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The Power of the Pleasant Pause: A Happier You in the New Year!

In the new year, most of us are thinking about our health. We look to the upcoming year with hope — all of the times we'll go to the gym and all of the vegetables we’ll eat, which is totally happening this year...

Of course, eating healthy and exercising are popular New Year's resolutions — everyone wants to do that. Meditation is also up there for me. But, let’s face it: Meditating is hard. Meditating takes time. Meditating takes willpower that I don’t always have (largely thanks to my lovely, but energetic, children).

If meditating makes you more stressed, then what’s the point?

Given some of my hiccups with meditation, I started trying to work another angle: Mindfulness. While meditating is great*, mindfulness just seemed so much more achievable. That's why I'm using this new year as a chance to take mindfulness moments in my everyday life — even when I'm not sitting down to meditate. I call these moments “Pleasant Pauses.” Using these breaks has helped me remember how much I have to be happy about, in small, bite-sized blocks.

What is a Pleasant Pause?

A Pleasant Pause is any time you take to relish in a moment of silence, happiness or calm. You don’t have to sit in the lotus position in your backyard Zen garden (everyone has one, right?) to do this. You can do it walking to the coffee machine, sitting on the bus to work, or even at your desk.

Once I started taking this time to enjoy these pauses, I started realizing there were cycles throughout the day when breaks are presented to us every day — inside and outside of work. The more I welcome these moments, the more I realize how much joy they bring me. And ultimately, I find myself simply being happier, all day long.

I’ve also noticed that Pleasant Pauses have helped me stop worrying about the next budget meeting, the next campaign, the next big presentation when I don’t have to be thinking about that. It's a giant self-fulfilling happy cycle! Who doesn't want to get on that ride? And, once you've practiced, you can allow yourself (gasp!) a full five minutes of peace and joy in a Mindfulness Area!

In the new year, I urge you, too, to seize those Pleasant Pauses — however long they last — to recharge your batteries and enjoy the present. When the next wave of work comes, which it will when you're moving this fast, these Pleasant Pauses could lead to you too being more engaged, content, and eager to do your best work.

If you’re looking for resources to help you start meditating, I recommend exploring Plum Village, the first monastic community founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) in the West’s website. The company has had a long history with Plum Village, including (most recently) guided meditations, a mindful eating lesson, and a walking meditation at Dreamforce 2016.

(credit: Jody Kohner)

#dreamforce #workforce #lizztech #crm #healthierworkplace #newyear2017
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Honoring Dr King.
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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"The 4 Styles of Startup Leadership"

Which best describes you?

"What's your management style?" is a classic job interview question most people come across as soon as they start supervising others. In response, job seekers dutifully come up with some vaguely flattering and self-descriptive answer that they tweak slightly depending on what they think a particular interviewer wants to hear.

That might help you get the gig, but it doesn't actually involve much soul searching about the true answer to the question. And if Joanna Lord, CMO of ClassPass, is to be believed, many professionals give surprisingly little thought to their actual leadership style - even after they rise to the executive level.

Too few executives know their leadership style.

"I've been doing a lot of phone screens for open roles at ClassPass and inevitably for the more senior roles the conversation turns to leadership styles," she writes in an interesting recent Medium post. Almost always, she goes on to report, these candidates answer this question with something like: "Oh great question, I guess I haven't really thought about it. I know I am not a micromanager and I believe in empowering my teams to do great work."

Or, in essence, the same bland BS we all spit out earlier in our careers. Lord thinks leaders (or would-be leaders) need to do better, pondering way more deeply their approach to management, as well as the pros and cons of their style.

"A good place to start."

How should they do that? Lord recommends rising leaders familiarize themselves with leadership expert and author Mark Murphy's four leadership styles. As I'd personally never heard of them, I dug up a Forbes article by Murphy outlining these four fundamental approaches to leadership. In it, he gives detailed descriptions of each style, which are well worth reading in full, but here is the essence of each style.

Pragmatist: The rarest type of leaders, pragmatists "have high standards, and they expect themselves, and their employees, to meet those standards. Pragmatists are driven, competitive, and they value hitting their goals above all else. They can be bold thinkers, unafraid of taking the road less travelled (even when others struggle or feel anxious)," according to Murphy. Jeff Bezos is a prominent example.

Idealist: "Idealists are high-energy achievers who believe in the positive potential of everyone around them. Idealists want to learn and grow, and they want everyone else on the team to do the same. They're often charismatic, drawing others to them with their intuition and idealism. They're open-minded and prize creativity from themselves and others." Think Tony Hsieh of Zappos. Around one-in-five execs embodies this style.

Steward: "Stewards are the rocks of organizations. They're dependable, loyal and helpful, and they provide a stabilizing and calming force for their employees. Stewards value rules, process and cooperation." Again, this type makes up about 20 percent of leaders. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, is one.

Diplomat: The most common of the leadership types, diplomats like Sheryl Sandberg "prize interpersonal harmony. They are the social glue and affiliative force that keeps groups together. Diplomats are kind, social, and giving, and typically build deep personal bonds with their employees."

As Lord and common sense both suggest, each of these fundamental styles comes with advantages and disadvantages. Getting the most out of these strengths and minimizing these weaknesses, though, depends on having a good grasp of the reality of your leadership style. That's why it pays to spend some time considering which type you most resemble.

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"6 New Tech Gadgets That Will Simplify Your Life in 2017"

These gadgets offer something new and innovative to make life a bit smoother.

This is going to be an amazing year for gadgets.

Voice-activated artificial intelligence, wireless charging, and digitized note-taking provide just a hint of what is to come. More than anything, as tech evolves this year, the main benefit will be that life becomes a bit easier. We won't have to hunt around online for information as much, because we'll be able to ask a bot to do that. We won't have to keep a paper notepad around in the office, because we'll be able to save our scribbles to an app and then retrieve the notes at anytime. These gadgets, many of which either debuted right at the end of 2016 or will come out shortly, provide some handy perks.

1. Google Home ($129)
Grab one of these speakers for the office--you'll be amazed how much it can simplify your day. You can ask about the weather, set reminders, and even do research on the fly, all by voice, without lifting your hands off the keyboard. Plus, the speaker sounds sublime.

2. Invoxia NVX 200 Desk Phone ($249)
Many of us have ditched a desk phone and use a smartphone all day. Yet, we still need to charge up. This docking station serves as a charger, a Bluetooth speakerphone, and a desk phone with a numeric keypad. It makes quick dialing a bit faster.

3. Wacom Bamboo Slate ($150)
Taking notes in a meeting just got easier. Using an ink pen, you write everything normally. Yes, your chicken scratches all convert into an app. Wacom digital pads sync up to your phone quickly without a lot of fuss.

4. Otterbox uniVERSE Case ($50)
Made for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, this multipurpose case has a snap-in slot on the back for an extra lens, a flash drive for storage, and a battery pack. In 2017, it will include a carbon-monoxide detector, a multitool with knife and saw, and a laser tool for measurements.

5. AOC 27-inch PLS Monitor With Qi Charging Base ($250)
Your desktop monitor needs a stable base, so it might as well be useful, right? This monitor from AOC uses Qi charging technology so you can set your phone down on the base. The monitor has a 20,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a 5-millisecond response time.

6. SensePeanuts ($29)
A strange name, but these location tags could be invaluable during your work day. They come in different versions, including one that feeds the room temperature to the Sense app and a new one called SleepPeanut that you wear to bed to measure your sleep cycles.

#lizztech #techgadgets2917 #salesforce
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"5 Digital Marketing Trends Worth Paying Attention To In 2017"

These 5 things will be extremely important in 2017 for marketing anything online.

As the new year begins, it's crucial that you look back at 2016 and really review what worked, what didn't, and most important how you should shift your strategy to be successful in 2017.

We are in a fascinating time for marketing these days, with the landscape changing as rapidly as tech software. Nothing is set in stone anymore, and we are witnessing some of the biggest platforms give way to digital mediums. What is more valuable: a TV spot, or a perfectly optimized Facebook ad? These are the questions big brand managers, small businesses, online influencer's and more are wrestling with--and if you look at the trends, it's clear where things are going.

Here are 5 trends that if you aren't paying attention to already, you're behind:

1. Creative Video Advertising
People have been talking about video for years now. But in the process, it has become such a cliche phrase that it's clear people really know why video is important--they just know they should be doing it.

The truth is, video in itself isn't really the answer. Just like photography, in itself, isn't the answer. What's important is the execution of those mediums--not the tools themselves--and ultimately how you convey your story.

It's not video advertising you need to pay attention to, it's the creative video advertising that is hardly an ad at all. It's more of a skit. Or a funny clip. Or an educational video. It's something you see in your Facebook feed and watch without even realizing what you're watching is an ad.

Look for it, and you'll see. Bad videos are, and will always be, bad videos. But the creative ones are what attract attention.

2. Facebook Ads
Here's what you need to know: You need to be taking advantage of Facebook ads.

There has been a lot of discussion around what brings a better return: Google ads or Facebook ads. To be perfectly honestly, there is still space for both. But of the two, Facebook ads are becoming more and more widely used simply because of the engagement they prompt from users. Especially paired with (see above) creative video ads, since Facebook is investing heavily into video right now, the amount of exposure a brand can receive (and track with data) is astonishing.

This next year, strongly consider increasing your Facebook advertising budget. There is a reason the platform continues to grow year over year. They are making all the right moves.

3. Influencer Marketing
Working with social media influencer's has become a hot topic over the past few years--and even more so, it has become a key portion of many brand's advertising budgets.

The reason working with influencer's is so valuable is because they have targeted audiences that already trust them. That's really what the brand is paying for: trust. When a brand runs an ad, they are buying exposure and nothing more. But when a brand pays an influencer for them to wear a t-shirt, or take a photo with their product, what they're paying for isn't just exposure, but an underlying testimonial.

Having an influencer working with your brand is one of the single best ways to earn the trust of your particular market. And this isn't just happening in the big industries like fashion, tech, athletics, etc. Even small, niche industries know the value of working with the thought leaders publishing noteworthy content on a daily basis.

Whether you're a small business or a big brand, influencer marketing is worth strongly considering.

4. Automated Sales Funnels
Too many businesses are missing the boat when it comes to automating their marketing processes.

Now, more than ever, your website should be optimized and built around conversions. Sure, make it look sleek and shiny. Yes, it can be creative. But if you aren't using content marketing to attract organic searches, offering free downloads to capture emails, and then having those emails trigger automated follow-up sequences, you are losing so many opportunities to win over potential clients.

These automated processes are becoming more and more rampant, and it's only going to be a matter of time where not having these funnels in place is going to be far beyond an inconvenience--it's going to be one of things that crushes your business.

As more and more turns digital, 2017 is the time for you to look hard at how you are attracting leads and how you can implement content marketing and sales funnels onto your website.

5. Collaborations
One of the most undervalued avenues for marketing your business, brand, or even yourself (as an influencer or thought leader) is by collaborating with other businesses and individuals in your space.

Too many people still see collaboration as a conflict of interest. The truth is, it's often not.

One of the keys to succeeding in terms of marketing is volume. Volume wins. The more quality content and thoughtful material you are able to publish and share, the better.

The problem, however, is when you try to do that entirely on your own. Creating great content is the first challenge. The second challenge is getting it front of the right people.

This is where collaboration can be immensely valuable. Find other businesses or thought leaders in your shared space but who focus on a slightly different vertical, product, or service offering. By collaborating, you will "trade audiences," both of which are properly targeted--and in the process, you will be able to leverage each other's successes.

Collaboration in its finest form has happened among the top influencers in just about every single niche or market. It's time for businesses and big brands to see the value and start partnering up.
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