Five Hundred Stories Stories of highly successful entrepreneurs and companies that you may have seen on Inc 500 list Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:06:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five Hundred Stories 32 32 25 Humility Quotes That Will Keep You Grounded Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:06:52 +0000 Stop and think for a moment about anyone you consider a great leader. What traits would you say define the character of those leaders? Most of us believe qualities like charisma, wisdom, strength, and intelligence are what make great leaders. In reality, humility is probably the greatest personality trait that great leaders possess. You will know more about […]

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man praying humility quotes

Stop and think for a moment about anyone you consider a great leader. What traits would you say define the character of those leaders? Most of us believe qualities like charisma, wisdom, strength, and intelligence are what make great leaders. In reality, humility is probably the greatest personality trait that great leaders possess. You will know more about humility in this 25 humility quotes that we have prepared for you.

Life is a big classroom set to teaching us many things, but few are more important than humility. Humility helps us accept responsibility for our choices and learn from our mistakes. Knowing you are not the most important person in the world may be hard to accept, but doing it makes you a better person. Great leaders understand they are only as good as those that follow them. Having problem overcoming obstacles? CLICK HERE to read more.

Here are the 25 humility quotes to help you get some perspective on what it means to be humble, or simply help you stay grounded.

Humility Quotes About Overcoming Yourself

Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

scale balance - humility quotes

To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have four legs instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”

 Steve Jobs

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Sarah Caldwell

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.

Humility Quotes On How To Be Successful

empathy - humility quotes

Norman Vincent Peale

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.

Augustine Of Hippo

Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.”

Anand Mahindra

If you aren't humble, whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute to life as you.”

Humility Quotes About Self-Mastery

success humility quotes

Rick Pitino

Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.”

Gina Barreca

“Recognizing your talents doesn't mean believing they're limitless. Accepting your strengths doesn't lead to pride, but instead to humility; you're less likely to resent what others have if you understand your own bounty.”

Naveen Jain

naveen jain humility quotes

I believe our legacy will be defined by the accomplishments and fearless nature by which our daughters and sons take on the global challenges we face. I also wonder if perhaps the most lasting expression of one's humility lies in our ability to foster and mentor our children.”

Tom Hiddleston

Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama; fathers and sons, martyred heroes, star-crossed lovers, the deaths of kings - stories that taught us of the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility.”

Humility Quotes On How To Lead People

leadership - humility quotes

Jim Rohn

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.

Robin Sharma

Risk is more than is required. Learn more than is normal. Be strong. Show courage. Breathe. Excel. Love. Lead. Speak your truth. Live your values. Laugh. Cry. Innovate. Simplify. Adore mastery. Release mediocrity. Aim for genius. Stay humble. Be kinder than expected. Deliver more than is needed. Exude passion. Shatter your limits. Transcend your fears. Inspire others by your bigness. Dream big but start small. Act now. Don't stop. Change the world.”

A. J. Green

I’ve been the same guy since day one. No matter how successful I am in life, I’m going to stay true to myself and stay humble and grounded. I feel like that’s where your success comes from. Once you get that big head, it’s over. You feel like you can’t be stopped. Staying humble is the only way you can be great.”

Carl Sagan

scientist - humility quotes

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?

Roy T. Bennett

It’s important that what thoughts you are feeding into your mind because your thoughts create your belief and experiences. You have positive thoughts and you have negative ones too. Nurture your mind with positive thoughts: kindness, empathy, compassion, peace, love, joy, humility, generosity, etc. The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.”

Lao Tzu

I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

The road must tread, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”

Humility Quotes About Achievements

believe in yourself quotes

Erich Fromm

The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.”

Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

Lloyd Alexander

You must know nothing before you can learn something, and be empty before you can be filled. Is not the emptiness of the bowl what makes it useful? As for laws, a parrot can repeat them word for word. Their spirit is something else again. As for governing, one must first be lowest before being highest.”

CLICK HERE to know How to Start a Conversation with Anyone and Feel Comfortable Doing It

Humility Quotes About Recognizing Our Weaknesses

reflection - humility quotes

Thomas Dubay

The humble person is open to being corrected, whereas the arrogant is clearly closed to it. Proud people are supremely confident in their own opinions and insights. No one can admonish them successfully: not a peer, not a local superior, not even the pope himself. They know - and that is the end of the matter. Filled as they are with their own views, the arrogant lack the capacity to see another view.”

Bob Rosen

"Self-reflection entails asking yourself questions about your values, assessing your strengths and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future."

Leo Hindery Jr

A great leader needs to love and respect people, and he needs to be comfortable with himself and with the world. He also needs to be able to forgive himself and others. In other words, a leader needs grace.”

Sri Chinmoy

When you really have something to offer to the world, then you can become truly humble. A tree when it has no fruit to offer remains erect. But when the tree is laden with fruit, it bends down. If you are all pride and ego, then nobody will be able to get anything worthwhile from you. When you have genuine humility, it is a sign that you have something to offer to mankind.

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20 Believe in Yourself Quotes That Will Bring Back Your Inspiration Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:45:44 +0000 When you’re hard at work, it can be easy to get lost in a long to-do list and lose your inspiration. Whether you’ve hit a mental roadblock or suffered a recent setback, these 20 believe in yourself quotes will help you get back on track and find your inspiration. Believe in Yourself Quotes When You […]

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believe in yourself quotes

When you’re hard at work, it can be easy to get lost in a long to-do list and lose your inspiration. Whether you’ve hit a mental roadblock or suffered a recent setback, these 20 believe in yourself quotes will help you get back on track and find your inspiration.

Believe in Yourself Quotes When You Feel Overwhelmed

No matter what business you’re in, there are going to be times when you feel out of control and overwhelmed. When it seems like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all, try looking back at these quotes to find your groove again.

You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye

boat in storm - believe in yourself quotes

From the author of “Buddhist Boot Camp” and “Faithfully Religionless” comes this insightful gem of inspiration. This quote is reminiscent of the traditional “This Too Shall Pass” but with a twist leaving you in control of how you feel.

Take life day by day and be grateful for the little things. Don’t get stressed over what you can’t control.”  – Anonymous

Too often we find ourselves worried and feeling overwhelmed by things we can’t control. Let this quote remind you that there’s no reason to sweat the stuff you can’t change.

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago.” – E. Joseph Cossman

This self-made millionaire reminds us that no matter what’s worrying you, it won’t always be on your mind. Stay positive and know that, in time, the stress you’re feeling now will be a distant memory.

You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” – Steve Maraboli

Learning to let go is a challenging but crucial step to reducing your stress level and finding your inspiration. Keep in mind that time keeps moving no matter how much you stress.

When life gets hectic, and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.” – Dana Arcuri

gratitude - believe in yourself quotes

No matter what you’re facing, take a moment to breathe in and feel the blessings you have around you. Gratitude breeds inspiration.

Believe in Yourself Quotes for Inspiring Hope and Optimism

In moments you’ve lost your motivation, it can be challenging to feel optimistic. Finding hope when you feel stuck can be hard work. When it’s difficult to see that your glass is half full, not half empty, remember these helpful believe in yourself quotes.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

In this inspiring quote, Helen Keller reminds us that optimism is the key to achieving your goals. Although you may feel challenged,  a positive outlook will help you step forward into a bright future.

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” – William James

optimism - believe in yourself quotes

When you’re feeling your worst, keep in mind that perpetual pessimism will only make you more susceptible to downfalls. Staying optimistic can inspire creative solutions and help you make every day a great day.

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell

This short but powerful quote says it all, optimism multiplies your efforts. When you feel washed out by life, staying hopeful will increase the strength of your efforts and help you find your inspiration once again.

Optimism is the foundation of courage.” – Nicholas M. Butler

Sometimes finding the inspiration to do something requires a significant amount of courage. Inspire your courage with unyielding optimism and the belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it' when things are tough.” -Richard M. DeVos

This quote is excellent for both cultivating your own inspiration and others. Use it as a reminder to spread goodwill and reap the benefits of inspiring happiness in those around you.

Believe in Yourself Quotes for Inspiring Happiness in a Bad Situation

Sometimes inspiration is crushed by being stuck in an unpleasant situation. While it’s best to exit a bad position as soon as you can,  these believe-in-yourself quotes will help bring back your inspiration in the meantime.

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” – Hermann Hesse

It can be hard to see the good in bad situations, but remember, every situation is an opportunity to learn. Find your inspiration once again by absorbing all the value in your seemingly bad situation.

We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right.” -Marianne Williamson

When things don’t go according to plan, it can be easy to lose track of our happiness. Remember that by choosing to focus on what’s going well, you’ll find your inspiration more easily than if you dwell on all the negatives. Happiness is a choice, and choosing to be happy will inspire your life like nothing else.

Life’s like photography; you use the negatives to develop.” – Anonymous

photography - believe in yourself quotes

If you’re stuck in a job you dislike or in a bad situation you can’t leave just yet, rest assured that the negatives you’re experiencing now are developing your character. Negative conditions can teach us a lot about ourselves and the world around us. In turn, we take these lessons and apply them to our lives.

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking a moment and making the best of it.” -Gilda Radner

Even if you don’t know how you’ll ever be free of a bad situation you’re in currently, don’t get down. Turn your attention to what you can change even if that means merely changing your attitude. Being determined to make the best of any situation will keep you feeling inspired by all of the good in the world around you.

Don’t let your happiness be controlled by something you can’t control.” – Anonymous

Recognize the aspects of your current situation that you can’t control and stop fretting over them. It may be difficult to accept a bad situation for what it is, but don’t get too caught up overthinking things you can’t change. By allowing your happiness to shine, you’ll find the inspiration to change what you can and improve your situation from the inside out.

Believe in Yourself Quotes for General Inspiration

We can sometimes pinpoint the moment we lost inspiration or make a good guess as to why it’s gone. But, sometimes we can’t, and that’s okay too. Rest assured knowing that your inspiration will return in time. These thoughtful quotes will help you to believe in yourself and the bright future ahead of you.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, some style.” – Maya Angelou

Always remember that life is more than how you make a living. Do what you love to find the passion, compassion, humor, and style that Maya Angelou speaks of. Inspire yourself by taking time to nurture passions outside of your professional goals.

Life has no limitations except the ones you make.” – Les Brown

setting up limitations - believe in yourself quotes

You are incredible, and your existence is a miracle. Keep in mind that as a human being you are blessed with incredible ability to do almost anything you put your mind to. Don’t limit yourself by doubting what you can do.

When you go through a loss, a disappointment or a bad break up, don’t expect to come out the same. Expect to come out better off than you were before.” – Joel Osteen

It can be incredibly taxing to feel inspired when you’re hurting. Build yourself up as you come through a devastating loss with this quote from Joel Osteen.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

When you can’t find inspiration for the projects you’re working on, remember that it’s okay to let go. Letting go of that which doesn’t serve us is crucial to finding the inspiration to do the things we love.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

When your inspiration seems gone for good, look around for opportunities to be kind to those around you. It can be all too easy to develop a bad attitude when we’re feeling uninspired. Push yourself to be helpful to all you encounter and watch your inspiration grow.

No matter what you’re working on, inspiration can be fleeting at times. Reading these believe in yourself quotes can help bring back your inspiration. Take time to nurture yourself, and you’ll quickly see your inspiration grow again. Remember that no matter what situation you’re currently in, there are so many possibilities in front of you.

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The Guide to Overcoming Obstacles
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Brian Semling (Founder and CEO, Brian’s Toys, Inc.) Thu, 31 May 2018 18:37:13 +0000 Name: Brian Semling Age: 41 Company Name: Brian’s Toys, Inc. Company URL:,, Title: Founder and CEO Hometown: Fountain City, Wisconsin Relationship Status: Married What early experiences in life, cultivated your entrepreneurial spirit? When I started my business while in high school, I exhibited at a few large trade shows selling collectible Star […]

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Brian Semling's family

Name: Brian Semling

Age: 41

Company Name: Brian’s Toys, Inc.

Company URL:,,

Title: Founder and CEO

Hometown: Fountain City, Wisconsin

Relationship Status: Married

  1. What early experiences in life, cultivated your entrepreneurial spirit?

When I started my business while in high school, I exhibited at a few large trade shows selling collectible Star Wars toys in the Chicago area with my dad.  There was a frenzy of buying, selling, and trading unlike anything I had ever seen and I was right in the middle of it, doing non-stop deals.  It was exciting and I was hooked!

  1. Why did you start your business(es)?

I started Brian’s Toys, specializing in Star Wars toys and collectibles, in high school as an extension of a hobby to help pay for college tuition.  Two and a half years later I left school at MIT during my sophomore year to run the business full time because it was growing so rapidly.

I launched Strictly Briks because I saw a void in the brick construction toy industry when it came to creative play.  LEGO does a great job, but they can’t do everything, and we’ve focused on the niche of creative play and encouraging kids to dream, create, and grow with bricks in innovative, fun, and creative new ways.

  1. What entrepreneur has inspired you most?

Steve Jobs, for many reasons.  One quote that has stayed with me, and I’ll paraphrase, “At Apple, we don’t make great products to make a lot of money, we make a lot of money so we can make great products.”  After several years of creating our Strictly Briks toy line, I have a real appreciation for this sentiment.  Initially when I read this quote, I was more skeptical.  Now I fully get it, and I agree.

  1. What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome thus far in business?

The largest challenge we have overcome, twice, is adapting and creating new business models as old ones became less sustainable.  It’s a frustrating experience but it teaches resiliency and provides confidence that we can continue to adapt, grow, and thrive in the future.

  1. What have you learned from failure?

.  If you don’t fail from time to time, you’re not taking enough chances.

  1. How does your leadership style foster your company’s culture?

By setting an example to strive for excellence and encouraging creativity and innovation.

  1. What are your top 3 responsibilities as a leader?

Decide what needs to get done (where are we going), communicate with others what needs to be done, do what is necessary to get these things done (hire, implement and execute the plan, etc.)

  1. What internal process do you use to guide your decision-making?

I discuss decisions with 1-3 key staff members ,plus my wife, in a collaborative and conversational process.  Generally, my decisions are better after input and feedback from trusted advisers.  Still, at the end of the day, running a business isn’t a democracy and occasionally as a leader you have to make decisions that you believe are right, even when they are unpopular or not supported by data.

  1. How do you define success?

Being able to spend the majority of my time doing what I was born to do.

  1. Which book has inspired you?

Driven by Eternity by Christian author John Bevere.  John helped me understand that God has a kingdom purpose for each of us, not just those that go into the official job of ministry.  He explained that while some people are called to be pastors and missionaries, others are called to be teachers, accountants, entrepreneurs, etc. and to represent the church in the community.  Our job as individuals is to find that purpose, and live it out with excellence, in a way that brings honor to God.  This book influenced me in a profound way, as I was freed of any guilt or feelings that growing a business was selfish or 2nd rate from a godly perspective, and in fact it encouraged me through understanding that I was doing was God created me to do, and to keep going!

I recently had a chance to get John’s autograph and share with him how his book impacted my life.  He said he wrote the book for people like me, and really appreciated my feedback.

  1. What do you think is the coolest tech out there? Why?

I’m old school and biased. How about our new line of Rubik’s Briks. 

BONUS #12 (optional) Wildcard:

Here’s your chance to include anything else you want to say that we didn’t cover. Have any helpful thoughts or Links we should know about?

Don’t delay when starting a venture.  Things change quickly, and most of what you learn you will learn along the way, so get started!

The Preference Pop Quiz

Brian highlighted his answers below. Check them out!

Chocolate or vanilla?

Chips or pretzels?

Mountains or beach?

Early bird or night owl?

Sweet or savory?

Mac or PC?

Cake or Pie?

Dog or cat?

Pen or pencil?

Car or Truck?

Summer or Winter?

Introvert or extrovert?


500 hundred stories

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How to Start a Conversation with Anyone and Feel Comfortable Doing It Tue, 29 May 2018 22:41:38 +0000 Introverts aren’t the other people who wonder how to start a conversation. Even talkative, confident entrepreneurs are sometimes “at a loss for words” when confronted with new social situations. You can engage others by smiling and saying “Hi.” Smiling is the first step to attracting people and carrying on a conversation. Few people will be […]

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how to start a conversation

Introverts aren’t the other people who wonder how to start a conversation. Even talkative, confident entrepreneurs are sometimes “at a loss for words” when confronted with new social situations.

You can engage others by smiling and saying “Hi.” Smiling is the first step to attracting people and carrying on a conversation. Few people will be inclined to start a conversation with a grumpy or angry person, so put yourself in a good mood if you're not in one already.

How to Start a Conversation: Small Talk

Making small talk at an event or party can be bothersome or intimidating, depending on your social skills, but you can learn how to do it. Ask a question about the event or the location.

If you're attending a seminar or other event, ask someone what they thought of the last speaker or presentation. Their answer will lead to other subjects you can talk about, and you won't have to search very far for common ground – it's right in front of you.  

Asking for help-or asking someone if they need help- is another way to start a conversation.

Ask Open-Ended Questions  

When you ask questions, make sure they’re open-ended. An open-ended question might be “How did you find out about this band?” or “Where do you live?” The person will give you information that you can use to propel the conversation forward by answering these questions.

Asking a question like “Do you like this conference?” can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” and may not lead to a full-fledged conversation, especially if the person is shy.   

Some open-ended questions include:

  • What’s the best thing about where you live?
  • What is your dream vacation?
  • How do you spend your days off work?
  • What is the funniest thing your pet does?
  • Where did you go to high school (or college)?

The FORD Technique

Most times there are awkward silences between strangers it’s because they don’t know how to start a conversation, not because they are shy or dislike each other on sight!

Use the FORD technique to initiate a conversation with anyone. FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. If you tend to get tongue-tied when meeting strangers, using this method will help you come up with ideas, so there’s no fear of saying something awkward in a pinch.

When you have a few free minutes, come up with a few questions in each of the four FORD categories that you can use on anyone. Commit them to memory, and you won’t need to struggle for something to say the next time you meet a stranger.

Keeping a journal or blog is another way to find a variety of topics to talk about with other people. Observe and write about everything you experience each day – from the Thai food, you ate at a new restaurant downtown to the flowers in your neighbors’ garden. The more you experience, the more you’ll have to offer in a conversation.


how to start a conversation

Face the speaker and look at them in a relaxed, open way. (Maintaining eye contact doesn’t mean staring.) Listen carefully and try to visualize what the person is saying. You want to be present in the conversation, and prevent your mind from wandering. The extra step of picturing what the person is saying will help you stay focused.

You’ll also need to block outside distractions like music or other conversations. Wait for the speaker to pause naturally; don’t interrupt when he or she is in the middle of talking. Interruptions send the message that your opinion is more important than what the speaker thinks.      

When you follow these tips, you’ll genuinely listen to what the other person is saying instead of waiting for your chance to speak. You’ll usually respond with a statement, and occasionally with a question.

Effective Listening

Put yourself in the speaker’s emotional state, feel sad when they feel sad, happy when they are expressing joy, and show it in your facial expression. Being empathetic is one of the best ways to connect with a person.

If the speaker continues to talk for a while, let him know you are still listening by interjecting short sentences like “I can understand that,” or nodding your head in agreement.

You’ll also need to pay attention to the person’s tone of voice and body posture. Their words are only part of the message. Someone can use positive words to describe a subject, but use a sad or angry tone of voice.

At the end of the conversation, summarize what has been said. Summarizing helps in business and important conversations, but it is a nice touch to use even after informal conversations.

What to Do if You’re Anxious or Shy

If you know you’re going to be at a party or in a social situation, concentrate on the positive things that can come out of it. You could meet a new friend with common interests, or have short conversations with a lot of fascinating people. Shyness, like extroversion, starts in your mind, so focus on positive outcomes.

People who are shy or nervous because they're self-conscious need to remember that most people are self-absorbed. They are lost in their thoughts and actions and aren't staring at your socks or your hair or anything that may be making you self-conscious.

Fear Not

Don't be afraid to start a conversation because you think people are examining you and looking for faults. They will probably be happy to talk with you – about their interests.  

You can start out by using the FORD method outlined above or simply compliment the person on something they're wearing – a shirt, a ring, a hat, or a jacket. Don't choose any item randomly; compliment something you actually notice.

When you compliment someone, you'll hear the warmth in their voice as they thank you, and this will make it easier to continue the conversation.

Other posts that you may like:
How to Prepare For a Phone Interview – The Complete Guide
The Fixed vs Growth Mindset and How to Switch to the Latter

Finding Common Ground

how to start a conversation
Ask questions about general subjects – except religion and politics, for obvious reasons! Entertainment – (music, TV, movies, books) and sports are passions most people share. Other subjects most people like are travel, food, pets, and shopping. You’ll probably find common ground in one of these subjects, and if you don’t, the person’s answers will eventually lead you to one that does.

As the conversation continues, the other person will start asking about your life and interests. Be forthcoming and pleasant, and you may make a new friend, or at the very least, have a polite, one-time conversation.

When you speak with anyone new, there’s always the chance that there will be a pause or lull in the conversation when one or both of you has run out of things to say. If this happens, return to a subject you discussed previously, such as the person’s favorite movie. You could ask them if they saw it at a theatre or watched it online, and continue the conversation from there.

Focus on the Other Person

Ask a person for recommendations. (Do you know of a good Mexican restaurant in this part of town?” or “What app do you recommend for scheduling meetings?”) People will be flattered that you asked for their advice, and you may strike up a full conversation.  

While talking to someone, lean forward and keep your arms by your side (Don’t cross your arms in front of your chest. This signals boredom or anger.)  

Nod your head occasionally while the other person talks to show continued interest. (Don't overdo it and imitate a bobblehead doll.)  

Smile when you’re being introduced to someone, and shake hands firmly.

Be aware of your eye contact, or lack of it, as you talk. If you look to the side or at the floor, people may think you’re bored and leave the meeting with a bad impression of you.

You may also like:
“The Art of Closing Any Deal”
The Guide to Overcoming Obstacles
5 Leadership Lessons and Courses You Could Learn from

Practicing Conversational Skills

You’ll get better at how to start a conversation as you practice with more people in many different situations. Remember that people who seem gregarious and confident got that way by being around lots of people. They are practicing their conversation skills daily.

If you are a retail clerk, salesperson, nurse or have another job that requires interaction with other people, it obviously will be much easier to learn conversational skills. You have to converse as part of your job. Even though the conversations may not be fun or tell you much about the other person’s interests.

Meet Other People

how to start a conversation

People who spend a lot of time alone during the workday (computer analysts, accountants, writers), will need to find a hobby.  It could be a volunteer work that will put them around people, so they can practice their conversational skills.  

Traveling provides a great opportunity to meet new people and practice conversational skills. Ask for directions on how to get to an airport terminal, airline counter, or restaurant at the airport. You can also talk to the person next to you as you sit at the gate waiting to board the flight.   

Conversing with other travelers is less frustrating than talking to people at work or school functions. If you're shy or nervous, the pressure is off because you'll never see the people again. You won't be self-conscious about seeming awkward or saying the wrong thing. As a result, you're less apt to be nervous or stumble over your words.

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How To Start An eBay Business – A Complete Guide Fri, 11 May 2018 13:38:34 +0000 Opening your own eBay store is a great way to make some extra money without too much work. Learn more about how to start an eBay business. If you’re an aspiring solopreneur, it’s likely that you’re thinking of ways to make money without working too hard, doing something that you like and if possible, from […]

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Opening your own eBay store is a great way to make some extra money without too much work. Learn more about how to start an eBay business.
how to start an ebay business

If you’re an aspiring solopreneur, it’s likely that you’re thinking of ways to make money without working too hard, doing something that you like and if possible, from the comfort of your home office.

Do you have a good eye for vintage wares or have an extensive collection of various items that you know are worth a lot of money? eBay allows entrepreneurs of all ages and experiences to start a business and become their own boss.

Not only will we discuss how to start an eBay business, but we will also tell you about some of the benefits of having an eBay store and give you a few helpful tips.

The Benefits Of Having An eBay Store

eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces and a popular online auction site. Even if you’re not a regular eBay shopper, you’ve probably made a few purchases or put in a bid or two on some items.

With millions of sellers on eBay, you may wonder if you’d be a good fit and if you could have some of the same success by setting up shop. Here are some benefits to consider, when thinking about opening up an eBay business (store).

An Affordable Way To Have Your Own Storefront

Buying or renting a space for a brick and mortar store can be expensive, particularly if you’re just starting out on your own as an entrepreneur. eBay is a great way to start selling because the monthly fees for having a shop are merely a fraction of what it would cost to rent or buy a space in a bustling shopping district.

You Can Be Your Own Boss and Work From Anywhere

More than half of Americans want to be their own boss and have control over their work schedule. If you have been thinking about starting an eBay business, you probably fall into that category.

While eBay is technically “in charge,” you have the freedom to sell your own products (as long as they’re legal), set your own prices, and work the hours you want. One of the best parts? You can work from the comfort of your home, on the go, or even at your local coffee shop.

You Can Network and Get Established

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it’s important to network and “be seen.” Setting up shop on eBay can help you achieve this a little easier, but don’t assume that all the business will come to you without having to do any work.

Before You Start A Business

While you can create an eBay business account right now and get started, there are a few things you may want to consider before you learn how to start an eBay business.

What’s Your Plan?

Just like any business, do you have a business plan? What do you plan to sell? How many items? While many people envision eBay as a prominent online auction or garage sale, it’s best to stick with selling one type of product (like vintage clothes or jewelry) and allow that to be your “thing;” think of it as your brand.

Do You Have Time and Commitment?

You also need to consider if you have the time to run your eBay store. While having an eBay business allows for some flexibility, you need to put a little work into your shop, be available for potential buyers, and be present just like if it was a brick and mortar store.

Although many eBay sellers are successful, it’s likely that their success didn’t happen overnight and without a lot of work. While eBay may not be full-time work (unless you want it to), you will need to treat it like a job and devote some time. Keep in mind that it may take awhile before you see a significant profit.

Ready To Set Up Shop? Steps On How To Start An eBay Business

If you’ve thought realistically about opening up an eBay shop and are willing to work hard to make it grow, you’re ready to learn how to start an eBay business.

Step 1: Join eBay and Create A Shop

If you don’t have an eBay account, the first step is to create an account. Once you have an eBay account, you can go to “Subscriptions” and then select the correct type of store. You will have the opportunity to personalize your store, organize the inventory, and preview how it will look before it goes live.

It’s a good idea to become a verified member and choose an eBay user ID that is easy to remember and reflects your business. Once you have more visitors and buyers, you want to be able to stand out among the millions of other eBay stores.

Step 2: Familiarize Yourself With eBay

You’re probably eager to stock up your inventory and go live as soon as possible. Even if you have some experience with using eBay, it’s good to take some time and browse the site. Consider reading the articles on selling as well as some posts on the community forum.

There’s a lot to take in once you join eBay and it may not all make sense right away, but it’s good to start educating yourself and doing a little homework. Another good way to get a feel for a site is to start buying from other sellers (maybe inventory for your store); it can help with networking.

Step 3: Set Up A Work Space

While having an online store means that you can work from anyplace that has good wifi reception, you still need to have a designated workspace. Before you set up shop and start creating listings, take a little time to organize and devote a physical space for your inventory.

Step 4: Creating Listings

When you’re ready to create a listing, don’t rush so that you can get it in your shop. Take the time to take good pictures (from multiple angles) of your product and write an excellent description. Write the product description as if you were the buyer and had questions; don’t forget to check your grammar and proofread.

Don’t know what to write? Take a look at top sellers on eBay and take a few tips from their shops.

Step 5: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Whether you have a “buy it now” option or buyers are bidding on an item, you’re likely to get questions about the product. Answer them as clearly and quickly as possible. Even if a potential buyer doesn’t end up buying, they might remember your shop and how fast you responded.

The attention you give to your potential and buying customers can make or break your ratings and overall success on eBay.

Step 6: When You Sell, Ship ASAP

Your first few sales will probably be your most exciting (and maybe even a little confusing). Whatever you do, don’t sit on the product too long. Get it out the door, have reasonable shipping fees, and send out a tracking number to your customer. Remember, they are probably just as excited as you so don’t keep them waiting too long.

Additional Tips To Consider When Starting An eBay Business

Once you set up your eBay store, the rest is relatively easy just make sure that you move products as quickly as possible and respond to any inquiries (negative or positive). Here are some more tips to think about as you’re getting a little more comfortable and may be ready to grow as an eBay store.

Having A Hard Time Moving Merchandise?

Do you have some items that are just sitting in your store and not getting any traffic? Try changing up the description or taking new pictures. You may also want to consider sharing the item on your social media page or drop the price a bit.

Treat Your eBay Business Like A Regular Business

As we mentioned earlier, starting an eBay business requires time and commitment. Regardless of your goals for your online business, you should treat it like a regular and “real” business. Set up a business account, stay organized, set weekly working hours for yourself, and don’t start to slack off once the store begins making money.

Be Competitive

With so many eBay businesses that sell similar products, you may not have as much visibility as you would like (just like the real business world). You need to get creative, think about what your competitors are doing, and think of ways to make yourself stand out.

When you are financially able to do so, consider advertising on eBay and think about a marketing campaign. Running an eBay store means that you always need to strive to be ahead of other sellers like you; with a little hard work and dedication, you can be an eBay entrepreneur.

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How to Prepare For a Phone Interview – The Complete Guide Tue, 01 May 2018 13:20:59 +0000 More and more employers are now using phone interviews to weed out unqualified job candidates. Do you have a big phone interview coming up? Check out our hands-on guide on how to prepare for a phone interview to make sure you make it to the next round. These days, most hiring manager screen potential employees […]

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how to prepare for a phone interview
More and more employers are now using phone interviews to weed out unqualified job candidates. Do you have a big phone interview coming up? Check out our hands-on guide on how to prepare for a phone interview to make sure you make it to the next round.

These days, most hiring manager screen potential employees by first conducting a brief phone interview. Interviews held over the phone are exactly like face-to-face interviews, except they are usually brief and are used to get a first impression of the candidate.

Phone interviews come with a wide array of unique challenges and advantages that deserve your full attention.

For example, phone interviews are unique in that body language is undetectable. This makes verbal communication paramount. This makes the phone interview a special challenge since some say that 90% of our regular communications are nonverbal.

In a regular interview, we meet with a hiring manager or committee that can read our body language, posture, facial expressions, and movements. Believe it or not, a ton of information can be conveyed through these nonverbal cues, such as one’s emotional state or their sense of humor.

If you have been asked to take part in a phone interview, congratulations!

You are that much closer to landing that job you have always wanted. But if you expect to be successful you need to practice due diligence and prepare accordingly. Unless you have the natural charisma of a movie star, this is a necessary step.

And if you are ready to take that first step for how to prepare for a phone interview, look no further. Our experts put together the ultimate step-by-step guide to make sure you know how to prepare for a phone interview. So, read on and find out the do’s and don’ts when it comes to navigating this round of your job candidacy.

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview: Typical Phone Interview Questions

If you want to know how to prepare for a phone interview, you need to be ready to handle any question that might get thrown your way. Luckily for you, we have you covered. We have compiled data from hundreds of phone interviews to put together a list of the most common phone interview questions across various all industries and fields.

Personal Interview Questions

Here are some of the most common interview questions that are asked about yourself and your background. If you expect to be fully prepared for your interview, you will want to make sure you can easily fire off a clear answer to any of the following:

  • What is your one biggest weakness/strength?
  • How do you work in a team environment?
  • Can you give us an example of a time where you have gone above and beyond your job expectations?
  • What does “success” mean for you?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Why should we hire you before anyone else?

Also, you should be prepared to field any question about your prior work experience. These questions serve a specific purpose: to determine what you have been able to accomplish to this point, and why you are looking for a new job.

  • Can you tell us about your most recent job?
  • What were the responsibilities you had?
  • Can you name some of the greatest challenges you faced in this environment?
  • Why did you leave this job?
  • What do you expect in terms of compensation?

Company-Related Interview Questions

Similarly, you will want to do your homework about the company you are hoping to work for. Any successful phone interview candidate should be able to demonstrate that they are familiar with the company and that you have what it takes to satisfy their specific organizational needs.

  • What do you find appealing about this job opportunity?
  • What can you bring to the table that other candidates cannot?
  • How can your unique experience meet our specific needs?
  • Would you be willing to relocate?
  • How might your personality suit our workplace culture?

Questions to Ask

Nine times out of ten, job candidates will be given an opportunity to ask a few questions at the end of an interview. Take advantage of this! Typically, when an interviewee turns down the chance to ask questions it signals that they are disinterested in the company or have not done sufficient research about it.

  • Typical workday/week like in the office?
  • Your favorite aspect of your job?
  • Unique challenges might I expect while working for [X]?
  • You like most about this company?
  • What does success look like for this position?
  • The greatest achievement this department has made?

Although these questions are generic, they are a great place to start. We encourage you to get creative and ask more pointed questions that demonstrate that you know a thing or two about the history of the company and the phase in their development that they are at.

The Step-By-Step Preparation Guide

Now that you have mastered the most important part of how to prepare for a phone interview—practicing your responses—it is now time to work your way through the rest of the process. But do not worry, the hardest part is now behind you. From here on out, your goal should be to get into the right frame of mind for the interview.

Step 1: Get Your “Cheat Sheet” Ready

One of the best advantages of a phone interview is the fact that you can prepare notes ahead of time. Keeping a simple and well-structured page of notes in front of you during the interview can supply you with ready-made answers if you find yourself in a pinch. Just make sure not to read them word for word, as it will come off disingenuous or robotic to the interviewer.

Step 2: Get the Environment Feeling Right

During a phone interview, where body language is off the table, you will need to make sure you sound relaxed and at ease. One of the best ways to do this is to create an environment where you know you will be as comfortable as possible. This does not just refer to your physical environment, but also your emotional one.

First, make sure you pick a secluded room to conduct the interview in.

You will want to make sure you are removed from any potential distractions or interruptions. If the call is very serious, you might even want to post a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your front door to ensure nobody rings your doorbell or causes any undue commotion.

Second, make sure your “headspace” is right.

This means taking the necessary steps to make sure you are feeling well rested, alert, and in an overall good mood before the big day. Give yourself plenty of time the night before to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Also, some exercise the morning of the interview might go a long way in putting you in the right state of mind.

Step 3: Set the Table

About 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start, ensure that you have everything you will need. Remember that some phone interviews for especially competitive positions can last over an hour. This means surrounding yourself with the following:

  • A tall glass of water (just remember not to drink too much so that you need to excuse yourself)
  • A clean sheet of paper and a functional pen for note-taking
  • A box of tissues
  • A comfortable seat, so you don’t squirm or fidget

Personally, we also suggest dressing well. We find that this helps by giving us a great confidence boost. Even though our interviewer can’t see us, the confidence that comes with dressing for the job will radiate through your voice.

Step 4: The Greeting

When the phone finally rings, answer the call promptly and cheerfully say “Hello, [Your Name] speaking”. The first thing that an interviewer will ask is whether they are speaking with the job candidate, so this will clear that up with them right off the bat. This is a great chance to come off cheerful and make a great first impression.

Step 5: The Answers

This is what you prepared for. Once the questions start coming, simply roll with the punches. By now, you should be able to articulate a coherent response to just about anything they throw at it. Just remember to not speak too fast, which can come across as nervousness. Instead, maintain a steady yet enthusiastic pace.

Also, don’t forget to smile. Even though your interviewer cannot see it, a smile can be detected through the phone. This is because when we smile our voices become lighter and more “warm” in tone. This is exactly how you want to sound during an interview. Remember, your interviews are looking for a coworker they can get along with and whose company they will enjoy.

Step 6: The Exit Plan

Even if the interview does not go your way, be prepared to end the interview with grace. Always thank the interviewer for taking the time to sit down with you, and that you would love to discuss this opportunity in more detail in person. Don’t let any stumble get you down—they are bound to happen. Instead, keep smiling and maintain that warm and friendly tone until the very end.

Thinking of becoming a consultant for your own business? Check it here: How to Become a Consultant for Businesses Similar to Your Own

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The Guide to Overcoming Obstacles Mon, 30 Apr 2018 13:03:34 +0000 Successful people all have one thing in common: they know how to overcome any obstacle in their way. This is what separates the successful from the bitter and discontent. Want to find out how they do it? Check out our guide to overcoming obstacles and finding the path to success. It is inevitable. Everybody is […]

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overcoming obstacles
Successful people all have one thing in common: they know how to overcome any obstacle in their way. This is what separates the successful from the bitter and discontent. Want to find out how they do it? Check out our guide to overcoming obstacles and finding the path to success.

It is inevitable. Everybody is confronted with obstacles and hardships in their professional lives. But what separates a truly successful person from a bitter and resentful person is the ability to recognize obstacles for what they are, and to move past them with grace.

But we all know that it is never as easy as it sounds. The obstacles that stand in the way of our success are usually very difficult to recognize, analyze, and see past. For too many of us, our obstacles are often all we can see—once faced with them, we cannot see around them or find a pathway to overcome them.

 You might be interested in reading: How to Ask For a Raise? – The Complete Guide

Our professional obstacles are never truly as big as we think they are.

Do you want in on a secret? Nine times out of ten.  Almost always, we inflate the importance or severity of our obstacles and hardships. This is a natural psychological phenomenon, as it protects us from the fear of failure. When we do this we essentially deflect blame from ourselves onto our obstacles.

If you want to become successful and realize your dreams, you need to be able to see your obstacles for what they are: temporary roadblocks. A true winner knows how to approach them with the right mentality for success.

Ready to finally act and move past those roadblocks that have been holding you back? If so, check out our in-depth guide to overcoming obstacles and finding that pathway to success that we all need if we are to realize our professional dreams and ambitions.

Step 1: Overcoming Obstacles – Know Your Goals

Contrary to what some people assume, overcoming obstacles is not a matter of simply “committing to a vision” and “taking action”. Without purpose and planning, these phrases are nothing more than buzzwords and false hope. Instead, you need to take it step by step to ensure that you create a lasting, rock-solid action plan.

This requires a lot of introspection, and a little bit of soul-searching. You need to dedicate some time to really thinking deeply about what it is that will satisfy you most in your life. This is the all-important, critical first step to overcoming obstacles in your life.

This begins with understanding what it is you want.

We have spoken to countless entrepreneurs and business leaders who realized that their obstacles were, in fact, not worth overcoming. This is because they never truly desired to overcome them. Instead, they aspired to some artificial goal that their heart was not invested in. Once they realized this, all they had to do was turn around and choose a new goal to aim toward.

This is not true of everybody, however. Regardless, it is important to write your long-term and short-term goals down. This way, you can see what obstacles truly stand in your way and which ones can be simply disregarded. Because, after all, not all roadblocks are as obstructing as we might think. Rather, some are merely distractions along the way.

Step 2: Identifying Roadblocks

Once you have your long and short-term goals written down and internalized, you can move on to the next step. This is the all-important “Evaluation” step that most people fixate on for far too long. This involves taking an honest and value-neutral look at what it is that stands in the way of those goals you wrote down.

In order to start overcoming obstacles, you need to know exactly what those obstacles are. For most of us, they are obvious. For some of us, we refuse to acknowledge them because it helps us stay in our comfort zone and maintain the status quo. But any successful and ambitious leader knows that the status quo is never acceptable in our professional lives.

There are only two or three major roadblocks to our goals.

Make sure you write these down and keep them visible. Jot them down next to your goals, and briefly explain why they interfere with your long-term objectives.

Do not become preoccupied with minor inconveniences and other things that are not true obstacles. For example, being shy and introverted held me back for years. Overcoming my tendency to isolate and withdraw myself was the true obstacle that I had to grapple with. It had nothing to do with the quality of my work, the relationships I had, or the clothes I wore to work.

This step requires some serious critical thinking. You need to make sure that the roadblocks you decide to confront are the most important ones that you are facing. Many of us face countless small obstacles every day, but your task is to narrow them down to the top few that truly are holding you back.

Step 3: Designing Your Plan of Action

After you have thought about what obstacles you want to tackle, you need to write down your action plan. The key to designing an effective action plan is to make your plan realistic, achievement, and trackable.

Do not try to do too much at any one time. To make meaningful and visible progress, you need to dedicate yourself to no more than a couple major developments at once. Once you start piling too many responsibilities on your plate, you are bound to fail. As in business, as in life, sustainability is the critical ingredient for success.

When I designed my own plan of action to overcome shyness and my tendency to not assert myself.

I committed myself to two plans. For the first six months of my development, I only focused on them.

First, I signed up for my local Toastmasters International club. Toastmasters is a judgment-free public speaking organization that provides a platform to practice and refine your speaking and leadership skills. I made sure that I acted right away and paid the registration fee as soon as I could make it out to the first meeting.

Second, I made a daily goal of initiating at least one conversation out of the blue. On my calendar at home, I checked off every day I was able to start up a quick conversation at the office. Soon enough, I had an entire month checked off. As a result, my self-confidence and conversational skills skyrocketed.

In summary, my plan of action consisted of only two goals.

First, was a weekly commitment to attending Toastmasters. Second, I committed to stirring up small talk with someone every day. This made my plan simple, reasonable, and effective. I encourage every plan of action to be modeled after this template.

Step 4: Tracking Your Progress

It is important to design your plan of action so that your progress is trackable. Ideally, your plan of action will be quantifiable. For example, I was able to tally how many Toastmasters meeting I showed up to and spoke at, as well as how many consecutive days I was able to initiate conversation.

We recommend keeping an erasable whiteboard somewhere in your home where you can write down your progress. Unless you have an accountability mechanism you are bound to fail.

Keep an organized record of all the progress you have made so far.

For example, if your goal is to pay off your student debt, there is nothing more motivating than watching that number tick lower and lower every month.

Also, do not be afraid to make your goals public. Or, at the very least, do not shy away from telling at least one other person who you trust about this plan. That way, they can check in on your progress and hold you to account. There is nothing more motivating than having somebody who cares about your success encourage you to keep going.

Step 5: Reflection and Gratitude

The last step is to make sure you continually reflect on the progress that you have made. Every month, I always look back and consider where I was when I started this journey. Since overcoming obstacles is never easy, over time we can start to give in to the temptation to quit. However, remembering why I am on this path always keeps me in check.

Equally important is the ability to remain grateful.

Keeping a positive and healthy frame of mind is the number one predictor when it comes to determining whether someone is going to be successful. By remaining grateful, we stay emotionally healthy, motivated, and happy.

There is a growing body of psychological research that shows that gratitude is linked to many long-term career benefits. This includes better management, improved networking abilities, increased productivity, and improved decision-making. By practicing gratitude every day, we can develop a growth mentality that will keep us focused on our long-term goals.

You might also be interested in reading: How to Handle Customer Complaints: 3 Experts Share Their Advice

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20 Signs of a Control Freak Fri, 27 Apr 2018 13:30:54 +0000 There is a fine line separating leaders from control freaks. Many of those around us have control freak tendencies and we don’t even realize it. Think you might be dealing with one? Check out our list of the top 20 signs of a definite control freak. Have you ever had somebody in your life who […]

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control freak
There is a fine line separating leaders from control freaks. Many of those around us have control freak tendencies and we don’t even realize it. Think you might be dealing with one? Check out our list of the top 20 signs of a definite control freak.

Have you ever had somebody in your life who always tries to wedge themselves into your life and micromanage it? Or maybe you know somebody that constantly tries to dictate what you should do around them? In psychology, we have a nickname for people like these: control freaks.

Being a control freak is never a good thing.

They have manipulative tendencies that can alienate their peers and make others uncomfortable in their presence. This is because nobody likes being told what to do at every second of the day. People need autonomy in life happy and healthy lives.

And the worst part of all is that control freaks permeate the business world in untold numbers. There is something about the desire for control and influence over others that draws control freak personalities toward business leadership. We have spoken to many people across all industries that claim their workplaces are led by control freaks.

But what sets apart a control freak from a normal, strict leader? Why is being a control freak a negative thing, but an assertive and powerful corporate executive a positive thing?

Don’t get us wrong: strong leadership is always needed in the business world.

But sometimes natural leaders can get carried away and let their leadership skills turn into something pathological. When this happens, workplaces turn toxic and turnover rates skyrocket.

Want to find out whether your boss is a control freak? Check out our list of the top 20 signs of a control freak. If you can check off at least half of these signs, then chances are you have a control freak on your hands.

Need Ideas for handling customer complaints? See here: How to Handle Customer Complaints: 3 Experts Share Their Advice

The Psychological Attributes of Control Freaks

In nearly all cases, control freaks are serious perfectionists. They always obsess over achieving the best possible outcome and often have inflated and narcissistic ideas about their capabilities.

To protect themselves, control freaks are prone to manipulation and pressuring others into changing their behavior. This way, others become more preoccupied about their own vulnerabilities than the control freak. To do this, control freaks cling to whatever power they can muster and never hold back from exerting over others.

All control freaks refuse to expose their vulnerabilities. This is an irrational belief since everybody has their own weaknesses and vulnerabilities that are inevitably exposed over time. However, control freaks and narcissists are deeply afraid of letting these “weaknesses” become visible.

Most psychologists agree that this is an unhealthy and usually self-destructive belief system.

In psychological theory, we call these personality types “Type A”. These personalities are motivated by the desire to control and influence others. In business settings, these personalities become apparent when someone never accepts blame, refuses to acknowledge their shortcomings, and often puts down others.

By now, you might be thinking of a couple of people in your life that might be considered control freaks. If you have a hunch you might know one, you are probably not wrong. This is because the corporate world is full of these personalities. If you want to know how to spot them, check out our list of the top signs of a surefire control freak.

The Signs

If we are being honest, there are signs of a control freak in all of us. However, it is only when these signs become constant that we should start to be concerned. So don’t worry if you notice a few of these signs in yourself—that is perfectly natural.

Instead, try to realize when you might exhibit these signs and how you might be able to prevent them from happening more often in the future and not affect your productivity. Here is our list of the top signs of a control freak:

Sign 1

If they deeply distrust your motives for doing things without them. Whether it is your boss or your spouse—if they dislike when you act independently, then something is wrong.

Sign 2

If they dig into your personal space and private information. It is never okay for your boss or superior to search through your phone or searches history, request your personal PINs or passwords, or anything else you consider off-limits.

Sign 3

If they insult you or put you down during arguments. In the home or workplace, disagreements are inevitable. But this never gives someone the right to insult you.

Sign 4

If they get visibly upset whenever you disagree with them. Control freaks never want to hear that they might be wrong, and they often lash out when this happens.

Sign 5

If they constantly check in on you and nag you if you take longer than usual to reply or respond to them. Of course, it is respectful to always respond within a reasonable timeframe, but this is not always an option in a fast-paced business environment.

Sign 6

If they expect you to drop everything for them. This includes your hobbies, interests, friends, and family. If anybody expects you to sacrifice your personal life for them, then something is seriously wrong.

Sign 7

If they guilt you into behaving in a certain way. One of the most common signs of a control freak is somebody who shows no shame in guilt-tripping you into doing their bidding.

Sign 8

If they misuse the word “we” to bait you into agreeing with them. For example, if they insist that “we agreed to make the 2 o’clock meeting”. Or, “did we not say that we would have this done by 5 PM?” If you never agreed to these things, then they should never use the word “we” because they really mean “I”.

Sign 9

If they claim sole responsibility for their success. This could be either their own success or the success of the team as a whole. No man is an island, which makes personal success always a group effort to some extent. Nobody should claim sole responsibility for it.

Sign 10

If they have a hard time maintaining relationships. This could be personal or business relationships. If nobody else wants to be around them or let them into their circle, then chances are there is a good reason why.

Sign 11

If they never delegate responsibility unless they absolutely have to. A true control freak hates when power is outside of their control. That is why they will always hold onto it for as last as possible and never let anyone else get a taste of it.

Sign 12

If they show a lack of empathy or compassion toward others. This does not have to be directed toward work colleagues. It could be signified by their attitude toward other people on the street, waitresses, and other third parties. If they show a blatant lack of respect for others, they might devalue them the same way a control freak does.

Sign 13

They have zero tolerance for mistakes in others. If you feel like you have to walk on pins and needles so that you do not offend or anger them, then chances are they are a control freak. Nobody should feel too scared to fail from time to time.

Sign 14

If their expectations are unrealistic or idealistic. A true leader would never hold their peers to too high of a standard. This puts unnecessary pressure on the team and can shed the bonds of solidarity that make a workplace cohesive and efficient.

Sign 15

If they never let you get a word in edgewise. During a meeting, conversation, or phone call, a responsible leader will always let you speak your mind freely. If they constantly cut you off and insist on shutting you down at every opportunity, they might be a control freak.

Sign 16

If they insist on passive-aggression rather than direct confrontation. Control freaks sometimes do not want to appear too pushy or aggressive, as this could expose a defect or vulnerability in their character. Instead, they will resort to acting passively, and will often talk behind their peers’ backs.

Sign 17

If they are a bad listener. A natural born leader understands that the perspective of others is always valuable and worth listening to. If they dismiss your opinion or act like it is worse less than their own, they might be a control freak.

Sign 18

If they are self-proclaimed “workaholics”. Typically, the desire to work at all hours of the day without any leisure time is a sign of a perfectionist that never takes failure or disappointment in stride.

Sign 19

If they never offer you compliments or praise the good work that you do. If you feel like you deserve recognition for your actions, but that recognition is never offered to you, that is a clear sign that you are dealing with a narcissistic personality.

Sign 20

If you have to question their sincerity at all times. When dealing with a control freak, it is usually unclear to you when you are being manipulated or when you are being treated with genuine respect. When the line between sincerity and manipulation is constantly blurred, you probably have a control freak on your hands.

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8 Core Leadership Values Thu, 26 Apr 2018 14:00:37 +0000 Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a successful leader? Do you want to take your career to the next level? Check out our practical guide to developing the 8 core leadership values that every successful leader has. Whether it is in the business world or not, true leaders all have the same […]

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leadership values
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a successful leader? Do you want to take your career to the next level? Check out our practical guide to developing the 8 core leadership values that every successful leader has.

Whether it is in the business world or not, true leaders all have the same leadership values.

Successful leaders have winning personalities that lead by example. Companies that are led by true leaders are often the ones that stay competitive in the long run. This is because they have a culture of trust and respect that attracts top talent.

Every day we hear from disgruntled employees. They that are not contented with the toxic workplace culture. People that are stuck in. When companies have unsatisfied employees, they end up resenting their jobs. Leaving at the first opportunity that comes to them. In other words, ineffective leadership causes unproductive workplace environments.

See Our Leadership Lessons and Courses here: 5 Leadership Lessons and Courses You Could Learn from

The leadership values that executives and managers bring to the table every day set an important precedent.

They create a shining example for their employees to emulate and establish trust and cooperation between their team members.

If you want to know how to develop these all-important values, you first need to know what they are. After speaking with countless senior managers and corporate executives, we put together a list of the top 8 leadership values for business success. By developing these critical personal values, we believe that anybody can become a successful leader.


Integrity ranks first on our list of the top leadership values. This is because every single successful executive we spoke to mentioned how crucial integrity is for long-term success.

Integrity refers to one’s personal commitment to their moral principles. Without integrity, anyone is susceptible to acting outside of their moral code and making unethical decisions. When it comes to maintaining one’s reputation in business, ethics is everything. By acting with integrity, you set an important standard for all those around you.

It is a blatant fact that leaders stand up for what they believe. Without exception, natural leaders know that winners refuse to cheat or weasel their way to the top. Rather, they take the moral high ground and inspire others to act in the same way. In our books, nothing commands respect like a leader with integrity.


This value refers to one’s commitment to selfless service. Those who exhibit this value perform in the interest of the greater good without expectation of reward and praise. Instead, they understand that working hard, sometimes even without recognition, is a necessary ingredient for success.

Since no business success is a solo effort, it is important to sacrifice some personal glory to benefit the team. After all, it takes a full team’s effort to make a lasting impact in any market.

The value of service can be developed by committing one’s self to community service initiatives. This involves volunteering time to a charitable or non-profit organization that is dedicated to the public good. Volunteering is a great way to cultivate this all-important leadership value.


It is one of the world’s most underrated leadership values. It refers to the extent that one is true to their personality or “spirit”, so to speak. As such, this quality often goes hand in hand with integrity.

Authenticity is used to explain when somebody is true to one’s self despite persistence from external pressures.

Any seasoned business executive will tell you that external pressures exist everywhere in the corporate world. However, it is the mark of a respectable leader when they can act faithfully in the company’s interests regardless. Authenticity also encourages growth in the company.

On an individual level, acting authentically immediately creates attraction. It shows that the person is not ashamed of their self, that they are proud of who they are, and that they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Personalities such as these are noticeable from a mile away, and they help create a culture of respect in the workplace.


It is often thought that confidence is a natural-born aspect of any business leader. However, we think that this could not be further from the truth. While confidence is necessary for those in a leadership role, we find that this quality can be cultivated through practice and patience.

Developing confidence is important because leaders need to be able to assert themselves clearly every day.

However, it is equally important not to be too sure of one’s abilities as confidence can quickly turn to hubris and arrogance when not kept in check. When confidence turns into hubris, this can cause resentment between a leader and their team.

Every leader needs to focus on exuding restrained confidence. Acting with an air of confidence makes everybody you work with trust your judgment. But when taken too far, overconfidence can exude presumptuousness that can turn any workplace culture sour.


Like honesty, transparency is crucially important for fostering a trusting office environment. Transparency refers to a state of being that allows for others to see what is being done and why. When a leader values transparency, they make sure that everybody on their team understands the true reason why they are doing what they are doing.

Transparency is the value that leads to openness and accountability in the workplace. When an office lacks these qualities, we find that their turnover rate suffers and the quality of the talent they attract drops significantly. Leaders can promote a culture of transparency by encouraging others to disclose information freely and to speak their mind whenever they desire to.


For many of us, empathy is the first quality that comes to mind when we think of leadership values. This is because empathy is what separates those who work well with others from those who cannot. Simply put, empathy refers to one’s capacity to truly feel what another person is experiencing or feeling from their point of view.

Empathy is what allows a leader to connect with their team.

Across all industries, leaders have to be able to put themselves in the shoes of their team members. Otherwise, understanding and respect can quickly erode in the workplace.

Whether a leader is heading a cutthroat startup or serving as an executive of a Fortune 500 company, empathy is critically important. This does not imply that a leader must acquiesce to their team’s every demand. Rather, it implies that they must keep a cool head and a friendly, compassionate demeanor no matter the circumstance.

Regardless of context, leaders must routinely bend over backward to meet the unique needs of each of their employees and clients. Being able to connect with the needs of others is ultimately what determines whether a client will consider turning to your services again in the future.


The value of humility is ultimately what separates an effective, confidence leader from a pompous, arrogant blowhard. Humility is the quality of being modest and humble. When leaders act with humility, they show that they do not overestimate their own importance or their own abilities. Instead, they have an appropriate and attractive degree of self-regard.

Leaders who show humility are those who have no problem deferring to the judgment of others.

Especially those who are “beneath” them in the workplace hierarchy. When leaders fail to act with humility, they often exude a vain and self-important personality that usually results in mockery from their peers. It’s simple: nobody respects arrogance.

Even entrepreneurs, who do not routinely work in a team environment, can benefit from humility. This is because poor decisions are made when one places too much trust in their own judgment. By acknowledging one’s limitations and vulnerabilities, one can then seek out the advice of others. Through deliberation, better business decisions can be made.


Lastly, excellence is a major value for any business leader. While not typically thought of as a “value”, after speaking with numerous senior executives we quickly understood that the pursuit of extraordinary results is not just a habit but a personal value. When a leader acts with excellence in mind, they always strive to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you look at the executive team of any of the top corporate giants. For example, Google, Microsoft, or Apple. They are all powered by the need to perform. Superior leaders are not driven by satisfactory results. They are lead, sometimes to the brink of obsession, by the pursuit of an outstanding result.

A leader is oriented toward performance excellence.

They set an inspiring example for their team. It is a plain fact that leaders in the business world routinely go above and beyond their duties in the workplace to achieve their desired result. They do not sit on the sidelines and command or expect excellence from others.

Excellence is a value manifest by example. Team members catch on to the hard work done by their leaders. They are inspired to join them. Performance excellence becomes the workplace standard. Everybody wants to make sure they match the efforts of their peers.

 You might be interested in reading the Top 6 Personal Finance Articles You Should Read Today

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Answering the Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here? Wed, 25 Apr 2018 13:30:21 +0000 During job interviews, there is one question that you are guaranteed to hear: “Why do you want to work here?” Knowing how to handle this question is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. Find out how with our in-depth guide to providing the perfect answer. Preparing for a job interview is no easy task […]

The post Answering the Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here? appeared first on Five Hundred Stories.

why do you want to work here

During job interviews, there is one question that you are guaranteed to hear: “Why do you want to work here?”

Knowing how to handle this question is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. Find out how with our in-depth guide to providing the perfect answer.

Preparing for a job interview is no easy task

Being put on the spot can be a super nerve-wracking experience. Even the most hardened industry veterans can buckle under pressure during an important job interview.

Most job candidates that we speak to cite an inability to properly prepare for their interview. In most cases, they are overwhelmed by the number of potential questions they could be asked. They simply do not know where to begin.

It’s true. It is never easy to prepare for an interview. But, there are definitely great places to start. This is because nearly all interviews, across all industries, will feature the same universal question: Why do you want to work here?

We suggest that you start preparing for your upcoming job interview

By first answering that question on your own. Write your answer down. Without fabrication, really take the time to think about what it is that makes the company unique. In turn, consider how your unique personality and skill set can contribute to the company.

When asked “why do you want to work here”, you need to be able to provide a thoughtful answer. Lying, exaggerating, or failing to answer this question can ruin even the most qualified candidate’s chances of landing the job.

Don’t be another job hopeful whose resume ends up in the “rejection” pile. Instead, check out our tried-and-true guide to answering the question: Why do you want to work here?

The Basics: Why Do You Want to Work Here

When you are asked why you want to work somewhere, you are really being asked what you like about the company. Take some time to really consider what it is about the company you are applying to work for that you truly admire or get excited about. Obviously, getting a paycheque is a great reason. But, any successful candidate will need to dig a little deeper.

We encourage all job candidates to do their homework before every interview. Familiarize yourself with the history of the company, the products they develop, and the services they provide. Read about the company culture. Ask around about its reputation. When you can incorporate details into your answer, hiring managers and corporate leaders will be able to tell that you are serious about the position.

The Do’s and Don’ts
why do you want to work here

“Why do you want to work here?” It is a question we are all too familiar with. Yet, many of us make critical mistakes when we are asked it. Next time around, prepare yourself by getting to know the best way to handle this question.


Be concise. Keep your answer short. There is no need to be wordy or elaborate. Instead, be quick to the point. From the employer’s perspective, what you like about the company should be obvious to you. Therefore, you should be able to plainly articulate it.

Personalize it. If you are applying for a job with a video game company, and you grew up as a gamer, mention that. If you are applying to work for a national park, and you are an avid hiker or camper, be sure to bring up how much you love spending time outdoors.


Do not mention the money. Sure, the pay might be great. The vacation time might be even better. But this is not what hiring committees want to hear. All that this tells your potential employer is that you are primarily motivated by money. This makes for disloyal employees, as it implies you will leave the company at the first chance to make more money elsewhere.

Second, do not attempt to fake an impassioned response. Hiring managers have conducted hundreds of interviews, and they can detect false sincerity from a mile away. Instead, prepare something thoughtful and from the heart, even if it is not as enthusiastic as it could be.

The 3 Answer “Tiers”

When it comes to answering this question, you will want to make sure that you make your response as specific to the company as possible. However, when fielding many job offers and interviews at once, it can be difficult to find the time to research the nitty gritty details of each company.

As a rule of thumb, always try to err on the side of specificity. This means that your answer should pertain to the company directly, and not just to any company willing to give you an offer. To give you an idea of what we mean, here is a quick guide to properly specifying your answer. The three “tiers” are ordered from worst to best.

Last Resort: The Generic Answer

In our books, honesty and authenticity is always the best policy. When being interviewed, it is important to always be genuine in the answers that you give. This is because lies and “trumped up” statements are easy to detect. By providing a real, no-nonsense response you can stand out from the crowd. Even if your answer isn’t the greatest.

Here are some examples of generic answers that should be provided if you do not know much about the company. These answers are far from ideal, but they will work if you are in a pinch. Plus, they are more likely to come across as being from the heart than somebody else’s who exaggerates or contrives their answer.

  • “Your workplace culture seems like the right fit for me. From what I can tell, your company is faced with interesting problems that I’m confident I can help solve.”
  • “From what I have seen of the company, this is exactly my area of expertise. I would love to have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a team of like-minded colleagues who are dedicated to the same kind of problems that I am.”
  • “The team you have built at [Company X] is impressive. I can see myself fitting in well, and I know that they will help me develop as a [Profession Y].”

Better: The Size-Specific Answer

Even a minimal amount of knowledge about a company can go a long way. You can spruce up your answer by tailoring it to the size of the company you are applying for. If the company is a new startup, your answer should point out why startups are the right fit for you. If it is an industry-leading multinational, your answer should reflect that too.

  • [Start-up] “I don’t want to just be a cog in a machine. I want to be a part of a tight-knit team that tackles interesting problems together while giving everyone a chance to highlight their individual skills.”
  • [Mid-size Company] “This company is growing at an incredible pace. Yours is exactly the kind of environment where I can see my skills being put to good use. Your team is working within a major growth area and I would love to be a part of it.”
  • [Big Company] “I don’t want to work on projects that have no tangible impact. With this company, my work will affect millions of [Users/Customers] who will benefit directly from what I do.”

Best: The Product-Specific Answer

Before accepting an interview offer, you need to make sure you have enough time to prepare. Whenever possible, carve time out of your schedule to do as much research as possible about the company. This way, you will appear thoughtful and knowledgeable to your interview, and as being genuinely interested in the opportunity.

With a bit of research under your belt, you can specify your answer so that it speaks to the unique product or service that the company provides. This demonstrates your enthusiasm about what the company does, and that you want in on the action too.

Here are some of the best templates for a product or service-specific answers.

  • “Your [Product X] has really made an impact on the industry. Since its release in [Year Y], we have seen major industry players adapt their own solutions to stay competitive. I want to be a part of a team that is at the forefront of its market, and I see that opportunity here.”
  • “There are many companies that provide [Service X], but none with the degree of care and attention that your team does. This is clear just by looking at your customer testimonials. I want to join a team that strives for excellence in the industry, and I see that opportunity here.”
  • “I want to work for [Company X] because I have been a dedicated user of [Product Y] for years. Since I first purchased [Product Y], I knew that [Company X] was serious about innovation and providing the best quality product on the market. I can see my own commitment to excellence fitting in well with the company culture.”

Of course, all these answers are merely templates. Use them to draw inspiration for your own answers, but do not regurgitate them word for word. Remember, being authentic and honest is one of the most sought-after qualities that HR departments and hiring managers look for in candidates. Be inspired but get creative too.

Having a problem closing a deal? Read The Art of Closing Any Deal: A Book Still Valuable to Any Businessperson

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