Welcome to Phoenix, Where There’s Tons of Startup Talent, Less Red Tape, and Houses Your Employees Can Actually Afford

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Welcome to Phoenix, Where There’s Tons of Startup Talent, Less Red Tape, and Houses Your Employees Can Actually Afford

Reduced regulations and an improving talent pipeline make Arizona’s state capital a hospitable environment for entrepreneurs.

By Emily CanalStaff writer, Inc.com@emilycanal
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There’s more than just desert sand and scorching heat in Arizona’s state capital. Phoenix is finally getting its due as a haven for entrepreneurs.

Not only did the Valley of the Sun land at No. 11 on Inc.’s list of Surge Cities, an index that measures the U.S. metro areas with the most economic momentum, it’s also the location of Inc.’s annual conference honoring the businesses that landed on the Inc. 5000, a ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Starting October 10, through the 12th, attendees will hear from entrepreneurs including LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel, Calm co-founder Michael Acton Smith, and Away co-founder Jen Rubio.

Here are five reasons why Phoenix is an increasingly hospitable environment for entrepreneurs.

1. Reduced regulations

In the last two years, the state has passed several laws with the specific goal of attracting financial and real estate technology startups. 

In 2018, Arizona became the first state in the U.S. to adopt a regulatory fintech sandbox–that is a legal framework through which startups may test their products for up to two years and serve as many as 10,000 customers before they must apply for a formal license, according to a release from Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Historically it has taken startups several months and tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses, fees, and compliance costs to get a formal license, according to the same press release. ​

Additionally, in March of this year, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that created a similar regulatory sandbox for property technology companies. Then in April, he signed legislation aimed at making it easier for people with out-of-state occupational licenses to work in Arizona. The new law–which only applies to people who have been licensed for at least one year and are in good standing–requires Arizona’s licensing boards and commissions to recognize out-of-state licenses during the formal licensing process so new residents can get to work faster. 

“Arizona’s economy is booming, and the people that are coming out here are just looking for an opportunity to carve their own path,” Ducey said in April at a news conference about the latter bill’s signing. “Too often our government has acted as an adversary, not an ally, for people that want to work.”

Phoenix is already starting to see positive results from the new laws. In June, real estate startup Opendoor asked between 200 and 300 staff members across the country to relocate to its Phoenix headquarters, according to Bloomberg. Opendoor, which was most recently valued at $3.8 billion, helps customers buy and sell their homes online. What’s more, six companies have joined the fintech sandbox as of this May, according to a press release from the Attorney General. 

2. Improving talent pipeline

Schools like Arizona State and the University of Arizona, which is just two hours away in Tucson, offer robust employment pools for area startups. Arizona State University, for its part, has been ranked the most innovative school in the U.S. every year since 2016 by U.S. News and World Report

The talent pipeline further extends from thriving local companies and out-of-state businesses that have opened satellite offices in Phoenix. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of Phoenix-area companies with revenue of at least $1 million grew 6.2 percent to 1,211 businesses, according to a July report by online lending marketplace LendingTree.

Companies with outposts there include: American Express, Allstate, State Farm, and USAA. Infosys, a global consulting and digital services firm, opened a Phoenix-area technology and innovation center in September.

Mid-career tech professionals are still harder to find in Phoenix than other U.S. startup hubs, says Diana Vowels, the general manager of Galvanize, one of the largest coding schools in the U.S. which opened an office in Phoenix in 2017. ”Although tech talent is improving, the talent is not yet as prolific as some of the other markets like Denver, San Francisco, or New York,” Vowels says. ”We are still catching up in terms of quality and abundance.” 

3.  A community of support 

Phoenix-area founders like Jamie Baxter say they can arrange a meeting with nearly any local businessperson. As the co-founder of Qwick, a staffing service that connects hospitality workers with food and beverage shifts in real-time, he was moving beyond the seed funding stage earlier this year and had questions about raising venture capital. He cold-emailed Greg Scoresby, the founder of financial aid startup CampusLogic–which has $72 million in venture funding–in the hopes that he could share some insight into the process. They met over breakfast the following week, Baxter says. 

Mark Hanchett, the founder of electric vehicle startup Atlis Motor Vehicles, agrees that Phoenix business owners are only too willing to help fellow entrepreneurs. ”We are a young startup community, which means there is a lot of opportunities to help others who are going through the same growing pains,” says Hanchett. “Building the community is a group effort, not just a single company’s effort.” 

4. Low cost of living

Compared to coastal entrepreneurial hubs, Phoenix’s cost of living is low. Phoenix’s median home value is $244,600 and the median residential rent price is $1,500, according to the real estate database Zillow. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s median home value is $1.3 million and the median residential rent is $4,580, according to Zillow.

That’s helped area startups better compete, says Hanchett, who notes that lower costs have helped his company best a few competitors over the years. Specifically, he says he has used cheaper housing prices as a way to entice prospective employees to relocate to Phoenix over expensive cities like Seattle or San Francisco. 

“We’ve been able to leverage the lower cost of living when competing with startups out of state that are in a similar space to us,” says Hanchett. “Phoenix also still has that small-town feeling, which is nice.” 

5. Increased funding access for some

For those looking to cut costs but not ties to Silicon Valley, a direct flight from Phoenix to San Francisco is only two hours. That can be helpful for those seeking out-of-state funding, which is often still a necessity for founders in Phoenix.

The city has raised $661 million in VC funding so far this year, according to data and research company Pitchbook. That’s already more than its tally in 2015–when VC funding totaled $290 million–but it lags behind last year’s total of $809 million. By contrast, California-based businesses have lassoed $48.9 billion in VC funding so far this year, says Pitchbook.

Baxter argues that there is funding in Phoenix, but the perception that it’s lacking has hurt the city’s reputation. He was able to raise $1.3 million in eight weeks last December for Qwick, 70 percent of which came from in-state funding, he notes. ”You can raise capital here, you just have to believe you can do it and work at it,” Baxter says.  

Published on: Oct 11, 2019

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A Short Guide to Building Your Team’s Critical Thinking Skills – Harvard Business Review

Executive Summary

Most employers lack an effective way to objectively assess critical thinking skills and most managers don’t know how to provide specific instruction to team members in need of becoming better thinkers. Instead, most managers employ a sink-or-swim approach, ultimately creating work-arounds to keep those who can’t figure out how to “swim” from making important decisions. But it doesn’t have to be this way. To demystify what critical thinking is and how it is developed, the author’s team turned to three research-backed models: The Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment, Pearson’s RED Critical Thinking Model, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Using these models, they developed the Critical Thinking Roadmap, a framework that breaks critical thinking down into four measurable phases: the ability to execute, synthesize, recommend, and generate.

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With critical thinking ranking among the most in-demand skills for job candidates, you would think that educational institutions would prepare candidates well to be exceptional thinkers, and employers would be adept at developing such skills in existing employees. Unfortunately, both are largely untrue.

According to a 2016 survey of 63,924 managers and 14,167 recent graduates, critical thinking is the number one soft skill managers feel new graduates are lacking, with 60% feeling this way. This confirms what a Wall Street Journal analysis of standardized test scores given to freshmen and seniors at 200 colleges found: the average graduate from some of the most prestigious universities shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years. Employers fare no better. Half rate their employees’ critical thinking skills as average or worse.

Why is it so difficult to teach people how to think critically?

It starts with the fact that there is little agreement around what critical thinking is. From there, it gets even less clear. Most employers lack an effective way to objectively assess critical thinking skills and most managers don’t know how to provide specific instruction to team members in need of becoming better thinkers. Instead, most managers employ a sink-or-swim approach, ultimately creating work-arounds to keep those who can’t figure out how to “swim” from making important decisions.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

To demystify what critical thinking is and how it is developed, our team at Zarvana turned to three research-backed models: The Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment, Pearson’s RED Critical Thinking Model, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Using these models, we developed the Critical Thinking Roadmap, a framework that breaks critical thinking down into four measurable phases: the ability to execute, synthesize, recommend, and generate.

Here is how to assess the critical thinking skills of each of your team members, how to help those who are struggling, and how to know when a team member has mastered one phase and is ready for the next.

Phase 1: Execute
If team members are just starting a new role or have never been pushed to think for themselves, they will likely be in the execution phase. In this phase, team members simply do what they are asked to do. This may seem basic and even pre-critical thinking, but converting instructions into action requires several of the skills Halpern describes as critical thinking: verbal reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving. You know your employee is getting it when you can answer “yes” to these 3 questions:

  • Do they complete all parts of their assignments?
  • Do they complete them on time?
  • Do they complete them at or close to your standard of quality?

If a team member is struggling here, make sure they understand your instructions by asking them to rearticulate each assignment before they begin. Start by giving them smaller assignments with more immediate deadlines. Once they’ve begun the work, ask them to explain what they did, how they did it, and why they did it that way. Once team members are making suggestions for how to improve their work, you know they’re ready for the next phase.

Phase 2: Synthesize
In this phase, team members learn to sort through a range of information and figure out what is important. For example, they can summarize the key takeaways after an important meeting. Here, you want to be able to answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Can they identify all the important insights?
  • Do they exclude all unimportant insights?
  • Do they accurately assess the relative importance of the important insights?
  • Can they communicate the important insights clearly and succinctly?

Synthesis is a skill that, like any other, grows with practice. Try to give team members who are getting stuck here as many chances to synthesize as possible. You could ask them to share takeaways after a call with a client, for example, or after an important meeting. When you check in with them, make them share the insights first and in a succinct manner. If they are still struggling to identify what is important, try leading them through resource-constrained thought experiments that force them to isolate the most important information (e.g., what if you could only share one insight, what if you only had 5 minutes, what if we only had a thousand dollars). You know team members are ready for Phase 3 when they can provide a summary of the important insights and implications for future work on the spot without preparation.

Phase 3: Recommend
In this phase, team members move from identifying what is important to determining what should be done. The primary goal is for team members to consistently make recommendations that are well-founded — even if their recommendations don’t align with your opinion. Here’s how you can assess their progress:

  • Do they always provide a recommendation when asking you questions instead of relying on you to come up with answers?
  • Do they demonstrate appreciation for the potential downsides of their recommendation?
  • Do they consider alternatives before landing on a recommendation?
  • Are their recommendations backed by strong, sensible reasoning?

When team members enter this phase, start by requiring them to make recommendations before you share your opinion. Once they are, ask them to share their rationale, the alternatives they considered, and the downsides of their recommendations. This pushes them to do more than share the first idea that comes into their minds. Team members are ready to move to Phase 4 when they make reasonable recommendations that reflect sound business judgment on work that is not their own.

Phase 4: Generate
To operate in this phase of thinking, team members must be able to create something out of nothing. For example, they are told there is a need to improve the training program for new hires and they develop a project to do it. In this phase, they become adept at translating the vision in others’ heads (and their own) into projects that can be executed. Assess their progress with these questions:

  • Do they propose high-value work that doesn’t follow logically from work they are already doing?
  • Can they convert your and others’ visions into feasible plans for realizing those visions?
  • Can they figure out how to answer questions you have but don’t know how to answer?

To help team members move into this phase, you will often have to model this thinking for them. Invite them to observe and participate in your own generative process. Many people don’t make it to this phase because they don’t give themselves permission to do the kind of open-ended thinking required. By inviting them to attend your brainstorming session, you show them it is not only okay to spend time thinking, but it is required. You can also ask them to keep a list of their ideas for improving the project, department, or organization. Invite them to share those ideas with you regularly. Then, seriously vet the ideas with them to show them the exercise was more than a practice activity.

It’s time to reject the notion that critical thinking is either an innate gift that can’t be developed or a skill learned only through experience. Begin using this systematic approach to lead team members through the four phases of critical thinking. By doing so, you can help your team members develop one of today’s most in-demand skills.

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The Most Important Factor for Wellness Has Nothing to Do With Food, Exercise, or Time Management


The Most Important Factor for Wellness Has Nothing to Do With Food, Exercise, or Time Management

Sure, diet and exercise matter, but this essential ingredient for wellness is often overlooked.

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“Across the country, everyone is looking for a cure for what ails them, which has led to a booming billion-dollar industry — what I’ve come to call the Wellness Industrial Complex,” reported performance couch Brad Stulberg for Outside Magazine this summer. 

From “detox IVs” to “crystals for better energy,” Stulberg goes on to document the current mania for any trick, technology, or outlandish practice that might make us feel a little happier and healthier despite the world’s many worrying ills. 

But there’s one big problem with these interventions. “So much of what’s sold in the name of modern-day wellness has little to no evidence of working,” Stulberg writes. 

What does? You already know the basics. Eat food, mostly plants, not too much, in writer Michael Pollan’s famous formulation. Move your body regularly. Have friends. Sleep

All of which is fundamental, but none of it is surprising. But according to a new book by Columbia University psychiatrist Kelli Harding, there is one more essential piece of the wellness puzzle that few of us think about enough. And unlike tarot cards and “detox tea,” this factor actually makes a huge difference when it comes to your happiness and health.

It’s kindness

The science of kindness and health 

We all know that both our diet and our genes play key roles in our health, but back in the 1970s when scientists gave a group of genetically identical rabbits the same unhealthy, high-fat diet to see how it affected their hearts, they noticed that some of the rabbits were doing surprisingly well despite their gross diet. 

The difference couldn’t be their food or their genes, as those were carefully controlled to be the same. So what was the magic factor protecting some of the rabbits? 

“They looked around and realized what was different about that one group is that there was a researcher that wasn’t just giving the rabbits kibbles. She was actually picking them up. She was petting them. She was talking to them. She was giving them love and kindness,” says Harding in a Knowledge@Wharton interview. That’s why her new book on the under-appreciated role of kindness in wellness is titled The Rabbit Effect.  

What’s true for bunnies is true for humans. Whether you live a long, healthy, happy life or a short, stunted one has a great deal to do with whether the world metaphorically picks you up and cuddles you or just hands you kibbles through the door of your cage. 

“We spend a fortune on medical care in this country — far more than other countries per capita. But we’re not getting the health results we want … it’s probably because we’re really doubling down on the medical care and not investing in our social world the way that we could,” Harding argues. 

Hugs before healing crystals 

This truth suggests the need for changes to our medical system — more support for the vulnerable, a more personal connection with health care providers, etc. — but it also suggests simple and wildly effective changes individuals chasing wellness can make in their day-to-day lives. 

“The hug you give your child or your spouse when you walk out the door makes a difference, and not only with them. There’s this really exciting science of epigenetics and telomere research that shows that loving actions actually change our physiology,” Harding explains. 

Kindness shouldn’t stop when you walk into work in the morning. A softer touch in the office can make a massive difference too. “Studies have shown that the strongest predictor of a man’s death from heart disease isn’t cholesterol or blood pressure. It’s his job,” she continues. “Everyone knows it’s important to have a good doctor, but it’s also important to have a good manager.”

A gentler office environment can literally save someone’s life (think about that next time you’re feeling snappy after a long day). 

You no doubt learned the importance of kindness, empathy, and friendship way back in kindergarten. This isn’t some sexy biomedical breakthrough. But in a current world often categorized by viciousness, division, and desperate zero sum thinking, it’s worth remembering that, if you’re chasing wellness, kindness is one of the basics. And unlike a lot of what’s sold under the “wellness” banner, it actually has solid science behind it. 

Basic decency matters a whole lot more than any biohack or expensive gizmo. So save yourself some money, skip the crystals, and focus on hugs and thoughtfulness instead.  

Published on: Oct 11, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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Thousands of tarantulas are emerging from the ground in the San Francisco Bay Area, looking for mates

tarantulaJohn Fowler/Flickr

  • A spate of warm weather in the San Francisco Bay Area has extended the tarantula mating season.
  • Hikers have reportedly seen male spiders skittering across roads and paths in search of females.
  • Tarantulas, though creepy-looking to some people, are not dangerous to humans.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

Every year as the summer ends, male tarantulas engage in a season of courtship. The fuzzy arachnids skitter across roads and parks in the western US, traveling up to a mile in search of mates (even though male tarantulas often meet their demise at the fangs of their spidery lovers).

Typically, tarantula mating season starts in late August and terminates by the second week of fall. But warm, dry weather in northern California has extended this year’s mating season there, so residents of the San Francisco Bay Area have been spotting tarantulas this week. Hiking trails in Mount Diablo State Park are reportedly replete with determined males.

"Great time of year. You only get to see it once a year," Sonoma County Reptile Rescue Director Al Wolf told CBS San Francisco.

Searching for that special spider

North American tarantulas (50 species that fall under the genus Aphonopelma) have been known to travel up to a mile — a long trek for a spider with legs the length of our fingers —  to find a mate. Usually, though, males prefer to stay within a few inches of their burrows.

Once a tarantula finds a potential mate’s burrow and fights off any other males for courtship rights, he does something akin to knocking on the front door: Burrows are covered by a silk web, so the suitor taps the web and tries to entice the female outside.

If she acquiesces and comes out, the female tarantula then receives the male’s sperm, which the spider has conveniently already deposited on the web. But then she’ll eat him if the lovestruck arachnid lingers too long.

"If the female is hungry she may make her anxious suitor her next meal," according to the National Park Service.

Even males who do survive their sexual encounter are typically dead by the start of November.


Spotting tarantulas in action

Typically, male tarantulas weigh less than an ounce and grow to lengths of 2.5 inches. They move about solo and prefer traveling at dusk, so spotting the spiders isn’t always easy.

Californians looking to see a tarantula also have an additional challenge this week, since Pacific Gas & Electric has shut off power to 800,000 customers across the state. The move is meant to reduce the risk of sparking wires that could cause fires amid dry, windy conditions.

California isn’t the only state to experience an annual tarantula migration. In August, tens of thousands of Oklahoma brown tarantulas moved through the area around La Junta, Colorado in search of females.

Read More: Thousands of tarantulas are making their creepy, crawly migration in Colorado

Tarantulas, while creepy-looking to some, are not dangerous to people, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The toxins released by their fangs aren’t harmful to a creature of human size, though the stinging hairs on their abdomens can cause mild skin and eye irritation. 

"It’s often the nicest spider of the groups. It’s the littler spiders that we always have problems with. These big ones often don’t do anything to you," Wolf told CBS.

NOW WATCH: Epic Fight Between A Wasp And A Tarantula Caught On Camera

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Satellites just photographed California’s dazzling ‘super bloom’ of spring flowers from outer space

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Lonely, burned out, and depressed: The state of millennials’ mental health in 2019 – Business Insider

Millennials are changing the way people look at and talk about mental health.

As part of World Mental Health Day, Business Insider took a look at the current mental health state of millennials (defined by the Pew Research Center as the cohort turning 23 to 38 in 2019). It doesn’t look pretty — depression and “deaths of despair” are both on the rise among the generation, linked to issues such as loneliness and money stress.

Millennials also feel their jobs have an outsize role in their overall mental health. Due to longer work hours and stagnant wages, millennials suffer from higher rates of burnout than other generations. Many of them have even quit their jobs for mental health reasons.

While some millennials can’t afford to get help, they’re more likely to go to therapy than previous generations, destigmatizing the concept in the process.

Here are 11 ways mental illness has plagued the millennial generation.

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Young people are quitting their jobs in droves. Here’s why – Fox Business

Half of Millennials have left their jobs over mental health reasons. FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone with more.

Young people are spearheading mental health awareness at the workplace.

About half of millennials and 75 percent of Gen Zers have quit their jobs for mental health reasons, according to a new study conducted by Mind Shares Partners, SAP and Quatrics. It was published in Harvard Business Review.

That’s compared to just 20 percent of respondents overall who said they’ve voluntarily left a job in order to prioritize their mental health — emblematic of a “shift in generational awareness,” the authors of the report, Kelly Greenwood, Vivek Bapat and Mike Maughan, wrote. For baby boomers, the number was the lowest, with less than 10 percent quitting a job for mental-health purposes.

It should come as no surprise that younger generations are paving the way for the de-stigmatization of mental health. A Wall Street Journal article published in March labeled millennials the “therapy generation,” as todays 20- and 30-somethings are more likely to turn to therapy, and with fewer reservations, than young people in previous eras did.

In this Jan. 9, 2017, photo, Andrea Ledesma spreads sauce on pizza dough at Classic Slice restaurant in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)

A 2017 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University found that, based on data from 147 colleges and universities, the number of students seeking mental-health help increased at five times the rate of new students starting college from 2011 to 2016. And a Blue Cross Blue Shield study published in 2018 revealed that major depression diagnoses surged by 44 percent among millennials from 2013 to 2016.

Increasingly, employees (about 86 percent) want their company to prioritize mental health.


Despite that — and the fact that mental health conditions result in a $16.8 billion loss in employee productivity — the report found that companies are still not doing enough to break down the stigma, resulting in a lack of identification in workers who may have a mental health condition. Up to 80 percent of individuals will manage a mental health condition at one point in their lifetime, according to the study.

Of course, sometimes employees are unaware of the different resources offered at their organizations, or are afraid of retribution if they elect to use them. In the study, millennials, ages 23 to 38, were 63 percent more likely than baby boomers, 55 to 73, to know the proper procedure for seeking mental health support from the company.

The study was based on responses collected from 1,500 U.S. adults.


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How to Deal with Constantly Feeling Overwhelmed – Harvard Business Review

Executive Summary

The cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile. Any of these effects, alone, can make us less effective and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, the author offers five strategies to try.

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Our work lives have become increasingly demanding, presenting us with ever more complex challenges at a near-relentless pace. Add in personal or family needs, and it’s easy to feel constantly overwhelmed. In their book, Immunity to Change, Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey discuss how the increase in complexity associated with modern life has left many of us feeling “in over our heads.” When this is the case, the complexity of our world has surpassed our “complexity of mind” or our ability to handle that level of complexity and be effective. This has nothing to do with how smart we are, but with how we make sense of the world and how we operate in it.

Our typical response to ever-growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine what makes us do this and find a new way of operating. I have a few clients who fit this description. When we started working together, they each had already resorted to getting up at 4 AM to do work. Sue, who works for a tech company that recently went public, is leading many simultaneous projects and is fearful she’ll miss an important email. Ajay, a senior leader at a late-stage start-up, needs the extra quiet time to try to make a dent in his ever-growing to-do list, but feels like he’s trying to dig himself out of a hole that just keeps getting deeper. Maria, a start-up co-founder, felt constantly overwhelmed as her company started to scale. While CEO’s of trillion dollar company’s like Apple’s Tim Cook, wake up at 3:45 AM, most of us don’t have quite this level of responsibility.

The cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile. Any of these effects, alone, can make us less effective and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed, here are some key strategies to try:

Pinpoint the primary source of overwhelm. Ask yourself the question, “What one or two things, if taken off my plate would alleviate 80% of the stress that I feel right now?” While you may still be responsible for these items and cannot actually take them off your plate, this question can still help you identify a significant source of your stress. If it’s a big project that’s almost done, finish it. Or, if it’s the sheer size of the task or project that is overwhelming you, break it down into more manageable components, ask for additional resources or renegotiate the deadline if you are able — or all of the above.

Set boundaries on your time and workload. This can include “time boxing” the hours you spend on a task or project, leaving the office by a certain time, or saying no to specific types of work. Ajay realized he was spending a significant amount of time mediating conflicts between various team members, which was not only an unproductive use of his time, but also reinforced their behavior of escalating issues to him instead of learning to resolve these problems themselves. Saying “no” to these escalations and setting expectations that they do their best to work out these issues before coming to him, created more breathing room for him to focus on his priorities with fewer distractions.

Challenge your perfectionism. Perfectionism can lead us to make tasks or projects bigger than they need to be, which can lead to procrastination and psychological distress. As things pile up, the sense of overwhelm grows, which can then lead to more procrastination and more overwhelm. Sheryl Sandberg famously said, “Done is better than perfect.” Know when “good” is “good enough” by asking yourself, “What is the marginal benefit of spending more time on this task or project?” If the answer is very little, stop where you are and be done with it. Part of this is also recognizing that we cannot do everything perfectly. Sue was finally able to accept that sometimes an email will be overlooked, and that if it’s important enough, the other person will follow up with her.

Outsource or delegate. Ask yourself, “What is the highest and best use of my time?” Activities that don’t fall within your answer can be taught and/or delegated to others. This can include managing selected projects, delegating attending certain meetings, having a team member conduct the initial interviews for an open position, or outsourcing the cleaning of your home and meal preparation. Maria had the revelation that she should delegate the weekly Sales meeting that she had always led to — of all people — the Head of Sales! She realized she had hired this person over a year ago but was still clinging to certain responsibilities that “she had always done,” and had never fully empowered him, for fear of giving up control. In the end, she admitted all she really needed was an email update. By letting go of this one task, she freed up 52 hours a year to focus on other high-priority strategic issues.

Challenge your assumptions. If feeling overwhelmed is an ongoing struggle, it is likely that you have assumptions that are keeping you stuck in unproductive behaviors. Kegan and Lahey refer to these as “Big Assumptions.” For Sue, it was the belief that “If something falls through the cracks, I’d fail and wouldn’t be able to recover from it.” In Ajay’s case, it was his belief that “If I’m not there to help others, I won’t be needed and people will question my value.” For Maria, her assumption was “If I lose control, others will mess up, and the company will fail.” While these big assumptions felt real to each leader, these limiting beliefs were not likely 100% true and kept them stuck in old patterns that significantly contributed to their sense of overwhelm. By identifying and debunking these beliefs over time, they were able to broaden their previously contracted view of the world, which in turn allowed them to reduce their overwhelm and provided them with a greater sense of agency.

While we may all feel overwhelmed from time to time in our demanding work and personal lives, employing the above strategies can help mitigate the frequency and extent to which we feel this way.

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An off-duty firefighter on a flight to Los Angeles saved a fellow passenger who suffered a cardiac arrest mid-flight and had no pulse for at least 30 minutes

Savannah Georgia Fire And RescueSavannah Fire Rescue/Business Insider

  • An off-duty firefighter from Georgia performed CPR for more than 30 minutes after a fellow passenger on his flight to Los Angeles suffered a cardiac arrest mid-flight.
  • The flight made an emergency landing and the victim was taken to the hospital, where she regained consciousness and showed no signs of brain damage from the incident.
  • "She is my sister, and he saved her. I can’t thank him enough and I just wanted to make people aware, he’s a hero," the victim’s brother said, according to the fire department.
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A Savannah, Georgia firefighter was in the right place at the right time during a recent flight, when a fellow passenger’s heart stopped beating in mid-air.

The incident, which happened in September but was only announced by Savannah Fire & Rescue on October 9, was first reported by WJCL-TV.

Firefighter Trevor Jaha was flying to Los Angeles on September 14 when a passenger, identified only as "Chelsea" in a Facebook post by the fire department, suffered a cardiac arrest.

Firefighter Jaha sprang into action and began performing CPR and administering shocks with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), according to the fire department.

The plane changed course to make an emergency landing as firefighter Jaha continued performing CPR. After four AED shocks, the victim was still pulseless.

However, after a fifth shock, the hero firefighter felt a faint pulse. The plane landed and was met by emergency services, who brought Chelsea to a nearby hospital.

After a hospital stay, Chelsea was doing well, the department said, showing no signs of brain damage from the prolonged mid-air cardiac arrest.

"She is my sister, and he saved her. I can’t thank him enough and I just wanted to make people aware, he’s a hero," said the victim’s brother, Josh, according to the fire department.


The survival rate for cardiac arrest that occurs outside of a hospital is only about 10%, according to the American Heart Association. However, the rate can jump to as high as 45% when CPR was administered immediately.

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