Thursday, November 28, 2019

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn’t Care About It

We are now in the era of do-it-yourself career development. Companies less frequently offer formal training — a trend that has been around for years. This may be because employees change jobs so frequently (job tenure now averages about four years) that firms don’t see the value in investing in people who are likely to leave. This is a sharp contrast with the investment that senior leaders used to make in employees. During my 11 years at PepsiCo, mostly during the 1990s, “personal development” was treated as a major company initiative.
Unfortunately, organizations today are unknowingly leaving employees with skill gaps and blind spots that can derail careers and organizational effectiveness. And managers aren’t helping. Too worried about their own hides, most managers don’t have time or energy to focus on anyone else’s. In fact, Korn Ferry found that when managers rated themselves on 67 managerial skills, “developing others” came in dead last.
Ideally, organizations would do more to foster career development: encourage more-immediate feedback, develop clear performance criteria, deliver developmental feedback with clarity and tact, and provide resources and incentives for managers to make employee development a priority. But the reality is that the bigger burden is on employees. Workers at all levels must learn to identify their weaknesses, uncover their blind spots, and strengthen their skills.
Here are six things you can do to take control of your career development.
Understand what you’re evaluated on. What does success look like in your position? What are your job goals and success metrics? It’s best to identify these with your manager, but if that’s not happening, then write down what you understand the goals and key performance indicators to be. Take them to your boss to get their agreement, and engage in an ongoing dialogue to ensure you stay on the right track.
Solve for your own blind spots. Top performers are always learning and adjusting, and routinely seek feedback from their boss, peers, and subordinates. If your boss doesn’t proactively give you feedback, start the conversation yourself. After a presentation or big meeting, state one thing that you think went well, and then ask for advice on one thing you could improve. It’s best to keep it simple; most people can only absorb one area to improve at a time. Listen to and thank your boss for the feedback.
Codify your learnings. You can capture feedback and learning by keeping a journal. List the five to 10 skills or competencies you need to develop in your position, and rate yourself (either on your own or with the help of a trusted adviser) on each. For example, if you’re a brand marketer, you might give yourself an A in advertising development, a B+ in pricing analysis, and a C in trade marketing. Focus on the C’s to close skill gaps. Seeking feedback from someone who previously held your job can speed up your learning.
Increase your visibility with the C-suite. It’s not always possible to get noticed by senior leaders through your direct work, so you might try volunteering for initiatives, such as charity work, company events, or on-campus recruiting. This is an easy but often overlooked way to rub elbows with senior people who will see you in action and ideally take notice of your contributions.
Become an expert in an area of increasing importance to your company. Your company may be grappling with a disruption from a new technology such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, or cloud-based computing. Become the expert person in your department on an emerging issue. Conduct research and literature reviews, attend conferences, or write on the topic. Developing expertise in a nascent area of growing importance can lead to promotions and other career opportunities.
Seek good counsel and mentoring. The perspective of a senior person is invaluable, but pouncing on someone — “Will you be my mentor?” — is likely to scare them off. Try to meet in an informal way: in the coffee shop in your company’s lobby, or at the company picnic or golf outing. Know the person’s bio, and be prepared to ask a few good questions related to their area of expertise. If things go well, you’ll hear, “If I can help you, let me know.” A week or so later, you can extend an invitation to “continue the conversation” over coffee. In time, a mentor relationship may develop organically.
Strong functional skills take time to develop. In most positions, whether it’s enterprise sales, brand marketing, supply chain logistics, or corporate finance, being competent often consists of having deep functional knowledge in four or five key job areas and a good working knowledge in another four or five. Without the willingness to take multiple assignments, or even strategic lateral moves, a well-rounded skill set will be elusive. It takes patience.
Earlier in my career, I was still at the manager level within PepsiCo while a good friend moved up to vice president by moving to another company. But as my skill set solidified, I understood how the pieces of the business fit together, and my career progression accelerated.
Your skill set is ultimately your career capital, so take the time to develop your functional skills. Jumping from job to job too quickly (say, in 18-month or two-year increments) won’t allow you to develop the functional expertise you need to advance your career. With time and patience, and by taking the initiative, you’re far more likely to thrive in this DIY world.

20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit

Sometimes we need to head into the storm to appreciate the light and have a renewed passion for the beauty of life.
Here are 20 brutal truths that every single person needs to hear.

1. You're going to die and you have no idea when.

Stop pretending that you're invincible. Acknowledge the fact of your own mortality, and then start structuring your life in a more meaningful way.

2. Everyone you love is going to die, and you don't know when.

This truth may be saddening at first, but it also gives you permission to make amends with past difficulties and re-establish meaningful relationships with important figures in your life.

3. Your material wealth won't make you a better or happier person.

Even if you're one of the lucky ones who achieves his or her materialistic dreams, money only amplifies that which was already present.

4. Your obsession with finding happiness is what prevents its attainment.

Happiness is always present in your life--it's just a matter of connecting to it and allowing it to flow through you that's challenging.

5. Donating money does less than donating time.

Giving your time is a way to change your perception and create a memory for yourself and others that will last forever.

6. You can't make everyone happy, and if you try, you'll lose yourself.

Stop trying to please, and start respecting your values, principles, and autonomy.

7. You can't be perfect, and holding yourself to unrealistic standards creates suffering.

Many perfectionists have unrelenting inner critics that are full of so much rage and self-hate that it tears them apart inside. Fight back against that negative voice, amplify your intuition, and start challenging your unrealistic standards.

8. Your thoughts are less important than your feelings and your feelings need acknowledgment.

Intellectually thinking through your problems isn't as helpful as expressing the feelings that create your difficulties in the first place.

9. Your actions speak louder than your words, so you need to hold yourself accountable.

Be responsible and take actions that increase positivity and love.

10. Your achievements and successes won't matter on your death bed.

When your time has come to transition from this reality, you won't be thinking about that raise; you'll be thinking about the relationships you've made--so start acting accordingly.

11. Your talent means nothing without consistent effort and practice.

Some of the most talented people in the world never move out from their parent's basement.

12. Now is the only time that matters, so stop wasting it by ruminating on the past or planning the future.

You can't control the past, and you can't predict the future, and trying to do so only removes you from the one thing you can control--the present.

13. Nobody cares how difficult your life is, and you are the author of your life's story.

Stop looking for people to give you sympathy and start creating the life story you want to read.

14. Your words are more important than your thoughts, so start inspiring people.

Words have the power to oppress, hurt, and shame, but they also have the power to liberate and inspire--start using them more wisely.

15. Investing in yourself isn't selfish. It's the most worthwhile thing you can do.

You have to put on your own gas mask to save the person sitting right next to you.

16. It's not what happens, it's how you react that matters.

Train yourself to respond in a way that leads to better outcomes.

17. You need to improve your relationships to have lasting happiness.

Relationships have a greater impact on your wellbeing and happiness than your income or your occupation, so make sure you give your relationship the attention and work it deserves.

18. Pleasure is temporary and fleeting, so stop chasing fireworks and start building a constellation.

Don't settle for an ego boost right now when you can delay gratification and experience deeper fulfillment.

19. Your ambition means nothing without execution--it's time to put in the work.

If you want to change the world, then go out there and do it!

20. Time is your most valuable asset--you need to prioritize how you spend it.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Best Amazfit Smartwatch in 2019

Finding a smartwatch that checks every box on your wish list is no easy task. The options are endless and it can be tricky to navigate them all. Amazfit continues to impress with its growing smartwatch lineup. We happen to favor the Amazfit Verge, which is a superb lifestyle smartwatch full of useful features. Of course, the watch you pick will depend on the experience you're after. Luckily, Amazfit has something for everyone.

Best Overall: Amazfit Verge

If you're seeking a well-rounded lifestyle smartwatch that offers solid fitness tracking and features, the Amazfit Verge is the best choice. It offers a fitness-focused design that consists of an AMOLED display, a polycarbonate body, and a stay-clean silicone watchband. It comes in one size, 43mm, and is available in three colors, including Shadow Gray, Twilight Blue, and Moonlight White.
Battery life varies depending on usage. You can expect five days with normal use, 34 days in basic watch mode, and 22 hours of continuous GPS mode. The Verge can track steps, calories, and distance. You'll have heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and built-in GPS. Other bonuses include music storage and Amazon Alexa built-in. The sport modes cover basic exercises, like indoor and outdoor runs, trail runs, and indoor and outdoor bike rides. It also has modes for tennis, soccer, elliptical training, climbing, skiing, and jump roping.
As sporty as this watch looks, it's lacking a 5 ATM water resistance rating and swim tracking. The IP68 rating may suffice for some users, but it won't be enough for swimmers. The Verge can handle dust, rain, splashing, and accidental submersion, but you shouldn't wear it when showering, bathing, swimming, or in the sauna. An ongoing theme you'll notice is that app support isn't great for Amazfit wearables, which is the case on the Verge.

Pros:

  • 12 sport modes
  • Onboard GPS
  • Microphone and speaker
  • Amazon Alexa built-in
  • Fitness-focused design
  • Music storage

Cons:

  • Lacks 5 ATM rating
  • Medicore app support
  • Lacks always-on display

Best Overall


Amazfit Verge

Lifestyle watch with fitness tracking
If you want a solid lifestyle timepiece with plenty of fitness tracking and smartwatch features, you'll love the Amazfit Verge.

Best Value: Amazfit Bip

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When you want a solid set of smartwatch features but you don't want to set yourself back financially, go with the Amazfit Bip. It has a polycarbonate body and an always-on transflective display, which can easily be read even in direct sunlight. Not having an AMOLED display is a small price to pay in exchange for an affordable smartwatch. On the bright side, this is surely one of the reasons the battery life is so impressive.
Speaking of battery, the Amazfit Bip promises to last up to 45 days. Standby mode lasts four months and continuous GPS mode lasts 22 hours. The Bip is IP68 waterproof and dustproof, which is not surprising given the price tag. A 5 ATM rating would've been nice considering it's marketed as a fitness smartwatch. Unless you're a frequent swimmer, this may not be a deal-breaker. You'll have step, calorie, and distance tracking as well as heart-rate monitoring. The sport modes include treadmill running, outdoor running, walking, and cycling.
The Bip is the most affordable smartwatch Amazfit offers. Therefore, you're going to settle on a few features. You won't have 5 ATM water resistance, music storage, or a mic/speaker. There's no AMOLED display, but the always-on transflective screen is a nice compromise.

Pros:

  • Multi-sport tracking
  • Built-in GPS
  • Always-on display
  • 45-day battery life
  • Exceptionally affordable

Cons:

  • Lacks 5 ATM water resistance
  • No music storage
  • No mic or speaker

Best Value


Amazfit Bip

Most bang for your buck
When you don't want to spend a lot on a watch, the Amazfit Bip is ideal. It has GPS, great battery life, and fitness tracking.

Best for Beginners: Amazift Verge Lite

On the surface, you might have trouble telling the Verge and the Verge Lite apart. It, too, comes with a brilliant AMOLED display. It has a silicone watch band and the body is made of glass fiber and reinforced polycarbonate. This 43mm smartwatch is also available in gray and white.
Battery life lasts longer on the Amazfit Verge Lite with typical use lasting for 20 days and continuous GPS mode lasting for 40 hours. You'll enjoy seven sport modes: outdoor run, indoor run, walk, elliptical, outdoor cycle, indoor cycle, and exercise. Other key features include onboard GPS, high-precision heart-rate monitoring, sedentary reminders, music controls, and sleep tracking. That's a whole lot of features for a "lite" watch.
It costs a bit less than the Verge, which means you'll be missing some of the better features, including music storage, Wi-Fi, Amazon Alexa built-in, a microphone, and a speaker. It also lacks a few sensors, like a gyroscope, air pressure sensor, and geomagnetic sensor. All things considered, it's an excellent choice for those who are entering the world of smartwatches for the first time.

Pros:

  • Multi-sport tracking
  • Built-in GPS
  • 20-day battery life
  • Brilliant AMOLED display
  • Smartphone notifications

Cons:

  • Lacks 5 ATM water resistance
  • No mic or speaker
  • Can't interact with notifications
  • No Wi-Fi or Alexa built-in

Best for Beginners


Amazfit Verge Lite

Getting started
If you need a starter watch, the Verge Lite is for you. For a "lite" model, you still get impressive features and battery life.

Best for Fashion: Amazfit GTR

The Amazfit GTR is the watch to choose if you're seeking a classic yet modern design. It comes with two side buttons and is available in 47mm or 42mm. The bigger option is available in three timeless variants: stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum. The smaller option is available in Starry Black, Moonlight White, Coral Red, and Cherry Blossom Pink.
You'll be pleased to learn that both sizes offer great battery life. The larger size gives you up to 24 days with typical use, 74 days in basic watch mode, and 40 hours in continuous GPS mode. You'll also have 5 ATM water resistance along with tracking for pool swimming and open water swimming. In addition to tracking steps, distance, and calories, the GTR also has modes for walking, indoor and outdoor running, trail running, indoor and outdoor cycling, elliptical training, climbing, skiing, and general exercise. Let's not forget about 24-hour heart-rate monitoring.
To put it simply, if you're looking for the most aesthetically pleasing Amazfit smartwatch, look no further than the GTR. It's nice that you'll have long battery life, GPS, and 5 ATM water resistance, but it's important to note that you'll be missing a microphone and speaker, Wi-Fi connectivity, and music storage.

Pros:

  • 12 sport modes
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Built-in GPS
  • Amazing battery life
  • Classic yet modern design

Cons:

  • No music storage
  • Lacks microphone
  • Lacks speaker
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity

Best for Fashion


Amazfit GTR

A truly beautiful watch
Don't let your fashion sense take a backseat. The stylish Amazfit GTR offers GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, and 12 sport modes.

Best for Pro Athletes: Amazfit Stratos

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If you need all the fitness tracking and smartwatch features you can get, you'll love the Stratos. At 46mm, it's one of the biggest in the Amazfit lineup. It consists of a ceramic bezel, stainless steel buttons, and a glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate casing. The watch comes with a silicone sports band that can handle all of your intense activities and it's only available in black. The large always-on display is a transflective LCD touchscreen.
The Stratos gives you five days of battery with typical usage, 11 days in basic watch mode, and 35 hours with continuous GPS mode. It comes with 5 ATM water resistance, heart-rate and sleep tracking, music storage, and Wi-Fi. It tracks steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. The 16 sport modes include walk, indoor and outdoor run, indoor and outdoor cycle, trail run, elliptical, climb, pool swim, open water swim, triathlon, skiing, multi-sport, tennis, soccer, and jump rope. You'll have VO2 max, which measures your fitness level, recovery time, and training load. It's perfect for athletes who want to improve their performance.
You don't get an AMOLED display, but that's not uncommon with a high-end fitness smartwatch. Plus, the transflective LCD makes more sense with this long list of features. Some users might appreciate the generous size watch, but it may not be ideal for small wrists. Finally, the lack of app support is a bummer on a wearable of this magnitude. You won't find an app store, but it does offer widget options, including a stopwatch, compass, alarm, weather forecast, and so on.

Pros:

  • 16 sport modes
  • Built-in GPS
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Music Storage
  • Wi-Fi connectivity

Cons:

  • Large, bulky design
  • Lacks AMOLED display
  • App support needs work

Best for Pro Athletes


Amazfit Stratos

Go the distance
Nothing can stop the Amazfit Stratos. You'll enjoy 16 sport modes, GPS, music storage, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.

Best for Runners: Amazfit Pace

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At nearly 46mm, the Amazfit Pace is another giant in the lineup. You'll notice that it's quite similar to the Stratos, but it's a bit sleeker and slimmer. It also provides you with a transflective low-power color display. The watch case is made with glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate and a ceramic bezel that's wear-resistant. You'll have your pick of a black or red band.
As for battery life, it's going to give you five days of typical usage, 11 days of basic use, and 35 hours in continuous GPS mode. Sound familiar? These battery specs are identical to that of the Stratos. You can also run phone-free with onboard music storage. The Amazfit Pace will track key metrics and important details, like pace, cadence, distance, time, and heart rate. You'll have a multitude of activity and sport modes for outdoor and indoor runs, trail runs, outdoor and indoor cycle, walk, elliptical, climb, and more. Not to mention that you'll even be able to choose from running training plans for beginners, 5K, 10K, and marathon runners.
Strangely enough, this running watch only comes with an IP67 rating, which means it can resist dust, rain, splashes, and accidental submersion. As you might've guessed, this also means there's no swim tracking on the Pace smartwatch. It's geared toward runners, so maybe the lack of 5 ATM water resistance won't affect your choice. No AMOLED display here, but the always-on touchscreen is still an asset. It's almost the same size as the Stratos, so be prepared for a watch that's large and in charge.

Pros:

  • 12+ sport modes
  • Built-in GPS
  • Music storage
  • Always-on display
  • Choose from running plans
  • Wi-Fi connectivity

Cons:

  • Lacks AMOLED display
  • App needs work
  • Big and bulky

Best for Runners


Amazfit Pace

Pace yourself
Hoping to find a running watch with detailed metrics, music storage, GPS, and heart-rate monitoring? You'll love the Amazfit Pace.

Bottom line

As you might've gathered, we weren't exaggerating when we said there's something for everyone. We recommend the Amazfit Verge for all of its activity tracking and smartwatch features. Who can say no to 12 sport modes, built-in GPS, music storage, sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and Wi-Fi? You can even take calls right from your wrist thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker. The Verge also has Amazon-Alexa built-in, which really rounds out the smartwatch experience.
The good news is that no matter what your preferences are, it's more than likely that you can find an Amazfit smartwatch to meet them. Whether you're a professional athlete looking to improve performance, a runner training for the next 5K, or a beginner who's just getting started, there's an Amazfit wearable made with you in mind.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.