March 28, 2014

Let Yourself BE Yourself

Make this day about fulfilling your possibilities, not about satisfying your ego. Make this day about being your authentic best, not about appearing to be impressive.

Free yourself from the burden of worrying about what others might think of you. Use all that liberated energy to make a real, substantive difference in the world.

If you let your ego run your life, it will impose a great cost and leave you with nothing of real value. Raise your expectations higher, and go far beyond those burdensome superficial concerns.

You are genuinely beautiful, worthy and have much to offer life. Let yourself be your authentic self, and let that beauty come forth.

Do what you're most passionate about doing. Let go of all the things you do to merely keep up appearances.

There is immense value in the unique, authentic person you are. Today, and every day, generously share that value with all of life.

8 Easy Ways to Embrace Change

"Nobody likes change except wet babies."

In today's business world, it's not good enough to "manage" change.  Instead, you've got to love change and that's only possible if you know how to adapt to change and use it to your advantage.  Here are the new rules:

1. Have a long-term vision but short-term plans.

It's a truism that "failure to plan is planning to fail." However, while having no plan will indeed get you nowhere, planning too far ahead (as in more than a year) is wasted effort.

Even if you've got a very clear picture of where you want to get to, your focus needs to be on your next few steps.  Gazing at the horizon is a good way to trip over the first bump in your path.

2. Decide quickly rather than thoroughly.

Today's business environment is too volatile for you to take time to ponder all alternatives before making a decision.  Instead, you've got to think creatively, press to a conclusion, and then act promptly.

Remember: It's always better to make the "wrong" decision quickly and then adjust tactics than to make the "right" decision when it's too late to matter.

3. Build small, autonomous teams.

Because they have less bureaucracy, small product-focused teams make it harder to hide problems. This creates an early warning system so that you can fix it more quickly when things go wrong.

For example, if you see a team struggling, you might shift resources to get it back on track or alternatively shut the team down before its failure damages profitability.

4. Draw on your team's collective wisdom.

While it's essential to make decisions quickly, that doesn't mean making them arbitrarily. Employees have a right to influence and discuss any decision that's going to affect them.

However, after the decision is made, the time for debate is over.  Even employees who think a decision is wrong should do their best to make it the right one.

5. Keep assignments fluid and flexible.

Conventional wisdom says your organization should be an orchestra, with the boss conducting the employees, each of whom has a well-defined part to play.

In today's fast-moving markets, though, it makes more sense to think of your organization as a jazz ensemble, where everyone knows the basic song, improvising as needed.

6. Throw away those org charts.

Pop Quiz: Organization charts are the business equivalent of:
  • navel-gazing
  • deck chair-arranging
  • tetris-playing
  • all of the above
Employees should be constantly forming and reforming into teams that accomplish tasks at hand, not wasting time in political struggles over some boxes on a screen.

7. Alternate between crunch and slack.

Sometimes, your entire organization will need to go full bore, with everyone working around the clock to see that a deadline is reached.  Being permanently in "overdrive" however, burns everyone out.

To be effective, crunch times must alternate with corresponding slack times, where it's OK to goof off or even just stay at home and chill.

8. Demand achievement rather than compliance.

Back in the day, employees went to work in the morning and left in the late afternoon, Monday through Friday, like clockwork, except for holidays and vacations.

Today, you want employees to get things done rather than just warm seats, which means letting the employees decide when they're needed in the office and when it's better to work remotely.

When Mistakes are OK?‏

We all have our own comfort levels when it comes to risk taking and the potential for making mistakes - especially on the job. Here are four times when making mistakes should not be cause for concern.

Here are four criteria to help you find that balance individually and as team or organization:

1. Mistakes are OK if we learn from them. Remember that one of the best opportunities to learn is when we do something wrong – when we make a mistake. If you reduce the opportunities for mistakes you seriously limit your learning opportunities.

2. Mistakes are OK if they aren't repeated. So you make a mistake once, learn from it. If it is a repeated mistake, it is less valuable as a learning experience (unless you’re trying to learn the mistake). In fact anything you did learn from the first mistake, likely will be lost with the repeat performance.

3. Mistakes are OK if they are done in pursuit of your goals and objectives. To achieve any worthy goal or objective different things must be tried.

4. Mistakes are OK if they don’t conflict with your values. If your values safety and the mistake put you at a physical risk, then that mistake isn't advisable. But if no laws are broken and no values are violated, a mistake shouldn't carry major repercussions.

~ Source: Unknown ~

March 27, 2014

Effective Communication

You might have experienced misunderstanding in family or official life on several occasions. The reason is obvious that either of the person didn't state his/her stance in clear fashion or perceive it clearly. So where does the fault lie and how can we improve? Let us study the below recommendations which need to be considered by Communicator or Listener in order to have solid common understanding and avoid communication gaps.

1. Improve vocabulary: 
Every word has its own deep meanings. For example there is a difference between 'Hate' and 'Dislike'. Likewise, there is a difference between 'Should' and 'Must'. To enhance vocabulary you should learn new words and understand the meanings of synonyms and antonyms as well. You can use on-line dictionaries or built-in features of MS Word (right click on a word to know synonyms/antonyms. 

2. Listen carefully and listen more. 
If you listen more you are absorbing more and improving your level of comprehension. If you speak more you are on the verge of confusing others. So listen more and speak less. And when you speak, speak slowly and softly. Ask if you have communicated clearly or more elaboration is required.

3. If you don't understand something, ask for elaboration. 
It is said that "If you doubt at first, doubt again and clear it"

4. Put yourself in others' shoes to understand their perspective. 
Think win-win. Analyse the situation from everyone's perspective. Consider all the stake holders and consider their emotions. Develop Emotional Intelligence skill. Google it today.

5. If you are writing Emails/Letters/Fax then re-read after you are done with typing. 
Considering point-4 while you review your article. You can ask someone to comment on what you have written.

6. Avoid hard words to avoid bad taste: 
For example instead of saying 'Rejected' use the word 'Not Approved'. When you say No, you should sound as if you wanted to say Yes but due to specific issue you can't say yes. So if that issue is addressed, you will be saying Yes and Saying Approved.

7. Avoid too many arguments. 
Convince or get convinced. If things gets complicated, take a break… engage some well-wishers to assist resolve the matter.

Further, I would recommend understanding Berlos Model of Communication. As per him, there are 4 factors which can ensure strong communication if considered properly. 

These are Source, Message, Channel & Receiver. 

By source he means that the speaker needs to have good communication skills, positive attitude, has understanding of cultural aspects and proper knowledge on the subject. 

By Message he means that the speaker has to use mature and to-the-point wordings. 

By Channel means that correct medium at correct time (phone call, physical appearance, email, fax) to be used. 

By Receiver he means that Receiver needs to understand the message clearly. The Receiver's level of understanding, attitude and Listening skills matter a lot.

Effective Communication is an indication of your wisdom and maturity level and is critically important to enhance your personal and professional relationship. Developing this habit will improve your bonds with your friends, colleagues and family members so start working on this starting today…

~ By Junaid Tahir ~

10 Steps For Becoming A Leader

Everyone wants to lead, but at what cost? A careless approach to leadership can result in major losses for everyone.

Most of us can recall a leader who just wasn't cut out for the job. Being a leader is demanding; becoming a great leader is uncommon. Followers aren't particularly merciful to those who lead incompetently. Instead, they can respond with insubordination, decreased productivity, or a generalized attitude of confusion or frustration.

If you are a business leader or thinking about becoming one, here are some mistakes to avoid: 

1. Don't lord it over your staff. No one likes a know-it-all. Assuming a cocky stance or a bullying attitude will strike a similar flint in the hearts of your subordinates. 

2. Don't be a softie. Just as a sharp edge can have a cutting effect, a marshmallow can quickly lose its shape. Being a people pleaser means that you will inevitably let someone down, so don't even try. Instead, focus on the job and make it work with everyone's interests as best you can without bending over backwards until you break. 

3. Don't put on a over-confident front. If you need information, ask for it rather than pretend you have all the answers. There's nothing wrong with an honest question, but there's plenty wrong with someone who is afraid to ask. 

4. Don't misjudge employees' abilities. Take time to read files, interview people, and observe performance before making staffing decisions. Put competent, trustworthy people in charge of important projects so that neither you nor the company will regret it. 

5. Don't play favorites. Owing a favour or liking a person are two poor reasons for handing out raises and promotions. Feeling sorry for someone is just as bad. Use good judgment and fair play to make staff decisions. 

6. Don't hold a grudge. If you don't get along with someone, stay away from the person; don't try to get even. Leaders who use their position of authority to take punitive action based on personal vendettas are likely to find themselves in trouble. 

7. Don't take a casual approach to the budget. Get to know it thoroughly. Understand company growth patterns and long-term projections, as well as how your leadership can play a role. Being careless with money is dangerous and potentially costly in the business world. Careless mistakes take time to fix, and in business, time is money. 

8. Don't overlook company shifts, goals, or problems. Study the "big picture" with a view to finding your place in it and growing with the company. 

9. Keep an eye on industry trends. Know what's "hot" and what's not; that's how leaders keep leading. Otherwise, someone who is more knowledgeable than you may take your place. 

10. Stay human. When mistakes happen, forgive others and yourself. Laugh and be friendly, but don't look foolish doing it. Avoid mechanical responses and a 24/7 mentality toward your job. Do your best, but then leave the rest of your job at work until the next day. It'll be there when you return. At night and on weekends, enjoy your family and have fun. You've earned it. 

Becoming a leader is challenging. Follow these suggestions to avoid problems and help your company and your career reach their potential. 

source: unknown

March 26, 2014

15 Tips For Writing An Excellent Email Subject Line

If you're like most professionals, you probably write dozens of emails a day but barely think about the subject line. It's an afterthought that you add just before you hit send.

If so, you're making a big mistake. The subject line often determines whether an email is opened and how the recipient responds.

We asked career, email, and marketing experts to offer their best tips for crafting the perfect subject line. Whether you're looking for a job, emailing co-workers, or reaching out to potential clients, here's how you should approach it:

1. Write the subject line first. 
One of the top mistakes people make on email is forgetting to write a subject line, says Amanda Augustine, career expert at professional job-matching service The Ladders. An email with a blank subject line will likely go unread or get lost in a cluttered inbox. Write the subject line before the email so you know it’s taken care of. 

2. Keep it short. 
A typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone shows just 25 to 30 characters, says Augustine. Get right to the point in about six to eight words. 

3. Place the most important words at the beginning. 
A whopping 50% of emails are read on mobile phones, says Dmitri Leonov, a VP at email management service Sane Box. Since you don’t know how much of the subject line will be viewable from a smartphone, it’s important to put the most important information at the beginning. Otherwise, compelling details could get cut off. 

4. Eliminate filler words. 
With such precious space, don’t waste it with unnecessary words like “hello,” “nice to meet you,” and “thanks,” which can easily be included in the email’s body. 

5. Be clear and specific about the topic of the email. 
The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about so that the recipient can prioritize the email’s importance without having to open it. For example, writing “Do you have a sec?” is vague, says Augustine, since the reader will have to open the email or reply to figure out what you want. If it’s a job application, she suggests including your name and the position, and if it’s to another co-worker, you should identify the project that the email refers to. 

6. Keep it simple and focused. 
Especially if you’re sending a marketing email, Kipp Bodnar, a VP at marketing software platform HubSpot, says it should be focused on one action, which should be communicated in the subject line. Offer one takeaway, indicate how the reader can make use of it, and specify how you will deliver it. 

7. Use logical keywords for search and filtering. 
Most professionals have filters and folders set up to manage their email and probably won’t focus on your message when they first see it, says Leonov. That’s why it’s important to include keywords related to the topic of the email that will make it searchable later. 

8. Indicate if you need a response. 
“People want to know whether they really need to read this now and if they have to respond,” says Augustine. If you need a response, make it clear in the subject line by saying “please reply” or “thoughts needed on X topic.” If not, simply start the line with “Please read,” or tack on “no response needed” or “FYI” to the end. 

9. Set a deadline in the subject line. 
Especially if you have a lot of information to convey in the email itself, including a deadline right in the subject line exponentially increases the odds that readers will respond. For example, after the email’s topic, you could say: “Please reply by EOD Friday.” 

10. If someone referred you, be sure to use their name. 
If you've been referred by a mutual acquaintance, do not save that for the body of the email, says Augustine. Put it in the subject line to grab the reader’s attention right away. Moreover, she suggests beginning the subject line with the full name of the person who referred you. 

11. Highlight the value you have to offer. 
If sending a cold email to someone you don’t know, “you need a subject line that indicates value and communicates what they’re going to get,” says Bodnar. Pique the reader’s interest by offering them something that’s helpful. Whether you’re providing a speaking opportunity, a discount, or a service, make it clear in the subject line what’s in it for them. 

12. Personalize it with the recipient’s name or company name. 
You have to know who you’re sending the email to, and they have to recognize that it’s about them or a subject interesting to them, Bodnar says. Using their name or company name is one of the best ways to do that, he says, and makes the recipient much more likely to open the email. For example, you might write, “Increase’s traffic by 25%,” or “John, see how you compare to competitors.” 

13. Don’t start a sentence that you finish in the email’s body. 
If you begin a thought or question that ends in the email, then the reader is forced to open the email. It’s annoying, and since clarity and being respectful of the recipient’s time is the goal, it’s not very helpful, says Augustine. Consider whether instant message, a call, or an in-person chat might be a better medium for your question. 

14. Make sure you reread the subject line. 
Augustine also warns against copy-and-paste errors. Sometimes when people are sending a similar email to multiple people, they forget to tailor it to each reader and end up with the wrong name or title in the subject line. The easiest way to avoid this is to reread the subject line before you hit send. 

15. Don’t put words in ALL CAPS. 
Using all caps may get someone’s attention, but in the wrong way. It’s the digital equivalent of yelling, and your job is to make the email as easy as possible for the recipient to read rather than giving them anxiety, says Leonov. Instead, use dashes or colons to separate thoughts, and avoid caps and special characters like exclamation points.

Source: BusinessInsider

Electronics Devices Not Good for Children Under the Age of 12‏

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. 

1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant's brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010).

3. Epidemic Obesity
TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity (Tremblay 2005). Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have 30% increased incidence of obesity (Feng 2011). One in four Canadian, and one in three U.S. children are obese (Tremblay 2011). 30% of children with obesity will develop diabetes, and obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke and heart attack, gravely shortening life expectancy (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2010). Largely due to obesity, 21st century children may be the first generation many of whom will not outlive their parents (Professor Andrew Prentice, BBC News 2002).

4. Sleep Deprivation
60% of parents do not supervise their child's technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms (Kaiser Foundation 2010). 75% of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted (Boston College 2012).

5. Mental Illness 
Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior (Bristol University 2010, Mentzoni 2011, Shin 2011, Liberatore 2011, Robinson 2008). One in six Canadian children have a diagnosed mental illness, many of whom are on dangerous psychotropic medication (Waddell 2007).

6. Aggression 
Violent media content can cause child aggression (Anderson, 2007). Young children are increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in today's media. "Grand Theft Auto V" portrays explicit sex, murder, rape, torture and mutilation, as do many movies and TV shows. The U.S. has categorized media violence as a Public Health Risk due to causal impact on child aggression (Huesmann 2007). Media reports increased use of restraints and seclusion rooms with children who exhibit uncontrolled aggression.

7. Digital dementia
High speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex (Christakis 2004, Small 2008). Children who can't pay attention can't learn.

8. Addictions
As parents attach more and more to technology, they are detaching from their children. In the absence of parental attachment, detached children can attach to devices, which can result in addiction (Rowan 2010). One in 11 children aged 8-18 years are addicted to technology (Gentile 2009).

9. Radiation emission
In May of 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones (and other wireless devices) as a category 2B risk (possible carcinogen) due to radiation emission (WHO 2011). James McNamee with Health Canada in October of 2011 issued a cautionary warning stating "Children are more sensitive to a variety of agents than adults as their brains and immune systems are still developing, so you can't say the risk would be equal for a small adult as for a child." (Globe and Mail 2011). In December, 2013 Dr. Anthony Miller from the University of Toronto's School of Public Health recommend that based on new research, radio frequency exposure should be reclassified as a 2A (probable carcinogen), not a 2B (possible carcinogen). American Academy of Pediatrics requested review of EMF radiation emissions from technology devices, citing three reasons regarding impact on children (AAP 2013).

10. Unsustainable
The ways in which children are raised and educated with technology are no longer sustainable (Rowan 2010). Children are our future, but there is no future for children who overuse technology. A team-based approach is necessary and urgent in order to reduce the use of technology by children. Please reference below slide shows on under "videos" to share with others who are concerned about technology overuse by children.

Problems - Suffer the Children - 4 minutes
Solutions - Balanced Technology Management - 7 minutes

The following Technology Use Guidelines for children and youth were developed by Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and author of Virtual Child; Dr. Andrew Doan, neuroscientist and author of Hooked on Games; and Dr. Hilarie Cash, Director of reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program and author of Video Games and Your Kids, with contribution from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society in an effort to ensure sustainable futures for all children.

Technology Use Guidelines for children and Youth


~ By Cris Rowan ~

Story: The Doctor and the Father

A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes & went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father pacing in the hall waiting for the doctor. 

On seeing him, the dad yelled:
“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have any sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled & said:
“I am sorry, I wasn't in the hospital & I came as fast as I could after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again & replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book “From dust we came & to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go & intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advises when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy,
“Thank goodness!, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any questions, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn't wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

  1. Never judge anyone... because you never know how their life is & what they’re going through”
  2. People who jump the gun in most cases happen to be foul mouthed. "Just keep away from them".

~ By Junaid Tahir ~

Six Tips for Tough Times

Tough times can bring you to your knees. They can also raise you to new heights.

You can be stressed to the maximum on a bad day, yet, as long as life seems manageable, you don’t usually look for new strategies to get through it. The tendency is to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, grit your teeth and keep on going. During prolonged or sudden tough times, though, normal defense mechanisms are not enough to keep you from feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed.

It’s when events are overwhelmingly beyond your control, that you either find new ways to cope or are pulled down by the undertow. Your usual defenses are inadequate to protect from overwhelming long-term stress. Stress can build gradually beyond tolerance level, or a surprising turn of events like those recently reported in the news can create the kind of vulnerability that demands openness to change.

The soft inner core of your being feels exposed. This exposure opens a crack in the old armour through which an opportunity for renewed life can shine.

Here are six tips that can help you thrive in tough times?

Nourish Yourself - Let go of the bootstraps for a few moments, acknowledge your stress and be kind to yourself. What nourishes you - inspirational reading, music, a cup of tea …? Are there people or places, a favourite chair or spot in nature that provide sustenance? Make nurturing yourself every day a priority.

Stay Present - Don’t project ahead. Take life one day, one moment at a time.  Tough times are more manageable when you pay attention to making decisions and taking action on only the next step. Fearful preoccupation or worries about dire imagined future possibilities can leave you open to illness, accidents and errors in judgement that compound your problems. Scale down, simplify your activities and concentrate your precious energy supply on only what is critically important right now.

Accept Support - This can be difficult for people who prize self-sufficiency.  Remember it is as virtuous to receive, as it is to give. Without the receiver, the giver has no way to share their abundant gifts. Don’t deprive your friends and family of the pleasure to help you when you need it. Shared burdens provide opportunities for enhanced closeness and appreciation for one another.

Trust Your Resilience - Chances are you have been through tough times before. What natural strengths did you rely upon in those situations? How did you make it through adolescence, Childbirth, Marriage, Divorce, School, First job? What are your natural inner resources? Trust that you have what you need to see this tough time through. Visualize Success - See yourself moving into a new chapter of life. How do you want to write that chapter?  Creation begins in the imagination. If you can think it, you can create it.  In order to be free to dream and hope for something new, you must let go of old visions, descriptions and limitations of the person you think you are or can become.

Forgive Past Errors - Forgive past hurts, and people who may have inflicted them, knowingly or unknowingly. This is not out of kindness to them, rather out of kindness to you.  After all, you are the one carrying the burden of these hurts.   Forgive yourself for mistakes or paths not taken.  Release the burden of the past so you can travel lighter in the present.

In times of crisis and radical change, remember that living means growing. I have never seen anything in nature grow backward. So, as bad as you feel, and as much as you doubt it, if you are alive you are growing.

Growth is creative.  So, take advantage of the opportunity in these tough times to re-create your life by nourishing yourself, staying present, accepting support, trusting your resilience, visioning possibilities and letting go of the past and perceived limitations.

Even though tough times are hard, they can also be the best times to explore ways to live more harmoniously with yourself and others.

~ By Aila Accad ~