A Lifestyle Design Decision

The decision to change your lifestyle and/or career does not come easy. Lifestyle change can be difficult because it is often preceded by a drastic event which forces you to decide to make a significant change in our life. Maybe you have been making great money but a stress induced heart attack at the age of 38 makes you reevaluate what is important in your life and start thinking about how you would go about creating an ideal lifestyle for yourself. Maybe a company’s downsizing in this tough economy has left you jobless and in the job market with hundreds of thousands of other qualified professionals. Maybe your job just isn’t offering you the satisfaction that you had hoped for and you feel like your life and your job has become a series of repetitive, automated, mechanical movements that you perform without even thinking about it, kind of like when you drive somewhere and forget exactly how you got there.

On the other hand, the same hardship or self analysis which leads you to acknowledge that you are not satisfied with the life you are living and that there has to be a better way to live your life can be the fuel that you need to start taking proactive steps to designing your ideal lifestyle. How much fuel these things generate will determine how easy your journey will be. People who decide to take proactive measures to design their lifestyle are people who say enough with the day to day monotony and procrastination. First, you have to identify what is important in your life before you can start to design your ideal lifestyle. And that question can be most easily answered by asking yourself the following question: If you had all the money you needed and never had to work another day in your life, what would you do? Life passes people by and the young adults we are today become old adults full of regret of all things in life that they have not done.

The decision to design your lifestyle should be a conscious exercise of self reflection, goal setting, and implementation of defined strategies to achieve your lifestyle transformation, things that most people never really take the time to do as the daily grind and routine and lack of time are the primary reasons why this is not done. People get set in their ways and in a comfort zone (albeit uncomfortable) and do not want to make the effort to change, or are too scared to change. Anthony Robbins suggests that there are two primary motivations which drive people to make the decisions they make; they are to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. Most people end up continuing living the life they are living because they associate more pain (effort) with the process change would require then with the pleasure they would gain having completed the lifestyle change.

My brother, upon celebrating his 40th birthday, said something if not accurate, at least thought provoking. He said that mid life was actually somewhere in your 20′s. The first 21 years of your life go buy very slowly. Summer vacations as a kid seem like a year. Getting to your 16th birthday so you can get your driver’s license seems like an eternity. Finally being allowed to drink legally is a huge achievement that required much patience on your part. And then, suddenly, you are 30 and 40 starts heading your was at the pace of an Olympic Nigerian marathon runner. Soon, you start saying “has it already been 15 years since my high school graduation?”, or my favorite “she’s a freshmen and was born in WHAT year?” Sometimes, movies can be one of the best sources of inspiration when it comes to changing your career and designing your ideal lifestyle. One of these movies is Fight Club. If it’s been a while since you last saw that movie or if you have never seen it, here are a few quotes that I think are very appropriate on this subject of lifestyle design:

“You wake up at Seattle, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?”

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” “Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died?”… “You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?” “The things that you own, own you.” Currently, I have been debating whether to take a certification program from Villanova University on Six Sigma or Project Management. I am going with project management because of the various business and projects that I am involved in, but from what I understood of what Six Sigma is, it’s about trimming the fat and waste from a company’s operations to make it more profitable and healthier. So, what fat and waste can you trim from your life? As cheesy as it sounds, today is the first day of the rest of your life (isn’t that from AA?). There is no time like the present to start taking proactive steps to career optimization and lifestyle design. STOP putting things off and take action today.

Oak Furniture – A Durable and Affordable Choice For Home Furniture

Most of us change the style of our home from time to time, but if you choose to keep furniture for years and generations to come, you may consider searching for the right oak furniture that fits the style of your home. It is also possible to get access to a more durable option and at the same time get it for an affordable price.

Now, if you opt to purchase furniture as a form of investment for a long period of time, then this is one of the best options you may look into when it comes to furniture. Oak wood shows very much authenticity when it comes to styling the house with an ambiance that is closer to nature, and this is what people loves more about oak.

Furniture made form oak brings light to the whole room. It is more of an art piece rather than a craft. You can place this type of wooden furniture almost anywhere in the house. This is because oak furniture ranges from bedroom frames, dining and breakfast sets, wardrobes, computer desks, chairs, and even lamp tables. These furniture can either fit the corners of the room or may serve as the centerpiece that you and the people around the house will surely love.

Surely you want the home where you live in to be a place that you can admire and feel more comfortable as you come home from work. If this is the case, then it will be a best choice for you to purchase oak furniture for your home rather than go for other types of furniture that is not such a perfect match to the surroundings of your home.

Aside from style and various furniture designs, oak wood is definitely known for its durability, and this is the reason why more and more people opt to get this wooden furniture rather than spend their money on those which they have to replace from time to time. Oak wood is known to withstand wear and tear. The wood doesn’t even decay that easily and it is resistant to any kind of stains and even in the change of weather. So if you opt for a cheaper cost on maintenance, this is definitely an excellent choice in furniture.

Internet and Travel Planning

Internet has made travel planning so easier these days, if not travelling. Planning for a travel couldn’t be so much easier and convenient as in case with help of Internet. A virtual tour to the prospective destination places can be decisive factor in choosing the right holiday destination. Even travel planning becomes so much easier and interesting with inclusion of internet.

Wide Reach of Internet in Tourism Industry

The reach of Internet in Travel and Tourism is like never before, and it’s increasing day by day. You can find several websites competing with each other for any of the popular tourist destinations around the world. Even, any respectable airlines, hotel and tour companies must have a website loaded with information and different packages. Then there are enormous blogs and personal websites owned and managed by tour enthusiasts fully loaded with their personal encounters to the places visited by them. These blogs and personal websites can be the best guide in planning for a vacation.

Need for Travel Agencies and Tour Planners

However, need for travel agencies and tour planners are always there. You need services of these experienced Online Travel Agents to handle your international travel needs. They become more important in case of planning a complex, multi-modal and multi location trips, especially when in groups. You can have added benefit of reduced fares or additional services with Airlines and Hotels after booking a package with their associate Travel Agents.

Benefits of Tour Planning with Online Travel Agents

Online travel agents offer best deal for you suited for every budget according to the occasion. They offer several seasonal packages for popular occasions like New Year, Christmas, summer holidays or winter vacations. Most of them also offer exclusively planned wedding tour packages for newlywed couples. When you are planning your honeymoon trip, it’s impossible to ignore several attractive packages offered by top travel agents. Because none other than these experienced travel agents can suggest you better places to go for a lonely and much private place for vacation full of romance, love and ecstasy.

The trend of online travel planning is being popular evenly in all parts of Globe. The best example is United States, where half of the travel planning (both inbound and outbound) and bookings are done online via various travel planning websites. Even in developing countries like India online travel portals are doing good business and competing with international online travel Giants.

7 Things to Consider When Engaging Small Business Consultants

Many small businesses are experts in their field and know their own business inside and out. However lots of small business owners lack the time or expertise required to implement certain projects. That’s where a small business consultant can step in and help.

In order to achieve a successful project it’s important to be clear about what you want your consultant to be able to do for you. Just as important is selecting a consultant with the right skills for the job, but how do you make sure you don’t get off on the wrong foot?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you looking for a research/diagnostic approach or do you need help with implementation?

Firstly are you looking for someone to take a diagnostic approach to a business problem you are facing? For instance, which market segment should you enter? Or what product line should you sell? Or is your business need about implementation? For instance, you’ve identified that you need to be on Social Media and need a marketing consultant with the expertise to make this happen.

The two needs are different and some consultants are better in one area than the other. To find out whether your prospective consultant prefers to work on implementation projects or research projects ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific examples of projects they have worked on and how they have tackled projects similar to yours in the past.

2. Ask prospective consultants how their clients are better off after they leave.

What sort of outcomes were they able to achieve for their clients? Look out for wishy-washy answers. Look for specific examples and outcomes. Does this fit with the sorts of outcomes that you would like for your business? Where they able to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, reduce staff turnover by a certain amount or generate more business for the client?

Picking the wrong person for the job might end up feeling like you are pushing water up a hill with a rake. Not only will the results be less than optimal but it may end up being a costly and stressful experience also.

3. Be careful of wanting champagne on a beer budget.

Do you want fast, cheap or talented? You must pick two out of the three. There is a triangle trade off here. You can get premium talent, faster results or a cheaper cost but Taylor Swift won’t teach your team how to sing tomorrow for free if you see what I mean.

Often a small business owner will set a budget and then begin the search for the best talent and/or fastest result within that budget. From my experience a budget-driven approach can often compromise results. Your best approach is to establish your desired outcome, then judge each potential candidate by how likely they are to be able to achieve that outcome.

4. Look for a solid “About Us” page.

Ask consultants about their qualifications and their approach. With so many so-called ‘experts’ out there it’s really important to identify who is qualified and able to do the job for you. Ask prospective consultants questions about their skills and experience to determine whether they are fit for the job. Are they methodical in their approach? Do have a history of achieving quality results for clients? This will help you to avoid being mislead by organisations with few processes, a glossy website and no real qualifications or experience.

5. Ask yourself whether you think you will be comfortable working with the consultant.

Do you think they are going to be the right fit for your business? Can you see yourself and your team working well with them? Sometimes it’s less about the exact industry experience they have had and more about their ability to get results.

6. Think about goals and outcomes first.

Don’t pick a technical specialist to do a job when you really need someone who can deliver a sales outcome. Think about your goal first, what are you trying to achieve? For instance, if it’s conversions and leads from your website then perhaps what you really need is a marketing consultant to advise on the layout of the website rather than just a technical person to do the build. A technical person can definitely build the website for you, it will function beautifully, but will it achieve your goal of converting traffic to sales?

7. Be wary of small business consultants who are all things to all people.

A good consultant will be honest about what their speciality is and will not simply be a ‘yes’ man or woman. They will push back on projects, ideas and suggestions that they don’t think are right for your business or are beyond their area of expertise. Look for a consultant with backbone not someone who lets you steer the project without alerting you to the danger that lies ahead because they are too afraid to question your judgement or afraid they will upset you. I’d rather have an expert question me and make suggestions than sit back and watch me sink the ship!

So whether it is a marketing consultant or a small business consultant you are looking for, many of the same rules apply. Identify what you need and look at it from an outcomes perspective, work out who has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and whether or not you are comfortable working with them. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in working with you and passionate about what they do.