Thursday, 3 September 2015

FACT's Want in our life

1. “Attitude, not Altitude” 

“It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Your Attitude

2."Geniuses"

History shows us that the people who end up changing the world – the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries – are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses.” ~ John Eliot
Geniuses

3. “Personal Power” 

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer
Personal Power

4. “Create Your Best Day” 

“Are you making the best out of today?”
Your Best Day

5. “Success” 

“Success is 99% attitude and 1% aptitude.”
Success

Monday, 1 June 2015

India's IT Party is over. Reinvent yourself or suffer

India’s  IT industry is unlikely to remain the amazing job-engine that it has been. For the past two decades, the fastest way to increase your income has been to land a job with an IT company. The industry has provided a ticket to prosperity for millions of young Indians; children of security guards, drivers, peons and cooks catapulted themselves and their families firmly into the middle class in a single generation by landing a job in a BPO. Hundreds of engineering colleges mushroomed overnight churning out over a million graduates a year to feel the insatiable demand of India’s IT factories.
This party is coming to an end. A combination of slowing demand, rising competition and technological change means that companies will hire far fewer people. And this is not a temporary blip- this is the new normal. Wipro’s CEO has bravely admitted that automation can displace a third of all jobs within three years while Infosys CEO Sikka aims to increase revenue per employee by 50%. Even NASSCOM, the chronically optimistic industry association, admits that companies will hire far fewer people.  Not only will the lines of new graduate waiting for job offers grow rapidly longer every year, but so too will the lines of the newly unemployed as all companies focus more on utilization, employee productivity and performance. Employees doing tasks that can be automated, the armies of middle managers who supervise them and all those with mediocre performance reviews and without hot skills are living on borrowed time.
So what do you do if you are a member of these endangered species? What constitutes good career advice in these times? I’d say that the first thing is to embrace reality and recognize that the game has changed for good. The worst thing to do is be wishful and wait for the good times to return. They won’t. But there’re still lots of opportunities. What’s happening in the industry is ‘creative destruction”. New technologies are destroying old jobs but creating many new ones. There is an insatiable demand for developers of mobile and web applications. For data engineers and scientists. For cyber security expertise. So for anyone who is a quick learner, anyone with real expertise, there will be abundant opportunities.
There has also never been a better time for anyone with an iota of entrepreneurial instinct.  India is still a supply constrained economy and so there is room to start every kind of business: beauty parlour,  bakery, catering, car-washing, mobile/electronics repair, laundry, housekeeping, tailoring. For entrepreneurs with a social conscience, there is a massive need for social enterprises that deliver affordable healthcare, education and financial services. Not only are there abundant opportunities but startups are “in” and there is no shame at all in failure.  The ranks of Angel investors is swelling and it has never been so easy to get funded. There is even a website  that provides step by step instructions to would-be entrepreneurs.
For those who prefer a good old-fashioned job, there are abundant jobs in old economy companies which are struggling to find every kind of talent- accountants, manufacturing and service engineers, salesreps.  Technology is enabling the emergence of new ‘sharing services” such as Uber or Ola that enable lucrative self-employment; it is not uncommon to find cab drivers who make 30-40,000  rupees/month.
My main point should be clear. While India may have a big challenge overall in creating enough jobs   for its youthful population, at the individual level, there is no shortage of opportunities. The most important thing is a positive attitude. The IT boom was a tide that lifted all boats- even the most mediocre ones. However, this has bred an entitlement mentality and a lot of mediocrity. To prosper in the new world, two things will really matter. The first is the right attitude. This means a hunger to succeed. Being proactive in seeking opportunities not waiting either till you are fired or for something to drop into your lap . A willingness to take risks and the tenacity to work hard and make something a success. Humility. Frugality.  The second is the ability to try and learn new things. The rate of change in our world is astonishing; whatever skills we have will largely be irrelevant in a decade. People are also living much longer. So the ability to learn new things, develop new competencies and periodically reinvent ourselves is a crucial one. Sadly too many of us have no curiosity and no interest in reading nor learning. The future will not be kind to such people.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.”- Friedrich Nietzsche
(First published as an opinion piece in Times of India)

Friday, 1 May 2015

How to ace the 50 most common interview questions

Interviewing
Offbeat questions are nearly impossible to prepare for, and they don't achieve the interviewer's objective — to test out-of-the-box thinking and the ability to perform under pressure. That's the bad news.
The good news is that companies are moving away from them. Recent research shows these questions do little more than boost the interviewer's confidence. Even companies famous for oddball questions are abandoning them. In the words of Laszlo Bock, Google's HR chief:
"If you've heard that Google likes to pose brain-teaser questions to candidates — like why manhole covers are round — your information is out of date. There's no evidence that they suggest how people perform on the job."
A Glass door study of tens of thousands of interviews found the 50 questions you're most likely to be asked in your next interview:
1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. Why are you interested in working for us?
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
6. What can you offer us that someone else can't?
7. Why was there a gap in your employment between these two dates?
8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
9. Are you willing to relocate?
10. Are you willing to travel?
11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
13. What is your dream job?
14. How did you hear about this position?
15. What would you accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days on the job?
16. Discuss your resume.
17. Discuss your educational background.
18. Describe yourself.
19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
20. Why should we hire you?
21. Why are you looking for a new job?
22. Would you work holidays/weekends?
23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
24. What are your salary requirements?
25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
26. Who are our competitors?
27. What was your biggest failure?
28. What motivates you?
29. What's your availability?
30. Who's your mentor?
31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
32. How do you handle pressure?
33. What is the name of our CEO?
34. What are your career goals?
35. What gets you up in the morning?
36. What would your direct reports say about you?
37. What were your bosses' strengths/weaknesses?
38. If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
39. Are you a leader or a follower?
40. What was the last book you read for fun?
41. What are your co-worker pet peeves?
42. What are your hobbies?
43. What is your favorite website?
44. What makes you uncomfortable?
45. What are some of your leadership experiences?
46. How would you fire someone?
47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
48. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
49. What questions haven't I asked you?
50. What questions do you have for me?
Though these questions may be less exciting to prepare for than "Spider man vs. Batman," they are what you need to be ready for.
Most interviewees are only prepared for about 10 questions, so this list alone can give you a leg up. Study the list carefully and have answers ready — but not robotically rehearsed — so that you can speak comfortably, flexibly, and confidently about each of these topics.
If you want to make a great impression and stand out from the crowd, preparing for these 50 questions is not enough. Follow the 9 strategies below and weave the knowledge they impart into your responses. Then you'll truly ace your interview.

1. Identify Your "Hook"

Most hiring managers interview a lot of people. So many that they generally have to go back to their notes to remember candidates — the exception being candidates with a strong hook. Sometimes these hooks are how people dress or their personality, but the best hook is a strong story that's work-related. When you can wow an interviewer with a memorable story that shows what a strong candidate you are, you'll rise to the top of the list.

2. Know the Essence of the Job You're Applying For

Get to know the job intimately that you're applying for. Don't just read the job description — study it and picture yourself performing every task required of you. When you interview, framing your responses so that you reveal your significant knowledge about the job gives you a massive advantage.

3. …And Know What Makes You A Great Fit For It

Know exactly what makes you fit into the position perfectly and speak to it during the interview. What you makes you special? It could be that you're an idea machine, or a statistical fanatic. Whatever it is, know it and prepare to fit it into your responses.
For example, when an interviewer asks, "What are your strengths?" skip the clich├ęs and go right into qualities about you that are unique to the job. You'll make it clear that you're the perfect fit.

4. Know the Company

No matter how prepared you are to talk about yourself, not knowing the essentials of the company you're interviewing for conveys a lack of preparation and interest. You can't show an interviewer how you'll fit in the company until you know the company.
Before your interview, delve deeply into the company website to build a strong mental foundation. Make sure you know the basics; how the company makes money, the top executives, and what the company aims to accomplish in the near future (strategic objectives). Go online and read recent news articles about the company. Also check out their Twitter and Facebook pages.

5. Prepare a List of Follow-On Questions

Prepare a list of follow-on interview questions and outline key points you will touch on if asked these questions. For example, if you say your biggest strength is time-management, you need to be ready for the interviewer to ask something like, "What does this strength look like in action?" This preparation will make your responses more pointed, avoid awkward silences and uncertainty, and it will build your confidence prior to the interview.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

You, and everyone else interviewing for the job, already know many of the questions you'll be asked. The difference lies in preparation. Preparing unique and position-specific responses will give you the competitive edge over everyone else. You don't need to memorize answers, but instead know certain points of reference about yourself that you can apply to different questions.
Make sure to "mock interview" yourself. Video your responses until you're able to speak comfortably and flexibly — as opposed to rotely regurgitating answers — about your prepared topics. Videoing yourself may feel awkward when you do it, but it will pay off during your interview.

7. Relax

If you can't relax during your interview, then nothing you do to prepare will matter. Being yourself is essential to the selection process, and interviewers will feel it if you're too nervous. Showing fear or anxiety appears weak compared to a relaxed smile and genuine confidence. Numerous studies show that smiling not only increases your happiness and confidence, but it also puts the people you're interacting with at ease. This is mostly due to mirror neurons in the brain that naturally mimic other people's expressions and emotions.
Pulling this off requires emotional intelligence (EQ), a skill that employers are increasingly looking for in candidates. And it's no surprise, as 90% of top performers on the job are high in EQ. Working on your EQ can also help you to make more money, as people with high EQs earn $29,000 more annually on average.

8. Stay Positive

It may seem obvious that maintaining positivity is essential in an interview, but it can be very difficult to do when discussing some topics. It's tough to be positive when describing difficult bosses or coworkers from your past, or explaining why you were fired from your previous job, but that's exactly what employers want to see in you. Show them that you can maintain a positive attitude about a challenging environment, and they'll see the resilient and flexible individual they're looking for.

9. Be Honest

Good interviewers have a way of getting to the crux of who you are. They may have an innate sense for reading people, or they might just be really good at asking the right questions. Regardless, it's essential to approach your interview with honesty.
If you interview dishonestly, you'll either not get the job when the interviewer sees right through you, or you'll end up in a job that's a poor fit. Don't focus on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead focus on giving an honest and passionate breakdown of what you have to offer.

Bringing It All Together

Let's face it, interviewing is still tough. It's hard to show who you really are and what you're capable of during a quick sit-down chat. These strategies will help you to eliminate nervousness and anything unexpected that might derail an otherwise great interview.
Are there questions that I've missed? What's the best way to make yourself stand out in an interview? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

9 Financial Decisions You Should Make Before You Turn 30


Turning 30, for many people, is a wakeup call. It’s the time when you typically enter a new phase of life- either you get married or have kids (or plan to have them).
In this article, We cover 9  important financial decisions you need to make before you turn 30.
#1: Understand the most powerful word in finance: Compounding
Consider the investment behavior of two friends, Sameer and Rajesh
  • Sameer starts investing Rs 10,000 every year at the age of 25 and stops at the age of 35, but does not withdraw
  • Rajesh starts investing Rs 10,000 every year at the age of 35 and continues till he’s 65 years old

Who do you think will have more money when they are both 65?
As crazy as it may sound, Sameer will have 2.5 times the amount Rajesh has (1.28 Crores vs 46.5 lakhs), even though Rajesh invested for 20 years more.
What happened in this case is that for Sameer, money started compounding early, and earned interest, which in turn generated further interest, and this goes on. This is the true power of compounding. (Click here to see the calculation sheet)
Expert Tip: Start investing today. Even if it’s just Rs 10,000 a year, it will compound to many times that amount by the time you retire.

#2: Buy a home or keep renting?

Most of us would like to have a place we call home. The question you have to ask yourself is, do you need to buy one or would you want to stay in a rented place?
Buying a home is more of an emotional purchase rather than a logical one for most people- especially if they are taking a home loan.
Understand the pros and cons of owning a home/living in a rented accommodation and make a decision. Your home buying/renting decision will have a huge impact on your future financial planning since it’s probably the biggest single ever investment you’d make in your lifetime.
If you are not sure about renting vs buying, use this interactive calculator to find out if buying home makes sense for you.
#3: Get insured
We have all, at some point of time, seen those LIC advertisements. It portrays the role LIC plays in helping with children’s marriage or education when the earning member of the family has passed away unexpectedly.
While we all wish it does not happen to us, life is highly unpredictable. Make sure that you get a life insurance – term insurance is most recommended. The earlier you get a life insurance, the lower the premiums and complications.
And don’t stop with just life insurance. With rising medical costs, you also need to get a medical insurance to cover your medical costs. Even if your employer gives you a medical cover, take one additional to cover you and your entire family.
Taking medical and life insurance also helps you save tax under Section 80D and Section 80C respectively.
Expert tip: Insurance is an expense and not an investment. Don’t fall for money back plans that typically give you much lower returns for your investments. When choosing life insurance, always opt for term insurance.
#4: Set aside an emergency fund
You should set aside 3-6 months of your monthly expenses (including any EMIs you might have) in a separate emergency fund. Make sure you do not withdraw from this fund unless it’s for emergencies.
And no, upgrading your hatchback to a sedan does not count as an emergency!
#5: Make the right career choice
Chances are, by the time you are 30, you would have switched a couple of jobs. If you are not yet settled in a job (not a company, but a line of work), you have to do some soul searching.
Find out what ticks with you and stick to it. Just because you might have read about someone starting up and claiming that you should be your own boss, doesn’t mean you can succeed at your own business.
Take calculated risks. Following your passion does not guarantee that it can help you pay the bills. In all likelihood, the moment you try to earn a living by following your passion, you’d probably starting liking it less.
Figure out what makes you happy and helps you pay the bills. Then stick to it and follow a routine investment plan to ensure you have enough savings to help you retire and do what you are most passionate about (even if it means you have to keep spending money on it).
#6: Invest in yourself
There are two ways to get more money.
One, be thrifty and save as much as possible. Two, increase your income.
The latter is better because there is only so much you can control when it comes to saving. There are too many external factors (rent increase, petrol prices shoot up and so on) due to which making money by controlling expenses become difficult.
Expert Tip: Increase your income by investing in yourself. Learn a new skill so that you get a promotion in your current job. Or maybe just spend money for a relaxing vacation to make you more efficient when you come back fresh.
#7: Plan for retirement
Unfortunately, most people are not prepared enough for retirement. Either they miscalculate the amount of money they require at the time of retirement, or start saving when it’s too late.
Don’t make the mistake of not having enough money and having to rely on your kids for your expenses.
Start planning for your retirement before you hit 30 (the earlier the better).
Not sure where to start? Here’s a handy retirement guide for you that helps you save 10 crore retirement corpus and also retire 7 years earlier than planned.
#8: Become debt free
If you are not debt free yet, you are not alone. With easy access to loans and EMI schemes, more Indians than ever are under debt.
Debt is something that you need to get rid of before you turn 30 – or at least take steps to minimize it.
The next time you get your bonus or hike in salary, instead of the latest feature-packed mobile on EMI, decide to pre-pay your loans and become debt free as soon as possible.
Expert tip: While becoming debt free is good, not all debt is bad debt. Debt taken for purposes of creating a long term high value asset (like starting a businesses or buying a reasonably priced home within your budget) is OK.
#9: Plan for your children’s education & marriage
Even if you don’t have children, it pays to make a financial plan. With the spiralling cost of education, it’s important that you start planning as early as possible.
Some kindergartens charge you more than a lakh for admission. A medical seat in a reputed private college can be more than 60 lakhs. An MBA from a good business school can easily cost you 13-15 lakhs (50 lakhs + if you want to do it from a reputed school outside of India). That’s how expensive good education has become.
Make sure you start a SIP for your child as early as possible so that by the time they want to want to get into a good college, lack of funding won’t hold them back.
You have heard of the big fat Indian weddings. When it comes to your children’s marriage, you want to celebrate it- and that’s OK. These are small things in life that are ones in a lifetime moments.

Make sure you set a separate target for your children’s marriage spending and work towards that goal. Since the cost of conducting a marriage is increasing at a very rapid rate, traditional saving accounts like bank FDs and RDs won’t work

The One Secret of Highly Successful Leaders

I have always had a hard time not being myself. This trait has mostly served me well, but sometimes it annoys people who expect me to be their version of a leader. Some people think they need to be a caricature of themselves to do well.

Some leaders try to act like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett because they assume it’s the right path to success. They may not even be aware that they are hiding behind a facade as they try to be a person who they are not.
However, highly successful leaders choose a different way to lead, and it’s a radical departure from this idea of the carefully crafted persona. They understand that if they want others to follow them, they need to pull back the curtain.
Think for a moment about successful leaders you may know. They are charismatic. They draw people in. They aren’t afraid to show their true selves. They are real. I do my best to be the real Brian as the CEO of Aha! (product roadmap software).
Successful leaders don’t hide their goals and their motives. They broadcast them. For example, we give every employee direct access to the Aha! operating plan and share our key customer, revenue, and expense information. We do this because we believe that better insight into the business creates a greater sense of ownership.
So that was a big hint, I believe the one secret of highly successful leaders is transparency.
Here are a few reasons why being transparent can help you be a better leader.
Establishes confidence
Transparency serves as a model for how you want the team to work. You will find that others will want to engage with you. Sharing not only the goal but how you arrived at the conclusion allows others to get on board, think things through, and grow stronger themselves.
Creates buy-in
You choose to share the goals with your team -- but you also choose to explain why those goals matter. That means sharing your thought process -- your assumptions and conclusions that you have brought to bear in making a decision. When you are willing to share the “why” with the "what" you help create buy-in from your team.
Builds trust
When you are transparent with employees, you show respect for their efforts. It's that simple. And respect builds trust. Being transparent is about being open and honest about your motivations and decisions. If you operate from the premise that what you see is what you get, you will build stronger, trusting teams.
Transparency goes hand in hand with humility. When you are transparent, you bring your authentic self to play. You are saying, “this is what I believe, and why I believe that.”
Transparency is the currency that is used to acquire trust. It's an investment that also requires you to be open to the possibility that you might be wrong. Someone else may have a better way or another idea. Someone may correct a misconception that you have. Can you accept that?

The 9 Worst Mistakes You Can Ever Make at Work


We’ve all heard of (or seen firsthand) people doing some pretty crazy things at work.
Truth is, you don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career.
No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain behaviors that instantly change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light.
The following list contains nine of the most notorious behaviors that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Backstabbing
The name says it all. Stabbing your colleagues in the back, intentionally or otherwise, is a huge source of strife in the workplace. One of the most frequent forms of backstabbing is going over someone’s head to solve a problem. People typically do this in an attempt to avoid conflict, but they end up creating even more conflict as soon as the victim feels the blade. Anytime you make someone look bad in the eyes of their colleagues, it feels like a stab in the back, regardless of your intentions.
2. Gossiping
People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping about other people. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip finds its way to them, but gossiping will make you look negative and spiteful every time, guaranteed.
3. Taking Credit for Someone Else’s Work
We’ve all experienced that stomach-dropping feeling that happens when you discover that someone has stolen your idea. Taking credit for someone else’s work­—no matter how small—creates the impression that you haven’t accomplished anything significant on your own. Stealing credit also shows that you have zero regard for your team and your working relationships.
4. Having an Emotional Hijacking
My company provides 360° feedback and executive coaching, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking.
An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence, and it’s an easy way to get fired. As soon as you show that level of instability, people will question whether or not you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.
Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling your emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.
5. Announcing That You Hate Your Job
The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
6. Bragging
When someone hits a home run and starts gloating as they run the bases, it’s safe to assume that they haven’t hit very many home runs. On the other hand, if they hit a home run and simply run the bases, it conveys a business-as-usual mentality, which is far more intimidating to the other team.
Accomplishing great things without bragging about them demonstrates the same strong mentality—it shows people that succeeding isn’t unusual to you.
7. Telling Lies
So many lies begin with good intentions—people want to protect themselves or someone else—but lies have a tendency to grow and spread until they’re discovered, and once everyone knows that you’ve lied, there’s no taking it back.
Getting caught up in a lie, no matter how small, is exhausting and hard on your self-esteem. You have to be authentic if you want to be happy with who you are.
8. Eating Smelly Food
Unless you happen to work on a ship, your colleagues are going to mind if you make the entire place smell like day-old fish. The general rule of thumb when it comes to food at work is, anything with an odor that might waft beyond the kitchen door should be left at home.
It might seem like a minor thing, but smelly food is inconsiderate and distracting—and so easily avoidable. When something that creates discomfort for other people is so easily avoided, it tends to build resentment quickly. Your pungent lunch tells everyone that you just don’t care about them, even when you do.
9. Burning Bridges
So much of work revolves around the people you meet and the connections you make. Dropping an atomic bomb on any professional relationship is a major mistake.
One of TalentSmart’s clients is a large chain of coffee shops. They have a relatively high turnover, so when a barista quits, it isn’t usually taken personally. One barista, however, managed to burn every single bridge she had in a single day. The surprising thing is that she didn’t yell or do anything extreme; all she did was leave.
Without warning, she showed up to her Monday shift, told the store manager she was quitting (she had found a better-paying job somewhere else), and walked out. The result, of course, was that every shift that she was scheduled to work for the next two weeks had to be done with one less person, as she provided no time to find a replacement.
She most likely saw her actions as being offensive only to the manager (whom she didn’t like), but in reality, she created two miserable weeks for everyone who worked at the shop. She ruined her otherwise positive connections, with every single one of her colleagues.
Bringing It All Together
These behaviors sound extreme and highly inconsiderate, but they have a tendency to sneak up on you. A gentle reminder is a great way to avoid them completely.
What other behaviors should I add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Monday, 23 March 2015

10 Ways to Stop Lack of Sleep From Killing You (Because It Is)



Millions of people suffer from chronic sleep disorders that decrease daily functioning and adversely affect health and longevity. To make things worse, one study even found that reduced sleep time carries a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
(And to make things more depressing, your office is plotting to kill you, too.)
So if you sleep like a baby -- which means you wake up bawling every two hours -- forget the Ambien and warm milk. One of the best things you can do is take steps to eliminate some of the stress, worry, and anxiety that keeps you awake.
Like:
1. Set up automated warning systems.
The larger your scope of responsibility--professional or personal--the more you have to worry about. Your list of concerns is endless, so you're always on edge, especially at night. That makes you constantly check your email. Or check certain dashboards. Or text and call to make sure things are OK.
The fear of the unknown--of what might be happening that you don't know about--drives you crazy.
Instead of worrying about what you don't know, make sure you will know. Decidewhat you need to know when, and set up systems to support you. Let your employees know what constitutes an emergency--and, just as importantly, what doesn't.
And then create automated systems that notify you of problems.
For example, a friend runs a 1,200-employee manufacturing plant. He has a separate phone and email account just for emergencies, and his employees call that phone or send emails to "emergency@hiscompany.com." He turns off his regular phone at night and sleeps soundly because he knows if something does happen he'll know right away--he won't have to check.
Determine what you need to know and create systems to ensure you will know.
You'll definitely sleep better.
2. Step back from something you care about but have no ability to impact.
For some people, it's politics. For others, it's family. For others, it's global warming. You care... and you desperately want others to care.
Fine. Do what you can do. Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle and reduce your carbon footprint. Be an example. Be your own change...but don't try to make everyone else change.
3. Get off the gossip train.
Help. Offer guidance. Encourage. Motivate.
But don't gossip. And don't get mixed up in office politics. It always ends badly.
So never put yourself in a position where you're worried that Phil will tell Allen you said something snarky about Stu... and that's the kind of stress you definitely don't need.
4. Decide you will see criticism as something to be grateful for.
Think of it this way: When you get feedback, at least someone cares enough to want you to improve your product, your service, your work, your life....
You only need to worry when no one cares enough to criticize you.
Criticism creates an opportunity for you to be an even better you. Embrace that opportunity.
5. Write everything down.
David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, told me this:
"Most people try to use their psyche as their systemic process, which means issues gain importance based on your emotions. I've never met anyone who said they didn't feel a little better if they sat down and made a list. Nothing changes when you write things down except how you engage with your issues: You can be objective and also be creative and intuitive.
"Your head is for having ideas, not holding ideas, and it's certainly not for filing things away. Without exception, you will feel better if you get stuff out of your head."
Try it. Write down your challenges. List your problems. List what worries you.
You'll immediately feel better since you'll realize things aren't as bad as you think. And you'll start to figure out ways to make things better -- because now you won't passively worry. You'll actively solve your problems.
Then take it a step further and write down anything you need to remember; that way you won't lay awake worrying about what you might forget.
6. Reduce the number of judgment calls you need to make.
The more prepared you are to handle a situation, the easier it is to be objective--and to avoid stressing out later over whether or not you made the wrong call.
Create price lists that take into account unusual requests. Set up guidelines for responding to customer complaints. Create employee policies for objective areas like attendance, quality, and performance.
Decide what you will allow your kids to do before they start asking.
Think about situations you struggle with and decide what you will do before those situations get stressful or confrontational. (For example, what would you do if one of your employees tweeted things like this?)
Then you can make better decisions and greatly reduce your level of stress... and possibly also your number of regrets.
7. Create a cutoff time...
Yeah, I know, you consider yourself a 24/7 go-getter. But that's impossible. Decide what time you'll stop working each day, no matter what.
And if stopping makes you feel guilty?
8. ...and create a plan for tomorrow.
Write down what you need to do first thing tomorrow. You'll rest easier knowing you have a plan to take care of whatever you didn't get done today.
9. Spend a few minutes every day getting better at something.
It doesn't matter what you pick. Just make sure it's not business. A musical instrument. A foreign language. A sport. A hobby. Whatever it is, spend a little time on it. Get a little better. (Here are some great ways to improve any skill.)
Step outside your daily grind and do something for yourself. In the process, you'll gain a little perspective.
Perspective soothes the soul. (And so does success -- in amy area of your life.)
10. Count your blessings.
Take a moment every night before you turn out the light to stop worrying about what you don't have. Stop worrying about what others have that you don't.
Think about what you do have.
It's easy to forget just how much we do have to be thankful for. Feels pretty good to remember, doesn't it?
That's great, because feeling better about yourself is the best sleep aid of all.