To Lead is To Be Confident

I’ve often heard the term “born leader” or “natural leader” and those terms make most think of leadership as a god given talent. I, on the other hand, think it is a mind set. To be a good leader, or perceived as a good leader, confidence is crucial.

To be a good leader, one does not have to be out spoken or aggressive. I’ve met many people I consider leaders that are soft spoken and passive, but their actions and words reflect confidence in themselves.

Confidence in the way you speak and even walk, as well as your mannerisms is important in controlling how others perceive you. Leaders tend to keep their heads held up, their shoulders rolled back and they maintain eye contact. When you shake a person’s hand, shake it firmly. When you walk into a room, walk in thinking like you own it.

Silence can also be an important characteristic. Great leaders listen. Sometimes they pose questions or offer suggestions and allow others to fill in the blanks, gently nudging them in the right direction. People are smarter than you think. Often they don’t need to be directed, just given a soft kick in the rear end.

To me, a great leader isn’t someone who tells people what to do. A great leader is someone who can empower others to figure out problems for themselves, to improvise and adapt on their own. The rewards for everyone are much greater that way.

Tension Headaches – An Entrepreneur’s Worst Nightmare

(I used to feel like this dude ever day!)

For a long time, I was plagued with constant headaches. They weren’t as painful as migraines, but they occurred every day, all day. I tried everything to cure them. That included banging my head against the wall and popping tylenol capsules like tic-tacs. Unfortunately, nothing worked!

After speaking to a few friends who had the same headaches, stress levels and hectic schedule I did, I came to the realization that these headaches were simply a symptom of our busy lifestyles. Stress is the number one cause of these types of headaches. I finally found a cure, and it didn’t come in the form of a pill.

Put simply, I had to learn how to “chill.” Here is a few things I did to rid myself of this problem:

  1. Stop taking pills and start drinking more water. For all those people taking pain relievers and chasing them down with massive amounts of coffee (you know who you are!), stop! Tylenol doesn’t help and caffeine can actually spur on these types of headaches.
  2. Go Rag Doll at least 3 times a day. This works! At least 3 times a day, you need to find a quiet place, completely relax your body, take deep breathes and work on clearing your mind. Do this for no less than 5 minutes. When I say rag doll, I really mean it. After doing this enough, you’ll learn how to relax every muscle in your body, which can relieve headaches, stress and anxiety. When you become “stressed”, a process in your body referred to as a “cascade of cortisols” begins. This process basically puts your body into a flight or flee mode thereby creating anxiety. The rag doll exercise relieves this.
  3. Workout! Whether it be calisthenics in your living room or a brief jog down the street. Physical exercise is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle and it will help relieve that nasty tension causing those headaches.
  4. Make sure the A/C is working. A warm work environment doesn’t help and can actually be counter productive.
  5. Most importantly, take a step back. Whenever I got a headache, my first instinct was to power through it and continue working. Just ignore the pain. Right?? Wrong! Your productivity falls more than you think. These headaches are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Your body is saying “Hello?! Are you there? I need attention and if I don’t get it, I’m gonna kick your ass!” So try to lighten your workload and spend a little more time on you. Don’t worry, the work isn’t going anywhere! :)

These are the steps I took to decrease my anxiety and headaches, and I’m confident they can help you. These are things I learned from personal experience, not from google searches. There are no magic pills or quick cures.

I’d love to hear some of your remedies as well. Feel free to send them to me and I will post them for the rest of the readers!

Fight, Flee or Just Plain Panic!

Rome was not built in a day. Yea I know…so cliché, but so true. No matter what kind of business you plan on starting, the beginning is not going to go smooth. It never does and it never will.

Whether it is a restaurant or a dotcom, things just pop up and cause headaches. The only thing one needs to remember when this occurs is to stay calm and find solutions.

We unveiled our new menu tonight at my restaurant and it was chaos! It reminded me of our grand opening two years ago. Food was flying in all directions in the kitchen, customer wait times were exceeding 40 mins (yikes!), employees were getting into fights with each other and numerous other problems occurred. But as a seasoned entrepreneur, all I did was observe and learn.

Don’t try to fix all the problems at once. You’ll have a heart attack or your head will explode (seriously). Begin fixing problems or as I like to call them “inefficiencies” one at a time.

A clipboard and a calm demeanor can do wonders when observing your business (that not so well oiled machine) in action. I’ve noticed time and time again that many business owners get caught up in quickly “band-aiding” the problem instead of trying to understand why the problem occurred in the first place. That’s a total rookie move, and it took me 10 years to figure that out.

So when the sh%# hits the fan, just step aside, plug your nose and endure. If you keep a cool head and fix the cause of  the problems, everything will be just fine.


Social Media Marketing – No One Way Streets

There are no one way streets in a successful social marketing campaign. Remember that.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of businesses trying to harness the power of social media. They register their Twitter accounts, start fan pages on Facebook and maybe even create their very own blog. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. However, that’s only the beginning.

Many businesses think this is enough and simply start blasting away with ads and bulls%@$, as they did “back in the day” through more traditional channels. A TV commercial is a one way street, as are most radio ads or billboards. Marketing via social media is not.

All one has to do is look at the phrase “social media,” social being the keyword here. It’s all about interacting with your customers. Not by simply posting events, alerts and ads (dare I say spam) on social media sites, but by seeking out and responding to customer feedback. Empower the customer, give them a sense of belonging and they will love you.

If a user comments on your Facebook fan page, respond to it. If someone new begins following you on Twitter, acknowledge and thank them. It can be that simple.

For anyone that still can’t grasp the idea of social media marketing, here it is in a nutshell: Interaction with customers, or perhaps we should now call them fans or friends, on a two way street, where communication flows back and forth.

That’s it! Now go forth and start building a fan base.

-Mike Mulhall