When Small Things Get Big and Big Things Get Small

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | When Small Things Get Big and Big Things Get SmallThere are things in our lives that seem big, but they are really temporary or minor problems. The small things get big when we focus too much attention on them. When we make small things big, we can overlook the big things that become the elephant in the room that we are not seeing. If we take care of the small things as they come up, we are better able to cope with the big stuff.

Traffic moving slowly, someone not lending a hand when we think they should, children too distracted to listen; these are the small temporary problems. We can chew these things in our minds over and over until they are always/never pronouncements in our minds. The small things mull around in our minds until they seem overwhelming. Take the magnifying glass off of the problem, see it as smaller and farther away, and see the change in your perspective as the starting place for solving the problem. The words we use to describe the problem in our minds often magnify the problem. Look at the examples and see if you can change the sentence to something you would have control over.

“He never takes out the trash.”

“She always complains.”

“The kids never pick up their toys.”

“He never helps in the kitchen.”

“She’s always busy.”

“He never wants to do his homework.”

Problem statements can easily get cemented in our minds. They roll around over and over. They are a constant problem. When our minds are full of these small things, we don’t have room for the big things that are really important, so we make the big things small and ignore them. The big things are a) building sustainable relationships and b) creating healthy habits. Make a list of things you can do to begin focusing on the big things that have a long-lasting impact on your life and the lives of the important people around you.

  • Spend family time together.
  • Exercise or take a walk.
  • Take time to relax and have fun.
  • Listen attentively and notice when problems arise.
  • Have fun cooking a healthy meal with a friend.

I enjoy spending family time with my daughter, who is my good friend, while we are sharing recipes and cooking a favorite meal together. She lives 2700 miles from me, but our homes come together through Facetime. We enjoy our cooking time together so much that we both got an Alexa Show for Christmas. These are precious moments – the big stuff – where we each share our family moments. There are times when I realize I just spent two hours on the phone with my daughter, but we are building important relationships and as a bonus creating delicious nutritious meals.

We can flip the switch on our perceptions, pay attention to the things we have control over, and understand that others will see things differently. Pay attention to statements that include, “always” or “never.” Most things are not that absolute. More often we are speaking from our own perceptions magnifying the situation with absolutes. We can’t control other people, but we do have control over our perceptions and reactions.

Get help if the big or small things feel overwhelming. Don’t wait until a crisis takes over your life. Reach out to a professional counselor or Certified Life Coach if you need help to flip the switch on your perspective, so you can see the small things for what they are, and manage the big things in your life.

As a Creative Entrepreneur, you want to focus on the big stuff, being healthy and creating sustainable relationships. You need relationships to build your customer base, and you need to be vibrant and healthy so you will have the energy to provide your product or service.

About the Author

Nancy J. Miller, M.S., Career Counselor/Certified Life Coach bringing joyful perspectives and life changing attitudes to the lives I touch.

Contact Nancy to learn more about her Coaching Package, Find Success as a Creative Entrepreneur.

Spicing it Up: 4 Creative Ideas to Make Meetings More Interesting

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Productive Meetings|Spicing it Up: 4 Creative Ideas to Make Meetings More InterestingSitting through weekly meetings that are dull and uninteresting is not at the top of any employee’s list. Instead of making meetings an endurance test, find ways to make meetings more interesting and engaging. There are at least 4 creative ideas out there to make meetings more enjoyable and productive. Shaking up meetings with a new meeting location, catering, and other ideas may be just what is needed.

1. The Meeting Location

Consider moving the meeting to a better location. A meeting place should be comfortable and interesting. Think about room temperature. Too hot and people will be getting sleepy. Too cold and people will be uncomfortable and just want to leave. There should be ample table space and comfortable chairs. Creative Meeting Venues might be an answer. Look into meeting locations to rent a unique space that meets all the needs for a productive meeting. A good meeting location might also involve refreshments such as coffee, tea or water, and a light snack to keep people energized and comfortable.

2. Ban smartphones

Ban smartphones and electronic devices for the duration of the meeting. This strategy keeps everyone’s attention on the meeting rather than a small screen. People interact with each other and exchange useful ideas. More will be accomplished when everyone is in the present and paying attention to the speaker and the problem to be solved or the announcement being made.

3. Be Well Prepared

The boss holding the meeting should be on time and well-prepared. Have a written agenda for the meeting to hand out and stick to that agenda. If a meeting is being held, it should have a purpose and a plan. Practice your speaking and organizational skills beforehand so it is comfortable leading the meeting. Don’t have a meeting with no good purpose or advance planning.

Make important company announcements and then invite member comments and questions. Are problems needing solutions? If so ask the members at the meeting to participate with suggestions for solutions and ways to implement them. Keep everyone engaged and feeling appreciated.

4. Get People Moving

With long meetings where everyone is forced to sit around a table without a break, attention wanders. Get people a chance to move and stretch. At the beginning of a meeting have people stand and do some stretches, then repeat it at a later time when people are starting to lose focus or zone out. Keep the stretches simple and appropriate for the people and clothing at the meeting.

The main thing is to move the arms and legs a bit and to stand up. Maybe have everyone get up and walk around the table once before sitting back down.

Give Everyone a Chance To Share Ideas

When a meeting is successful, everyone has had input that is respected. There are ideas that have been discussed and a plan of future actions decided on so each person leaves the meeting with a sense of accomplishment and purpose. And, make sure the meeting plans are followed up on so the meeting was productive for the future. Everyone should leave the meeting with an individual action plan.
Another meeting problem that should be solved is to give everyone equal time to give input without letting one person dominate the meeting to the detriment of the others. A good meeting leader knows how to limit each person’s time speaking so others can all give their input and no one feels left out or frustrated.

Think You Have No Worries with a Job Change If There’s No Non-Compete Agreement? Think Again

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Non-compete|Think You Have No Worries with a Job Change If There’s No Non-Compete Agreement? Think Again


Each year, thousands of people explore and often accept a new job opportunity with a direct competitor. When they have no employment agreement or non-compete clause, they consider themselves free from risk as they talk to or move to a competing company. But in reality, this is far from the truth.

The non-competition agreement is a form of contract that employees sign with their current companies to keep them from being able to work for a competing firm. With or without this signed agreement, however, both the recruited candidate and the recruiting company put themselves at great risk of getting sued and/or having their business plans severely disrupted unless they manage the process with care.

A significant potential snafu in the hiring process is in the transitioning stage. Specifically, companies that, as part of their business model hire from competitors, along with recruits contemplating moving to a competitor, need to appreciate the time between considering the move to a competitor and knocking on a manager’s door to resign as fraught with risks. Regardless of whether there are any so-called post-employment restrictive covenants, all manner of pre-departure conduct must be the hiring company’s and the recruit’s first and primary concern.

Every state has a body of laws that govern what a person may or may not do before he or she resigns to join a competing company. What overrides all the legalese is one — although there are other “lesser” — relatively straightforward sounding proposition: While employed by company “A,” an employee may not compete with her company or take steps to help the New Company.

While that sounds like a commonsense and easy-to-follow rule, it’s far from simple because of the many ways in which “competition” can be construed. For example:

  1. When the recruit asks clients if they might continue with him if he moved to Next Company, he’s “competing.”
  2. If the manager badmouths her company to direct reports in order to pre-condition them for a switch, she’s “competing.”
  3. When the recruit hears about a new potential piece of business, but delays it so that he can bring it into the New Company, he’s “competing” (it’s called warehousing).
  4. If, during the interview process, the CEO reveals where she thinks her company is heading, she’s “competing.”

So many seemingly ordinary and natural exchanges that occur during the hiring process are laden with potential perils. Because of this, it’s important that everyone involved in the effort is informed and in sync.

From the New Company’s standpoint, it’s critical that everyone who interacts with the recruit understand the great risk created if they induce, or even have a part in pre-departure competitive misconduct. All the greatest intentions will mean nothing if just one person in the hiring chain steps out of line.

Anyone involved in the process of moving to and recruiting from the competition must maintain a disciplined focus on the governing law, as well as have a real appreciation for the emotions, optics and other unsettling byproducts of transitioning.

Always keep in mind that the absence of a contract doesn’t mean that the recruit and the company are free of risk. She may not have a non-compete agreement, but she can present plenty of other problems for the hiring company to worry about.

About the Author

Steven L. Manchel, Esq. possesses the highest possible attorney rating and has extensive national experience in recruiting matters, broker-dealer litigation, securities litigation, and complex civil litigation. In the employee departure arena, he has handled matters ranging from single employee transitions to the types of retention and attraction issues arising from large corporate mergers and acquisitions. The case study in his new book, I Hereby Resign (New Academia, Aug. 27, 2019), is used in a class in which he continues to lecture at the Harvard Business School. Learn more at manchelbrennan.com.

Business Travels in Chicago? Here’s How You Can *Gasp* Enjoy Your Trip

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For those who love traveling, business trips are another welcomed opportunity to stay in a furnished apartment in a new town, bask in the culture, and try new cuisine. For others, traveling for business is somewhat of an inconvenience, usually because of commitments at home, such as family, friends, and pets and being taken away from their usual routine. However, there are ways to navigate around this.

For a few tips to help ease you into your new life in Chicago, look no further.

Choose The Perfect Place To Stay

Where you choose to stay in Chicago makes a big difference in how much you enjoy your trip, and that’s why it’s essential to pick the right place to stay. If you’re staying for a few nights, you might think that a hotel is your best and only option. However, if you need to stay in Chicago for a couple of weeks or months, booking a fully-furnished and serviced apartment will be a better option for you. You can find a range of apartment sizes and styles to rent that are available for a minimum of a month-long contract across most areas of Chicago, from the South Loop to the Old Town area.

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The longer you need to stay in Chicago, the more essential it is to find a temporary home that you’ll love. For instance, having a fully equipped apartment with all the mod cons you’ll need will provide a much more comfortable setting for you to adjust to being away from home. Renting an apartment, rather than staying in a hotel on your trip also makes it easier for you to invite your family to come and visit or stay with you too.

Pre-Plan How To Get Around

Part of having a relaxed trip to Chicago is figuring out how you will get around the city. Whether meeting with clients, traveling to an office, or running daily errands. There is no one size fits all transport option. Some people prefer the environmentally friendly benefit of using a bike. Others like the hustle and bustle and the fast and cost-effective choice of using the Chicago Transit Authority buses and the ‘L’. While some prefer the scenic route via water taxi, others like to hire a vehicle to get around.

Choosing solutions ahead of your stay will save you a lot of hassle. How you decide to travel is a matter of preference, but it’s worth checking out the routes on Google Maps or Waze to figure out getting to and from your accommodation and workplace. Also, don’t forget to set up a backup travel solution in case there are delays with the first transport you choose.

Set Up A Routine

A handy tip that works well for those traveling away for business is to create a new routine. At home, you already have a routine, meaning you don’t have to waste time and energy thinking about what you need to do. From getting in the shower to ironing your clothes, feeding the dog, making your lunch, and so on, there are specific things you do each day.

To help you enjoy your trip and get your life in order, create a sense of stability and comfort while you’re away in Chicago. Other factors, such as finding the closest supermarket, drug store, and doctor’s office is also helpful ahead of your stay.


It’s a good idea for you to make plans to meet with people while you’re in a new place. Whether that means reaching out to work colleagues or contacting friends/family that live in Chicago to meet up. You may even want to plan a few exciting excursions to some of Chicago’s attractions. For instance, Millenium park, the Museum of Science and Industry, or take a Chicago crime tour. By making an effort to be social and connect with people during your trip, and by taking a break and having some fun, you’ll feel happier, more content and even more productive!

Enjoying your business travels to Chicago definitely takes planning. It’s natural to feel a bit stressed when you’re away from home, but if you sort out the best accommodation that truly makes you feel at home, preplan your transport routes and develop a routine, you’ll quickly settle in with ease and enjoy your stay.

Increasing Our Wealth For The Future: What You Might Want To Try

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Increase Your Wealth|Increasing Our Wealth For The Future: What You Might Want To TryMany of us have full time jobs, or a job that we do that happens to fund our main income each month. It may be something you love and cherish, or it may be something that you just fell into because you weren’t sure what direction to take with your career. However, many of us can agree that often we want more for our future, and there are thankfully things that you can do, either alongside your current job or as a change of career entirely.

The hardest part is finding the time, and some of us will openly admit it that they won’t feel like there is enough time. But there are big things you can do, and also small things that don’t take that much time that can help you to increase your wealth. With that in mind, here are some of them are.

Constructively look at your outgoings

One of the first things that you may want to think about would be to constructively look at your outgoings and see if there are any changes that can be made. The money we spend each week and month can often be a big indicator as to where we can make savings. Some people will still have outgoings that they thought were cancelled. Others will be paying too much for things like energy and insurance, where changing providers could give you an instant saving and boost your disposable;e income. Take some time to do this and really understand where your money goes.

Developing our career

Another great thing that you could do would be to look at your current career. Not everyone has a job they love, but for some people, they are fortunate to enjoy the career that they have and have a passion for it. This is when developing your current career could be a great way to increase your wealth for the future. Maybe it involves learning and getting more qualifications to move up the ladder. It could be that showing initiative means you get more responsibility and alongside that are able to enjoy a big pay rise. The more you climb, the higher pay you can earn.

Buying and developing property

There are some great options to consider when it comes to making More money, and property is one of the ways you can do it. Many of us focus on our own property, and that can be a great for the future. You can earn from your property as you live in it or own it for longer, and this can be great in terms of increasing your value. But, you could also do this with intention. Such as buying and selling for a profit, making improvements to earn big money. Our it could mean buying more than one and having a property portfolio that you then earn from monthly as well as long term.

Investing in something physical

Maybe you want to invest some of your savings into something more physical. This could be jewellery or art and often this holds a value but it can also increase in value in the future. It might be because of what you have invested in, that all of a sudden interest in that item or even the person such as the artist could then increase the value of it.

Investing in stock, shares and long term investments

Maybe you like the idea of long term investments which includes things like stocks and shares and even fixed terms savings and hedge funds. This is when things like algo trading can really help you stay on track with your investments, or certainly make the right level of choices when it comes to what you do invest in.

Turn a hobby into a job

Many people have decided to turn a hobby into a job, especially with things like blogging, writing, or using a skill that you have developed over time. Often this hobbies have been nurtured and your passions and love has been poured into them, so turning them into a job and business often feels like a natural step to take. It can feel like a lot to do at first, but it could certainly enable you to be in a position to earn more money for the future. You may want to think long and hard about how you do this, so enlisting the help of affordable seo services could help you to enable a blog or website you have to get a better reach and in turn reach more potential customers and clients.

Declutter your home

Many of us will have things in our home that we no longer want, need or have any use for, and yet they are stored in lofts, attic spaces, drawers and cupboards. Never to see the light of day. You could be making money from these unwanted things. This is when platforms like eBay prove very useful and can enable you to not only increase your income in the short term, but also help you to build up savings for the future.

Change your habits in your home

Often the future starts with actions that you take today, and habits that you have in your home could be costing you a small fortune. The way you use your energy for example, can be quite costly. Leaving things on charge and also not switching things off can be using more energy than you think is possible. Meal planning can also save you money on your food shopping bill each week.

Use your spare time wisely with side hustles

Finally, you can use your spare time wisely and invest into side hustles that can be completed even when you are relaxing, watching tv, or spending time with loved ones. This is when performing online surveys for a fee and mystery shopping are just some of the side hustles you could consider. There are many more advertised online.

Let’s hope that this has inspired you to consider some options for your future.