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10 Ideas your Choice Interested for a week — Kumerland

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” How much do you hold back? How many ideas are you scared to express? How many goals do you hesitate to pursue? How many passions do you ignore? It’s easy (and tempting) to blame other circumstances for our […]

via 10 Ideas your Choice Interested for a week — Kumerland

 

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The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil, But Data – The Economist

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A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era.

These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

Such dominance has prompted calls for the tech giants to be broken up, as Standard Oil was in the early 20th century. This newspaper has argued against such drastic action in the past. Size alone is not a crime. The giants’ success has benefited consumers. Few want to live without Google’s search engine, Amazon’s one-day delivery or Facebook’s newsfeed.

Nor do these firms raise the alarm when standard antitrust tests are applied. Far from gouging consumers, many of their services are free (users pay, in effect, by handing over yet more data). Take account of offline rivals, and their market shares look less worrying. And the emergence of upstarts like Snapchat suggests that new entrants can still make waves.

But there is cause for concern. Internet companies’ control of data gives them enormous power. Old ways of thinking about competition, devised in the era of oil, look outdated in what has come to be called the “data economy” (see Briefing). A new approach is needed.

Quantity has a quality all its own

What has changed? Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and far more valuable. Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace—more raw material for the data distilleries. As devices from watches to cars connect to the internet, the volume is increasing:

some estimate that a self-driving car will generate 100 gigabytes per second. Meanwhile, artificial-intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning extract more value from data. Algorithms can predict when a customer is ready to buy, a jet-engine needs servicing or a person is at risk of a disease. Industrial giants such as GE and Siemens now sell themselves as data firms.

This abundance of data changes the nature of competition. Technology giants have always benefited from network effects: the more users Facebook signs up, the more attractive signing up becomes for others. With data there are extra network effects. By collecting more data, a firm has more scope to improve its products, which attracts more users, generating even more data, and so on.

The more data Tesla gathers from its self-driving cars, the better it can make them at driving themselves—part of the reason the firm, which sold only 25,000 cars in the first quarter, is now worth more than GM, which sold 2.3m. Vast pools of data can thus act as protective moats.

Access to data also protects companies from rivals in another way. The case for being sanguine about competition in the tech industry rests on the potential for incumbents to be blindsided by a startup in a garage or an unexpected technological shift. But both are less likely in the data age. The giants’ surveillance systems span the entire economy:

Google can see what people search for, Facebook what they share, Amazon what they buy. They own app stores and operating systems, and rent out computing power to startups. They have a “God’s eye view” of activities in their own markets and beyond. They can see when a new product or service gains traction, allowing them to copy it or simply buy the upstart before it becomes too great a threat.

Many think Facebook’s $22bn purchase in 2014 of WhatsApp, a messaging app with fewer than 60 employees, falls into this category of “shoot-out acquisitions” that eliminate potential rivals. By providing barriers to entry and early-warning systems, data can stifle competition.

Who ya gonna call, trustbusters?

The nature of data makes the antitrust remedies of the past less useful. Breaking up a firm like Google into five Googlets would not stop network effects from reasserting themselves: in time, one of them would become dominant again. A radical rethink is required—and as the outlines of a new approach start to become apparent, two ideas stand out.

The first is that antitrust authorities need to move from the industrial era into the 21st century. When considering a merger, for example, they have traditionally used size to determine when to intervene. They now need to take into account the extent of firms’ data assets when assessing the impact of deals.

The purchase price could also be a signal that an incumbent is buying a nascent threat. On these measures, Facebook’s willingness to pay so much for WhatsApp, which had no revenue to speak of, would have raised red flags. Trustbusters must also become more data-savvy in their analysis of market dynamics, for example by using simulations to hunt for algorithms colluding over prices or to determine how best to promote competition .

The second principle is to loosen the grip that providers of online services have over data and give more control to those who supply them. More transparency would help: companies could be forced to reveal to consumers what information they hold and how much money they make from it.

Governments could encourage the emergence of new services by opening up more of their own data vaults or managing crucial parts of the data economy as public infrastructure, as India does with its digital-identity system, Aadhaar. They could also mandate the sharing of certain kinds of data, with users’ consent—an approach Europe is taking in financial services by requiring banks to make customers’ data accessible to third parties.

Rebooting antitrust for the information age will not be easy. It will entail new risks: more data sharing, for instance, could threaten privacy. But if governments don’t want a data economy dominated by a few giants, they will need to act soon.

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Using Interactive Content to Fuel Marketing and Sales Alignment – Greg Allen

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If you’ve read the SnapApp blog (or any marketing publication recently, for that matter) you’ve probably seen the increased importance of sales and marketing alignment. Buyers are increasingly demanding a world where marketing and sales is seamless – there is no handoff, it’s simply one engine that fuels your customer journey.

By gating all our assets we’ve basically created a dynamic that forces buyers away from our website and content.  Buyers today prefer to do their own due diligence before offering up an email address that basically guarantees them the sales call or email that follows.

Audience’s increased preference to engage on their own terms and in a personalized manner has left marketing looking to adapt experiences while sales spends hours and energy crafting hyper-personalized, unique email messages to stand out from the competition. Finding the right balance of quality vs quantity of sales follow up isn’t easy, and has resulted in increased automation and hopeless attempts at humor to simply get any response. See:

Be sure to check out our video: What B2B Buyers Hate Most About Sales

Clearly what we’re doing isn’t working – on the marketing or sales side. So what do we do?

At SnapApp we might be a little bit biased, but we believe that interactive content is more than a shiny new piece of content that simply is cooler than a white paper.

Interactive experiences can also drive meaningful sales and marketing alignment by collecting critical qualifying information on your prospects before by some minor miracle they find themselves on a discovery meeting after a cold call.

By putting control back in the hands of your buyers you can improve engagements and uncover the challenges truly facing your prospects, helping get back to what they really want… value.

Let’s explore how interactive content can transform your marketing and sales alignment drive real results.

Let’s Begin with the Basics

By now you’d probably heard of interactive content but what is it really and why do it? Let me start with a quick pitch (I know, I’m sorry, but I’m in sales and we all knew this was coming.)

Interactive content is a better way to educate, entertain, and engage your audience. It’s anything that requires the participants’ active engagement — more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.

 

How Does Interactive Content Help Sales?

Last August we partnered with Heinz Marketing to research generational buying differences. Our biggest takeaway: it is clear buyers are tired of the standard marketing and sales playbook.

And that means our “best practices” aren’t the best practices when buyer journey’s have chanced so drastically.

(source)

In today’s world where marketing has to own more of the buyer journey like you can see above, the same level of qualification of prospects needs to be done in the middle of the funnel, but your prospects aren’t willing to do it with your sales team.

Using interactive content throughout your buyer journey means that you’re constantly asking questions and learning more about your prospects, which means that when the time finally comes for them to have a conversation with sales, your team is prepared.

Interactive can help provide value and context to prospect outreach. Instead of a generic marketing message; “Thanks for downloading, be sure to also check out our blog” or, even worse, a sales follow up “I wanted to touch base with you regarding your form submission on our site.  Can you give me some details of what you’re looking for so I can get you to the right place?” interactive will help you have a digital conversation without scaring off your prospects.

Sending generic marketing messages after a content download? Replace it with a CTA driving an interactive assessment asking them how they want to engage going forward.

Sending form submits right to sales? No problem, the answers and interactive insights captured can provide the context we lack today when attempting to personalize the message.

With this approach you’ll immediately showcase you’re listening, understanding their needs, and most importantly, you’ll be treating the prospect like a human – not a name on a list.

This will even help sales prioritize the best leads and help marketing understand what’s driving bottom line results. As an individual contributor myself I can attest to the fact that at times, with one quick glance, I’ll determine if a lead should be prioritized or put on the back burner. Sales people are busy too and with revenue as the ultimate objective you better believe your sales team is investing time in proven areas more than others.

This results in leads falling through the cracks or potentially even going completely untouched. Instead, with interactive you can help understand what leads should be prioritized because they include the all-important qualification and context sales desires.

You’re probably thinking, “sounds great, Greg, but where do I start?” 

Let’s take look at a few examples of how you could start arming your sales team with the information they need to be successful today, alongside marketing activities you’re already doing.

Interactive Content for Events

Marketers and sales people alike love events — they’re great for brand recognition and present a unique opportunity for that all important face time with prospects. It’s no surprise they’re highly valued in most marketing operations – it’s the best opportunity to present value and many times yields the highest ROI.

The struggle with events? The same as your other demand gen initiatives… it’s hard to know what leads are the highest quality. You could scan hundreds of leads but usually there are only a handful of highly qualified prospects. Are you sending them all as MQLs? What if they really just wanted the cool socks you had at your booth? The list will go to your sales team resulting hours of calls/emails to prospects that might not even be considering your solution, while competing with every other vendor that attended.

Instead imagine leveraging an interactive experience. Ask; “How do you want us to follow up with you” with an interactive assessment.

At SnapApp we used the assessment above to do just that, and flip the script event follow up. By using interactive content inside our events, we don’t waste time on the people who just appreciate our taste in SWAG, and also don’t miss anyone who might not fit for our ideal buyer persona, but loved the message.

You’ll maximize your ROI and help qualify event leads faster. But the interactive follow up value doesn’t end with just WHO sales should spend their time on. It also makes sales outreach personalized and powerful.

We’ve all sent or received generic event follow up like this:

Generic Email – Low Personalization:

Hi [prospect],

It was great meeting you at [event]. I heard we had a great conversation around [value prop 1], so let me know if you would be interested in schedule a 30 minute call to learn more about each other’s businesses and how we can help!

And both prospects and sales people alike know that it works inconsistently at best.

However, with interactive conversations are rich and focus on your prospect, not on you.

Interactive Enhanced Email – High Personalization:

Hi [prospect],

It was great meeting you at [event]. Thanks for filling out our post-event assessment. Looking forward to scheduling a call to highlight your goals of [Goals Answer 1A] and [Goals Answer 1B] this quarter. I noticed you’re also currently using [Product/Solution Answer] to support these efforts today. We worked with [client example A] and [client example B] who experienced similar challenges and replaced [Product/Solution Answer]. When can we schedule 30 minutes to discuss further? How does [X/X @ X:XX] work?

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7 Personal Growth Questions Every Teacher Must Ask Themselves – Lee Watanabe-Crockett – Lee Watanabe Crockett

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Every teacher knows that consistently asking personal growth questions is part of the game in education. They exist in all shapes and sizes and are meant to challenge educators to meet and exceed professional goals. It’s for the good of themselves, their colleagues, and most of all their learners, that they devote themselves to this. You have enough to do already, so why make PD complicated?

Personal development goes hand in hand with professional development. It enhances it by ensuring we look deep within ourselves to discover the true motivations for why we do what we do, and what’s most important to us as teachers. Ultimately, these realizations drive us to excel for the benefit of our learners, and for the future of education.

By no means are we advocating that the 7 personal growth questions we’ve provided below are the be-all-end-all of what you can reflect on during your journey. What they will do is provide you with a baseline for developing your craft in your own way.

7 Personal Growth Questions for All Teachers

These personal growth questions are ones that are simple enough to ask yourself every day, while also complex enough to ponder deeply and critically whenever you have time. And no matter how busy you are, there is always time.

1. What is most important to me as a teacher?

This is the key to determining your professional development direction right here. What matters to you most about being a teacher? What kind of teacher do you want to be, and why? What are the biggest reasons you have for your choice?

Don’t fall into the trap of making this one about policy and educational doctrine. This is an introspective and emotional inquiry—perhaps even spiritual for many of you. Consider it carefully and, above all else, listen to your heart.

2. What takes me out of my comfort zone?

Progress happens in the face of overcoming challenges. But how do we constructively challenge ourselves if we can’t step away from feeling safe in our vocations? Do something that you’ve never done before—in your practice, in a relationship with a colleague, or what have you.

Think “what if …” and then act on it. If it makes you uncomfortable to consider or even scares you a little, you might be on to something.

3. How can I make sure I am learning every day?

Modeling lifelong learning is something every teacher must do for their learners. It comes through curiosity and a willingness to explore the unknown. Our learners benefit from our passion as educators when we display the same love for learning we want them to have when they leave us. How can you best do this every day?

4. What is the most amazing thing about me and how can I use it in my teaching?

Stop being modest—you’re awesome and you know it. So it’s time to let your learners know it too. Think about what you can do that no one else can. Recall a time when someone pointed out something remarkable about you that you’ve always taken for granted. “Wow, you really know how to _______.”

Are you good with humour? Are you highly creative with design and visuals? Are you able to use wisdom and compassion to turn any negative experience into a positive one? Are you an entertaining storyteller? What’s your special talent? And for crying out loud, why aren’t you making it part of your teaching?

5. What is the most important thing my learners need from me?

There is a simple and highly effective way to figure this one out: ask them. It also happens to be the only way. You don’t have to let yourself be afraid of the answers you get either, especially when you come from a place of heartfelt concern for your kids. So ask them what the need; they’ll surprise you and delight you, and they might even make you cry. Isn’t meaningful connection amazing?

6. How can I connect and communicate better with parents and colleagues?

Nothing changes you like perspective. As young and experienced teachers, we often do many things wrong. As parents, we also do things wrong. These moments present prime opportunities for teachers and parents to support each other and consistently bridge the communication gap.

In the end, nothing beats how parents and teachers can unite to solve problems and tackle issues together. The same is true for teachers who come together in the same way. What are the most proactive ways you can improve rapport with parents and colleagues to sustain a culture of support?

7. What am I going to start doing today to become a better teacher than I was yesterday?

You’ll find there is never a bad time to ponder this question. This doesn’t mean you’re not a fantastic teacher already; quite the opposite, in fact. It’s the idea that you are constantly looking for ways to improve that make you as incredible as you are. Everyone that’s a part of your life experience benefits from this.

Ask it as a personal reflection at the end of your day. Ask it at the beginning of your morning as a mediation. Ask it as you write in your daily journal. Ask it multiple times a day, even. Just make sure you ask it.

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How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher – David Cutler

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However talented, no one is a natural-born teacher. Honing the craft takes significant care and effort, not just by the individual, but also by the school at large. Though experience does matter, it matters only to the extent that a teacher — regardless of how long he or she has been in the classroom — commits to continued professional development to refresh his or her status as a transformational teacher.

Along those lines, even after a decade in the classroom, I don’t claim to be beyond criticism — not in the least. Still, I wish to offer some advice on constantly striving toward perfection, however elusive that goal will always remain.

Constantly Share Best Practices

As a first step, work toward recognizing that, no matter how long you’ve been in the classroom, there will always be someone else who’s more effective at a certain facet of teaching. When I was a first-year teacher, a veteran colleague inquired how I’d engaged such strong student interest in the American Revolution, something that he’d struggled with achieving.

I shared my lesson plan, which culminated in a formal debate about whether the colonists had acted justly in rebelling against British rule. Moving forward, I felt more confident and comfortable about asking that colleague for help with providing quality written feedback, which he excelled at doing.

Find a Trusted Mentor

No matter how much experience you have, it’s crucial to find and rely on a trusted confidant. As a new teacher, I spent countless hours chatting with colleagues about best practices and where I feared that I might have fallen short. Not once did they pass judgment on me, or suggest that whatever I had done (or failed to do, in certain cases) was beyond repair.

Instead, they offered thoughtful advice on how I might do things differently. No matter the subject, I value hearing fresh perspectives from new and veteran teachers about becoming even better at my job. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.

Commit to Classroom Observations

I do my best to observe other teachers in action. This year, I benefited from watching a colleague inject humor into his English classroom to cultivate a more relaxed but effective learning environment. In turn, I tried to strike a similar balance in my history classroom, which helped students feel less afraid of sharing ideas and learning from mistakes.

I’m equally grateful for observing a colleague teach French to students whom I also instruct. She possesses a gentle firmness that learners respond to, but more importantly, students know that she cares about them — and they don’t want to let their teacher or themselves down.

Change Things Up

I also observe other teachers to see how they change things up, especially when I get too comfortable in a routine. It’s certainly easier to teach the same books and content each year, but it’s also incredibly boring, which can lead to burnout. This summer, I’m working to revamp some of my American history curriculum to fall more in step with what students are learning and doing in their American literature class.

For example, when juniors are studying the Cold War in my class, they’ll be reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen in their English class — an award-winning graphic novel highlighting many Cold War-era fears and tensions. For both classes, students will complete a yet-to-be-determined project to showcase their understanding.

Model the Usefulness of What You Teach

In line with changing things up, I’m always looking for new ways to model the usefulness of what I teach. More than ever, I find that students want to know how they can apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. In American history, I continue to de-emphasize rote memorization in favor of activities requiring clear, analytical thinking — an essential tool for whatever students end up pursuing in college or as a career.

On most assessments, I allow students to bring a notecard. It seems less important in the age of Google to assess how much students know. Instead, I’m significantly more concerned with how much sense they can make of all this information so readily available to them. In all of my classes, I also make it clear that knowing how to write well will play a significant role in their future success.

Caring Beyond What You Teach

To motivate my students toward success, I strive to show that I care about them beyond the classroom. I do my best to chaperone trips, watch sporting events, and attend plays and other student-run productions. I advise the Model United Nations Club, which allows me to share my passion for diplomacy and fostering change.

I also coach cross-country to help students see that I value maintaining a healthy body just as much as developing an inquisitive mind. The most transformational teachers that I know have a deep understanding of how their role transcends far beyond any subject that they’re teaching. Such teachers have the most lasting impact on their students long after graduation.

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10 Tips to Improve Your Business AND Work Life Balance – Annie Pilon

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Increasing your sales through lead generation and content marketing doesn’t have to require a huge commitment of time or money. Instead, there are some effective strategies and tips you can use to get more done in less time, allowing you to also enjoy your family and life. If you’re interested in selling more without spending your whole life working on your business, here are some essential insights from members of the online small business community.

Generate New Leads Without Spending a Fortune

Increasing your sales quickly can be a major undertaking. It sometimes requires a large investment of both time and money. But if you don’t want to spend a ton on generating new leads for your small business, check out this Quick Sprout post by Neil Patel.

Reclaim Your Personal Life and Improve Work Productivity

Running a small business doesn’t have to mean sacrificing every aspect of your personal life. Instead, you can focus on getting more done in a shorter period of time. In this Crowdspring post, Katie Lundin shares some work productivity tips that help you get more time for yourself.

Consider In-House Marketing vs. Hiring an Agency

If you want your marketing to make as big of an impact as possible, you need to have the right team. Some businesses choose to have an in-house marketing team, while others prefer an agency. To make the best decision for your business, consider the things listed in this Digital Current post by Sam Hurley.

Take Data Protection Seriously

The last thing you want for your small business is to see all of your hard work and investment go to waste because of a cyber attack. A recent study found that it’s even more important for small merchants to take data protection seriously than was previously thought. Learn more in this Smallbiztechnology.com post by Ramon Ray.

Generate Leads from Your Content

Content creation is a well-known tool in the marketing world. However, it can also make a major impact on your sales goals. If you want to learn more about how to make your content work for you and generate potential leads, here are some insights from Ann Smarty on the BrightLocal blog.

Use Emotional Intelligence to Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Providing great service is a major part of making sales and keeping customers coming back for more. In order to do that, you might need to understand emotions and how they can impact behavior. In this Process Street post, Sawaram Suthar explains why this is such an important part of customer service.

Learn the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Automation

Automation can save you tons of time on activities related to both sales and marketing. However, these two areas are very different when it comes to automation. Here, Jeff Molander of Target Marketing explains the difference.

Include These Elements of a Successful Content Marketing Engine

When you build up enough different types of content, you should have a “content engine” full of ideas and helpful insights for your audience. Lisa Sicard of Inspire to Thrive elaborates on that concept in this post. And BizSugar members then discussed what it means for their businesses here.

Take Care of Your Kids AND Your Business

Managing work life balance can be especially tricky for parents over the summer. But there are some activities you can take part in that help both your family and your business. In this CorpNet post, Nellie Akalp suggests some ideas for ways you can improve both areas of your life over the summer.

Optimize the Content Supply Chain

If you want your business to run as efficiently as possible, you need to optimize in all areas — including content marketing. In this TopRank Marketing post, Ashley Zeckman shares an interview that dives into the world of content supply chains and how you can optimize them.

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Ten Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Credibility – Liz Ryan

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The way to break any bad habit is to starting by paying attention to the times when your bad habit shows up. Try to notice every time you fall into the rut and repeat your bad habit. Ask your friends at work to pay attention and remind you when you’re apologizing for nothing.

As you become aware of the times and places where your bad habit typically emerges, prepare for those situations in advance. Prepare for someone to ask you, “Do you think you’ll have that report ready by Friday?” Practice a response that doesn’t involve an apology, like this one: “Friday sounds perfect — you’ll have the report then.”

Apologizing constantly is not the only bad habit that many people bring to work. Here are nine other habits that can kill your professional credibility:

1. Interrupting people, or not listening to them while they speak but bursting in at the first opportunity after they’ve spoken, in order to share your opinion. If you have this bad habit, practice consciously listening to your conversational partner and then asking them, “Would you like to say more about that?” before sharing your own thoughts.

2. Failing to use “Please” and “Thank you” in your interactions with your teammates, your manager, customers and vendors and everyone else you interact with at work.

3. Leaving details to the last minute so that you have to run around averting a crisis instead of planning ahead.

4. Being a suck-up to the boss, spying on your coworkers and reporting back to your manager or sharing one set of opinions with your teammates and a completely different set with your boss.

5. Using “uptalk” — speech that ends every sentence with an ascending inflection, like a question. Here’s what uptalk sounds like:

You: So, I have to finish this report by Friday? I have to get it to the VP so he can put the pricing plan together? That’s why I asked you to meet with me, so we can go over it before I present it to the VP? If we can just go through it quickly that will be great? I really appreciate your time?

6. Making a point of staying later at the office than everyone else and arriving earlier in the morning than anyone else does. Effective employees get their work done during the work day. You will never become more credible by working longer hours to show the boss how dedicated you are.

Acknowledge yourself whenever you make it through a day without repeating your bad habit, and give yourself a break when you slip back into the habit. It takes time to train yourself out of a bad habit and into a new, better one.

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Be sure and let Brenda know that you’re taking her feedback to heart and that you appreciate it. Tell her that you’re working on the over-apologizing thing and you are grateful for her support.

7. Forgetting to write down details and note appointments and commitments in your calendar.

8. Taking credit for your coworkers’ ideas and accomplishments.

9. Gossiping.

10. Conducting loud, personal phone conversations in earshot of your teammates. Nobody wants to hear you arguing with your sweetheart or booking your spa treatments. Save those calls for a time when you’re outside the building, or use text instead of voice.

We don’t always know when we are irritating the people around us. Brenda did you a favor when she pointed out how your over-apologizing habit may be holding you back.

Now you have a project to dive into. Take Brenda’s coaching seriously and begin to notice when you’re tempted to apologize although there is nothing to apologize for — and you will overcome this small hurdle in no time!

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10 Steps To Achieve Any Goal – Roger Connors & Tom Smith

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Accountability powers you toward your goals, and these guidelines for unleashing its power will get you over the rainbow to what you want.

They’re all valuable traits, but they pale in comparison to what each of us needs most in the quest to total life success: Personal accountability is No. 1.

Related:  9 Ways to Achieve Your Biggest Goals—Quickly

We first introduced our powerful accountability philosophy to the world over two decades ago in a New York Times best-seller, The Oz Principle. Since then, millions of people have come to know us as “the Oz guys.”

Why Oz? As it turns out, the perfect metaphoric backdrop for our timeless principles is a timeless story, one that we both loved as kids.

Surely you will recall meeting Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel. All of the main characters are thrust into despairing circumstances beyond their control. A tornado rips Dorothy from her Kansas farm and hurls her against her will to a strange fantasy world. The Scarecrow lives a stagnant life amid corn and crows because his creator skimped on brains. The Tin Man is rusted in place, unable to act because he lacks the heart to move. And the lovable Cowardly Lion? He lacks courage and nerve, and therefore lives a life well below his potential.

  Don’t let your circumstances define who you are and what you do.

Feeling victimized by shortcomings and circumstances, the characters believe they cannot possibly change things on their own, so they set off on the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz in hopes of finding an all-powerful wizard who will solve all of life’s problems for them.

At the heart of their message and ours lies this one simple principle: Don’t let your circumstances define who you are and what you do.

In other words, don’t place the hope of future success in the hands of some wizard’s wand. Relying on someone or something to save you only brings a sense of victimization that paralyzes your ability to think clearly, creatively and quickly. Instead, take charge of shaping your own circumstances, and good, positive, game-changing things will begin to happen.

Whether you’re looking to make wholesale changes in your life or just want to fine-tune it a little, here are 10 guidelines—highlights from our newest book, The Wisdom of Oz—that will help you unleash the power of personal accountability to take ownership for your actions, decisions, successes and failures.

1) Redefine accountability. 

Does the mere mention of the word accountability make you shudder? The negative (and uninspiring) view of accountability is reinforced in the common dictionary definition: “Subject to having to report, explain or justify; being answerable, responsible.”

Staying true to yourself and your goals should not be drudgery. You must view your accountability as a gift to yourself, a voluntary mindset to ensure success, not something you’re force-feeding yourself even though you hate it.

2) Think as if your life depended on it.

When you shift to a determined, creative mindset, you begin to discover solutions for challenges that you may have believed were out of your control. If your life depended on it, would you come up with a new idea or strategy to save yourself? Absolutely.

The goal you want to achieve or the problem you want to solve probably is not a life-or-death scenario, but many creative solutions come when you put everything on the line. While your life may not be at risk, your happiness and success are.

3) When you can’t control your circumstances, don’t let your circumstances control you. 

On March 22, 2012, the state army of Mali stormed the presidential palace, overthrowing the western African country’s 20-year-old democracy. In the turmoil, Islamic militants took control of two-thirds of the country and crushed the upcoming democratic elections.

It was a tragic moment when the coup happened, says Yeah Samake, mayor of the small town of Ouélessébougou, located approximately 40 miles from the chaos. “I came into my living room and completely collapsed on the couch. My wife came and kicked me. I couldn’t believe it. I told her, ‘I am looking for sympathy here. Why are you kicking me?’ She only said, ‘Get out there and go do something.’ ”

Whether you get off the couch on your own or require a little nudge from somewhere else, the point is to get out there and do something.

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4) You’ve got to want it more than you don’t want it.

 Everything will exact a certain price from you—energy, effort, patience, resources. It’s natural to want the good things in life without paying the price: You want to lose weight but don’t want to exercise or sacrifice your favorite foods. You want a promotion but don’t want to put in the extra hours. Success comes when you hit a tipping point and begin to desire your goal more than you dread the cost of reaching it.

5) Don’t let gravity pull you down. 

Just as massive planets produce gravity—drawing everything toward them—it seems that tough problems and challenging obstacles have enough mass to pull you away from getting what you want. This force gets bigger and stronger as the challenges get larger and tougher. Don’t give in

6) Every breakthrough requires a bold stroke.

Actor Jim Carrey grew up so poor that his family lived in a van after his father lost his job; at one point the Carreys slept in a tent on a relative’s lawn. But Carrey believed in his own future and in the things that he wanted to accomplish in his life.

As the story goes, one night early in Carrey’s struggling comic career, he drove his beat-up Toyota to the Hollywood Hills and, while overlooking Los Angeles, pulled out his checkbook and wrote himself a check for $10 million. He scribbled in the notation line “For acting services rendered” and stuck it in his wallet. In that moment, Carrey cemented his personal resolve. Over the next five years, Carrey’s promise to himself led to worldwide fame. At the peak of his career, his per-film paycheck reached $20 million.

When you discover your own internal power, you see that you have the right, the ability, even the obligation, to create your own best reality.

7) Ask for feedback. 

Soliciting advice and criticism from others creates accountability.

For this to work, you will need to convince the mentor, friend, colleague or significant other whom you’re appealing to that you want to know what he really thinks. The evaluator needs to know that he won’t suffer any blowback if he is totally honest. Feedback is key to overcoming blind spots and achieving better results.

8) Ask yourself, Am I a renter or an owner?

 We care more for the things we own than for the things we rent because we don’t have as much invested in things that are temporary; there’s not as much at stake. Have you ever washed a rental car? Of course not.

When you own something—whether it’s a car, a work assignment or a relationship—you make an investment, usually involving some degree of sacrifice. When you rent, you can walk away without losing anything. If you’re really committed to achieving your goal, go all in.

9) Prepare to move a lot of dirt.

 Finding solutions is just like digging for gold. Have you seen the Discovery Channel reality show Gold Rush? It follows the lives of modern-day miners as they compete against time, one another and nature in hopes of striking it rich. First the miners must remove a top layer of 6 to 12 feet of dirt and rocks before the real mining even starts. Below this seemingly worthless and painful 6 to 12 feet, they hit pay dirt. The more pay dirt the miners process, the more gold they potentially find. In the end, they must move several tons of dirt to find just 1 ounce of gold. It’s hard work, but it yields rich rewards.

Their bottom-line secret to success: Keep digging.

10) Make it happen! 

How do you do that? How do you really make personal accountability work for you? Wouldn’t it be easy if there were just some switch you could flip? An Easy Button you could push? Maybe an app you could use? Well, there really is a flipping magical switch-app-button. It’s called making a choice and acting on it.

You have the choice to fulfill your aspirations or wallow in the blame game and victim cycle.

True success doesn’t come from the outside but from within. There is no wizard. Taking greater personal accountability is the key to succeeding in everything you do.

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