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Vision 30

Career Coaching for Young Professionals

Prime Your Mind

 

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You might say I am on a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell kick.  In the past week I’ve finished two out of his three books.

Yesterday I started listening to his third book: Blink

In Blink, Gladwell talks about the significance of a concept called Priming.  Check out these two excerpts:

“Two Dutch researchers did a study in which they had groups of students answer forty-two fairly demanding questions from the board game Trivial Pursuit.  Half were asked to take five minutes beforehand to think about what it would mean to be a professor and write down everything that came to mind.  Those students got 55.6 percent of the questions right.  The other half of the students were asked to first sit and think about soccer hooligans.  They ended up getting 42.6 percent of the Trivial Pursuit questions right.  The “professor” group didn’t know more than the “soccer hooligan” group.  They weren’t smarter or more focused or more serious.  They were simply in a “smart” frame of mind, and clearly, associating themselves with the idea of something smart, like a professor, made it a lot easier – in that stressful instant after a trivia question was asked—to blurt out the right answer.  The difference between 55.6 and 42.6 percent, it should be pointed out, is enormous.  That can be the difference between passing and failing.”

“The psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson created an even more extreme version of this test, using black college students and twenty questions taken from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the standardized test used for entry into graduate school.  When the students were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire, that simple aft was sufficient to prime them with all the negative stereotypes associated with African-Americans and academic achievement—the number of items they got right was cut in half.”

In both situations the results were impacted by things that influenced the thoughts or mindset of the individuals.  They didn’t even know it.

Isn’t this kind of scary?

What this tells me is MINDSET IMPACTS RESULTS, and we can do things that impact our mindset.  We can prime our mind!

Prime Your Mind - Vision30This message probably isn’t anything new to you.  Between playing sports and my educational and professional experiences, this has been something that has been pounded in my head.  Perhaps you can relate.  The challenge I have is, if this message is so often communicated, why isn’t it used more?

Consider Gallup polls that show that 70% of our US workforce are disengaged in their positions.

Let’s think about this for a moment.  What is the mindset of someone who is disengaged?  If “mindset impacts results“, what kind of results are these employees getting for the organizations they work for?  How does this impact the rest of their lives?

What are these people doing to Prime their Minds?

Prime Your Mind

Think about the power you have to impact the results you are getting.  Consider all the things you can do to prime your mind and set you up for success?  What if you were intentional about the things you surround yourself with and pay attention to?

How would that impact each day?

How would that impact your life?

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How primed will you be by 30?

 

Self-Confidence and Humility by J.Kiesau

 

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Over the past few years I’ve really been zoning in on the concepts of insecurity and confidence, which I wrote more about in a previous post titled:

A Battle You Can’t Afford to Lose

Simply, when you are insecure or stressed in any area of your life, your natural tendency is to satisfy that insecurity and create comfort, rather than focusing on more productive things. Confidence is the opposite of insecurity.  When you are confident, little things don’t get in your way and you are focused on accomplishment with greater purpose.

Humility

Humility is a trait that on the surface is a very positive one.  People with humility don’t boast or brag and they aren’t cocky and arrogant.  They are quiet with their accomplishments and many times are fine with sharing the spotlight. They are easy to become friends because they are down to earth.  Humility is a great relationship building tactic.

The natural me is energetic, loud, and highly sociable.  As a young adult I realized how this personality could get me in trouble and give people the wrong impression so I started intentionally (I thought) being humble and exercising humility. I did this for years and it wasn’t until recently I realized my effort to conform and my concern for other people was actually hurting me.

There is a fine line between humility and not giving yourself enough credit.

I would have successes and I’d keep the excitement inside.  People would give me compliments and I’d dismiss and brush it off.  I would rationalize with myself that the things I was doing, weren’t a big deal.  I would look at other people doing similar things and I would put their actions and results at a higher value than my own. Without even knowing it, I was telling myself stories that helped me be a nice guy, but at the same time my self-worth was going down.  I was dismissing the natural excitement and pride I was feeling around things I was passionate about because I didn’t want to make others feel bad or I didn’t want to be seen a certain way.

That’s not confidence!

The humility I was so intent on exercising was majorly jacking with my confidence.   I kept myself in check because I knew I could always do better and there were others doing greater things.  I wasn’t celebrating my accomplishments, nor was I appreciating the kind words, compliments, and acknowledgement of success others were giving me.  Though my expectations for myself were very high and above average, I wasn’t allowing myself to be anything but an average guy who could always be and do better.  I never gave myself enough credit.

Humility and Self-Confidence - Vision30Humility, Self-Worth, and Confidence Need to Co-Exist

Like many things in life, success it’s about balance and moderation. Humility is a great thing, but not at the expense of your self-worth and confidence.  Everybody needs to value themselves and attack the world with confidence, but not at the expense of other people’s feelings.

Be confident!  Have humility!

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How much confident-humility will you have by 30?

 

Commentary vs. Contribution by J.Kiesau

 

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Think about all the interactions you have with others on a daily basis:

  • Face to Face
  • Phone
  • Text / Email
  • Social Media
  • Blogs / Articles

Do you provide commentary or contribution?

This really is an important question, because I think some people get them confused.

What’s the difference?

Relationships are all about value. Relationships succeed and thrive because there is an exchange of value in one way or another. All parties get something out of the relationship that is beneficial to them.

Commentary is just talking or . . . commenting. There really isn’t any purpose behind it. It’s not helping other parties reach their goals and it’s not helping fulfill any other purpose outside of fulfilling the “commentors” need to say something, hear themselves talk, receive validation, feel a sense of control, or get a reaction out of others.

Contribution can be talking, but it’s purposeful. It provides value to an exchange and relationship. A contributor is paying attention to what is going on and is looking for ways they can help. They communicate when they feel they can add value and they shut up if they can’t.

Big Difference!

Have you ever been in a meeting where you have that one person who needs to comment on everything that is said? Maybe they are trying to be entertaining or maybe the truly feel they are adding value, but in reality neither is Contribute - Vision30happening.  I was in a meeting where a person didn’t appear very engaged when others were speaking, but when the boss was talking they were smiling, nodding their head, and repeating everything that was said as if the boss needed that validation? The boss didn’t need any validation. The person commenting did!

In a meeting, a contributor really doesn’t say much unless they feel they can add value to what is being talked about. They are engaged, but they are controlled and purposeful with how they show up in the meeting. They ask clarifying questions to understand better. They challenge, make suggestions, and share ideas they feel could be beneficial. It’s truly not about them.

Three Ways to Become A Contributor

  1. Pay Attention – In “7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, Covey talks about “Seek to Understand, before you Seek to be Understood” The more you pay attention and understand the more you will be able to contribute.
  2. Understand Your Impact – You need to understand and embrace what you bring to the table. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you help and what value can your role bring.
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  3. Have Confidence – You are paying attention to what is going on. You recognize where you can impact. You now must have the confidence to communicate your ideas and take action. You can’t sit back and say nothing. You must contribute!
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Each of us has an awesome opportunity to add value and contribute to the world around us, but we need to know what’s going on and have the confidence in ourselves to take action and make things happen.

We can all contribute!

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What contributions will you make by 30?

 

Will You Be in the 42%? by J.Kiesau

 

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I read an alarming USA Today article yesterday titled:

Obesity could affect 42% of Americans by 2030

If you are in you are between 20 – 30 this means that 42% of you will reach obesity between the ages of 40 - 50.

Obesity could affect 42% of Americans by 2030 - USA TodayWill that be you?

Of course you’re telling yourself “No way!” right now.  Why wouldn’t you?

How do you think people who are obese today would have answered that question when they were 20-30 years old?

They would have said the exact same thing!

One of two things is going to have to happen to prevent this projection from becoming a reality.

  1. The government will step in and start to regulate what we can and can not eat.
  2. People will be personally responsible and take their health seriously.

There is no other way to stop this.  Either you are going to make the decision not to allow this to happen to you, someone is going to make the decision for you, or you will be part of the 42%.

That’s life!

I have always enjoyed exercising, but a little over a year ago I took it to a whole new level.  I made the decision that I was going to commit 60 minutes or more per day, seven days a week to my health.

My health is my #1 priority!  Period! 

I know, you’re busy.   I get it!

I’m a single dad with two children.  I have a career and am co-owner of a business.  I am involved in non-profit organizations and various community initiatives.  None of this gets in the way of my health.  On a very rare occasion I might have to miss a day or reduce my minutes, but it is made up.

It’s a choice to be made!  Only you can make it!

In one of my first grad classes I remember my instructor saying “People change for two reasons: Opportunity and Fear”  Opportunity and fear both played a role in “WHY” I decided to make health my # 1 priority?

WHY - Vision30

You need to figure out “WHY” it’s important to you!

There are likely many reasons why you should do this.  Some you’re aware of and many you haven’t even realized.

Here are six reasons I made my health my #1 priority.  Perhaps you can relate:

  1. I Can Be Insecure - I’ve identified two key factors between me being insecure or confident: Exercise and Sleep.  My thoughts and emotions are simply more productive and I’m less stressed when I get enough sleep and I exercise on a regular basis.
  2. I’m Superficial - I like the physical results of eating healthy and exercising.  As an adult I’ve weighed 200 and I’ve weighed 230.  I like the way I look when I’m closer to 200!
  3. I’m Selfish – I want to successfully reach my personal and professional goals.  When I’m healthy, I’m more productive. When I’m more productive, I’m more successful.  Period!
  4. I’m Responsible - The healthier I am the better I can lead and take care of my family.  The healthier I am the more successfully I will fulfill my responsibilities to my employer and clients. The healthier I am the less I will be contributing to this healthcare crisis and the soaring cost of healthcare impacting my employer and our communities.
  5. I Must Walk My Talk -  I could never talk and write about the things I do with integrity if I wasn’t making every effort to be an example and practice what I preach.  The only way for me to fulfill my purpose and help others gain the confidence to take action is to do it myself.
  6. I Want to Positively Impact the World Around Me

What are your six reasons to take personal responsibility for your health?  What is the opportunity with living a healthier life?  What should you be afraid of if you don’t?

The foundation of confidence and fulfillment is being mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.

If you have any desire to impact the world, your health is a great place to start!

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How healthy will you be by 30?

A Battle You Can’t Afford to Lose!

 

Your ability to effectively lead yourself and inspire others comes down to the never-ending battle that occurs in all of us:

Confidence vs. Insecurity

Merriam-Webster.com defines each as:

Confidence: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way
Insecurity: deficient in assurance: beset by fear and anxiety

A theory that I personally use to organize my world is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  In a nutshell this theory says that insecurity prevents us from developing:

  • Healthy love and relationships with others
  • Self-esteem needed to strive for greater accomplishment
  • Ability to discover our purpose or as Maslow says “Self-Actualization”

Vision 30 - Confidence vs. InsecurityWithout even realizing it, insecurity drives us to act in ways and make choices that we would not make if we were secure with ourselves and the world around us. It paralyzes us from being the person we truly want to be and living the life we deserve to live.

It holds you hostage!

Insecurity does serve a purpose however.  It’s a survival and protection mechanism that gives us a sense of relief and control when we feel, as Merriam-Webster.com says “fear and anxiety”.  This relief and control may not be productive in the grand scheme of things, but for now it works.  We become comfortable, but never really become secure.  The scary part is some people live in a constant cycle of “fear and anxiety” and don’t even know it.

The questions you must ask yourself are:

Do you want your life defined by choices based on “fear and anxiety”?   

OR

Do you want your live to be defined by choices based on security and the genuine belief that you are acting in the “right, proper, or most effective way” to reach your goals?

That’s confidence!

The foundation of our security and confidence is something that was built within us at a very young age and was largely dependant on our environment and the relationships with the adults in our lives.  If the adults in our lives didn’t understand this battle (and most didn’t) it never got addressed.  We were just expected to be confident, do our work, and be successful.

Regardless of past experience and what you think you are right now you must understand this:

Confidence is a key characteristic of success and fulfillment!

Confident people think more productive.  They feel better about themselves and the world around them.  They don’t get consumed by worry and fear.  They progress even in adverse situations.  They aren’t held back by people or things.  They are purposeful in their actions.

In the battle between insecurity vs. confidence, confidence must win!

Study confidence, practice confidence, and be confident!

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