Daily Prompt: Explore

via Daily Prompt: Explore

Exploration is one of the keys to self awareness and personal growth. Many different aspects of life can be explored, all leading to the same discovery: happiness.

Work

Regardless of age, you should be exploring every avenue available. Take different jobs, work for different companies, move laterally or up, and volunteer some time. Find out what you enjoy doing, then kick ass at it. For some, they figure it out early, and for others it takes years. Either way, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things.

Social Life

Meet new people everyday. Engage in a friendly conversation with a stranger. It could be in line at the grocery store, or while standing on a street corner waiting for your turn to cross the street.  You don’t have to make a new best friend, but a simple conversation can teach you a lot about yourself. You never know who you might meet, and it’s great practice for networking.

Travel

Even though the entire planet has been mapped out, it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore your city, country, or any other place. New destinations come with new experiences, new people, new architecture, and new food, which are some of the building blocks of personal growth.

Ultimately exploration is about finding yourself. You’ll never know what you might like, if you don’t try it.

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Daily Prompt: Toxic

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

7 Signs That You Work In A Toxic Environment

A job I once had provided an unwanted look into what a toxic work environment can be. It frustrated me everyday, and quickly turned into something I loathed thinking about, even during my off time. The signs of a toxic environment are not always easily identifiable, but once you are made aware of what they look like, recognizing them is simple. What you do after that is up to you.

  1. You have a boss, not a leader.

A real leader is willing to put in work alongside their employees, not crack a whip from the safety of an office. They don’t point fingers and search for someone to blame if something goes wrong either. Instead, an effective leader will work with the team or individual to improve their understanding and hopefully their results.

2. Management is feared, not respected.

Ruling through fear only works for someone who doesn’t understand what respect is or how it works. However, most adults in the workforce fully understand that by showing respect, they get it in return. This creates a positive cycle of respect being shown to everyone else that they may encounter throughout the day. As a result of a positive and respectful work environment, there will inevitably be an increase in productivity and morale.

3. Only failures are recognized, not successes.

Every manager is different. The good ones will point out successes, either through email, a private conversation, or in front of colleagues and co-workers. They will also point out failures, but usually behind closed doors, and will be willing to spend time to help you correct the issue. A bad manager tends to only dwell on failures, call you out like a child in front of everyone, and can even stoop so low as to continually bring up old failures, even in unrelated situations. These bad managers will almost never give you recognition or praise for your success.

4. Absentee ownership.

This is more important to the health of the company than the individual employee. Absentee ownership is probably the worst offence an entrepreneur can can commit. If you’re 65 years old and have a well established team, perhaps you can take more time off, but if your company is struggling, it, as well as the employees, can benefit by having you spend more time there, not less.

5. Unhealthy competition.

Sales competitions can be a great motivator, helping to drive in some extra revenue, especially in the slow times when employees can tend to get complacent. But overlapping of territories or customers can result in animosity between employees, and a disdain for the manager who implemented the contest. Hopefully, any form of competition is well thought out ahead of time, and outlined in full detail with the employees before it begins.

6. Drugs and alcohol at work.

This is pretty straightforward. Drugs and alcohol consumed at work is dangerous to everyone, and a sign of a serious addiction. If anyone is at the point that they require drugs and/or alcohol to get through the day, serious psychological help should be acquired.

 

7. Nepotism.

In my experience, when I worked for family members, I was always expected to output more effort and productivity than other employees. It taught me that regardless of how I got my job, I had to work to keep it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Too often, family members are hired, put in a few years of actual work, then coast for the rest of their career. Ultimately, they manufacture a sense of entitlement, which leads to an abuse of power, unprofessional actions, and a distrust between the employees and employer.

Daily Prompt: Warning

via Daily Prompt: Warning

 

Warnings used to be reserved for dangers that weren’t inherently obvious to the average person. They kept us from doing things that we may or may not have been aware of otherwise.

Today, warnings seem to be on everything. Caution: Hot Coffee, or Warning: Slippery When Wet, are two things that anyone with even a shred of common sense would not have to be told. However, as the old adage goes, common sense isn’t that common.

Sometimes I wonder who these warnings are for. Then I have a look around, and there’s usually someone that reminds me of one reason or another. You’d think that over time, we would learn from certain situations or accidents, and not repeat the same mistakes. But some people just never learn, leading to lawmakers to have to protect us from ourselves. Unfortunately, the more that lawmakers try to protect us, the more dangerous to our own well-being we become.

As any parent would know, if you coddle your child for too long, that child will remain helpless and susceptible to the dangers of the world, without knowing how to navigate the landscape of life.

Parents and mentors need to point those who look to them for guidance in the right direction, and the best way to do it, is by showing them how to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Daily Prompt: Betrayed

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

In the past, I have felt betrayed by outside sources, be it an individual, or a business. I would feel that they owed me something and when I didn’t receive anything in return for my efforts, I just wanted to turn my back on them. This fed into a certain level of depression and loss of self-worth, which I, in turn, used as fuel to accelerate my anger and frustration.

Over the last year, I have been working toward the betterment of myself, by taking the advice of Gary Vaynerchuk, whom I look to as sort of a spiritual guide, so to speak. He is as forward with his message as I tend to be with mine, which can be overwhelming for some, but necessary for all.

As a result of this new self awareness and motivation, I now understand that the only one who has ever betrayed me, is myself.

Daily Prompt: Quartet

via Daily Prompt: Quartet

I grew up on the oldies, 50’s and 60’s music. When I got to high school, I discovered heavy metal, and fell in love. I felt the power of the music, and searched for the bands that had an inspiring message. My favourite band to this day is Tool, the progressive rock/metal band with a cult following for it’s high quality musicianship, open-minded perspective, and mystery.

After a couple of years I was submerged in a sea of metal bands, and thought that this was the be-all-end-all of music for the rest of my days. My mind would soon be changed when I received a burnt CD of a Tool tribute album by the Vitamin String Quartet.

I gave the album a listen and couldn’t believe how this group of classical musicians could absolutely nail every note, beat, and melody. It acted as a catalyst into my journey through the ever-growing spectrum of music.

I have since expanded my love of music into a number of different genres, with the exception of country music, which has never been appealing to me.

Learn more about the Vitamin String Quartet and the bands that they have covered: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_String_Quartet

Daily Prompt: Micro

via Daily Prompt: Micro

Do not micromanage me!

I have worked for an eclectic mix of employers, in a variety of different industries. They all have their upsides and downsides, but my biggest frustration with any manager/boss/owner is micromanagement.

Once I have been trained, if you’ve done your job as a trainer correctly, I do not need someone standing over my shoulder every minute of the day. In fact, I will begin to freeze up, and second-guess myself if they’re watching my every movement. This includes role-playing scenarios, “pop quizzes”, and shadowing. Even if I have done the job for years, and am perfectly capable of performing all tasks entailed in the position, when management is watching I get nervous and can’t do my job to my fullest potential.

If I am underperforming, a clear and concise conversation between manager and employee can get the information across in a fraction of the time, without feeling like I need a babysitter.

If you are happy with my work, good. Leave me alone, and if I need your help, I’ll ask.

Daily Prompt: Swallow

via Daily Prompt: Swallow

I used to not chew my food enough. I would take gargantuan bites, mash it down just enough to swallow, which resulted in eating too fast and feeling like garbage afterward. My dad used to ask, “What are you on, piecework?” My answer was always a quick, “No”, but my actions told another story.

Recently I have figured out why I do this. I absolutely love the taste of food. Chewing for too long, as the food mixes with saliva, neutralizes the flavour. So I follow up by swallowing quickly and shoving more food into my mouth, in order to restore the flavour intensity.

As my body tried desperately to digest the food, I would be in pain from the stretching of an overloaded stomach.

Over the last year, I have begun to slow down, take smaller bites, and really savour the food. I have since noticed that I do not eat as much, leading to healthier and more normal sized bowel movements. But more importantly I do not feel sluggish and unmotivated, or gain unnecessary weight.

Look Into the Black Mirror

Recently, Charlie Brooker, the creator of the Netflix hit, Black Mirror, revealed that the title’s meaning relates to when the device you are watching the show on, turns off, and you are left staring at your reflection in a… you guessed it, black mirror. While this is a fitting title, I feel that it definitely delves deeper into the human psyche, becoming far more than such a literal definition.

When watching an episode, the viewer is challenged by the content. Usually there is some sort of plot twist to try and figure out, a difficult ending to the character’s story, and an inner demon that they must face. This is the first step to the deeper meaning of the Black Mirror. The characters must face the dark side of their own humanity as it intertwines with the newest technology, and the importance of that tech as it is determined by their fellow man. This can invoke an emotional and psychological response from the viewer that most are not quite prepared for.

For me, the meaning goes one step further. By challenging viewers to put themselves in the character’s place, the show turns the emphasis back on them. How would you, as that main character, deal with this situation? Would you do the same thing? Would you have the same emotional reaction? While many of us couldn’t truthfully answer these questions, forcing yourself to be honest, is the first step in revealing the truth, that you have a dark side, aka. your reflection in the Black Mirror.

You Need More Gary Vee in Your Life

“Get off your ass, find out what you’re fucking good at, and triple down on that thing.”

This was the first line I had ever heard from Gary Vaynerchuk aka. Gary Vee. He’s rough around the edges, he’s unorthodox, and he’s unapologetically straightforward. Gary takes the message of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, flips it on its head, and beats you with it, but he’s not trying to be a jerk, just a realist.

Last year I was unemployed, stressed, angry, and sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. As I would do most days, I found myself searching for jobs that I didn’t want, and scrolling through the endless feeding trough of Facebook. I was consuming mostly mental garbage, when I stumbled across a video of Gary. He was harsh and he cursed a lot, but he told the truth and his words resonated with me. “If you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, become tunnel fucking vision,” exclaims Gary. “The reason most people are not doing that thing [they’re supposed to] is they’re worried about the opinion of somebody else.” It was there and then that I stopped trying to live up to what I believed others expected of me, and decided to pursue a career in what I have always loved as a hobby, writing.

I have since been following Gary on different social media platforms, and have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. I know that I am not unique in this personal revelation as millions of people following him throughout social media share similar stories. Gary also has dozens to hundreds of people voluntarily showing up to his “meet-ups”, which are impromptu gatherings in whatever city he finds himself that day, and are initiated through his social media channels. He openly answers questions, and to his benefit, has a chance to network with new and interesting people. He gives sound business and personal advice by telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear

Gary the Entrepreneur

At a very young age, Gary was already an entrepreneur. He would buy, sell, and trade baseball cards, comic books, and toys on the weekends, making himself thousands of dollars in the process. After graduating from college, Gary began working at his father’s liquor store. He transformed it from a 3 million dollar company into a 60 million dollar empire called the Wine Library in just 5 years. From his success in the wine industry, he branched out to digital marketing and investments by starting the companies Vayner Media and Vayner X. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, and General Electric, and helped and invested in successful tech start-ups such a Twitter, Tumblr, and Uber. He continues to invest in new companies, start new businesses, and has recently been working with individual social media and music personalities, such as Rome Fortune and Tierra Whack, helping them to forward their own careers.

Gary believes that social media is the most powerful tool in business today and anyone not using it to its full potential results in missing numerous opportunities. Much like a contractor, he understands that the use of every tool (social media outlet) is necessary to do the job effectively. “If you have the greatest hammer, the greatest screwdriver, and the greatest wrench in front of you. If you don’t use them properly, you will lose,” he says.

Purchasing ad space on Facebook can help, but getting into the heads of your target market and penetrating all of the media channels available today is the way to truly win. He uses his own advice in all of his businesses by working 16-18 hours per day and providing content and information about his companies, his personal brand, and his mentorship to his followers and fans on a daily basis. He speaks mainly of his successes, failures, the realities of business, and the amount of hustle required in order to succeed.

For people like me who are relatively new to Gary Vee and his accomplishments, he can conveniently be lumped into a sea of social media personalities. However, unlike most people making money from social media and documenting their entire lives for the world to see, Gary understands how and why social media celebrity works.

Gary continues to be highly influential and a driving force behind a number of young entrepreneurs. He doles out new business ideas, by the mouthful, and when asked if he cares about people stealing his ideas, his answer is as direct as can be expected. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of people listening will not think twice about these ideas. Of the few that will, maybe one or two people will actually attempt to make it happen,” he says. Gary fully understands the reserved state of mind possessed by the typical human being, and does not fear having an idea “stolen” by someone. He would rather see someone take his idea, make it happen, and ask for advice if they get stumped somewhere throughout the process.

Gary Vee’s underlying message to anyone willing to listen is simple; self-awareness is the key to personal growth and success, love the process, put in the work, “don’t give a fuck about others’ opinions of your failures,” and patience, patience, patience. With a global following of millions of people ages 13-80, many successful businesses, and a keen eye for the next big thing, Gary isn’t just playing the game and winning, he’s rewriting the rules.