Archive for January, 2017

How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

Stress, we have to get rid of it! Or do we?

This week we explore how stress is one of our natural responses to the world and how we could even use it to our advantage:

 

Many self-help models suggest that a satisfying life can only be found when you get rid of negative thoughts and feelings. But in my work on “emotional agility,” I’ve found that attempting to get rid of stress can actually make you more stressed. It’s better to acknowledge the power of emotion and ride the waves, so to speak, coming out stronger on the other side so you can make decisions that aren’t stress-based.

In the larger scheme of things, stress is incredibly useful. It’s an important evolutionary response to danger, an automatic tool that takes over in the event of an emergency. But the question, then, is how we can use stress for good. If we can’t get rid of it, what should we do with it? Here are some of my favorite strategies.

Pick a lens. So thinking of your stress as a built-in pump-up mechanism, one that prepares you for challenging situations, can help you move forward rather than get bogged down.

Unhook. Stress is not always reality. So try rephrasing your anxiety in your head: “I’m stressed” becomes “I’m in a situation that requires me to make a big presentation, so I am having the feeling that I am stressed and my body is responding accordingly.” Once you step back, even just a bit, you’ll gain the perspective needed to move forward.

Cultivate curiosity. Why are you stressed? To unhook, we have to understand where our stress comes from.

Rather than fighting our natural responses to the world, try wrapping your arms around the feeling and integrating it into your response to the world. Stress prepares you for battle, pumping you up, increasing levels of success, and keeping you alive.

 

Stress isn’t all bad and, with a little shift in perspective, it can be really good!

For more on stress and other topics, visit Harvard Business Review

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How Many Meetings Should Your Startup Have?

If there’s one thing that all modern workers love to hate, it’s meetings. But could this hate for meetings be holding back a business’s success?

That’s the question we’ll be discussing on this week’s Friday Focus!

 

While moaning about meetings is emotionally satisfying, your hatred of regularly scheduled get-togethers could very well be holding back your business.

As a seasoned entrepreneur himself, Kazanjy understands why meetings are such a common whipping boy of business owners. Besides simply viewing meetings as “a big company thing,” entrepreneurs are “constantly pushing, and always on, they don’t consider the important of cadenced checkpoints to measure the progress against their goals, and reevaluate that their previously agreed goals should continue to be their goals,” he writes

But just because your meeting resistance is understandable, doesn’t make it correct. In fact, Kazanjy claims to have seen many “early stage, and even mid-stage startups lacking a solid internal meeting cadence – and it totally shows in their level of engineering, sales, and customer success execution. And that’s a bummer, because it can end up killing your company (or at least dragging on your growth).”

In short, your resistance to meetings could be creating a growth-retarding jumble within your organization. What should you do about? Just dig deep, get over your “free-spirited” entrepreneurial nature, and set up a regular meeting schedule already

Don’t let your bad experiences with corporate meeting bloat keep you from scheduling the meetings you actually need to run your business.

 

So there you have it, even meetings deserve a little love.

We got this at inc.com, check them out for more like this and beyond!

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Global Economy in December

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates for the first time in a year at its December policy meeting. The decision was accompanied by forecasts of three rate hikes in 2017, which was more than the two expected by market participants. On the other hand, the European Central Bank extended its quantitative easing program by another 9 months, while scaling back its monthly bond purchases.

The US Fed’s decision further exacerbated sentiment toward emerging markets (EM), particularly due to a strengthening dollar. However, EM stocks and currencies have benefited from a rally in commodity prices towards the end of the month, while continuing to be hampered by a 14-year high in the value of the US dollar, helped by strong US manufacturing data. Despite the negative sentiment seen towards the end of the year, many EM assets including equities and debt recorded their first year of positive returns since 2012. The gains were mostly driven by a rebound in commodity prices. Nevertheless, they recorded the lowest foreign fund inflows since 2008 particularly owing to concerns around rising US interest rates.

In China, analysts were focused on the depreciation of the yuan to eight year lows after the Fed rate hike announcement. The Chinese central bank has resorted to altering the basket of foreign currencies it uses to decide the official value of the yuan, as a supportive measure. However, the yuan is expected to depreciate further, especially with Chinese citizens’ exchange quote being reset in 2017.

Oil prices have rallied to and stayed in the mid-$50s throughout December, due to the November 30th agreement among OPEC & non-OPEC oil producers to limit their output from January 1st. There are doubts on whether the efforts will be successful in reducing the supply glut given the record outputs that have been seen over the last few months. The number of shale oil rigs in operation in the US has slightly increased, throwing doubt on whether output reduction by the OPEC will be offset by increased output in the US.