Category: Business Networking

Creating a Life that Matters

Note: This is a guest post by Pete Bissonette.

Are you doing what matters most to you?

Does your work give your life meaning?

I’m not asking whether you are happy, but whether your life has meaning.

A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology examined attitudes toward happiness and meaning. It showed a meaningful life and a happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately different.

“While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do,” wrote Emily Esfahani Smith about the study in The Atlantic. “The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning. Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future.”

Another study confirmed this, she said. “People who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose.”

Giving your work meaning can be a simple shift in perspective, as it was for me.

Back in the 1990s the focus of our company, Learning Strategies, was to sell more audio programs and enrollments. We were sales oriented as were most companies.

Then we switched our mindset from selling to helping more people experience their potential, and two things happened. First, I felt more fulfilled and happier, and second, our business grew significantly. The level of meaning in my life increased considerably as did the success we enjoyed.

My colleague Stewart Emery and his co-authors of the book Success Built to Last interviewed two hundred of the world’s most successful people and uncovered the same experiences.

“Above all else, no matter where they have chosen to excel—in business, the arts, sports, social service, community, or family—each has achieved success by focusing on the things that matter most to them,” he said.

“Enduringly successful people follow their hearts, aligning their thoughts and actions with their passions,” said Stewart. “They become energized by their work and stay on purpose and committed in the face of setbacks and challenges.”

I couldn’t agree with him more. During our company’s long-term success, there have been some extremely difficult times. But as long as we held fast to our vision to serve others, we really never had to worry. It fueled everything we did.

To create a life that matters to you, consider the following:

  • What gives your life meaning? What brings you the greatest joy? Loving what you do and who you are is the greatest motivator for building lasting success. Just shifting our company focus from sales to impacting people, gave me and our staff meaning, and it continues twenty years later. Is there a shift like that you can make?
  • Are your thoughts toxic or supportive? Are negative thoughts and self-doubt or the criticism of others drowning out that voice inside of your head—that whisper or “silent scream” telling you what really matters? Learn to responsibly manage your thoughts in ways that keep you on track to your goals, despite obstacles or burdens you will undoubtedly face.
  • Are you taking action? What are you doing to bring you closer to your goals or attract into your life people and activities that will support you? While meaning drives success, meaning without action will get you nowhere.

When you align your thoughts and actions with what gives your life meaning, you magnify your passion and impart greater clarity to your purpose than ever before.

About the Author

Pete Bissonette is author of the forthcoming novel, Breakfast Tea & Bourbon, where living a meaningful and joyous life weaves through the story. He is the president of Minneapolis-based Learning Strategies, a personal development training and publishing company founded in 1981. For more about his novel, please visit:

How to Network When You’ve Done It All

business networking

Networking. As a small business owner, you’ve probably done it a few hundred times by now. And, at this point, you could do it in your sleep. But that’s the problem: networking has become like following the same script over and over.

Not to fear, however. There are innovative ways to network you may not have considered – ways that can help you build your client base and sales.

A Must See Interview About How to Network Effectively

A lot of people are nervous when they think about networking. They have lots of questions on the best approach when attending networking events so that they can have the chance to connect with really awesome people.

While some may say that networking is over rated, Devora explains that it’s truly underrated.

In this video, Devora Zack explains what real networking is really all about. And it boils down to building meaningful, lasting and most of all, mutually beneficial relationship one person at a time.

How Not to Embarrass Yourself at Holiday Networking Events

christmas networking

So the time has come (again) for holiday networking, and whether you’ve been invited to specific end-of-the-year networking events or simply holiday parties at which you network, you might be thinking one of three things:

  • Great! This is a huge opportunity for me to make new contacts and position myself well for the New Year.
  • God, why me? I just want to hide out at home, sipping eggnog, until this crazy holiday season is over.
  • Cool! Holiday events are the perfect time to cut loose and really let my personality shine.

No matter where you fall on this scale, you can probably use some tips on how to rock those holiday networking events without embarrassing yourself. And, of course, we have them for you.

The Piss Poor Handshake

So you already know that first impressions mean a little something something in the world of business. In the first few minutes of meeting you, people size you up, determining—sometimes even without realizing they’re doing it—whether you are the type of person they want to get to know or do business with. Your clothes, your smile, your verbal greeting all play a role in making a great first impression. Even if you get an A rating on all the above, a piss poor handshake will definitely bring your rating down to a what the heck was that?!

Man! I’m Busier Than a One-Legged Cat in a Sandbox Trying to Cover up His Poop.

I’m Busier Than a One-Legged Cat

Ever feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? Not only do you need to run and market your business, but you also have to keep up with industry knowledge and ever-changing technology. And as if that’s not enough, you have to stay on top of industry standards too. All of this, on top of your already busy schedule, can feel like having your wisdom teeth pulled a second time. Here’s how to keep up, even if you’re busier than a one-legged cat in a sandbox:

Lazy Leadership Is a Lot Like Country and Rap. Basically, It’s Just Crap!


Lazy leadership is a lot like country mixed with rap. Basically, it’s just crap! Everyone hates those meetings that go on so long you’re fighting a nap yet don’t really accomplish much of anything. If you’re the one leading the meeting, do it like a boss. Prepare an agenda that maps out exactly what the meeting will cover. Then, go ahead and forward it to the meeting attendees (and not 5 minutes before the meeting starts, either). Guess what?

When you’re prepared, your team is too, which pretty much means smooth sailing. Here’s what to include in your meeting agenda:

I’m Not Bringing Home the Bacon, I’m Actually Slicing It up Right Here


According to Forbes, about 20 percent of Americans work from home these days. It’s not a new thing or even an odd one, yet as a business person you can expect to get expressions of shock when you announce it. You might even get the side eye here or there. Don’t let it get to you. Think of it as your job to educate the folks who have been living under a rock and haven’t heard that home is the place to be.

Here’s how to handle telling others you’re not bringing home the bacon because you’re actually slicing it up right there:

Count Your Pennies–The Dollars Will Take Care of Themselves

Count your pennies and the dollars will take care of them selves

We all know we’re supposed to network. It’s good for your business (and not too shabby for those times you need support). But like most things that are good for you, it can be a little hard to choke down when we start talking about dollars and cents. Yes, most networking events cost money, and getting yourself noticed can really add up. That’s the bad news (because it’s always good to get that first).

The good news is you can network on a budget. Here’s how to rub elbows without ending up short a nickel to save for a dime.

It’s Like A Tick On A Dog!

Its like a Tick on a Dog

You’ve heard that old saying–the one about how you are what you eat? If you’re on a steady diet of donuts and potato chips, you can expect to be not only out of shape but also headed for a mountain of hospital bills (and that’s if you’re lucky enough to make it to the hospital).

Well, the same thing goes for who you eat, drink, and do business with. Choose the right people and they’ll help you stay motivated and headed for success. Choose badly and you’re in as much trouble as a rat in a snake cage.