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I Started Saying ‘No’ To These 6 Things. My Life And My Business Got A Lot Better

The most difficult obstacles to get past are the ones we place in front of ourselves.

Kimanzi Constable

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I’m a people pleaser. It’s hard for me to say “no” to people who ask for something – despite a reluctance inside of me. This has gotten me into trouble more than a few times in life and especially in business. Time is precious and slips by quickly but there is also no lack of things that have to get done in an entrepreneur’s life.

For 12 years, I took life a day at a time. I had a dream but no goals for making it real. I just woke up each day hoping for something more. In 2011, I had had enough and began chasing my dream of starting a lifestyle business. This meant more work on top of a service business that took 60-80 hours of my week. It didn’t take long for me to realise that something had to give. I had to learn how to say no to open up room for the things that were important.

Seeing how much time and energy was freed by saying no, I started looking at all the other areas of my life. Here are six things I said no to. Saying no helped me live a much better life and create the kind of business that I love.

1Other people’s baggage

Life is hard for all of us. Sometimes it’s easier to push your baggage onto someone else, maybe even without you realising it.

If you are trying to make changes in your life and someone reacts a certain way because of their baggage, it’s up to you to say “no”.

You don’t need any more drama in your life. For me, this meant ignoring some people on social media and purging negative people from my life. It meant ending the business partnerships that were not in alignment with the direction I was taking my business.

Related: Don’t Be A Negative ‘No’ Person: The Benefits Of Saying ‘Yes’

2Situations that I knew would make me angry

unhappy-situation

There are things in life that you know you don’t want to do. For years, I just rolled with it. I went to gatherings and hung out with people who I knew would make me angry. I got on “get-to-know-you” calls with entrepreneurs who were all talk and no action.

I entered into collaborations with business owners that weren’t serious. When I said enough and stopped, it felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It freed my mind and business and helped me focus.

3A business that I absolutely hated

I had a service business in the vendor industry for 12 years and hated it. I felt stuck and believed that someone like me – a high school dropout – couldn’t do better. In 2011, I said “no” more and worked hard for four years to make my dream of being a global lifestyle entrepreneur a reality. I now wake up loving what I get to do for work and traveling the world. Saying no led to happier days.

4Unhealthy habits that felt good

I love food. I said yes to junk food and no to healthier choices. This, as you can imagine, led to major weight gain. At one point, I was 193 pounds overweight.

I started saying no to unhealthy choices and started exercising, I’ve lost 121 pounds so far this year.

Today, I have more energy, focus and confidence. Life is better. I wake up ready to work on my business. I feel great when I travel for consulting presentations at multinational corporations.

Related: Saying ‘No’ Now Could Save You From Headaches Later

5Toxic relationships

toxic-relationships

Purging negative people from my life and saying no to what they tried to project into my life led to relief and happiness. These relationships included romantic relationships, friendships and business connections.

It was hard, but I had to say no. Toxic people will keep you off track and make your life unenjoyable. Purge negativity from your life and business whenever it’s possible.

6Holding onto the past

I had a messed up childhood that involved physical and mental abuse. I chose to be homeless at 17 instead of continuing to be beaten with lamp cords. The demons from my past threatened to destroy me as I grew into an adult. I had to let go. I had to say no a lot more. I had to forgive to begin the healing process. I don’t know what you have or are facing. I do know that to heal, you have to let go.

Related: How To Say ‘No’ At Work (Infographic)

Just because you’re saying no right now doesn’t mean you’ll have to say no forever. Life has seasons, and some are busier than others. The point is to make sure you’re doing the things you want to do and that lead to the kind of life and business you want.

Don’t let other people’s motives make decisions for you. This is your life. This is your business. You get to decide. Say no to things that don’t make sense for you. Say no to things that don’t feel right to you. Trust your intuition. You know whether or not you want to do something. Don’t be pressured into saying yes.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Kimanzi Constable is a former bread delivery guy who self-published two books that have sold more than 82,000 copies. He is a published author, international speaker, life and business coach. His mission is to help men and women live life by their own design and create true freedom in life. Join him at KimanziConstable.com.

Work Life Balance

Boundaries, You And Success: Why They All Are Connected (And Why You Need To Choose Wisely)

Have you ever calculated how many of your 24hrs you are in “work-mode” – whether thinking, doing, commuting to meetings or responding to a quick mail at a family braai?

Anja van Beek

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I have noticed that many people, at one point or another, struggle to find time to cope with the demands of modern day life, especially as we are surrounded by technology. We are all ‘expected’ to strike a reasonable balance between the needs of our personal lives and professional careers. But in reality, it is a very tough task.

In a study done by OECD, reveals that:

1 in every 8 employees works 50 hours or more per week.

Turkey is by far the country with the highest proportion of people working very long hours, with 34%, followed by Mexico with nearly 30%. In South Africa, almost 19% of employees work very long hours, more than the OECD average of 13. This is quite alarming!

The work-life challenge: A key focus area for all managers

In a previous article, I have given some pointers how you, in your role as a manager and leader, can support your team striking the sweet-spot between a healthy work-life balance.

The reality is that leaders also need to fill their own cup. Many of my clients say they feel overwhelmed by what we need to do and achieve in a day. They also say, “there is just not enough time in one day” (sounds familiar?) and sometimes they even feel run-down, frustrated or anxious.

This all boils down to BOUNDARIES.

If you are a go-getter and crave to feel less overwhelmed, consider one of these 5 suggestions:

1. Important vs urgent – make time to reflect:

Daily reflection can be a way of creating mind space as it allows one the opportunity to gain perspective on situations we find challenging. Many successful people make it a daily habit of taking time to reflect.

By reflecting, we can consider what didn’t work, acknowledge what went wrong and choose a different way to prevent it from happening again.

An easy way to start reflecting is to do a one-sentence journal every day; also list and incorporate something that you are grateful for. If you need some inspiration, Ulysses.org provides a few good sentence starters.

2. If you take on new things, consider what you’re going to park?

All we have is time. The way you spend your time determines the quality of your life. I’m a strong believer in having a growth mindset and being a life-long learner; we all should find time to pursue goals and interest outside our family and work life.

Having said that, I’m mindful that we sometimes take on too much and set ourselves up for failure. If you take on a new hobby, venture or enroll for a course, consider choosing something that you are currently doing that you can “park” for a season.

3. Learn to say no without feeling guilty

‘No’ is also an answer. The truth is: if you say no, you are in fact just taking control of your life and prioritizing what is more important to you at that current time. Warren Buffet says, “the difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

Related: How To Achieve Work-Life Balance

We can’t all be “yes-people” – imagine what the world would look like? When saying no, don’t beat around the bush or offer a weak excuse; just say it. In a study done by Prof Hagtveld he suggests one uses the words “I don’t” rather than “I can’t”. The latter might sound like an excuse whilst “I don’t” implies you have established certain boundaries for yourself.

4. Choose a support system you can trust

Most working women feel trapped. They feel they need to take control of every single aspect in their lives – personal and professional… and that is exhausting! We need to remember that we don’t have to do everything ourselves.

As we successfully delegate certain tasks at work; similarly, we need to delegate duties in our personal lives as well.

Yes, the #TheJuggleIsReal, I have been there…trying to do everything myself. Being a supermom at home and being an ambitious colleague at work. I felt drained most of the time.

Related: Building Real Work Life Balance

How do you get out of this rut?

  • Get a support system in place that you can rely on. It could be arranging a lift-club at school, assigning a tutor or Au pair helping the kids with homework or choosing to do your grocery shopping online.
  • Discuss sharing chores with your partner; many modern partners are more open to taking on non-traditional tasks e.g. cooking dinner, doing the washing or putting the kids to bed.
  • The best advice that I have received as a working mother was: “be present in the moment”. This simply means choosing to focus on what you’re doing and not allowing your mind to wander to other urgent matters. I often find that when I’m busy helping the kids with homework my mind is already busy with the presentation for the next morning. I then need to refocus and choose to concentrate on the important and not the urgent.

5. Are you clear on your vision or purpose?

Do you know why you are you getting up in the morning? If not, this can significantly impact your journey as you have nothing to align your priorities with.

In his research, Richard Leider, found that many 65-year old people said they wish they have understood their purpose earlier in life. Make time to clarify your vision as this will guide your choices.

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Work Life Balance

7 Ways To Be ‘On’ Even When You’re Totally Exhausted

Trade shows can test the limits of human endurance. Here’s how to survive and thrive on your next trip.

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I spent the past week representing my company at two different trade shows. I am exhausted.

The entire time I was out there, I had to be “on” while enduring the basic conference schedule: Up early for a breakfast, catch a seminar, talk to potential partners/customers at our booth instead of eating lunch, chat at coffee break “networking” sessions, circulate through cocktail parties and make lively conversation with twenty strangers packed around a dinner table. Rinse and repeat. The big question became, “How can I keep this up?”

Here’s what I learned about thriving and not collapsing at your next conference.

1. Know your pitch

When I used to work for The Metropolitan Museum of Art or Disney Theatrical, people understood who I was and what I did right away. But now I work for a start-up called Show-Score, which I need to explain. And so I learned to do in the simplest way possible.

Depending on who my audience is, Show-Score is “Rotten Tomatoes for theater” or “Trip Advisor for theater”. This saved my life. You don’t have the time or energy to give a ten-minute spiel everytime you meet someone new at a conference, so learn how to explain your business or product in one simple and intriguing phrase.

Related: How To Go From Burnout To Breakthrough

2. Don’t talk business non-stop

I’m in sales, and sometimes I worry that I sound like an endless commercial. I am passionate about my company, but no one wants to hang out with a packaged pitch.

A quick sales moment is fine on the trade floor, but when you sit down to dine or grab drinks with colleagues at the bar, what’s your go-to conversation?

I like finding out where people are from, what sports teams they like and what movies they’ve seen recently. And if you are a conference where interests are shared, lean on that. At the ticketing conference I went to, I learned so much, like how the same venue will take a completely different approach to selling tickets to a college basketball game versus selling tickets to a concert. (Okay, that may only be interesting to a ticketing nerd like me, but you get the idea).

3. Take ten minutes of Zen

7-ways-to-be-on-even-when-youre-totally-exhausted_zen-mindfulness_embeddedI must attribute this advice to a former colleague. We may not have time to grab a power nap, but we can all grab ten minutes of alone time at some point in the day.

If you are on a conference floor, walk away from the booth, find a quiet spot and zone out for a full ten minutes. Don’t scroll through your Twitter feed, don’t check email. Just chill and rebuild your headspace.

4. Talk less, smile more

For you musical fans, you’ll get the Hamilton reference of this line. (I can’t help it, I work in theater!) But the point here is that when you’re dealing with tons of people, realise that you don’t always need to be the one talking.

Spend time listening. And smile, damn it. I have made more connections with people at conferences just by smiling at them than by talking. It usually happens during a shared experience like being stuck on an endless line trying to get Starbucks before a string of meetings starts. Or I’ll just smile at someone who looks as exhausted as I am at the end of the day. Try it and your whole mood lightens, too.

5. Wear comfortable shoes, dress your best

For women, high heels without backup flats is a rookie mistake. And for men, don’t buy new shoes right before hours on a trade floor and expect to break them in. Make sure you wear something you can easily walk around in for an entire day that makes you look professional and feel confident. Same goes for your outfit. I have a few dresses that make me feel on top of the world. A friend of mine loves to change out his pocket squares to give both his look and his confidence a boost.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Unstuck in the Face of Creative Burnout

6. Go easy on the booze

Yes, a conference can mean lots of cocktails but I always follow each drink with two glasses of water. Or sometimes I just fake it completely and order seltzer with lime and sip slowly.

There is always that temptation to have an all-night rager when we are on the road, but don’t forget you are there for work. Tomorrow you will need to be back “on” and a hangover is not going to help.

7. Sleep when you can

Five AM flights and time zone changes can seriously throw off your sleep schedule. So when you do finally get a chance to catch some Zs, sleep like you mean it. Plug your phone in away from your bed (the temptation of work email can wait till the morning), turn off the lights, pull the curtains closed and rest up. I almost never turn on the TV when I get back to my hotel room. The pull of late night talk shows means I get what is called “junk sleep,” which is when light and noise mess up sleep cycles and sleep-related hormone levels. You wake up exhausted and grouchy. Not exactly how you want to start an important day of networking.

And the eighth bonus tip: Remember to have fun! I have learned so much at these trade shows, made great business connections and even a few new friends. Enjoy! And smile!

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Company Posts

How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

Business travel made easier, more cost-effective and tailored to your needs with Travelit.

Tourvest

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DID YOU KNOW?

Travelit can save you 30% on your complete travel bill. We provide a complete end- to-end travel management solution in partnership with Tourvest Travel Services.

Travelit, in partnership with Tourvest Travel Services focuses on the SME, public sector and the corporate market, which means it has specific niche solutions suitable for each one of these sectors. To deliver a complete end-to-end travel solution to these sectors, it’s essential to provide services to procurement, HR, finance, IT, travel arrangers, authorisers and the executive management team.

“Our technology enables us to configure and implement the solution based on the client’s exact requirements, to deliver on travel policy compliance, finance and authorisation controls, and process efficiencies every business is looking for within the African market,” says Travelit’s Chief Sales Officer Wayne Muirhead. He delves into the ultimate online travel solution’s simple yet powerful implementation for businesses of all sizes.

The travel challenge for SMEs

The South African and African marketplace consists of a number of challenges, the largest concern being cost savings. With Travelit, the traveller can select their requirements based on a large range of options across multiple suppliers, whilst adhering to the company’s travel policy.

When faced with issues such as where to stay, the best airline to choose, choosing a car to rent, and transfer decisions, the Travelit client is provided with every available supplier to choose from, on one single platform.

Another challenge within the industry is information and communication to the traveller on the move. Travelit’s mobile app is designed to provide instant communication to the traveller and support the company’s duty of care programme. In addition to supporting the company’s travel programme, Travelit provides an expense management solution, as part of its offering.

Related: Tourvest: Martin Weist

Authorisation, pricing, transparency and finance are also priority on the list of concerns for many business owners, says Wayne. “It is extremely challenging to book your trip directly on a website, which has many limitations,” he notes. “The travel arranger is required to jump from website to website, prices are constantly changing and they’re further frustrated by getting the go ahead from the manager/traveller.”

Mobility is about convenience, accessibility and real-time information for the traveller. The Travelit solution provides a fully backed up 24/7 call centre to support travellers.

The simple, yet powerful solution

Travelit is the leading online travel solution within the African market place, with over 900 corporate travel clients, and over 30 Government Departments. What makes the solution truly outstanding is that there is no onsite implementation required.

Users gain access to the Travelit solution, which uses the latest cloud technology. This significantly reduces costs and implementation timelines.  Large clients can be set up within a matter of weeks, and smaller clients can be trading within a day.

“Payment within travel has traditionally been cumbersome and costly. Travelit has worked closely with leading players in the financial services sector to deliver modern virtual credit card technology to our customers and our suppliers.”

In a nutshell, the virtual credit card solution eliminates credit card fraud, dramatically improves credit card reconciliation and provides immediate payment to the supplier for their services.

Travelit’s 375 000 users are supported nationwide by over ten leading travel management companies. These users experience all the efficiencies and benefits of the technology, along with personalised service from a qualified travel consultant. They travel in the comfort of knowing they can always talk to a person who will have access to all their online bookings.

Related: 6 Travel Hacks From Experienced Business Travelers

Travelit simplifies the entire process, across flights, cars, accommodation, transfers and parking. Access to the solution is quick and easy, online or via the Travelit mobile app. All this technology has been developed in partnership with global travel technology giants. “Travellers also receive discounted prices based on our aggregated buying power, including individually negotiated corporate deals and web rates,” says Wayne.

“Travelit is a full end-to-end travel and expense management solution, who can provide a tailored and unique travel solution to meet your exact business requirements.”

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