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What Uber and Taxis Can Teach You About Decision Making

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We spend a lot of our time making decisions. We make some choices on auto-pilot, like brushing our teeth in the morning; others are tougher, revolving around job opportunities, life partners or places where we’ll live. At work, managers and business leaders are always making decisions about new products, staffing or initiatives.

Sometimes the hardest part of decision-making is not the process; sometimes it’s merely making the best decisions that propel us forward and don’t cause a mess of other problems.

With every decision, there are always pros and cons. Everything comes at a price in life and business, and even an opportunity that appears excellent has some downside to it. That’s just the way it goes in life and work. There is no such thing as perfection, but that’s what helps keep us always striving for better.

The battle between Uber and the taxi industry is an excellent example of decision-making. Uber is valuated at around $60 billion, but the company, and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, have pushed it to a point where based on news reports you have to wonder what’s going to happen next––and not in a good way. We’ll see in the future if their decisions have been the best, both for Kalanick and Uber.

The Problems with Uber

A couple of years ago, Uber was all the rage. At the time, a medallion for one iconic yellow taxi cost $1.3 million. But, there was significant competition for the traditional cab as it seemed that everyone in Manhattan was calling an Uber taxi.

Last year as I was talking to a cabbie about the taxi industry and Uber, he informed me that some New York City taxi owners were trying to sell their medallions for $500,000. At the time, it sounded like the death knell was ringing for the old taxis.

As it turns out, not so fast.

Flash forward about another year, and yellow taxis have taken matters into their hands to compete against Uber. Their decision was kind of simple: let Uber crush them and destroy the traditional taxi business (still a possibility), or put up a challenge. In the meantime, Uber, the famed disrupter seems to face one problem after another.

First, a recap of how the New York taxi industry is dealing with Uber:

  • Fight fire with technology fire. There have been a handful of apps that have been used by the traditional taxi industry to compete with Uber. The apps have succeeded in fits and starts, but next time you’re in New York City and don’t want to take Uber, or hail a cab the old-fashioned way, take a look at Arro or GoCurb.
  • Compete on price. One of the reasons why Uber was initially so successful is because it used sophisticated algorithms to undercut taxi prices and then to use surge pricing when demand was high. The regular cabbie on the street, and the taxi industry for that matter, just couldn’t compete with the advanced technology of Uber. Traditional taxis took a beating, but they’re looking to compete on pricing.
  • Driver competition. If you speak to a cabbie in New York City, ask them how driving a yellow cab compares to Uber concerning earnings. Many drivers who went to Uber found themselves working more and earning less. It’s no news to learn that as the drivers see it Uber has not been terribly kind and, ultimately, they’ve made no secret of wanting to use driverless cars exclusively.

In an article posted on TheStreet, it was reported that Kalanick and Uber prided themselves on, “Nimble, creative decision-making.” It’s true that Uber is innovating and continually thinking out of the box to get ahead of its competition. However, there have definitely been challenges which have been detailed in news articles.

  • Does the business model work? Uber is not yet a public company with over $12 billion in investments, and one of the primary reasons is because it’s not yet fully confident that it’s able to provide its investors with a solid return on investment.
  • Drivers are not happy with Uber and to make matters worse, Travis Kalanick was caught on video telling an Uber driver that if he wasn’t making enough money, it was his fault.
  • Uber and ethical boundaries. Uber is a notoriously tough competitor, and its method is to not only disrupt but destroy. It’s reported that it used technology, called Greyball, to deceive legislative and regulatory officials in places where there’s been resistance to Uber.
  • Battle with Google. In the courts, a war of the tech titans is playing out as Waymo, which is owned by Google to develop the technology for self-driving cars, has sued Uber and its company, Otto, over stolen company technology secrets.

I can go on with Uber’s challenges at the present moment, but it’s clear that Uber is at some cross-roads. In the not-to-distant future, we can see Uber continue down a highly profitable road as the undisputed king of transportation (of course, ultimately without drivers). Alternately, we can see a company that is battered and continues to go from one problem to another until investors move on or the company and investors come up with a significantly alternate strategy to Kalanick’s playbook.

The reality for Uber is not that it’s not been making decisions.

It has.

The question with Uber is, is it making the most effective decisions?

So, in a world of options, how to do you make the right decisions? Or, perhaps a better question, is how do you make the best choice with the options, opportunities, and challenges you have at hand.

  1. The first place to begin is always with your values. In the case of Uber, as an outsider, it seems to value disruption, fierce competition and winning (at all costs). You can have good values, or you can have values that appear destructive to others, but whatever the case, decisions have to conform to values. Decisions are always better if they align with your values. You’ll find yourself more comfortable, and you’ll be rationalizing less, even in the face of challenges.
  2. Visualization of vision. In the past, I’ve sat in plenty of meetings where some manager tells the team to visualize financial success. Frankly, I always rolled my eyes. However, that’s not to say there isn’t truth to visualization and vision. When you’re in the process of making decisions, and you want to decide on the best course of option, you have to think through the end-results between options. For Uber, the company sees itself as the dominant global transportation company. That’s the visualization of vision.
  3. Paradox of choice. We live in a world where there can be too much choice. Too many options can keep us from making decisions, and we end up in a situation of inertia in the decision-making process. When you’re making an important choice, one of the things you want to do as fast as possible is to eliminate options quickly. If you have five opportunities for a decision, remove three as soon as possible. Then work on the remaining two.
  4. Situation guiding. Sometimes in life and business, you have events that happen that may or may not be in your control. The older you become and the more experience you have, you should use it to help inform your future. Even if you’ve had failures in the past, you have learned something. Keep going back to what those lessons have been. Use the lessons to inform your present situation. For the taxi industry in New York City, they relied for decades on their business model until it was impossible to continue. And now they’re fighting back with technology and trying to provide cabbies with better driver conditions. The situation Uber created has helped guide them as they try to beat back the completion.
  5. Someone asked me recently if I had to pick a single word for my life, which word would it be. That was easy: courage. Decisions take courage, especially when the challenges arise. No decision arrives without work. Even if you think everything is going to be fantastic with your life partner, the new job, city, business opportunity, etc., there’s always work to do––and sometimes it can be hard and painful. Courage in speaking about the inevitable challenges with those who are working with you, courage in moving forward when it’s easier to walk away and courage to make strategic adjustments will help you find validation and success in your decisions. In other words, stay the course and use the headwinds to your advantage.

I think it’s fair to say that the number of decisions that most of us make on a given day has multiplied. Technology and human advancement have provided us with enormous opportunity, but as the taxi industry, with unexpected challenges. However, any decision, even the toughest, can be made with focused and calm thinking. And, always bear in mind your values, the vision, choices elimination, the situation and courage despite the challenges that arise.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 23, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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4 Essentials to Maximize Your Strategic Planning

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Not too long ago I had a long conversation with a colleague whom I’ll call Peter about his start-up. He had given his all to his digital business, and it had grown, but it grew too fast. Peter and his team had plowed through the money to build institutional capacity, without keeping a careful eye on the revenue stream.

Most start-up organizations will not receive any start-up funding, even those in the digital and tech world. Let me give you some of the reality. In an article by David S. Rose, Founder and CEO, Gust, and described as “the Father of Angel Investing in New York” by Crain’s New York Business, he wrote:

“In very general terms, roughly 1,500 startups get funded by venture capitalists in the US, and 50,000 by angel investors. VCs look at around 400 companies for every one in which they invest; angels look at 40.”

As Peter and I sat together, we talked through everything about his business. As we shared experiences and ideas, there was nothing new that he didn’t know before our conversation. However, as he started to write the reminders down for what he had to do immediately to save his business, I was reminded of the points myself.

The first thing Peter recognized as we spoke is that he had to keep the rush to wanting to do something, anything, at bay. To move forward, he needed to take a step back, or at least pause, and survey everything that was in front of him regarding his business. And, once Peter was able to clearly see the landscape from a rational and not emotional point of view, we could proceed on how he could maximize his strategic planning. Peter realized that to stabilize and climb out of the hole he would have to have a plan or roadmap.

  1. Vision

I’m fascinated about how sometimes entrepreneurs get into the weeds––and stay there. They miss the opportunity to do that which is truly unique to a founder or entrepreneur, which is to set the vision.

Every day I have the chance to see the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an incredible gift. But, as someone who is not a sailor, I’ve often wondered how the ships get from one point to another. Think about it. At one point, these ships lose sight of the shore. So, how do they get to their destination?

The answer is that captains and sailors look to the stars, as they’ve done for millennia. Modern navigation has been with us since the 18th Century. And the tools used by captains to pinpoint their position relative to the stars are the sextant, navigation maps, and a chronometer. However, make no mistake, although we live in a world of advanced technology and GPS satellite information, captains are still looking up to the stars.

I reminded Peter that he had to get back to basics. Why had he started the business? What was the need he saw his company could serve? What was the top priority? In this case, it was business development. What was the target market that would be the easiest to sell? What was the next one and so on?

  1. Energy

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “energy” as,

1a:  dynamic quality narrative energy; bthe capacity of acting or being active intellectual energy; c:  a usually positive spiritual force the energy flowing through all people

2:  vigorous exertion of power:  effort investing time and energy

3:  a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work

4:  usable power (as heat or electricity); also: the resources for producing such power

Energy is essential to propel anything forward. Let’s go back to the sea. I grew up by the sea, and I’ve loved it my entire life. When I moved close to the water again later in life, I told someone to keep an eye on the sea; she changes all the time and multiple times a day. The colors, the sky, the boats, the rhythm of the waves, the people on the beach or the birds flying out over it. There is always something different about the sea.

What if I told you that mountains change every day as well and there’s energy to a mountain? How can that be? They look the same every day. They’re in place; they don’t move. Not true. Mountains change every day. Tree leaves on a mountain may drop and dirt shifts. No mountain is ever the same day after day.

However, this energy doesn’t have to happen all at once. And, that’s what I told Peter. Retrench. Conserve your energy and decide where you’re going to focus it.

  1. Plan

It’s impossible to get from one place to another without a plan. You don’t have to detail everything, and sometimes a plan can be as little as a page, but you have to have some idea about all the of the roads necessary to get to your destination.

Having lived in New York City, I’ve always found Central Park as one of the most masterful strokes of urban planning ever engineered. Central Park is an urban park, and it’s the most visited in the U.S. It was created in 1857 and rests on 778 acres. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed it.

Think about New York City in the mid-1800’s. It was a busy place, even then, before the cars and skyscrapers. People visited cemeteries (it’s true) to find a little peace from the chaos. Urban planners and the New York government had the vision to see that they needed to create an urban park in a city that would eventually become a global metropolis. They then set out to create Central Park to give the citizens who were alive then and in the future a place to “get away.”

If that’s not a master stroke of genius, I don’t know what is, and that’s why over 40 million people visit it each year, and it’s a sanctuary for millions of New Yorkers. Vision––in this case, the future of New York’s residents and visitors––needed an urban plan for some nature and peace within this vibrant city, which came to be Central Park.

Peter and I talked about the top priority of business development, and then we sketched out a plan to increase revenue in the next 60 days by 10 percent on the back of a napkin. That was the plan, and all it took was a small square piece of paper.

  1. Focus

Finally, when the moment arrives for work, you have to focus. You can’t be distracted. When a business is under financial stress or any stress for that matter, it’s easy to become distracted.

The point is when you focus and contain your energy chipping away at the nut you have to crack, you’re going to arrive sooner than if you diffuse the energy in all different place. The worst thing you can do, and something I’ve seen done over and over again is panic setting in and then an explosion of energy to do something––anything. Wrong move.

Bruce Lee was a great person who’s wise words left a lot of lessons for all of us. As we all know, he was a martial arts master. He was able to overcome opponents much larger than him and do feats that were amazing because of focus. Take a look at this video of Bruce Lee if you want to see incredible focus. It’ll only take a few moments of your time, and it’ll drive home the point.

One of my favorite quotes by this martial arts master is, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I reminded Peter as we were wrapping up our time together that the moment he walked into the office, he would have a thousand demands. He would have constant door-knocks and phone calls of people looking for his guidance. It would test his will to keep his focus on what he had to get done as the leader. No matter what happened, he had to keep chipping away at the problem. A change wasn’t going to come in one fell swoop. The change was going to occur by maintaining a laser focus on what he had to get done.

There’s no magic formula to strategy. There are countless theories. Some of them are solid and based on evidence. Others, come from experience. It doesn’t matter the approach you ultimately decide to choose. The point is to make a decision on a strategy that will get you closer to your goals and objectives. Do the work. Make it happen.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 9, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why You’re Getting the Meaning of Purpose Wrong

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A lot of people talk about purpose. They tell you to follow your purpose for work and life and do whatever you’re passionate or meant to do in life.

While I agree that we have to follow our passion, I think a lot of people are missing the point on “purpose.” It’s not simply to do what you’re meant to do. There’s a bigger meaning to that word.

The Meaning of Purpose

When speaking about purpose, many people have a narrow definition of it. They talk about doing something for which we as individuals were created to do. In other words, many people speak of purpose as some cosmic undertaking.

This is a bit of a mistake.

Many successful people in life, and by the way, I’m not using that term narrowly to mean financial riches, work at what they believe is their purpose in life. That’s good for them, and many thought leaders tell you to find your purpose and chase it with everything you’ve got.

But, I would argue that many others do not work at what they would think is their life’s purpose, yet they are also successful. The success is possible because they do their work “with purpose.”

Working with Purpose

Have you ever wondered how some of the poorest people in the world could be so peaceful and happy? How about others who have a terminal disease and yet as they face certain death, they can live their lives above that reality? And, what of others still who have suffered great tragedy and somehow can survive and even thrive?

Upon reflection of these lives, it’s too simplistic to think their purpose is to bear their circumstances nobly.

How could people with great poverty or difficulties possess wealth beyond measure?

The reason for this is simple.

They live their lives with purpose.

Every moment in their lives is purposeful.

So, what does that mean in reality when many people aren’t doing what would seem to be their life’s purpose, but yet they are still able to be successful and have a meaningful life working with purpose?

  • Working with purpose means you are compassionate with yourself. It means that although you might want to be at C, but are only at A, that’s okay. It means that you understand that achievement of any kind, large or small, does not come in one fell swoop. It comes with consistent work.
  • Individuals who live and work with purpose understand that the mere fact that they are doing will bring them some challenge. That’s how life works. Yet, if their goal is something they truly desire, then they will be patient, and when the inevitable problems appear, they will draw on their patience, learn and keep going. They are people who are resilient and don’t let setbacks consume them.
  • The wealthiest people understand that working with purpose means they find meaning in their work and their lives, whatever that may be. We, humans, are curious creatures. Most of us want to know and learn. But, many of us miss the meaning that comes in the simplest acts. The person who has the dirtiest job in the world can be one of the wealthiest because he understands the meaning behind his work and the contribution to the whole. On the other hand, the CEO of a company who has a vast fortune of riches may totally miss the meaning of working with purpose.

Purpose is a beautiful word and one that we should all make a point to hold in our daily lives. When you hold purpose in your hand and mind each day, you are reminded of your importance in the day to day. And when you work with purpose, your wealth grows immeasurably as even the simplest act can take on new meaning.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: March 22, 2017

© 2017 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

The Right Attitude And How To Create Momentum

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The right attitude is paramount in the worlds of business, entrepreneurship or career advancement. Someone will argue that as long as you are a professional who knows your area of expertise well, you will do fine in life.

Not necessarily.

There have been many people with advanced degrees and experience who have not made their mark after many years of struggle.

Attitude

Here’s why: Attitude.

The right attitude is crucial. It will propel you to different heights no matter what comes your way. If you are determined with a mission and a vision of what you’re looking for, then you’re halfway there.

Of course charisma and a positive outlook on life as well as enthusiasm about what’s coming next, doesn’t hurt. Attitude can be invaluable or it can be destructive if used the wrong way. You can have a negative outlook and attitude on life that simply does you in.

Having said that, if you’re looking for a particular outcome having the attitude that nothing will stand in your way and deter you from doing what you want in your life, is the place to start.

Persistence

But attitude is not enough. You have to persistently have the right attitude. You can never blink, especially when things don’t go your way. You need to exude confidence that flows from your attitude towards life and you need to condition yourself to overcome the obstacles that will come your way while pursuing it.

In other words, expect the unexpected.

Persistence can only be achieved with a good and positive attitude.

So the way someone’s attitude is, will translate into the ongoing behavior that will be adopted with regard to how that person acts, reacts and talks to others. How that person motivates himself or herself to keep on going. How that person uses innovation and creativity to get through the hurdles.

Gratitude

Attitude and persistence are important. But then, another ingredient also becomes essential.

That element is gratitude.

One has to maintain an attitude of gratitude for everything you have so far and for everything that will come your way, realizing that better and bigger things are around the corner. Being thankful in advance of what you will be receiving is essential because it keeps you centered, humble and real.

Many people, unfortunately, don’t foster these qualities. Perhaps it’s because they do not believe in themselves or have become jaded and embittered.

No one said life is easy but we do not need to make it any more difficult than it is by having the wrong attitude, or a sense of entitlement, which has no connection with anyone other than ourselves.

Getting to the Finish Line

Do you want to get to your “finish line”, whatever that is and whatever it might take? Then “try and try again.” Get your head straight. Get your attitude right. Know that you have to be persistent and develop gratitude for what you have – however much or little. Stay away from the negative, including entitlement. No one is entitled to anything.

Get your facts straight, use your knowledge and motivation and act accordingly.

Research the life of inventors and you will realize that before they succeeded in creating “Y”, they failed hundreds or even thousands of times, but they kept on going. With every failure they learned and made their vision clearer and better.

I understand that getting involved into something new, embarking into a new business or anything new can be unnerving, but stay focused on the reason why you need to do this. Maintain your vision always in the picture frame, and you will realize that you cannot be deterred.

Calculated risk, at times, is absolutely necessary to get places. It is either this – tackling life – or doing nothing (i.e. the alternative) and wondering the rest that of your life “what if”.

Doors will open if you persist, people will notice you, opportunities will be created and all you need to remember is to repeat, repeat…repeat. Nothing happens without clarity of vision and persistence.

Then, the more success the more fearless you become, the more you keep on repeating and building on what you’ve achieved. Life is a testing ground that can be very challenging, but also exceedingly beautiful. You just live it a day at a time, one step at a time with the attitude that you are taking the right steps.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: January 28, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Suggestions For A Meaningful 2016

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1) Offer to help when you can.
2) Be grateful for the little or a lot you have.
3) Laugh every day and make someone laugh.
4) Simplify your life.
5) Do not worry for the details.
6) Take care of your health.
7) Be authentic, be real.
8) Love and care for your family as well as your friends.
9) Always set time for yourself every day. Time to relax, time to learn new things.
10) Focus when you work.
11) Enjoy when you play.
12) Take time to recharge.
13) Take on a hobby.
14) Volunteer some of your time and talent when you can.
15) Be humble always.
16) Don’t hold grudges even if you were wronged.
17) Speak your mind without being negative.
18) Enjoy life, enjoy the nature.
19) Try to make a difference anyway you can.
20) Do not add to the mundane.
21) Play with children and make them laugh.
22) Be respectful of others.
23) Always welcome discussion and different points of view.
24) Be open to opportunities, to new friends.
25) Don’t come across as a know-it-all, even if you do know a lot.
26) Be spontaneous.
27) Show the ropes to someone.
28) Take initiative to lead when you can.
29) Do not fear life.
30) When deciding on an outcome use logic, followed by your intuition and then emotion.
31) Do not hate, it’s not worth it.
32) Leave your preconceived notions aside and just live.
33) Challenge your brain with new things, new languages, new areas of interest.
34) Realize everyone of us are only human and frail no matter our age and plan accordingly. Focus on new experiences.
35) Last but not least “it is not the destination but the journey that counts.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: December 31, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Mad About Life? Don’t Be. Yes, You!

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Do we really need to get bitter with life? All of us experience setbacks daily in our lives. Is it fair to say that everything that happens to us is somebody else’s fault and not ours? Not really. Maybe sometimes it can be someone else’s fault, but not always. It’s not nearly enough as we may think.

In the process of blaming others, we change. We do not trust others as we used to. We start to get colder. We blame life with expressions such as, “Life’s not fair.” Or, “I should have gotten X.” Or perhaps, “Why hasn’t anyone noticed me. Am I invisible?”

We get mad with ourselves. We get angry at those around us and feel trapped in what we call, “current conditions.” There are serious implications, which can spiral our life downwards if we don’t notice first.

Our relationship with loved ones can suffer. Our work can suffer, and of course, our health and financial situations too. How do we avoid this mess?

How Am I Doing?

First, you need to ask yourself how you’re doing with any given situation. How do you perceive the challenges? Be aware of the side affects such as irritability, general malaise, lack of patience or fun in your life.

We all tend to personalize what is happening in our lives. And yes, sometimes it is very personal. But how we perceive things and those challenges makes a difference. No matter how life seems, it doesn’t stop it from being absolutely beautiful. And, each day is meant to be lived as if it’s the last – because it’s that precious.

Enjoy the outdoors. The sun. The air. The water. Life is there, if you just stretch and reach out for it. Relationships. Friendships. Family.

Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. No one is guaranteeing us anything. That’s not how life works. You need to look for the joy in the challenges that will come your way.

Don’t get comfortable, because that’s when you stop reaching out and searching. That’s when you stop dreaming. Believe that anything is possible. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t believe them. People will always criticize you. They won’t like your ways. It’s your dream. Your life. Claim what’s yours.

Don’t Close Down

We don’t need to close down to anticipate the punches. Actually, a boxer in the ring will always keep his eye on his opponent. He may guard himself and keep his arms and gloves in a defensive position, but he’s got his eye on his adversary.

Take life head on. Don’t forget your values. Being bitter is not a value that will benefit you. It is only toxicity.

Every day I see people who are not open to life. In business interactions, for example, many people want everything for themselves as if they were on a desert island and playing “Survivor”. That might be a winning strategy in the short-term, but ultimately, it is going to bite you. In business, as well as life, negotiation is the name of the game.

Life is about giving and taking.

Yes, life is full of human piranhas. They prey on the naive and look to take advantage. That’s a fact. They exist. So, keep your eye on your worthy opponent and don’t be eaten alive.

Forget the News

Life is to be enjoyed, no matter what is happening in the world. The news is terrible these days. You see stories of death, war and famine. But beyond that, you see commentary couched as “news”. Everything is negative and toxic. It doesn’t matter from which side of the aisle you get your so-called “news”.

Why not do a little experiment? Filter out the news. Or, don’t watch it at all. Ask your friends and colleagues to update you on anything important happening in the world. But, whatever you do, don’t listen or read the news for more than 15 minutes a day. It’s a waste of time and it actually works to anger or depress even the strongest minds.

Before the 24-hour news cycle, we only watched the news either in the morning for a few minutes or in the evening. Now, it’s on all the time. Seriously? Most of the time, nothing has happened from one hour to the next, or even day to the next. The story that is gripping and should warrant your attention for more than a few minutes happens few and far between.

Do Unto Others

Instead, live by the Golden Rule. Remember that one? “Do unto others every day, as you would have them do unto you.” We go about our lives and we tend to forget about those around us. Don’t.

Try to help wherever you can. Try to get away from not having the time to reach out because you’re so “busy”. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to send a kind text or a few minutes to make a phone call. Putting it off until tomorrow or sometime in the future is only an excuse because it is never the “right” time.

There’s no better time than now.

As you know, you don’t always need money to help someone. Your time is a worthy and needed gift to someone who is alone or lonely.

Waking Up

Please don’t just wake up in the morning hating the day because of this or that. It sets the tone for your day, your month, your week and your life.

We all have issues we have to deal with. We can’t compare our lives to that of anyone else’s because we don’t know what others deal with behind closed doors. It’s safe to say, however, that we all deal with things.

I see young people who are already beaten by life. They have so much to live for, and yet they don’t see it. And then you look at older people and many have the energy to take on life – still with the smile and kindness that you wouldn’t expect from someone their age.

Life is to be cherished. If you don’t like the status quo of your life, change it! But, by all means, don’t become indifferent to it. That simply makes it more of a struggle than it has to be.

To better times!

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 11, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Finding Your Groove

Vortex

For those who are middle-aged and finding it difficult to either become entrepreneurs or wishing to rejoin the workforce, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most important thing to remember is that middle-aged workers have a lot to offer, including a wealth of life and work experience, esprit de corps and loyalty.

Of course, anyone can try entrepreneurship, and in today’s world, freelancers are increasingly becoming the bulk of the workforce. In the not too distant future, there will be more freelancers than individuals employed in a traditional full-time job.

Whether you are looking to become an entrepreneur or an employee, there are still some things you will have to do. You need to have clarity around the idea you want to execute in a new business or they type of company or business where you would like to seek employment. Skipping this basic step and doing or taking “anything” is simply a recipe for failure. Lay out a clear vision for what you want to do, why and how to get there.

I’m a big believer in being prepared. If you’re prepared, you can “wing it”. If you don’t know what you’re talking about and you make everything up as you go along, it’ll eventually catch up to you. So, research and learn about what it takes to be successful. Understand how the field may be changing and what it takes, including marketing yourself or the business, to be successful.

Being an entrepreneur or employee still requires realistic expectations. Yes, high expectations are important, as are dreams and vision, but no matter what you do, it always takes a great deal more work than you ever expect. And, so setting expectations that are based on sound reasons and assumptions is going to get you much further.

Things have changed drastically due to globalization, outsourcing, disruption, innovation, position redundancy and automation. Yes, everything was different ten or twenty years ago, but if you are looking for employment, recognize that even the selection of candidates is different today.

Now a resume will be initially checked by software programs that search for unique key words in order to identify candidates for further consideration. This happens before a pair of human eyes even looks at your resume. Those resumes that make it past that first hurdle then go to a human resources specialist who will devote about 6 seconds to reviewing it. Imagine the odds of getting chosen in many positions, based on those two realities.

Today, a lot of success comes in not only what you know but also whom you know. It is vitally important for both employees and entrepreneurs to network. If you happen to be an introvert, this can be a challenge. A good technique is setting a goal to invite one or two people a week for coffee. If you have the personality and are more adventurous, attending networking meetings is a better way to go since you can meet many more people and use your time more effectively.

Your overall goal is to make as many meaningful human connections as possible. In a startup business, these individuals can become your customers or lead you to new clients if you have the solution to a need. Otherwise, in the job market, by networking, you are helping to position yourself outside of the resume stream that will first get vetted by a computer and then a specialist. It allows you the opportunity to potentially get your resume in the hands of the decision-making hiring manager.

Focus groups, networking meetings, coffees, employment and business conventions– anywhere you can show your true colors in person are all effective strategies. Don’t rely on only one strategy. Use a variety of them and see what works best for you.

If you are middle-aged, you may have experience and a bias that you may not realize. It happens generation after generation. You have older employees or entrepreneurs who have to work for, or with, much younger people. It doesn’t matter. Even if they don’t have the experience you do, you probably do have something to learn from them. Be open and willing to work with a younger person, including a boss.

Don’t allow the assumption be true that the older you become, the less inclined you are to be up to speed on the latest technology. Consistently brush up on technology, computer skills, social media and news so you can compete and operate in today’s world.

Try to lead a healthy lifestyle. It might not seem important, but it is crucial to success. You need to be at the top of your game, and this means mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You want to have vitality and energy–no matter your age.

Unfortunately, life can be hard and especially in an environment with constant change. Employers want success. Customers want the same things. The reality is no one cares in business about your issues, complaints or baggage. All they care about is high performance. Remembering this will only help you.

Be willing to go the extra effort, as this will differentiate you from your competitors. Although middle-age is an advantage, it can sometimes be viewed as a disadvantage, so just accept this as a fact of life, don’t work against it. Instead, go with the change and use it to your advantage.

Finally, realize this, any one–no matter the age–in order to survive and thrive needs to be smart and work hard. Utilize all of your skills and leverage and extend your network to its fullest. Always be willing to learn. In today’s world, everything changes constantly. As someone once said, “Life is a contact sport”.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: April 10, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Real Importance of Loved Ones

Family Word Cloud

Most of us, no matter who we are, get up in the morning and start a certain routine every day. Dress, get ready and go to work. Whether working for someone or being self employed, meeting people, working from home, we all have our goals and strive to accomplish them by doing certain things each day that brings us closer to our plans.

But why do we do all this? If it weren’t for someone or others in our life, what is the point of working so hard? Is it to impress us or others? For some, no matter how much wealth/assets they have, it is never enough. They want more. They love the adrenaline of the next “deal”.

Most people work by rote since they believe this is the thing to do. When we reach success why keep on going? Yes, it may make us feel good about ourselves that we have reached somewhere but is that all it is? After we conquered the mountain, are we ready for the next peak?

Most of us do it for our little group of people that we call loved ones, family, significant others. What is the point of striving to make it, sacrificing life for work if not in order to enjoy the proceeds with your loved ones?

We all heard the expression, “You can’t take your assets or possessions with you”, very true indeed. Why then not enjoy your good fortune, aside of family of course, and bring some good to some people you don’t know? There are so many needs around us. Unfortunately due to life’s demands, many of us live lives on autopilot. We are all so busy running around all day long, but are we productive?

Try to schedule time for work, but schedule some time breaks in between.

Decompress even for a few minutes.

Be mindful of your day-to-day actions. Live in the present, not in the past, because the past is gone. The future is not yet here and following that route might make you totally miss how you live now!

Try to enjoy life with your loved ones. Schedule time away, even for a couple of days, just to reconnect. It is great to be part of a family, but family requires work. A happy family requires members to be sensitive to each other’s needs. It requires a team approach and above all requires that you show you care while not taking anything for granted.

You can even extrapolate “Happy at home…Happy outside”.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 11, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Time to Waste

Sun Rises From Haleakala

Living life today with the goal of making it is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes challenges or goals require so much effort on your part, and and sometimes it is almost easier to quit. But, when you reach those points that is exactly when you cannot quit and you have to go on if you want to climb your mountain. You have seen people who cannot see and somehow, after mustering all their reserve, climb Mt. Everest. The other day I read about a person who had no legs – just the prosthetics – and he did the same thing. How do they do it?

First, it requires an incredible desire to make it. Second, it requires an incredible discipline to stay the course and stick to the plan that has been thought out and set. No deviations, aside of something coming up unexpectedly, which always happens, and then you deal head on, re-adjust the route and come back to the plan.

But before you decide what route to take, what plan to follow or where to go, you need to decide what’s important to you. Whether young or old, whether you go at it later in life because of X or lost time because of Y, or you have not lost any time because you’re starting out fresh, it is your time to take on the day and seize the moment, even if you do not know where to begin.

First realize that the rules of have changed. In order to reach a goal, it requires even more work than you may be used to experiencing. Provided you realize what your natural talents are and also perhaps by receiving some feedback from friends, you can embark on a goal where you feel you have an edge.

For example, if you are looking for a career, realize that not everybody is cut out to become a scientist or an engineer. But, you can follow your heart (and your brain) and do what you want to do.

Be willing though to take calculated risks.

And, always be ready – every day – to give it your best and more than your all.

In every goal in life and everything you do, you are competing with so many others. At times people who are more qualified than you. Does it mean you pack it up, get depressed and climb under a rock? On the contrary, other factors can come into play that can give you an edge over a seemingly better candidate on paper; factors such as your drive, motivation, determination.

Can you take a different approach than everyone else? Can you handle a little more calculated risk? What happens when you take a more direct approach? What does your network look like? Non-existent? Do you know any people? Can you change into an extrovert if you are not?

In business these days, you need to build a network of people you know outside just your friends and relatives. People who you can reach out and talk to when you want, people who will offer to connect you with others because they believe in you and that for many reasons will promote your efforts.

But you need to be able to reciprocate. The old approach of knocking on doors does not work very well these days. Although many people still use it if they have no connections, it is not the most efficient way and will usually take so much longer than working through your established network, your acquaintances and through the people you met during the course of your life.

And, it takes work to maintain those relationships. You don’t just meet someone, then do nothing with them for a number of years and then when the need arises, you reach out to them. No, it doesn’t happen this way. You have to build and nurture that connection. It requires a lot of effort on your part, but it is an absolute necessity to achieve your goals.

Life can be very hard, and to make your mark in this world, you’ve got to be willing to give it your best and then some. There will be tough and bad times, which you might have already experienced, where things might not come your way for some time. But, you need to continue to fight – no matter what – even when someone promises you that “you’ve got this in the bag” and then you never hear back. Even when you thought you hit your goal, only to be left standing wondering what happened.

Do not ever despair. Don’t let other people’s comments or life’s unpredictable moments define you and your future. Learn from your mistakes and failures. And then, continue to dream and follow the dream no matter how hard it looks, because eventually it’s going to be fine. Devise and stick to your plan, making course corrections as necessary. Have the stamina and tenacity to make it happen. Don’t let anyone get the best of you.

And, most importantly, always be grateful of what you have, because even in the darkest hours, you still have a lot, whether it be your next breath or the gift of a sunset on a particularly difficult day. Stay to the task and know that no matter how the “weather” is out there, you will eventually reach your goal – or something better.

May your dreams become reality.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: June 10, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.