Growth Mindset Activities to Help With Depression

A number of experts believe that adopting a growth mindset will help lower your stress levels and improve both your psychological and physical well-being, and thus help with depression.

Although more research is necessary to establish absolute connections between having a growth mindset and health, current studies indicate that it helps with depression and stress management as well as improving coping skills. However, changing a fixed mindset into a growth mindset takes a great deal of determination and application. In this article I aim to give you some activities to help you manage your depression by developing a growth mindset.

Counter Negativity to Help With Depression

The nature of the thoughts, ideas and words that are constantly going through your head, are often determined by your mindset. Taking the time to evaluate your own thoughts is one of the best ways to determine if you have a fixed or growth mindset. Once you know which relates most to you, then incorporating growth mindset activities to help with depression will assist you enormously on your journey to overcome depression.

One exercise that will help you with depression is to write down or type a negative thought that comes into your mind on a piece of paper, computer or diary. Then for that negative thought, write or type at least 5 to 10 positive counter thoughts that will derail the one you already have. The more the better!!

With a fixed mindset, when things don’t go the way you expect them to, you tend to place all the blame on yourself. Let me give you an example: say you decide to learn a new skill and find that you are not very good at the start, you will tell yourself “I mustn’t be smart enough to learn this.” In addition, with a fixed mindset you don’t allow any room for error, everything is always black and white for you. You believe that either it comes naturally or you will never master it.

You will be able to start to change your mindset by writing down or typing your negative thoughts and countering them with more realistic ones. For example, you did not get the lead in a play, so you write down the negative response that you are not talented enough to play the lead and you will never make it as a stage actor. Now, counter that negativity by writing down something like, “I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the lead but I am grateful to still be in the play where I can continue to learn”, or “I didn’t get the lead this time but I am developing as an actor and will have a better chance the next time I go for a lead role.” Continue to write down more statements that reflect fact rather than continue to focus on the belief that you are not good enough to be an actor.

Adopt a Growth Mindset to Stay Healthy

Studies show that negative thinking, often associated with having a fixed mindset, can lead to a decrease in the bodies’ immune response. A growth mindset on the other hand, produces optimistic emotions that actually affect your physical health in a positive way which in addition helps with managing depression.

Growth mindset activities to help with depression also include identifying all of your personal accomplishments, working on improving your self-worth and reconizing the things that you value most about yourself. With practice, these exercises will help to promote a growth mindset. Make time every day to list a minimum of five accomplishments of which you are proud and read your list on a regular basis to help with depression.

In my book, “Self-Help Guide To Depression” I go into detail on many more ideas of how you can change your current thinking patterns to help you beat depression.

You can also go to my website depression treatments.net for more information on how to change your mindset.

I would love to hear how you are going and encourage you to comment below as you embark on this journey.

Breaking Into Hollywood – How Do I Write for TV if I Live in NYC?

Despite popular (and fairly legitimate) concern, it definitely is possible to write for TV if you are based in New York rather than Los Angeles. There are some shows that staff and shoot there, of course, like Law & Order, many talk shows and the soaps (see partial list below). And with a connected Los Angeles agent and some well-timed trips to the Coast, hour-long drama assignments for L.A.-based shows also could happen at the freelance level. This would be pretty tough, but this is Hollywood, so nothing is impossible, right? Yes, ultimately, you will want to live here in L.A. to take advantage of the bulk of work being here. But you don’t need to live here to get hired. You just need to meet the right people who do.

If you haven’t already, a good way to get into the networking mix while you’re in NYC is to join an organization like the Producers Guild East or the NATAS (the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) if you have enough credits (or as an associate if you don’t), or the IRTS (International Radio & Television Society Foundation), which has outstanding educational and networking seminars with both East and West Coast execs throughout the year.

Now for the recon. Here are the TV shows currently produced in NYC:

PRIMETIME TV SHOWS:

$9.99

American Justice

Backdrop NYC

Behind the Label

Black Donnellys

Blueprint New York City

The Bridge

City Classics

Cool in Your Code

Dateline NBC

Eat Out NY

Fashion in Focus

Fashion Week in Focus

Full Frontal Fashion

Inside the Archives

It’s My Park

Knights of Prosperity

Law & Order

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Media 3.0 with Shelly Palmer

New York 360

New York Noise

NYC Paradetown USA

NYC TV Presents

Primetime Live

Rescue Me

Reservations Required

Secrets of New York

Six Degrees

The Sopranos

Summer in the City

Videofashion! News

What’s Cooking at Gracie?

20/20

30 Rock

48 Hours

60 Minutes

DAYTIME & LATE NIGHT TV SHOWS:

All My Children

As The World Turns

Between the Lions

The Early Show

Entertainment Tonight

Fox and Friends

Good Day New York

Good Morning America

Guiding Light

Inside Edition

In the Mix

Judge Hachett

Late Night with Conan O’Brien

The Late Show with David Letterman

Live From Lincoln Center

Live with Regis and Kelly

Martha

Maury Povich Show

The Metropolitan Opera

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet

Montel Williams

Newshour

NFL Today

One Life to Live

The People’s Court

Reading Rainbow

The Rachel Ray Show

Saturday Night Live

Sesame Street

The Today Show

The View

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

CABLE TV SHOWS:

Art in the 21st Century

A&E Biography

American Morning

Anderson Cooper 360

The Backyardigans

Bloomberg LP

Blue’s Clues

Blue’s House

Blue Collar Style

Broadway: The American Musical

Change of Heart

The Charlie Rose Show

Cheap Seats

CNN

CNN Presents

The Colbert Report

Cold Pizza

Consumer Reports TV News

Court TV

Cold Case Files

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

“E” Television Special

Egg the Arts Show

Emeril Live

Food Nation with Bobby Flay

Go Diego Go

History vs. Hollywood

Howard Stern

In a Fix

Inside the Actors Studio

Isaac Mizrahi Show

The Movie Mission

Newsnight with Aaron Brown

Nick News

Now with David Brancaccio

Paula Zahn Now

Project Runway

Room Raiders

Total Request Live

U Pick Live

VH1 Top 20 Countdown

Weekend Today

What Not to Wear

The Wonder Pets

With this list in hand, a few (okay, A LOT OF) clicks at IMDb.com will let you know what production companies run these shows and the names of the showrunners, so you’ll get a sense of what names to check for when you see industry seminars, panels and other events happening. And if you do get to meet them, while most would not take a spec, all will tell you who the top 3-5 agents/agencies are that they are open to take scripts from. And that will help focus your efforts on the rep front, as well.

The rules from there are the same as they are here. Have 2-3 excellent spec scripts for current shows. You can’t send a spec to that actual show, so you’ll want options to get into the door at multiple productions. Second, don’t set your sights on getting staffed immediately or nothing. I want you to start as a staff writer, but a freelance assignment is a great in (and a coveted one – these are competitive and often are favors). And the writer’s assistant, as abused and unloved as this poor schlub is, is often the first one to fill an open staff seat.

Once again, it looks like a lot of work and waiting to get to the pot of Hollywood gold, yes? Of course it is! But it certainly is worth it if you can make it into the handful of writing positions on shows back East or here in Los Angeles. People manage to do it every year. I hope you do, too.

Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes

Avoid These Common Errors and You’re On Your Way To An Unforgettable Stag!

Your Mission is clear. Your best friend has announced that he is tying the knot and after all these years of being his wingman, now you must really live up to the title. One of your main responsibilities as a best man is to plan a memorable night of festivities that not only the groom to be, but also all of his mates will talk about for years to come.

Make no mistake, you will have many responsibilities in the coming months, but none of these will compare to the pressure of accomplishing this particular task, flawlessly and with class. There will be distractions from your mission; however, a good wingman lets nothing interfere with his duty. You were chosen because of a deep seeded loyalty accumulated over years of comradeship. Your charge is counting on you to cover his six, to keep him out of harm’s way and most important, that everyone has a good time and a safe evening.

Air Combat Zone has been hosting unforgettable Stag Parties featuring live action dogfights is combat flight simulators for more than 5 years. In that time we’ve seen firsthand how poor stag planning can go horribly wrong. So we’ve compiled this list of the Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes to ensure your stag is memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. So let’s look at the details of the mission in front of you. There are five main reasons why a stag party can quickly become a FUBAR. Beware of the following pitfalls:

– Catching the common – “I’ve-got-time-itis”
– Not having a plan of operation
– Poor communication
– No alcohol control plan
– No transportation plan

Let’s look at each of these potential SNAFU’s individually.

#1 Mistake – Catching “I’ve-got-time-itis”

When you become overconfident, you’re vulnerable to “I’ve-got-time-itis” and the mission of planning the stag immediately becomes jeopardized. Believing you have more time than you actually do can be disastrous. Planning a stag is planning an event and planning an event means booking facilities. Facilities that may be popular. Take the time you need to do a proper recon of the area of operations. Here are a few key questions you need to answer:

– Where will you be holding your stag party?
– Will it be in a hall or an entertainment facility?
– Will the whole stag be in one location or several?
– What is the capacity of the venues your considering?
– Will there be any “Pre-Stag” activities to occupy the groom before the big event?
– Where will you be eating?
– How will you get around (more on this topic in mistake #5)?
– Will your night of revelry require reservations and deposits in advance?

This all becomes especially important when you understand there will very likely be other stags interested in the same venue for the same night. Avoid disappointment by reserving your party well in advance. Accept any offer of assistance from these facilities to make your planning easier. They’re interested in your stag being a success and will likely have some suggestions worth listening to if you ask. Micro managing the entire stag evening on your own could cost you valuable time you could apply to other important planning tasks. Once you have a guest list, get the word out and follow up with critical Intel later. You want to be sure everyone has his calendar marked! We’ll talk more about communications in mistake #3.

In short, prepare your plan of attack, focus on the mission at hand, do proper intelligence gathering and remember Murphy’s law. If something can go wrong, it likely will. So plan well and prepare for contingencies.

#2 Mistake- Lack Of A Forward Thinking Battle Plan

Precision planning will produce a stag event for the ages. You want to avoid “down time” where there does not seem to be any direction to the activities. Preparation will mean no surprises or at the least, very few glitches. Snafus should be expected but well organized event planners tend to minimize problems. Having an itinerary will make your life easier. Teamwork is helpful during a stag so recruit your own squad giving each a responsibility and be sure to oversee their progress.

As the coordinator of the event you must be sure to track each task i.e. food and beverage, entertainment, transportation, ticket sales, [RSVPs], facility availability etc. Everything needs to be checked and rechecked to assure the plan you have is actually working for you. You’re likely to be placing deposits to secure availability of key assets. Keep in mind that it’s always easier to collect payments from your happy stag goers before they bail on the night of the stag any your left coving the shortage. If you’re not likely to see all the guests before the stag, Interac Email transfers make a great way to collect funds in advance.

Often stags are a method of raising money for the groom to help cover the costs they will incur or have incurred leading up to the wedding day and even beyond. If the objective is to raise some cash, plan for this in advance when pricing tickets and organizing activities as a way to make some coin for the guest of honour. Be creative when planning to raise some dollars. Guests will not mind spending money for a good cause if they get some value in return.

#3 Mistake- Weak Communications

The element of surprise is always tactically advantageous but when it comes to stags, not always prudent. The groom will assume he is having some sort of stag so while he doesn’t need to know when it’s happing, ask him what he prefers in terms of size, special guests included or excluded depending on the “activities”. You are not required to give all vital information up but you should get some input from the groom. While it may seem like stepping on a land mine at first, speaking to the future bride about the stag is actually a very good idea. She may have relatives that the groom doesn’t yet know it would be a bad idea to leave out of the festivities, so her input can be vital to a long and happy married life for the groom.

A good wingman understands the rules of engagement in advance. Know who your guests will be, their styles and personalities, religious leanings, cultural behaviour all useful for planning a party that will not offend anyone. This type of Intel information may appear difficult to gather but it’s time to put your team in full recon mode. Communicate with friends and family; ask about various likes and dislikes. In the end, you cannot please everyone so sell tickets to everyone and expect only the adventurous to attend.

Speaking with close family of the bride and groom will help you make prudent decisions; like whether there will be a frat house atmosphere or a laid back affair watching early home movies of the groom learning to ride a two wheeler. You will also need to communicate with your team about their appointed tasks and step in when necessary. Confirm commitments made by providers by phone or in person to verify dates, menus, entertainment etc. If your communication is down you become vulnerable so watch your six.

#4 Mistake- Not Defining The Rules Of Engagement For Alcohol

If your squad leader gets plastered your entire operation could be in jeopardy. Alcohol use with abandon has ruined many stags for countless grooms and caused hard feelings for years after. Everyone wants the groom to have a good time and the obligation he feels to accept a drink or two from whoever is offering will be overwhelming. That is why a good wingman puts pre-emptive plans in place to keep the groom safe, in control and able to enjoy himself.

You could try something like doubling up the price to buy the groom a drink. Each consecutive drink given to the groom doubles the cost – $5, $10, $20, $40, $80, $160.00 – you get the point. Announce the rules of engagement at the beginning of the festivities and this is a great way to raise some money for the groom without the poor guy needing his stomach pumped.

You could sell drink tickets for the groom for $20.00 each and give a stub to the buyer making them eligible for a prize at the end of the night such as a glass turkey [good bottle of Spirits], 50/50 draw or even tickets to a sporting event. The point here is to make sure the groom is able to complete his mission and not return home as a casualty.

As a good wingman remember, you are tasked with protecting your leader’s six o’clock. Therefore, this means if or when the alcohol intake breeds any wild ideas from the invited ranks, you and your trusted unit must remain observant for any misguided subterfuge by rouge squadron members. Keep your eyes and ears open. Quickly put an end to these foolish and sometimes dangerous acts that seem to get fuelled by alcohol. The groom will never forget your loyalty.

#5 Mistake- Poor Transportation Planning

Times have changed and along with it the tolerance level for drinking and driving has not only become a social stigma but a legal issue. You and your unit mates need to keep an eye on the amount of booze that is consumed and be sure EVERYONE has a way to get to and from their home safely.

You must plan in advance to mitigate your liability as much as possible by providing your guests with some form of transportation if it is required. You may want to hire a shuttle driver, have cabs on standby throughout the evening, and assign a designated driver or two who will be responsible for watching the door to the parking lot. They take the keys and drive both the car and the guest home.

Be sure if it is a private affair that the bartender and or servers are aware of the signs of inebriation and control the drinking. If everything is under one roof for the evening this will be important to monitor. If you are going to be hopping from one locale to another throughout the evening consider a small bus or you’ll find that booking a few limos for the evening is surprisingly affordable and ups the ante on the night’s prestige. Some venues will offer a free shuttle to bring you to them and onto your next activity. Just remember that although the idea behind a stag party is to have a great time, as the groom’s wingman you are responsible for the entire evening. This being the case you should stick to drinking non-alcoholic beverages all night.

In Summary…

Well there you have it, the Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes we’ve seen made over the years. With any plan of action, there will always be one more thing to remember since even the best-laid plans can go awry. Some miscellaneous items to remember include:

– Check references of any service provider you hire.
– Leave the minimum amount of money possible for a deposit.
– If you wait until the last minute to book providers you risk getting into a bidding war with other buyers – book everything in advance.
– Be sure you read all the contracts and understand them. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
– Even if some invitations remain unacknowledged, pursue these people for a paid ticket even if it is unlikely they will attend. Hey, he is your buddy!
– Leave a couple weeks minimum between the stag party and the wedding day in case the groom needs a tattoo removed.
– Be sure that someone financially savvy is responsible for the money.
– Try keeping a central access email account for unit members and for stag party Intel only.
– It may be a good idea to plan for a special dinner out before the stag night with the fathers of the bride, groom, and close family who may not enjoy your primary activities. Even though they will not be attending the stag, be sure to hit them up for tickets to the main event sometime during this evening.
– It is a good idea to check with the groom regarding an “exotic dancer” at his stag party. Don’t rely on his past behaviour to make your judgments.
– The night would not be complete without a little embarrassment to the groom. Pranks are fine if they are harmless fun and approved by the wingman.
– Do not show up early with the groom in a public facility that serves alcohol. If you must, wait with your guests to enter your particular venue. Your groom will risk getting smashed before he eats his first pretzel.
– For that matter, keep the groom alcohol free for as long as possible so he can at least greet his guests and perhaps converse a bit with them. He IS the guest of honour after all.
– Be sure to have at least one primary food event during the course of the evening with coffee and tea on hand. A popular idea and inexpensive idea is to have sandwich buns and all the fixings so they can build their own masterpieces or everyone likes Pizza. Food should be served 2 or 3 hours into the event. Also, have a steady supply of party snacks available.
– Food needs to be budgeted into the cost of tickets. Venues may provide this for you so ask in advance.

Hosting a great stag does not happen by accident. It comes from committed friends doing their best to put together a well organized event while exhibiting responsibility and common sense. Always keep in mind that a successful operation is when the mission objective is achieved and everyone returns home safely.

About Air Combat Zone

Air Combat Zone puts YOU behind the controls of a high performance F/A-18 flight simulator. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be a real F/A-18 pilot, now’s your chance to find out. The Air Combat Zone experience redefines entertainment to bring you the thrill of a lifetime. It’s JUST like the real thing.

We replace the “same old, same old” stag activities with a completely unique fighter pilot experience dogfighting each other in fighter jet flight simulators. You can make this stag unforgettable with the thrill of air combat action and a solid focus on everyone having a great time together.

All of your “pilots” will take a crash course in dog fighting with a CF-18 Hornet jet fighter. Once trained, you’re off into the cockpits of our 4 Hornet flight simulators.

Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes

Avoid These Common Errors and You’re On Your Way To An Unforgettable Stag!

Your Mission is clear. Your best friend has announced that he is tying the knot and after all these years of being his wingman, now you must really live up to the title. One of your main responsibilities as a best man is to plan a memorable night of festivities that not only the groom to be, but also all of his mates will talk about for years to come.

Make no mistake, you will have many responsibilities in the coming months, but none of these will compare to the pressure of accomplishing this particular task, flawlessly and with class. There will be distractions from your mission; however, a good wingman lets nothing interfere with his duty. You were chosen because of a deep seeded loyalty accumulated over years of comradeship. Your charge is counting on you to cover his six, to keep him out of harm’s way and most important, that everyone has a good time and a safe evening.

Air Combat Zone has been hosting unforgettable Stag Parties featuring live action dogfights is combat flight simulators for more than 5 years. In that time we’ve seen firsthand how poor stag planning can go horribly wrong. So we’ve compiled this list of the Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes to ensure your stag is memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. So let’s look at the details of the mission in front of you. There are five main reasons why a stag party can quickly become a FUBAR. Beware of the following pitfalls:

– Catching the common – “I’ve-got-time-itis”
– Not having a plan of operation
– Poor communication
– No alcohol control plan
– No transportation plan

Let’s look at each of these potential SNAFU’s individually.

#1 Mistake – Catching “I’ve-got-time-itis”

When you become overconfident, you’re vulnerable to “I’ve-got-time-itis” and the mission of planning the stag immediately becomes jeopardized. Believing you have more time than you actually do can be disastrous. Planning a stag is planning an event and planning an event means booking facilities. Facilities that may be popular. Take the time you need to do a proper recon of the area of operations. Here are a few key questions you need to answer:

– Where will you be holding your stag party?
– Will it be in a hall or an entertainment facility?
– Will the whole stag be in one location or several?
– What is the capacity of the venues your considering?
– Will there be any “Pre-Stag” activities to occupy the groom before the big event?
– Where will you be eating?
– How will you get around (more on this topic in mistake #5)?
– Will your night of revelry require reservations and deposits in advance?

This all becomes especially important when you understand there will very likely be other stags interested in the same venue for the same night. Avoid disappointment by reserving your party well in advance. Accept any offer of assistance from these facilities to make your planning easier. They’re interested in your stag being a success and will likely have some suggestions worth listening to if you ask. Micro managing the entire stag evening on your own could cost you valuable time you could apply to other important planning tasks. Once you have a guest list, get the word out and follow up with critical Intel later. You want to be sure everyone has his calendar marked! We’ll talk more about communications in mistake #3.

In short, prepare your plan of attack, focus on the mission at hand, do proper intelligence gathering and remember Murphy’s law. If something can go wrong, it likely will. So plan well and prepare for contingencies.

#2 Mistake- Lack Of A Forward Thinking Battle Plan

Precision planning will produce a stag event for the ages. You want to avoid “down time” where there does not seem to be any direction to the activities. Preparation will mean no surprises or at the least, very few glitches. Snafus should be expected but well organized event planners tend to minimize problems. Having an itinerary will make your life easier. Teamwork is helpful during a stag so recruit your own squad giving each a responsibility and be sure to oversee their progress.

As the coordinator of the event you must be sure to track each task i.e. food and beverage, entertainment, transportation, ticket sales, [RSVPs], facility availability etc. Everything needs to be checked and rechecked to assure the plan you have is actually working for you. You’re likely to be placing deposits to secure availability of key assets. Keep in mind that it’s always easier to collect payments from your happy stag goers before they bail on the night of the stag any your left coving the shortage. If you’re not likely to see all the guests before the stag, Interac Email transfers make a great way to collect funds in advance.

Often stags are a method of raising money for the groom to help cover the costs they will incur or have incurred leading up to the wedding day and even beyond. If the objective is to raise some cash, plan for this in advance when pricing tickets and organizing activities as a way to make some coin for the guest of honour. Be creative when planning to raise some dollars. Guests will not mind spending money for a good cause if they get some value in return.

#3 Mistake- Weak Communications

The element of surprise is always tactically advantageous but when it comes to stags, not always prudent. The groom will assume he is having some sort of stag so while he doesn’t need to know when it’s happing, ask him what he prefers in terms of size, special guests included or excluded depending on the “activities”. You are not required to give all vital information up but you should get some input from the groom. While it may seem like stepping on a land mine at first, speaking to the future bride about the stag is actually a very good idea. She may have relatives that the groom doesn’t yet know it would be a bad idea to leave out of the festivities, so her input can be vital to a long and happy married life for the groom.

A good wingman understands the rules of engagement in advance. Know who your guests will be, their styles and personalities, religious leanings, cultural behaviour all useful for planning a party that will not offend anyone. This type of Intel information may appear difficult to gather but it’s time to put your team in full recon mode. Communicate with friends and family; ask about various likes and dislikes. In the end, you cannot please everyone so sell tickets to everyone and expect only the adventurous to attend.

Speaking with close family of the bride and groom will help you make prudent decisions; like whether there will be a frat house atmosphere or a laid back affair watching early home movies of the groom learning to ride a two wheeler. You will also need to communicate with your team about their appointed tasks and step in when necessary. Confirm commitments made by providers by phone or in person to verify dates, menus, entertainment etc. If your communication is down you become vulnerable so watch your six.

#4 Mistake- Not Defining The Rules Of Engagement For Alcohol

If your squad leader gets plastered your entire operation could be in jeopardy. Alcohol use with abandon has ruined many stags for countless grooms and caused hard feelings for years after. Everyone wants the groom to have a good time and the obligation he feels to accept a drink or two from whoever is offering will be overwhelming. That is why a good wingman puts pre-emptive plans in place to keep the groom safe, in control and able to enjoy himself.

You could try something like doubling up the price to buy the groom a drink. Each consecutive drink given to the groom doubles the cost – $5, $10, $20, $40, $80, $160.00 – you get the point. Announce the rules of engagement at the beginning of the festivities and this is a great way to raise some money for the groom without the poor guy needing his stomach pumped.

You could sell drink tickets for the groom for $20.00 each and give a stub to the buyer making them eligible for a prize at the end of the night such as a glass turkey [good bottle of Spirits], 50/50 draw or even tickets to a sporting event. The point here is to make sure the groom is able to complete his mission and not return home as a casualty.

As a good wingman remember, you are tasked with protecting your leader’s six o’clock. Therefore, this means if or when the alcohol intake breeds any wild ideas from the invited ranks, you and your trusted unit must remain observant for any misguided subterfuge by rouge squadron members. Keep your eyes and ears open. Quickly put an end to these foolish and sometimes dangerous acts that seem to get fuelled by alcohol. The groom will never forget your loyalty.

#5 Mistake- Poor Transportation Planning

Times have changed and along with it the tolerance level for drinking and driving has not only become a social stigma but a legal issue. You and your unit mates need to keep an eye on the amount of booze that is consumed and be sure EVERYONE has a way to get to and from their home safely.

You must plan in advance to mitigate your liability as much as possible by providing your guests with some form of transportation if it is required. You may want to hire a shuttle driver, have cabs on standby throughout the evening, and assign a designated driver or two who will be responsible for watching the door to the parking lot. They take the keys and drive both the car and the guest home.

Be sure if it is a private affair that the bartender and or servers are aware of the signs of inebriation and control the drinking. If everything is under one roof for the evening this will be important to monitor. If you are going to be hopping from one locale to another throughout the evening consider a small bus or you’ll find that booking a few limos for the evening is surprisingly affordable and ups the ante on the night’s prestige. Some venues will offer a free shuttle to bring you to them and onto your next activity. Just remember that although the idea behind a stag party is to have a great time, as the groom’s wingman you are responsible for the entire evening. This being the case you should stick to drinking non-alcoholic beverages all night.

In Summary…

Well there you have it, the Top 5 Stag Planning Mistakes we’ve seen made over the years. With any plan of action, there will always be one more thing to remember since even the best-laid plans can go awry. Some miscellaneous items to remember include:

– Check references of any service provider you hire.
– Leave the minimum amount of money possible for a deposit.
– If you wait until the last minute to book providers you risk getting into a bidding war with other buyers – book everything in advance.
– Be sure you read all the contracts and understand them. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
– Even if some invitations remain unacknowledged, pursue these people for a paid ticket even if it is unlikely they will attend. Hey, he is your buddy!
– Leave a couple weeks minimum between the stag party and the wedding day in case the groom needs a tattoo removed.
– Be sure that someone financially savvy is responsible for the money.
– Try keeping a central access email account for unit members and for stag party Intel only.
– It may be a good idea to plan for a special dinner out before the stag night with the fathers of the bride, groom, and close family who may not enjoy your primary activities. Even though they will not be attending the stag, be sure to hit them up for tickets to the main event sometime during this evening.
– It is a good idea to check with the groom regarding an “exotic dancer” at his stag party. Don’t rely on his past behaviour to make your judgments.
– The night would not be complete without a little embarrassment to the groom. Pranks are fine if they are harmless fun and approved by the wingman.
– Do not show up early with the groom in a public facility that serves alcohol. If you must, wait with your guests to enter your particular venue. Your groom will risk getting smashed before he eats his first pretzel.
– For that matter, keep the groom alcohol free for as long as possible so he can at least greet his guests and perhaps converse a bit with them. He IS the guest of honour after all.
– Be sure to have at least one primary food event during the course of the evening with coffee and tea on hand. A popular idea and inexpensive idea is to have sandwich buns and all the fixings so they can build their own masterpieces or everyone likes Pizza. Food should be served 2 or 3 hours into the event. Also, have a steady supply of party snacks available.
– Food needs to be budgeted into the cost of tickets. Venues may provide this for you so ask in advance.

Hosting a great stag does not happen by accident. It comes from committed friends doing their best to put together a well organized event while exhibiting responsibility and common sense. Always keep in mind that a successful operation is when the mission objective is achieved and everyone returns home safely.

About Air Combat Zone

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Killer Series – 7 Steps to the Killer Interview

The mere thought of interviewing makes many people break out into cold sweats. In many ways, the interview process can cause so much stress, people lose their marbles. They may be as limp as a soggy cornflake by the time they actually sit down for the “BIG” talk. Do you remember your first ever interview? How do you think you did?

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet, the interview could still be a stressful event in your life. The fear of rejection is high and the anticipation of failure can be rather dreadful. Weak knees, sweaty palms, woozy stomach and cotton mouth are all some people can imagine when they think of answering the deadliest question an interviewer can ask, “So tell me about yourself” which, by the way, is technically not a proper question but, you get the point.

Anyway, what if I told you that you could ace an interview anytime you want and leave the interviewer nearly stupefied by your masterful self presentation, he’d have no choice but to hire you on your terms, would that be something in which you’d be interested?

Good… stick around then!

Yes, the interview process may put the fear of the devil into some people but after reading this article and practicing the proven techniques shared, the devil himself will fear you.

Following are the 7 Steps to the Killer Interview which can virtually guarantee you ace every interview from this day forward.

Step 1: Killer Resume
Your resume is usually the first point of contact that a potential interviewer will have with you. As such, you want to make sure that it leaves a blazoning impression on the reader. The resume is so important to this process; I may have to devote an entire article to the topic. For now, here are some key Dos and Don’ts of resume writing.

Unless you’re a recent college graduate, don’t begin your resume with an objective. Nothing screams amateur more than to begin with a header like “Objectives:” Instead, start with something simple like “Overview of Qualifications” or “About.” It’s succinct and easy to digest.
Do not use the term “Employment History.” Everybody else does and you’ll just be another rat in the pack. If you want to stand apart from the rest, use something like “Career Experience” or, “Overview of Experience.” Either approach will work way better for you in making that first impression.
Don’t regurgitate your daily and routine tasks from one job to the next… that’s just “monkey work” and I guarantee you that no one cares and brownie points go way down. First of all resumes are tough to read as it is, why make it boring too? Instead of writing what your tasks are/were, exercise verbs in stating how you solved problems for your company or made them more money or saved them time and made them more efficient. In other words, your bullet points should begin more like this, Developed a new system that saved…, Implemented procedure that increased productivity by X%, Devised strategy that made the company $XXX in 3 months…, and so on and so on… you get the idea. Oh yeah… don’t forget to choose to highlight the accomplishments that are most closely aligned with the position for which you are interviewing.
Please include your hobbies, awards and community service affiliations. This is who you are. Contrary to what many believe, no company worth working for wants to hire machines and buy people, they want to hire people and buy machines. Show them who you are. Besides, since most people present the machine, this will be another way you stand out plus it provides fuel for meaningful conversation and possible common interest connection during the interview… more on that later.
Finally, under no circumstances include salary requirements. Even if the company insists, fight the urge to comply and tell them you’d rather discuss that in person.
Spell check, proofread and then… save… print… send!
Step 2: Killer Cover Letter
Writing a Killer Cover Letter is definitely an art but can be easily mastered with a few pointers. Remember the cover letter goes along with the resume so here again is another opportunity to really present you. Don’t waste it!
Firstly, your cover letter is not your autobiography. It is not an endless pontification about your accolades and many talents. No one cares how long you can hold your breath under water before shaking and flailing like a fish on a hook (Unless they’re recruiters for the Navy Seals). What they do care about are the challenges their company faces and how you can help them overcome them. The only person that can let them in on that secret is you. The best way to utilize a cover letter is to use it as a way to align your skill set and experience with the position for which you are interviewing and the company’s goals.

To do this effectively, you want to use specific language and include certain elements to bring it home. Here are some key things to remember.

Start by introducing yourself and stating exactly why you are contacting them; your language might read something like… My name is John Resume and I am writing you in regards to the Marketing Manager position you are seeking to fill in your Professional Products Division… simple, right?
Next, state the main requirements of the position and then follow that with how your experience might fill their needs. Your language in this case might look something like… I understand that you are looking for someone who can do X and with my experience in Y, I know I can accomplish this with tremendous success…
Conclude with a bold statement about their company goals and how you see your own goals aligning with them. Your language might look something like… I know that your company is spearheading many initiatives in clean air technology and I have done extensive community service work in this area…
Keep your closing and salutation nice and simple. Your language might look something like… I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, John Resume…
Step 3: Killer Research
I wasn’t sure where to place this step because it affects the outcome of this entire process. Ultimately, I decided to put it somewhere in the middle since it impacts every step directly or indirectly plus, I like the number 3.
Skipping this step simply means you want the other guy next to you in the lobby to kick dust in your face as he refurnishes the corner office that was supposed to have your name on it… or was it? Research is vital to the interview process; it could mean the difference between the shredder pile and the resume that makes it all the way under the nose of the CEO.

Before you show up to interview, you want to know what you’re getting into… know the landscape so you can anticipate and navigate challenging situations. Be proactive in finding out all you can about the company, its mission, and its people. Done thoroughly, your research should cover 3 key areas, Company, Prep and Recon or as I like to call it CPR.

Company – know everything you possible can about the company
Research the products and/or services the company provides and then summarize that into one sentence you can easily remember
Go through the website and any paraphernalia you can find to weed out the mission statement of the company
Make sure you look up their earnings for the last 12 months if it’s public knowledge – if you can get specifics on why the numbers look the way they do, even better
Know about any special projects on which the company might be working or are sponsoring
Know about their public service accolades
Prep – I’ve never been accused of being too prepared
Study what you discovered in your research and make sure you know it well enough to carry a stress-free conversation
If at all possible – have someone of prominence from the industry for which you are interviewing, conduct a mock interview with you before hand… this could yield a lot of insights you wouldn’t gain otherwise
Know the three words you might use to describe yourself and be ready to give examples of when and how you’ve exhibited these traits in a past situation – ask your family, friends and colleagues for help if you need to for this one
Finally, know the fair market value for the salaries paid for the position with your level of expertise – perform several comparisons across different firms and industries if applicable (Try www.salary.com)
Recon – fail to do this and your research and prep may be all for naught
Take the mode of transportation you will use, the train, the bus, a cab or your car and drive to the interview location during rush hour before hand to gauge the amount of time you’ll need to get there – then add at least 30 minutes
Visit the interview location in the morning to see what time people arrive, what they wear to work and whether or not they have coffee in hand
Find a coffee shop nearby where you might sit, have a coffee and wait for your interview
With CPR covered, you are armed to the teeth with everything you need to kill the interview. Do you feel the stress lifting already? Hold on, you’re not quite finished yet.
Step 4: Killer Outfit
Now that you’re completely prepared to kill the interview, you need to dress to kill. So many people dismiss this element without giving it a second thought. Why would you want to distract your interviewer by wearing inappropriate, boring and uncomplimentary clothing to the interview? Take the time to choose an outfit carefully, it will be time and/or money well spent.

Remember the recon tasks you performed earlier? This is going to help you big time with choosing the right dress code. You should now know what the employees wear to work… right? If not, go back to Recon. The aim is to pick an outfit that compliments the company’s culture and dress it up just a tad.

For example, if most of the employees wear jeans and a t-shirt to work by all means feel free to wear jeans, a t-shirt and then dress it up by throwing on a nice, classic blazer… no rips and tears in your jeans of course. If the idea of wearing jeans to an interview scares you, don’t let it. As long as the outfit you wear is in line with the company’s culture, you will be viewed as intuitive… trust me. Just remember, your killer outfit is meant to kill them, not you.

Here are 7 “general rules of thumb” on interview outfits and overall appearance. These apply to both men and women.

Keep at least one navy blue and one pinstriped gray suit in your closet at all times
Wear light blue dress shirts or blouses whenever possible – this color conveys trust
Keep the jewelry to a bare minimum – watch, 1 chain/necklace, 1 bracelet
Earrings are for women only – sounds like a double standard but it’s still true
Hide all body art unless you’re interviewing for the NBA, a rock n’ roll band or a biker gang
Absolutely no beach wear or flip-flops (I know I’m not talking to you here but I’ve seen some whoppers.)
Grooming is a must – combed hair, clean nails, clean teeth, pleasant body and oral odor (Again, I know I’m not talking to you but in the interest of being thorough…)
What makes a killer outfit for an interview is one that resonates with the identity of the company for which you are interviewing as well as represents your personal style. You have to decide what that balance is and then go for it. If all else fails, nothing is sharper than a navy blue or gray pin-striped suit with a white or blue dress shirt. Depending on the company culture you can choose to where a tie or not.
Step 5: Killer Discipline
An impression is formed about you in the first 3 minutes of a person meeting you. Many of us will decide whether we like a person or not in less time than that. What this means then as it pertains to interviewing is that you want to maintain discipline. Your diligence in preparing for the interview may seal the deal for you before you’ve even exchanged the first words of the interview.

The fact is that what you say means less to people than what you do. It’s an old cliché but it is universally true – your actions speak louder than your words… one thousand times louder.

There are a few simple rules to follow when it comes to interview discipline.

Be on time for your interview – by “on time” I mean that if your interview is at 10 AM, you arrive between 9:40 AM and 9:50 AM. You want to be no more than 20 minutes early and no less than 10 minutes early. This gives you time to hang up your coat, accept a coffee graciously from the assistant, relax and collect your thoughts.
Use the bathroom before your interview – this is the time to handle #1 only… handle #2 at home and check to make sure all your efforts in grooming are up to snuff. With everything in its place, there will be fewer distractions.
Dial down the wind chill factor – you’re not the “Fonz”… being too cool will backfire quicker than a lemon with fire crackers in the muffler. Maintain professionalism, you don’t get brownie points for the “Clint Eastwood” cool factor.
Step 6: Killer Instinct
This is where you shine, where you combine your wonderful research and prep with your wit, charm and charisma. These elements taken in combination will give you the Killer Instinct.
Now that you are prepared and dressed to kill, you can calmly and confidently field ambiguous questions like the dreaded “So, tell me about yourself.” For the sake of clarity, let’s make sure we understand what is really being asked with a question (or not a question) like this.

What the interviewer is really after is, how and why did your experiences bring you to us and how will we benefit from the association. With this insight in mind, it will make it much easier for you to focus your answer on the parts of your life that directly relate to the company and the position for which you are interviewing.

This is to say that “So tell me about yourself” is not an invitation to tell your life story. It is however and invitation to tell the interviewer everything about you that matters most to him and his company. The caveat is you have to give just enough information to wet his or her pallet and leave it somewhat open ended inviting a probe for more information if he or she so chooses.

For example, if you had an interview for a Marketing Manager Position at Lancôme Cosmetics and you were asked the dreaded question; your answer might sound something like this.

“Well, I have always loved make-up, especially mascara which is the department I worked in at XYZ Company. The idea of accessorizing my look with cosmetics has always been interesting to me and that’s why my Thesis in Graduate School was about how much women spend on cosmetics and how it makes them feel. I spend a lot of time in places like Saphora just trying different kinds of cosmetic products.”

Do you see how that answer might resonate more with your Lancôme interviewer than something that started out with the following?

“Well I moved to New York when I was 12 years old and I attended P.S. 252 Junior High School before going to Midwood High School. My major in college was marketing and once I graduated I worked at…”

To your interviewer, the latter would not only be boring but somewhat disconnecting unless he or she too moved to New York at around the same age and had a similar experience as you did… not likely but it would be a lucky break. Personally, I am not willing to take that chance… are you?

Another element of the Killer Instinct is the “graceful refusal.” This is the art of refusing to answer an inappropriate question and have the interviewer be happy with it or at the very least respect your position. This is often a scary moment for many but it doesn’t have to be.

This moment often occurs with the money question. “So, what are your salary requirements?” or my all time favorite “How much do you earn at your current job?”

Now really, what does this question have to do with this interview? That’s right, absolutely nothing! So, why ask the question?

In the halls of Corporate America where I’ve worked for 15 years, this question is what I like to refer to as “sizing up.” This is a great opportunity for the interviewer to accomplish 2 things.

See how confident you are and whether or not you are able to think quickly on your feet
See whether or not your salary requirements fit into there pay scale
Regardless of the motive though, this is a question to avert at all cost in an interview. It doesn’t matter at what level you are in your career; this question is taboo from all sides. It immediately places you in a box and there goes any leverage you might have. And, if you didn’t come in with any leverage at all, you’ve essentially turned over your fate to the interviewer because once you answer this question, they get to keep the ball and decide where it lands. This is a no-no!
If you are asked this question, remain calm, pause and then confidently reply something like this…

“If we are going to discuss salary, I’d rather discuss a salary for this position that you consider to be fair market value and in line with my level of expertise.”

OR…

“I realize that this may be a standard question, however, I’d much rather confine our salary discussions to the parameters of the position for which I am interviewing and my level of expertise as I am sure you will agree that these are most relevant.”

In choosing a reply like the ones above, you avert the question and leave the door wide open for dialogue and negotiation. Furthermore, any interviewer would be hard-pressed to argue or rebut your position. At the very least he or she would respect you and you would have shown that you are confident and shrewd…BIG plus.

Whatever you do, don’t answer this question out of fear. I have never answered this question and I have used variations of the suggested replies above and they’ve worked every time. At the very least, trust your instincts and if you can’t trust yours (yet)… trust mine. I’ve been there and I am sharing my experience with you… leave this question alone and you will undoubtedly separate yourself from the many lambs that are doomed to the slaughter.

Step 7: Killer Close
You’re not quite finished yet. Now that everything has gone as planned right through the interview and you’re feeling great about yourself, no need to blow it by neglecting the little things.

The clincher to the deal may just be the Killer Close. It’s simple and may even be deemed trivial by many when you look at the whole. I on the other hand believe that more often than not, it’s the other way around. Without the close, all your efforts in steps 1-6 may be forgotten. Don’t forget that the interviewer may have seen many candidates before you and probably many more after. You just never know so it’s your duty to make sure that he or she remembers you and that you stand apart from the pack.

As my father use to say when I was growing up, “Dean, observe what the crowd is doing and do the opposite.” These are wise words that ring true in almost any situation and certainly in this one.

While others may forget this small detail, you will perfect a memorable Killer Close that will leave your mark on anyone you meet.

So, what’s the Killer Close all about?

This is where you crystallize all your efforts from step 1-6; it’s where you make sure that the impression you made is a lasting and positive one.

The Killer Close entails 3 simple steps and if followed could make all the difference in the world.

The closing handshake – once your interview is finished, reach across to the interviewer with your right hand to shake his and then grip his elbow firmly with your left hand and say something like…
“It was a pleasure to meet with you and I look forward to meeting with you again. Thank you for your time.” Former President Bill Clinton is famous for this type of exchange. It’s a professional approach with a personal touch that makes people feel validated… use it!
No more than 24 hours after the interview, send an e-mail to the interviewer letting him or her know how much you enjoyed your meeting and are looking forward to another. Your e-mail should be succinct and personalized with one or two specific details of the interview. This emblazons you in the mind of the interviewer. It could read something like…
“Dear Mr. X, It was a pleasure to meet with you today. I enjoyed our conversation especially when we discussed corporate social responsibility. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time.”
Wait 14-21 days and if you have not heard from the company, send a follow up e-mail to say thanks once again for the interview and request that they keep your name on file. The purpose for this is to keep your name top of mind so that if other opportunities arise in the company, you are one of the first called. Your e-mail could read something like…
“Dear Mrs. Y, Thank you for meeting with me on (Date goes here). I realize that it is a competitive market and I understand if you have already filled the position for which I interviewed. Please keep me in mind and my resume, which is attached for your reference, in your files should another opportunity become available at your firm. I look forward to meeting with you again.”
Going beyond these 3 steps is not necessary unless working for this company is your ultimate goal. If that is the case you should continue to follow up via e-mail once every 3 months with inquiries about new opportunities. One caveat is that this could border on annoying and persistent… it will depend on the contact person and substance of your e-mails.

Well, these are the 7 Steps to the Killer Interview and I have used them all successfully on several occasions. I can share with you from first hand experience that these techniques work very well.

Personal Assistant Software Helps You Balance Work and Life

The need to effectively manage tasks, projects, and schedules has become increasingly important in this highly demanding and fast-paced work, home and school settings. Handling matters and other important affairs in an organized way is not just simply a call of orderliness but also an essential component that proves to be practical in everyday life. To be able to remember important appointments, complete vital tasks on time, and take note of family affairs and birthdays with no hassles and creases are truly a dream come true. And these wishes are easily answered by the ingenious personal assistant software.

No matter what business one purposely uses this software, may it be corporate, academic or home-based, personal assistant software proves to be a smart invention to help you balance your work and your life. Your disorganized, muddled and tangled lifestyle will be greatly smoothened out with its amazing features and functions.

First off, this can be used as a storage device. It helps to record vital information and other notes. It has a to-do list function that helps you keep posted on things that you need and have to accomplish before the day ends. Schedules and appointments are also managed by this software. It can be arranged according to priority, time or day. It also has an alarm system that sends or displays reminders of your friends and loved ones birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to help you never forget these important occasions.

However, the question lies with how you choose this device over another. With so many software available online, how do you purchase one that completely suits your needs? Simple! Do a recon! View forums and discussion boards that talk about this time management software. Read people’s comments and their judgments on particular software brands they have purchased and used. Personal experience by users who have used this application can be a good vehicle for you to reach a decision on which brand to download and install in your computer.

Or, you can try a 15- to 30-day trial period. There are those companies who offer a trial version for a limited time to help you get a feel of their product. If you are happy with the program, you can get the full version, of course with pay. But if you find it lacking and dissatisfactory, you can always get your money back. But if you really are short in cash, there are those that can be freely downloaded from the internet. But the catch is it may not be as versatile as those programs that need to be purchased.