Going With Your Gut: Why You Shouldn't Rush Into a Career - by: Rachel Beider for Forbes


Many people don't have the clarity of knowing what they want to do after college, and so many just wing it. Today, more Americans have college degrees than ever before, with one-third holding a four-year degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet, the majority of college graduates do not find employment in their field. 

We frequently discuss and sometimes place blame on job market trends for how we fit into our changing world of work. But what is less often considered are the changes and fluctuations within ourselves that can drastically alter the course of our careers. Often this comes after a period of feeling stuck, overwhelmed or burned out.

Instead of rushing into a career, take the time to let it find you through self-exploration, travel and diverse immersive experiences. I know firsthand that life experiences can be the stepping stones that lead you to a career you are truly passionate about.


I earned a photography degree in 2005 and spent years in working every part-time photography job imaginable. To make ends meet, I also worked as a nanny, dog walker, server and bartender, as well as in retail shops and office jobs — all while hustling to get my own photography gigs. I was exhausted and work was inconsistent.

On a chilly day in March 2005, I helped an elderly man find his route on the subway. This simple act of kindness caught the attention of a tall, cute man in his twenties, who was heading in the same direction on the L train. I later learned his name was Danny. As I entered the train, I noticed Danny looking at me as I put my headphones in, smiling to myself. I took the opportunity during the ride to steal glimpses at him. I thought for a moment about speaking to him but reluctantly got off the train at my stop. He gave me a longing look, like he wanted to say something too.

As I walked home to my apartment in the East Village, I immediately regretted my decision to not be bolder and speak to him. Feeling frustrated, I decided to write a Missed Connections post on Craigslist. It was a long shot, but as a hopeless romantic, I felt I may as well give it a try. When he wrote back the same day, I was excited, nervous and overjoyed. After some back and forth emails, we quickly realized we were both the same age and has a lot in common. We spoke on the phone for a couple of hours and decided to meet at Yaffa Cafe on St. Marks. We stayed up late, locked in the kind of deep conversation rarely had with a stranger, talking about our lives, work, friends and families, and I felt immediately connected to him.

While my romantic relationship blossomed, professionally I felt extremely lost and depressed. The inconsistent work was exhausting and gave me anxiety. When Danny asked me to join him on a trip to India and Southeast Asia, I added shifts as a cocktail waitress to save for the trip, storing my pay in the remnants of old film development canisters that lined my book shelves.

Our trip was one adventure after the next, though physically quite taxing. After carrying a heavy backpack and sleeping in cheap hostels for months, I jumped at the chance to take a Thai massage class in Thailand. I had no idea I would fall in love with the flow and movement myself.

When we came home from our trip, I enrolled full-time at The Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy. My business and career that followed would not exist today if not for that Missed Connection post. While Danny and I ended up moving in different directions with our lives, meeting him carved the path to discovering a career I fell in love with instead.

That trip changed my life and opened me up to so many possibilities that were previously unimaginable. It took getting out of my comfort zone, taking a risk and admitting what was working and what wasn't working for me in my career. I discovered similarities between photography and massage, oddly enough. Certain qualities easily translated from one profession to the other. I love working with my hands, with people and not having a standard 9-to-5 desk job. The transition felt seamless, like it was meant to be.

Most successful entrepreneurs and individuals I've spoken to over the years didn't make a career change because they were excited or happy. It came from a place of frustration, annoyance, not feeling satisfied and wanting something to change. While listening to your inner voice to find your career, it's important to be open to new ideas and directions and have a willingness to take chances regardless of where you are. Let your career find you by staying open to opportunities as they arise. Your career path will likely change as you do.

Article Written by Rachel Beider as seen on Forbes.com

How can I find my niche and define what is unique about my personal brand?


15 Ways to Define What Makes Your Brand Unique

1. Be Genuine But Be Different

People see right through fakers, so make sure your personal brand reflects who you really are. Find what the leading social influencers are doing and find something different to take a different segment of the market. I am in the fitness industry, which is full of individuals with no kids and disposable income. My personal brand is that of a family man who runs two successful companies and raises three kids. – Marc Lobliner, TigerFitness.com and MTS Nutrition

2. Find a Balance Between Passion, Knowledge, Profitability

Everyone is always talking about “niche marketing” like it’s the easiest thing in the world to figure out. Finding a niche is easy, but it’s not so easy to find one that you are interested in, knowledgeable in and also want to create a business around. Before jumping into your next niche focus, be sure it applies to those three factors and that it also shows off your expertise. – Zac Johnson, Blogger

3. Don’t Forget to Be Human

Marketers look around and see competition. Human beings look around and see other human beings. The best personal brands are the ones that make one-to-one connections from which to derive value. Thus, it’s less important to stand out and more beneficial to be human. – Logan Lenz, PartsMarket

4. Answer “What Would Happen If I Stopped Tomorrow?”

To identify what makes your brand unique, ask yourself the question: “If I stopped providing services tomorrow, what would customers miss the most about what I offer?” This is what makes you special and different from other brands. – Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

5. Do Something You Would Do for Free

The only way to become an industry leader is to do something the very best. That’s easiest when you’re fully enthralled in and passionate about what you do. You’re passionate about snowboarding? Make snowboards. It may take 20 years for you to become successful, and it may never even happen. It sure won’t feel like you wasted 20 years if you spend it doing something you love. – Ali Mahvan, Sharebert

6. Pull Back the Curtain

Publicly share who you are and what you are passionate about as an individual. Demonstrate value surrounding a potential niche by exchanging stories and knowledge with others who are already in it. Learn from those experiences and test other variables before deciding if that is what you want to focus on. Most importantly, be yourself. Authenticity increases the value of every personal brand. – Kage Spatz, Spacetwin

7. Don’t Force It

The best way to find a niche is to simply do your job and isolate your strengths. Then expand on those. Don’t chase the latest news story and build your niche around it. Instead, find what interests you and what you have a track record of success doing, and become an expert and opinion leader. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

8. Determine Your Value-Add

As an entrepreneur, there is something specific to the value you bring to your company, relationships and areas in which you serve. Identify your unique skills and attributes and expand upon them. Identity the “why” behind your “what” and you will quickly find that which makes your personal brand unique. – Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

9. Create Buyer Personas

It’s better to laser-focus and do an excellent job for a niche group of people than do a mediocre job for everyone. This creates loyal brand ambassadors for your product. A place to start is to create buyer personas for your customers. You don’t have to start from scratch; there are many free online templates that can guide you through the market research. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Know Who You Are and Bet on Yourself

Sometimes, we have to try different things to find our niche and what we’re really good at. Choose something you’re passionate about, already know or are skilled at, and continue to build based on that. Once you’ve found your niche you add your own sauce to it with your personality, which makes it unique. Now your personal brand is easily defined by who you are and what you do. – Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC

11. Talk to Friends, Family and Colleagues

In my experience, the best way to do this is to talk to your friends, colleagues or family members. Ask them what they think you’re good at. How would they describe you? What do they value in you as friends or family? Tell them to be brutally honest with you. I found that my friends and family were really able to give me insight on my personal brand and what I’m able to offer others. – Johnathan Solorzano, Solo Media Group

12. Make It Personal

If a brand is personal it is, by definition, unique: It is an expression of an individual’s interests, values, priorities and style of communication, among other things. If you do not introduce consumers and invite them to experience your world, there is nothing unique for them to witness or enjoy. Let the following rule govern your brand: Stand apart by standing out. – Alexander Westgarth, Westgarth Wines

13. Be True to Who You Are

Dr. Seuss had it right: “No one is youer than you.” Be true to who you are. Authenticity goes a long way in entrepreneurship, as customers and investors see straight through facades. Credibility establishes a strong foundation with others. No need to be a distraction to yourself while trying to be someone you’re not. – Jessica Gibson, Ariel Precision Medicine

14. Run a Competitive Analysis

Take a look at your competitors, compare topics and figure out the intersection between the topics they are talking about and the most popular questions online relating to your industry. Dive deeper into topics people aren’t diving that deeply into, and you’ll be able to find and develop a loyal niche for your personal brand. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

15. Create a Personal Brand Blueprint

Finding your niche can seem daunting but there is an exercise you can do that makes it much easier. Start by creating a three-circle Venn diagram: One lists your strongest skills/expertise, another your strongest passions, and the third lists the market’s strongest needs. Once the lists are done, pick the top choice from each and you now have the theme of your personal brand. – Dan San, Meural


15 Tools and Practices for the Successful Management of Remote Employees


More and more companies are offering employees the option to work remotely. Not only does this give employees more freedom and flexibility, it also allows business to secure top talent from around the world. These remote teams need special attention when it comes to managing employees as the distance can often make it hard to connect.

Here are 15 tools, resources and company practices that entrepreneurs find indispensable to successfully managing their remote teams.

A. Time Management Software

Time management software is essential. You really can’t rely on the honor system when managing a remote team. Effective time management software can help you monitor productivity, track hours and much more, to ensure your remote workers are performing consistently and continuously. - Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

A. Zoom Video Conference

Zoom has single-handedly changed the way I work with my remote team. In the beginning of my remote experience, we tried to handle all communication through Slack or Trello. We found that deep collaboration suffered when relying solely on these tools. Zoom changed this by combining the reliability of legacy conferencing with cool/useful features that new age startups love. - Lawrence WatkinsGreat Black Speakers

A. In-Person Retreats

Our company has always been composed of remote team members ... but each year we have at least one in-person retreat. Not only do we power through important topics and company issues, but it also opens so many doors of communication between each team member. We experience a huge boost in productivity that lasts months after we’ve all gone home. - Nathalie LussierAmbitionAlly

A. Reflective Conversations

It’s important to have frequent communications related to day-to-day tasks within the company. In addition to Slack and regular huddles, it’s also critical to set aside time for conversations that are just focused on “reflection” within the company. Whether it’s on a regular basis or after key milestones/projects, make sure the team has a chance to voice these insights collectively. - Ross BeyelerGrowth Spark

A. Set Communication Times

Establish a protocol that works on when to have one-on-ones and team meetings. Ensure that these are regular but that don’t become a burden to your remote team. Also, make sure to add them to company updates so they feel included in everything. This can be done through tools such as Slack or Skype. - Andrew O’ConnorAmerican Addiction Centers

A. A VoIP Service

You want to stay in constant contact with your scattered Fellowship of the Brand. If that’s the case, you’ll need a digital communication option that works in any situation and any place you can connect to WiFi — yes, even the skeevy Motel 6 that was the only motel your site’s IT guy could find off of Route 66. You’ll have to understand that your wayward remote employees chose the nomadic lifestyle. - Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

A. Localized Emergency Response Plans

With a distributed team, tracking who may be affected by a natural disaster can be harder. Putting in the time in advance to have up-to-date contact information (beyond a cell phone) is a good first step. Putting more concrete plans into place (as well as encouraging your employees to put their own personal emergency response plan into place) can help keep a distributed team functioning long term. - Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

A. Weekly Phone Calls

Programs like Slack and Skype are great for getting in touch with remote team members instantly, but there are limits to what can be communicated through these platforms. Skype is a bit better since you can chat using VoIP, but most people use built-in microphones or headsets that can sound garbled. The best form of communication in these situations is a regular phone call every week to catch up. - Bryce WelkerBeat The CPA

A. Set Hours

I have team members all over the U.S., and working around time zones and schedules can be tricky. We’ve implemented a block of set hours for every person on our team. We use that time to collaborate as a team, bounce ideas back and forth, catch up on project status, etc. It’s important to have time everyday where all of your employees are available to you and to each other. - Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

A. Asana

Asana has been a great tool for us. We have a relatively flat remote team hierarchy, so we rely on Asana to assign tasks and keep each other accountable. It’s a collaborative project management tool that gives transparency throughout the entire organization. - Jared AtchisonWPForms

A. Confluence Wiki

Our team is spread across four continents in five time zones. To keep everyone on the same page, we use a Confluence Wiki. It’s like Wikipedia for our company. Meeting notes, project specs, brainstorming sessions and ongoing processes are all held there in different, interlinking areas. Maintaining one wiki also allows to bring on new talent faster (and it reduces email). - Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.

A. Podio Software

I love Podio management software to keep our team all on the same page. It’s awesome to have all of our information in one central location so that when issues arise, we can come together as a team to handle them. Podio also helps us work collaboratively on projects, as it allows for flexibility with communication styles and accountability for deadlines and tasks. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Slack

Slack makes communication so much faster and efficient it eliminates the need to work out of the same location. It takes the best of real life communication and technology. For example, it’s clear if you’re interrupting someone on Slack because they can press the “snooze” button but in real life, it’s not always so clear. In many ways, Slack has revolutionized work communication. - Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

A. Skype

Skype works exceptionally well with international remote workers and provides a low-cost way to stay on top of what everyone is doing. It’s reliable and provides file transfers, video, audio, as well as messaging capability. - Peter DaisymeDue

A. Google Docs

Google’s suite of office applications makes collaborative editing a breeze. Team members can work on the same document or spreadsheet simultaneously or take it in turns. It’s easy to limit access to the people who need it. Docs and Sheets are much more efficient and productive than collaborating over email threads with documents in multiple versions being passed between workers. - Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.


Article Seen on Huffpo via the YEC

With Preparation and Delegation, Entrepreneurs Can Enjoy Their Summer Vacation

I contributed to this article in Huffington Post via YEC:

Warming weather — and students out of school — mean more employees will be out seeking some down time in order to unwind with family and friends away from the office. As business slows, it offers a chance for company leaders to step away from the office for a little while and recharge. This is important, as going top speed all the time is detrimental to both health and success. Letting go, though, isn’t easy: It requires both preparation and delegation. Here are some ways entrepreneurs can ensure they can take that summer vacation.

A. Treat Your Company Like a Pet, not a Baby

Your company isn’t a baby, it’s more like a pet. You can leave it at home for a few hours. You can have someone else watch it for a week while you’re away. If you’re too precious with it and holding it too tightly, you’re not really able to take care of yourself and have time away, which is essential. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Delegate and Trust Your Team

Delegation is the name of the vacation game. Too many times owners simply don’t understand how important true delegation is, and instead they give their managers and staff very few responsibilities. Your team should be able to run the business in your absence; if you leave and the business falls apart, you’re failing as an owner. Delegate and trust your team, and take the break you deserve. - Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

A. Don’t Be Indispensable

No team member should be indispensable. Business experts talk about the bus factor or key person risk of a business: How many people would have to be hit by a bus for the business to be in trouble? Entrepreneurs should make sure their business’s bus factor is as high as possible. If there is redundancy for every role, taking a vacation shouldn’t be a problem. - Vik PatelFuture Hosting

A. Leverage Your Mental Prime Time

The key to taking a summer vacation as an entrepreneur is to be extremely productive with your work time. Identify when you are the most productive, and focus on the tasks that are the highest priority to complete during that time. To do so, eliminate distractions — such as calls and emails — and instead use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks. - Doug BendBend Law Group, PC

A. Get Stuff Done Ahead of Time

Get as much work done as possible before your planned vacation. Assign out all of your responsibilities to specific employees. Let your vendors and other business contacts know that you’ll be away so they don’t think you’re ignoring them while you’re gone. Wrap up any loose ends right before you leave, and enjoy. - Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

A. Put a Few Vacations on the Calendar

I always need to cancel a couple of vacations a year. During the summer, I’ll put a couple of weeks and a few long weekends on the calendar with the expectation that I’ll need to cancel one or more of them. Putting the dates on the calendar early gives me a much higher chance of success. Another tactic that works: Book an international flight! - Mitch GordonGo Overseas

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A. Schedule Work and Launches Before or After Summer

Summer is really a good time to take a vacation for entrepreneurs because their audience may be less likely to be around during that time anyway. The fall, winter, and spring are ideal for product launches, promotions and other significant business activity. When you look at the year in quarters, you can easily carve out vacation time in the summer. - Zach BinderRanklab

A. Conduct a Trial Run

So you’ve built your business from the ground up, never taken a day off, and you’re unsure what will happen if you take a vacation. Work to set up procedures so your team knows how to handle everything without you. Work “on” your business, not “in” it. Then test it! Conduct a trial run by taking one or two days off, and let your team prove themselves. After that, progressively lengthen the time you’re gone. - Kyle GoguenPawstruck

A. Play the Role of Traffic Cop, but Don’t Create Work

I’ve tried to have vacations where I completely unplug, but I find that I’m stressed knowing that work is piling up. My new approach is to play traffic cop. I don’t “create work:” i.e., I won’t start a new project. But I stay connected and make sure to unblock the team. If they need me, I’m responsive. And if an outsider needs help, I direct them to the right employee. - Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

A. Turn Off Email Notifications

It’s important that when you’re taking a vacation that you really take one. If you instead spend most of your vacation time checking your emails and worried about the status of the business while you’re away, you’re not giving yourself the break that you need. Being better at your job depends on finding balance, so it’s important to make that balance possible. - Kelsey MeyerInfluence & Co.

A. Respect Your Boundaries

Internally respecting your own boundaries will help your clients and associates respect your boundaries too. Once you learn that a break gives you mental space and improves your productivity, you’ll give vacations a priority. No one can operate at a high level of productivity all the time. Recognize that breaks will only help, and make sure you have a clear plan for delegation. - Marcela De VivoBrilliance

A. Relax and Let Go

It’s more of a mental thing versus logistics. It’s letting go, realizing you need the break and that business will carry on without you. There’s always a will if you look hard enough. Most entrepreneurs believe it can’t go on without them, but really can for a week or even longer. Get over that belief and enjoy the time off. - Drew HendricksButtercup

Rachel Beider in Entrepreneur Magazine

Being a Trusted Leader: What You Need to Know As Your Company Grows

The first step is to avoid any "us. vs. them" mentality.

The family-like environment of a new business can be a powerful thing. It allows both employees and leaders to come into work each day feeling as though they’re there to make a difference. By being a team, employees feel the company is stronger.

“When I first started Overit, it was just a small marketing agency,” Dan Dinsmore, the founder and CEO of Overit, in Albany, N.Y., told me. “I was involved in everything and got to interact with employees on a daily basis.”

But, as startups begin to evolve, that relationship may be hard to maintain, as Dinsmore said he discovered. In order to take his company to the next level, he needed to hire middle managers to oversee operations. Doing that, however, created a distinct divide between him and his employees.

“It started to feel like an ‘us versus them’ environment,” Dinsmore pointed out. “That wasn't the kind of company I wanted to build.”

To get things back on track, Dinsmore said he needed to rethink his company and how he could once again be a trusted leader. It took a lot of work to rebuild a culture of transparency and honesty.

Luckily, it’s possible to avoid that “us versus them” mentality altogether. Here are four strategies for keeping your startup employees and leadership united:

1. Admit your mistakes.

One of the hardest things for a leader to do is to own up when he or she is wrong. The feeling is that any mistake will be viewed as weakness or incompetence. But, in order to be a trusted leader, being accountable for failure is a necessity.

“Right out of college, I was an assistant receptionist for a big-time entertainment executive in New York,” recalled Kirsten Helvey, now the chief operating officer of Cornerstone OnDemand in Santa Monica, Calif. “One day, I got his lunch order wrong.”

It wasn’t long before Helvey’s boss called her and screamed at her for the mistake. Despite the fact that any of his other assistants could have corrected the issue, he wanted to make sure she knew she’d messed up. “At that point," Helvey went on to say, “All trust was broken: his trust in my ability as his assistant and mine in his temperament as a manager.”

Related: What Employees Are Saying When They Say They Don't Trust Leaders

Luckily, her boss had a change of heart. About 30 minutes later, he called Helvey back. He apologized for his behavior and said there was no excuse to speak to her that way. The incident turned into a life lesson Helvey uses now that she’s part of the C-suite.

“It showed me that even if you’re at the top, you can still mess up and damage the trust between you and your employees. But, if you hold yourself accountable and make amends to the people your mistake has impacted, you can recover, grow and even strengthen that relationship.”

2. Delegate.

As a leader, you may find it difficult to let go of control of any aspect of your company. But, to be a trusted leader, being able to delegate is a must. Otherwise, employees may believe that leaders doubt their capabilities.

“When I first hired employees for my small business, I found that it was challenging for me to let go of certain tasks and trust that my employees could handle them,” said Rachel Beider, CEO and founder of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint, in New York City. “I was used to doing everything myself and at a certain standard.”

However, it wasn’t long before her micromanaging began to take a toll. “I think it drove everyone a little crazy at first,” Beider said. “We weren't being as productive as we should have been at that time.”

Once she decided to take a step back, however, things began to run more smoothly,  she said. Her employees began to feel trusted, and she was able to concentrate on the company’s growth and long-term goals.

To make delegating easier, take a moment and think: Is there anyone else who can successfully do this task? If the answer is yes, pass it on to that person and focus on big-picture strategies.

3. Empower your employees to ask for feedback.

Things move fast at a growing startup. There is always something to do, and sometimes, providing employees with feedback gets overlooked. But that in turn causes them to feel forgotten by their leaders.

After working in a fast-paced company, following college, Steffen Maier soon learned this lesson firsthand. Whenever his manager actually did find time to give him feedback, months had typically passed since the project was completed. This time gap left him unsure of his own personal career progress.

“The interesting thing is that after I left my job to pursue a master’s degree in strategic entrepreneurship, I was surprised to find that many of my peers had faced a similar experience," said Maier, now the co-founder of Impraise in New York.

As a result, he and a few others teamed up to create Impraise, a platform designed to make it easy for employees to ask for and receive feedback. Using this or similar tools allows employees to continue to feel supported and connected with trusted leaders.

4. Put trust above all else.

Never forget that a huge part of organizational trust is communication and honesty -- without them, employees find it impossible to know where they stand. And that creates a division between those in the know and those who aren’t.

“For us, success begins with trust,” said Tom Morselli, senior vice-president of people operations at PulsePoint in New York. “Trust in our leadership, trust in our mission and trust amongst the team: It takes hard work and must be earned by ‘walking the walk,’ keeping promises, following through and aligning one’s leadership style with the company’s core values.”

All of that happens through clear and consistent communication at all levels of the company. Luckily, there are multiple, easy-to-use tools that help keep teams connect. One option is Simpplr. The platform offers organizations an intranet that promotes and maintains productive information-sharing. It gives employees access to company news and a way to formally and informally interact with one other.

Employees should also recognize, however, that all of that talk needs a follow-up.

“The most empathetic and best-intended talk is hollow if it isn’t followed by action,” Morselli pointedout “Trust erodes quickly if you consistently fail to meet your commitments.”



Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, a content-marketing and digital-PR consultancy for job-search and human-resources technologies. She is the...

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Building Your Unofficial Board of Advisors

As much as we would love to, (me especially) no one can do it all by themselves. Reaching out to mentors, teachers, and guides over the years made a huge difference for me at important times in my career and in moments of transition. I've sought out people who can walk me through growing pains, who can be a sounding board for ideas, and who I can turn to for support and advice. They are my unofficial "Board of Advisors" and though they have no financial interest in my company, I will often take them out for coffee or lunch and ask them about specific work questions and concerns. We talk about everything ranging from which credit card processor to use and what to do when you want to start a maternity leave plan, or tough subjects like dealing with a difficult client or landlord. My recommendation is to fill your "Board" with a variety of different people and try to stick to people working successfully both within your industry and outside of it. Choose people who inspire you: knowing that they are on your team will help encourage you and give you the confidence to take more risks. 

PS. If you need someone by your side, I'd love to join!

You've got this,



How to Start and Grow Your Practice - Cortiva Institute Workshop

Cortiva Institute Wellness Business Consulting

I was so impressed with my students this week at the Cortiva Institute of Massage Therapy! It was an intimate group, and we were able to really focus on individual concerns, taking a deeply personal approach to explore and support each student's goals. I heard a lot of seriously positive feedback, and enjoyed the beautiful and modern campus! I will be teaching a more in-depth version of the workshop again in February, stay tuned for details!

Addressing Fear

Photo by Ashley Bean for Unsplash

Photo by Ashley Bean for Unsplash

What we fear doing most, is what we most need to do.
— Timothy Ferriss

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish? Is there something in particular that you've been putting off, because you're afraid? I know when I'm particularly scared of doing something, or am afraid that I don't know how, I will often start to procrastinate. What was once a small task on the "need to do" list is a big scary thing that I try not to think about, except for in occasional bouts of panic. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4Hr Work Week, writes that the things we are most afraid of are what we need to address the most - and I know that when I start to feel that dread creeping in about a particular task, I must put that task on the top of my To Do list. We often spend far more time worrying about doing something than actually doing it! 

If you're generally scared to take a step forward in your career or for your business, write down exactly what is scaring you. Then follow up by writing down the very worst case scenario of what could happen. Lastly, write down all the ways that you would recover and get back to feeling ok if the worst case scenario happened. What you'll start to learn is just how resilient and resourceful you are. This can be a truly great exercise both professionally and personally. What scares you the most in building your practice? 

Your Future Self is On Your Side

Image by Haley Phelps for Unsplash

Image by Haley Phelps for Unsplash

I took a meditation class at the Shambhala Center in NYC, and was thrilled to hear a lecture from a talented teacher. She spoke about how easy it is to get stuck in thinking that we can't accomplish something because when we look back in our history, we haven't done it yet. Maybe we haven't tried, maybe we've tried and failed, maybe we've been too scared to start, but for whatever reason we are bound up in our personal history of inexperience, and the thought that we simply can't do something, or are scared. She suggested, if you're going to get caught up in your past, you may as well get bound up with your future as well.

So, what on earth does this mean? She offered this for an example: you wouldn't start attending college without envisioning yourself as a graduate. You wouldn't begin a diet without picturing yourself as a healthier person. When you're starting something new, imagine your future successful self, reaching back through time, to encourage your current self, and pull you forward towards those open arms. If you're going to be scared by your past self, you may as well be cheered on by your future self.

I like imagining my future successful self - who she looks like, what she's doing, what she's accomplished. I like that she's on my side, pulling me forward towards the future.

Required Reading: The Ultimate Business Book List

Photo by Toa Heftiba for Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba for Unsplash

Over the years I have refined a list of business books that have been extraordinarily helpful to me and many others. My required reading list is as follows:

The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss. I LOVE this book because it helped me to streamline and automate many processes, as well as delegate tasks so that I would be able to scale my business up. This book also helps me to hold myself accountable for what I want in life, what I'm afraid of, and how to go after what I'm looking for.

Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port. This is a must read for anyone in the service profession who feels uncomfortable with traditional marketing. Port is a genius at explaining how to position yourself and brand your services appropriately.

The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. This book explores why most small businesses fail within the first year, and what you can do about it.

Get Content, Get Customers, by Joe Pulizzi. A helpful and extremely convincing book on the importance of generating original content within your business.

The Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman. As someone who didn't go to business school and felt that I was missing out, I was thrilled to see this book which breaks down a lot of the basic concepts that you learn in business school. Its an excellent reference and resource of a lot of the books you'd need to read if you attended a business school.

Re-work, by Jason Fried and David Hansson. This book talks a lot about recovering from something that's no longer serving you, getting back up and pivoting into what is.

The Power of Eye Contact, by Michael Ellsberg. This book is a wild card, as its not a traditional business book, and yet the power of eye contact is extremely important when making connections with people - whether with business or in your personal life. A fascinating and fun read.

What are some of your favorite business books? I'd love to hear from you!