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Xander Neff Helps with Taking the First Step




Take it from the guy who literally had to learn to walk all over again in his late teens; first steps are hard. Xander Neff knows all about it. He wouldn’t let the hardship stop him–he never did with whatever he was going through–but he could understand why a new beginning might give people some pause.

He’s had a few new beginnings of his own. As a kid, he did every job he could find, juggling as many as three at one point. Then after the accident that paralyzed him from the waist down, he decided to join the Army once he was well enough.

Then, when the Army thing didn’t pan out because of another injury and he wound up homeless, he had to make one more first step and move out of his car and into hotel rooms while on tour with Girls Night Out the Show. Those are plenty of very difficult firsts packed into his young life. Here’s what he’d say to others about the lessons it taught him.

Defining the Biggest Challenge

Different fitness, entrepreneurship, and any other kinds of gurus will focus on different areas when looking for the biggest challenge for starting a business or any other kind of endeavor. Xander uses a football analogy to explain his philosophy.

“In football, it’s not having the quickest 40-yard dash that makes the best player,” he explains. “The best player is the man that, within the first 3 steps, is already a mile ahead of his opponent with a vision of drive and determination that will get him to the end zone.”

It’s those three first steps that determine the player’s direction, intent, drive, and every other trait that will bring them to the end zone. So as someone who is trying to translate this into the world of business, it would be best just to stick to the basic tenet of not going into it blind. Having the idea–those three steps that will chart a direction–can mean the world.

Getting the Right Mindset

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid talking about mindset when trying to help people get out of a rut. Mindsets are important, no matter how often they’ve been an abused concept to spew all kinds of nonsense.

With Xander, the nonsense is nonexistent. It’s pretty simple. Failure doesn’t exist; there are just opportunities to learn. As a master of reframing himself, it’s easy for Xander to say this. But it gets even better because he would also advise looking for other common “opportunities to learn.” Creating a picture from different learning curves can create a pretty accurate image of what it takes to succeed in any endeavor.

So how does one take that first step? It’s easy. First, make sure that all the steps that have to happen before the first step are done. Next, have a clear vision of the past, the future, and as many variables as possible; that can make all the difference. Finally, going into it, even knowing that failure is an option is a key part and the best thing about making that first step.

You can follow Xander Neff on Instagram at

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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