TIME Careers & Workplace

8 Questions You Have to Ask During a Job Interview

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Don't be afraid to grill hiring managers. Chances are, they're hoping you will

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Earlier this month, I was interviewing a prospective designer for my company. The candidate asked, “Who does wireframing for your app, the product team or the design team?” A simple question. But it kicked off a great discussion about our processes and how he could contribute to the team.

I remember thinking, “Hey, we are already working together…” This candidate is now an employee and a good fit for our company. His simple question opened the doors for us to have a genuine conversation about each other’s motivations, needs, passions, and work philosophies. In my 20-plus years in the recruitment industry, I am still surprised by how rare this crucial conversation is in a job interview.

There’s no doubt candidates who ask questions have a better chance at landing their dream job. Here are eight of the best questions I’ve heard from candidates:

1. What role will I fill?

When it comes to an employee’s role in a business’s strategy, the job title explains only so much. You are filling a void on the living, breathing team. Is this company hoping for an ideas person, a mentor to other employees, a creative force, a rule follower, a rule breaker? Get to the specifics of “who” your position is supposed to be.

2. Why does this role matter to the growth of the company?

Use this question to explore the expected level of engagement. Are you more comfortable being in a low- or a high-impact role? Do you want to be in a role that is universally respected within the company or are you OK being the undercover hero?

3. Who would my colleagues be?

The best interviews include three to four team members. If that is not the case in your interview, use this question to gain insight into team dynamics and personalities. These are the people you will spend every day with, so they need to pass what Tom Gimbel calls “the airplane test“—someone you would enjoy sitting next to on a long flight.

4. What would I be doing that makes your job easier?

This question has two benefits—you will find out who is going to lean on you the heaviest and what you will need to do to keep the other teammates happy. The answers to this question will be the immediate problems each team member is hoping you will solve.

5. What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?

What are the soft skills needed for this particular job? Find out if the company needs someone who is also a self-starter or works well in teams. This is also an excellent time to bring up any additional skills you have that are appropriate for position.

6. How does the company measure success?

Identifying how your progress in this position will be measured will give you a better idea of whether or not you will be successful. Get specifics on what your deliverables will be per project. Ask about common work habits of people who have had this position in the past whom the company considered successful.

7. What would you expect from me this month, in three months, and in a year?

Chances are that your employer has a trajectory for your role in mind. Find out what you will need to deliver in the next coming months. Ask yourself if this pace feels doable for the way you work.

8. What is your mission?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask. Research shows that employees are most happy when their goals align with those of their employers. Get philosophical here and find out why you are both here in this room and if you want the same things.

Repeat your questions for each hiring manager you meet, because you will get different responses from different people. As a CEO, I am often the last person in the round of interviews. It happens time and time again that I will say, “Do you have any questions for me?” and get a polite “No, I got a lot of my questions answered.”

I didn’t get my questions answered though. Keep the conversation going. If you want to work for my company, you have to ask for it.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Hate Mornings? 6 Small Changes That Will Fix Everything

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Here are quick remedies to the biggest obstacle to having a perfect day

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

The first few minutes of your morning are the most important of your day and can set the tone for positivity and productivity. Ideally, you have an app or clock that taps into your natural circadian rhythm and wakes you during your “best time” within a certain window. Getting jarred out of a deep REM slumber to the sound of a blaring alarm clock sets you up for a negative day brimming with fatigue and crankiness.

But getting the right alarm clock is only part of the battle.

Here are six ways to start your morning better while kicking bad habits that destroy good sleep hygiene.

1. Give yourself at least 15 minutes of no screen time

Besides turning off an alarm that might be on your phone, resist the urge to check your email or social media. It sets you up for a day of being enslaved to technology, and your morning time should be reserved just for you. This might mean disabling notifications on your home screen so you’re not tempted by that Facebook update or mounting emails.

2. Swap out the coffee for lemon water

Lukewarm water with a fresh lemon squeezed into it has numerous benefits–but you need to drink it first thing in the morning. It starts your metabolism, which burns fat while sustaining muscle, cleanses your mouth and throat, and gives you a boost of energy. Then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, drinking, or eating. This might be a toughie for caffeine addicts, but you can manage 30 minutes and it’s a great way to reduce the need for a coffee fix.

3. Sit up correctly

There are many “bad ways” to get out of bed, but only one best way, if your body allows for it: Roll over onto your right side, then push yourself up into a sitting position before standing with a straight back (no hunching). It’s the gentlest way to get up, takes the pressure off your heart and back, and is a great, easy ritual to start your morning right.

4. Set and affirm your goals for the day

While stretching in bed or prepping your lemon water, set some feasible goals for the day, but limit them to three. This might include packing your lunch instead of eating out to save money, committing to that noon yoga class, or scheduling the doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off.

5. Stretch

It seems so obvious, and yet so many people ignore it. You can do this in bed, using a simple stretched-out-legs-and-arms-overhead movement. You can indulge in a supine twist on a padded floor, or you can practice whatever feels right for as little or as long as you like. Your body’s just been booted down for hours–you can’t expect it to be warmed up, energized, and raring to go right away.

6. Meditate

Don’t skip over this one just because it sounds boring or like you don’t have time for it. Meditation is only as strict, long, short, boring, or annoying as you make it. A “successful” meditation in an entire lifetime might be only a few seconds. However, sitting in a comfortable position and focusing on clearing your mind–even if it’s for less than a minute–can help your mental clarity and spiritual well-being and set the stage for the day.

You probably already know which morning habits aren’t serving you, so why keep doing them? Instead, focus on what really makes your mornings better and prioritize them.

TIME Careers & Workplace

9 Things the Smartest Leaders Do

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These simple strategies create organizations that are flexible, resilient, and attractive to top talent

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

In previous posts, I’ve described what smart bosses believe, what smart bosses know about people, and the words that smart bosses never say. This piece describes the specific strategies I’ve observed CEOs apply inside the most consistently successful companies:

1. They encourage diversity of thought.

Smart CEOs build organizations in which a diversity of opinion and background produce alternative approaches to solving problems and building opportunity.

Average CEOs build organizations in which everyone looks and thinks the same way. This reduces conflict but results in a brittle organization that can’t adapt.

2. They sacrifice their cash cows.

Smart CEOs realize that a successful product becomes obsolete even while it’s still selling well. As a result, they kill off and replace their most profitable products.

Average CEOs keep their cash cows alive even if it means that competitors will capture the next product generation.

3. They build symbiotic relationships.

Smart CEOs seek out situations in which customers and partners mutually benefit because everyone’s growth depends upon how well that she or he can cooperate.

Average CEOs think of business as a zero-sum game, where being a winner means that somebody else must be a loser, even if it’s a customer or partner.

4. They physically connect with employees.

Smart CEOs walk the halls, shake hands, and speak one-on-one with line employees, sincerely thanking them for their contributions.

Average CEOs send out pep-talk emails filled with biz-blab like “employees are our greatest resource.”

5. They encourage social interaction.

Smart CEOs encourage social activities with intergroup mingling. They want employees from sales, engineering, and finance (for instance) to know and like one another.

Average CEOs have management retreats in fancy resort hotels and give regular employees free passes to the local Six Flags park.

6. They foster hands-on community involvement.

Smart CEOs want employees to become involved in personally helping the local community deal with whatever problems exist.

Average CEOs run contests to see which manager can arm-twist the most employees into donating money to United Way.

7. They increase flexibility by dispersing power.

Smart CEOs push authority as far down the organizational chain as possible, so that those closest to a situation have the power to make the best decisions.

Average CEOs obsess about checks and balances so that nobody takes a risk without first getting approval from higher-ups.

8. They encourage informality.

Smart CEOs create collegelike work environments in which employees feel relaxed, as if they’re among friends and mentors.

Average CEOs create factorylike environments in which everyone feels like a cog in the corporate machine.

9. They keep job descriptions fluid.

Smart CEOs let individuals, teams, and organizations define their roles as necessary to accomplish the job at hand.

Average CEOs expend vast effort writing detailed job descriptions and defining how the “system” is supposed to work.

TIME

18 Ways to Send the Right Message With Body Language

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Use nonverbal communication to your advantage

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

In addition, it’s especially important to make a good first impression. Why? Because within the first few minutes of meeting someone, we are already making decisions about what the other person’s intentions are, and whether or not the person is credible and someone we want to do business with.

Therefore, the way you present yourself–especially the way you communicate nonverbally in those first few crucial minutes after meeting someone new–could make or break what could potentially be a very important business relationship.

Here are 18 ways you can use your body language to communicate your credibility and intentions in a way that will set you up for success every time.

Positive body

1. Begin with your posture–back straight but not rigid, and shoulders relaxed so you don’t look too uptight.

2. Align your body with the person you’re talking to–this shows you’re engaged.

3. Keep your legs apart a bit instead of crossed–this demonstrates that you’re relaxed, and research shows that you retain more information when you keep your legs uncrossed.

4. Lean in a bit–this shows focus and that you really are listening.

5. Mirror the body language you are observing, showing you are in agreement and that you like–or are sincerely trying to like–the person you are with.

Positive arms and hands

6. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides, showing you are open to what someone else is communicating, and as with your legs, keep your arms uncrossed in order to absorb more of what’s going on.

7. Use your hands to gesture when you speak–this improves your credibility with the listener. In addition, there is evidence that gesturing with your hands while speaking improves your thinking processes.

8. Always remember to greet others with a firm handshake–but not too firm. A firm handshake is probably one of the most important body language moves, because it sets the tone for the entire conversation. Who wants to shake hands and then have a conversation with a wet noodle?

9. Be aware of different cultural greetings and closures prior to your meeting.

Positive head

10. With appropriate nods and genuine smiles, you are showing the speaker that you understand, agree, and are listening to his or her opinions.

11. Laughter is always a great way to lighten the mood when used appropriately, and once again, it shows you’re listening.

12. Keep good eye contact by looking the person in the eye when he or she is communicating. Keep eye contact going when you speak, because this shows you are interested in the conversation. Watch your eye contact, though–if you don’t take breaks to contemplate your next answer, your eye contact could be viewed as staring (translation: aggressive or creepy).

13. Beware of blinking too much. Rapid blinking could communicate that you are feeling uncomfortable with the current conversation.

14. Mirror the other person’s facial expressions, because once again, this demonstrates that you are in agreement and like–or are making an effort to like–the other person.

15. Monitor your voice. Keep it low, and don’t end every sentence as if it’s a question. Take a deep breath and speak slowly and clearly.

The little extras

16. During your meeting, take notes. This will demonstrate that you are engaged and care about what the other person is saying, but remember to make eye contact regularly so the speaker knows you’re still with him or her.

17. Watch the body language of others, as they may be communicating to you through their body language that they would like to conclude the meeting. People are much more likely to engage you in future conversations if you observe and act on their body language cues.

18. End the meeting with a firm handshake and eye contact, showing you enjoyed your time and hope to meet again.

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Ways to Stop Feeling Overworked and Overwhelmed

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Everybody feels that way--so why not do something about it?

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

After reading an early version of a new book, I decided to do a quick survey during a speaking engagement. I asked the audience, “How many of you feel overworked and overwhelmed?”

As far as I could tell, every hand was raised.

That’s what I expected. We all feel overworked. We all feel overwhelmed, at least some of the time. (Even if by other people’s standards we have it easy, we still feel overworked.)

Effectively managing our professional and personal lives is a problem we all struggle with. Maybe that’s because we look outside ourselves for solutions: software, apps, devices, time management systems, etc.

All of those can help, but as Scott Eblin, author of Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative, says, “The only person who is going to keep you from feeling overworked and overwhelmed is you.”

So how do you pull it off? It starts with making one overriding commitment: You must commit to intentionally managing your time so you have a fighting chance of showing up at your best–your most inspired, your most productive, and your most “in the flow.”

So how do you do that? Here are Scott’s tips:

1. Recognize and overcome the tyranny of the present.

People who are always “in the moment” don’t look ahead and make plans to pursue their goals and dreams. Though there are certainly things you need to do every day, much of what you think you need to do isn’t particularly important–especially where your long-term goals are concerned.

That’s why you should…

2. Ask, “Is this really necessary?”

Challenge your basic assumptions about your regular habits. Do you need to have that meeting? Do you need to create that report? Do you need to respond to that email? In many cases you don’t, but you do anyway simply because that’s what you’ve always done.

Eliminate as many “nice to do” tasks as possible–not only will you have more time, you’ll also have more time to be effective where it really matters.

3. Push reset on your calendar.

Sometimes the answer to “Is this really necessary?” is “Yes, but not right now.” What is the most important thing you need to do today? What tasks will keep you from getting that done?

The same is true if something important pops up: Immediately reset your calendar and reprioritize. Getting stuff done is fine, but getting the right stuff done is what really matters.

4. Understand and set your operating rhythm.

We all work differently. Some like to hit the ground running. Others like to start the day by reflecting, meditating, and thinking. Some like to work into the night.

The key is to understand not just how you like to work but also how you work best. You might like to work late at night, but if you’re tired or frazzled by a long day, you won’t perform at your best.

Do some experiments to figure out what works best for you. While you won’t always be able to stick to your plan, you will always have a plan to return to.

5. Schedule the most important tasks first.

What are your priorities for the month? The week? Today? Determine what they are and do those things first.

Why would you work on less important tasks when the truly important items are where you create the most value–whether for your business or your life?

6. Give yourself time for unconscious thought.

Giving yourself time for unconscious thought is key to making smart decisions when you face complex problems. Research shows people tend to make their best decisions when they have an opportunity to review the data and facts and then focus their thought on something else for a while.

How? Take a walk. Do a mindless chore. Exercise. Do something where your body goes on autopilot and your mind does too. You’ll be surprised by the solutions you can dream up when you aren’t purposely trying to be creative.

7. Set boundaries.

No one can or should be on 24/7. Yet you probably feel you are–because you allow yourself to be.

Set some boundaries: the time you’ll stop working, certain times you’ll do things with your family, certain times you won’t take calls, etc. Then let people know those boundaries.

Other people won’t respect your time unless you respect your time first.

8. Be strategic with “yes” and “no.”

You can’t say yes to everything. (Well, you can, but you won’t get everything you say yes to done–so in effect you’re still saying no.)

Sometimes you simply need to say no. Other times you can say, “No, unless…” and add stipulations. The same is true with yes: Saying, “Yes, but only if…” creates guidelines.

Always consider the effect of a request on your most important goals. An automatic yes also automatically takes time away from what you need to get done.

9. Tame your distractions.

Most people are distracted over 30 times an hour: phone calls, emails, texts, office drop-ins… The list is endless.

Schedule blocks of time when you’ll turn off alerts. The only way to stay on schedule is to work on your own schedule–not on that of other people.

10. Remember your impact on other people.

If you’re a leader–and since you run a business, you definitely are–you naturally impact other people. You set a direction. You set a standard.

You’re a role model.

Be a great role model: a person who gets important tasks done, who stays on point, who focuses on achieving goals and dreams … and who helps other people achieve their goals and dreams.

That’s reason enough to manage your time so you’re consistently at your best.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Email Rules That Will Change Your Life

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Adhering to these handy rules can help you stand out from the pack

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

It might be one of the least sexy skills on the planet, but the ability to weave a flawless email is an enviable trait. Because so much of communication is derived from nonverbal cues such as body language, an effectively-written email is particularly important: without those nonverbal cues, emails can so easily get misinterpreted, at best leading to minor misunderstandings, and at worst, derailing important business projects.

Depending on what type of job you hold, email etiquette can vary significantly. In many corporate cultures, the tone is formal and messages are very matter-of-fact, whereas other companies are accustomed to informal interactions involving smiley faces and cute “xoxo” sign-offs. But wherever where you work, one thing remains the same: your email manners matter.

Here are 5 general rules to follow to master the art of emailing:

  1. Be direct.

If your inbox is anything like mine, chances are it’s flooded by a ridiculous number of emails per day. Given that, it’s imperative that all your outgoing emails have a clear subject line. Also, in the body of the email make sure you get to the point using as few words as possible. Lengthy messages typically scare more people off.

“It’s very simple; emails should deliver information and, if needed, send out a call to action,”says Deb Merry, marketing expert and entrepreneur.

Speaking of delivering information efficiently: when a long email exchange morphs into a new topic but the subject hasn’t changed, it’s time to edit the subject to make the thread easier to find in the future.

  1. Know your audience.

Lindsey Pollak, email etiquette consultant and author of Getting From College to Careerexplains, “Your e-mail greeting and sign-off should be consistent with the level of respect and formality of the person you’re communicating with.”

Pollak advises writing “for the person who will be reading it–if they tend to be very polite and formal, write in that language. The same goes for a receiver who tends to be more informal and relaxed.”

Before reaching out to any potential clients or customers, it’s important to do your homework. In other words, you need to develop a mental image of who they are and what they’ll respond to, and write your email accordingly.

  1. Add a personal touch.

Adding a personal touch is usually very effective. For example, if you are reaching out to an author to request a book for reviewing, it’s a good idea to compliment some of his previous work. Not only does it make him feel good, but it shows you put in the effort to learn about him. Who wouldn’t want to do business with someone like that?

If you’re using a tool like Salesforce or Contactually to send out a number of emails at once, be sure to personalize before sending. A mass mail that feels like a mass mail is a major turn-off.

  1. Follow up and express your gratitude.

In many cases, your initial exchange will require a follow up. It’s one thing to establish a connection, but learning how to maintain relationships is another skill entirely.

Following up after a pitch meeting? A short, unique email showing your appreciation for the other parties’ time will go a long way. Responding to press? Your follow up “could be as simple as a quick email or tweet saying thanks, or it could be following up with feedback about the coverage,” Crew Blog reports.

Follow-up emails are a great opportunity to say thank you and leave on a positive note so you can continue doing business together.

  1. Don’t just ask–give.

Whether you’re following up with someone or just checking in with a contact you’re out of touch with, it usually feels less obtrusive if you try to add value in some way. If there is a product they might be interested in, let them know. If there is news relevant to their industry, let them know. If you have a suggestion for their business that can help them improve their profitability, let them kn- well, you get the idea.

You never want to be the type of contact who only gets in touch when you want something; that’s a great way to keep your professional network small.

Of course, these are just my top five. How would you rate yourself on the email etiquette scale? What else would you say has been a key to your email success?

 

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Healthy Alternatives to Coffee at Work

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There's no denying that coffee makes the office world go 'round. However, you cannot subsist on it alone. It's time to inject a variety of other beverages into your routine.

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

The workplace has begun to replace the coffee shop for many American employees. People employed in an office where coffee is served often skip Dunkin’ or Starbucks to save a few bucks by indulging in the free brew. While starting the day off with a cup of java is a perfectly acceptable practice, many employees return to the coffee pot time and time again throughout the day, filling their body with loads of caffeine, and potentially high levels of sugar if they choose to sweeten their beverage.

A hot drink or a beverage break while working is loved by many–and throwing out the coffee pot to improve employees’ health without replacing it with something equally as satisfactory isn’t advised. For seven healthy alternatives to serving coffee in the workplace that your employees–and their bodies–will love, try the following:

1. Kombucha Tea

You’ve probably heard about this one but don’t know too much about it. Kombucha is a type of yeast. When you ferment it with tea, sugar, and other flavors or ingredients you make Kombucha tea. While the benefits of Kombucha are debated, many claim that it is useful for treating memory loss, regulating bowel movements, preventing cancer, helping with high blood pressure, and more.

2. Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is the good alternative to coffee for those who can’t start the day without a cup o’ caffeine. Providing the same buzz that coffee gives, Yerba Mate is preferred by many as it’s packed with nutrients, too. Mate is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the celebrated South American rainforest holly tree. It is widely known for not having the heavy “crash” that coffee can bring. Another benefit of Yerba Mate is that it can be prepared and consumed in a variety of ways–hot, cold, with honey, in a tea infuser, in a French press, or even in a traditional coffee machine.

3. Probiotic Drinks

There is a wide variety of probiotic drinks available these days. These sparkling beverages provide different strains of active cultures of live probiotics. If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t sure why that matters. Researchers say that some digestive orders happen when the balance of friendly bacteria in the intestines becomes disturbed. This can happen after taking antibiotics. Probiotics are said to help counteract this. They regulate digestive health, boost the immune system, maintaining gut health, and more.

4. Tea

Most offices will have this available for you already. The teapot offers a very healthyalternative to the office coffee machine. Teas come in a myriad of forms and blends and can be drunk hot or cold. There is a massive selection of green, black, herbal, and specialty teas out there, many of which are caffeine-free and naturally sweet enough to pass on the sugar. Many teas are a well-known source of antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals.

5. Coconut Water

Tea and coconut water are two of the healthier drinks on the market growing in popularity the fastest. Coconut water is a clear, milky liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes and is chock full ofrehydrating electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks.

6. Sparkling Water

While it’s not the most exciting beverage in the world, sparkling water can be a refreshing alternative to both coffee and water. Especially when flavored with natural, sugar-free, fruit extracts, sparkling water is delicious and hydrating. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace from Perrier to San Pellegrino.

7. Hot Apple Cider

Hot apple cider’s sweet tanginess offers its own unique pick-me-up in lieu of caffeine, and its soothing warmth is just as satisfying as that of coffee on a cold fall or winter morning. In addition to its natural sweetness, because apples are the key ingredient, apple cider offershealth benefits not available in coffee.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Meet the 12-Year-Old CEO Who Runs a $150,000 Business

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We could all learn a lot about business and life from Moziah Bridges

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

In the past three years, while his classmates were doing homework and playing sports, Moziah Bridges built himself a $150,000 business.

That’s right–he started his business when he was 9 years old. Not yet a teenager, Bridges now has five staff members and has received a ton of media attention, from an appearance on the TV show Shark Tank to features in O magazine and Vogue.

“I like to wear bow ties, because they make me look good and feel good,” Bridges writes on his website. “Designing a colorful bow tie is just part of my vision to make the world a fun and happier place.”

Ever the fashionista, he’s reveled in style from a young age. At four years old, Bridges wore a suit and tie whenever possible and insisted on dressing himself.

His business, Mo’s Bows, was born of his love for bow ties and his dissatisfaction with the selection available for kids his age. Even worse than the poor color selection, they were all clip-ons–Bridges believed real men should tie their own ties. His grandmother taught him to sew by hand and to use a sewing machine, using scraps to create his favorite neckwear.

Within a few months, he had created his own collection of more than two dozen bow ties. Friends and family fell in love with his creations. Bridges upped his production, fashioning tidy bow ties from his grandmother’s vintage fabrics in an array of floral and African prints, and even scraps of old taffeta dresses.

Word of mouth worked its magic, and soon Bridges was taking orders through Facebook and selling on his own Etsy store. As demand increased, his mother, grandmother, and other family members came on board to help with production.

Today, each bow tie is still sewn from scratch, though Bridges has expanded from vintage materials to tweeds and ginghams, with a formal line of satins and silk. His bow ties are available in his own webstore, on Etsy, and in boutiques throughout Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

When asked who his role models are, he said he looks up to Daymond John, who became his mentor as a result of the Shark Tank appearance.

As if his early success in business weren’t enough, Bridges has also become something of a young philanthropist. This summer, he donated $1,600 to send 10 children from his hometown of Memphis to Glenview Summer Camp.

In a post on his blog, Bridges wrote, “Memphis is ranked the highest of child hunger; most kids only get a meal when school is in session. At the community center, the kids get a meal and play time. Giving back to my community really helped me feel humble. It also makes me smile because I see other kids smiling and enjoying the camp.”

What’s next for this inspirational kidpreneur? In a recent interview, Bridges said he wants to go college and start a full clothing line by the time he’s 20.

He’s got it all figured out, folks; Moziah Bridges has a happy, colorful life filled with business successes, social good, work-school-life balance, and solid goals for the future. And he still gets to bed at 8:30 every night!

TIME Careers & Workplace

9 Essential Habits of Remarkably Effective People

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You don't have to be born able to execute at a high level. Here's how you can develop that vital skill

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

There’s a huge biggest difference between being efficient and being effective. (Just ask Stephen Covey.)

Efficient people are well organized and competent. They check things off their to-do list. They complete projects. They get stuff done.

Effective people do all that … but they check the right things off their to-do list. They complete the right projects. They get the right stuff done.

They execute and produce what makes the biggest difference for their business … and for themselves.

Here are some of the traits of remarkably effective people, and why they’re so successful:

1. They always start with goals.

Effort without a genuine purpose is just effort. Effective people don’t just know what to do–they know why. They have a long-term goal. They have short-term goals that support their long-term goals.

In short, they have purpose–and that purpose informs everything they do. That’s why remarkable people appear so dedicated and organized and consistently on-task. They’re not slaves to a routine; they’re simply driven to reach their goals and quick to eliminate roadblocks and put aside distractions that stand in their way.

Remarkably effective people set their goals first. So decide what success means to you. (Your definition of success is and should be different from everyone else’s.)

You’ll find it’s easy to stay focused and be effective when you truly care about what you hope to achieve.

Even so, once they establish a goal, remarkably effective people don’t focus solely on that goal; instead …

2. Then they create systems.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a successful business. Your system consists of your processes for sales, marketing, fulfillment, operations, etc.

A goal is great for planning and mapping out what success looks like; a system is great for actually making progress toward that goal.

Remarkably effective people know a goal can provide direction and even push them forward in the short term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win.

Everyone has goals; committing to a system makes all the difference in achieving that goal.

3. They believe in themselves.

Diligence isn’t easy. Hard work is hard. Pushing forward when successes are few and far between takes optimism and self-belief.

That’s why busy people quickly give up and effective people keep going.

Remarkably effective people embrace the fact (and it is a fact) that the only way to get to where they want to go is to try … and keep on trying. They know that eventually they will succeed, because …

4. They believe they are in control of their lives.

Many people feel luck–or outside forces–has a lot to do with success or failure. If they succeed, luck favored them; if they fail, luck was against them.

Luck certainly does play a part, but effective people don’t hope for good luck or worry about bad luck. They assume success is totally within their control. If they succeed, they caused it; if they fail, they caused that, too.

Remarkably effective people waste zero mental energy worrying about what might happen to them–they put all their effort into making things happen.

They know they can never control luck … but they can always control themselves.

5. And yet they also embrace “random.”

When your nose is to the grindstone, all you can see is the grindstone. And that means you miss opportunities to spot something new, try something different, or go off on a fruitful tangent.

Effective people stay almost totally on-task. Remarkably effective people build in time and opportunity to experience new things, try new methods, and benefit from happy accidents.

They’re not always trying to reinvent the wheel. But they’re more than happy to adopt someone else’s perfectly functioning wheel.

6. They find happiness in the success of others.

Great teams win because their most talented members are willing to sacrifice to help others succeed.

That’s why great companies are made up of employees who help each other, know their roles, set aside their personal goals, and value team success over everything else.

Where does that attitude come from?

You.

Focus only on yourself and ultimately you’ll be by yourself. To be remarkably effective, find fulfillment in helping other people succeed. In the process you will succeed, too–in more ways than one.

7. They use their goals to make decisions automatic.

In a podcast, Tim Ferriss described how Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, makes so many decisions every day. Kelleher applies a simple framework to every issue: Will this help Southwest be the low-cost provider? If so, the answer is yes. If not, no.

Remarkably effective people apply the same framework to the decisions they make. “Will this help me reach my goal? If not, I won’t do it.”

If you feel like you’re constantly struggling to make decisions, take a step back. Think about your goals; your goals will help you make decisions.

That’s why remarkably effective people are so decisive. Indecision is born of a lack of purpose: When you know what you truly want, most of your decisions can–and should–be almost automatic.

8. They don’t multitask.

Plenty of research says multitasking doesn’t work. (Some research says multitasking actually makes you stupid.)

Maybe you don’t agree.

Maybe you’re wrong. Try to do two things at once and you’ll do both half-assed.

Remarkably effective people focus on one thing at a time. They do that one thing incredibly well … and then they move on to whatever is next. And they do that incredibly well.

9. They freely ask for help.

Busy people ask for help getting something done. Remarkably effective people ask for help not just because they need help but also because by asking they show respect for the other person and trust his or her experience, skill, or insight.

Mutual respect is the foundation of every solid relationship–and the best way to create mutual respect is to first show respect.

Want to be remarkably effective? Surround yourself with people who trust and motivate and inspire you–and in turn are inspired by you.

Even if you don’t achieve all your goals, your life will be infinitely richer.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Top 10 Inspiring TED Talks for 2014

Google Developers Event Held In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Bill Gates, Edward Snowden, Larry Page, and the inventor of the World Wide Web converged on the year's hottest topics

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

If you’ve yet to accumulate enough frequent-flier miles to dash off to this innovation conference, you can get inspired at home by watching the following top TED Talks of the year.

Bill and Melinda Gates: Why giving away our wealth has been the most rewarding thing we’ve done

In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates took a trip to Africa that changed the way they viewed what was truly valuable. The extreme poverty they witnessed then instigated a lifelong commitment to give back 95 percent of their wealth.

In this TED Talk, the mega-philanthropists talk to Chris Anderson about marrying Bill’s affinity for big data with Melinda’s global-minded intuition to help save millions of children from hunger and disease around the world. The always-ambitious Gates are now trying to persuade other business leaders and wealthy entrepreneurs to give back. Warren Buffett recently donated 80 percent of his fortune to the Gates Foundation.

“These are people who have created their own businesses, put their own ingenuity behind incredible ideas. If they put their ideas and their brain behind philanthropy, they can change the world,” Melinda Gates said.

Sarah Lewis: Embrace the Near Win

Using the plight of painters, archers, and Arctic explorers as an extended metaphor, art historian Sarah Lewis makes a case for celebrating the near win: missing the mark but never losing sight of the target.

“Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be,” Lewis said.

Lewis’s “near win” theory has been the driving force behind some of our culture’s greatest minds, from Michelangelo to Franz Kafka. Almost succeeding gives leaders and competitors the focus and tenacity required to try again. According to Lewis, it is by harnessing these near wins that we can master a more fulfilling path.

Edward Snowden: Here’s How We Take Back the Internet

Famed whistleblower Edward Snowden made a rare public appearance via a “telepresence robot” at this year’s TED Conference. Snowden spoke freely about citizens having a right to data privacy and how Internet companies were coerced into collecting this data on behalf of the National Security Agency.

“…Even though some of these companies did resist, even though some of them–I believe Yahoo was one of them–challenged them in court, they all lost, because it was never tried by an open court,” Snowden said. “They were only tried by a secret court. These aren’t the people that we want deciding what the role of corporate America in a free and open Internet should be.”

Snowden gave a detailed walkthrough of some of the NSA’s tactics and programs, including the ones that were hidden from Congress. He also countered the surveillance argument that “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about” by advocating for not giving up certain rights.

“We have a right to privacy … because we recognize that trusting anybody, any government authority, with the entirety of human communications in secret and without oversight is simply too great a temptation to be ignored,” he said.

TED organizers gave the NSA a chance to respond to Snowden’s talk by inviting deputy director Richard Ledgett.

David Brooks: Should You Live for Your Résumé?

Touching on the rudimentary conflict between external accomplishments and internal fulfillment, New York Times columnist and author David Brooks makes the case that we should strive toward having the better eulogy over the better résumé.

“The external logic is an economic logic: input leads to output, risk leads to reward. The internal side of our nature is a moral logic and often an inverse logic. You have to give to receive,” Brooks said in his TED Talk.

Society rewards the résumé, and according to Brooks, you can’t calculate one’s life value by looking at the bottom line. There’s a reason why we don’t read out résumés during funerals.

Larry Page: Where Google’s Going Next

For those who ever dreamed of sitting in the front row and trying to see what Google has up its sleeve, this TED Talk is a can’t-miss. Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page sat down with Charlie Rose to discuss what’s next for the search giant, including smartphones powered by artificial intelligence, Wi-Fi-enabled balloons, and automated vehicles, and more grounded topics like security and privacy.

“I don’t think we can have a democracy if we’re having to protect you and our users from the government for stuff that we’ve never had a conversation about,” the Google CEO said, referring to Edward Snowden, a fellow TED Talker.

Page also defended the lack of privacy on the Internet by pointing out the good that could come from sharing information with “the right people in the right ways,” such as making medical records available anonymously to research doctors. “If we did that, we’d save 100,000 lives this year,” he said.

Margaret Gould Stewart: How Giant Websites Design for You (and a Billion Others Too)

Facebook’s Like button is seen around the world 22 billion times a day, making it one of the most viewed visual icons ever designed. Facebook’s director of product design, Margaret Gould Stewart, talked about designing digital elements for a sixth of the world’s population.

“We use a lot of data to inform our decisions, but we also rely very heavily on iteration, research, testing, intuition, human empathy. It’s both art and science,” said the self-proclaimed inventor of “Designing for Humanity 101.” “Data analytics will never be a substitute for design intuition. Data can help you make a good design great, but it will never made a bad design good.”

She also explained how the company has handled “change aversion” when even the tiniest of changes create an avalanche of outrage.

“Even though we tried to do all the right things, we still received our customary flood of video protests and angry emails and even a package that had to be scanned by security,” she said, “but we have to remember people care intensely about this stuff, and it’s because these products, this work, really, really matters to them.”

Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

Leadership expert Simon Sinek has written two books, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, both about managing a successful team. For his TED Talk, he touched on the innate human necessity to feel safe.

According to Sinek, the business world is filled with danger–be it an unstable economy, the fluctuating stock market, or hungry competitors–and the leader needs to set the tone for survival.

“When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen,” Sinek said.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating

Eat, Pray, Love is the modern-day definition of a literary success: a staple on several bestseller lists when it first came out, the novel became a film adaptation starring Julia Roberts. But soon after, author Elizabeth Gilbert felt stuck, so burdened by her own hype that she considered never writing another book.

“I had to find a way to make sure that my creativity survived its own success,” she said. “And I did, in the end, find that inspiration, but I found it in the most unlikely and unexpected place. I found it in lessons that I had learned earlier in life about how creativity can survive its own failure.”

Gilbert began relating back to her early days struggling to first get published, the six years of rejection letters that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion.

“I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it,” the author said.

Tim Berners-Lee: A Magna Carta for the Web

Twenty-five years after inventing the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee went to the TED Conference to talk about its future. Like fellow TED Talkers Larry Page and Edward Snowden, Berners-Lee talked about issues concerning censorship, privacy, and security.

He also encouraged Internet users to fight for the version of the Web they want to see prosper in the future and shared his vision:

“I want [a Web] which is not fragmented into lots of pieces … in reaction to recent surveillance. I want a Web which … is a really good basis for democracy. I want a Web where I can use health care with privacy … I want a Web which is such a powerful basis for innovation that when something nasty happens, some disaster strikes, that we can respond by building stuff to respond to it very quickly.”

Keren Elazari: Hackers: The Internet’s Immune System

From cyberpunks to political activists, the role of the hacker in society has gone through a monumental shift in recent years. Cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari has traced this shift, and it has led her to refer to hacking as the immune system of the digital world, exposing weaknesses in the system to make it stronger.

“Sometimes you have to demo a threat to spark a solution,” Elazari said in her TED Talk proclaiming hackers as the crusaders of civil rights, government accountability, and Internet freedom.

 

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