    As employees in the office, we have the choice of being the thermometer or the thermostat. It is up to us to set the tone for our office and for a little bit I wasn’t setting the most positive temperature, but I made a strong effort to change that by doing most of these action items. 

1.     Have a strong sense of purpose.
-I need to be persistent in my pursuit of positive thinking.  I had to basically throw myself into this completely and make it into a project.  I worked with top leaders, the HR team, and the owners, to develop a way to spread this message in our office. We adopted the mindset of practicing positivity by focusing on different habits of happy people.   We decided to dedicate an entire week to making over the office and called it the “Week of Smiles.” We each wore a yellow bracelet as a visual reminder of our solidarity and unity to become a happier, more positive, and productive office.
2.  Be self-reliant.
                        - Being self-reliant means that you are completely capable of remaining calm in a crisis and able to roll with the punches.  You alone are able to carry out your own purpose, which will allow you to rebound from any setback.  The first step to being more self-reliant is being self-aware.  Be aware of how you react to certain situations and maybe write it down.  Then you can learn from it and how to better react next time you are faced with another inevitable challenge.
.   3. Have a support system.
- Just because successful people are self-confident and can rely on themselves doesn't mean that they isolate themselves from others. Studies show that having intimate relationships with friends and family provides the benefits of belonging, increased self-worth, and security that reduces stress levels, especially in times of crisis. There is a reason that I had to involve my entire office in the “Week of Smiles” and that I talked to at least one of my mentors every day last week, on top of talking to my mom every day. Yes, I talked to my mother every day last week!  We live over 1,000 miles apart, but once I told her my goal of being more positive, she held me accountable at the end of everyday and was there if I needed to vent for a minute before quickly turning the bad attitude into a way to overcome any obstacles.

4.  Turn adversity into opportunities for growth.
                        - There’s an ancient Greek philosophy called ‘stoicism’ where people re-frame adversity as an opportunity for triumph.  By definition, a Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.  As recruiters in this business, we will undoubtedly be faced with tons of adversity and obstacles that we can either overcome or give in to.  When we can overcome these challenges, we learn valuable lessons and are less likely to make the same mistake again.  You open yourself up to being someone who other recruiters go to for coaching.  I’m still learning a lot, but I can tell you that I’ve grown leaps and bounds in the last two years I’ve been recruiting and coaching recruiters.  Just last week during our Week of Smiles, my reps had taken small daily tasks such as driving to work in traffic, and made themselves view it more positively by waving and smiling at the bad drivers and got to the office in a better mood already! 


4.  5.   Express gratitude.
By definition, the practice of gratitude involves a focus on the present moment, on appreciating your life as it is today and what has made it so.  One day of our Week of Smiles was dedicated to practicing the habit of gratitude. It was so cathartic to think of the things that we were grateful for- big or little- such as: someone holding the door open for me, not getting in an accident in the crazy traffic, a rep brought breakfast, a text message from my dad, appreciating the coaching I receive, being recognized for hard work by Neha and Austin.  Expressing gratitude makes you a happier, more energetic, more empathetic, compassionate person and in turn builds resilience!



     Resilience is one of the greatest qualities a person can possess because they are problem solvers, they are independent, they are optimistic, they are accepting of others, they have a great support network, and they are optimists.  We can all possess a little more resilience and work on it together by reinforcing the habit of positive thinking.  It takes effort on a daily basis to be a positive thinker, but the outcome is SO worth the effort. The reps in my office got to participate in running meetings and workshops, have visual reminders of what makes them smile, they exercised their minds and bodies, and at the end of the week both Austin and Neha’s offices finished in the Top 5 for the campaign.  I know this isn’t a coincidence.  It’s a matter of adopting a new habit and reinforcing it on a daily basis.