Use The Art of War to Win The Battle For Your Career

Use The Art of War to Win The Battle For Your Career

How, you might think, is a book about waging war relevant to your career? Here are a few things everyone can from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.

Imagine if you prepared for every situation, job interview, resume writing, discussion you’re your boss, conversation with your co-worker as if your life and the lives of the people around you depended on it. You would go into every situation, having thoroughly researched what’s going on, and armed with a meticulous plan. If that was the case, you would never find yourself in trouble because you would be prepared for all contingencies. Knowledge is power and always has been.

 “To be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.”

 

That means exactly what it sounds like. Always have a backup. When pure knowledge isn’t enough, have a way around whatever problems that the world flings at you. Never be caught in a weak moment of not knowing what to do. Always have a plan A and a plan B and if necessary, a plan C

 “When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.”

This is advice for someone in a position of some kind of power, but it is a good reminder for your professional life in general: always treat people with respect.

If you show faith in the people around you, they will work harder to deserve that faith.

Be prepared, have a backup plan, treat people as best you can

Essentially you should prepare for life and your career by educating yourself, having a backup plan and treating people in the best way possible.

These three tips just barely skim relevant wisdom in an ancient book The Art of War is one of those books everyone should read at least once.

Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Maybe you want to be an extraordinary sales person. Maybe you want to head an IT department, maybe you want to be everyone’s favorite airline attendant.  Before rushing headlong in pursuit of your ambition, make sure it’s something you would actually be happy doing.

 

Assess your strengths

To help you clarify whether or not this thing you want to do is actually something you can excel at, and something you’ll enjoy doing long term, you should start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What do I most enjoy doing?
  2. If I could have any job in the world what would it be?
  3. If money was out of the equation what would I choose to be doing?
  4. What do I excel at?

Hopefully you can use the answers to these questions to determine the right direction for your life. You want to find something you’re motivated about committing yourself to.

 

Ask yourself where you want to be in five years. In ten years. What kind of people do you most admire? Who would you like to emulate?

 

Create a personal mission statement

Creating a personal mission statement will help ensure this plan you have for what you want to do actually jibes with the things you find important in life. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you also want to be home for dinner every night, with defined hours so you can pursue extracurricular activities, you’re going to run into some problems.

 

Your mission statement should be a clear description of your end goal and the person you intend to be in the process of accomplishing it.  For example, you might say. “I intend to be the most successful salesperson in the North East. I will accomplish this through my intense focus on customers, my infectious positive attitude and my continuing efforts towards self improvement.”

 

Use the mission statement to constantly asses how your actions and interactions measure up to your stated goal.

 

Define long term and short term goals

Don’t simply think of this as a wish-list of things you’d like to accomplish. Think of yourself in terms of resources (time and energy) that can be allocated in different directions to achieve your objectives. How do you maximize each of those resources in pursuit of those goals? What unique talents can you bring to a situation that will lead to successful results? If you don’t feel like you already have that unique talent, what will you do to create it?

 

Your talents will be put to best use when you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses then use what you learn to get really good at doing something you really like.

Surprising Benefits of Failure

Surprising Benefits of Failure

Would you ever go out of your way to choose failure? No of course not, no one wants to fail. Failing feels bad and can make us doubt ourselves and what we’re capable of. No one wants to fail, but everyone does fail sometimes. Counter intuitive as it may seem people who have great success actually fail a lot, because it’s impossible to get to the top all in one go.

Not wanting to fail doesn’t mean we should fear failure or try to avoid it because once we do either of those things we create limits for ourselves. In an attempt to avoid failure we won’t strive as high as we want to, in a misguided belief that it’s better to be a success in a so-so playing field than a failure among the stars. But if you don’t strive for the best you can never know what your best can be.

Great benefit of failure

It’s all a matter of perception. Instead of thinking of failure as an end result, or a lack of success we need to reframe it as another stepping stone on the way to success. A pit stop for learning. A chance to re-group and do better. Nothing teaches us how to do something as well as doing it wrong, and learning from that.  A failure means our next attempt will be stronger, more on point, better planned. If that attempt fails, it’s an opportunity to try again, with increased knowledge and skill.

Keep your attitude

A failure can only bring you down if you let it. You are the one in charge of your feelings and your perceptions. You can take the failure for what it is, an opportunity, or you can label it as an indication that you are not good enough and you should just stop trying right now and never bother trying anything again.

If you let it, failure will distort your perceptions about your abilities and your chances for success. Check out these 10 surprising facts about failure from Psychology Today.

In the words of Sun Tzu, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” Believe in your strengths and know that failure in no way diminishes your chances for success. Instead, see failure for what it is. An opportunity for learning and growth.

Failure keeps you sharp and strong

When a person succeeds immediately that success is easy to take for granted. That successful-off-the-bat person may only give 80% going forward because they have a sense of entitlement. When something comes easily it’s simply not perceived as highly as something that took more work, or struggle.

On the flip side, when someone fails once or twice or ten times on the way to success, that success, once reached is all the sweeter. Because that success means more, the person does more to protect it. They work harder going forward, they appreciate everyone that helped them along the way even more. They’re more apt to help the next person in line behind them with their struggles.

Failure opens your eyes to other possibilities

Aside from providing learning opportunities, failure also forces us to look at alternatives we may not have otherwise considered. If plan A doesn’t work but we’re serious about our success, then we’ll often start looking for other ways to achieve our end goal. Oftentimes those other ways turn out to be better or more efficient than our first choice, and we never would have come to them without that failure pushing us forward.

In the article, Lessons on Success: 3 Reasons Why Failing is Good Monster.com sums it up this way. “Success is good but failure is better.”

On the way to the monumental success she’s famous, JK Rowling describes herself as having failed to an epic degree. She says failure helps strip away the inessential and creates determination. She sums it up her feelings about failure this way: “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”

The Most Courageous People Are Still Afraid

The Most Courageous People Are Still Afraid

If you look up the definition of courage in the dictionary it won’t say A lack of fear or The ability to push forward no matter what the obstacles.

It will say, The ability to do something that frightens one. And, Strength in the face of pain or grief.

There’s a lot to be afraid of

Some people go forward in life with no fear, but the vast majority of us are afraid of doing something for the first time. We’re worried about failing in front of others. That we are not capable of doing whatever it is we set out to do. Fear is natural. It’s beneficial. Fear forces us to try harder. It makes us double, triple check our work.

Accomplished professionals still afraid

People aren’t only fearful the first time they do something. Even those who are professionals in their field still face fear. We all know even the most famous actors have to deal with stage fright. A cliff diver who has dived off untold numbers of cliffs during their career probably still feels a twinge of – something right before leaping headfirst into a faraway pool of blue.

Most of us aren’t facing crowds of thousands of people or life-threatening leaps of faith, but our fear is just as real and just as relevant to us. It is also just as surmountable.

Great success of trying

There is a great feeling of self-worth and accomplishment when we push through and try despite our fears. If we succeed it’s fantastic, but it’s still great even if we fail. That’s because failure is a beginning. It’s a first step toward trying again and possible success in the future. Never trying is sure-fire failure. Saddling up despite our fears can take us to exciting new vistas.

Make An Impact By Planning Your Conversations

Make An Impact By Planning Your Conversations

All of us have conversations all day long, but when we have an important piece of information to convey rather than just diving in like with any other conversation, it’s better to plan ahead.

 

The importance of the beginning

Whether speaking to a group or an individual, how you start is of utmost importance because it’s the first impression of that conversation. Those first few seconds are going to set the tone of what follows. They’re going to be a huge determinant of whether the person or persons you’re speaking to are going to pay attention and care about what you’re about to say or whether they’re going to mentally check out.

 

Before you start speaking you should know where you want to start and where you want to end. By the time you’re into the crux of what you want to say, you want your listeners leaning forward mentally, and emotionally prepared to take it in.

 

There are several ways for you to grab the audience or person you’re speaking to.

 

Well thought out compliments

A sincere, well thought out compliment shows them that you’ve been paying attention to them and they will reciprocate by paying attention back to you.

 

Attention grabbing facts

Get the most important or riveting fact about what you’re going to say out right away. Capture their attention. We broke sales records last month and I know exactly how we can do it again this month.

 

If there’s recently been any news related to what you’re about to say, have a tangible, physical copy of it there with you, so you can show it to the person, let them hold it in their hands or pass it amongst themselves as tangible proof of what you’re saying.

 

A smiling face

Pay attention to what your face is doing. Some people naturally smile all the time, others don’t. It doesn’t mean the smiling person is always happy and the more neutral faced person only rarely feels enthusiastic about anything, it’s simply where their face naturally falls. If you want to engage the person or people you’re speaking to, make a conscious effort to smile. Welcome them into your space.

 

You already know what you want to say. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on the person or people in front of you. Look confident, build up positive expectations, take charge while staying authentic and humble.

 

 

Find common ground

Find commonalities between you and the ones you’re speaking to. Personal or professional, it doesn’t matter. These commonalities are a bridge to close the distance between you and them, while also serving as a conduit into the main topic of discussion you’re about to go into.

Budget Yourself to A Better Financial Situation

Budget Yourself to A Better Financial Situation

You know you make enough to have a little something extra at the end of every month. Yet somehow or other that extra money evaporates away into – who knows what!

 

Some people are organized and disciplined enough to create and stuck to a budget using no more than pen and paper. Or a spread sheet on their computer. Others of us need a little more help. That’s where budgeting apps come in. We’ve sourced a few for you to check out:

 

Mint

Mint is the go-to app for anyone new to budgeting. The app brings all of a user’s bills and accounts together. Including loans, credit accounts, bank accounts and creates budgets tailored to the user.

 

Mint features reminders for upcoming bills and warnings when funds are low.  It also provides access to unlimited free credit scores – along with tips to improve it. By classifying the budget into categories like “Shopping” and “Entertainment” users can determine if it’s possible to save by cutting back in specific areas of their lives.

 

YNAP

 

According the website of YNAP or You Need a Budget, the app will help teach you how to manage your money and get ahead. Their motto is, “Give every dollar a job.” The app is all about prioritizing the allotment of funds, then creating a plan to meet those priorities and following the plan. It’s especially great for helping people reach specific financial goals.

 

PocketGuard

 

The idea behind PocketGuard is to help you track your spending by linking credit cards, bank accounts, investments and loans in one place to see the big picture. By updating and categorizing your transactions as they happen, the app enables you to understand where your money is going and discover opportunities to save. PocketGaurd helps you build a personalized budget based on your income, bills and goals.

 

Albert

Once you’ve connected all your financial accounts to the app, Albert builds a unique budget based on your income, spending habits and goals and automates your finances. It notifies you when you are overpaying and helps you cut costs.

 

Users can text The Albert Genius anytime. (A team of human financial experts) The geniuses alert you to savings you’re missing, identify bills you’re overpaying, help you pay down debt faster and custom-tailor a financial plan for you. The app analyzes your income and spending every day and sets aside small amounts of money you can save safely.

 

Wally

Comparing income to expenses, , Wally helps users understand where their money goes and set and achieve goals by keeping track of daily details. To do that Wally gives users a 360 view of their money, what goes in, what goes out what has been saved. The app is free and available for both iPhone and android users.

 

Goodbudget

For people who want to try envelope budgeting without a paper envelope, Goodbudget is the answer. Each month users earmark their money for specific purposes and distribute it into virtual envelopes like groceries, accommodation, utilities etc.

 

Throughout the month they transfer money from the envelope to its designated purpose. It helps the user see exactly where their money is going every month. The app can be shared with partners across different platforms so it’s great for couples who want to pool resources toward designated expenses.

Choose Your Future

Choose Your Future

Time to pull out our crystal balls. Let’s look into the future. Twenty years hence. Look at all the things you’ve accomplished.

Is that project you were so intent on finishing done?

Did you even start it or did you let the excuses you usually fall back on get in the way?

Don’t say you don’t know what will happen in twenty years. It’s easy to surmise. Your present is an extension of your past. Your future in turn is an extension of your present.

How do you spend your days now?

How do you spend your time now? Do you plan for your future or leave to it to another day? Are the accomplishments you say you want to achieve real or are they just words? If they’re just words then go ahead and keep talking.

If however they are things you actually want to do and you’re not already in the process of accomplishing them, what’s stopping you?

All the fears

Fear takes up so much space in our lives. We all know about the fear of failure and the fear of success. What about the fear of missing out?

That’s the fear of missing out on the end of that Netflix series you suddenly got so invested in. Or the fear of missing out on time with friends. How about the fear of missing out on leisure time? Another name for that one is laziness.


So that’s present you and all your reasons for not getting on with whatever grand plan you have for the future.

Back to the future

Now let’s go back to twenty years in the future you, the one staring back at present you through the crystal ball. What are you going to say to present, excuse making you?

You will say, Success or failure, the fears of doing were always greater than the actual doing. Along with that you will say you don’t remember or care about whatever you were wasting time with in the past, but you do care about the things you didn’t manage to accomplish. You will tell yourself you wish you expected better of yourself when you had a chance to follow through on your goals.

Use every day to make your future-self proud. Looking back into the past twenty years from now the words you want to be saying are, “Well done.”