Interns Reveal the Most Catastrophic Mistakes of Their Careers

You know you've screwed up when you accidentally bring an entire airport to a standstill

1. User Michael Shiplet says at the last company he worked for, his team had been trying to secure a corporate partnership with UPS for about a year. "Everyone on the team had done backbreaking research, and the lead sales roles had spent several hundred hours crafting the higher levels of what this partnership would mean for both companies and drafting it into a beautiful partnership proposal (and I mean beautiful to read and to look at)," he explains. "And then I FedExed it to them."

Shiplet says his company lost the partnership a few business days later.

2. An anonymous user writes: "About 18 years ago as a student, I was doing research at London's Heathrow Airport, working in a room just below the control tower. We were listening to the control tower instructions and timing how long the pilots took to respond," he says.

His colleague left for lunch one day after accidentally turning his radio onto "broadcast" mode by accident. "[This] meant that no one was able to send or receive messages on the frequency that was being used to give take off permission," he explains. "I returned back to my desk and started to eat my lunch to discover that all departures from the airport had been brought to a standstill by someone who sounded like they were eating their lunch.

"The realization that it was the sound of MY lunch being eaten hit me about 10 minutes later. I rushed over and flicked the switch to off, and one of the busiest international airports in the world started to work again."

He says he was never caught.

3. Another anonymous source writes about how he was working in a downtown high-rise building as a manager for a tech-support outsourcer when, one night, some of his employees "had gotten hold of a couple of keychain laser pointers back when they first came out."

"So they were shining the laser pointers out the windows of the 24th floor of this building, where our offices were located. And it just so happened that they shone them into the windows of the hotel across the street. And it just so happened that on that particular night, the President of the United States was staying on that floor of the hotel in the room that faced our building."

"That's the only time I've ever met the Secret Service, and they don't have a sense of humor," the Quora user writes.

The 2 Job Interview Traits That Hurt Your Chances Most

Why taking a Stuart Smalley approach can help you get the job

Rating Job Candidates on Anxiety
Powell and Feiler had 119 Guelph students in the school's co-op program complete mock interviews with employees of Co-op and Career Services as part of their preparation applying for positions. They asked the "job applicants" to rate themselves for interview anxiety and asked the interviewers to rate the candidates on that, too. Then the interviewers rated the performance of the applicants. (Powell told me she couldn't think of any reason her study's results would have been different with older job candidates.)

The researchers noted that earlier research found that candidates who were anxious in job interviews received significantly lower ratings on their interview performance and were less likely to be hired. But there hadn't been any research showing whether anxious interviewees were any less suitable for the job.

"That was our motivation for doing this," said Powell. "If you get a poor rating, you might be missing out on a job that you are well-qualified for."

How Anxiety Shows Up in Interviews
Interview anxiety shows up in all sorts of ways, Powell told me. For example: stuttering, verbal fillers, appearing rigid, showing little eye contact and shaky hands. But her study concluded that low assertiveness and slow talking were the only types that really mattered to interviewers.

"People who were less anxious looked more assertive to the interviewers and did better in the interviews," said Powell.

Does this mean that shy people have a strike against them when they apply for a job? "Could be," said Powell. Her advice: "If you're not naturally extroverted, you need to make sure you sell your skills. Don't be afraid to take ownership of your contribution to a project."

Slow talking proved problematic, Powell said, because interviewers felt it meant the candidates had more trouble coming up with detailed answers to their questions.

How to Be Better in Job Interviews
Powell said the results of the study indicated that when you go into an interview, you should focus less on your nervous tics and more on the broader impressions you convey. Assertiveness and "interpersonal warmth" are critical.

"Be confident, optimistic, professional and likable," she said. "Those make the big difference in an interview."

To get better at these things, advised Powell, do practice interviews with a friend or family member — "especially if you don't like talking about yourself." You want to go into the interview with a "positive image of yourself in your head," noted Powell.

Think of this as Saturday Night Live's Stuart Smalley approach: "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me."

Why It's Great to Get a Bad Review

Maybe you need a little tough love

Psychologist Says This Key Skill Can Make People Highly Effective Leaders

And the CEO of Airbnb definitely has it.

The studies used a variety of methods to test the effect of awe including showing video clips of nature and of colored water droplets colliding with a bowl of milk.

"The common thread across all of those manipulations is that each one, however different in content, exposed people to something vast that transcended their understanding of the world, or their default mode of seeing the world," Piff explained.

How One CEO Figures Out if a Job Candidate Has Done Their Homework

Don't try to sneak around Prudential Financial's Lori Dickerson Fouché

In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO of Group Insurance at Prudential Financial, said she always wants to know whether a candidate has done their due diligence on the company, "and that they have a passion for wanting to work at our company."

"I want them to care enough to have done their research to make sure that there's also a good cultural fit," she told Bryant.

To determine whether they've done their homework, she asks: "What kind of cultures do you like to work in? Where do you excel? How do you excel? If you find yourself in situations where they're not going the way you want them to, what do you do?"

"How people conduct themselves when they face challenges is really important," she explained.

Fouché said that she looks for resilience and perseverance in the candidate's responses to these questions. "Most of my background has been working in big companies, and you have to find a way to navigate and negotiate to an end result. It could be a winding path. So I make sure that people feel like they know how to do that, and do it in a way that is respectful of the system."

"And then if they're in a leadership position," she added, "I want to know how they lead people."

7 Tricks for Appearing Smarter Than You Are

Or at least vaguely sentient

How to Stay Alert When You're Exhausted at Work

Napping at your desk would not be advised

Drink Something
Studies have found that one of the side effects of dehydration is fatigue. Grab a bottle of water before your next meeting and take a generous swig every time you feel sleepy.

If you need a quick boost, stop by the office coffee pot and pour yourself enough caffeine to get you over that afternoon slump. At the very least, your repeated trips to the restroom will keep you from falling asleep.

Take a Walk
A brisk walk will get your adrenaline pumping, releasing those endorphins that make you feel energized and alert. When you find yourself drifting off at your desk, a quick walk around the block can be just enough to get you back on track.

Your boss probably will be far more forgiving of you disappearing outside for a quick break than snoring at your desk. If the weather outside isn't ideal for walking, take a quick walk around the building or run up and down the stairs a couple of times.

Step Outside
Even if you can't take a walk, a few minutes outside can do wonders to wake up your brain. The sunlight reminds your body that it's daytime, kicking in natural process designed to keep you awake during the day and asleep during nighttime hours.

If weather permits, you can combine your outside activities with a little exercise for added benefits.

Just Breathe
If you're stuck in a meeting when drowsiness sets in, many of the above methods will be out of the question. Try taking slow, deep breaths as quietly as you can manage. Your co-workers will have no idea what you're doing and your breathing exercises will help your body's oxygen levels, giving your sleepiness the kick in the backside that it needs.

Listen to Music
We all have that song that wakes us up and gets us moving. Find that song and play it through earbuds when you're feeling sleepy. If midday slumps are a normal occurrence, consider making a playlist that you can fall back on whenever you need some wake-up music.

If your office is private, feel free to dance around a little. The movement will provide the molt of adrenaline you need.

Chew Ice
It's difficult to fall asleep while you're chewing on ice. The extreme cold will ignite your senses and you'll be too busy chewing to doze off. If your place of work has an ice machine or cafeteria, keep a cup on hand to fill up whenever you need a quick refresher.

Try a Snack
There are healthy snacks you can keep on hand that will battle the afternoon slump without relying on sugar or caffeine. Foods like roasted edamame, baked chips, and fruit are great for waking you up and they won't add to your waistline.

How to Trick Your Brain Out of Getting Distracted at Work

Consider the marshmallow test

When he's been working on a spreadsheet for 30 minutes, for example, and his mind starts to drift, those things are extremely tempting.

"Just for a few minutes," he tells himself, starting to wonder how many people 'liked' his funny photo of his kids from the night before.

There is something Mike can do, however, to avoid these temptations. More specifically, there is one thing he can stop doing, and one thing he can start doing.

First, what to stop doing. When Mike began to imagine how many 'likes' he had for his photo, he was focusing on the reward value of the temptation. He was thinking about what would feel good about checking his post.
Don't focus on how rewarding the temptation is
A study conducted at Dartmouth College showed what's happening in the brain when we fail to resist temptations. The researchers tracked people in their daily lives — succeeding or failing at resisting temptations — and also examined brain activity when the same people were presented with images of similar temptations in the lab. There were several findings, but I think one is particularly telling.

People who failed more at resisting temptation in real life also showed greater activity in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is commonly thought of as being critical for reward processing. That is, those people whose brains were more focused on the rewarding aspects of the temptation were more likely to cave in to temptation.

This fits with lessons from children in the famous marshmallow tests. In that research, kids of about 3½ to 5½ years old were offered a marshmallow or a different treat, and selected which they would rather eat.

But then they were asked to wait an unspecified amount of time, until the experimenter came back into the room, before they could eat the one they had chosen. If they didn't want to wait, they could call the experimenter in, but then they'd only get the other treat that they hadn't chosen.

Those kids who focused their thoughts on the treats instead of on something else were much faster to cave in and more likely to cave in at all, rather than holding out for the one they preferred.

Mike can do his brain a favor, and not think about how rewarding it will be to check his facebook status. Rewards come in many flavors – something can be appealing, enjoyable, informative, interesting, exciting, or so on. That's what not to focus on. But what should he think of, instead, if not focusing on how rewarding his temptation is?

4 Psychological Tricks to Instantly Appear Competent

Tips from Heidi Grant Halvorson's "No One Understands You and What to Do About It"

1. Demonstrate your strong willpower.
Would you trust a colleague that has a serious self-control problem with an important project? Probably not.

A study out of VU University Amsterdam found that when you publicly engage in behaviors indicative of low willpower, your trustworthiness diminishes.

While someone's personal behaviors would ideally remain personal, they suggest to outsiders whether or not the individual is able to adhere to the standards of any healthy relationship, which could include the ones you have at work.

Whether you smoke, overeat, are perpetually late, or spend impulsively, to better convey competence to your colleagues, you either need to quit or at the very least keep it to yourself.

2. Beware of seeming cocky.
Whatever you do, don't confuse confidence with competence. While you can never have too much competence, there is a healthy — and unhealthy— dose of confidence to be aware of.

The dangers of overconfidence include being underprepared, setting unrealistic goals, biting off more than you can chew, and generally making bad choices, Halvorson explains. And all this leads to being the least popular guy in the office.

Instead, convey a realistic sense of confidence that shows modesty. You'll be less likely to threaten your colleagues' self esteem, and your mistakes won't elicit nearly as many cheers from your cubemates.

3. Use body-language to your advantage.
Any easy way to appear more competent is by simply making eye contact while speaking. Studies have shown that those who do so are consistently judged as more intelligent.

Halvorson also suggests speaking faster, gesturing and nodding, and sitting up straight, which have all been found to lead to greater perceptions of competence.

Another interesting tactic is adopting power poses made famous by social psychologist Amy Cuddy. By standing or sitting in an expansive way (legs apart, arms spread wide, leaning forward) you're not only conveying confidence to others, but you're also triggering immediate changes in your body chemistry that make you more powerful, which Halvorson explains goes hand-in-hand with competence.

"Adopting a high-power pose is a great way to subtly signal your competence — especially if you aren't the type to sing your own praises — while simultaneously providing a power boost to help you tackle your next challenge," Halvorson writes.

4. Emphasize what you can do, not what you have done.
We have an unconscious bias to be more impressed with the "next big thing" than the "big thing" that's already happened.

During a recent study by Harvard and Stanford researchers, participants evaluated two job candidates and determined their fit for a leadership position. Both candidates had equally impressive backgrounds, but one had two years of relevant job experience and high scores on a test of leadership achievement and the other had zero years of relevant job experience and high scores on a test of leadership potential.

The study participants believed the second candidate — who had no experience, but great leadership potential — would be better suited for the job, which is not surprising considering how our human brains work.

Our brains pay more attention to uncertain information, Halvorson explains, because they want to figure it out. This leads to longer and more in-depth processing of this information, and as long as the information available is favorable, the extra processing leaves us with a more positive view of someone's competence.

The 10 Worst Cities to Start Your Career

High unemployment, low monthly incomes plague these locales

To determine the worst places for recent college graduates to launch their burgeoning careers, personal finance site WalletHub analyzed and ranked the 150-most-populous US cities based on 19 metrics pertaining to professional opportunities and quality of life.

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Monthly median starting salary: $2,186
Number of entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 26
With stalling population growth and poor economic mobility, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, landed the No. 147 spot for overall professional opportunities and No. 122 for quality of life.

9. Mobile, Alabama


Monthly median starting salary: $2,388
Entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 12
Mobile, Alabama, has few single people to hang out with and even fewer entry-level jobs, earning the city an overall professional-opportunities rank of No. 133 and overall quality-of-life score of 149 out of 150.

8. Modesto, California


Monthly median starting salary: $1,908
Entry-level jobs per 10,000 residents: 13
With a high unemployment rate and very few things to do in your downtime, Modesto, California, might not be the best place to start out. The city comes in at No. 138 for overall professional opportunities and No. 141 for overall quality of life. Modesto does rank seventh for its great weather, though.

11 Successful People Share Their Best Advice for New College Grads

Leah Remini to aspiring actors: "You can't give up if it is something you truly love"

T.J. Miller
Comedian and actor; Star of HBO's "Silicon Valley"

Advice for recent grads: "Work harder than anyone else around you and be nice. That truly is the formula. It worked for me and I have mediocre talent and a horse jaw. And as a good friend of mine says: 'Know who you are and don't apologize for it.' -Erlich Bachman"

Amy Ockert
Competitive Strategy Director at Whole Foods Market

Advice for recent grads: "The best thing is to find a mentor that you admire. Not your manager or even someone in your department, but someone you respect professionally. Bounce ideas off your mentor, work with him/her on issues that arise at work, and glean information to help your development as a professional."

Leah Remini
Actress; star of CBS's "The King of Queens"

Advice for recent grads: "To aspiring actors: It is not an easy business for everyone, you have to love to entertain and you have to go in it for that reason, because if that is truly what is in your heart, those times you are told no will not allow you to give up. You can't give up if it is something you truly love."

Eric Bahn
Product Manager at Facebook; cofounder of Hustlecon

Advice for recent grads: "Your network will become increasingly important as you progress in your career. Once you build a reputation and build the right contacts, then you'll never have to apply for a job again - opportunities will come to you. When you encounter an interesting person, grab their e-mail and add their info into a master list of network contacts. Write an annual e-mail during the holidays to your master list to keep your contacts warm and updated; you'll be amazed how effective this tactic is."

Brian Lee
CEO and founder of The Honest Company; founder of ShoeDazzle

Advice for recent grads: "Find something that truly inspires you, and join a company that has the same passion, or start one yourself."

Sanya Richards-Ross
Professional athlete; four-time gold-medal Olympian

Advice for recent grads: "To be bold and fearless. The world needs new, fresh ideas! The world needs you! Don't conform or be afraid to try and fail. Failure is an important ingredient to success. You'll be happier and more proud of your results when you take the risk."

Sam Reich
Head of Original Video at CollegeHumor

Advice for recent grads: "My advice for people starting out in this industry is always this: (a) Do what you love to do, a lot, for free, until you get great at it. (b) Get any job you can somewhere you'd like to work - no matter how stupid it seems at the time. Many of our best writers are former interns. Murph, who is one of our writer-cast members, started as CollegeHumor's front desk guy!"

Katrina Lake
CEO of Stitch Fix

Advice for recent grads: "Focus on finding roles where you can learn, grow, and develop most. Make sure you work for someone you admire, and that your manager can be a mentor and champion for you in your career today but also for the years to come."

George Stephanopoulos
ABC News chief anchor; co-anchor of "Good Morning America"

Advice for recent grads: "Relax. Almost nothing you're worried about today will define your tomorrow. Down the road, don't be afraid to take a pay cut to follow your passion. But do stash a few bucks in a 401(k) now."

Hermione Way
Founder of WayMedia; Star of Bravo's "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley"

Advice for recent grads: "There has never been an easier time to start a business. There are so many free online tools. Just start, and if you fail you can always go and get a normal job, but you will learn so much along the way it will be a great experience."

Patrick Lee
Cofounder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes

Stop saying ‘I’m sorry’ at work

If you're uttering "I'm sorry" all the time in a professional setting, it can negatively impact how you're viewed by your peers and superiors, and have a lasting impact on your career.

Last year, Pantene debuted an advertisement showing women apologizing in various situations, including at the office, sparking a conversation about whether women say they're sorry too much, especially in circumstances where it's unwarranted.

A study a few years back from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, also examined this issue and found that women do say they're sorry more often than men. And while men do apologize, they have a higher threshold for what they think warrants a need for forgiveness.
Whether it's a man or a woman saying it, if you're uttering "I'm sorry" all the time in a professional setting, it can negatively impact how you're viewed by your peers and superiors, and have a lasting impact on your career.

"I believe women – and oftentimes emotionally tuned-in men – fall into this trap of saying 'I'm sorry,' because they want everyone to be happy," says Heather Neisen, HR manager at TechnologyAdvice. "Saying 'I'm sorry' to even a minor issue is what we are taught to do when we are very young. In the workplace, there's a sense that to be liked and respected you need to make sure everyone is happy. If an issue arises though, most likely the first thing someone will say is 'I'm sorry.' Wanting to make sure everyone is happy is a huge burden to bear and it's frankly impossible to control other people's emotions."

The pre-apologyIt's one thing to apologize for genuine wrongdoing, but it's another to do it when you're afraid you're inconveniencing someone by asking a question or challenging an idea. This is what Karin Hurt, CEO of Let's Grow Leaders, calls the "pre-apology." According to Hurt, examples of the "pre-apology" include:
  • "I'm so sorry to take up so much of your time, but I have an idea."
  • "I'm sorry, this is probably not what you're looking for, but here's the spreadsheet you asked for."
  • "I'm sorry I couldn't have spent more time on it."
"The tragedy is that what often follows is a great idea or terrific work. However, it may not be viewed from this lens if you've already apologized for it being substandard," Hurt says.

The impact on your careerNeisen says that constantly apologizing can harm your career for several reasons. "Overall, this can negatively impact a career because it can cause either burnout (due to stress) or it could potentially cause an employee to make poor decisions based on emotions and what others prefer instead of what is best for him or her. Additionally, apologizing all the time will tend to make others think that you are not confident or not sure of your decisions. Ultimately, this can weaken someone's ability to lead well."
Jenn DeWall, career and life coach and motivational speaker, agrees. "Saying sorry too much can negatively impact your perception and reputation as a strong leader. Your boss or peers may make assumptions that you do not have a backbone and aren't willing to stand up for your work or ideas."

Stopping the cycle of "I'm sorry"Christopher G. Fox, founder of Kindness Communication, a new venture focusing on promoting kindness to achieve better results and greater focus in organizations, says that to stop the habit, you need to first be cognizant of it happening, and second, imagine yourself not saying it.
"If you know the topic of discussion in advance, rehearse stating your position without saying sorry a few times; say it out loud to yourself in the mirror at home the night before," he suggests. "Finally, if you have a good ally in the mix often, ask her or him to be your 'sorry buddy' and point out to you after the fact that you've said it. It's not just useful feedback afterwards. It also helps you feel accountable in the moment."
DeWall recommends becoming more of an active listener. "Listen to the concerns that are being addressed and think about how they tie to the big picture. Respond strategically without personalizing the feedback or outcome to you, which forces the need to apologize. By doing this, you are able to process tense or stressful situations with a more calm approach and provide a logical solution that contributes to the resolution without assuming personal responsibility for something that was unrelated to you."

The 8 Most Common Cover Letter Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job

You're proofreading, right?

1. Not having one at all
TheLadders found that 50% of recruiters believe a cover letter is essential, while the other half admitted to never reading them. "Since you don't know which type of recruiter will read your application, it's better to play it safe and include a cover letter," recommends Augustine.

However, if you're applying to a position online and are asked to upload your materials to an electronic system, make sure they provide a spot to include your cover letter, she advises. "There's no point of taking the time to carefully craft the document if the application won't accept it."

2. Using a generic template
"Sending a general cover letter with every job application is just as bad as not sending any cover letter at all," says Augustine. "If you are using the exact same cover letter for every job application and simply swapping out the company name, you're wasting your time. Your cover letter shouldn't be an after-thought."

Customize each cover letter you write, she says. Use it as opportunity to detail why you would be a great fit for the specific position, and don't be afraid to infuse some personality to stand out from the crowd.

3. Opening with "Dear sir" or "Dear madam"
Figure out exactly who you're sending your cover letter to and address them by name. "Do a little online snooping and check with your network to see if you can determine the name of the hiring manager or the recruiter in charge of the job opening," she suggests.

However, this is easier said than done in some instances. You may have to use to a generic "Dear Recruiter" opening, she admits, but only resort to this after you've put in all the research you possibly could.

4. Not carefully proofreading
According to a social recruiting survey, 66% of recruiters reconsidered a candidate whose social media profiles contained spelling and grammatical errors. If they don't take well to typos on Facebook or Twitter, they likely will toss your application if your cover letter is plagued with mistakes.

You should have multiple sets of eyes making edits. "Carefully proofread your cover letter. Then read it again. Then have a friend proofread it," Augustine says.

5. It's all about you
While it can be beneficial to show some personality in your cover letter, be wary of going overboard or delving into irrelevant information. "Recruiters don't care that you've always dreamed of working in fashion," explains Augustine. "They want to understand why you're interested in this position and more importantly, why you're qualified for the role."

Your cover letter is prime real estate. Use the bulk of it to focus on explaining how your experience and skillset will meet the employer's needs.

6. Worshiping the company
It can be tempting, but resist the urge to shower the hiring manager with compliments in your cover letter. "Don't tell them you love their company; instead, specifically mention something about their brand, company mission or strategic direction that you strongly support," Augustine says. "In other words, prove that you've done your homework and know something about the company or industry."

7. It's too long
Recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning your résumé. They cherish brevity.

"A good cover letter should be no longer than one page," says Augustine. "Remember, the recruiter already has your résumé. There's no need to rehash your entire work history all over again. Instead, use this opportunity to highlight your qualifications that matter most for this role."

8. There's no 'call to action'
You want to end your cover letter with a bang by reiterating your enthusiasm and creating a "call to action." Rather than just thanking the employer for their consideration, take a more proactive approach; let them know that you will follow up within a week and encourage them to reach out with any questions that may arise.

The 40-Hour Workweek is On its Way Out

58% of US managers report working more than 40 hours a week

Americans have it particularly bad: 58% of managers in the US reported working over 40 hours a week. The only country where people work longer hours is Mexico, where 61% said the same.

Compare that to China, where just 19% of managers said they work over 40 hours a week.
Ernst & Young
The survey found that parents have seen their hours increase more than nonparents. Among managers, 41% of full-time working parents said they've seen their hours increase in the last five years, as opposed to 37% of nonparents.

So it's of little surprise that one-third of full-time employees said it's gotten harder to balance work and family in the past five years.

In fact, while most people said they value flexibility at work, about 10% of US employees who have tried to implement a flexible schedule said they've suffered a negative consequence, like being denied a promotion, as a result.

Stop Apologizing Learn to Say 'No,' and 7 More Tips for Women's Success at Work

You can't do it all--and you shouldn't expect yourself to be able to

1. Be your authentic self.
Start with an understanding of who you are, what you are passionate about and where you should be: Am I in the right career? Am I in the right job? Do I fit into this culture? Don't try to be someone else because that person is already taken. You become the leader of your life when you step into your true self. Only you can do this critical work to deeply understand you.

2. Show up with a positive attitude.
Be the person others want to be around. Happy and positive people bring tremendous energy and goodwill to an organization. You'll be surprised at how your attitude will affect others, as well as yourself.

3. Be thoughtful and strategic about your success.
No matter where you land in your career, it is up to you to figure out how to succeed. Learn the culture of both your company and the people around you. Take time to understand the mission of the organization and your department.

Figure out how to bring value to your job, your department and your boss. It is irrelevant if you love your boss – what matters is how you help him or her succeed. If you keep this in mind, you will never lose.

4. Do what you say you'll do.
Build trust by following through on your commitments. Be wise and realistic about what resources and time are needed to deliver on a commitment. It is easy to overpromise with the best of intentions. However, it is those who under promise and over deliver that will win in the end. This is where saying "no" comes in handy!

5. Practice positive self-talk.
A negative internal dialogue can slowly chip away at your confidence. This takes practice, but life is so much sweeter when you choose to look at your career and life from a place of appreciation rather than complaint.

6. Network, not just online but in person.
Networking can make us uncomfortable but everything we accomplish in life is because of our network of relationships. Social media does not replace face-to-face human connection. No one can support or advocate for you if they don't know you or what you do.

Make time for, and be strategic, about relationship building and remember that connections can happen anywhere: at the office, in a coffee shop, in the elevator. Cultivating your network must be part of your schedule and routine. More importantly, don't be afraid to use your connections.

7. Be a mentor to others, especially women.
I wouldn't be where I am without people who were willing to teach me not just about my career, but about life. I have learned that sometimes the smallest insight, suggestion or positive feedback can make the difference for someone's career. Reach for mentors and be a mentor at every stage.

8. Stop living an inbox life.
There's a constant stream of requests coming in at work and at home. It is easy to spend most of our time reacting to others' needs. Living an outbox life is prioritizing what is most important. This habit is life changing and will enable you to feel more in charge of your time and your career.

9. Don't let fear hold you back.
Our fears can be crippling but also give us our most important lessons. An Eleanor Roosevelt quote that guides me is "Do the thing you fear most." I believe the things we fear most are actually the lessons we must learn.

Often women tell me that they are not leaders. My response is always the same: "Each of us is a leader because at the very least, we are leading our own life."

When we look at our life this way, it takes victim out and puts personal responsibility in. By taking the lead of our lives without apologizing and learning to say "no," we make room for what truly matters.

Why Successful People Leave Work Early

Study suggests it could pay to work in shorter bursts

Business Insider

Businessman holding briefcase and texting with smart phone

So many professionals believe the more hours they put in and the later they stay at work, the more successful they'll be.

But a study published in the Psychological Review conducted by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson proves that when it comes to your time spent in the office, quality trumps quantity.

Ericsson and his team evaluated a group of musicians to find out what the "excellent" players were doing differently, and discovered that they were working harder in shorter bursts of time.  

For instance, violinists who practiced more deliberately, say for four hours, accomplished more than others who slaved away for seven hours. The best performers set goals for their practice sessions and required themselves to take breaks.

Looking at the chart, you can see that the best violin students practiced with greater intensity just before the lunch hour and then took a break before starting up again at 4 p.m. - whereas the other students practiced more steadily throughout the entire day.
The researchers found that successful people in other professions had similar habits:

"While completing a novel, famous authors tend to write only for four hours during the morning, leaving the rest of the day for rest and recuperation. Hence successful authors, who can control their work habits and are motivated to optimize their productivity, limit their most important intellectual activity to a fixed daily amount when working on projects requiring long periods of time to complete."

Tim Ferriss gives similar advice in his New York Times bestseller, "The 4-Hour Workweek." He stresses the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 law, which is that 80% of outputs come from 20% of inputs. So stay focused, and you'll do more in less time.

This is an updated article originally written by Aimee Groth.

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