I Asked For More And It Backfired | Levo | Ask4More

Four Daily Negotiation Tips from an Expert

Remember these mantras – (1) “Everything is negotiable!” and (2) “Practice makes perfect!”

If one of your professional or personal goals is to become a better negotiator, then you have to start practicing. No one is going to anoint you with a magic wand and sprinkle rock star negotiator dust on you. The best way to become an expert negotiator is to regularly practice.

When helping my clients at The Azara Group prepare for negotiations and develop strategies to gain leverage and bargaining power, there are times they want me to negotiate for them. Sometimes this is the best approach, but I want them to get better at negotiating. I advise them and step in when needed, but ultimately I want to equip them so they can rely on themselves when I’m not in the room. This same logic applies to you.

Practicing is the key to sharpening your skills and knowing what approaches work well. You have to develop your tool basket so you have techniques to pull out of your back pocket in any situation.

Essentially, it all starts with you. You have to want to learn, change, and grow, and then proactively start doing it–one day at a time.

1. Embrace the World as Your Training Ground

You can begin this by embracing the reality that everything is negotiable. Keep repeating this in your head and incorporating it into your daily encounters with people, companies, and places you spend money. Try different techniques and approaches in your daily life.

Four Daily Negotiation Tips | Levo | Negotiation

Examples? When…

  • Deciding where to go on vacation with your significant other.
  • Trying to return a pair of jeans on the 32nd day to a store with a 30-day return policy.
  • Planning a team building event for the office.
  • Figuring out who in the office gets to take off Christmas versus New Year’s Eve.
  • Developing the agenda for a big meeting at work.

What’s my point? Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by chances to hone our skills and negotiate. Start considering the world as your daily training ground. Over time, you will see that you are getting better at mastering this skill.

2. Open Your Ears

After recognizing there are daily opportunities to negotiate, you need to start using certain tools to be effective. Before jumping into “let-me-convince-or-persuade-you” mode as if your negotiation is “The Great Debate,” take a step back. Start by listening. One of the more effective tools in negotiating is learning how to listen.

So stop. Ask questions. Learn what is important to the other party. Listen for (1) how they are feeling, (2) what are the core underlying issues influencing their wants, (3) what is really on the table, and (4) what are they truly interested in getting compared to what they are demanding or claiming they want.

Once you have truly heard them, then you can start working out a solution that works for both of you.

3. Be Flexible

While working out solutions to problems in “the world’s training ground,” practice being flexible. When you have predetermined in your mind what the exact solution should be, you may close yourself off to better options. Learn to keep an open mind.

Do not be so deadlocked in what you think is the best solution. You may be pleasantly surprised with what the other person proposes or how things turn out. So when negotiating, try letting go. Be less controlling over what the specific outcome must or should be.

Once you release some of your preconceived notions and start talking through possibilities in a more collaborative manner, you will begin to see better options on the table.

4. Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

As my mother says, “Don’t ask, don’t get.” It is that simple. So start asking and practicing.

Final Thoughts

When you embark on this journey and test out different approaches to getting what you want, keep in mind something very critical. While the world may be your training ground, you have to be careful. People do not like feeling manipulated. Be subtle. Do not toy with them or play games. This is just a process and learning experience.

Now get out there, practice, and have some fun with it. The ability to become a good negotiator begins with YOU!

To learn more about Equal Pay Day and Levo’s #Ask4More campaign, click here.

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[Photo: Mother's Finest]

phone hanging up, calling

Tips For Staying in Touch

Being in a another country is no easy task for your relationships. But after almost two years of continuous travel, sometimes it can feel like most of my relationships require the effort of someone who lives halfway across the country.

The most important people in my life are spread around the world, literally in so many different countries and time zones. And here I am in Europe making even the close ones very far away.

I like to think I’m pretty darn good at keeping in touch with my people. Whether it’s texting, a good google hangout or just a quick email, my best friends and my family never feel too far. Are there relationships that I haven’t kept in touch with? Of course. And that’s okay. But I’ve put a lot of work into maintaining the ones that need to be on my life’s train.

Maintaining Relationships | Levo | AdviceOne of the worst feelings is knowing that you need to catch up with someone, but you keep putting it off because there is just SO much to talk about that you can never allocate enough time–so you never actually call. It just silly! And we all do it.

This Christmas, one of my absolute best friends (who JUST GOT ENGAGEDDDDDDD) mentioned how much easier it is to just pick up the phone and facetime your people for five minutes. You don’t have to put the pressure on yourself for having a life catch up, but it literally gives you the quality facetime you need to feel their love and enjoy their closeness. It’s the five minute facetime that has made such a difference in my relationships the past four months.

I find myself pressing that facetime button to call my mom quickly. I’ll facetime a friend hours ahead of me when I get home from the bars in SF. I’ll facetime one of my besties in NZ just to say hi. I facetime my nephews so I can see their curls and smiles. And I don’t need hours, nor do I put the pressure on myself to talk to them for *that* long.

Our relationships are one of the most contributing factors in joy that we have, which is why having strategies for staying in touch are so insanely important. Keep those people close, it only takes 5 minutes, promise.

[Photo: Things Are Looking Up]

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Want to Learn New Skills? Try These 8 Online Education Tools

Feeling lackluster about your skill set lately? How would you like to pick up some knowledge without all of the hardship of student loans, applications to postgraduate education programs and mind-numbing studying for the GRE?

We’ve compiled a list of eight free educational toolsthat cover many topics, including programming, entrepreneurship, entertainment and the sciences. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. TED Talks

You may be familiar with TED Talks and their knowledge-friendly, inspiration-charming slogan, “Ideas worth spreading.” The conference, held every year in various parts of the world, gathers great minds of science, philosophy, journalism and creative professions to educate you on technology, entertainment and design.

At least, that was the original idea when the nonprofit was founded in 1984. Now all of the talks are available online. It’s one of the best places to learn about the hottest new ideas and world truths, which is why it’s at the top of our list as one of the most valuable tools to begin learning new skills.

TED inspires and shares knowledge you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s generally one big, grand lesson in less than half an hour.

2. Khan Academy

Bill Gates had a vision of educational bliss when he was introduced to Salman Khan’s project in 2006. The Khan Academy began when the MIT and Harvard Business school graduate was tutoring his grade school cousin, Nadia, in basic mathematics. Khan couldn’t always teach her in person, so he began filming YouTube videos.

The format was a simple lecture on an electronic blackboard paired with friendly and straightforward instructions and easy-to-understand drawings.

Learn Skills Online | Levo | Online EducationThese lectures went viral, and Khan Academy was started using real-world anecdotes to teach many of the requisite K-12 courses in science and mathematics — even postgraduate-level skills.It’s the second hottest online educational tool on the Internet because it’s perfectly free for viewing. All content is delivered on YouTube without user registration.

With thousands of lectures to choose from, anyone can pick up skills such as high mathematics, finance, accounting and computer programming. Khan Academy has also partnered with other renowned universities and museums to teach even more higher education topics. Exercise your cerebellum for yourself here: KhanAcademy

3. Coursera

Coursera is another educational effort to offer free education online to the world. It features some of the most prestigious universities and brilliant minds on the planet. Coursera is most notable for its courses on computer programming skills and having featured lessons with Google executives.

Coursera is taught by professors from world-renowned universities sch as Princeton, Stanford and Columbia. Who knew Ivy League education could be a Wi-Fi connection away?

Unbelievable? Check out their list of partners yourself. Courses last six to eight weeks and many include actual certificates of completion from the universities involved. They’re taught in dozens of languages by schools from around the world.

4. SkillShare

SkillShare is another hip way to learn skills online, especially with topics like DIY Audio Mixing from an actual DJ master, Young Guru, who has worked with much of the top talent in the music industry including Beyonce and Jay-Z.

SkillShare is unique in that the videos are mainly focused on modern and practical skills, such as entrepreneurship courses like Launch Your Startup Idea for Less than 1K. This course helps students define a minimum viable product to start their own company affordably.

Membership with SkillShare is only $9.95 per month for unlimited access to the video lessons. With a free membership, courses are on a per-class cost basis.

5. SkilledUp

With SkilledUp, 103,000 courses are available at your fingertips. SkilledUp is another resource to find and learn new disciplines online. Sixty-seven thousand of them are even free, including topics on Google software tutorials and lessons on Javascript.

The unique search engine format leads users all over the Web to a vast network of online course registries. If you have the appetite, SkilledUp has a list of resources to keep your brain occupied for hours learning about topics you didn’t even know existed. You might want to check out the Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship.

6. Lynda.com

Online video tutorials don’t stop there. Lynda is another place to learn new skills on your own time. With 2,372 courses online, you can pause and continue based on your own schedule to learn photography, computer programming and software like Final Cut Pro using Lynda.com’s memberships.

It’s not free, unfortunately. Unlimited access to these videos start at $25 per month. Higher memberships come with downloadable course materials and the ability to watch offline via your iPhone and iPad. Keep it mobile with Lynda.

7. Open Culture

Open Culture is the most barebones way to find free education from the top schools of the world online. Have an interest in art, programming or physics? You can find about any course you’re seeking on Open Culture under a plain text heading with a direct link.

That’s all it is: a simplistic, practical catalog of online education for no cost. Consider it the Craigslist of online education. Open Culture is one of the most basic and useful places to find lessons on practical skills.

8. MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a catalog of courses for free online. The most prestigious technical college in the world is actually offering courses to laymen for no cost on relevant topics.

Sustainable energy, medicine and engineering are all examples of classes you can take online from MIT. The most impressive aspect of OpenCourseWave is that it includes virtually all of MIT’s in-person courses and is available to the entire world. Check it out for yourself: MIT OCW.

How to wear spring fashion trends in the office | Levo | Spring fashion trends

How to Wear Spring Fashion Trends in the Office

When the seasons change, so do our wardrobes–and every year, there’s a new trend we all want to try. Whether it’s hot nails, a sheer blouse, or studded Valentino flats, there is a way to work that springtime look into your office ensemble–but with some caveats!

1.     Lace and sheer are chic; see-through is not.

A huge trend this year is lace and sheer tops–the idea of exposing a little skin, or showing off that cute camisole underneath your top. However, you need to sport this trend differently depending on whether you’re relaxing at Coachella or taking a client meeting in the downtown office. First, high quality fabrics can make a difference! If you’re wearing a lace top, don’t let there be any stray threads or ripped portions. For sheer tops, choose ones that are gauzy and slightly more opaque, and preferably without too much other decoration (a sheer leopard print top with rhinestones is just…no.) Second, pick your under garments appropriately. In an office environment, you may be able to get away with exposed arms and shoulders, but you should be wearing a full coverage tank top under any kind of translucent shirt. It’s just the way it goes, folks.

2.     Bright colors: Proceed slowly.

Another typical springtime trend is bright colors! This year, neons and pastels are huge. These both can be worked into your closet without creating an Easter egg effect–you just have to use your best judgment. You know that Coco Chanel quote, “remove one accessory before you leave the house”? That’s how I feel about bright colors in the workplace. You can wear a coral blouse, or a neon yellow statement necklace, or lilac pants, or even teal shoes if you choose–you just can’t wear them all at once. Make sure your color palette includes only one or two bright or neon colors, and remember to look at the shape and the texture of the pieces as well as just the color. There’s a difference between a silk blouse with neon trim and a sequined clubbing top in bright pink! And, you all know the difference.

3.     Use studs sparingly.

Studs are a fantastic way to create an edgier look while sporting softer tones or textures. My favorite ways to incorporate studs is in small doses: the toebox of a pair of flats, the bottom of a purse (Alexander Wang, anyone? Le sigh), or on a neutral toned skinny belt. Spring Fashion Trends | Levo | FashionThere are, however, ways that studs should not be worn in the office, to wit: as large embellished shoulder pads; on black leather rocker ankle boots; on the back pockets of your pants. Subtle touches will be trendy and fashionable without hitting your audience over the head with the look.

4.     Enamel can be cute…or tacky.

Now, let’s talk about enamel. I have mixed feelings on enamel–the plastic clanking bracelets of my middle school years are over, and they should not be revisited. Those chunky bangles from Claire’s weren’t doing anyone any favors! However, enamel has resurfaced in a big way in other jewelry molds. For example, most statement necklaces I see now are filled with enamel jewels instead of gemstones, enamel beads are taking over rings and bracelets, and even enamel-decorated hair pins and headbands are coming back. These small pieces can add a bit of that springtime look that enamel conveys without appearing to set you back years in maturity. My favorite pieces are from Bauble Bar and Old Navy (including some beige and yellow enamel earrings with faux diamond accents) and they can be mixed in with more basic wardrobe staples to complete the outfit. Enamel jewelry should be an accent, not something that takes over your look.

5.     Have fun with florals.

Finally, we have florals. I love floral prints–I have a gorgeous pair of white jeans from Madewell with blue floral patterns and I envision myself wearing them for the next three summertime seasons. I think a good floral print can look fresh and topical, and a bad one can look matronly. There has to be some middle ground for the office–as with sheer tops, pick your fabrics and your styles accordingly, and you can make it work. Think about looking for floral cardigans, blouses, printed pants on high quality fabric, wallets, scarves, and maybe even socks. But make sure it’s not loud or overbearing, like on shoes or large dresses. No matter what look you’re trying, trends can always be translated into tasteful, work-appropriate outfits. Oh yeah, and one last tip? Have fun with it! Trends are supposed to get you to explore your style. Don’t be afraid to take a risk or two–as long as you’re wearing the right shirt underneath. [Photo: Hapatime]

10 thoughts that go through a graduate's mind

5 Thoughts That Go Through A Soon-To-Be Graduate’s Mind

You spent the last four—or five—years working toward that college degree. It took much blood, sweat, tears, hard drives, textbooks, all-nighters (you get the idea) to help you earn that beautiful piece of paper, which may or may not hang on your office one day. As graduation nears, you frantically stress about fighting off thousands of dollars worth of student loans, find yourself worrying constantly about your many unanswered job applications, yet you still have time to enjoy it all in the end. Yes my friends, the mind of a soon-to-be college graduate is a big bag of weird emotions. Here are the top five:

1. Your response when people ask you what your plans post graduation are.

2. And suddenly you change your entire life plan after applying to 50 jobs and hearing back from none.

3. The financial stress of paying back student loans in six months consumes your thoughts.

4. But you still strongly consider throwing out all of your belonging to live as a “free spirit” and travel around the world.

5. In the end, you are more than ready to move on to the next stage of your life.

Soon To Be Graduate | Levo | Advice

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Buck the Work-Life Balance Myth and Do This Instead

Our lives are filled with the insatiable appetite to learn and do more in the 24 hours we are given each day. With so many different opportunities and responsibilities, it can become so overwhelming you may just throw in the towel.

The reality is that the elusive work-life balance does not exist. Today, we are all so hyperconnected and overly available that “blue screening” during a 2 a.m. bathroom run has become a serious fear. You wouldn’t want to miss your sister’s neighbor’s puppy’s photo update, now would you?

As the mother of two children under 18 months old, it’s been incredibly challenging to run a business and household—while still prioritizing my health and happiness.

How I juggled the last two years may amaze most people, but I simply focused on creating a work-life, boss-mommy integration. And I’ve succeeded!

Don’t resent me. Instead, follow in my footsteps and do it for yourself! Here’s how to integrate your work with your life so you can stay on top of both your personal and professional priorities:

1. Don’t believe the “have it all” hype

Because of our hyperconnectedness, many of us have the “luxury” of taking work with us wherever we go. We expect the same of our team. We dream of working from the beach or a cafe in Paris for a week, but reality comes knocking all too often.

Buck the Work-Life Balance Myth and Do This Instead | Levo | Work Life Balance

Enter, the three big rocks.

Ask yourself what’s important to you and why. Spending quality time with family, speaking at a great event or training for a half marathon? Keep your big rocks aligned and you won’t go wrong.

You can’t have it all (don’t believe the hype), so figure out a way to focus on the three big things that matter to you the most. Remember, you can be great at three things or you can be mediocre at a lot of things. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

Make a list. Start with the three things that are most important for you. These are different for everyone, but for the sake of this exercise, I’ll show you mine:

1. Health: Attend yoga three times per week. Go to the gym twice a week. Eat kale.

2. Wealth: Pay off my line of credit by November 2014. Give one percent of profit to charity. Increase my business revenue by 50 percent and employ three more talented professionals by December 31, 2014.

3. Quality time: Spend two hours per day playing with my children. Have weekly date nights with my husband. All while completely disconnected. No electronics!

By focusing on your big rocks, you’ll quickly see that the smaller pebbles that fill in the gaps have less meaning—and ultimately less importance in your life. The goal here is not to feel like you’re giving up something, but instead that you’re investing in the most important things in life.

2. Live your life according to just one list and one calendar

It just makes sense to merge all your tasks—both personal and professional—into one calendar. It’s all part of “life” anyway. One unified list is a great way to visualize your must-dos. Send yourself a calendar invite for your shopping trip, hair appointment, the baby’s vaccinations and upcoming team meetings.

If you have a significant other or co-founder (or even a nanny), invite them to your calendar of events as well. If they know how busy your day is, they may take some to-dos off of your plate.

3. Make the most of your 24 hours each day

Up at 5 a.m. changing diapers? Or maybe you’re juicing and training for a marathon? Regardless of the scheduled—or unscheduled—event, jump into it with all your capacity and focus.

Some people are incredibly productive before the sun comes up. Those people find books like What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast helpful. Others, not so much. They’re burning the midnight oil and waking up at noon.

By identifying when you have the most focus (also known as your flow), you allow yourself to get your most important work done during your most productive hours. Don’t fight human nature.

4. Collaborate or get left behind

Business owners and executives find it difficult to delegate. Moms find it especially hard to give up running the household. Changing diapers must be done their way, as with cleaning bottles, making lunches and brushing teeth. When dad does it, it’s done differently. Yet the outcome is all the same! Hmm…

Take a step back, breathe and start delegating the crap out of your piddly-diddly tasks. Ask your cleaning lady to come on garbage day so she can put out the trash instead of you. Ask your employees to help manage daily to-dos and give them the autonomy to do them their way. They’ll most likely make the process more efficient, anyway.

Save yourself the headache and don’t do it all. It won’t do you any good if you’re sick in bed from exhaustion. Know your limits, appreciate them and work within your capacity.

Work-life integration isn’t going away. We’re all living (and working) in the 24/7 culture. Don’t bury your head in the sand and think about everything you have to do. It’ll all become a mountain you’ll never be able to scale.

Instead, focus on the three big things, create one task list, get into your flow and delegate! You’ll be happy you did.

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How to Find an Internship 3,000 Miles Away

Students are all over the world. Because of the number of international opportunities available, it’s not uncommon for a student to apply for an internship 3,000 miles away from where they live during the school year. I applied for my second internship in Boston from my living room in Edinburgh, Scotland. While applying for an internship abroad presents its own unique set of challenges, you should not feel overwhelmed–it is possible to find one you love while studying abroad as long as you are well-prepared.

Find a quiet place with reliable wi-fi. Generally speaking, study abroad housing is not known for its reliable internet access. Sometimes the library has small rooms available to reserve, or you can ask a professor to use his or her office. While interviewers are understanding of external circumstances, a Skype call inhibited by a slow internet connection is not the best way to make a good impression.

How to Find an Internship 3,000 Miles Away | Levo | Internship

Be on call. You’re studying abroad, so evenings and weekends will probably be spent on grand adventures around your host country. However, because you are so far away, you need to be vigilant about checking your email every time you have wi-fi, especially during interview crunch time. If you’re on the road, stop somewhere with reliable wi-fi at least once a day. Pro tip: Starbucks always has good wi-fi. Always. Make sure you are available during working hours stateside and make a good first impression by responding to emails quickly.

Be proactive. When a potential employer offers you an interview, make sure they have all of the materials they need to assess you as a candidate. Because you won’t be in the same room with them, geared up with extra copies of your resume and references, be sure to have them virtually on-hand; either keep important application documents on your desktop or send them to your interviewers beforehand.

Remember, at the end of the day, you are qualified. Employers are interested in you as a candidate—what you are doing and where you are going. One interviewer gave me suggestions for restaurants in Edinburgh. Some employers are wary about hiring a student they have not met in-person, but attentiveness and preparedness can ease their mind and earn you one amazing internship.

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Want to Be an Influencer? Use Your “Power Bank”

As companies increasingly flatten (less middle management), many emerging leaders have a yearning to manage direct reports but are told it could be years until that is a possibility. What is an aspiring Arianna Huffington, Hilary Clinton, or Oprah Winfrey to do in this situation?

Work on developing your influencing power today with your peers, your boss, and your colleagues beyond your organization. This way you will be best positioned for management responsibilities when the time is right.

How do you develop your influencing power?

Follow my model, Your Power Bank—a framework for strategically influencing throughout and beyond organizations.

Power Bank

Your Power Bank is your collective history with your co-workers, encompassing the trust you have earned, the competence you have demonstrated, the relationships you have built, the values you share, and the favors you have exchanged.

To gauge the potency of Your Power Bank, you must ask yourself this question:

Do your peers and/or your boss respect your character and competence in a given situation?

If the answer is yes, then that means you have a high level of credit with them in Your Power Bank, thus reflecting a strong level of personal power within the relationship.

If the answer is no, then reflect on these ways that you can establish greater credit in Your Power Bank and strengthen your personal power today. Identify three people who are critical for your continued career success. Within each of those relationships, try to identify two of the following attributes of Your Power Bank that you want to work on strengthening. Do this activity with a friend, and peer-coach one another along the way.

Personal Attributes

The way you present yourself, your drive, the credibility you have built with co-workers.

  • TIP: Make sure your actions always are in alignment with your words. Do you do what you say? Are you a person who is reliable?

Demonstrated Competence

Your reputation as an expert in your field; your track record for getting things done.

  • TIP: Do you have a niche? If not, work towards developing your expertise in a specific area of your work and let it be known.

Working Relationships

The relationships you build; maintaining regular, open communication; seeking to understand co-workers’ needs.

  • TIP: Do you have open and honest conversations with your co-workers on how you are working together?

Shared Norms and Values

Your overlapping values and norms that serve to transcend boundary differences.

  • TIP: Work to uncover common interests and passions you share with those you work with. Invite them to related events outside of work.

Exchange of Favors

Going out of your way to help others. When resources are scarce, managers are more likely to get what they need if they help co-workers get what they need. These kinds of behaviors won’t last long if not reciprocated.

  • TIP: If you can spare the time, offer to help out a co-worker who is behind deadline with a project. Look to make connections for your community for no other reason then it being a good thing to do for others.

Your ability to influence others will be severely limited if you have little “in the bank” with those most critical for your career success. You have to invest to withdraw, just like a bank.

What are your tips for being an influencer? Share them in the comments!

Ask Sallie Krawcheck Past President of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for her tips on becoming an influencer!

To learn more about Equal Pay Day and Levo’s #Ask4More campaign, click here.

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How To Reawaken Your Inner Child

How to Reawaken Your Inner Child

I live in New York City and although I love my city, sometimes the hustle can get to me. You can see it in my face when it happens. I’m annoyed, insecure, distracted or all of the above trying to “make it” or just get to my next destination.

But when I see a child smiling at me, my mood transforms. All of a sudden, I’m playing hide and seek on the street or the subway with kids I don’t even know. I’ll say, “I see you!” They’ll giggle and I’ll instantly feel a sense of love. Because when I see them, I also see myself, or at least the part of myself that possesses the qualities I love about children.

The older we get the harder it can become to remember and recognize the child within us. But it’s important for all of us who want to live a remarkable life and create amazing businesses to connect to who we were in our youth. Here are a few reasons why.

Play is essential to making something out of nothing.

For the most part, children will play with and enjoy whatever is in front of them. Hand them a pile of blocks and they will build you a skyscraper. They’ll try it one way and if that doesn’t work they’ll try it another—without judgment or guilt. Children are masters of creation.

Fear doesn’t have to stop you.

Children attempt things regardless of fear. This is because they are focused on their goals. Children don’t spend time concentrating on what will happen if they fall off the monkey bars. They just climb. It’s only as we grow that our mentality shifts. We become more cautious. We take fewer chances. In doing so, we actually limit our potential for success.

How to Reawaken Your Inner Child | Levo | Inner Child

You already know what your purpose is.

My clients often ask, how do I find my purpose and how will I know when I find it? I encounter surprise, sometimes bordering on shock, when I tell them they don’t have to look for it because it‘s already there. Last year I found a picture I drew when I was six. The drawing shows people holding hands and smiling while the sun shines above them. I had titled it, “The Whole World.” It’s clear to me now that at the tender age of six, I knew my purpose. I wanted to support people and show them that one day the whole world could be happy and connected. We all have a purpose, and I believe that purpose appeared when we were young. Our job now is simply to rediscover it.

It really is OK to cry.

Kids get upset. They cry. Then they get over it. As a woman in business, I’ve often had concerns about being too emotional, but the act of crying can help release tension and stress, stabilize feelings and connect to the underlying upsets. It doesn’t mean you should break into a temper tantrum, but it is alright to find a quiet space, connect to your heart, free yourself of restrictions and have a good cry.

Magic exists and anything actually is possible. You just have to believe.

Granted the above sounds like a commercial for Disney World—and for good reason. Remember when the world you lived in was big, miraculous and full of wonder? As children we think we can do and have anything we want. But most of us lose that confidence as we grow up. Maybe someone told us once that we couldn’t do something. We didn’t realize at the time that what that person said was not the truth. We started to make choices, live our lives and change our beliefs based on other people’s opinions. Today we can make the choice to look at our lives through a fresh lens and see that world of wonder and magic we loved as children still exists.

I wish we could all be kids forever, that we could trade coloring books, play in sandboxes and wait for the tooth fairy. In many ways, I think we can. All of those magical qualities we had in our youth are still there. Perhaps we’re just a bit out of practice.

[Photo: Serendipitous Wanderings]

Greg McKeown

60 Second Spotlight With Greg McKeown

Join the conversation!  Each week we interview top leaders as part of our Office Hours series. Hear advice and insights from role models including Sheryl SandbergWarren Buffett, and Kate White. This is a weekly spotlight glimpse at our incredible upcoming speakers. Read this and then tune in!

Who he is: Greg McKeown is the author of “ESSENTIALISM: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” He’s been around the world to speak about this idea of being an “essentialist,” which ultimately means figuring out how to prioritize the right things in one’s life. Greg has given speeches at Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and many more, and leads a lecture called Designing Life, Essentially at Stanford University. By figuring out what’s really essential, Greg says that employees can channel their efforts to make contributions toward what really matters.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Why you should watch: Greg has always been fascinated with the question, “What holds people, teams and organizations back from breaking through to the next level?” His answer isn’t what you would expect: success. People are so busy with being perfect and trying to accomplish everything on their to-do lists, that they forget to slow down and think. Greg says, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” Do we really want to spend our time on someone else’s clock? Tune in to his Office Hours segment to find out why we don’t.

60 Second Spotlight With Greg McKeown | Levo | Greg McKeown

Learn more: For a checklist on how to help you start prioritizing, check out Greg’s essay on the Huffington Post.

In his own words: “I share a framework for how to figure out what is really essential, eliminate everything else, and make execution of what really matters as effortless as possible.”

Bonus fact: In order to pursue his dream of teaching and becoming an author, Greg quit law school in England and moved back to the US.

Follow Greg on Twitter @gregorymckeown and use the hashtag #essentialism.

He’ll be joining us on Office Hours Tuesday, April 22 at 2 pm. Ask him questions here about what it really means to be an Essentialist.

[Photo: Cassandra Allred]