How to overcome proximity bias in performance reviews for hybrid teams

“You want to demonstrate that remote work is as important and seen as in-office work”

With performance review season fast approaching, managers should ensure that all employees are getting equal face time.

How to overcome proximity bias in performance reviews for hybrid teams

Five ways of expanding your business internationally

The global economy is changing thanks to worldwide connectivity. Companies across the globe are communicating with others without delays or hassles …

Five ways of expanding your business internationally

The Beginner’s Guide to Being Happy Alone

Short-term tips to get you started

These tips are aimed at helping you get the ball rolling. They might not transform your life overnight, but they can help you get more comfortable with being alone. 

Some of them may be exactly what you needed to hear. Others may not make sense for you. Use them as stepping-stones. Add to them and shape them along the way to suit your own lifestyle and personality. 

1. Avoid comparing yourself to others

This is easier said than done, but try to avoid comparing your social life to anyone else’s. It’s not the number of friends you have or the frequency of your social outings that matters. It’s what works for you.

Remember, you really have no way of knowing if someone with a bunch of friends and a stuffed social calendar is actually happy. 

2. Take a step back from social media 

Social media isn’t inherently bad or problematic, but if scrolling through your feeds makes you feel left out and stressed, take a few steps back. That feed doesn’t tell the whole story. Not by a long shot. 

You have no idea if those people are truly happy or just giving the impression that they are. Either way, it’s no reflection on you. So, take a deep breath and put it in perspective. 

Perform a test run and ban yourself from social media for 48 hours. If that makes a difference, try giving yourself a daily limit of 10 to 15 minutes and stick to it. 

3. Take a phone break

Noticing a theme here? Cellphones and social media have undoubtedly changed the concept of being alone. 

Is anybody really alone when they can pick up their phone and text or call just about anyone? Or check in on what that high school acquaintance is up to without even having to talk to them?

That’s not to say that technology isn’t an incredibly helpful tool for building community and feeling close to loved ones who might be far away. But it’s easy to rely on devices as a way to avoid being alone with your own thoughts. 

Next time you’re alone, turn your phone off and stash it away for one hour. Use this time to reconnect with yourself and explore what it feels like to be truly alone. 

Not sure how to pass the time? Grab a pen and notepad, and jot down things you might enjoy doing the next time you find yourself alone. 

4. Carve out time to let your mind wander

Does the thought of doing absolutely nothing unsettle you? That’s probably because it’s been a long time since you’ve allowed yourself to just be. 

Experiment by setting a timer for 5 minutes. That’s it. 

Five minutes with no:

  • television
  • music
  • internet
  • podcasts
  • books

Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes, darken the room, or stare out the window if you prefer. If that’s too sedentary, try a repetitive task, such as knitting, dribbling a basketball, or washing dishes. 

Let your mind wander — truly wander — and see where it takes you. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t take you very far at first. With time, your mind will get used to this new freedom.

5. Take yourself on a date

They might sound cliche, but self-dates can be a powerful tool for learning how to be happy alone. 

Not sure what to do? Imagine you’re trying to impress an actual date and show them a good time. Where would you take them? What would you want them to see or experience?

Now, take yourself on that date. It might feel a bit odd at first, but chances are, you’ll see at least a few other folks dining solo or purchasing a movie ticket for one. 

If money’s an issue, you don’t have to go big. But also remember it’s a lot cheaper to pay for one than it is for two.

Still sounds too daunting? Start small by sitting in a coffee shop for just 10 minutes. Be observant and soak in your surroundings. Once you’re comfortable with that, going out alone won’t seem so unusual anymore. 

6. Get physical

Exercise helps release endorphins, those neurotransmitters in your brain that can make you feel happier. 

If you’re new to exercise, start with just a few minutes a day, even if it’s just morning stretches. Increase your activity by a minute or two each day. As you gain confidence, try weight trainingaerobics, or sports.

Plus, if you’re still uneasy about going out on your own, hitting the gym alone can be a great starting point. 

7. Spend time with nature

Yes, another cliche. But seriously, get outside. Lounge in the backyard, take a walk in the park, or hang out by the water. Absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Feel the breeze on your face. 

ResearchTrusted Source shows that 30 minutes or more a week spent in nature can improve symptoms of depression and lower blood pressure. 

8. Lean into the perks of being alone

Some people find it especially difficult to be happy while living alone. Sure, it might be a little quiet, and there’s no one there to listen to you vent after work or remind you to turn off the stove. 

But living solo also has its perks (naked vacuuming, anyone?). Try to take advantage of the physical and mental space that comes with living alone:

  • Take up all the space. Spend the day taking up the entire kitchen to cook a tasty meal you can munch on for the next week. 
  • Spread out. Trying to get back into an old hobby? Get all your materials and spread them out across the floor and decide what you want to use for your next project. Not done deciding in a single day? No problem. Leave it out until you’re done, even if it’s a week from now.
  • Have a dance party. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Put on your favorite music, and, neighbors permitting, crank it up. Dance like no one’s watching, because, well… they aren’t. 

9. Volunteer

There are so many ways to volunteer your time in service of others. You can volunteer in person or help out remotely from home. Either way, helping others can make you feel good. Plus, it can help you feel connected to others while still getting in some quality alone time. 

Research volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. It’s important to find something that feels right to you. Make sure their needs are a good fit with what you’re willing and able to do. 

If the first thing you try doesn’t work out, it’s perfectly reasonable to move on and look for something else. 

Perform a random act of kindness whenever the opportunity presents itself.

10. Acknowledge things you’re grateful for

Research shows that gratefulness can boost feelings of happiness and hopefulness.

It’s easy to take things for granted as you go about your day. Devote some time to reflect on the things you’re grateful for.

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD— Written by Ann Pietrangelo

5 Most Common Mistakes People Make with Life Insurance

Over the years, I’ve seen that there is a lot of confusion around this topic – from what type of insurance is best to how much you need and where to get it. With that in mind, below are the five most common mistakes people make when it comes to life insurance. Hopefully, through this list, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of how life insurance works and why it’s a good tool for you and your family.

 

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Mistake #1 – Having no life insurance at all

Many people simply overlook the importance of life insurance. It doesn’t appear to be something they need and it can be viewed as an added expense. But take a second to stop and consider all the important people in your life. If you weren’t there, how would they be impacted financially? It’s not fun to think about, but by “playing dead” you can begin to understand that life insurance is a critical tool to ensuring your family feels financially supported should anything happen to you. For instance, if you have any financial obligations, a life insurance policy will help to ensure that those burdens do not fall entirely on your family members and they can avoid starting a gofundme page in your name to pay for funeral cost. Remember, it is also important to get life insurance sooner rather than later because the cost goes up the older we get.

 

Layoff

Mistake #2 – Relying solely on employer-provided workplace life insurance

Life insurance provided by your workplace is an excellent benefit and can serve as a good starting point for your basic minimum coverage. But remember any life insurance provided automatically from your employer is only good as long as you work with the company. Chances are you will not be with the same company for your entire working career either by choice or by force and the insurance does not go with you. You can purchase additional coverage through your employer or on your own to help fill the gap.

 

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Mistake #3 – Only considering term life insurance

Term life insurance provides a “death” or “survivor” benefit, which is the amount beneficiaries receive if you pass away, for a certain period of time (15, 20 or 30 years are common increments), after which the coverage ends. An alternative solution would be to adopt cash value life insurance, which similarly provides a death benefit, but will grow over the years as long as you continue to fund the policy. Furthermore, cash value life insurance can help with financial obligations in a tax-advantaged way, whether it is paying for college, a business venture or retirement. These policies are generally more expensive, but can make a lot of sense if you are able to commit to regularly funding the policy.

 

Concern

Mistake #4 – Leaving retirement savings vulnerable

If you do not have any/enough life insurance, your family is likely to look to your retirement savings for financial support. This may seem like a safe solution for finding additional resources, but I would advise against using funds saved specifically for retirement for another purpose. If you are the higher earner in the family, your spouse may have been relying on those savings for his or her own retirement. Similarly, if your spouse is forced to liquidate or take large loans from the retirement account, it will hurt the potential long-term investment gains that would have benefitted your family down the road. It is important that the money you are saving is allotted for different goals – from life insurance to retirement – so that you are making the most of each savings opportunity.

 

 

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Mistake #5 – Guessing on how much life insurance you need

Many people who walk into my office have no idea how much life insurance they need. Is it five times annual salary? Ten times? Some other figure? There are many factors to take into account to figure out how much life insurance is right for you. Often this is where a financial professional can really help with the process. We can help quantify how much and what type of insurance makes the most sense for you and then help get that coverage in place. There are also many online calculators available to use as a starting point.

At the end of the day, we all just want to know that our loved ones will be taken care of after we’re gone. I have seen firsthand the peace of mind a life insurance policy can deliver. So this month, as life speeds up again, take a few minutes to pause and think about the future. Life Insurance Awareness month may only last 30 days, but a good policy will last for years to come!

 

7 Ways to Transform Your Money Mindset

 

The level of abundance in your life in any area (love, friendship, success or finances) is a reflection of your inner state — what you hold in your mind and heart.

Want to create a healthy and loving wealth consciousness? Here are seven ways to transform your money mindset.

1. Forgive your past.

So many of our unquestioned beliefs and behavior patterns today around money are simply things we picked up at childhood or our past. They are not true and they don’t serve our highest good.

Forgiveness is a way to release them from our heart and energy field, so we are no longer blindly re-creating the same patterns and keeping ourselves stuck at the same level of abundance.

Grab a piece of paper and write down all of the painful memories you have around money –involving your parents, lovers, bosses or even yourself — that make you feel icky, stressed, anxious or frustrated.

Now, go through your list and practice forgiveness until you release the negative charge from each memory. You could try:

(a) Using a mantra such as: I forgive you. I’m sorry. I love you.

(b) Placing your hand on your heart and simply letting yourself feel the emotions that arise — giving yourself permission to feel them fully without attaching a mental story to them. Often as you let your feelings rise and observe them without judgement, they will naturally dissolve.

(c) Having compassion. Maybe your parents fought in front of you or didn’t have enough money and it caused you pain, but they were doing their best from their level of awareness — and they were probably re-creating the patterns they had learnt when they were children. Everyone is a divine loving inner spirit deep down — sometimes our true nature just gets temporarily obscured, like a cloud covering the sun.

2. Change your story.

The poet Rumi once said: “This world is like a mountain. Your echo depends on you. If you scream good things, the world will give it back. If you scream bad things, the world will give it back.”

He is referring to the Universal law of creation. Your inner world (thoughts, beliefs and feelings) creates your outer reality.

Do you find yourself saying or thinking things like: I’m so broke… Making money is hard… I’m always down to my last dollar… I never have enough… Wanting money is bad or greedy…?

Try changing your story around money. Start saying and thinking things like: I’m so blessed… I have everything that I need… the Universe always takes care of me… I give to the world and I receive… it is safe for me to have abundance… I am provided for.

3. Open your mind to infinite possibilities.

When it comes to manifesting, your logical mind can be your worst enemy.

It has a limited capacity to think beyond what it already knows, and it can be quick to tell you things like: Well, you can’t earn more from your current job, so receiving more money is, frankly, impossible.

When you have unexamined assumptions that you can only receive money in certain pre-determined ways — like a pay cheque from a day job — you block the Universe from finding other amazingly creative ways to bring you abundance.

Begin asking the Universe: What would it take for more money to flow to me? What would it take for me to get paid for being me? What would it take for creative ideas to come to me?

4. Practice gratitude.

The world is a reflection of you. When you look around your life and see and feel lack, the Universe receives the message to send you more lack.

So many of us suffer from a condition called Onlyness. We look at our bank balance and think: I only have $42. We look at our wardrobes and think: I only have these clothes to choose from. We look at our lives and think: I only have this much love, friendship, success, wellbeing or happiness.

When you start looking around your life and seeing everything as evidence of abundance, and feeling thankful and deeply grateful, the Universe sends you more abundance.

Look at your bank balance and think: Wow, I have a whole $42 to spend, that’s awesome. Look at your wardrobe and thank: Wow, I have warm clothes for my temple, how amazing is that? Look at your life and think: Wow, I already have this much love, friendship, success, wellbeing and happiness, and I am excited for even more. I am so grateful to be alive, adventuring in time and space, and I am going to soak up and appreciate every moment.

Bless your money as it goes in and out of your life. Bless it as you buy something as simple as your morning coffee. Pause and give thanks to the Universe for providing so much for you.

5. Create space.

When your life is full to the brim with old energy, memories and clutter, you are not symbolically or energetically creating space for abundance to come into your life.

Do a life assessment — look lovingly and honestly at your home, possessions, bank balance, love life, friends, career, leisure time, wellbeing and lifestyle.

Where are you not being true to your heart, soul and values? What needs to go in order for you to feel freer, lighter and liberated?

The more you remove anything that no longer serves you, the more space you create — physically and emotionally — for new people, opportunities and abundance to flow into your life.

6. Know your worth.

You are a divine spiritual being having a human experience.

You are the Universe experience itself through you. Your creator desires for you to experience endless happiness, peace and fulfillment.

Until you know your true nature and worth, you will probably experience feelings of guilt and doubt around receiving and abundance.

When you wake up to who you really are, you begin to realize that you are not here just to struggle and survive – you are here to love, create, expand and thrive.

7. Take small steps to cultivate the feeling of abundance.

Abundance is not a number on a bank statement, a large house or a luxury holiday. Abundance is a feeling.

Think about what abundance means to you. Does it mean freedom? Does it mean generosity? Does it mean indulgence?

When you know what abundance means to you, you can start taking baby steps to cultivate the feeling of abundance on a daily basis.

You can do this through visualization (imagining your dreams already being real) or by looking around your life and coming up with creative ways to feel the way you want to feel.

Maybe you feel abundant when you: spend a whole hour with a good book and a glass of wine; cook dinner for friends; have freshly washed hair and wear your favorite outfit; or carry a $100 note in your wallet. Start doing these small actions more often.

When you create the feeling of abundance within you, the Universe will pick up your new signal and start bringing you circumstances to match your new vibration.

Elyse Santilli Writer and life coach at NotesOnBliss.com, your guidebook to happiness and creating a beautiful life

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at NotesOnBliss.com and the creator of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp online course. She teaches people to align with their inner spirit, design a life they love, and expand their happiness and inner peace. For updates and inspiration, sign up now.

Here’s How Many Jobs U.S. Companies Cut In September

The computer industry was hit hard.

Last month saw a surge in layoffs, primarily due to large-scale employee cuts at companies like Hewlett-Packard.

U.S. companies laid off 58,877 workers in September, according to data released Thursday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. September layoffs are up 43% from August when about 41,000 workers were let go.

In total, employers have announced 493,431 planned layoffs so far this year, a 36% jump over the same period last year and 2% more than the 2014 total.

“Job cuts have already surpassed last year’s total and are on track to end the year as the highest annual total since 2009, when nearly 1.3 million layoffs were announced at the tail-end of the recession,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The computer industry accounted for the heaviest job cuts in September primarily driven by Hewlett-Packard, which said it would cut 30,000 jobs. The job losses, which were announced in mid-September by CEO Meg Whitman, should save the company $2.7 billion annually and represented about 10% of the company’s workforce, HP said.

Source: Here’s How Many Jobs U.S. Companies Cut In September