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Personal Development

Step out of your comfort zone, change your plans, strategize your future.

Ruth Porat

Ruth Porat

Alphabet (Google) CFO

Personal Development
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

Though our brains stop developing at 25, personal growth is never really over. In these modules, learn from renowned actors like Jonathan Price and Jeffrey Wright, CEOs, authors, and consultants about the many ways we can work towards emotional, mental, and spiritual growth. From how to push past negative self-talk, to stepping out of your comfort zone, to strategic future planning, this course has everything you need to inspire personal development.


What You'll Learn

  • How to plan your life

  • How to search for a mentor

  • How to commit to lifelong learning

  • How risk perception shapes our choices


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Episodes

18 Episodes

1. Plan Strategically: Essential Questions for Managing Your Life

8min

According to Howard Stevenson, professor at Harvard Business School, the key to attaining satisfaction in life is to learn from negative experiences. These critical inflection points, Stevenson argues, are the most valuable moments in that they allow you to reevaluate your goals and calibrate your vision.In this lesson, Stevenson explains that an inflection point is defined by a place where there is no tangent to the line.So what does that mean? You can pick almost any direction. The problem with that, of course, is that you are faced with too many choices. You need to edit those choices, Stevenson says, in order to allow yourself to properly analyze your best options.The FundamentalsLive life forward. What have I learned from my past?Start at the end. What is my vision for my life? Is the juice worth the squeeze?Structural QuestionsWhat are my basic values?What are my strengths?Where am I able to have a competitive advantage?What legacy do I want to leave?Opportunity-driven Questio...

2. Achieve Mastery: From Seeker to Expert

6min

Mozart, Einstein and Steve Jobs were all masters of their respective fields. And this was due to their ability to elevate their minds to an extremely high level. People like this “have a feel for what’s coming next in the world,” says Robert Greene, author of Mastery. “They can sense trends. They can see answers to problems without almost even thinking.”And yet, don’t be intimidated. Mastery is accessible, in fact, much more so today than ever before due to the explosion of the information economy. In this lesson, Greene demystifies the steps involved in achieving mastery in your life’s work.Mastery: The feeling that we have greater command of reality, other people, and ourselves.Phase 1: Discover your calling.Key Question: What might your life’s task be?Phase 2: Become an apprentice.Key Question: Who might you turn to for mentorship?Phase 3: Hone the right skills.Key Questions: What skills must you acquire? Where might you experiment with the implementation of these skills?...

3. Balance Work and Life

2min

In this lesson, Ruth Porat, CFO of Google, describes how being a parent to three kids is one of the keys to having a complete, full life. “If you’re just focused on work, my view is that you’ll never get enough back from any organization no matter how fantastic the role is,” she says. “You have to have a full life so that you really get enriched in a lot of different ways.”

4. Make a Commitment to Lifelong Learning

5min

Too many of us get the message that “learning” is a kind of necessary torture—something imposed on us at first by parents and teachers, then internalized until we finish college, graduate, or professional school. Diploma in hand, we enter the real world, which is about doing, not learning. This perspective is not only patently false, it’s also dangerous to our well-being.Humans are learning creatures. Making new discoveries and acquiring new capacities stimulates brain development and, quite simply, makes us happy. We learn through physical action (motor learning) and reflection upon the people, places, and objects we encounter. So taking on new challenges, travelling, and remaining socially active keeps us mentally healthy and growing. Physical exercise plays an important role, too, stimulating bone growth and the release of a hormone that’s essential to memory storage.Forms of LearningImplicit learning is the learning of complex information without conscious participation. It...

5. Find Your Perfect Mentor

2min

The greatest advantage of age and experience is wisdom. Wisdom is a resilient outlook that takes the good and the bad in stride, knowing for a fact that change happens, and with incredibly rare exceptions, it’s not the end of the world. Professional failures are valuable learning opportunities and successes offer a different kind of useful information. You learn from both, and move on to the next opportunity.However brilliant a young professional may be, she lacks the experience to process failure stoically. This is where mentors come in. Sarah Robb O’Hagan emphasizes that finding a good mentor (and likely more than one over the course of your career) is absolutely crucial to success. A mentor has the power to keep you focused on the long game. And to keep you from freaking out counterproductively whenever things go awry.Young professionals often lack the experience necessary to handle problems calmly - with a grain of salt. Lean on wisdom from a senior coworker who can remind you...

6. Overcome Stage Fright: Put the Spotlight on Your Audience

2min

Throughout his extraordinary career, Pryce has turned his attention outward rather than inward – onto his fellow actors, the audience, the needs of the story. This, he reflects, is the secret to overcoming stage fright: remembering that it isn’t all about you.Your anxiety is more salient to you than to others.You’re probably doing better than you think.Forget about yourself. Focus on the audience.

7. Shape Your Reality

2min

“Business is storytelling,” so says Jeffrey Wright, the Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe-winning actor and entrepreneur who founded Taia Lion Resources, a mineral exploration company focused on ethical and sustainable mining in Sierra Leone.“You have to instill a sense of faith, really, in those things unknown, that the vision will be realized,” he says. “Suspension of disbelief is critical to pressing forward and realizing a new reality whether it be in the theater or whether it be in business.”In this lesson, Wright explains how to rally your team behind a mission by leveraging the magic of storytelling.

8. Use Psychology to Optimize Your Brand: Lessons in Color, Naming and Consistency

9min

The first letter of your name. The average climate of your country. The presence of the color pink. These so-called “context effects” have an enormous influence over the way we think and behave, and Adam Alter, Assistant Professor of Marketing at New York University Stern School of Business compiles these and other fascinating insights from recent psychological research in his book Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors. In this lesson, Alter explains how you can use these context effects to your advantage, whether you are naming your company or choosing the color of an everyday product.Calculated ColorResearch the associations that are commonly made with colors, then select accordingly.Use red carefully. It can signal critique… but it can also attract.The Nuance of NamingDon’t select names with ambiguous pronunciations.Simplicity is good. Acknowledge the importance of familiarity.Consider the personality of words. Try to vi...

9. Let Go of Your Life Plans: Be Willing to Change Course

6min

From early childhood people ask you what you want to be when you grow up. In high school, you start learning big words like “vision” and “purpose”, and absorbing the message that you need an inspiring framework to guide your life. But the working world doesn’t always seem to match these grand visions—or at least it seems not to care much about your deeper motivations. How do you reconcile these two seemingly incompatible things? Paradoxical though it may seem, you don’t really need to.Move away from your “nevers”You may have a fixed idea about how your career is “supposed to be”. But if you allow yourself to be more flexible in your thinking, unexpected opportunities may arise.Try not to chain yourself to a fixed idea of the future. Open yourself to the present instead.Find your flexibilityLife itself is fluid. Digging your heels in can keep you stuck in the past.The goal is to have a vision for your life while also allowing yourself to evolve.Think of the content of your...

10. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Find a New One

6min

For those who have ever had the experience, there’s no comfort like the comfort of curling up with a good book, especially a work of fiction that sweeps you away into a different time, place, and life than the ones you’re used to. But one of two things happen to most adults: either they stop reading altogether or their reading ends up limited to certain genres, topics, or authors. What’s lost is immeasurable; a lifelong conduit to emotional growth.Read “Own Voices” fictionGrow your empathy ...

11. Tune In to Your Talent

3min

“I learned from my boss how not to act the rest of my life.”According to Robert Sutton, Professor of Management at Stanford University, the line above represents an entire genre of bad boss stories. And it is useful to know and understand, Sutton says, that “many good bosses have had their own bad bosses on the way up, but have patterned their management style after how not to do things.”According to Sutton, good bosses try to understand what it feels like to work for them. In this lesson, h...

12. Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World

4min

If you’ve ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don’t realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.Quiet your mindOur internal monologue often reflects the superficial world we see on TV and social media.Negative self-talk is destructive. We focus on keeping up with other people instead of finding ourselves.The world’s noise is the biggest obstacle to hearing our own self-talk. We need to tune out external influences to clear space for a hea...

13. Fix Your Mistakes: How to Revisit Your Decisions and Realign Them to Your Values

9min

Investor Roger McNamee joined Facebook as an early investor when the company was just two years old. In this lesson, he explains why he went from Facebook supporter to public critic, and why he came to write the book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.How did McNamee recognize the mistake he made with Facebook? He called upon his training as a tech analyst to re-evaluate the decision-making process along three critical lines: What are the assumptions in play? Does the most recent information available confirm those assumptions? What biases might be obscuring the decision-maker’s ability to think analytically?Good decision-makers think like real-time anthropologists. They avoid taking fixed stances; they know the information available is bound to change.Life is unpredictable. Prepare yourself to adapt. Always be on the lookout for new information. Always update your hypotheses, or assumptions, to the best information available.We’re prone to ignoring signals that don’t ...

14. Align Principles with Purpose: How to Create Rubik's Cube Moments

7min

Everything is in perfect alignment. You feel like the work you do makes a difference in the world. You are happy at work. You are deeply engaged. That’s what Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School, calls a “Rubik’s cube moment.” This perfect alignment occurs when you feel the values of the company you work for are the same as your personal values. So how can you create such a moment for yourself and for those you manage? In this lesson, Kanter offers three strategies.Implement a common vocabularyUnite a disparate workforce by using your company’s statement of purpose, values and principles as a management tool.Keep the conversation openMotivate your talent by engaging them in the process of identifying commonly shared values and creating alignment strategies.CommitEmbed a social purpose in your business strategy. Pledge to serve it in good times and in bad.

15. Knock on Lots of Doors: Earn Success Like a Salesperson

5min

In the abstract, we all value “persistence”. We all know that not giving up is key to success. But what does real persistence actually look like? It looks like a door-to-door salesperson knocking on 100 doors to make 1 sale, keeping their energy upbeat and positive through 99 rejections. It looks like not taking “no” for an answer.Overcome rejectionIn sales and life, many doors get closed in your face. Sometimes you have to knock on 100 doors to walk through one. The idea is to remain just as enthusiastic on door 101 as you were on the first 100.You’re going to get rejected. Be prepared for it. Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do.Don’t take “no” for an answerPresent the unique features and benefits of your product or service.When you’re ready to negotiate an order, don’t ask. Tell your prospect what you’d like them to receive.Then, promise them your company’s total dedication and support. Be specific: What kind of training or client...

16. Craft Your Vision: How Will Risk Perception Shape Your Choices?

3min

Collins argues that people often mistakenly think that taking a job at an established enterprise is less risky than becoming an entrepreneur – but the traditional route has its own risks, too. As his mentor Rochelle Meyers once said, “The only way to paint a masterpiece is to go into the blank canvas.”By the end of this lesson, you’ll have Collins’ framework for evaluating the risks associated with the entrepreneurial route versus a more traditional career path.

17. Organize Using Social Media

2min

Maddie Grant is a social media consultant at Socialfish, and has observed that companies that have trouble integrating social media tend to have deeper organizational issues. For instance, let’s say your company doesn’t collaborate. That’s a problem with the company culture. Let’s say you don’t actually trust your staff to represent the company. You may only trust your media spokesperson.The essential challenge, according to Grant, is to manage the shift “from a company that’s used to having one or two people who are enabled to speak for the company” to all of a sudden having everyone speak for the company. This is not a social media problem. This is a change that needs to happen in the company culture. Her recommendation?Identify the communication gaps.Use social media to drive deeper organizational changes.Create an interdepartmental social media team.

18. Utilize Social Media

3min

From a customer-service standpoint, social media is an unprecedented tool for connecting in real time with customers – for gathering information about their needs and concerns and letting them know you’re addressing them. But the social web has a powerful nose for spin and adspeak and frankly “We’re doing all we can” doesn’t really cut it. Maddie Grant, co-author of Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World, argues that what the social media generation wants most from business is genuine transparency and a human face. They want to know that someone is actually listening and interested in their personal needs as a consumer. Companies that understand this – as opposed to paying lip service to it – can reap huge rewards in the form of customer loyalty and a real competitive edge.In this lesson, Grant uses the example of a misstep by the company Motrin to illustrate how social media can become a barometer of what’s working and what’s not, and a sourc...

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