7 Sure-Fire Ways to Reduce Stress and Restore Your Sanity

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on the trend in slow reading. The idea is that intentional time in a book can improve our minds and reduce our stress.

My Top 7 Stress Reducers

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If you’re a book person like me, this is no surprise. It doesn’t matter if it’s paper or digital, just taking thirty minutes out of a busy day brings me a sense of calm. A good book gives me a moment to myself in a world of racing and rushing and lets me collect my thoughts—or even escape them for a while.

We all have favorite things we do to deal with the stress in our lives. These are things that take our minds off our difficulties, help us reframe them, or reenergize us to face them. Here are my top-seven stress reducers.

Episode 12: Are You a Leader? 12 Ways to Know for Sure [Podcast]

Welcome to the new season of This Is Your Life. In this twelfth episode, Michele Cushatt, my co-host, and I talk about how to know if you are a leader—or not.

You’ve heard it before: everyone is a leader. If you have influence—and you do—you are a leader. But, honestly, it takes a little more than that to claim the mantle of leadership.

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The 8 Key Elements of a Successful Product Launch

We open registration for Platform University twice a year. We just completed the relaunch for the fall, and it went extremely well—in fact, we beat our goal. But not every launch works, and sometimes we’re left wondering, “Why did my product bomb?”

The 8 Key Elements of a Successful Product Launch

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A friend recently asked for my input on why her product launch failed. She was using a sophisticated and proven launch method, one I’ve used myself, but she didn’t get a single order for her course.

Most of us in business have been there at one time or another. As just one of many examples, I tried to launch a book about protecting personal privacy one month before 9/11. Guess what no one cared about after 9/11? The result was that book sold less than 10 percent what my prior book had done. So how can we increase our chances of launch success?

What Moses Teaches Us about Leadership Transition

This is a guest post from Rabbi Evan Moffic, spiritual leader of Congregation Solel in suburban Chicago. He blogs at Rabbi.me and Huffington Post. Author of Wisdom for People of All Faiths, his next book, What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover, is available February 2015 from Abingdon Press.

I was lucky. When I became the rabbi of my congregation, I followed a revered leader who had served the congregation for 25 years. He welcomed me graciously and lovingly, making it clear to the congregation that I was now the senior rabbi.

What Moses Teaches Us about Leadership Transition

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Many colleagues have not been as lucky. Leadership succession is delicate and complex. It evokes deep emotions and fears. It raises questions of legacy, mortality, and self-worth.

The Bible provides a rich source of guidance in addressing succession. The paradigmatic example in the Old Testament is the transition from Moses to Joshua.

Everybody Wants It, but Nobody Seems to Get Any

I know what you’re thinking, but I’m talking about margin—breathing room, think time, downtime, those moments we all desperately need really stay effective and enjoy the things that matter most.

Everybody Wants It, but Nobody Seems to Get Any

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But the truth is we seem to be getting less and less of it. Not only are prices racing while wages slow, but we’re working more hours, too.

Episode 11: The 5 Elements of a Powerful, Personal Brand [Podcast]

Welcome to the new season of This Is Your Life. In this eleventh episode, Michele Cushatt, my co-host, and I talk about the five elements that must be present in your brand for it to be truly powerful.

For more than a year now, Megan Miller, the dean of Platform University and I record something we call our “Member Makeover.” Once a month, people from our community volunteer to have us review their online platforms and their brands. We select one member and then do a screencast with our recommendations for how they can improve.

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Why You Need More Art in Your Life (and 5 Ways to Get It)

If you want to find more creativity, satisfaction, and happiness, the single best solution I know is adding more art to your life.

Why You Need More Art in Your Life (and 5 Ways to Get It)

Photo courtesy of Eleri Ever, eleriever.com, and the Estonian Ministry of Culture

Music has been a big part of my life since I was a young boy, though my tastes have broadened a lot since I was first learning chords on my guitar. I love choral music, for instance. Morten Lauridsen’s “Agnus Dei” can bring me to tears.

Several months ago I was invited to attend a concert at Carnegie Hall, featuring not just the music of the composer Arvo Pärt, but Arvo Pärt himself. It was a one-of-a-kind night. The orchestra and choir played some of his most popular and enduring compositions. There were several moments when the music lifted me right out of myself.

The One Thing You Need to Know to Be Happy

There aren’t many phrases in English more recognizable than “the pursuit of happiness.” But what could happen if we turned it around? That’s exactly what Chris Guillebeau does in his new book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.

The One Thing You Need to Know to Be Happy

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At just 36, Chris has already led an amazing life. A self-starting entrepreneur since age 19, he felt depressed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and decided to dedicate himself to something truly significant.

He began working on a medical ship off the coast of West Africa. That’s where he caught the travel bug. Since then he has visited not a dozen, not two dozen, but all 193 countries in the world. Now Chris works to share that spirit of adventure with others.

Episode 10: How to Lead from the Heart—4 Practices [Podcast]

Welcome to the new season of This Is Your Life. In this tenth episode, Michele Cushatt, my co-host, and I talk about the importance of the leader’s heart.

This topic is rarely discussed in a business context, but I believe your heart is the most important thing you bring to the table as a leader.

  • It’s more important than your experience.
  • It’s more important than your education.
  • It’s more important than your skills.

It is the thing that really makes a difference in your leadership and the impact you have on the world. If you come with your whole heart, it’s very different from coming without it.

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Why Your Peer Group Matters More Than You Think

Have you ever noticed how the people in your life affect you? The impact can be so significant that one of the best things we can do to change our lives for the better is change our peer group.

Why Your Peer Group Matters More Than You Think

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In the 1930s C.S. Lewis started a small literary circle called the Inklings. The group started with J.R.R. Tolkien, and eventually included others like Owen Barfield and Charles Williams. The influence on works in progress of the different members was huge.

Lewis actually scrapped the first draft of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe after his friends heard some chapters. They considered it “so bad that I destroyed it,” he said. It’s impossible to discount the influence of our friends.

4 Surefire Ways to Get the Most from the Next Conference You Attend

One thing leaders need to lead well are new and fresh insights, and one of the best ways to find them is by attending conferences. But eureka moments are not automatic. It takes intentionality to get the most of out of your experience.

4 Surefire Ways to Get the Most from Your next Conference

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In my experience, people go to conferences for a lot of reasons other than the stated purpose. It’s a chance to get away from the office, to reconnect with colleagues and friends, or maybe just hide out in a hotel room and catch up on an important project.

Those might be fair reasons to go, but what if you’re actually there for the content? How do you get the most from your experience?