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4 Common Myths About Loneliness

How to have a full heart, whether you’re with others or alone


Patty Onderko

June 15, 2017

Evolutionarily speaking, loneliness is a fantastic advantage. If our earliest ancestors hadn’t


felt twinges of sadness and longing when they strayed far from the clan, they may have
ventured out farther—and perished. As a social species, loneliness acts as a survival
instinct on par with thirst and hunger, says longtime loneliness researcher John Cacioppo,
Ph.D., author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection and a
psychology professor at the University of Chicago.

To this day lonely people are at risk for depression, increased stress hormones, higher
blood pressure, interrupted sleep, dementia and even premature death compared to their
non-lonely peers. But these days, combating loneliness doesn’t mean you have to sit
around the communal fire and follow the pack all of the time. Allow us to debunk some
common loneliness misconceptions so you can feel connected and secure even when
you’re alone.

Related: How I Learned to Enjoy Being Alone

1. Myth: The more friends, the better.


Not necessarily. Researchers have yet to discover a magic number of friends—or parties or
dates or get-togethers—that tips the scales toward not lonely. There are people surrounded
by friends and family who still feel alone. Because loneliness is found in the “discrepancy
between the desired and the achieved personal network of relationships,” according to
Cacioppo, how you feel about the size of your circle of friends matters most. And your ideas
about what an ideal social life looks like are influenced by your level of extroversion, your
family size, your own self-acceptance (being alone is more painful when you don’t enjoy
your own company) and even social media.

“The need for social connection varies widely among people, but it is the rare bird who
doesn’t want any,” says Mark E. Sharp, Ph.D., a psychologist with the Aiki Relationship
Institute in Oak Brook, Illinois, and author of Not Lonely at the Top: A Relationship Guide for
the Courageous, Successful Single Who Hasn’t Found the Love They Want. “It’s important
to pursue social activities to the level that fits your own profile.”
2. Myth: Introverts are lonelier.
Introverts prefer being alone more than extroverts, but being alone and being lonely are two
very different things, says Maelisa Hall, Psy.D., a therapist in private practice in Irvine,
California. Introverts use alone time to recharge and they need fewer friendly interactions to
stave off loneliness. But because extroverts derive energy from social situations, they can
feel low when they don’t receive that stimulation, putting them at higher risk for loneliness. If
you’re an extrovert, have two or three “anchor” social activities scheduled throughout the
week to help keep your spirits high.

3. Myth: Only close confidants count.


Research shows people who have social networks that consist of both “strong-tie”
relationships (think best friend, brother, partner) and “weak-tie” ones (the neighbor you say
hello to every day, your hairdresser) experience significantly less loneliness than those with
strong ties only. So although small talk might not be your favorite cup of tea, those quick
conversations with acquaintances matter for your overall sense of belonging.

4. Myth: Married couples don’t feel lonely.


If your marriage is filled with conflict, the opposite is true. In fact, studies show that one-third
of married people report feeling lonely, as do one-third of those living with a partner.
Lesson: The ring on your finger does not guard against feeling emotionally isolated. Do
what it takes to stay connected with your partner, whether it’s regular date nights,
remembering to cuddle in bed or couples therapy.

8 Tips to Help You Manage Stress


How to prepare your mind and body for (inevitable) stress
Kacey Bradley

July 5, 2017

Stress. Stress! We all suffer from it throughout our lives, even throughout each day. It can
cause anxiety, depression, and mental and physical fatigue. It can destroy relationships and
cause us to seek relief through drugs and alcohol. Stress can be terrible, even fatal.
Stress causes so much destruction because it is not properly channeled. It will not go away
on its own, but there are ways to manage it in a way that it can be a positive force in your
life.

Related: 12 Ways to Turn Stress Into Productivity

What is stress?
We all know what stress feels like, but knowing what it is can help you attempt to control
it. Stress is your body’s response to any kind of physical or mental demand. When
something stressful arises, your body releases chemicals that give you increased energy
and muscle strength.

In a fight-or-flight situation, this is advantageous, as you will have more power to flee or
defend yourself. But this rush of chemicals into your body while you are sitting at your desk
trying to pay bills with money you don’t have inevitably takes its toll on your body if not
properly channeled.

What causes stress?


Some stressors are universal. Any physical threat to ourselves or our loved ones, a death in
our family, financial hardship—all of these things will cause stress in any healthy person.

But some things that might be stressful to one might not be stressful to another. An office
party might make one person cringe with anxiety, while another might be enjoying the best
night of their life. Being asked to speak about your career at your child’s school would be an
honor for some but a burden for others. One might worry about hosting a big family visit,
while another might embrace it as a wonderful event.

Physical and mental fatigue without the proper rest can be quite stressful over time. It is
important to know what stresses you out in order to know how to deal with it properly.

What does stress feel like?


Maybe you know you are under stress. Most people do, but some channel it in ways they
might not realize.

Here are a few signs of that someone is under stress:

 Changes in appetite
 The inability to sleep because of racing thoughts
 Constantly feeling overwhelmed by your situation
 Mood swings, irritability
 The inability to focus on your work
 Increased drug or alcohol use

Stress can have physical consequences, too. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are common
ailments associated with long-term stress. A life of unmanaged stress can lead to high
blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Related: How Stressed Are You?

With all of this in mind, you don’t hear too many people talk about stress being a good thing.
But it can be—it can motivate you, give you mental sharpness, and make you tougher and
more resilient, among other things. It’s all about how you manage it, and how you prepare
your mind and body for stress.

How can you manage stress?

1. Identify your stressors.


You can’t fight it if you don’t know what it is. If a certain situation or person at work pushes
your buttons, own that feeling.

2. Don’t ignore stress.


(Because it won’t go away on its own.) When you know you will be encountering this person
or situation, stand up straight, put a smile on your face, and see how much better things go
when you approach them positively and confidently.

3. Don’t think you will eliminate all stress at once.


Your health, emotional state and the day’s events are going to affect your stress levels, and
some days will be better than others. Identifying what bothers you is a start. Then tell
yourself you have to go deal with so-and-so, or that the deadline you used to think was so
far away is now here. Make it fun if you can, but keep your focus and resolve.
4. Avoid alcohol.
Why do people drink when they are stressed out? Because, for the short term, it works;
intoxicated people aren’t usually stressed about too much. But that only lasts so long.
Having a few drinks with friends after work can be a positive, bonding activity, in which
case, you are socializing. Using alcohol as a way of managing stress, on the other hand, is
a negative coping mechanism, one that could even result in a chemical dependency on
alcohol and a lifetime of trouble.

5. Eat right.
You know what’s good for you and what’s bad for you. Don’t eat a lot of refined sugar, fatty
foods like potato chips or white-flour-based foods; these snacks might satisfy cravings, but
you usually end up hungry again soon after consuming them. Eat more fruits and
vegetables, and if you don’t like them, find ways to enjoy them. Maybe you dip them in
organic peanut butter or almond butter, or you find a vegetable or fruit you have never had
before like papaya or bok choy. A couple other tips: Eat at times of your choosing and in
pre-portioned amounts, and drink water instead of soda or energy drinks.

6. Exercise regularly.
With exercise, you will feel good physically as your muscles tense and relax. You will also
feel better mentally because exercise lowers hormones such as cortisol, which causes
stress, andcauses your brain to release endorphins, the hormones that make us feel happy
and content. If running isn’t feasible, try walking; you’ll receive almost as many health
benefits, and most everyone can do it. You could also try weightlifting or a group exercise
class like yoga. Choose something that you can fit into your weekly schedule. Ideally, you
should exercise daily, but even three times a week will make a big difference in how you
feel.

7. Find some alone time.


Take 15 to 30 minutes out of each day to be alone and reflect. People might demand your
time throughout the day, but decide which part of it is yours, and stick to it. This will make
you a better friend, family member and co-worker, and will help you manage your stress for
the day. During this time, you can enjoy your coffee with a newspaper, close your eyes and
relax, or practice any suitable form of mediation; even just a few deep breaths with your
eyes closed will provide immediate relief. This alone time will help you achieve focus, and
you will be able to approach your duties calm and assured.

8. Get good sleep.


Waking up refreshed is key to battling stress. A couple tips: Have a set bedtime and
bedtime ritual. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea while reading, and think about giving up your
favorite late-night TV if it keeps you from getting an adequate amount of sleep, which is
typically eight hours. If you have trouble falling asleep, try some natural remedies before
asking your doctor for sleeping pills. You’ve probably heard of drinking warm milk, but did
you know cherries, bananas and sweet potatoes also have chemical properties that help
you sleep?

Stress will always be part of your life, so be in charge of it as much as you can. Prepare for
it, plan ahead and navigate through the stressors of your day as best you can.

Top of Mind: How I Make Time to Take Care of


Myself
You choose how you spend your time. Choose wisely.
Jesus Jimenez

July 3, 2017

We all have 24 hours in the day and the ability to choose how we want to spend it. I
tend to trade sleep for exercise, even if it requires getting up earlier. Personally I don’t feel
good if I don’t exercise at least five times a week. It can be a high-intensity Tabata session,
lifting weights, or running–I just want to feel like I’ve pushed myself. I hate saying I’m too
busy, because I have as many hours in the day as everyone else, so my time comes down
to personal choices and priorities. Generally, the busier I am at work, the more important it
is for me to exercise to clear my head and de-stress.

—George Batton, chief financial officer of FreshDirect

I prioritize time to take care of myself. When I don’t listen to my body, I don’t perform
well, then I get sick, which makes me waste more time and be unproductive. It’s OK to give
myself some time to unwind and de-stress. Entrepreneurs have a stereotype of having a
“go, go, go” attitude, but that’s not healthy or sustainable. I try not to compete with other
people about how much time I actually work, but rather focus on what I’ve done and how
happy and healthy I feel at the end of the day.

—Daisy Jing, founder of Banish

I have two rescue dogs that I care for and walk every day—whenever possible on the
beach. I eat and prepare healthy foods, practice yoga and meditate. I always make time for
myself at the beginning and end of each day. On Sunday, I try to leave some extra time
when things are slower to do something fun, like an outing with a friend to vintage shops.

—Helen Ficalora, CEO of Helen Ficalora

Honestly, this is something I'm working on constantly but by no means have figured
out. However, each month I create a list of what I accomplished and what I was unable to
get done for myself, then I set a goal for the next month. It's a helpful mechanism for me to
think about what I personally need to stay balanced.

—Amanda Signorelli, CEO, Techweek

It's important to remember that we all have full agency when it comes to how we
choose to spend our time. I’ve learned from experience that if you don't take the time to
shut down and recharge your batteries, you'll get burnt out. For me, I make time by forcing
myself to decompress and meditate (daily/weekly) which have become very important
practices for reflection, as well as maintaining emotional, psychological, physical resiliency
and balance.

—Howie Diamond, managing director, Ranch Ventures

Being an entrepreneur who started my company at five months pregnant with my first
child, taking time for myself hasn’t been at the forefront of my priorities for the past seven
years. However, it’s a daily goal for me to remind myself to stop and celebrate the
successes of the business—I’m a work in progress in this area.

—Kelly Ehlers, founder & president, Ideas That Evoke

How to Keep Your Cool


‘The more we attempt to change or fix someone else, the more we suffer.’
Patty Onderko

November 22, 2016

Visiting family for the holidays is not always resoundingly joyful. Uncle Arlo’s racist jokes
might not have you laughing. And your mom’s insistence that you’d look better with a
haircut makes you want to deck something other than the halls. The bad news: We have to
accept our family members as they are. The good news? It’s not your responsibility to
change them.

“With my clients, there is often a direct relationship between the amount of time they spend
attempting to change another person and their level of suffering,” says Erin Foley, Ph.D., a
life coach in Portland, Oregon. “The more we attempt to change or fix someone else, the
more we suffer.”

Here are some tips for letting go of anger, annoyance and resentment when avoidance is
not an option:

Related: 10 Ways Successful People Stay Calm

1. Be honest about why you’re mad.


If your brother is bragging about his latest Costa Rican adventure, consider what insecurity
his trip is triggering for you. Have you always felt like he was more successful? Do you envy
his child-free lifestyle? Manage your feelings by explaining to your boastful brother why you
get prickly with him. Say, “I’m sorry I shut down when you talk about your vacations. I feel
bad I can’t give my family the same kind of experiences. But I really am happy for you, even
if I don’t always show it.” This might sound crazy, Foley admits, and it takes a lot of
emotional security. But it also opens up communication channels.

2. Respect your own boundaries.


Other people don’t cross your boundaries. “You let someone cross them,” Foley says. She
offers the example of parents who want you to visit for a week because they complain that
they never get to see you. You’d prefer three days, but you cave in to the guilt and then
grow angrier each day of your stay and blame your parents for guilting you into such a long
stay. Protect your boundaries from the get-go. “People often want me to tell them how to
hold their boundaries without upsetting others,” Foley says. “But the harsh reality is that it’s
not possible.” If you tell your parents you are staying only three days, they could get mad, or
they might not. Their reaction is their choice.

Related: Defend Your Boundaries to Take Back Control

3. Treat your family like strangers.


Sounds, well, strange. But have you ever noticed the conversations you have with
strangersare more pleasant than those you might have with your family members? “That’s
because we have a history of neuro-associations with everything our family members say,”
says Robin H-C, author of Thinking Your Way to Happy! “We acquire a way of listening to
them that involves a position, judgment and opinion.” Pretend you just met them. When your
mom says she really liked a particular book, instead of thinking to yourself, Figures she likes
a book with a narcissistic heroine, genuinely ask her, “What did you like about the novel?”

Focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of people’s personalities—your brother is


an amazing storyteller, your parents are so generous—will make your time with them much
jollier, whether it’s during the holidays or just any old day.

How Breaking Things Helped Me Deal With My


Anxiety
Jamie Friedlander

November 21, 2017

I pick up a glass Mason jar and hurl it at the cement wall in front of me. It disintegrates into
pure dust—thousands of tiny fragments of something once delicate and whole. The sound
of the glass shattering is oddly satisfying. Quick and crisp. It feels good to break something
that cannot be put back together. I like the finality of it.

“Rollin’ ” by Limp Bizkit—the classic, pump-up metal song from 2000—is blaring in the
background. I pick up my pace. I shuffle my feet around like a boxer does just before he
gives a jab-jab-uppercut. I’m energized. Unburdened and free. I don’t feel the familiar urge
to check my makeup in the mirror to see if it has smudged. I don’t dwell on how frizzy my
curly hair has gotten in this humid warehouse.

I breathe deeply for the first time in as long as I can remember.


The sweat beneath my gloves is so thick it’s as if I’ve dipped my hand in a sink full of water.
I grab a crowbar with both hands, tighten my grip and BAM. I smash the first glass pane in a
six-pane window. The sound is so immediate and piercing that my ears start ringing. I take
off my glove and clasp my hand over my ear to make the ringing stop.

The echo dulls after about 30 seconds. I don’t skip a beat. I put my glove back on and grip
the crowbar tightly and squint menacingly at the second pane.

Related: The Positive Side of Anger

***

I’m at the Anger Room in Dallas. I’ve dropped $75 to spend 25 minutes inside a humid,
dirty, cluttered warehouse demolishing things. Similar spots are popping up across the
world—Atlanta, Houston, Toronto and Australia all have some form of a rage or anger room.
I’m here because I think getting out of my head could be beneficial—almost like a form of
makeshift therapy for my anxiety.

I don’t enjoy copious amounts of relaxation. I never have. But the alluring lull of binge-
watching TV or mindlessly surfing Reddit regularly grips my attention. I know I need to
spend more time out in the world being active and doing things instead of at home with my
thoughts. My anxiety thrives on stillness and silence.

So on a hot Texas night after a particularly draining day at work, I decide to give the Anger
Room a shot.

With the help of the Anger Room receptionist, Rosy, I gear up for massive destruction. I put
on light-blue surgical booties, a black medical mouth cover—like a dentist wears—goggles,
gloves, a black helmet and a full-body, white gauzy hazmat-looking suit.

I’m presented with a wall of weapons. Baseball bats, golf clubs, mannequin legs, crowbars
and other long metal devices line the wall. My weapons of choice are the lightweight
aluminum baseball bat and the crowbar. I want to do the most possible damage with my
limited strength from barre workouts, which is mainly in my core and legs.
It feels good to break something that cannot be put back
together. I like the finality of it.

I hand the employee who will be watching me—a roughly 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound man—
my iPhone. He turns on my Anger Room playlist as loud as possible. It’s a collection of
metal songs I had in my iTunes library from a brief angsty phase I went through at 14. My
quiet form of a teenage rebellion.

***

After I remove my gloves and wipe my sweaty hands on my legs, I brace for my next hit. I’m
ready to keep going.

I’ve already broken two openings in the windowpane. Because I have almost a half an hour
to kill and the glass items are limited, I pace myself and head for a wooden dresser. I know
the dresser will be a challenge for me and my scrawny biceps, which is why I’ve been
avoiding it. But my muscles are warm and loose by now.

I hit each spot at least three times before I crack the wood open. When I finally break the
surface, the sound of the splintered wood is even more satisfying than the shattering glass.
It took strength and effort to break this, and I did it. I’m proud. I feel my heart pounding in my
chest. I check my Apple Watch and see my heart rate is at 120.

I forget the worries that plagued my mind throughout the day. My heavy thoughts change
every day, but their presence is consistent. Why is my weight 2 pounds higher than normal?
When will we finally get our wedding video back? Should I email the videographer to check
in? Is my dad going to be annoyed that I didn’t return his last two phone calls?

My right shoulder starts pulsing in pain from all of my swings at the dresser, but I ignore it
and put most of the weight into my left arm. I wreck, crush, demolish for the entirety of “I’m
Not Okay” by My Chemical Romance. The irony of the lyrics is not lost on me.

Related: 12 Confidence-Boosting Songs to Pump You Up

“I’m okay!
I’m okay, now
(I’m okay, now)
But you really need to listen to me
Because I’m telling you the truth
I mean this, I’m okay!
(Trust me)”

The next victim appears in the corner of my eye: A copy machine. I open the upper panel
and break the inside with my crowbar. Glass flies everywhere. A piece hits my goggles,
which momentarily startles me. After a quick break to silently bless Rosy for making me put
goggles on, I keep swinging away. The energy calms my anxious thoughts. Your friend’s
feelings will not be hurt if you can’t make it to her bachelorette party, I tell myself. She told
you at the last minute. Just think of the right way to let her down.

My anxiety feeds on inactivity... Being active is one


solution—at least for now.

My anxiety is persistent and lurking. It’s present in all facets of my life. I have anxiety over
my job, for example. I feed off perfectionism, organization and orderliness, and whenever
things are not perfectly in line, I ruminate for hours. Is it a bad sign that my editor hasn’t
returned my article yet? Are my pitches for tomorrow’s meeting good enough? Should I
come up with a few more tonight? I have to regularly remind myself that these thoughts are
irrational.

I take a few more swings at the copy machine. You’re good at your job and you shouldn’t
worryabout being perfect all of the time, I tell myself.

I rarely wear closed-toe shoes because of a foot injury I have, and after 25 minutes, my
right foot is pulsing intensely. I know I’ll need to soak it in an Epsom salt bath tonight.
“Happy?” by Mudvayne comes on. Although the lyrics are melodramatic, they fit my mood
perfectly.

“In this hole, that is me


Left with a heart exhausted
What’s my release, what sets me free?”
As I’m midway through what I know is going to be an intense, energy-releasing blow, my
music stops.

“Time’s up!” my watcher says. I turn in my weapons, remove my face mask and wipe the
sweat off my upper lip. I breathe in and out deeply for a few moments. They know not to
mess with me.

***

At the end of my 25 minutes of destruction, I’m given a red Sharpie marker and told to write
on the cement wall. The wall has thousands of things written on it, the vast majority of which
are too vulgar for publication. I write something equally inappropriate and head outside
feeling like I completed an intense cardio workout. I take off my right shoe, unable to cope
with the pain anymore. My ears still ring and my shoulder still throbs, both of which will
persist for days. Maybe I got a little too into it.

My husband joins me for falafel afterward, and instead of being preoccupied with my
thoughts (my customary state of being), I’m relaxed and talkative. I order extra french fries
without my typical procedure of looking up how many calories they have. I don’t worry
about the texts, phone calls and emails I have to reply to.

My anxiety feeds on inactivity. I feel most tense when I’m sitting at my desk during a slow
afternoon at work or when I’m mindlessly binge-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm on a rainy
weekend.

Being active is one solution—at least for now. I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll get out
of my own head more.

I go home, soak my foot in an Epsom salt bath, and rest my right shoulder.

I could definitely do that again, I think to myself. I liked breaking things.

The Super Bowl of Mastering Emotional Success


and Defeat
Clint Gresham

October 1, 2017
Helicopters buzzed over the roofs of the Seattle Seahawks’ team buses as we proudly
advanced behind our SWAT team motorcade. The intimidating spectacle of the officers in
front of us assured the entire world of our safe and timely delivery to the battlefield where
we would take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. The air in the bus was
“living”—connecting every player, coach and support staff member as all of us slowly
bobbed our heads, as if in a trance, to the music playing in our headphones.

The two weeks leading up to the most notorious annual sports event were crippling. After a
jarring “come-from-behind defeat” over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship
game, we had two more weeks of focus to cling to with everything we had.

This was my fifth season playing professional football, my second Super Bowl and my 10th
playoff game. Twelve months before, I was cruising through the streets of downtown
Seattle, holding the Lombardi trophy over my head, as the Super Bowl XLVIII victory parade
strolled past hundreds of thousands of raving Seahawks fans. I should feel totally confident
in being here, right?

Throughout the week, I wrestled internally with the weight of the situation. I think anyone
who has played in a Super Bowl can attest to how intense it can feel. Drop a pass, and you
are hated by fans forever; score a touchdown, and you are a god who never dies. No big
deal…. “Excuse me; can someone please come hold a cold rag on my forehead while I
throw up?”

Related: 10 Ways Successful People Stay Calm

***

I think the lie most people believe to be true is that to be at our best means not feeling any
fear. At least that’s what I believed for so long. We seem to have enmeshed into our hearts
that line from Trading Places, which says, “Fear? That’s the other guy’s problem.” We then
conclude that one sliver of fear causes the entire glass house to shatter, along with all of
our self-esteem. Suddenly, it starts to make sense why people make the same New Year’s
resolutions year after year, and stay in the same place for decades.

Throughout Super Bowl XLIX, I paced constantly, doing every sports psychology trick
imaginable to stay in the present moment. It seemed as if the totality of these fear-
medicating strategies revolved around either focusing on my breath, having a performance
statement or using imagery. Basically, they were techniques to help you to detach from your
emotions when performance anxiety hit. Psychology has another term for this coping
mechanism used to master, minimize or tolerate stress, and it’s called “disassociation.” In
modern vernacular, it means, “I’m not gonna go there.” And it rarely ends well.

Disassociation is what any high achiever is tempted to do when they get knocked down and
they want the people around them to have confidence in their ability to get back up.
Disassociation helped me play six years in the National Football League. But after years
and years of trying to “pick myself up by my bootstraps,” I couldn’t hold onto the focus any
longer. And with two years left on my contract, the team told me they’d found someone else.

My tragic flaw was believing I couldn’t have any fear. Isn’t that what little boys are told? “Be
strong.” “Never show weakness.” “Don’t cry.” “Buck up.” “Don’t let anyone see you sweat.”
Every day, millions of little boys and girls are shamed into believing they need to look like
they have it all together if they want to be successful in this world. And while there are
appropriate and inappropriate times to express your emotions, to become “gifted” at this
coping mechanism will always result in some type of decay in your life. That pattern of
shutting down your emotions to moderate the stress of your craft will bleed into you shutting
down your emotions with your family and anyone you care about. It’s unavoidable.

So here is the good news. Fear and success don’t have to be


mutually exclusive anymore. In fact, they can’t be.

So here is the good news. Fear and success don’t have to be mutually exclusive anymore.
In fact, they can’t be. The reason is because courage is not an emotion, it’s a decision. That
decision needs to be consistently exposed to progressive-overload if we want to increase
our bandwidth for doing hard things. We must reframe bravery to view it as an act of will,
rather than a fleeting feeling. If we don’t, we will find ourselves diving headfirst into the
murky waters of “emotional engineering.”

Related: How to Confront Your Fear-Based Thoughts


We have learned so much from what trauma and stress does to our brains. Honestly, it took
me about a year after getting cut by the Seahawks to feel like I was human again. The
intensity of the environment crushed me. Mix in a diagnosed anxiety disorder with some
depression, and you have a toxic self-esteem cocktail. Mastering your craft will not come
from your ability to disassociate from your emotions. It will only come from your humility to
welcome and process them. It’s not an issue of where you put your focus, it’s actually an
issue of acceptance. And when you accept and process your feelings with people you trust,
the boogeyman will be exposed for the paper tiger that it is, and you will tap into a level of
excellence you didn’t even know you had.

***

If you are reading this article, you are clearly someone who wants to achieve, get better and
accomplish things. Many high achievers have learned how to direct disassociation into a
massive competitive advantage for them in their field. However, high achievers who engage
in this thinking pattern will inevitably find themselves alone and unable to have real
connection with any of the people they hold dear. My hope is that in your aspirational
pursuit of mastering your craft, you will also learn how to have healthy, balanced
relationships—ones where people see you and know you for who you are.

It isn’t fun, to be rich and lonely. It isn’t fun feeling like you have to be a robot to everyone
around you. It isn’t fun to be scared of your emotions. And it isn’t fun to try and connect with
your kids and have no idea how, because in your pursuit of “your” gold medal, you
developed a dead heart.
High achievers who engage in this thinking pattern will
inevitably find themselves alone and unable to have real
connection with any of the people they hold dear.

The days of following leaders with no problems are over. No one is impressed with a phony
who reads the script of the “right thing to say.” The people you are leading want to see your
humanity. While they might be impressed by your strength, they will only feel connected by
your vulnerability. All of us are in process as we become the people we have dreamed to
be. While the process can be painful, it’s also necessary if we want to grow to a place of
“wholeness.” Be patient, engage in what scares you and allow yourself to feel…

Here’s to loving the process.

6 Simple Secrets to a Stress-Free Life


Kacey Bradley

September 4, 2017

Life is hectic. Work deadlines, home maintenance, family drama, financial problems and
health issues can take their toll on the body, physically and mentally. In the past, the
amount of stressI felt on a daily basis was paralyzing. Until I had an epiphany.

I can’t always control the stressful situations around me, but I can control how I react to
themand do my best to prepare. Now, I follow several habits that have minimized my stress.

Read through my simple secrets below and commit to trying at least one right now.

1. What I want isn’t what I need.


Reducing my life to simpler terms meant clearing out the junk and not bringing new stuff into
my home. I had trouble distinguishing between my wants and needs and this created
unwanted stress in the form of clutter, credit card interest and large payments. My needs
consisted of the mortgage, utilities, transportation, insurance payments, clothing and food. It
was easy to allocate too much of my expenses to entertainment, excess shopping trips and
luxury items.
Now, if I want to purchase an item outside of my immediate needs, I give it 24-hour
consideration. I spend more time with the decision for big-ticket items, weighing the cost
with the lifetime of the purchase. I would rather invest in fewer higher-quality items that will
serve me for several years than quick purchases from a fleeting moment.

Related: 7 Ways to Save Money by Simplifying Your Life

2. Decrease debt.
In the past, one of my biggest stressors came in the form of financial debt. Receiving a call
at work from a creditor would increase my anxiety tenfold and reduce my productivity.
Whether your debt is from student loans, medical bills, credit cards or a mortgage, owing
money can be overwhelming.

Sometimes all you need to do is make a plan, and then get started. Feeling stunned by
dollar signs, I gathered up all of my bills and wrote out a financial plan to clear my debt. I
started by making larger payments on my smaller debt, like my credit cards and loans. After
I paid these things off, I felt more in control of my finances and able to tackle larger debt,
like my mortgage.

3. Save for a rainy day.


Life is full of highs and lows. Sometimes money seems readily available, and other times it’s
scarce. The old saying “saving for a rainy day” refers to the financial valleys almost
everyone eventually faces: the car needs a new alternator, the washing machine breaks or
the hot water tank springs a leak. All things that raise stress levels.

By saving a little out of every paycheck, I built an emergency fund to handle the financial
blows that come my way. Some experts recommend an emergency fund of $1,000 to get
started, and in the event of a job loss, they say you should also work toward a savings of
three to six months of income.

4. Go clutter-free.
Clutter creates stress. When my home was messy, I didn’t want to invite anyone over. It
was embarrassing when people stopped by, and those marathon cleaning sessions were
taxing. But the problem wasn’t that my home was dirty; it was that it housed too much stuff.
Related: How Living With Less Can Give You More

So I started ridding my home of clutter in 15- to 30-minute sessions. Now, it is much easier
to clean, and I feel better knowing I gave away unwanted items to people who need them
more.

5. Focus on one thing.


Multitasking is my enemy. It sounds noble, but when I tried balancing all of my
responsibilities at once, everything came crashing down, leaving me disappointed and
discouraged. Now, I focus on one task at a time.

When I cook, I focus solely on the recipe and ingredients and ignore the siren’s call of the
internet or the need to rearrange the spice cabinet. At work, I focus on each project and
give it my all, 100 percent. I shut out all distractions and work on one item at a time,
resulting in fewer mistakes.

6. Embrace the real world.


Technology advances make our lives easier, but I’ve noticed that too many devices leave
me feeling drained from the constant 24/7 communication. Like Pavlov’s dog, the ding of a
notification can stop me in my tracks. This bombardment from the virtual world negatively
impacts my mindset, and I lose focus on the task at hand.

To embrace the real world and spend more time with my family and friends, I simplify my
life by totally unplugging from my devices. It’s freeing to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee
in solitude, without the constant demand of email, Facebook and Twitter.

I’m still adopting new habits all the time to maintain my simpler lifestyle. Sometimes
implementing a new practice can take a few weeks, so I allow myself one month to focus on
adding the new habit into my routine. Choose a few things from this list and welcome your
new stress-free life.

How to Use Your Breath to Manage Stress


Control what you can control. Let go of what you can’t.
Guy Joseph Ale

August 24, 2017


Stress is a natural part of life and can’t be completely avoided or eliminated, but knowing
how to deal with stress helps you to be in control in every situation in life.

Related: 11 Strategies for Managing Stress

Our daily routines are filled with small and big annoyances, and potential causes of anxiety.
When we find ourselves in a “tight situation,” the natural tendency of the body is to stiffen,
and the breath to become shallow or restricted. These are the hereditary responses of our
survival mechanism: the fight-or-flight instinct.

The solution for situations like these is to learn to do the opposite—breathe deeply and
evenly. What you want to carry with you throughout life is the clear understanding that your
breath is your personal domain, and no one can enter this private space uninvited. It is the
firm ground on which you can stand no matter how dangerous a situation might seem.
Whatever negative circumstances we encounter, we can always draw inside, center
ourselves and regulate our breath: deep, steady and free.

Here are some helpful mantras to carry in your mental toolkit and repeat silently to
yourself when you face a tight situation.

 My strength is in my breath.
 When I control my breath, I control my life.
 The oxygen of the whole world is available to me.

This last idea is especially helpful to realize that you’re never at a lack for oxygen. There’s
always plenty of air around you to fill your lungs to full capacity, so you never feel deprived
of breath or anxious for space or safety.

Related: 5 Simple Habits to Manage Your Anxiety

Let’s now do a simple exercise that will help you develop mastery of your breath.

1. Make yourself comfortable, and establish a free and effortless pattern of breaths.
2. Breathe in and breathe out, nice deep breaths.
3. Now inhale on the count of five.
4. Exhale without count.

Repeat this sequence three times.

5. Now inhale without count, and exhale on the count of five.


Repeat this sequence three times.

6. Now inhale on the count of 10, and exhale without count. It helps here to use your fingers as
visual reminders, so you don’t exert yourself mentally while focusing on your breath.

Repeat this sequence three times.

7. Now inhale without count, and exhale on the count of 10.

Repeat this sequence three times

8. Now slowly inhale on the count of 15, using your fingers to keep track. If counting to 15
proves too difficult, don’t worry about it, you’ll slowly build up to it. Just count to 12.

9. Exhale without count.

Repeat this sequence three times.

10. Now inhale without count, and exhale on the count of 15 or 12.

Repeat this sequence three times.

We will end this set now, and you’ll be able to repeat it as many times as you like as you go
about your daily routines.

The huge benefit of this small exercise is that it shows you that you are in control of your
breath. The fact that you are able to pace your breath over a count of 5, and then 10, and
then 12 or 15, is a clear sign that you have now made your breath a conscious activity that
you can manage. It is no longer something that simply happens. You have now made it a
deliberate event, which you can monitor and regulate in every situation in your life.

Because you can master your breath in the contained environment of this exercise, the
more you practice these sets, the more you’ll be in charge of your breath in every
circumstance you encounter. When you face a crisis of some kind that threatens to get out
of control, center on your breath—because this is something that you can control—and let
your breath carry you to safety.

5 Ways to Avoid Staying Too Long at Your Own


Pity Party
Kit Kittelstad

July 27, 2017


Is it really a party if it’s a pity party? We’ve all been to one, though. Perhaps it was an ugly
breakup that we couldn’t stop replaying in our mind. Perhaps it was something even more
grievous, such as the loss of a parent or loved one. Maybe a doctor just relayed some
fearful news. Either way, when life knocks us down, sometimes it’s darn near impossible to
get back up again.

Related: 5 Ways to Stay Positive When You’re Having a Bad Day

I know a girl who, within a month, left a job that was nearing unhealthy for her and a
boyfriend who was anything but Prince Charming. After those two departures, she had the
luxury of returning home to live with her family and the misfortune of staying too long at her
own pity party. As the party raged on, she gained weight, wallowing in her room with TV
reruns and junk food. She lost her joie de vivre.

That girl was me. I know we haven’t met, but, if you’ll allow me to be your cautionary tale, I’d
like to share five steps that dragged me out of this never-ending party. I wish I took them
much, much sooner. But alas, life ebbs and flows and, though we might be washed away in
one instant, we’ll swim to shore the next. Let’s make sure we swim right back to shore, burst
open those cobweb curtains and exit our own pity parties.

1. Allow yourself time.


Although this sounds counterproductive, do allow yourself some time to wallow. It’s only
natural, and we have to feel what we feel. It would be unnatural to see someone experience
a tremendous loss and then just whip around with a bright, beaming smile. As painful as it
might be, allow yourself some time to sit in those sad, lonely, defeated feelings.

Just keep an eye on yourself. Make sure you don’t wallow for too long. What’s too long? It
depends on the person and the gravity of the situation. Notice any extended patterns of
listlessness. When’s the last time you brushed your teeth? When’s the last time you had a
good day at work or made a decent attempt to find new work? When’s the last time you
spoke to a friend or allowed them to come by and visit? Self-correcting is hardest in these
times, but even if you have just the slightest moment of reflection, you’re already on the
road to recovery.
2. Talk about it.
Don’t try to bottle up your feelings, no matter how embarrassed you might feel. Talk it over
with patient friends who will really listen. If need be, seek out a little one-on-one time with a
life coach or therapist. I don’t know how or why, but non-physical things—such as negative
thoughts and reliving horrid memories—can manifest in very physical ways. How about
those tension headaches? How about that lack of sleep that makes our skin sallow?
You must talk this time through, as often as you feel the urge to.

3. Do something.
Do something. When you don’t even want to get out of bed, make that your one
achievement for the day. Get up, take a quick shower and do something, anything. Sit in a
café instead of on your sofa behind drawn curtains. Go to a movie by yourself. Grocery
shop, picking up a few of your favorite treats (so long as you don’t eat them all in one night).
Make plans with a friend when socializing is the last thing you want to do. Make it your
personal goal for just that oneday out of the week. Pat yourself on the back for achieving it.

Related: 4 Ways to Quiet the Emotional Enemies in Your Mind

4. Be proud.
No matter the root of your pity party, let a little bit of Katy Perry into your heart. You know, “I
got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire.” Was it a breakup? Was it the
loss of a loved one? Was it a series of unfortunate events that piled up and made you toss
in the towel? No matter what, guess what’s going to happen at some point? You’re going to
come through the other side. At some point, you’re going to feel like yourself again,
contribute at work again, socialize with your friends regularly again. Keep that image in
mind. Although you might only be on Step 2 right now, you will get through this. When you
do, you’re going to feel just a little bit stronger, just a little bit more able to conquer life’s
curveball to the nose.

5. Pay it forward.
They say tragedies and misfortunes happen to make us stronger. Heaven help the person
who actually says that to the person who is currently dancing through the fire and into an
extended stay at their local pity party. If someone dares mention that cliché in the moment,
you just might hurl something at them—perhaps that Twinkie you’re about to bite into.
Hindsight is only 20/20. The older I get, the more I realize the truth in clichés. They get
repeated because they repeatedly apply.

In hindsight, you will be stronger and, hopefully, proud of yourself for coming out the other
end of things. You’ll pay it forward to yourself, without even realizing it, because you’ll be
able to battle through the next speedbump life places before you. Equally important, you’ll
be able to pay it forward to a friend. When your cellphone buzzes and it’s someone who’s
about to enter into their own self-decorated pity party, you’ll be a better equipped listener
and be able to dance with her through the fire, right up to the shoreline where she belongs.
Paying it forward will be a sweet treat—even better than that red velvet cupcake, if you can
believe it.

One of my mother’s favorite songs by country artist John Michael Montgomery goes like
this: “Life’s a dance. You learn as you go.” The inevitable pity party will come knocking on
your door, if it hasn’t already. Avoid overindulging in the party punch laced with remorse and
fear. Those first few sips might taste all right but, like anything else, excess needs to be
controlled. Talk it out with a friend. Allow yourself the natural state of sadness. But then,
slowly and surely, arm yourself with a reminder of that eye of the tiger in you, and get on out
there and live again.

8 Tips to Help You Manage Stress


How to prepare your mind and body for (inevitable) stress
Kacey Bradley

July 5, 2017

Stress. Stress! We all suffer from it throughout our lives, even throughout each day. It can
cause anxiety, depression, and mental and physical fatigue. It can destroy relationships and
cause us to seek relief through drugs and alcohol. Stress can be terrible, even fatal.

Stress causes so much destruction because it is not properly channeled. It will not go away
on its own, but there are ways to manage it in a way that it can be a positive force in your
life.

Related: 12 Ways to Turn Stress Into Productivity

What is stress?
We all know what stress feels like, but knowing what it is can help you attempt to control
it. Stress is your body’s response to any kind of physical or mental demand. When
something stressful arises, your body releases chemicals that give you increased energy
and muscle strength.

In a fight-or-flight situation, this is advantageous, as you will have more power to flee or
defend yourself. But this rush of chemicals into your body while you are sitting at your desk
trying to pay bills with money you don’t have inevitably takes its toll on your body if not
properly channeled.

What causes stress?


Some stressors are universal. Any physical threat to ourselves or our loved ones, a death in
our family, financial hardship—all of these things will cause stress in any healthy person.

But some things that might be stressful to one might not be stressful to another. An office
party might make one person cringe with anxiety, while another might be enjoying the best
night of their life. Being asked to speak about your career at your child’s school would be an
honor for some but a burden for others. One might worry about hosting a big family visit,
while another might embrace it as a wonderful event.

Physical and mental fatigue without the proper rest can be quite stressful over time. It is
important to know what stresses you out in order to know how to deal with it properly.

What does stress feel like?


Maybe you know you are under stress. Most people do, but some channel it in ways they
might not realize.

Here are a few signs of that someone is under stress:

 Changes in appetite
 The inability to sleep because of racing thoughts
 Constantly feeling overwhelmed by your situation
 Mood swings, irritability
 The inability to focus on your work
 Increased drug or alcohol use

Stress can have physical consequences, too. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are common
ailments associated with long-term stress. A life of unmanaged stress can lead to high
blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Related: How Stressed Are You?

With all of this in mind, you don’t hear too many people talk about stress being a good thing.
But it can be—it can motivate you, give you mental sharpness, and make you tougher and
more resilient, among other things. It’s all about how you manage it, and how you prepare
your mind and body for stress.

How can you manage stress?

1. Identify your stressors.


You can’t fight it if you don’t know what it is. If a certain situation or person at work pushes
your buttons, own that feeling.

2. Don’t ignore stress.


(Because it won’t go away on its own.) When you know you will be encountering this person
or situation, stand up straight, put a smile on your face, and see how much better things go
when you approach them positively and confidently.

3. Don’t think you will eliminate all stress at once.


Your health, emotional state and the day’s events are going to affect your stress levels, and
some days will be better than others. Identifying what bothers you is a start. Then tell
yourself you have to go deal with so-and-so, or that the deadline you used to think was so
far away is now here. Make it fun if you can, but keep your focus and resolve.

4. Avoid alcohol.
Why do people drink when they are stressed out? Because, for the short term, it works;
intoxicated people aren’t usually stressed about too much. But that only lasts so long.
Having a few drinks with friends after work can be a positive, bonding activity, in which
case, you are socializing. Using alcohol as a way of managing stress, on the other hand, is
a negative coping mechanism, one that could even result in a chemical dependency on
alcohol and a lifetime of trouble.
5. Eat right.
You know what’s good for you and what’s bad for you. Don’t eat a lot of refined sugar, fatty
foods like potato chips or white-flour-based foods; these snacks might satisfy cravings, but
you usually end up hungry again soon after consuming them. Eat more fruits and
vegetables, and if you don’t like them, find ways to enjoy them. Maybe you dip them in
organic peanut butter or almond butter, or you find a vegetable or fruit you have never had
before like papaya or bok choy. A couple other tips: Eat at times of your choosing and in
pre-portioned amounts, and drink water instead of soda or energy drinks.

6. Exercise regularly.
With exercise, you will feel good physically as your muscles tense and relax. You will also
feel better mentally because exercise lowers hormones such as cortisol, which causes
stress, andcauses your brain to release endorphins, the hormones that make us feel happy
and content. If running isn’t feasible, try walking; you’ll receive almost as many health
benefits, and most everyone can do it. You could also try weightlifting or a group exercise
class like yoga. Choose something that you can fit into your weekly schedule. Ideally, you
should exercise daily, but even three times a week will make a big difference in how you
feel.

7. Find some alone time.


Take 15 to 30 minutes out of each day to be alone and reflect. People might demand your
time throughout the day, but decide which part of it is yours, and stick to it. This will make
you a better friend, family member and co-worker, and will help you manage your stress for
the day. During this time, you can enjoy your coffee with a newspaper, close your eyes and
relax, or practice any suitable form of mediation; even just a few deep breaths with your
eyes closed will provide immediate relief. This alone time will help you achieve focus, and
you will be able to approach your duties calm and assured.

8. Get good sleep.


Waking up refreshed is key to battling stress. A couple tips: Have a set bedtime and
bedtime ritual. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea while reading, and think about giving up your
favorite late-night TV if it keeps you from getting an adequate amount of sleep, which is
typically eight hours. If you have trouble falling asleep, try some natural remedies before
asking your doctor for sleeping pills. You’ve probably heard of drinking warm milk, but did
you know cherries, bananas and sweet potatoes also have chemical properties that help
you sleep?

Stress will always be part of your life, so be in charge of it as much as you can. Prepare for
it, plan ahead and navigate through the stressors of your day as best you can.

9 Thoughtful Ways to Love Yourself


Leave enough space in your life for the things you enjoy.
Jesus Jimenez

July 31, 2017

My favorite habits include jotting down three to five successes that I had for the day
each night before bed, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each morning and saying
no to non-productive meetings more often. These practices help rid my mind of
negativity, provide a sense of peace and satisfaction, and put me in control.

—Antonio Calabrese, CEO and founder of Boonle

To me, self-love means forgiving myself if I make a mistake and moving


on; surrounding myself with positive people who challenge me to grow; and taking time
out to be truly present and connected with my family, my friends and myself. Massages,
chocolate and HGTV binges also help.

—Carrie Singer, CEO, Quince Orchard Therapy

I’ve learned to make sure to leave enough space in my life for the things I enjoy. I
play golf. I spend time with my family. We’re planning a family vacation in Canada this year,
and I’m looking forward to it. It’s also rewarding to mentor my three adult children
regarding the importance of education and lifelong learning in order to have options in life. I
have impressed upon them the importance of entrepreneurship and risk-taking. All of my
family has been there with me through the ups and downs of growing a business, and this
has created a bond among us. We have all grown stronger together through that process.

—John McNeely, CEO of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security


I take time for myself, starting with being grateful for what I have. I find that when I'm
grateful for life's gifts, I can't help but practice self-love.

—Carrie Rich, CEO, The Global Good Fund

25 Successful People Who’ll Help Change Your


Life in 2018
Introducing 2018’s most impactful authors, speakers and personal development teachers
SUCCESS Staff

December 1, 2017

This is it! This is the list. You’ll be introduced to 25 people who can help you to change your
life for the better.

Related: 4 Powerful Habits That Will Change Your Life

Each year, SUCCESS devotes a massive amount of research to discovering the most
influential voices in the world of personal development. Over the last 12 months, these are
the achievers who have led the charge to help the most people reach their business and life
goals through inspiration, motivation, and practical advice and tactics.

It’s our goal each year to make the list as quantifiable as possible. We comb through best-
seller lists, social media statistics, video views, blog posts, podcast downloads, and media
and speaking appearances to uncover the authors, speakers and teachers who have done
the most good. While previous honorees still deserve recognition for the long-lasting power
of their ideas, we take particular account of those whose new work created momentum in
2017.

Related: 5 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People

You’ll notice that a number of the personalities we’re recognizing this year have appeared
on prior lists—like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss and others. This is an
amazing testament to the size of their influence. We’re excited to once again celebrate
these titans of the genre, but are just as impressed by the up-and-comers appearing on this
list for the first time. Considering the endless expressions on social media, it’s tougher than
ever to rise above the noise and make the connections that allow others to create change in
their lives, so we are thrilled to honor 11 new voices; some you may already be familiar
with, but perhaps you aren’t aware of their performance-based teachings (yes, we mean
Tom Brady). Others you may be meeting for the first time, but should know about, because
their messages can help you reach new personal heights.

SIMON T. BAILEY

ELIZABETH SHERWIN, IMAGE BUREAU

Simon T. Bailey is the CEO of Simon T. Bailey International and the founder of the Brilliance
Institute. A one-time sales director of the Disney Institute, Bailey’s mission is to inspire the
world’s emerging influencers. An author and a speaker, Bailey has worked with more than
1,500 organizations, impacting more than 2 million people in 45 countries.

In his book Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc., Bailey shares five steps to
clear your vision.

1. See it. Visualize who you want to be and what you want your life to be like.
2. Write it. Take the picture that’s in your mind and put words, expressions and feelings to it.
3. Read it. When you wake up each morning, read your vision aloud and meditate on it.
4. Say it. When you speak your vision, say it with power, emotion and conviction.
5. Act it. Start believing, behaving and acting as if your vision has already come true.

GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN

“Celebrate what others have, and know that celebrating


others attracts more abundance to your own life.”
TOM BILYEU

Tom Bilyeu is the co-founder of Quest Nutrition, a startup that was valued at more than $1
billion. He is also the co-founder, CEO and host of Impact Theory. Through his show,
Bilyeu’s mission is to create, cultivate and monetize mission-based companies that are
focused on solving meaningful challenges and to create culturally relevant content. Bilyeu
shares three mental upgrades to propel you to achievement.

1. Replace criticism with compliments. When you communicate what it is that you value in
others, you’ll be amazed by how much their defenses lower and their self-esteem builds.
2. Use the pressure to perform as a reminder that all of life is practice. Consider every day
an opportunity to grow and improve yourself. This will help you transform a moment of panic
into one of empowerment.
3. Substitute feelings of insecurity with the excitement of skill acquisition. Don’t focus on
what you’re not good at today. Focus on what you need to do to get good at mastering the
skill you’re missing.

TOM BRADY

WENN LTD / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

He doesn’t make the list for leading his New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win after
trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 in February, although that performance did a lot for the
perseverance lobby. The greatest quarterback of his generation, Brady makes the list for his
best-selling life advice book The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained
Peak Performance, which followed a live appearance with Tony Robbins in which Brady
stepped out of the huddle and into the forefront as a motivator and life strategist who must
be acknowledged.

While Brady’s best-selling book is on its face a guide for athletes, it’s every bit as hefty a
guide to intentionality and goal achievement, based on simple precepts for maximizing your
energy levels, including unbreakable sleep patterns and almost constant hydration.
BRENÉ BROWN

BENEDICT EVANS

Author, public speaker and research professor Brené Brown, Ph.D., has spent years
studying courage, worthiness, shame and vulnerability. Her TEDx Talk on the power of
vulnerability is one of the top five most-watched of all time, with more than 31 million views.
Her newest book Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to
Stand Alone came out in 2017. The book explores how and why certain experiences bring
meaning into our lives.

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply
that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being
a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness,” she writes in Braving the
Wilderness. “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to
be who you are.”

KIMBERLY BRYANT

SILICON PRAIRIE NEWS

In 2011 Kimberly Bryant, an electrical engineer, founded Black Girls Code, a course created
to teach digital technology and computer programming to black girls from the ages of 7 to
17. Bryant’s goal is to empower young girls to pursue careers in technology, an industry
where black women are underrepresented. Black Girls Code has 12 chapters across the
U.S. and hosts workshops, hackathons and summer camps.

In August 2017, Bryant’s biography, Kimberly Bryant: Founder of Black Girls Code, was
released. The book was just one highlight in a year full of them for Bryant. She received the
following awards and recognitions in 2017:
 Induction into the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished
Alumni
 Nomination for 2017 Visionary of the Year, sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle and
the School of Econmoics and Business Adminstration at Saint Mary’s College of California
 Named one of ELLE magazine’s 2017 Women in Tech: Star Tech Voyagers.

BRENDON BURCHARD

MAGGIE KIRKLAND

In addition to hosting monthly SUCCESS Accelerator live training sessions and co-
emceeing the first ever SUCCESS Live event in April, Burchard earns yet another nod on
this list for his impactful conferences, courses and the heavily researched September
book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. In it, he
unveiled six key customs of high performers.

1. Seeking clarity on who they want to be and their goals.


2. Generating energy to maintain focus, effort and well-being.
3. Raising the necessity for exceptional performance.
4. Increasing productivity in their primary field of interest while minimizing distractions.
5. Developing influence with others to create powerful networks of support.
6. Demonstrating courage by expressing ideas and taking bold action.

PETER DIAMANDIS

Saying SUCCESS Ambassador Peter Diamandis is a visionary would be an


understatement. He has founded or co-founded 19 entrepreneurial ventures,
including Singularity University, a Silicon Valley think tank. He also launched the XPRIZE
Foundation, which gives prizes for “radical breakthroughs” that benefit humanity; its first
XPRIZE helped make private space travel possible. Now it’s teaming with IBM to offer the
IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, which in 2020 will give $5 million to the artificial intelligence system
that gives the best TED Talk.
He’s also an engineer and Harvard University-trained physician, and was named one
of Fortune’s world’s 50 greatest leaders. He advocates the importance of living with an
abundance mindset.

“I realized I was at my best when a few things happened: one, when I was tapped into my
passion, and two, when I let it shine through,” he said at Singularity University’s Global
Summit 2017. “I gave [myself] permission to say, It’s amazing! We live in the most amazing
world and it’s the most amazing time to be alive.”

TIM FERRISS

ANDREW KELLY

When he was profiled for a SUCCESS cover story in 2015, Ferriss, described by The New
York Times as “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk,” said that he didn’t
expect to write any books in the near future, but now seems to have changed his mind
quickly. In addition to continuing his hit podcast and adding television work for an interview
show with the AT&T AUDIENCE Network, which premiered in 2017, he also dominated the
best-sellers lists.

While his massive tome Tools of Titans was released in December 2016, it topped charts in
its genre for much of the year (the first-ever book based on a podcast to debut at No. 1 on
theNew York Times best-sellers list). He followed that book up with Tribe of Mentors: Short
Life Advice from the Best in the World, just released in November. Both are the result of
Ferriss’s interviews and his continuing goal to ask the right questions in life.
T.D. JAKES

COURTESY OF THE POTTER’S HOUSE DALLAS

CEO of TDJ Enterprises, producer and New York Times best-selling author Bishop T.D.
Jakes added to his list of more than 40 books in 2017 with Soar! Build Your Vision from the
Ground Up. In addition to the new book, Jakes’ eponymous syndicated one-hour talk show
was picked up by OWN and launched in September 2017.

In Soar, Jakes lays out a “flight plan” to help readers draft their own design for ultimate
success. The flight plan centers on six lines of questioning—what, who, why, how, where
and when. These questions ask readers to focus on asking big-picture questions, such as:
What’s your destination? What will success look like for your business? “A good business
plan is indispensable and increases the odds of your success by leaps and bounds,” Jakes
writes. “If you want to see nothing but blue sky, then make sure your flight plan is in black
and white.”

JOHN C. MAXWELL

STEWART COHEN

“The great leaders are growing. They have a hunger that


makes them stretch. A growing leader is a little wiser today
than he was yesterday.”
JANE McGONIGAL

KIYASH MONSEF

A video game designer and the author of SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully, Jane
McGonigal, Ph.D.—twin sister of Kelly McGonigal—creates alternate reality games that help
people improve their lives and cope with real-life problems. She is the director of games
research and development at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit in Palo Alto, California,
where she studies how gaming can be used to improve people’s well-being. Her 2010 TED
Talk “Gaming Can Make a Better World” garnered more than 4 million views.

“The gift of the future is creativity,” she said in her 2017 TEDx Talk, “The Future Is Dark
(and That Is a Good Thing).” “In order to create something new or make any kind of a
change, you first have to be able to imagine how things can be different. The future is a
place where everything can be different.”

KELLY McGONIGAL

CRAIG BARRITT/GETTY IMAGES FOR COSMOPOLITAN

A Stanford University health psychologist and lecturer, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., pioneered
the field of “science-help,” the idea that we can take research from psychology and
neuroscience and turn it into tools people can use to improve their well-being. Her viral TED
Talk “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” has been viewed nearly 15 million times and is one
of the 25 Most Popular TED Talks of all time.

“The fact that we use the word stress to describe so much of life is both a blessing and a
curse,” she writes in her book The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How
to Get Good at It. “The downside is that it can make talking about the science of stress
tricky. Even scientists—who usually nail down their definitions—use stress to describe a
mind-boggling array of experiences and outcomes…. I offer this conception of stress: Stress
is what arises when something you care about is at stake.”
DAVE RAMSEY

Financial guru Dave Ramey—our June cover subject—has a message that reaches millions
of people each year. The radio host and author of five New York Times best-sellers,
Ramsey stresses the importance of living a debt-free life, and how taking on certain strict
financial habits (such as not using credit cards) can help people get there.

His company, Ramsey Solutions, and his popular radio call-in show both celebrated their
25th anniversary this last year. In our cover story, he shared his four tips for running a
business in the YouEconomy:

1. Avoid debt. Don’t borrow money, but focus on growing organically.


2. Prioritize your expenses. Make a list that goes from most to least important.
3. Be intentional. Being purposeful with your money will help you avoid senseless purchases.
4. Take pride. Be proud that you’re giving people jobs and serving the community by running a
business.

SHONDA RHIMES

JAY GOLDMAN

The mind behind hit TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and the producer of How to Get
Away with Murder, Shonda Rhimes makes the 2017 list because of her consistent ability to
churn out quality work and march to the beat of her own drum. Last year she became the
third black woman inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and made a bold move to
leave her network, ABC, to develop exclusive shows for Netflix.

Her 2016 TED Talk about her year of saying yes to everything garnered over 3 million
views. “There is no list of rules,” she writes in her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out,
Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person. “There is one rule. The rule is: there are no
rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells
you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are
supposed to be.”

MEL ROBBINS

The creator of the wildly popular “5 Second Rule,” Mel Robbins released her book on the
topic this year: The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with
Everyday Courage. Robbins knows how to help people make quick decisions that will set
their lives on their intended paths. The CNN commentator, motivational speaker
and SUCCESS contributing editor spoke about overcoming self-doubt at this
year’s SUCCESS Live event.

“Believe it or not, self-doubt is a habit,” she says. “It’s a behavior, a thinking pattern that you
repeat over and over, and then it becomes automated. When I can get you to understand
that anxiety, worry, procrastination and self-doubt are all habits, then I can show you how to
break them.”

Robbins says her life improved once she learned to:

 Become more confident.


 Be a fearless negotiator.
 Have greater self-control.
 Say no.
 Align her goals and values with her actions
TONY ROBBINS

“If you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to


you in one word: progress. Progress equals happiness.”

TALI SHAROT

SOURCE: CNBC

A descendant of German philosopher Karl Marx, Tali Sharot is an associate professor in the
experimental psychology department at the University College London with a doctorate from
New York University. In September 2017, Sharot’s The Influential Mind: What the Brain
Reveals About Our Power to Change Others was released, which uses research to
examine the role emotions play in influence, data’s weaknesses and the power of curiosity.

In 2012 Sharot delivered a TED Talk that was seen more than 2 million times. “We would
like to protect ourselves from the dangers of optimism,” Sharot says in her speech, “but at
the same time remain hopeful, benefiting from the many fruits of optimism…. The good
news is that becoming aware of the optimism bias does not shatter the illusion. It’s like
visual illusions, in which understanding them does not make them go away.”
JEN SINCERO

HEATHER GILDROY

After living with massive debt in a converted garage, Jen Sincero became a true rags-to-
riches story. She became a best-selling author, success coach and speaker who has
helped millions change their lives. In April 2017, Sincero followed up her 2013 New York
Times best-seller You Are a Badass with You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the
Mindset of Wealth.

Sincero joined the SUCCESS Insider podcast in April to discuss some ideas from her book.
“We basically learn to be afraid,” Sincero says. “Little babies don’t worry about the fact that
they may have a fat butt. Or that they’ll be judged if they make a lot of money. These are
learned fears.” She says some false, learned negative thought patterns we associate with
money are that it is the root of all evil and hard to make, that it comes from working hard
rather than smart and that spending it causes guilt.

SIMON SINEK

ANDREW DOLGIN

In late 2016, adjunct staff member of the RAND Corporation and best-selling author Simon
Sinek did an interview for an episode of Inside Quest. In the interview, Sinek delivered a
rousing speech about millennials in the workplace and society’s dependence on
smartphones. The video went viral, peaking in early 2017. Sinek followed up his viral video
with the paperback editions of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and
Others Don’t in May 2017 and Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for
You or Your Teamin September.

“When you don’t have the phone, you just check out the world,” Sinek says in the video.
“That’s where ideas happen.... Ideas happen when our minds wander and we see
something and we think, I bet they could do that. That’s called innovation. But we’re taking
away all those little moments.”

DAVID & JONAH STILLMAN

MATT BLUM PHOTOGRAPHY

A father-and-son team (classified together on this list because they work as a team), David
and the teenage Jonah Stillman are at the forefront of writing and research into the tastes
and productivity styles of Generation Z, the successors to the much-discussed millennials.
In Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace, the Stillmans
discuss several unique traits of these 73 million Americans born between 1995 and 2012.
Among them:

They Are Made for the YouEconomy: Gen Z has come of age when the likes of Uber and
Airbnb are ubiquitous.

They Are Realistic: Being raised by skeptical Gen Xers in a post-9/11 world has made
them extremely pragmatic and prepared.

They Are Driven: With parents who recoiled from the participation trophy movement, Gen
Zers are well aware that life has winners and losers.

BOYCE WATKINS

© JIM THOMPSON/ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL/ZUMAPRESS.COM

An author, economist, political analyst, and social commentator, Watkins is focused on


empowering African-Americans. A former assistant professor of finance at Syracuse
University’s Whitman School of Management, he espouses financial independence as
central to the quest for black spiritual and social independence. In addition to public
speaking, he released several books and online courses in 2017, promoting investment and
entrepreneurship to the black community.

A no-nonsense voice, he often rails against the idea of cultural victimhood while challenging
the black community to create change through entrepreneurial action at the individual level,
at times echoing historically powerful messages. In October, he channeled Dr. Martin Luther
King’s famous words in an ongoing series of tweets, offering such uncomfortable but
undeniable ideas as “I have a dream that one day owning Nike stock will matter more than
owning a pair of Nike sneakers.”

OPRAH WINFREY

JSTONE / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The force behind perhaps the most expansive personality-focused self-growth empire in
American history, Winfrey continues to create impact on lives years after stepping down
from her daytime show. In 2017, she put on an eight-city tour for her “The Life You Want
Weekend” conference.

Delivering a commencement address to Smith College graduates in May, she explained her
definition of success. “Ask the question: How can I be used? Life, use me. Show me
through my talents and my gifts, show me through what I know, what I need to know, what I
have yet to learn, how to be used in the greater service to life. You ask that question and I
guarantee you, the answer will be returned and rewarded to you with fulfillment, which is
really the major definition of success for me.”
ASHLEY ZAHABIAN

|
DREW GARDNER

At only 23, Ashley Zahabian is already making waves in the world of personal development.
After surviving anorexia, Zahabian lectured for two years at Rutgers University, later
becoming a financial analytics representative for Bloomberg in Manhattan.

In March 2017, Zahabian delivered a TEDx Talk in Vancouver, British Columbia, centered
on the theme of inspiring brave actions. In her speech, Zahabian shared her experience
battling anorexia, which could have killed her and required four years of rehabilitation.
Zahabian discusses how changing your automatic behaviors requires emotional intelligence
and offers strategies for when you’re feeling emotionally charged up. “Become aware of
how you’re feeling and aware of how other people are feeling,” Zahabian says. “Harness
those emotions and think about what is the best possible outcome that [you] can take right
now for the best possible outcome.”

MANOUSH ZOMORODI

JIMI CELESTE/PATRICK MCMULLAN VIA GETTY IMAGES

The host of the popular Note to Self podcast, Manoush Zomorodi explores the human
condition and the forces that shape our world in the digital age. Her 2017 book Bored and
Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self, suggests
that boredom can be beneficial, especially in a world where our first instinct is to scroll
through our smartphones.

“It turns out that when you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the ‘default
mode,’ ” she says in her 2017 TED Talk, “How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant
Ideas,”which garnered over 1 million views. “I learned that in the default mode is when we
connect disparate ideas, we solve some of our most nagging problems, and we do
something called ‘autobiographical planning.’ This is when we look back at our lives, we
take note of the big moments, we create a personal narrative and then we set goals and we
figure out what steps we need to take to reach them.”

How to Not Be Miserable at Work


It’s called ‘job crafting’ and all it takes is adjusting your mindset to find meaning.
Shawn Achor

March 2, 2017

Yale psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski has made a living out of studying how the mental
conceptions we have of our jobs affect performance. After many years and hundreds of
interviews with workers in every conceivable profession, she has found that employees
have one of three “work orientations,” or mindsets about our work. We view our work as a
Job, a Career or a Calling.

 People with a “job” see work as a chore and their paycheck as the reward. They work
because they have to and constantly look forward to the time they can spend away from their
job.

 By contrast, people who view their work as a career work not only out of necessity, but also
to advance and succeed. They are invested in their work and want to do well.

 Finally, people with a calling view work as an end in itself; their work is fulfilling not because
of external rewards, but because they feel it contributes to the greater good, draws on their
personal strengths, and gives them meaning and purpose. Unsurprisingly, people with a
calling orientation not only find their work more rewarding, but work harder and longer
because of it. And as a result, these are the people who are generally more likely to get
ahead.

Related: Answer 6 Questions to Reveal Your Life Purpose

For those who see their work as a calling, this is great news. Those who don’t though,
needn’t despair. Wrzesniewski’s most interesting finding is not just that people see their
work in one of these three ways, but that it fundamentally doesn’t matter what type of job
one has. She found that there are doctors who see their work only as a job, and janitors
who see their work as a calling. In fact, in one study of 24 administrative assistants, each
orientation was represented in nearly equal thirds, even though their objective situations
(job descriptions, salary and level of education) were nearly identical.

What this means is that a calling orientation can have just as much to do with mindset as it
does with the actual work being done. In other words, unhappy employees can find ways to
improve their work life that don’t involve quitting, changing jobs or careers, or going off to
find themselves. Organizational psychologists call this “job crafting,” but in essence, it
involves simply adjusting one’s mindset. As Wrzesniewski says, “new possibilities open for
the meaning of work” simply by the way “it is constructed by the individual.”

How does this work? Well, if you can’t make actual changes to your daily work, ask yourself
what potential meaning and pleasure already exist in what you do. Imagine two janitors at
the local elementary school. One focuses only on the mess he must clean up each night,
while the other believes that he is contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for the
students. They both undertake the same tasks every day, but their different mindsets dictate
their work satisfaction, their sense of fulfillment and ultimately how well they do their jobs.

Related: 6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

In my consulting work with companies, I encourage employees to rewrite their “job


description” into what Tal Ben-Shahar calls a “calling description.” I have them think about
how the same tasks might be written in a way that would entice others to apply for the job.
The goal is not to misrepresent the work they do, but to highlight the meaning that can be
derived from it. Then I ask them to think of their own personal goals in life. How can their
current job tasks be connected to this larger purpose? Researches have found that even
the smallest tasks can be imbued with greater meaning when they are connected to
personal goals and values. The more we can align our daily tasks with personal vision, the
more likely we are to see work as a calling.

Try this exercise:


Turn a piece of paper horizontally, and on the left hand side write down a task you’re forced
to perform at work that feels devoid of meaning. Then ask yourself: What is the purpose of
this task? What will it accomplish? Draw an arrow to the right and write this answer down. If
what you wrote still seems unimportant, ask yourself again: What does this result lead
to? Draw another arrow and write this down. Keep going until you get to a result that is
meaningful to you. In this way, you can connect every small thing you do to the larger
picture, to a goal that keeps you motivated and energized. If you’re a law professor and you
hate administrative work, draw your arrow until you can connect it to something you do care
about, such as providing a new generation of young lawyers with the resources they need
to succeed.

Chip Conley, an innovative hotelier, uses a similar strategy to engage his employees. He
likes to tell each one: “Forget about your current job title. What would our customers call
your job title if they described it by the impact you have on their lives?” When you make
these larger connections, your mundane tasks not only become more palatable, but you
perform them with far greater dedication, and see greater returns in performance as a
result.