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10 Relationship Tips for Entrepreneurs

I read an update from business guru Verne Harnish a little while back. I love his updates as he always introduces his readers to very neat people. That week, he featured Brad Feld, the famous venture capitalist and co-founder of the TechStar movement. Brad had recently produced an insightful online seminar for Verne on his book Do More Faster…and what caught my eye was another of Brad’s books entitled Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur. I thought, “YES!” we are quite an odd bunch and living with us entrepreneurs (usually Type A people, 100% dedicated to making a difference) can’t be that easy…right?

Let me share with you (Coles notes style) the Top 10 Quick Tips useful for any busy entrepreneur to try:

1. Never Schedule High Priority Activities or Deadlines on Fridays:
Doing so will likely create a scenario that drifts into Friday night, Saturday, and then Sunday. Always be realistic about the ebb and flow of the work cycle.

2. Don’t Bring Up Charged Topics at Bedtime:
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary and a safe haven from the demands of the world. Never start a conflict when you and your partner are in bed and dozing off to sleep.

3. Laugh and Laugh Often:
We believe you can never hug each other enough, say you love each other too much, or laugh too often.

4. Apologize and Forgive:
Practice apologizing when you hurt your partner’s feelings. Offer forgiveness when your partner has been careless with your feelings. Know that you will try to be your best self but that you will often fail and will need to hone your apology skills.

5. Have a Life Dinner Once a Month:
Make a reservation right now at one of your favorite restaurants. Go out–just the two of you. Buy your significant other a gift. Turn off your cell phones and hand them to the other person. Spend a long slow dinner enjoying each other’s company.

6. Set Limits on Technology:
You do not need to do just one more e-mail right before bedtime. You really don’t. You need to sleep well and restore yourself and reset your brain chemistry during a nice night of rest. Those who need to take breaks from technology are often the least likely to do it.

7. Live Where You Want to Live:
Pick the place where you want to live and build your life around it. Contributors to the book, Mark and Pam Solon, say “We believe it’s important for young people embarking on their lives to realize that geography matters in your happiness quotient and that it can even out-weigh the highest-paying job opportunities.”

8. Life Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint:
Another contributor to the book, Dave Jilk, says “If I could send my younger self a message from the future, it would tell me to treat my career more like a marathon than a sprint.”

9. Commit to Each Other’s Dreams:
“Recognizing that one’s partner is pursuing their dream, they are satisfied down to their soul and, in so being satisfied, are that much more alive. That level of aliveness is a gift few partners can ever give, and successful couples recognize this,” says Tim Enwall and Hillary Hall.

10. Always Answer His or Her Calls!
While it might seem like a small gesture, the cumulative impact of doing so on a regular basis shows your partner they matter to you. To this last point, I watched an interview with Brad and during the interview his wife called and he took the call! People don’t really care when it’s your spouse.

I for one, need to tone down technology before bed time…what about you? What will be your focus for improvement based on this post? Don’t be shy, post your ideas and thoughts below. I would love to hear them.

Why Women Make Better Business Leaders

Created by Minute MBA

There’s no question that women are making large strides in U.S. business and technology fields. Today’s generation of women professionals are more likely than any other to found, lead or advise a major U.S. firm. But while women continue to secure increasingly high-level leadership positions, there are still some glaring imbalances. For one, only twelve Fortune 500 companies are now headed by women. And numbers on the proportion of female tech startup founders are not any more encouraging; many high-profile incubators report that women founders receive less than 5% of their annual grant awards.

But recent research from the Harvard Business Review and others suggests something that most of us already know–firms without women in high-level leadership positions are missing out on some meaningful growth opportunities. According to the research, women that excel in business often prove to have more highly developed communication skills than their male colleagues. Women are also often more likely to take initiative and make changes to the status quo. In fact, the study showed that firms with women on their boards saw 42% higher sales returns, a 66% higher return on invested capital and a 53% higher return on equity over firms that did not.

Learn more about the skills and perspectives that women bring to business by checking out Online MBA’s latest video.

Video Transcript

A Harvard Business Review study showed that a business group’s collective IQ went up when there were women on the team. And yet, only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women. So what are the other 488 missing out on?

Communication: Firms with more women on their boards have 42% higher sales returns, 66% higher return on invested capital, and 53% higher return on equity. Take Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer who laid out a strategic outline for the declining company and watched the stock gain 5.7% closing at $16.67, its highest level in over a year. These success rates are often linked to superior communication skills. Studies show while women speak fewer words in a day than men they actually have a better command of the language for getting their point across.

Initiative: In a study by Harvard Business Review, women in management were rated 11.58 percentile points above their male peers at taking initiative in the workplace. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. forged ahead with a plan to focus on more nutritious drinks despite criticism. It’s a risk that could turn a 10 billion dollar business into 30 billion dollars in just ten years.

Emotional Intelligence: Daniel Goleman, author of “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights,” states that truly effective leadership is distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. And according to Goleman women on average outdo men when it comes to sensing a person’s feelings in the moment. Meg Whitman, former CEO of ebay and current CEO of HP was featured in Psychology Today for leading with emotional intelligence. Under her eight year reign, ebay was the fastest growing company in history. In her book The Power of Many, she writes: “I believe that being willing and able to actively listen is a vital skill for any leader. Not only is listening the right thing to, an antidote to arrogance, it also leads to all sorts of competitive advantages.”

Got something to say?

Leave a comment! Asking questions as well as sharing wins, challenges and experiences is not only necessary to growth, it’s also a great way to learn from your success community! (not to mention an excellent way to drive more traffic to your site!)

To learn more about how LeapZone Strategies can help you increase brand awareness and overall performance and profitability through business, branding and marketing strategies, fill out our free Needs Assessment Questionnaire today.

Get Your Year in Gear!

Happy New Year Leapers!

Margarita and I I just got back from our road trip. Went to spend Christmas with my parents in Arizona and then drove to San Francisco to spend the New Year with friends. Yup! That’s a lot of driving folks…a little more than 5000 km actually!!! Best part of a road trip? Loud music, junk food and “I spy with my little eye”!!!

Needless to say that we are still recovering from the Holidays…and are getting back into our “healthy groove” slowly but surely. The return has been difficult I have to admit.


How about you? Are you still recovering from the holidays and your time off? Or are you rearing to go?

As my friend Craig Jarrow from Time Management Ninja would say…and I thought it was very appropriate with my road trip theme this year:

To get your year started on the right track:

• Check the Rearview Mirror
Now, is the time to look back at what you accomplished in 2012. What were you most proud of? What do you wish you had done better?

• Check Your Instruments
Are your systems and tools ready for another year of action? Do you need to do any tweaks or upgrades before you get started again?

• Scan the Road Ahead
Do you know where you are headed? This is a good time to plan the next few months or quarter.

• Choose Your Goals:
What do you want to accomplish this year? I recommend goal setting that looks 90 days out. Then you can evaluate your progress and correct your course.

• Ensure Your Support System is in Place:
Who is going to help you reach your goals this year? Instead of going it solo, maybe you need to find a partner or mentor to provide additional input, support, or simply advice along your way.

I hope that your year is already in gear and most of all, I wish for 2013 to be your best year yet!

Isabelle ;-)

Got something to say?

Leave a comment! Asking questions as well as sharing wins, challenges and experiences is not only necessary to growth, it’s also a great way to learn from your success community! (not to mention an excellent way to drive more traffic to your site!)

To learn more about how LeapZone Strategies can help you increase brand awareness and overall performance and profitability through business, branding and marketing strategies, fill out our free Needs Assessment Questionnaire today.

Holiday Cheer From LeapZone!

Hello Leapers!
We want to take a moment to express our gratitude and appreciation for you – our valued clients, suppliers, and members of the LeapZone community. We wish you an amazing Holiday Season and may 2013 be your most “kick-ass” year yet.

Enjoy our little Holiday Cheer video and we look forward to connecting, growing and thriving with you in the New Year!

Isabelle & Margarita

Click here to watch video:

The 3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Things Go Wrong

I read this article on Oprah’s blog recently and thought there were a few great reminders in there and wanted to share it with you.

Deepak Chopra, co-founder of the Chopra Foundation and author of Spiritual Solutions: Reveals how to face our roughest times.

Challenges are part of everyone’s life, but there are dark moments when a challenge turns into a crisis. The outcome of our lives depends on the choices we make at those moments. Will they be breakthroughs or setbacks? What we call wisdom is a crucial tool here. Without it, people usually make their most important decisions based on impulse or its opposite, habit.

It might seem impossible that any three questions can—and should—be asked anytime things go wrong, but the sad truth is that millions of us dwell on the three questions we shouldn’t ask, questions such as: (1) What’s wrong with me? (2) Whom can I blame? (3) What’s the worst-case scenario?

We all feel the urge to condemn ourselves out of guilt, to blame others for our misfortunes and to fantasize about total disaster. But these three questions will haunt you and do untold harm unless you consciously stop them, push them aside and replace them with the right questions, leading to the right actions. Here are three positive, self-affirming ways to approach your next tough situation:

1. Is this a problem I should fix, put up with or walk away from?

Unless you can answer this question clearly and rationally, your vision will be clouded. Without knowing it, you will be acting under the influence of negative emotions such as fear. You will give in to impulsiveness or fall back on old habits.

You must clarify your inner confusion. You must get your bearings in a reasonable way. The first step is to consider—in consultation with those you trust—a course of action that begins with finding a fix. If the fix isn’t there, ask why. Perhaps someone is blocking you or you lack the resources of money and time. Yet it is always worthwhile to search for a fix and commit yourself to finding one. Only when you feel satisfied that you’ve exhausted your realistic options should you begin to decide between putting up with the situation (using patience, not passivity) and walking away.

The three alternatives are easier than they sound, because most people vacillate when things go bad. One day they wishfully hope for a fix and maybe take a few steps toward it. The next day they feel passive and victimized, so they put up with things as they are. The third day they are sick and tired of suffering and simply want to escape. The overall result is self-defeat. No solution can ever be found by running in three different directions. So clarify your situation and act on what you clearly see.

2. Who can I consult who has solved the same problem successfully?

Bad things aren’t solved in isolation, yet there is no doubt that our reactions isolate us. We become afraid and depressed. We draw into ourselves. Around the edges we entertain shame and guilt, and once these appear, there is even more reason to shut down.

Finding someone who has gone through the same crisis that you are facing accomplishes several things at once. It gives you an example to follow, a confidant who understands your plight and an alternative to withdrawing into isolation. Victims always feel alone and helpless. So reach out to someone who has proven, through their own lives, that they were not victimized by the bad thing you are facing now.

We aren’t talking about hand-holding, shared misery or even therapy. All those activities can be beneficial (or not), but there’s no substitute for talking to a person who has entered a dark place and come out successfully. Where do you find such a person? Ask around, tell your story, seek support groups, go online to find blogs and forums—the possibilities are much greater than ever before. And don’t stop until you find not just good advice but real empathy from someone you trust.

3. How can I reach deeper into myself for solutions?

There is just no getting around that turning bad things into good things is up to you. No one can be there all the time, and like it or not, crises are all-consuming. You find yourself facing an inner world that is suddenly full of threats, fears, illusions, wishful thinking, denial, distractions and conflict. The world “out there” won’t change until the world “in here” does.

There is a simple spiritual truth that I believe in deeply: The level of the solution is never found at the level of the problem. Knowing this, you can escape many traps that people fall into. What exists at the level of the problem? Repetitive thinking that gets nowhere. Old conditioning that keeps applying yesterday’s outworn choices. Lots of obsessive thinking and stalled action. I could go on. But the relevant insight is that you have more than one level of awareness, and at a deeper level there is untapped creativity and insight.

Your higher self contains the potential for new solutions, but you must find it. Instead of “higher self,” you can substitute any term that applies—soul, Atman, Holy Spirit, muse, inspiration—because linguistics are not nearly as important as the experience itself. You must experience the place inside where the light dawns and brings hope, where peace is possible and there is certainty about finding a viable path forward.

It’s not a mystery that such a place can be reached, because even in the worst crisis we experience flashes of it. The trick is to be able to inhabit the level of awareness that brings solutions. First, know that this level exists. Second, make a plan to get there, through all the techniques open to everyone: meditation, reflection, contemplation, prayer. Reduce your stress by every means you can find. Seek others who understand consciousness. Read books that inspire you but also books that realistically describe what it means to go on the inward journey. I’ve given an abbreviated plan of action, but the important thing is that you take the first steps inside.

Of course, I can’t know what bad things are happening to you specifically. I just urge you to quit the majority who live in confusion and conflict. Join the minority who see a clear path out of present darkness, who never submit to fear and despair and who in truth lead the world into a future full of light.

Article written by Deepak Chopra, co-founder of the Chopra Foundation and author of Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges.