Eliminating Bad Habits

All of us at NCG, Inc would like to wish you a happy, healthy and successful New Year!  Part of ensuring a successful new year is setting goals that contribute to a rewarding lifestyle.
Another key factor in setting yourself up for success is eliminating the things that aren’t supporting your growth. Kicking bad habits is much easier said than done, but with the right strategy, it is achievable!
1. Define the behavior. First things first. As obvious as it sounds, you need to clearly define the behavior you want to eliminate. If you’re serious about changing, don’t beat around the bush or be flimsy with your goal. Get serious, define it clearly and write down what you want to change.
2.  Reflect upon how it affects you. This part is important. If you don’t take the time to really think about how this habit is negatively impacting your life, you will quickly lose the willpower to fight the behavior. Better yet, write it down. Depending on the habit, this part can get difficult, but it’s important to face the facts. Think about how it’s affecting each and every aspect of your life.
3. Identify triggers. Each of our negative behaviors come with their own sets of triggers. Some, we may be aware of, while others, we may be completely blind to. It’s imperative to make yours known if you want to stop a habit. You’ll have to avoid these triggers at first in order to ensure your success.
4. Replace the behavior. When you get rid of a habit, you’re going to have an empty space that needs filling. Replace bad habits with healthy, positive behaviors. This will keep you from falling back to old patterns and add value to your life!
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How to Take Advantage of the First Few Hours of the Day

Mornings aren’t easy for everyone. However, how we spend our first waking hours dictates how the rest of the day will play out. Getting into a morning routine is a great way to ensure a smooth morning and productive and happy day every day!

  1. Stretch. Stretching first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your mind and body. You’ll get your blood flowing to your brain, stretch out stiff muscles and shake off any lingering sleepiness. Plus, you’ll start off your day in a great mood!
  1. Shower. There’s nothing like starting the day with that fresh and clean feeling. Hop in the shower to wake up and get cleaned up for the day.
  1. Get dressed. Get dressed with a purpose! Don’t just slap something on and run out the door. Pick out pieces that make you feel great. When you’re comfortable and you know you look good, you’re going to feel good! You’ll feel confident and will perform at your best all day.
  1. Have breakfast. Sit down for a good, wholesome breakfast. Don’t scarf something down while rushing to get other things done. Enjoy your food and morning coffee. Take time to think and get centered for the day.
  1. Plan the day. Plan out your day by making a list of things that need to get done. Keep it short, focused and simple. Prioritize your goals and make plans for accomplishing each task.
  2. Get motivated. The most critical part of how your day is going to turn out is dependent on your mindset! If you’re dreading the day ahead and have a crappy attitude, you’re probably going to have a crappy day. If you feel excited for the day and have a positive outlook, you’re probably going to have a fabulous day! It’s your choice!

Handling Rejection at Work

No matter who you are, what your job title is or how successful you are, you are bound to face rejection in the workplace periodically. No matter how many times it has happened, it’s just never all that easy to handle getting turned down at work.

As difficult as it may be at times, rejection is par for the course. It is also a great opportunity to learn, grow and bounce back as a stronger employee and professional. Rejection is normal. It’s not something to be tip-toed around or ashamed of. In fact, it is necessary for growth and improvement.

Instead of reacting negatively to not-so-good feedback at work, next time, try taking these steps:

  1. Listen. When someone is giving you negative feedback, the hardest thing to do is to stop and really listen. When we are getting criticized, our defense mechanisms go up, and our inner voice chimes in with all of the things we would love to say in our own defense. In these moments, try to silence that voice and just be still and listen whether you agree with what you’re hearing or not.


  1. Stifle your knee-jerk reaction. Our automatic reaction to rejection or criticism is to defend ourselves or fight back. Work on holding back this auto-response. This reaction is fueled by emotion and survival mode. It is not backed by logic or factually based on sound reasoning. It is this reaction which will almost always add fuel to the fire.


  1. Take space. After hearing the feedback, take some time to cool off and just sit with it. Jot down some notes and then move on to something else so you have time to settle.


  1. Ask yourself some questions. Once you’ve given yourself some separation from the matter, you can revisit and ask yourself some questions. Is there any validity to the criticism? Why is your coworker/manager giving you this feedback? If you make changes to address the issue will it be better for you in the long-run? What can you learn from this experience?


  1. Weigh out the situation. Sometimes, you can solve the situation on your own. Maybe it’s no big deal, or maybe it is something that needs further attention.


  1. Get back to your supervisor/coworker. If warranted, get back to your coworker at an appropriate time. Make sure you are in a good headspace, that you have your facts straight and that you have a plan for improvement or questions to ask. Whether you agree with the rejection/criticism or not, it’s important to be respectful and make your goal clear. You can either give your idea another shot or ask how you can improve for the future.


  1. Apply feedback/ Chalk it up. Now you can either apply the feedback that you’ve been given or just chalk it up for experience. Whatever the outcome of the exchange, there is always something to be learned…especially about yourself!

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Tips for Public Speaking

For some people, public speaking is no big deal. For others, having to speak at a public forum can be their worst nightmare. There are people who just jot down some notes and can wing a speech like it’s nothing, and there are those who sweat it out for weeks, planning and re-planning until they have it perfected.

Then, there are the people in between who give speeches so frequently, that they seem like naturals, but are really quite shy in any other setting. In fact, many people who can give perfectly polished, charming and funny speeches are introverts and are totally different when you encounter them in any other forum! So, what’s their secret? How do they project that smooth confidence in front of a large crowd when they’d much rather be hiding in the corner? How do they engage their audience while conveying such powerful messages?

In the world of business, most of us will inevitably be faced with the opportunity to speak publicly at one point or another. For some of us, these opportunities are exciting and thrilling! For others, while being asked to speak is an honor, it may ignite a feeling of serious fear and dread. No matter which type of person you are, following these tips will help you to deliver a captivating and inspiring speech!

  1. Prepare. The best way to calm your nerves is to prepare the best you can before your speech. Obviously, this includes writing and revising what you are planning on saying. In addition, you can research your audience. Know who you are going to be speaking to. If you are super nervous, you can also research the building or visit the auditorium. Sometimes resolving the unknown helps to calm anxieties.


  1. Practice in the mirror. It is a great idea to practice giving your speech in the mirror so that you can pay attention to your facial expressions. Wouldn’t it be terrible if you were making crazy facial expressions during your whole speech and you didn’t know it?! You can also practice your hand gestures for emphasis and work on your eye contact by practicing in a mirror.


  1. Turn those nerves into excitement! Try to stop your negative thoughts dead in their tracks, and turn them into positive ones. Being asked to speak is an honor. It means you have something of significant value to offer and you have been chosen out of many others to share your knowledge with people who want to learn from you!


  1. Dress up. If you want a super easy way to boost your confidence, dress your best the day of your speech. Nothing makes you strut your stuff quite like a suit or dress that fits just right.


  1. Breathe. Take ten deep breaths before you go on stage. Inhale deeply, hold your breath for three seconds, then exhale completely and repeat. Deep breaths are believed to decrease anxiety, control panic attacks and promote mindfulness.


  1. Slow it down. Don’t start talking immediately when you walk out on stage. Many people do this out of nervousness and it results in frantic, scattered blurbs of speech. Walk out calmly, smile, gather your notes and your thoughts and speak when you’re ready. It may feel painfully awkward and drawn out, but it does not seem that way to your audience. To them it seems as though you are in complete control.


  1. Connect. Make sure to connect with your crowd by making eye contact with individual audience members. Don’t get lost in your notes the entire time; it feels disconnected and unauthentic.


  1. Stay positive. Stay optimistic no matter what. There may be some people in the crowd who will make faces or shake their heads at certain things that you say. Don’t pay them any attention. Instead, focus on those who are showing their support. In addition, if you fumble a word or get lost for a moment, don’t dwell on it. Brush it off or even make a joke out of it and quickly move on.


  1. Ask Questions. A great way to engage your audience is by asking questions. You can frame certain aspects of your speech into questions instead of statements, which will prompt the crowd to connect with you more easily. They may not answer, or you may just ask rhetorical questions, but asking questions still prompts the audience to relate.


  1. Be thankful. Always thank your audience at the end of your speech. They took the time out of their day to hear what you have to say and you should be appreciative of their time. Remember to be grateful that you were chosen to share your wisdom and experience with others. It really is an honor.

Remember, you were chosen to speak for a reason. You have already proven yourself worthy. Just keep these tips in mind for your next speech and never let ‘em see you sweat!

Benefits of List Making

When we think of list-making, we tend to think of work, obligatory tasks and time restraints. It’s difficult to think of list-making as a means of relaxation, stress relief or even fun. Why would anyone ever want to sit around and write a list if they didn’t have to?!

Writing is a means of escape for many people. Whether it be journaling, writing stories or list-making, writing has always been a great release and one of the best ways to increase self-awareness.

Next time you’re feeling down, stressed or unmotivated, write it out! Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. People who inspire you. Writing down a list of those who inspire you not only makes you stop to think of those who have really made an impact on you, but it helps to solidify what you want to get out of your life!
  2. Things that you’re grateful for. There’s no doubt that practicing gratefulness has considerable effects on one’s mood, outlook and overall attitude toward life. Taking the time to be thankful for what you have can be truly uplifting!
  3. Your Goals. It’s super important to revisit and write down your goals periodically. You’ve got to get excited about your life and get serious about making accomplishments!
  4. Your favorite self-care routines. Don’t forget about your favorite ways to pamper yourself! You need to fit in time for some good ole’ r&r.
  5. Your all-time favorite songs. There’s nothing like your favorite jam to take you to another place. Jot down your favorite songs of all time and create a few fun playlists!
  6. A to-do list. We know, we know…. This isn’t any fun. However, when you’re feeling stressed, just writing down your to-do list can lift a big weight off your shoulders. Sometimes, things seem so much worse when everything is swimming around in your head. Write it down and tackle it one at a time!
  7. Your happiest memories. How fun is it to reminisce?! Write down your favorite memories and use that list to make a scrapbook or share the stories with family or friends later on!
  8. A venting list. You know all of those negative thoughts, memories and emotions that keep popping up and nagging at you at inconvenient times? Those things you keep trying to avoid….. You need to work through them. Try writing them down! You’ll be surprised how good it feels to let it out.
  9. Your favorite quotes. The quotes that you feel in your soul resonate with you for a reason. Write them down and put them somewhere you can see them. Keep them as inspiration. A few words can have the power to transform your whole day, and ultimately, your life.
  10. A bucket list. Everyone should have a bucket list! Write down all of the things you would love to accomplish before you die-from the easily attainable to the nearly impossible. We only have one life. Dare to dream!

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Texas Event a Success for NCG, Inc Team

ncg-inc-ktsSome of the Management team here at NCG, Inc (Trumbull, CT) recently got back from a huge industry event in Austin, TX. This was the annual kick-off meeting for the year and over 500 sales and marketing professionals from around the United States and Canada were in attendance. It’s always a great event but this year it was better than ever! When they got back to Trumbull, CT they shared the main themes from the weekend and here they are!

GOALS – The previous year are recapped, industry trends are discussed, most excitingly, the plans for the upcoming year are announced. Large corporations attend this annual event to explain their targets as well as meet with some of their key representatives.

DEVELOPMENT – The event is all about professional development — both celebrating it and facilitating it. Attendees meet with successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders to help increase their overall leadership and business knowledge. NCG, Inc believes in the ongoing development of their people and such is true for the management staff as well!

RECOGNITION – Awards, bonuses and more! Some of the top performers in the industry left Austin a little richer than when they arrived, in a big blown up check form! Clients shell out extra incentives to those going above and beyond their goals. There were also new bonus criteria laid out for 2017 by several companies that everyone was pumped about!

GIVING BACK – What’s better than being surrounded by hundreds of like-minded, driven people who also love the ability to help others in need? Nothing! This year there was a 50/50 raffle to raise money for Operation Smile. In previous years, the winner ended up donating the money back to charity so this year they changed the rules. There would be no “cash” prize. Instead, the winner would get an all-expense paid trip and the location was based on how much money was raised. Well, after over $13,000, which is enough money to provide over 50 surgeries for children with cleft lips and palettes, that winner is headed to London!

It was an exciting weekend in Austin and our management team came back to Trumbull, CT fired up and ready to dominate 2017! Be sure to check us out on Facebook to see the best photos from the event.