Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World

by HENRIK EDBERG

 

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.

So let’s just move on to some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.

1. Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

2. You are in control.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you. There may be a “normal” or a common way to react to different things. But that’s mostly just all it is.

You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions to pretty much everything. You don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way. Perhaps not every time or instantly. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction just goes off. Or an old thought habit kicks in.

And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.

3. Forgive and let it go.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.

You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.

If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.

4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.

And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.

So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.

You can check out a few effective tips to overcome this problem in How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips. Or you can move on to the next point for more on the best tip for taking more action that I have found so far.

5. Take care of this moment.

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.

Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.

Have a look at 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment for tips on how quickly step into the now. And remember that reconnecting with and staying in the now is a mental habit – a sort of muscle – that you grow. Over time it becomes more powerful and makes it easier to slip into the present moment.

6. Everyone is human.

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.

And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.

It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.

7. Persist.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.

Find what you really like to do. Then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going, going and going. You can also find a lot of useful tips on how keep your motivation up in How to Get Out of a Motivational Slump and 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.

One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.

Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days. You can read more about this in One Big Mistake a Whole Lot of People Make.

Finally, one useful tip to keep your persistence going is to listen to Gandhi’s third quote in this article and keep a sense of humor. It can lighten things up at the toughest of times.

8. See the good in people and help them.

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.

And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.

By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger. A few articles that may provide you with useful advice in that department are Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation? and Dale Carnegie’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Social Skills. Or you can just move on to the next tip.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerfuland good about yourself.

When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.

With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.

Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.

10. Continue to grow and evolve.

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.

Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be. To choose to grow and evolve is a happier and more useful path to take.

The 7 Habits of Happy Relationships

by HENRIK EDBERG

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
Dalai Lama

Happiness in life can come from many things.

From how meaningful you find your work to be. From a hobby you can get lost in for hours. Or from just being with the natural world around you and appreciating the warming spring rays of sun.

A big part of the happiness also comes from the relationships in our lives. And from how we cultivate them and let them grow.

So today I would like to share 7 of my favorite habits that have helped me to grow happier relationships of any kind.

 

1. Treat other people as you would like to be treated.

The most basic guideline of relationships is that how you treat someone is how that person is likely to treat you too in the long run.

If you are kind and helpful they will tend to be kind and helpful to you. If you never really listen or are judgmental then you are likely to get that in return.

There will of course be exceptions. Some people will not reciprocate and treat you well even if you treat them well. And you may not get back what you give right away.

But in the long run and in most cases things tend to even out.

Just don’t make the mistake of waiting for everyone else to make a change or to take the first step. Instead, be proactive. Be the one to take the first few steps to build the relationships you want to live in and to start giving what you want to get.

2. Truly listen.

Everyone wants to feel like they are being understood.

So when you listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk. And don’t keep your mind half-occupied with some other issue or plans for tonight.

When you listen, truly be there. With your full attention.

Two things that have helped me to become a better listener are:

  • Fully focus outward. Focus on just what is happening in front of you with your senses. Listen carefully to the other person’s voice and the tone of it, the emotions expressed in the eyes and in how he or she uses his or her body. You may still miss things but forgetting about yourself and your troubles or ideas for a while is good starting point to be really engaged and receptive to what the other person is trying to get across.
  • Tell yourself you will tell someone else about this conversation later on. Then you’ll be more alert and what is said in the conversation simply seems to stick better in my experience. Plus, curiosity and trying to truly understand by asking follow-up questions tends to come naturally.

3. Be assertive.

Being assertive, being able to ask for what you want and to say no to what you do not want in your life will not only boost your own self-esteem. It also tends to make other people respect you more and it helps you to form healthier and happier relationships.

So how can you become more assertive?

  • Improve your self-esteem. When you improve your self-esteem then a wonderful thing happens. You start to feel more deserving of good or great things in your life. And so you will start to ask for them because you believe it is natural for you to deserve them (other people may of course say no to some of those things and that is their right). And you’ll start staying no to things or behavior both from yourself and others that you do not think you deserve anymore.
  • Focus on communicating clearly. Ask for what you want or for what is on the other person’s mind. Use your words. Don’t try to mindread someone else. And don’t expect other people to be able to do such a thing to you either. It is not their responsibility to know what you need in some magical way. It is your responsibility to communicate what you want or need. Just like it is for any other person.
  • Start small. If it feels scary to ask for something big or to say no to something very important then start smaller. Say no or ask for something very small. Then work yourself up towards bigger and bigger things.

4. Remember to give the small gifts of kindness.

It is easy to forget about the small gifts of kindness in the stressed and busy everyday life.

But such a small gift can mean so much. It does matter.

  • Just take a minute or 30 seconds to express your genuine appreciation or gratitude for something that someone in your life does well. You’ll brighten his or her day or week.
  • Leave a small and sweet note for your partner or child in a boot, hat, tea-container, underneath the pillow or in a book he or she is reading. It is a very simple and small thing but it in my experience it always brings a big smile to the recipient’s face.

And remember that sometimes a simple and genuine thank you can have a bigger impact than you may realize.

5. Mix things up.

Taking each other for granted or winding up in a repetitive rut can in many relationships lead to boredom or to things not feeling as exciting as they used to. Just relaxing and doing the same old things you always do don’t take much effort. But it can erode the relationship.

So make sure to mix things up. And to try new things once in a while. Do not just go outside of your comfort zone in your own time. Do it when you spend time with a partner or a friend too.

For example:

  • Try a new sport, hobby or restaurant.
  • Go to an event that sounds intriguing and like something new.
  • Go away for a weekend to some place you wouldn’t expect the two of you to go.

6. Have human standards.

I often mention that one of the best ways to stop being a perfectionist and to be happier is to set human standards yourself. Instead of inhuman standards that no-one can live up to really.

This is a good tip for finding more happiness with other people too.

Having perfect standards for your partner, friend or co-worker can lead to a lot of conflicts that could have been prevented. It can even over time lead to the end of a relationship.

People will stumble and make mistakes. They will not always have a good day or perform at their absolute best. They will have flaws.

Sure, some things may need to change in the other person for you to keep being in the relationship. And some missteps could of course lead to the end of the two of you.

But many things that are smaller than that and that can cause irritation or arguments pretty much every week can be greatly reduced with everyone in your life simply by having human standards both for yourself and for others.

And over time, it can make a big difference in how relaxed, open and happy a relationship can be.

7. Focus on solutions, instead of arguing on and on.

Getting stuck in thinking too much about whys and what ifs can be quite destructive. Such thoughts going around in circles rarely leads to much except making issues bigger and scarier than they actually are and to feeling paralyzed or unnecessarily angry or irritated.

So be assertive instead. If there is an issue then communicate what the two of you are thinking instead of assuming or trying to mindread each other.

Find understanding by truly listening to what you hear and by trying to see things from the other person’s viewpoint by asking yourself:

How would I see this situation we are in if I were in his or her shoes?

Then focus on solutions together. Yes, one of you – or the both of you – may have made a mistake but it has already been done and you don’t have a time-machine. So don’t focus on replaying it in your mind over and over or on arguing about it for too long.

Try to move on to focusing on finding and taking action on a solution together. Instead of getting stuck in inaction on separate flanks.

Ask yourselves:

  • How can we solve this?
  • What is one small and practical step we can take today to move forward with this solution?

Focus on what WE can do. Instead of focusing all your energy and thoughts on ME vs YOU and turning a beginning conflict into a fight that benefits no-one really.

It will help both you and the other person and your relationship.

Simple Self-Love: The Top 10 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself Starting Today

by HENRIK EDBERG

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Maria Robinson

Being kind to yourself in everyday life is in in my experience one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Life will become lighter and your relationships will most likely improve.

You will feel happier overall. And your self-esteem and your sense of deserving good things in life will go up. It’s one of my absolute favorite topics and one that I have created a whole program around in The Self-Esteem Course.

But it also one thing that is often neglected or something some may feel guilty about doing.

To make a positive change with that simply start a new habit today. One of kindness and love towards yourself. You can find 10 of my favorites among such habits in this article.

 

1. Invest in yourself.

Spend 15-30 minutes in the morning or evening with reading, listening to or watching material that uplifts you, that helps you to understand yourself and the world or that helps you to live a better life.

Then, if possible, take one small action on what you have learned.

2. Find the truth and exception when an inner critic or outer critic attacks.

Your own inner critic may not always say nice things about you. People around you may attack you or try to bring you down to serve one of their own needs.

If you or someone else does this, ask yourself this question:

What is the exception to this though?

This is very effective to change your train of thoughts, to find the truth and to not get down on yourself.

For example, if you or someone says that you are not doing a good job in school then you can ask the question and find answers that tell you that isn’t really true. If you question the attack and look for the exception you may for instance see that you are actually doing a good job in most of your courses, but may be a bit unfocused and lazy in math and geography.

That is a more nuanced truth that helps you rather than just brings you down.

3. Unstress tonight.

Take a long bath and read something to escape. Or work out. Or talk to someone about something that is on your mind and let it all out.

Set aside 30 minutes or more and be kind to your body and mind by letting the tensions and stress out.

4. Take just 2 minutes in the morning or evening to appreciate yourself.

Create a kinder and more balanced self-image by making it a quick and daily habit to appreciate yourself.

Here’s what you do:

Sit down with a journal on your smart phone, computer or in paper form. Ask yourself:

What are 3 things I can appreciate about myself?

It could be that you are a good listener or are doing well with your hobby right now. Or that you have a love for animals, people or music.

It doesn’t have to be big things either. Maybe just that you flossed or brushed your teeth this morning. The important thing is to appreciate yourself both for the little things and the things you may take for granted and not just for reaching a big milestone once in while.

5. Mediocre day? Take one small step forward towards something positive.

If your day feels mediocre or just sort of depressing then take one small step towards something positive to breathe new hope and optimism into your day and week.

  • Book or research a trip you want to take.
  • Setup a dinner or a cup of coffee with a good friend.
  • Look into how you can grow in your career to get new and exciting stuff to do.
  • Try a new hobby.

6. Be kinder towards others.

The way you think about and treat others is often the way you think about and treat yourself. So choose to be kinder towards others to, over time, become kinder and more understanding towards yourself too.

For example:

  • Let someone into your lane while driving.
  • Encourage a friend or a family member when they are uncertain or unmotivated.
  • Just be there and listen as you let someone vent.

7. If you stumble, be your own best friend.

Don’t beat yourself up, that will erode your self-esteem. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself instead.

Ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?

And then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.

And remember to ask yourself what you can learn from your stumble and if there is an opportunity in this situation. Then take that new knowledge you gain and move forward once again.

8. Take a laugh-break.

Take 5-10 minutes in the middle of your day or if that is not possible then use your morning or evening. Use your smart phone, portable media player, computer or TV and watch a funny clip or a half an episode of a sitcom, read a funny book or comic or listen to a podcast you know makes you laugh.

I have been using this one for over a decade, even before I got seriously interested in personal development. I find it to be one of the most effective things I can do to recharge my energy and optimism and to release inner tensions.

9. Remember, the future is still in your hands. And it is never too late to change. 

Don’t get stuck in thought loops that just go round and round about what you could have done or what went wrong.

Think about what you really want in the rest of your life instead.

  • Better health?
  • A great relationship?
  • New challenges in your career?

Now, what are a few small steps you can take towards that goal?

Take one of those steps today. Then another tomorrow.

10. Simply remind yourself of why is smart to be kind to yourself.

By knowing the reasons why it is smart to be kinder to yourself it, in my experience, becomes easier and easier to be kind to yourself and to take the time for it every day.

By reminding yourself of benefits such as better real life results, more perseverance, higher self-esteem, more inner happiness and stillness, more positive relationships with yourself and other people it becomes easier to stay kind to yourself through life’s natural ups and downs.

How to Brighten Your Morning (and Whole Day): 7 Powerful Habits

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

The alarm bell goes off. You slowly open your eyes. A new day lies before you.

A day of unexplored potential and opportunities. How can you make it more likely to become a positive and good day?

Today I’d like to simply share 7 habits that I have used to make my mornings and whole days better.

 

1. Have a reminder on your bedside table.

How will you start your very first moments and minutes of the day?

One good way to get off to a good start is to have a note, a reminder on your bedside table that will be one of the first things you see after you have woken up.

A couple of suggestions for what to write down on your note:

  • A low bar for happiness. Write down: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”. Read it and try to keep it in mind during the day. This one helps me to appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the people and the small events of the day becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small things or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.
  • Your top 3 priorities in life right now. To keep your attention in the right place it is essential to remind yourself every day of what is truly most important. So what is most important for you this year? A project at work? Your family? Improving your social life? Your blog, photography, soccer or debt? Think about it and reduce what is important in your life to the top 3 most important priorities.

2. Give one genuine compliment.

Giving one genuine compliment to your partner, a family member, friend or co-worker during your morning can not only lift his or her day but also make yours a little brighter and happier.

So tap into what you can appreciate about a person in your life. Then tell him or her that.

If you can, make it something that may be a bit unexpected and something that person hasn’t heard a hundred times before. For example, a compliment about her great taste in music or his wonderful way with animals may be more appreciated and powerful than a compliment about looks and other more superficial stuff.

3. Positive information intake over breakfast.

Instead of watching the news or reading the papers and getting a negative and perhaps depressing start to your day do something that will inspire you.

  • Read one or a couple of new posts from positive, funny and uplifting blogs or websites.
  • Read a chapter from a book that inspires you.
  • Or simply have a fun and warm conversation with the people around your kitchen table.

4. Start your workday with your most important task of the day.

If you do then the rest of the day will feel lighter and easier. You will feel better about yourself and more confident as you move on to other tasks.

If you have trouble getting started with the most important task then just make a deal with yourself to work on it for 3 minutes. Then you can stop if you like. But you may not want to once you have gotten started. That seems to be the case for me most of the time.

Getting started is most often the hardest part. So make that part easier for yourself.

5. Go slow.

When I go a bit slower it becomes easier to fully focus, to keep the stress down and I most often do a better job with something the first time around.

I work with more clarity and I do not get stuck in doing busy work very often.

It may feel like I’m not getting enough done but at the end of the day I usually get more quality work done than if I tried to maintain a high speed through the day. Partly because the lower stress levels keeps my mind fresh and energy up even through the last few afternoon hours of the workday.

Try going a bit slower. See how it works for you.

6. Work out.

Often mentioned and for a good reason. It has many positive benefits.

I workout every other day and by doing so I boost my energy and hormone levels. Inner doubts and tensions lessen, I feel more decisive and my mind becomes more optimistic. And all of that makes the rest of the day lighter.

I highly recommend doing some kind of exercise in the morning. If you can’t go to a gym or work out from home early in the day then maybe you can walk or bicycle to work or school.

7. Do the right thing in some small or big way.

This one boosts your self-esteem. It puts a spring in your step and it at least makes me feel happier.

So do what you deep down think is the right thing.

A few examples that may resonate with you:

  • Perform a random act of kindness. Hold up the door or point out the way for someone who seems lost.
  • Help someone out practically or just by listening.
  • Get started with putting a dent in the most important challenge in your life.

Build upon just a small step, a small thing if you like. Start building an upward spiral of positivity and good feelings within. And then take further steps upward.

Towards what you know you really want and you know are the right things for you in your life.

by HENRIK EDBERG

Work an Extra Hour on Weekends to Become Your Personal Best

by Marc Courtenay in Articles

Do you want to make a mighty, personal breakthrough in the year ahead? Are you willing to invest a little extra time for the opportunity to be your personal best?

My colleague Craig Ballantyne who publishes Early to Rise recently knocked the ball out of the park with an article that targets one of the answers to the two questions posed above.

“An hour of effective, precise, hard, disciplined – and integrated thinking can be worth a month of hard work. Thinking is the very essence of, and the most difficult thing to do in business and in life. Empire builders spend hour-after-hour on mental work…while others party.

If you’re not consciously aware of putting forth the effort to exert self-guided integrated thinking…if you don’t act beyond your feelings and instead take the path of least resistance, then you give in to laziness, make bad decisions and no longer control your life.” –

Like many of us, Craig used his weekends as “down time”. We all need a break, more rest, some recreation, but we can all afford two hours of “get ahead time” either Saturday or Sunday morning.

Craig’s career and personal life changed when he awoke to that reality. “The biggest breakthrough came when I recognized the power of working on Saturday mornings.

This is not advice you want to hear, I know. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear back then, either. It is politically incorrect (heaven forbid an evil wealth creator like me should tell you to sacrifice any of your sacred weekend time), but it is also the best advice I can give you.

If you’re not working on Saturday mornings, you are missing out on what is probably your most creative time of the week.”

The brilliance of this suggestion is summarized in Craig’s comment below. As I learned in my life, it takes just a little bit of extraordinary effort to bring big, major, satisfying results.

“Early Saturday morning, as your competitors and colleagues sleep off a tough week and a late night, there are no interruptions. No phone calls to take, no urgent emails to deal with, no commuting nightmares.

It’s just you and your thoughts…This is bonus Magic Time. This is your chance to get a full day of quality work done in just a couple of hours.”

Realize that just two hours of extra effort on weekends adds up to over 100 hours per year. But in reality it’s a lot more than that.

It adds up to “… more like 300-400 hours of work (10 full weeks!), because those two hours will be focused, more creative, and more productive than 90% of the hours you spend at work.”

The opportunity for outstanding progress is there for the taking, if you’re willing to make it happen. You have to be determined. You must feel convinced it is worth doing.

Those two weekend hours can be your most creative time of your week. You’ll be able to come up with better ideas for effective property management as well as epiphanies about how to be more successful.

“ The most important lesson is this: If you set aside two hours this [weekend] to work on a big project in your life, you will get more quality work done than if you tried to do the same work at any other time during the week.”

That’s Craig’s bottom line which I leave you as a challenge. Give it a try for 10 weeks in a row. If you don’t benefit from it greatly then give yourself permission to spend those two hours doing something else.

My sense is that those two weekend hours will be amazingly productive. It will open up time for your creative imagination for build better ways to become an outstanding property manager.

5 Tips for a Successful Family Business | Buildium

Posted February 24, 2015 by Lindsey Greene in Tips & Advice

A long time ago, in a land not so far away, I decided to work for a property management company. It wasn’t just any property management business, though, but the family business, which my mother had run for more than 40 years.

My first emotion when I started was relief. After all, working for my family had to be easier than working for strangers, right? Plus, I already had credentials and experience: I had earned my real estate license and leased and managed units for people who didn’t share my DNA.

Little did I realize that a different set of rules apply when joining the family business, especially in property management. I realized quickly I had to come up with some guidelines to make sure that everything remained 100% professional – and that I wasn’t dropped like a rotten apple from the family tree.

Below are five tips to help you run a successful property management business with your family.

#1: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all family members

Problems and disagreements are part of every business, and property management is no exception. It’s easy to blame your sister for forgetting to call the plumber about the leak in 4C. That said, you can avoid many arguments if everyone has a schedule and a list of tasks to complete each week.

The less that’s undocumented and left up in the air, the less you’ll have to bicker about. And for the record, I’m referring to an actual incident. And, yes, I was the one who forgot to call about the leak. Oops!

#2: Listen when experienced family members share their knowledge

A main benefit of working for a family-run business is that you’re joining a business your relatives have studied and (hopefully) improved years before your arrival on the scene. It’s a huge advantage because in property management there are so many rules to know, abide, and live by.

Let your relatives teach you the business, which, at this point, is in their bones. Harness that invaluable knowledge and use it for years to come.

#3: Don’t take family business problems home with you

Nothing was worse than the year I lived at home and worked for my mother. The usual “discussions” we brought home were tough ones, everything from bad applicants and late rent to incorrectly parked cars and broken washing machines.

Looking back, things would’ve gotten off to a smoother start had I separated my work life from my home life. Yes, property management is a 24-hour-a-day business, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to mix both worlds. Part of working in a family business is understanding that difference between these two worlds, drawing a clear line between the two, and making sure not to cross that line.

#4: Don’t play family members against each other — even if you battled as children

During the time when all three women in my immediate family worked together, we had to learn how to stand by ourselves as individuals at the office. If I got angry at my sister for not showing up on time for a repair person, I couldn’t just complain to my mother. I learned to treat my family members as I would other colleagues, and that meant not running to Mom about another employee, whether a relative or not.

#5: Be open that you’re one of the family

One of the hardest aspects of working for a family run business are claims of favoritism from other employees and tenants. From day one, make it known that you’re part of the family, and people will know you have nothing to hide.

For example, a leasing agent is less likely to claim your uncle gave you a lead because of your relationship if you’re honest and professional about your family ties. Being professional means treating non-relative colleagues and family colleagues equally.

The best advice I can give is this: be open to the experience as a whole. Property management is a hard but rewarding field. The work is always challenging, and most of it involves dealing with people.

But if you make sure to strike the right balance between the worlds of family and business, you may be on your way to enjoying an amazing and lengthy career doing something you love — with the people you care about most.

OK, now you’ve heard about my experiences working side-by-side with my family. What tips do you have for joining or starting a family property management business?