Amber Little

Big Business Blog: a guide to work, life and happiness

Money isn’t everything…find happiness May 18, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 9:15 pm
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In our careers, money may seem to be a strong indicator of how well we are doing.  Quite frankly, it’s all too easy to think of your current salary as a means to gauge your success.  However…is it really?  Think back when you were a little kid.  We were constantly asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, and our responses had nothing to do with how much money we would be making.  Our answers were a direct reflection of what we truly wanted to be…and although the naivety of childhood naturally resulted in answers that would not always realistically allow us to make a living in adulthood, we should never forget the reasons behind our initial career choices.

Too many people sacrifice their happiness for a high salary thinking that eventually, money will make them happier.  Well, guess what?  It doesn’t always.  Sometimes it truly pays to take a pay cut.  Perhaps you want to take a job that you are truly passionate about…or perhaps you would like to take a job in a city that is closer to your family.  Maybe you would like a job that requires less overtime, or isn’t quite as stressful.  Whatever the case, never discredit a job opportunity because of the salary…it may be the best move you’ve ever made.

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Build up self confidence at work May 9, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 10:16 pm

No matter what kind of work you are in, your self confidence levels throughout your career will directly determine your levels of success.  If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to.  Feelings of low self esteem can be painfully obvious to those around you, and can can cause a vicious cycle of self doubt and struggle in your life.  If you are not feeling confident, your boss and coworkers will pick up on this immediately.  They will likely start to doubt your abilities, and your boss may take away some of your responsibilities and not consider you for future projects.  This in turn will cause your self confidence levels to plummet even more, which may cause people to lose even more trust in you.  The good news is that there is a way out.  First, you need to be brutally honest with yourself and admit you are struggling.  From there, things can only get better.  Here are a few ways that you can get yourself out of a self confidence rut:

Be extremely prepared and organized.  Being prepared and organized are two of the most powerful ways you can boost your confidence levels.  By simply taking as little as 15 minutes a day to stay ahead of the game, you will reduce your anxiety levels, and it will show.

If you don’t have self confidence at the moment, fake it.  Body language is a powerful tool.  When you are feeling a bit down, you can fool others (and even yourself) into thinking you are on top of the world.  Stand tall, put your shoulders back and your head up.  Not only will you feel better, but people will also treat you better.

Express an interest to take on a new project.  When you always give yourself a challenge, you will be able to showcase your strong points and talents.  It shows great initiative to step up to the plate every now and then, and will make you feel great.

Make an effort to get along with coworkersThere really isn’t a worse feeling than being an outsider.  When you feel like you don’t belong, you will naturally begin to isolate yourself, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.  Try and break out of this.  Make an effort to talk to and connect with people around you, you will be happier for doing so.

Face your fears.  Just like in life, when you face your fears at work head on, they simply aren’t as scary. Take some bold actions and learn how you can concur any roadblocks.

Think of your confidence levels as a journey.    Self confidence is a learned skill, and isn’t going to come overnight.  Remember that it’s okay to fall along the way, as long as you get back up.

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Organize the stress away May 2, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 10:49 pm

Being unorganized is one of leading causes of stress.  Think about it: how does it make you feel when you are rushing out the door only to realize that you have absolutely no idea where the car keys are?  Or, you know that you have bills, and you recall seeing them at one point…however the odds of locating said bills are slim to none.  At work, you vividly remember taking notes in an important meeting, however it’s anyone’s guess where that notebook went.  That goes for your to-do list as well.  GOOD GRAVY.  Not making organization a priority in your life will create a vicious cycle of stress.

People who are very organized may wonder how in the world others can function in such a way.  And while many unorganized folks may claim that there is a method to their madness, the truth is that it usually does more harm than good.  Disorganization is a leading cause of of continuous struggle and frustration for many people in their lives.   They aren’t running the show…their stuff is.  However, when you are organized, you will naturally be more motivated and energized…things won’t seem so overwhelming. Eliminating needless clutter will instantly make you feel better.  And while it’s tempting to start a huge project, take it easy there killer.   The key is to tackle once space at at time as to not overwhelm yourself.  This could be as small as organizing that junk drawer, because let’s face it- a junk drawer holds anything but junk. How else are you gonna find the twisty ties for the bread or that light bulb for the fridge?!?

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Look Your Best May 1, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 2:54 pm
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As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  And while we should really never judge a book by its cover, the fact is that people do.  We are constantly judged by our appearance, and whether you realize it or not you are also  judging others based on their appearance.  The way you choose to present yourself says a lot about you, especially at work.  Although we may have given a bad impression in the past, we are more than capable of giving a good second and lasting impression going forward.

Dressing casual or sloppy at work can give the impression that you are unorganized and unprofessional.  Managers, as well as coworkers and customers, may feel quite uncomfortable putting trust into a person that looks like they just rolled out of bed.  However, when you dress for success, those around you will perceive you in a more professional light.  This feedback will in turn encourage you to act in a more professional manner.  Also, many people are firm believers that you should dress for the position you want.  If your current position does not require a very professional dress code, yet upper managers are dressing professionally, you should dress like them!  This will give you an edge in the workplace, and people (including management) will take notice and view you in a much different light.  You don’t need to go out and spend an arm and a leg on expensive clothes, you just need to buy on the cheap and put a little more thought into your wardrobe.

Finally, while there are numerous benefits to dressing nicely, the most important one is how it will make you feel.  You will feel better about yourself when you look nice and put together.  If you know you look good, your self confidence will increase and you will carry yourself better.  So why not?  Go on, give yourself a little boost and look your best!

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The Secrets of Great Communication April 30, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 12:54 pm
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Do you ever find yourself having a hard time making conversation with new people?  If so, you are not alone. Communicating with strangers can be quite the daunting task, especially if you are a bit of an introvert and your self confidence is feeling a bit low.  While breaking out of our little shells will always require a bit of legwork on our part, the good news is that the more we practice the easier it will get.  Lucky for us, there are some very easy guidelines that we can follow to make conversing a little less scary:

Smile.  Smiling is such an easy way to improve your conversation.  It will put the other person at ease and let them know you are happy to be speaking with them.  It will also give your self confidence a boost.

Avoid too much detail.  Broad topics are great, but if you are speaking to a person that is not an expert on the subject, try to omit needless detail.  It will leave them bored senseless.

Avoid strong stances on political and religious views.  While it can be fun to engage in debates, it may be best to do so with people you already know quite well.  Doing so with strangers can be quite the conversation killer…remember to be sensitive to other people’s views.

If you’d like to criticize, do it by asking questions.  By asking questions, you are not directly criticizing the other person’s view, you are simply expressing doubt.  By doing this, you are able to criticize without offending.

Pay attention to your body language.  Be sensitive to the other person’s reactions, and remember to exude positive body language.

Give the person a chance to speak.  One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to dominate the conversation and always insist on getting in the last word.  Pay attention to this and make sure you are giving the person a chance to  join in the conversation.

Speak clearly and slowly.  It can be so very awkward to ask a person to repeat themselves over and over again…not only does it interrupt the conversation, it also will likely result in the person simply pretending like they heard you.  How many times is two many times to ask a person to repeat?  I say 3 and then I’m done asking…it’s just too awkward!

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Become a time management guru April 25, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 9:55 pm

Time management is one of those skills that nobody will teach you, yet just like listening, it is one of the most important skills you will need in order to be successful.  Demonstrating good time management will have wonderful and lasting benefits over the course of your career.  If you can master this skill you will be not only be able to differentiate yourself from the pack, you will also be able to greatly reduce your stress levels.  Here are a few ways you can manage your time more effectively and be as happy as a clam:

Make a to do list, or keep a personal planner.  This is a great way to avoid missing important deadlines like my two dino friends over there.

Stop multitasking.  This one is difficult, because often times we consider multitasking to be a good thing.  However, the truth is multitasking takes away focus.  Focus on one thing, get it done, and go onto the next.  You will be able to dedicate 100% of your attention to the task at hand and do a much better job.

Have an email schedule.  Dedicate a chunk of time in the morning as well as in the afternoon to check emails…and then ignore your inbox so you can focus.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that every email needs an immediate response.  More times than not you will wish you had put more thought into your response, thus dedicating set time to respond intelligently to your messages will do you a world of good.  Dare to be slow!

Get the most important thing out of the way.  It’s tempting to get the easy things done early in the day…it gives us a sense of accomplishment.  However, it doesn’t do us any good to have that task looming over our heads.  It will cause anxiety as time goes on.  Better to get it out of the way fast!

Know when your brain likes to focus.  Some people are morning people, some people are more effective mid-morning, some like afternoons, some are night owls.  The good news is that none of these are better than the others…the key is to identify when you focus best and take advantage.

Know when it’s time to quit.  Sometimes, we’ve been simply staring at something for too long, and perhaps we need to look at our project with a fresh set of eyes the next day.  So take it easy there killer, go home!

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Your Best Asset April 23, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 5:40 pm
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Your mind is the most powerful tool you will ever have, and will play a crucial role during your whole life…your mind’s health will determine your happiness, health, memory level, work performance, quality of life, number of healthy relationships and success.   Pretty big deal!  Just like our bodies, we need to keep our thinkers healthy to keep us in top notch.  Lucky for us, it’s much easier to exercise our brains than it is to stay on a  damn stair stepper for more than 10 minutes.  Try one of these tips to be the best you that you can be.

Sleep on it.  Depriving yourself of sleep is a sure fire way to make your brain fuzzy.   Your ability to solve problems and think critically are severely compromised when you are sleepy.

Laugh your ass off.  We’ve all heard the old saying that laughter is the best medicine, and that goes for your brain too.  Certain emotional responses target only select areas of the brain, but laughter targets multiple areas.  So go on, laugh at yourself, laugh with others, and remember to surround yourself with positive nice people and things.

Load up on brain-boosting foods.  Just like we need to fuel our bodies, we also need to fuel our minds.  Colorful fruits and veggies are the way to go…they are packed with antioxidants that protect our precious brain cells.  Also, omega-3s are great brain boosters.  Some great superfoods are blueberries, spinach, broccoli, arugula, walnuts, almonds, watermelon, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes and freshwater “fatty” fish (salmon, trout, tuna, halibut, mackerel, sardines and herring).

Avoid saturated fats.  While it’s very important to get the right foods, it’s just as important to steer clear of bad ones.  Saturated fats are the main culprits of dementia, decreased concentration abilities and memory loss.  The main sources of saturated fats are animal products: red meat, milk, cheese and ice cream.  DAMMIT.

Drink your wine.  Now I know, too much alcohol will kill brain cells.  And while that can be fun from time to time, moderation is key.  A glass of red wine everyday can improve blood flow to the brain and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  That’s the best news I’ve heard all day, yippee!!!!

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