Business Advice

Eight Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs Under 30 751 501 Edge Executives

Eight Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs Under 30

While I may not be quite under 30, I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia and share a couple days with about 1,500 other young and motivated entrepreneurs. Although there was a lot of sage wisdom shared, here’s my Cliff’s Notes version of the best advice from some of the big names at the Summit. So, even if you couldn’t be there, you can gain from the lessons learned.

1. “What are you so passionate about that if you were fired, you would still want to do it?” Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos

Elizabeth said she was lucky to have found what she felt she was born to do at a young age. She encouraged others to start with a vision, then define a problem and create a solution. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What role do you want to have? These are pressing questions, she said, recommending to be sure you’re doing something you love. “You will get knocked down over and over again, but it’s the passion that keeps you getting back up, so you better love it!”

2. “I try to be as earnest as possible.” Tavi Gevinson, editor-in-chief of Rookie

Not many 12-year-olds skyrocket to fame like Tavi did seven years ago, yet she remains earnest. She started Rookie because she wanted to encourage herself to take risks with her fashion and share it, and, from there, she wanted to open her platform to give others an audience. Where some might discount a teen, she emphasizes not letting age hold you back. She also encouraged people to get offline and connect in person.

3. “The reason I succeeded is the exact reason I was told I would never succeed. I was different.” Lindsey Stirling, violinist, composer, singer and performance artist

Lindsey shared the countless no’s she received from record labels and “America’s Got Talent,” explaining that her dream of being a dancing violinist was turned down over and over, but now she has found great success doing what she knew was her gift. She also explained that there’s always a new platform coming out, so don’t fret if you think you’ve missed the boat on a trend, specifically as it pertains to social media. For Lindsey, MySpace didn’t work out for her, but she was able to capitalize on other social media platforms to grow an audience since then. Further she says that it’s important to remember what is critical for her to continue to do and not get overwhelmed by the outside pressures, which is applicable to artists and entrepreneurs alike.

4. “Startup is in your head. It’s not an incorporation date.” Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box

Aaron developed a public company currently valued close to $2 billion, so he naturally had some advice to share. His story is well-known, having started building companies in middle school — many of which didn’t work out, but he kept going. Mark Cuban sent a check for $300,000 to him and his partners while they were in college, so they decided to drop out and move to the Bay Area to build a business. They played around with different business models and finally landed on Box. Aaron shared that it’s as simple as listening to customers in order to find the best model. He also emphasized that you need to be prepared to invest in your business for a long time to see success, not just for a couple years.

5. “What’s your grandma pitch? Can you tell it in a way that a grandma can understand?” Dr. Amit Sood, the Mayo Clinic

Dr. Sood spoke at length about how to be successful without being miserable, sharing that a typical trajectory for entrepreneurs is to start with struggle, find success and end up miserable. He explained that the human mind needs meaning to be happy, but so often when we become successful, we lose meaning and subsequently become unhappy. He shared some tips to combat this cycle, which include creating businesses focused on the number of people served — not the number of dollars made. Thus he recommends we judge self-worth on intention rather than outcome. Ask yourself if your work is making you a better human and if you’re engaged. If the answer is “yes,” your work has meaning. He also says that you need a trusting network of people on whom you can rely and call at 2 a.m. Lastly, he shared the importance of prioritization and being okay with saying no.

6. “The only person stopping you is you. You’re the one setting the limit. Put yourself out there. So what if you fail?” Michelle Phan, YouTube personality and founder of Ipsy

Michelle emphasized from her experience becoming a YouTube celebrity that anyone can be his or her own authority. Figure out what you can offer and get started. Find something you love, and do it every day. She explained that her success with Ipsy is much attributed to her partnerships. She encouraged acknowledging your weaknesses and harmonizing them with someone who strengthens what you lack, much like she did with her partner. Further she also shared that as you grow influence, you should be more conscience of what you’re saying and the impact that you can have.

7. “I’m against one-night stands. I want people to have relationships and work things out.” Dr. Ruth Westheimer, sex therapist and author

Dr. Ruth gave her well-respected sex and relationship advice publicly to three pairs of founders. She said that the problem lies in thinking you can change the other person to resolve a conflict. Getting angry at each other is a learning opportunity to figure out which buttons not to push. She believes that not everything needs to be shared saying, “Use some fantasies and keep your mouth shut.”

8. “Every time something doesn’t work out, there’s a valuable lesson, so I can’t call it a mistake.” Shaun White, two-time Olympic gold medalist

Shaun White publicly “failed” when not winning gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But he said it was one of the best things that ever happened to him, because it made him realize that he was no different after losing than he was before competing. He takes that attitude into business. When one deal gets shut down, he sees it as an opportunity to start other things of his choosing. He emphasized the importance of listening to your audience saying, “It’s not if you build it they will come, but instead, if they build it, they’ll stay.” He also talked about the power in recognizing that you are not what you do.

Click here to access a free hour-long masterclass with Deepak and I on why a meaningful life rests on developing a meaningful self. It comes with a guided meditation!

This article was originally published on

How to Avoid Getting Overloaded When Your Colleagues Take Time Off for the Holidays 1024 676 Edge Executives

How to Avoid Getting Overloaded When Your Colleagues Take Time Off for the Holidays

Though the holidays are a popular time for workers to cash in on their vacation days, there are plenty of good reasons not to take time off toward the end of the year. For one thing, holiday travel can be prohibitively expensive, so if you’re looking to visit friends and family, the latter part of the year is perhaps the worst time to do so. Additionally, putting in more face time toward the end of the year can work to your advantage when your manager is focused on things like promotions and raises. And, you’ll probably find that you’re more productive when the ever-present distractions known as your coworkers disappear.

Then again, there’s a downside to having the office all to yourself, and it’s getting overloaded with work when everyone else is away. If you’re worried that your life is going to be miserable during the holidays because your coworkers will be gone, here’s how to mitigate that concern.

1. Set Boundaries

When many of your colleagues take off at the same time, somebody has to pick up the slack. And chances are, that somebody will be you. That said, you shouldn’t have to drive yourself utterly crazy trying to manage your own job plus the work of six other people, so before your colleagues leave, sit them and your boss down and set some ground rules. Explain that while you’re happy to help out, you can only do so much, especially if you have your own deadlines to meet. With any luck, your manager will recognize the tough spot you’re being put in and figure out a way to more equitably divvy up the load so you don’t get slammed.

At the same time, let your colleagues know that while you’d like to serve as a backup for each and every one of them, you can’t help everyone at the same time. This way, it’ll be on them to duke it out and see who gets to ask you for coverage, as opposed to you having to make that decision.

Related: How to Spot Burnout Before It’s Overtaken Your Life

2. Talk to Your Boss About Getting Temporary Help

It’s common to see a lot of empty desks at the office around the holidays, but if you’re concerned about keeping up with your workload in the absence of much of your team, try suggesting to your boss that you hire some temps to help compensate. Whether your manager says yes will probably be a function of your company’s budget, but if there’s wiggle room to get some extra hands on deck, and you’re willing to train those temps, it might ease the burden on you.

3. Keep Your Eyes on the Big Picture

Getting overloaded with work is no fun, especially when it happens because you’re frantically trying to cover for everyone who’s out. At the same time, recognize that in doing all of that work, you’re making a good impression on your boss while building some goodwill with your coworkers. And remember, if you push yourself to step up and cover other people’s workloads when they’re away, they’ll return the favor when it’s your turn to be out.

There’s no question about it: It’s hard being left behind at the office while your colleagues all take time off for the holidays. At the same time, that influx of work you might have to cope with isn’t a long-term or permanent one, so if you can survive the next bunch of weeks, your officemates will be back before you know it.

This article was originally published on The Motley Fool.

6 Brilliant Things People With Emotional Intelligence Do Under Pressure 1024 683 Edge Executives

6 Brilliant Things People With Emotional Intelligence Do Under Pressure

In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, where they asked chief human resources officers from global companies what they saw as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.

One skill projected for success in 2020 that didn’t even crack the top 10 list in 2015 was — you guessed it — emotional intelligence.

According to many experts in the field, emotional intelligence has become an important predictor of job success for nearly two decades, even surpassing technical ability.

In one noteworthy CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, it was found that “fifty-nine percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low [emotional intelligence].”

In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re more likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with high IQ.

Companies are placing a high value on workers with emotional intelligence for several reasons. In my own studies and observations over the years as a leadership coach, here are six that really stand out.

1. People with emotional intelligence respond rather than react.

So often we react and get defensive when faced with an emotionally charged situation or a difficult co-worker or client. In high-EQ people, once they get a handle on the root cause of a negative emotion (what’s pushing their buttons), they typically respond with a more patient, “keep calm” approach. They’ll process a situation about to go south, get perspective, listen with without judgment, and hold back from reacting head on.

2. People with emotional intelligence show up with their real selves.

A common tendency for people at work is to put on a mask that hides who they truly are when faced with difficult people or situations. An emotionally-intelligent worker or leader shows up with integrity and her best and most authentic self; she’ll face those difficult people and situations with unfettered, emotional honesty and transparency.

3. People with emotional intelligence think before they speak.

There’s a nifty conversational technique called the “six second pause,” used by people with emotional intelligence to gather their thoughts before they speak. Why six seconds? The chemicals of emotion inside our brains and bodies usually last about six seconds. During a heated exchange, if we can pause for a short moment, the flood of chemicals being produced slows down. When you are frustrated or upset, before you say something harsh, this precious pause helps you to quickly assess the costs and benefits of your actions and make more careful choices.

4. People with emotional intelligence handle tough situations better

Take an unhappy customer or a disgruntled coworker, for example. A high level of EQ in a colleague or manager will show up by staying calm and positive during tough conversations; it also shows up with firmness and boundaries to set limits on people during spiraling disagreements and unhealthy conflict.

5. People with emotional intelligence practice self-control.

Psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman says this about people with self-control:

Reasonable people–the ones who maintain control over their emotions–are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.

Self-control is a learned skill to help you be more present, calmer, and focused during times of high stress. It’s a necessary emotional skill with long-term payoff.

6. People with emotional intelligence look at the whole picture.

Because they operate with a high degree of self-awareness, they’re able to see both sides of an issue and tap into their feelings and those of others to choose a different, and better, outcome. Quoting Daniel Goleman again, he says this about self-awareness:

“If you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Originally published on

Failure Is Part of Success, Especially for Women 1024 611 Edge Executives

Failure Is Part of Success, Especially for Women

If you’ve never failed at something, how do you know when you’re succeeding? For women that question is harder to answer because they’re less likely to allow themselves to fail, according to a recent article by U.S. News & World Report called, “To Succeed, Women Must Learn to Fail Forward.”

“Research has shown that women are judged more harshly for their mistakes than men and may respond by being more risk averse,” writes Linda Kramer Jenning, the author of the article. “As a result, some women may not seize leadership opportunities and that worries those committed to achieving gender equity.”

The thing is, when you don’t fail, you don’t allow yourself to become stronger in that process, resulting in more resilience — which is a key part of being a successful leader, according to a 2018 study on nurse managers published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. But the stakes are so much higher for women to begin with, as just 6.4 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women — a number that is actually on the decline, per the Pew Research Center’s 2017 data report.

Still, the benefits of failure go beyond resilience. For women, especially, being open about failure makes leaders more relatable and therefore effective. “People appreciate that you’re not perfect all the time,” Jessica Grounds, co-founder of Mine the Gap, a firm that works with companies to close their gender gaps, told U.S. News. Grounds suggests that women build a trusted team in and out of the workplace who will give constructive criticism and coach them through a failure.

That sentiment that failure is a powerful aspect of success has been echoed by handfuls of female leaders. Whenever you need a reminder on how to embrace failure and move forward stronger, bookmark this page to revisit these wise words of advice from mega-successful women from Oprah to Thrive’s own Arianna Huffington:

Oprah: “You are bound to stumble.”

“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise,” Oprah said in 2013 at Harvard’s commencement address. “At some point, you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher and higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

J.K. Rowling: “Failure directed my energy into what matters.”

Likewise, at a 2008 Harvard commencement address, J.K. Rowling revealed that failure can even lead you down a path that’s much more fulfilling than the one you were on before. “Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential,” she said, referencing the time before she allowed herself to pursue writing and pen the Harry Potter series. “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”

Beyoncé: “You’re never too good to lose.”

In the words of Beyoncé: “The reality is, sometimes you lose. And you’re never too good to lose, you’re never too big to lose, you’re never too smart to lose, it happens. And it happens when it needs to happen. You have to embrace those things.”

Anna Wintour: “Everyone should be sacked at least once.”

Even Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has talked about the importance of failure before, telling Alastair Campbell in his 2015 book, Winners: And How They Succeed, “Everyone should be sacked at least once in their career because perfection doesn’t exist. It’s important to have setbacks because that is the reality of life.”

Lady Gaga: “Cry, then go kick some ass.”

When it’s not as easy to embrace those setbacks, though, you can remember this anecdote Lady Gaga told about getting dropped from a record label. “I remember when I got dropped from my first record label. I just said, ‘Mommy, let’s go see Grandma,’” Gaga told MTV in 2011. “And I cried on my grandmother’s couch. She looked at me, and she goes, ‘I’m going to let you cry for the rest of the day, and then you have to stop crying, and you have to go kick some ass.’”

Vera Wang: “Pick yourself right up and start again.”

Fashion designer Vera Wang pursued a career as an ice skater prior to entering fashion. “When you fall down — which you have to [do] if you want to learn to be a skater — you pick yourself right up and start again,” Wang told Business of Fashion in 2013. “You don’t let anything deter you.”‘

Arianna Huffington: “Failure is a stepping stone to success.”

There is also plenty of wisdom to be gleaned from Thrive’s own Arianna Huffington, who recalled in 2016, “My mother kept telling my teenage self: that ‘failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success.’ I think she would really enjoy how many times I had let myself fail along the way.”

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