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The Future is Freedom: Why breaking free of the past is crucial to your next leap in business




Running a business is, by definition, demanding. Dealing with investors, employees and the general public whilst trying to build a solid reputation. Most of the time, we are able to rationalise our negative experiences, but occasionally, some comments can bring us down. 

One of the most important qualities is to develop a positive mindset, focusing on what’s going well. To live like this consistently and avoid getting bogged down, there are several proven strategies we can employ.

Don’t take it to heart

Firstly, we must recognise when we are reacting emotionally, rather than logically. This can be evidenced in thoughts such as: ‘Why did this bad thing happen to me?’, ‘I never hurt anyone’, or, ‘What that person said is so unfair .’ 

In business, we can’t afford to take everything personally. We don’t always know what’s motivating people to react negatively.

As difficult as it is, we must accept that business is tough. Not everyone will play fairly; some will even break the rules intentionally. As much as we’d like to focus on our financial objectives, future plans and goals, often we end up managing our emotions, dealing with inter-relational issues and navigating difficulties. 

This is a scenario that the Mikkelsen twins have grappled with, on several occasions. Rasmus Mikkelsen and Christian Mikkelsen, Co-Founders of Publishing Life, run an online education business that teaches regular everyday people how to replace their 9-5 job by creating passive income with self-publishing. 

Commenting on the personal challenges that can emerge occasionally, Rasmus says: “Sometimes, we’ll get messages where people don’t agree with our opinion or don’t like our easy-going nature. I used to get offended by their criticism and felt like I was doing something wrong. Now I’ve learnt that you can’t make everybody happy. The bigger you get, the more often you’ll see this. But the truth is, for every 1 person that is unhappy, I’ve made 10 other people happy. So I focus on that instead.”

Christian adds: “We always look forward and focus on our goals instead; things like this just don’t get us down. We’ve developed a new identity in the last few years— a more emotionally mature version of our younger selves, especially as the business has grown and we’ve taken on additional business responsibilities. Now we are both happily married, and focused on achieving our business goals to provide for our families.”

Reframe the events 

As an entrepreneur, when confrontation arises, whether it’s a disagreement with an employee or a bad review in the press, it’s vital to be able to defuse the situation and de-escalate a potential flash point. One way of doing this is to reframe your thoughts and feelings. Begin to look at events from a fresh perspective so that they no longer evoke the same negative response.  

For example, instead of focusing on how angry a comment made you feel, you can try to imagine what motivated the behavior. The key is compassion. How upset must the person have been at that moment? What events must have been going on in someone’s life to make them so angry or combative? 

By changing the narrative, and viewing events from a different angle, your emotions can start to change. Not only will you recover faster from drama, experiencing less cognitive drain, but you’ll also be able to turn your attention to more pressing matters like your business success. 

Rasmus comments: “Not everyone is going to react positively to everything you do. That’s just life. The trick is not to fight fire with fire: you have to empathize with others and try to understand what might be going on inside them. Why are they acting this way? Are they being driven by hurt? Is this coming from a ‘positive place’.”

Use negative events as a springboard into your future

It’s a common misconception that our business lives would be better if we didn’t have problems and setbacks. The opposite is actually true. You need a little bit of resistance and a little bit of difficulty to energize you, focus your efforts and make you more resilient. 

Think of the analogy of rubbing your hands with sandpaper. If you rub too hard, you cause your hands to bleed. However, if you rub it just a little bit every day, you will soon develop tough, impenetrable calluses. 

The Mikkelsen’s have certainly learned from their experiences over the last few years and have been able to turn that resistance and difficulty into a growing business. For them, there is no ‘secret’ to success; it is the ability to stick with something long enough to reap the rewards. 

 Christian adds, “If only people would do the hard work, and not just give up when things get tough. The perfect example is our business. We focused on one important thing for years, rather than dabbling for a few months and then trying something else. You see new trends all the time and instead of jumping on the bandwagon, we knew the future was in digital publishing. It’s not a “sexy” opportunity like crypto, but it’s an emerging market that’s here to stay and is growing each and every year.

Focus on life’s essentials 

He continues, “Adversity has a knack of stripping away what is unnecessary, unhelpful or untrue. When you’re faced with problems, you rethink your values. What do I believe in? What do I want to achieve?”

It seems inevitable that every seasoned businessperson will go through the fires of adversity: a process that burns off the dross of uncertainty and indecision and reveals a clarity of purpose. Some call it your ‘life’s mission’ or ‘calling’. In a business setting, this is invaluable. Knowing what you’re good at and how you can add value is the key to reaching your highest business potential. 

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business




Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).

Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.

In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.

According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.

There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include: 

Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.

Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.

Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.

Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.

Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.

A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.

Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.

And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.


Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.

Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.

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