How to Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions

I recently laid out the year’s most oddball interview questions. The Glassdoor list included queries from companies like Google, Bain & Co., and Amazon, which are notorious for their perplexing and unusual job interview questions.

In 2012, the search giant asked a candidate, “How many cows are in Canada?” while Bain challenged an interviewee to estimate the number of windows in New York. Amazon asked a candidate, “If Jeff Bezos walked into your office and offered you a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea, what would it be?”

The moral of the story was that job seekers need to anticipate less conventional interview questions, and that they should think of oddball queries as an opportunity to demonstrate their thought process, to communicate their values and character, and to show the prospective employer how they perform under pressure.

But as it turns out, most companies will ask more common interview questions like “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”—and it’s important that you prepare well for those, too.

Glassdoor sifted through tens of thousands of interview reviews to find the 50 most common questions.

The 50 Most Common Interview Questions:

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  6. Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
  7. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  9. Are you willing to relocate?
  10. Are you willing to travel?
  11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. How did you hear about this position?
  15. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  16. Discuss your resume.
  17. Discuss your educational background.
  18. Describe yourself.
  19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  20. Why should we hire you?
  21. Why are you looking for a new job?
  22. Would you work holidays/weekends?
  23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
  24. What are your salary requirements?
  25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  26. Who are our competitors?
  27. What was your biggest failure?
  28. What motivates you?
  29. What’s your availability?
  30. Who’s your mentor?
  31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  32. How do you handle pressure?
  33. What is the name of our CEO?
  34. What are your career goals?
  35. What gets you up in the morning?
  36. What would your direct reports say about you?
  37. What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
  38. If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
  39. Are you a leader or a follower?
  40. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  41. What are your co-worker pet peeves?
  42. What are your hobbies?
  43. What is your favorite website?
  44. What makes you uncomfortable?
  45. What are some of your leadership experiences?
  46. How would you fire someone?
  47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
  48. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
  49. What questions haven’t I asked you?
  50. What questions do you have for me?

How to prepare for common job interview questions:

Do your homework. “One of the biggest complaints of hiring managers is that many job interview candidates know very little about the company they’re interviewing for,” says Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time, and host of the YouTube channel FromGradToCorp. Google the company you’re interviewing with and read some of the articles that pop up; study the company’s website; know the company’s mission, its products and services, its locations, and who their top executives are. Go to the Public Relations tab on their website and print out some of their latest press releases. “Study them so that you can talk in the interview about what’s going on with the company now,” he says.

Prepare a list of likely questions. Shweta Khare, a career and job search expert says getting a list of common questions for an interview is easier than ever before. “You can never underestimate the importance of preparation. It’s the first step and the most important,” she says.

Identify what the organization wants and needs. “While the focus of ‘Why should we hire you?’ (and other similar interview questions) is on ‘you,’ the interviewee, it’s important to remember the answer isn’t all about you,” says Miriam Salpeter, job search coach, owner of Keppie Careers and author of Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success.

The most successful interview responses focus on the hiring manager’s needs. “Framing replies that demonstrate you understand their problems, or ‘pain points,’ makes a big difference when competing with many other qualified candidates.”

Prepare by identifying the skills employers are looking for. “Use their in-depth job descriptions, view videos the employers post about their organization, and visit their Facebook page and Twitter feeds,” she suggests.

Google yourself. Find out what the company knows about you, Teach adds. “See what they see. If there’s anything negative about you, have a response ready as to why it’s negative but don’t get too defensive. Respond and then move on.”

Interview yourself for the position. Before every interview, ask yourself: “Why am I a good fit for this job?”

“I tell my clients to post the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’ on their bathroom mirror, refrigerator or anyplace they will see it during the day,” Salpeter says. “I instruct them to answer, out loud, keeping different companies in mind each time. Rehearsing this way will help you hone in on what you have to offer.”

Identify what is unique or special about you. How have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? What did you accomplish that no one else managed to do? Did you volunteer to tackle a problem and solve it? “Don’t underestimate the value of looking at yourself, your skills and your accomplishments and outlining the key points you will want to share with a prospective employer.”

Practice and plan. Role play answering typical interview questions with a friend, colleague, or coach, says Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach. “Be prepared for the typical interview questions by thinking about what your response would be to them before the interview,” she adds.

If you are a college student, set up an appointment with your career center and have them conduct a mock interview with you. “Even if you’re a recent graduate, many college career centers will conduct mock interviews to help alumni,” Tech says. “Request that your interview is filmed so that they can critique you and you can study the film. Don’t worry if you’re nervous or you screw up. You’re much better off screwing up in a mock interview than in the real thing.”

You don’t necessarily want to memorize responses—but try to have a general strategy for answering common interview questions. “Today many organizations are using behavioral interview questions to better understand what you have done,” Attridge says. “They usually begin with, ‘Tell me about a time when…’” She suggests briefly describing what the situation was; how you handled the situation; and what the result was.

To prepare for these, you’ll want to think about workplace experience stories that describe your accomplishments or show how you dealt with a tough situation, Khare says. “If you don’t have any stories that you can recall now, set aside a few hours to think and write down at least two or three stories. A simple question like, ‘Tell me about a time you made a mistake,’ can take you off-guard and it is not easy to recall unrehearsed. Having a repository of work experience stories written down before an interview will make it easier to recall.”

Reflect on previous interviews. Keep a computer or paper record of your interviews, Teach says.Keep a record of the time of your interviews, how long they are, your impressions of the hiring manager, and perhaps most importantly, what questions were asked of you, what answers you gave, and record any questions they asked you that you felt could have been answered differently. “ Study these elements and your interview skills will improve, he says.

Figure out how to articulate your goals. Most of the commonly asked questions during an interview either dig into your previous experience or want to explore your future goals, Khare says. “Prepare and articulate your goals, and remain honest here.  Inconsistent answers won’t get you the respect and credibility that is a must to impress an interviewer.”

Be positive. When preparing for an interview and anticipating likely questions, plan to answer all questions positively. “Even if you were in a bad situation, think about how you can talk about the situation positively,” Attridge says. You always have a choice. It is much better to talk about a glass being half full then to talk about it being half empty. It’s all about your perspective, and in an interview being positive counts.

Never say anything negative about your prior employers or bosses, either–no matter how bad the situation may have been. “A negative answer actually is a reflection about your judgment and business acumen, and not about the employer or manager.”

Get comfortable. “Preparation and practice aside, the most important tip I would like to suggest to job seekers is to feel comfortable with the interview process,” Khare says. “You can read all the advice in the world about acing the interview, but none of the tactics will work out of you are not yourself during the process.”

Feeling comfortable and relaxed positively influences your confidence. “And interviewers always appreciate a relaxed and confident candidate, as opposed to a heavy promoter and edgy one,” she adds.  Practice calming your nerves, and focus on how you can prove you’d be a valuable asset to the company.

How to answer 7 of the most common interview questions:

“Tell me about yourself.” While this isn’t exactly a question, answering this the wrong way could really hurt your chances of getting a job, Teach says. “I was once told by an HR executive that this can actually be a trick question. Hiring managers can’t ask you certain questions legally but if you go off on a tangent when answering, you may tell them some things about you that are better left unsaid.” The worst way to approach this request is to tell them your life story, which is something they’re definitely not interested in. The best way to approach this is to only discuss what your interests are relating to the job and why your background makes you a great candidate.

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” It’s easy to talk about your strengths; you’re detail oriented, hard working, a team player, etc.–but it’s also easy to get tripped up when discussing your weaknesses, Teach says. Never talk about a real weakness unless it’s something you’ve defeated. “Many hiring managers are hip to the overused responses, such as, ‘Well, my biggest weakness is that I work too hard so I need try to take it easy once in a while.’ The best answer is to discuss a weakness that you’ve turned around, such as, you used to come in late to work a lot but after your supervisor explained why it was necessary for you to come in on time, you were never late again.”

“Where do you want to be five years from now?” “What employers are really asking is, ‘Is this job even close to your presumed career path? Are you just applying to this job because you need something? Are your long-term career plans similar to what we see for this role? How realistic are your expectations for your career? Have you even thought about your career long-term? Are you going to quit after a year or two?’” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.

Show them that you’ve done some self-assessment and career planning. Let them know that you hope to develop professionally and take on additional responsibilities at that particular company. “Don’t say something ridiculous like, ‘I don’t know,’ or “I want your job,” she says.

Teach says no one can possibly know where they’ll be in their career five years from now but hiring managers want to get a sense of your commitment to the job, the company, and the industry. “In fact, I would even mention that it’s hard for you to know what job title you may hold five years from now but ideally, you’d like to have moved up the ladder at this company based on your performance. You’re hopeful to be in some management position and your goal is to help the company any way you can.” If you give the impression that this job is just a stepping stone for you, it’s unlikely the hiring manager will be interested in you.

“Please give me an example of a time when you had a problem with a supervisor/co-worker and how you approached the problem.” “I think that the hardest thing about work isn’t the work, it’s the people at work,” Teach says. Most employees have a problem with a supervisor or co-worker at some point in their career. How they handle that problem says a lot about their people skills. If you can explain to the interviewer that you were able to overcome a people problem at work, this will definitely help your chances of getting the job, he says.

“What are your salary requirements?”  “What employers are really asking is, ‘Do you have realistic expectations when it comes to salary? Are we on the same page or are you going to want way more than we can give? Are you flexible on this point or is your expectation set in stone?’” Sutton Fell says.

Try to avoid answering this question in the first interview because you may shortchange yourself by doing so, Teach says. Tell the hiring manager that if you are seriously being considered, you could give them a salary range–but if possible, let them make the first offer. Study websites like and to get an idea of what the position should pay. “Don’t necessarily accept their first offer,” he adds. “There may be room to negotiate.”

When it is time to give a number, be sure to take your experience and education levels into consideration, Sutton Fell says. “Also, your geographic region, since salary varies by location.” Speak in ranges when giving figures, and mention that you are flexible in this area and that you’re open to benefits, as well. “Be brief and to the point, and be comfortable with the silence that may come after.”

Why are you leaving your current job?” Hiring managers want to know your motivation for wanting to leave your current job. Are you an opportunist just looking for more money or are you looking for a job that you hope will turn into a career? If you’re leaving because you don’t like your boss, don’t talk negatively about your boss–just say you have different work philosophies, Teach says. If the work was boring to you, just mention that you’re looking for a more challenging position. “Discuss the positives that came out of your most recent job and focus on why you think this new position is ideal for you and why you’ll be a great fit for their company.”

If you’ve already left your previous job (or you were fired), Sutton Fell suggests the following:

  • If you got fired: Do not trash your last boss or company. Tell them that you were unfortunately let go, that you understand their reasoning and you’ve recognized areas that you need to improve in, and then tell them how you will be a better employee because of it.
  • If you got laid off: Again, do not trash your last boss or company. Tell them that you were let go, and that you understand the circumstances behind their decision; that you are committed to your future and not dwelling on the past; and that you are ready to apply everything that you learned in your last role to a new company.
  • If you quit: Do not go into details about your unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Instead, tell them that while you valued the experience and education that you received, you felt that the time had come to seek out a new opportunity, to expand your skills and knowledge, and to find a company with which you could grow.

“Why should I hire you?” A hiring manager may not ask you this question directly but every question you answer in the interview should contribute to helping them understand why you’re the best person for the job. “Stay focused on why your background makes you an ideal candidate and tell them how you are going to contribute to that department and that company,” Teach says. “Let the interviewer know that one of your goals is to make their job easier by taking on as much responsibility as possible and that you will be excited about this job starting on day one.”

Salpeter suggests you print and highlight the job description, looking for the top three or four most important details. “Do they include terms such as, ‘cross-functional team,’ ‘team work,’ and ‘team player’ several times?” If so, your answer to, “Why should we hire you?” (asked directly or as an underlying question) should mention and focus on your abilities as they relate to teams.



5 Powerful Career Drivers for The Future of Work

Have you come up with any worthy New Years’ resolutions yet? Are they already broken? If not, or if so, relax and stay positive. It’s never too late to make a few career-focused resolutions. I’ll be bold and propose that 2013 be the year to resolve to take charge of your career, your destiny and your life story. If it sounds like a real stretch, it is. I’m encouraging everyone to take action. Take heart, though – like all resolutions it’s a process, a combination of problem identification, ideas/ideation, search for solutions, and actions. Resolutions aren’t absolutely binding, so it’s not a mental trap; it’s an opportunity to allow yourself to consider what’s been holding you back, what you’re really interested in doing/being, and how to move in the right direction.

Why is this important? Why now? Because the world of work is changing, and changing fast. If you want to have a career, not just a job, you’ll need to be prepared to change as well. We’re not talking who-moved-my-cheese here: we’re talking being the maker of cheese. It’s a weird analogy, maybe, but it gets at the central challenge we all face as we work to stay ahead in our careers in times of rapid innovation and change.

When I began my career, the most important things were mastery (education and experience), talent, work ethic, character, intelligence and flexibility. Today it’s different and it’s exciting and it’s challenging and it’s never going to be the same. Those factors are still critical, but they’ve been disrupted by the forces of social connectedness, communication, and collaboration.

Here are five ways to innovate in your career – think of this as part 1 for formulating career resolutions to put you back in control of your most passionate destiny. Why wait?

1) Become a social connector of people, ideas and intent. People who are connectors have immense power in their social networks. They’re the glue. Connectors are the new Oracles (Delphi-style, not Redwood Shores style), the passionate influencers who create trends, create links and create awesome relationships.  Becoming a connector is the best way to manage the forces of connectedness in our hyperconnected world. Live the brand.

2) Master effective communications. Even connectors aren’t necessarily good communicators. Among the skills you’ll need are empathy, self-awareness, curiosity, patience, the ability to really listen, and care. Superb communicators often say the least; they draw out others and create an environment (aka Culture) which allows the exchange of ideas and lots of them if necessary. And don’t forget to apply your skills via social media, which can be tricky indeed – we’ve all sent emails we regretted or posted something awkward or too personal on social sites. Live the brand.

3) Collaborate. It sounds odd but collaboration skills are a competitive differentiator. We’re used to thinking people who are fierce competitors have the advantage; my take is collaborators now have the edge. Being a collaborator doesn’t mean you opt out of being competitive; it means you understand the limits of competition. It can be hard to be intensely competitive while being productive in most organizations. Live the brand.

4) Create and manage your personal brand. I know a lot of people who’ve resisted this step, or found themselves blocked somehow. Don’t wait any longer. People with brands (as others have pointed out) simplify what they represent; they weed out the irrelevant bits of their lives or skill sets and focus in on a few key, career-value-based attributes. Some people would even argue that brand now trumps intelligence, experience and talent, which is a scary thought for some people I’ve talked to about careers. Live the brand.

5) Curate everything. Relationships, acquaintances, work product, books, tech tools, clothes, skills; anything that touches your work life or career space. Be a relentless editor of your skills and experiences. Curation is an expression of good judgment, not evidence of controlling behavior. Curating the right career experiences will help you push forward in your career without compromising yourself. Live the brand.

I will be digging deeper into connectedness, communication and collaboration in the next few months. If you’ve thought about what they mean to you, and how they’ll help you innovate and create career resolutions, please let me know. It’s a journey everyone in this globally connected world is on right now. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Be The Man Your Dog Thinks You Are

My two Jack Russell terriers are so ecstatic when I come home that one quivers uncontrollably with glee while the other rolls onto her back and pees. It is quite the welcoming committee. They both think I’m the greatest thing since Milk-Bones.

Now contrast this to the lukewarm (if any) reception my family gives me when I walk through the door. My wife of many years has long since stopped wagging her tail at me, and my daughter, who recently moved back home after graduating from college, is just generally pissed.

This got me thinking. What do my dogs see in me that people don’t? And, most important, is there a way to make the fine qualities that my dogs sense and respect more apparent to people I want to impress? What would it take to be the man my dogs think I am?

Experts in canine psychology—yes, there is such a breed—say one of the reasons dogs worship humans is simply that we feed, shelter, protect, and pet them, providing all the necessities of life. But I like to think dogs are more than just lovable parasites. In fact, if my dogs could talk, I believe they would describe me as generous, kind, dependable, affectionate, strong, intelligent, fair, playful, forgiving, articulate, trustworthy, successful, valuable, a great cook, a born leader, impressively tall, and a terrific driver. And I bet any dog would use the same words to describe you. (Click here to find out what the breed of dog you own says about your personality.)

Stanley Coren, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the author of Born to Bark, says the secret to understanding canine behavior is realizing that dogs have the brain of a 2-to 3-year-old child. They can’t label specific traits, he explains, “but they can still sense and appreciate us on many levels. They’re very perceptive.”

So even though your family, friends, and coworkers may not lose bladder control when they see you, you no doubt possess many impressive characteristics that inspire loyalty. You are a diamond in the ruff. And to make these traits more broadly evident, all you have to do is start treating people like dogs. That’s right, you heard me. Your dog responds to specific behaviors that you exhibit. Act the same way around people, and soon you’ll have them eating out of your hand too.

Sound plausible? Atta boy!

Dependable and trustworthy

Be consistent

The people in your life look to you for support just like a dog does. They all want someone to be the anchor in their storm. And the key to filling this role, says Coren, is predictability. If you show up on time and deliver what’s expected of you, people will come to rely on you. Reliance strengthens bonds and promotes the illusion of control. That illusion,” says Coren, “is extremely important to their having a normal, non-neurotic life.” So establish patterns of behavior. If you’re a dad, come home at a consistent hour and resolve problems in consistent ways. Likewise, be there when your boss barks, and be sure to meet deadlines. This isn’t sucking up; it’s taking away the boss’s bite. (Fresh to the workforce? Make sure you know The Rules New Employees Must Follow.)

Forgiving and fair

Never carry a grudge

In any social pack, it’s permissible to snap as long as the disagreement is forgotten a few minutes later. If it isn’t, you risk reducing pack integrity and efficiency, at home or in the office. “There are no Hatfields and McCoys among dogs,” says Coren, “and there shouldn’t be among people.” So when someone makes a mistake, tell the person about it in no uncertain terms. (“Billy, it’s unacceptable to play dermatologist with Jessica.”) Then move on. But try to find something to compliment or reward a few minutes later. (“But I will tell Jessica’s mom about that irregular-shaped mole you spotted on her chest.”) This approach helps people accept your criticism and see you as benevolent.

Kind and considerate

Give treats

Bestow small, thoughtful tokens—an ice cream for your nephew, a shout-out for a coworker in your monthly report, a book for your girlfriend. No special occasion necessary. “We don’t do enough of that,” says Margie Ryerson, M.F.T., a marriage and family therapist and the author of Treat Your Partner Like a Dog: How to Breed a Better Relationship. She recommends “people training.” Pick a family member you haven’t been getting along with or someone at work who isn’t friendly. Compliment that person, share something, or simply show interest in what he or she is doing. “Once a week, just give them some attention,” says Ryerson. You’ll see that everyone responds to a head pat. (This can be especially helpful in bed. Click here for the 30 Sexiest Things to Say to a Naked Woman.)

Compassionate and affectionate

“Pet” them more often

Many men resist platonic hugging or touching or being physically close because they feel awkward or fear it might be misinterpreted. We should all relax: Such behavior, when it’s genuine, triggers the production of oxytocin, also known as the bonding hormone. And just as when you pet a dog, these gestures can lower your own blood pressure and stress. Everybody wins. Here’s an experiment: Next week, start giving your significant other a hug and kiss before you part ways each morning and again when you meet up in the evening. At the end of the week, see if the two of you don’t feel closer. “Even small efforts can make huge differences,” notes Coren. Start small, then add in these 16 Tricks for Hotter Monogamy.

Happy and fun loving

Play more

It’s not a waste of time; it’s an important form of social interaction, says Coren. From Fido’s perspective, it builds predictability (you throw, he fetches, you throw again) and reciprocity (he’s doing his part). Plus, it’s just plain fun. Humans of all ages experience play the same way, regardless of the game. Men need to find a balance with their play, which they can do by scheduling social time with others, Ryerson says. “Many women can get a break for themselves just by talking,” she says, “but men often prefer doing an activity together, like watching a game or shooting pool.” Got that? A therapist just encouraged a night of shooting pool with the guys. You’re welcome.

Having a living, breathing, barking alarm clock can help you stick to a routine and maintain your progress.

Adventurous and resourceful

Go for a walk

Successful social packs, canine or human, demonstrate “shared dependency,” Coren says. It’s like teamwork, and it’s a powerful relationship builder. So just as you might explore new territory with your dog, do the same with people. Invite your buddy from accounting on a mountain-bike ride. Or ask your kids to help you assemble your new grill. “When you’re doing or learning something new together, you’re sharing a life experience and viewpoint,” Coren says. A recent Stony Brook University study of 274 married couples found that one of the most important predictors of long-term intense love for both men and women was sharing “novel and challenging activities.”

A strong leader

Impose discipline

Dogs need it and so do people, especially children. But not the punitive kind; spanking actually promotes aggression in kids, a Tulane University study found. Instead, Coren says, simply withdraw your attention. “The easiest way to stop a dog from jumping up on you is to turn your back on it,” he says, “and that works with people too.” A pack leader is calm and assertive, so never impose discipline when you’re upset. Your line: “I don’t want to see you again until the situation has been corrected.” This timeout means there’s no close contact with the dispenser of treats and goodies (that is, you). That’s usually pretty effective,” Coren says. And don’t forget to encourage good behavior, Ryerson adds. (Are you boss material? Find out here.)

A best friend

Lower your expectations

“One of the main reasons we get along so well with our dogs is that we don’t expect very much of them,” says Ryerson. “Try doing that with people more often.” Quit wishing your wife had a body like Sofia Vergara’s and love the figure she has. Or accept that your kids may misbehave in restaurants because, well, they’re kids. Lowering expectations helps you criticize less and appreciate more, which gives those you love the freedom to be themselves and feel comfortable with you. “We are our best selves when we’re with our dogs,” Ryerson says. “We’re considerate, thoughtful…we’re magnificent with our dogs. Now think how rewarding it would be to feel that way around other people.” Go get ’em!

Earn that Promotion

Day 1

The Challenge: Ask for an Office

Having your own space isn’t just a reward—it also lowers your stress and boosts your creativity.

Why It’ll Work: If the confines of your cube are driving you nuts, here’s why: A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that people who work in cubicles have higher levels of stress hormones than those who work in offices with doors. True, a door between you and the rest of the world means fewer headaches. But more important to your bottom-line boss, open offices increase morale and efficiency.

While You’re At It: Network at work. Meet-and-greets don’t just help when you’re trying to land a new job. “It’s a great way to gather information about what’s going on around your company and build your reputation as someone who works well with others,” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion. Make an effort to befriend 10 people outside your department who share common interests, whether they’re rugby or skiing, but don’t fake interests or you’ll look like a suck-up.

Day 2

The Challenge:  Add to Your Mental Rolodex

Meeting new people? Don’t just memorize names—focus on facial features, too. It may feel superficial, but it’s a great memory device.

Why It’ll Work: In a 2006 study in the American Journal of Psychology, People were able to remember about 25 percent more names when they listed as many of the people’s facial characteristics as they could, found a study in the American Journal of Psychology. Thinking about individual facial features—even if they’re not as striking as “jughandle ears” or “creeping unibrow”—helped recall, as well as matching names to faces. Build a backup plan and find something in common with every new coworker you meet. If you blank later on, it’s better to call a guy “that Lakers fan” than “the dude with the big ears.”

While You’re At It: Be eEarly. Show up to meetings 5 to 10 minutes before they start. A lot happens in those casual conversations. “Plus it will give you a chance to be settled, look prepared, and get to know the players on a casual basis,” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion.

Day 3

The Challenge:  Time Your Tunes

Cranking music at work can reduce stress and make you feel more comfortable, but if you need to concentrate, timing is everything.

Why It’ll Work: In a 2009 study from Taiwan, people that who listened to music before taking an attention test scored higher than those who listened to music during the test —and those who took it in silence. So groove to your tracks through mindless work, but shut them off when it’s crunch time. And when you’re ready to be social, open up Spotify: sharing music helps employees bond, say New Zealand researchers.

While You’re At It: Know how to use an iPad. “See all those execs tapping away?  If you want to be part of that club, you need to be comfortable with the latest mobile devices,” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion.  The higher you climb, the more tech will be integrated into your daily life, she says.

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Day 4

The Challenge: Turn on the Charm

Learn why warming up to your coworkers has its perks.

Why It’ll Work: The personality traits employers most want to see are extroversion or conscientiousness, according to a 2009 study in Personnel Psychology. Being warm and friendly instead of cold and competitive yields noticeable benefits. It makes sense, too: You might respect the coldly efficient worker next to you, but you don’t want to spend Happy Hour with him. Be the person everyone wants around, and not just for your skills and professionalism.

While You’re At It: Increase productivity with apps. Whether they’re for your tablet or smartphone, apps will help you be responsive and tackle your workload. “The early bird gets the worm and the early responder gets the credit, so don’t let emails linger in your inbox. Getting tech savvy will help you jump on the right things right away,” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion. Try out Push 4.0 for iPhone and iPad. It automatically gathers content from a bunch of different sources, like Twitter, Gmail, and Google Voice, so you can always be first to see it.

Day 5

The Challenge: Spread Your Own Hype

Your resume might be impressive, but bosses want to know else what you’ve got in store. Focus on the future.

Why It’ll Work: A 2011 Stanford study shows that we’re more excited about people’s potential than their achievements. So if you’re applying for a new job, don’t talk about what you did at your last job. Frame your value in terms of what you’ll do there, in the future. And when you’re angling for a promotion, think about how you’d help the company if you got it.

While You’re At It: Cut down on the cologne. Dress for the job you want, but don’t go overboard on the Axe. “Look the part, don’t smell the part,” says Stephen Viscusi, CEO and headhunter for Viscusi Group and host of A&E’s The Job Whisperer.  “You may be wearing the cologne of your boss’s ex-husband or ex-boyfriend and that will remind her of that person she can’t stand.”

Day 6

The Challenge: Be Your Boss

Mirroring the big guy’s body language can have major benefits. But taking it too far can backfire.

Why It’ll Work: You’ve probably heard tips like, “Create a connection by sitting the way he’s sitting.” These nonverbal cues can say a lot, but not just to the person you’re mimicking. Mirror wisely: A 2011 study in Psychological Science showed that others pick up on body language between two people and judge accordingly. Do you really want to be known as Mini-Me around the office? Remember that while you’re watching the boss, your co-workers are watching you.

While You’re At It: Emphasize the team. Let your boss know you want a promotion but replace “me” with “we.” “Don’t assume he knows you’ve been busting your backside to perform. He’s likely too busy trying to please his boss,” says Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion. Have a conversation about your promotion, but talk about how it will help the company’s goals, not yours, she says.

Day 7

The Challenge: Step Up Your Look

The five o’clock shadow works wonders for your manly street cred, but in the office a scruffy look does more harm than good. Take the time to clean yourself up.

Why It’ll Work: Good-looking men are viewed as more likable, competent, and intelligent, research shows, and their lifetime earnings tend to be higher than those of average-looking guys. But good grooming alone can generate a 4 to 5 percent wage premium in young men, according to new research from the University of Miami. And it’s okay if you’re not Jon Hamm: Being well-kempt may even offset the salary penalty of being less attractive.

While You’re At It: Be seen. Walk down their hallway or join their gym. “Who has the power to promote? Who has influence with the people who have the power to promote? Whoever it is, get in front of them,” says Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion. But don’t grandstand. “Get known in casual ways such as serving on a new, cross-functional team or making more presentations,” she says.

Day 8

The Challenge: Be the Fixer

Write a list of your frustrations with your company, and then search for solutions.

Why It’ll Work: Once you’ve identified what’s bugging you, let your mind wander: A 2009 Canadian study found that daydreaming can help solve problems. Then come back to Earth and share your ideas. Before you know it, you’ll become the person your colleagues come to when they have pressing problems—and that could keep you locked in at your company for the long haul.

While You’re At It: Seek out tiebreakers. Work the grill at the company barbeque, take on extra duties, improve your golf game. If you’re up for promotion against someone with the same experience, these will tip the scale your way. “It should never be, but when there are several equally qualified candidates for a position, the higher-ups will tend to go with the ‘hard-working person’ who brings extra value to the table,” says Lorenzo Flores, Ph.D., author of Executive Career Advancement.

Day 9

The Challenge: Sweat the Small Stuff

Rather than get lost in a ten-year plan, focus on the short term—identify the little things you can do now.

Why It’ll Work: The more you believe your career goals are within reach, the higher your long-term status will be, found a 2009 Journal of Vocational Behavior study. So start by tackling manageable projects that pay off quickly. An early success—or even better, a string of them—can bolster your confidence and future gains.

While You’re At It: Train your replacement. Make it easy on them to fill your spot as you climb the latter. “If you’re good at your current job, it’s possible your boss won’t want to promote you because she’ll lose a great performer that’s been making her look good,” says Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion.  Eliminate that concern by mentoring someone below you who could partially fill your shoes, she says.

For the latest research into health, nutrition, fitness and sex, visit Men’s Health News every day.

Day 10

The Challenge: Pursue Your Passions

That old cliché that if you love doing it, it’s not work? Still true. Find the parts of your job that inspire your imagination and go after them.

Why It’ll Work: People who tackle projects they enjoy, not ones they think will earn them promotions, are more satisfied and committed to their work, a 2008 Journal of Research in Personality study found. And that’s the way to a promotion: Seek assignments that overlap with your interests, or look for your kind of job in an industry you love. There’s always room, even in the unlikeliest places: NBA teams employ 3,900 people, and 89 percent of them aren’t ballers.

While You’re At It: Research your boss. Some might call it snooping. We call it doing your homework. “True person-to-person bonding is an art unto itself. It’s best left to the natural flow of opportunities that lend themselves to sharing,” says Lorenzo Flores, Ph.D., author of Executive Career Advancement. But that doesn’t mean leave it to chance. “Find out about your boss’s upbringing, family, military, or college through the office grapevine. When appropriate, and without exaggeration, find ways to let him or her know that you have faced similar challenges and experiences,” suggests Dr. Flores.

Day 11

The Challenge: Go Mobile

Being constantly connected might feel like a burden, but increased communications means more opportunities to prove your worth.

Why It’ll Work: You probably don’t get as much face-time with your boss as you’d like, and it’s a good bet that your co-workers feel just as isolated. While it’s practically impossible to alleviate those feelings in the office, that’s when you can use your Blackberry to your advantage: A study in International Journal of Mobile Communications found that employees with a mobile connection to the office felt more “in the loop.”

While You’re At It: Talk to successful people. Figure out the next step by talking with people who’ve already taken it. “Some companies do more than others in terms of career-pathing for their employees, but the ownership of that task really belongs in your lap,” says Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion. Look for what opportunities are available and talk with those in a position to help you take them, she says.

Day 12

The Challenge: Revamp Your Wardrobe

It’s true: Clothes make the man. Make sure your style works for you—not against you.

Why It’ll Work: You can earn at least 5 percent more than the other guy simply by looking sharp, according to a study in the American Economic Review. Clothes sell confidence, so keep a style kit in your cubicle. Your office-closet musts: A blazer, crisp shirt, matching tie, and gleaming pair of shoes.

While You’re At It: Ask someone important to lunch. Skip working the room and network over a meal. “If you’re an introverted promotion seeker, you do best at one-on-one encounters,” says Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. Use this to build a strong web of relationships and strategic alliances over time, she says.

Day 13

The Challenge: Kiss Some Ass

Sucking up to your senior colleagues could advance your career—and keep your health in check.

Why It’ll Work: A recent study published in the Journal of Management Studies shows that schmoozing with the big men in charge helps ease tension, as well as avoid emotional exhaustion and depression. When it comes down to it, making friends at work makes everyone’s job easier.

While You’re At It: Learn your coworkers’ jobs. Pick up lateral knowledge in your field. “This will make you more valuable to your boss. More important, it will give you a strategic, big-picture perspective on how your department or company works,” explains Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion. “The more you know, the more you grow.”

Day 14

The Challenge: Unleash Your Alpha-Male

In competitive environments, selfish behavior wins. Don’t be afraid to dominate when necessary.

Why It’ll Work: Want to be recognized as a leader? Start acting like one. According to a study from Northwestern University, selfish and aggressive people are more likely to be promoted. In the study, those characteristics were seen as elements of strong leadership, while kinder employees were well-liked but considered weak or gullible. So indulge your inner-jerk, because it’s true: Sometimes nice guys really do finish lastYou don’t have to be a jerk, but stand up for your opinion or a project you believe in to show your assertive side..

While You’re At It: Align with your boss’s goals. Make sure you know your company’s objectives on every level. “I’m always surprised how many employers tell me their employees don’t know the goals of their organization, unit, or superiors,” says David Perlmutter, Ph.D., author of Promotion and Tenure Confidential. Once you identify those goals, talk with your superiors about how you fit into their plans.

Day 15

The Challenge: Get Fit on the Job

Hey, desk jockeys: Don’t just sit at your computer all day. Taking an exercise break will improve your mood, up your stamina, and lower your stress.

Why It’ll Work: Exercising during work can lead to higher productivity, according to a recent study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Participants who worked out just twice a week reported feeling more productive. Not only did those workers complete more tasks, but they also performed them better, and took fewer sick days. And he who shows up, moves up.

While You’re At It: For 30 minutes a day, read about business and leadership practices. “There are hundreds of great leadership books that can be incredible tools for professionals looking to stand out and move up,” says Brad Karsh, president of JB Training Solutions, a workplace training and development company. No time for hardcover knowledge? Go digital. “For other quick updates,” he suggests, “follow business icons and thought leaders on Twitter.”

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Day 16

The Challenge: Get a Grip

How’s your handshake? Use a firm grasp to boost your promotion prospects.

Why It’ll Work: In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers conducted mock interviews with students. Separately, the students had their handshakes graded. The interviewers graded on overall hireability, which, it turned out, was related to a strong handshake. So think of that as one more weapon in your corporate-ladder arsenal.

While You’re At It: Create an airtight pitch. Arm yourself with facts about why you deserve the bump up in title and/or pay, and clearly articulate what’s in it for the company, says Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. “Think away —before your crucial ‘ask.’ Cook up every angle and practice answers to every possible objection to your promotion,” she says.

Day 17

The Challenge: Write Like a Boss

Your emails reveal more than you know, so make them say the right things.

Why It’ll Work: In a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science, researchers asked college students to analyze emails with variations in punctuation, number of typos, and point of view. Punctuation, the students thought, marked messages from superiors: women supposedly used exclamation points, while men didn’t. And emails in the third person appeared to be from an angry supervisor, but first person missives sounded like an excited friend. That means if you want to be the boss, write like one.

While You’re At It: Buy a new suit. Or a new tie. “The way you present yourself is key to making positive, lasting impressions in today’s business world. Something about a new suit or tie makes you exude greater confidence and authority,” says Brad Karsh, President of JB Training Solutions, a workplace training and development company. When you look your best, you feel your best, he explains.

Day 18

The Challenge: Surf Your Way to the Corner Office

Don’t feel bad about “cyberloafing.” Taking a Web break can re-energize your workday.

Why It’ll Work: A National University of Singapore study showed that surfing the Internet can relieve workplace boredom, improve attention, and boost productivity. When you’re tired of answering email, a few minutes of online distraction can be a welcome break. And when you get back to work, you’ll be mentally refreshed and ready to kick some ass.

While You’re At It: Know when to shut up. You have to let your boss know you’re after a promotion, just not all the time. “Biggest mistake I’ve seen by someone looking to get promoted?” says Katy Tynan, author of Survive Your Promotion. “They talk all the time. Don’t be that guy.” Don’t talk about how well you do your job, just do it well and they’ll notice. Express interest in your career, but don’t make so much noise you drown those chances out,” she warns.

Day 19

The Challenge: Perfect Your Posture

Stand up straight—it’s not just good for your back, it’s good for your career.

Why It’ll Work: A study in Psychological Science found that having good posture not only projects power to other people, but actually makes you feel more powerful yourself.  Researchers found that when people played blackjack, those who had a confident, open stance were more likely to hit; those with more subdued postures tended to stand.

While You’re At It: Dress like Mini-Me. No, not Dr. Evil’s half-sized clone. Mimic your boss’s look. “Don’t worry about if you like his or her taste. Every boss likes to promote a ‘Mini-Me,’” says Stephen Viscusi, CEO and headhunter for Viscusi Group and host of “The Job Whisperer” on A&E. If their taste in clothes really is that bad, you can’t go wrong with a white button down and tie, says Viscusi.

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Day 20

The Challenge: Befriend Your Boss

Ditch shop talk and explore outside interests with the big man in charge.

Why It’ll Work: According to a Journal of Business and Psychology study, workers who trust their bosses have better ratings for assertiveness, creativity, risk taking, motivation, and initiative. Getting away from work will let you see another side of your boss; sharing a beer is likely to improve trust in both directions. But remember: the point is not to talk about work.

While You’re At It: Create sports rapport. Identify your boss’s passions outside of work, whether it’s reading, or sports.  “Finding things you have in common with the boss can be a good way to develop rapport,” says Lorenzo Flores, Ph.D., author of Executive Career Advancement. But be genuine, though. “Don’t fall all over yourself learning to ice skate because the boss does it,” says Dr. Flores.

Day 21

The Challenge: Get Out of the Office

Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re working. Step away to feel more productive.

Why It’ll Work: Many people consider themselves more productive when they’re working away from the office, according to a nationwide study of workersemployees commissioned by Microsoft. Get outside, or go use the WiFi at your neighborhood Starbucks. A simple change of scenery can recharge your batteries and help generate new ideas.

While You’re At It: Beat your stage fright. Take a speech class or hire a coach. “Your ability to influence others is multiplied when you learn to speak authoritatively and authentically whether in a meeting or in front of a crowd,” says Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. Woo them with words and they won’t know what hit them.

Day 22

The Challenge: Demand a Million Dollars

Asking for a sky-high salary lightens the mood, but also gives you an edge in negotiations.

Why It’ll Work: It’s the dreaded question: “And what kind of salary are you looking to receive?” Aim too low and you’ll risk making less than the intern, but guess too high and your boss will think you’re insane. Now you have a new fail-safe answer: “Well, a million would be nice.” Because you say it in obvious jest, employers aren’t offended by the high dollar sign, but it does significantly influence their counteroffer, according to a new study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

While You’re At It: Pick up another professional skill.  Attend a conference or learn a language. “By learning a new skill you make yourself more marketable, beef up your resume, and gain great talking points,” explains Brad Karsh, President of JB Training Solutions, a workplace training and development company. Taking classes or getting up-to-speed on the latest in social media are effective ways to position yourself for a promotion, he says.

Day 23

The Challenge: Embrace the Distractions

Buckling down and focusing on a single task means better output, right? Not always. Sometimes diversions can be your friend.

Why It’ll Work: If you’re drowning in a pile of work, your favorite CD may help pull you out of the water. That’s because a small distraction—like listening to music or talk radio—can improve your attention on simple tasks, according to new research published in PLoS One.

While You’re At It: Rehearse your pitch. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. “If you’re one of those strong, silent types who doesn’t excel at thinking out loud, you’ll benefit wildly from some practice time,” says Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. Take it to the next level by role-playing or videotaping your promotion pitch.

Day 24

The Challenge: Grab a Slice of Humble Pie

Forget self-promotion. Honesty and humility can sometimes trump publicity.

Why It’ll Work: In a Baylor University study, candid and courteous people were rated higher by their supervisors than workers who exhibited agreeable and conscientious traits. So speak up, smile, and keep your ego in check—especially if there’s already a narcissist in the office.

While You’re At It: Become a go-to guy. Find an area of expertise and know everything about it. “You don’t have to be a schmoozer. Instead, get known as the one with innovative ideas, invaluable market intelligence, financial savvy, or research up the wazoo,” says Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. Eventually your expertise will have them coming to you.

Day 25

The Challenge: Give Back to the Community

If you really want to reach the top, think beyond your job. Successful CEOs also promote philanthropy.

Why It’ll Work: If you want to be top dog, you’ve got to prove you can play the part. And in the U.S., a CEO’s job performance is based on a lot more than mere business prowess, according to an Austrian study. Vienna-based researchers examined the company profiles of more than 150 Fortune 500 chief execs from American and European companies. While European CEOs present themselves as primarily business-focused, U.S. executives were more apt to participate in local and national politics, they found. American CEOs were also more active in community outreach and philanthropy.

While You’re At It: Dress up for the interview. Leave the jeans and sneaks behind and bust out a suit and tie for the promotion interview. “Even if you dress down at work, when you’re interviewing with your existing boss for an internal promotion, dress like you’re going on an external interview,” says Stephen Viscusi, CEO and headhunter for Viscusi Group and host of A&E’s The Job Whisperer. A new look will help your boss see you in a new light and show you’re serious about the promotion. This includes grooming your nails and eyebrows. And don’t forget to silence your cell phone. A loose ringer can bring an interview to a halt.

For the latest research into health, nutrition, fitness and sex, visit Men’s Health News every day.

Day 26

The Challenge: Get Some ZZZ’s

Give your brain a rest and it’ll pay you back.

Why It’ll Work: People who napped for 90 minutes between learning sessions performed tasks better than those who didn’t, according to a 2010 study from the University of California. “Sleep is important for being able to assimilate complex information. You’ve got the building blocks for a great idea or solution to a problem that you’re working on, but the sleep may help consolidate all of these things together,” explains W. Christopher Winter, medical director at Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Virginia. Winter recommends designating 20 minutes at the same time every afternoon for a quick siesta. Find the couch in your break room and stretch out your legs—we promise we won’t tell anyone.

While You’re At It: Evaluate your boss—it’s just self-preservation. “You have to know the people you’re dealing with so that work relationships can be as friction free as possible,” says Lorenzo Flores, Ph.D., author of Executive Career Advancement. They may be intimidating, but they’re also human. Learning and respecting their professional judgment—and tolerating their flaws—will go a long way, says Flores.

Day 27

The Challenge: Fire Up YouTube

Watching funny viral videos at work can enhance your creativity.

Why It’ll Work: Chuckling not only puts you in a good mood, but it also helps you solve problems. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario had participants watch funny videos (laughing babies, for example), then attempt challenging tasks, including word and picture puzzles. Happier participants subjects proved better at completing the tests, offering a good excuse for a YouTube break next time a work problem has you stumped.

While You’re At It: Teach people how to use you. Let them know what you’re capable of. Your talents and training are going to waste away if you don’t use them to help your co-workers, says Lorenzo Flores, Ph.D., author of Executive Career Advancement. Plus you get something out of it in return. “It will provide you with more information, contacts, and resources that can boost your career,” he explains.

Day 28

The Challenge: Use a Nickname

You’re not “Bradley”—you’re “Brad.” Shortening your name keeps things informal and puts people at ease.

Why It’ll Work: Men with short, easy to remember nicknames are more likely to become CEOs, according to an analysis by business networking site LinkedIn. Punchy names tend to stick in the brain. Adopting a single-syllable nickname helps put you on equal footing with everyone around you, which is key for building big relationships.

While You’re At It: Fill your boss’s shoes—temporarily. “If you can quickly and competently step into his position, it will make it easier for him to get promoted,” says Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion. Look for opportunities to help out when he’s away on business. You’ll learn his problems and support him in solving them, she says.

Day 29

The Challenge: Consider Every Scenario

No matter where you work, things can change. Being ready for every possibility—especially the unexpected—puts you one step ahead of the pack.

Why It’ll Work: Leaders can be blindsided by trouble because they often jump to the most convenient or plausible conclusion when interpreting crisis signals, say University of Pennsylvania researchers. If you want to be a good leader, pay attention to potential problems while staying vigilant in the face of crisis. Prompt your colleagues to explore the possible fallout of any plan. This will encourage a degree of contingency planning. Prove yourself someone who sees everything, not just what’s convenient.

While You’re At It: Free up space for new projects. Learn to delegate, too. Taking on new projects will raise your profile, but not if you overcommit. “If you have too much on your plate, you may end up doing a bad job, not just on the new project, but also on your regular work,” says David Perlmutter, Ph.D., director of tThe School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa and author of Promotion and Tenure Confidential.  When a new project comes up, talk with your boss about clearing some space. Try saying, “This project sounds really exciting. Can I delegate something so I can take it on?” suggests Perlmutter.

Day 30

The Challenge: Find a Mentor

You’re climbing up the corporate ladder—now find someone else who’s done it first.

Why It’ll Work: Today’s workplace often values flexibility and adaptability over stability; few of us will end up retiring from our first job. That can make it tough to find a mentor, a wiser worker who can dispense advice over stiff drinks. But a Center for Creative Leadership study showed that 81 percent of promoted managers had a mentoring relationship. Why limit yourself to your own experience, when you can reach out to others who’ve already been there?

While You’re At It: Make a new job description every day. In this economy, you have to reapply for your job daily. “If you only do what they hired you to do, they will eventually fire you,” says Perlmutter. By taking on new and changing responsibilities, you’ll be indispensable.


Get your priorities straight. – Twenty years from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of jeans you bought. What will matter is how you loved, what you learned and how you applied this knowledge.

Take full responsibility for your goals. – If you really want good things in your life to happen, you have to make them happen yourself. You can’t sit around and hope that somebody else will help you; you have to make your own future and not think that your destiny is tied to the actions and choices of others. Read Quitter.

Know your worth. – When someone treats you like you’re just one of many options, help them narrow their choice by removing yourself fromthe equation. Sometimes you have to try not to care, no matter how much you do. Because sometimes you can mean almost nothing to someone who means so much to you. It’s not pride – it’s self-respect. Don’t expect to see positive changes in your life if you surround yourself with negative people. Don’t give part-time people a full-time position in your life. Know your value and what you have to offer, and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.

Choose the right perspective. – Perspective is everything. When faced with long check-out lines, traffic jams, or waiting an hour past your appointment time, you have two choices: You can get frustrated and enraged, or you can view it as life’s way of giving you a guilt-free breather from rushing, and spend that time daydreaming, conversing, or watching the clouds. The first choice will raise your blood pressure. The second choice will raise your consciousness.

Don’t let your old problems punish your dreams. – Learn to let go of things you can’t control. The next time you’re tempted to rant about a situation that you think ended unfairly, remind yourself of this: You’ll never kill off your anger by beating the story to death. So close your mouth, unclench your fists, and redirect your thoughts. When left untended, the anger will slowly wither, and you’ll be left to live in peace as you grow toward a better future.

Choose the things that truly matter. – Some things just don’t matter much – like the kind of car you drive. How big of a deal is that in the grand scheme of life? Not a big at all. But lifting a person’s heart? Now, that matters. The whole problem with most people is, they KNOW what matters, but they don’t CHOOSE it. They get distracted. They don’t put first things first. The hardest and smartest way to live is choosing what truly matters, and pursuing it passionately. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Love YOU. – Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. Yes, let someone love you despite all of this; and let that someone be YOU.

Accept your strengths and weaknesses. – Be confident being YOU. We often waste too much time comparing ourselves to others, and wishing to be something we’re not. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when we accept everything we are, and aren’t, that we are able to become who we are capable of being.

Stand up for YOU. – You were born to be real, not to be perfect. You’re here to be YOU, not to be what someone else wants you to be. Stand up for yourself, look them in the eye, and say, “Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me, and don’t talk about me until you’ve talked to me.”

Learn from others, and move on when you must. – You can’t expect to change people. Either you accept who they are, or you start living your life without them. And just because something ends, doesn’t mean it never should have been. You lived, you learned, you grew, and you moved on. Some people come into your life as blessings; others come into your life as lessons.

Be honest in your relationships. – Don’t cheat! If you’re not happy, be honest, and move on if you must. When you’re truly in love, being faithful isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a joy.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. – Life as we know it can change in a blink of an eye. Unlikely friendships can blossom, important careers can be tossed aside and a long lost hope can be rekindled. It might feel a little uncomfortable at times, but know that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is not an ending, but a new beginning. Read The Power of Full Engagement.

Be who you were born to be. – Don’t get to the end of your life and find that you lived only the length of it; live the width of it as well. When it comes to living as a passionate, inspired human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own. Follow your heart, and take your brain with you. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about it one bit.

Never give up on YOU. – This is your life; shape it, or someone else will. Strength shows not only in the ability to hold on, but in the ability to start over when you must. It is never too late to become what you might have been. Keep learning, adapting, and growing. You may not be there yet, but you are closer than you were yesterday.

60 Quotes that Will Change the Way You Think

  1. You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
  2. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
  3. Don’t think of cost.  Think of value.
  4. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  5. Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.  Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
  6. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
  7. If a person wants to be a part of your life, they will make an obvious effort to do so.  Think twice before reserving a space in your heart for people who do not make an effort to stay.
  8. Making one person smile can change the world – maybe not the whole world, but their world.
  9. Saying someone is ugly doesn’t make you any prettier.
  10. The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well.
  11. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
  12. The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.
  13. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.
  14. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.
  15. Making a hundred friends is not a miracle.  The miracle is to make a single friend who will stand by your side even when hundreds are against you.
  16. Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go and move on.
  17. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, etc…
  18. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
  19. Don’t choose the one who is beautiful to the world; choose the one who makes your world beautiful.
  20. Falling in love is not a choice.  To stay in love is.
  21. True love isn’t about being inseparable; it’s about two people being true to each other even when they are separated.
  22. While you’re busy looking for the perfect person, you’ll probably miss the imperfect person who could make you perfectly happy.
  23. Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.
  24. You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  25. In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.
  26. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
  27. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  28. There isn’t anything noble about being superior to another person.  True nobility is in being superior to the person you once were.
  29. Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
  30. You will never become who you want to be if you keep blaming everyone else for who you are now.
  31. People are more what they hide than what they show.
  32. Sometimes people don’t notice the things others do for them until they stop doing them.
  33. Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do.
  34. Being alone does not mean you are lonely, and being lonely does not mean you are alone.
  35. Love is not about sex, going on fancy dates, or showing off.  It’s about being with a person who makes you happy in a way nobody else can.
  36. Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you.  It takes someone really special to stay in your life and show how much they love you.
  37. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion; today is special.
  38. Love and appreciate your parents.  We are often so busy growing up, we forget they are also growing old.
  39. When you have to start compromising yourself and your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you.
  40. Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.
  41. When someone tells you, “You’ve changed,” it might simply be because you’ve stopped living your life their way.
  42. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.
  43. Be happy.  Be yourself.  If others don’t like it, then let them be.  Happiness is a choice.  Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.
  44. When you’re up, your friends know who you are.  When you’re down, you know who your friends are.
  45. Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems; look for someone who will face them with you.
  46. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
  47. No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.
  48. The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
  49. Many people are so poor because the only thing they have is money.
  50. Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you appreciate the things you once had.
  51. When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself.
  52. You don’t drown by falling in the water.  You drown by staying there.
  53. It’s better to know and be disappointed than to never know and always wonder.
  54. There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.
  55. Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what’s happening inside you.  Most people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within.
  56. If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past.  If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.
  57. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.  Read The Power of Habit.
  58. You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  59. Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
  60. If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.


50 simple ways to make someone feel special

  1. Make a note of the important events in her life and ask her how the events went.
  2. Give her a specific and genuine compliment.
  3. Praise her in front of other people.
  4. In a group setting, ask her to tell her favorite story.
  5. If she’s telling a story to a group and she gets cut off for some reason, be the first person to ask her to continue telling it.
  6. Ignore her tiredness. Nobody wants to be told that they have dark rings under their eyes or that they look like they just woke up.
  7. After meeting someone new, follow up the next day with an email or handwritten note.
  8. When you first call her on the phone, ask if it’s a good time for her to talk.
  9. If, while talking on the phone, you hear something going on in the background, ask her if she needs to attend to it.
  10. Don’t multi-task while you’re on the phone. She’ll be able to tell.
  11. Send her a link to an article that you think would interest her.
  12. Write her a thank-you note.
  13. Connect her with someone else you know who might be able to help her.
  14. Wait for a full second or two before replying to something she says. This shows that your response is a thoughtful one.
  15. Don’t play with your cell phone while you’re with her. At the very least, put your phone on the table with the screen facing down.
  16. If you’re working at your laptop when she comes to talk to you, close your laptop. If you can’t do that for some reason, at least make it clear that she has your undivided attention.
  17. Buy her a gift for no apparent reason.
  18. Write a blog post and dedicate it to her.
  19. When she’s explaining her problem to you, listen intently without offering any solutions or advice.
  20. Never tell her that she “shouldn’t feel that way.” This invalidates her feelings.
  21. Give her a big smile when you see her. Show her that her presence makes your day.
  22. Tell her “Good job!” when she does something well.
  23. Tell her you’re proud of her.
  24. Ask her to teach you something.
  25. Remember the names of the people close to her.
  26. Ask her for advice or for her opinion.
  27. Brag about her even when she isn’t there. Word will get around.
  28. Never say “I told you so.”
  29. When you’ve made a mistake, admit it immediately.
  30. When she asks you about your day, provide some details.
  31. Call if you’re going to be late to meet her.
  32. Don’t compare her with anyone else, especially not to her face.
  33. Ask about her family.
  34. Ask her how she feels about an event or situation.
  35. Tell her that you believe in her.
  36. Notice when she changes something about her physical appearance.
  37. Include her in a group conversation.
  38. If there’s an inside joke that she doesn’t understand, explain it to her.
  39. When she’s right about something, let her know.
  40. Don’t give her any advice unless she specifically asks for it.
  41. Ask her open-ended questions.
  42. Ask her about her dreams.
  43. Share your dreams with her.
  44. Share your fears and insecurities with her.
  45. Never say “I understand exactly how you feel.” You don’t.
  46. Don’t judge her dreams, ideas or opinions.
  47. When you introduce her, say something kind about her accomplishments and about your friendship.
  48. Tell her how she has made a difference in your life.
  49. Bring up a unique shared memory.
  50. Celebrate her successes.