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Secrets of Success: How Reading Gives You an Edge

Secrets of Success. How reading makes you smarter and happierEver since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading. I was the girl who checked out all 20 books, until they told me I couldn’t check out anymore at one time. My favorite books were always about practical wisdom. (I’ve always had a special appreciation for Benjamin Franklin!) I’m all about Secrets to Success. By this I mean key lessons, beneficial behaviors, and bits of wisdom that just work.

One of the best secrets to success? Reading. What you’re doing right now, in fact! Congratulations, you successful person, you!

In all seriousness, did you know that by reading more you can actually become smarter, lower your stress levels, keep your brain young and fit, and flat out be happier? It’s true. You can.  Here’s the how it works.

4 Ways Reading is a Key to Your Success

1. Reading is the best way to relax

Have you ever felt stressed and opened Facebook or turned on the TV? More than likely, you felt more stressed or just as tense after scrolling online or watching TV. Reading helps us all chill out, and it is a healthy escape from the stresses of day-to-day life. Only six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds.

2. Reading helps you focus and boosts productivity

If you are like me, you are online a lot. We all know that the fast-paced world we live in is not great for our brains. All the back and forth distractions can hurt our ability to focus.  We need to balance the time we spend racing around the Internet and skimming articles, with time spent focused on a great book.

I’ve found that even reading for a short period each morning helps me to be able to focus, remember things more clearly and be more productive during the day. If that isn’t enough, reading can help fight dementia and even Alzheimers as we age.

3. Reading gives you a competitive advantage

Reading a great nonfiction book will give you an edge because you will gain wisdom you can use in your career. You will be smarter if you are an avid reader. Period. Here’s something to think about. Have you ever noticed how reading biographies and memoirs of people who have overcome crazy odds and challenges and done great things encourages you to do your best?

I’m way less likely to feel sorry for myself if I lose a sale or get a nasty comment about my work when I compare my circumstances to the experiences of pioneers and leaders who’ve gone before me. That is seriously humbling!

4. Reading gives you a psychological boost

There’s nothing like diving into the story of a person who lived life well to remind us that life is more than the (sometime depressing) images and messages we see on TV, life is beautiful and full of opportunity to live it well. Studies show that reading self-help books can also help lessen depression. 

Feeling ready to crack open a book or two?

Good. I have some suggestions! Here are two great books, both written by friends of mine, that will inspire you and make you smarter and happier- guaranteed.

Business & Work Book Pick

Out of Office 13916587865_5a2747116d_z

by Simon Salt

If you are thinking about how to set up a home office and what all the options are, you will love Out of Office. Simon goes into great detail on how to set up productivity systems, boundaries (both personal and psychological), and how to work with remote teams.

I like Simon’s book so much, I endorsed it. If you have any questions about all the ways you can work out of office, this is a great choice. Find Out of Office here.

Life & Inspiration Book Pick

Hope Runs Hope Runs

by Claire Diaz Ortiz

  I can’t say enough about this book, and Claire’s story of meeting and bringing Sammy to the U.S. under her guardianship. I met Sammy when he and Claire spoke at BlissDom together a few years ago.

 As I read the chapters he wrote (he and Claire co-wrote the book) I was amazed at his perspective, his strength, and his ability to thrive despite such hard circumstances early in life. Here’s a bit of the beautiful story you will find in this book:

“When Claire Díaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mount Kenya, and then head back home. She entered an orphanage, seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek.

Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with several other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage, seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.

Hope Runs is the emotional story of one American tourist, one Kenyan orphan, and how one day became one year that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It’s about opening your heart to outrageous possibilities. It’s about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see.

It’s about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.”

Hope Runs is a fast read (I read it in a day) and if you have tweens and teens, you may want to give your copy to them to read when you are done. The book is an adventure and a lens to a very different world. Sammy’s chapters will be especially fascinating for boys. My older guys loved it.

*Speaking of people who love to read, Claire can read me under the table. She reads 150+ books a year.

I have never done a giveaway on this site before, but I love this book so much I’ve decided to give 5 copies away.

Simply leave a comment below and 5 people will win a special copy!


Should You Post That Selfie? This Flowchart Can Be Your Guide.

Should you post that Selfie? Use the Selfie flowchart at (Infographic) Selfies. Love them or hate them, we can’t escape them. I love seeing faces pop up all over the web of my friends and people whose work I respect. What I don’t like is the word, “Selfie.” It just sounds ridiculous.

On Facebook yesterday, I asked for your opinions about selfies. So far, we have over a hundred comments and it is still going.


See the whole conversation and join in here. 


My favorite comment was from George Smith, Jr-

 Selfies are like establishing shots in a movie. When done right – it adds context, gives the viewer a chance to see the person behind the camera. When done too often, seems like a mess with no “story” to it. The best people online use photos to establish a storyboard for their life.

One of the biggest take aways from the conversation on Facebook is that most folks love seeing each other’s faces, but many feel awkward or uncomfortable sharing their own self-portraits. Some think it is a bit narcissistic, but most do not.

The truth is, the selfie discussion itself is a big mirror that reflects our individual views on much more than just self-portraits online.

We are part of a cultural shift where CEOs, solopreneurs, pastors and farmers are sharing their daily lives. Selfies can be used brilliantly to tell the stories of who we are, our day-to-day lives and, as George said, to let people see the person behind the camera.

Not only that, faces in images are good for business. They are 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to get comments. 

If you are still unsure of whether you should post a selfie or not, here is a handy flowchart.

Should You Post a Selfie- Alli Worthington (Infographic)


What do you think? Pro-Selfie or No-Selfie?

10 Ways to Use Pocket Like a Pro

How to use the Pocket App br “Hm. This looks interesting. Let me bookmark it to read later.”

How many times over the years have you done that? Countless, I’m sure. Me, too.

I don’t make space during the week to read everything  I want, so I save a lot of it for time I’ve set aside for just this (generally evenings or weekends).

However, bookmarks? They are a thing of the distant past. When I want to tuck something aside to read later (as oppose to archive forever in Evernote, my digital archive/brain) I simply tuck it in my pocket. Pocket with a capital “P,” that is.

Pocket is an app built specifically for this purpose…in fact, it was originally called Read Later. It syncs with over 500 different apps: Buffer, Twitter, Facebook, and Flipboard just to name a few.

10 Ways to use Pocket like a Pro

1. Sync Your Reading List Across all Your Devices

You’re in the middle of reading an article on your computer but are interrupted. Later when you’re on a your laptop and want to finish reading it, instead of having to search for it again, Pocket keeps it all sync’d seamlessly.

The articles  you put in Pocket while on your desktop will be on your iPad, iPhone, laptop, etc. Open up your Pocket account and there it is, right where you left off. Pocket offers reading convenience on multiple devices at it’s finest.

2. Save Everything with a Browser Bookmarklet

Save everything with the Pocket Browser bokmarklet

One of my top criteria for a productivity tool is that it doesn’t…wait for it…hamper my productivity. One of the most obvious ways to achieve this is easy of use.

Pocket excels at this. For example, adding the bookmarklet is easy; you just drag it to your toolbar and it’s right there, ready to use. When you’re on a page you’d like to read later, just click the icon and it’s immediately saved to your account. Super simple. Super convenient.

3. Save Favorites in Pocket to Evernote with IFTTT

Archive all the best content in Pocket to Evernote by AlliworthingtonAs you’re going through your Pocket content, when you find something brilliant you want to keep forever? Use my IFTTT recipe and you can set up an Evernote archive today. Once you’re IFTTT recipe is activated, all you need to do is click the star to favorite it. The article and image will be archived to a specific Evernote notebook.

Whenever you can accomplish a task with one simple click, that’s a productivity win.

4. Stay FocusedAlli is Sophia, of course.

Instead of getting distracted by the latest Buzzfeed quiz on which Golden Girl I am, I can save the article in Pocket to read later.

I like to read non-work items (and take Buzzfeed quizes, duh) at night and on the weekends.

Being productive doesn’t mean you never have fun, it just means you don’t get distracted when you are taking care of business.(Tweet it!)

5. Have Your favorite Updates Sent Directly to Pocket

Here’s a handy IFTTT recipe that will send any Malcolm Gladwell articles in The New Yorker to Pocket directly. Ok, it doesn’t have to be Gladwell, you can customize it to any RSS feed that you want. I recommend Gladwell.

6. Email Articles to Pocket

Going through your email and find a link to an article that looks promising? Just forward it to That link’s page will be added to your list, ready to be read the next time you open Pocket.

It’s also a great way to add articles while you’re on the go without opening the app. As long as you’re logged into the email account with which you registered for Pocket, you can send a link to to populate your Pocket.


7. Read Without Clutter Pocket App preview

Sometimes sites have great content but are, frankly, horrible visually. (Websites that are full of ads that take over the screen, flashing ads or that think text should be light grey and size 4- you know what I’m talking about!)  That’s when I thank Pocket for one of my favorite features; it strips away all of the sidebar chaos and just leaves the content in which you are interested.

So I often save articles to Pocket just to read them without all the awful clutter on some sites.

No ads, no visual distractions, no ugly sidebars. That’s a productivity win in and of itself.


8. Save and Share Articles with the Desktop App

Share or save all article from inside Pocket on your desktop from


Pocket makes sharing easy; reading something that would be perfect for a friend? Email it to them! Want to view the post in a browser? Easy with a *click*! Want to copy the link to your clipboard? That’s also an option in the drop-down menu.

I also love that Buffer is a ready option (as you’ll see in #10).

9. Read it at Night and Save Your Eyes

Did you know that the blue light that emanates from our screens causes eye strain at night? And that it can create difficulties falling asleep? Bad news when you’re tucked in bed enjoying some end of the day reading. Luckily, pocket has Dark Theme that, combined with dimming the screen, is perfect for this. There is also a Sepia Theme, which is a lower contrast option.

To enable it, tap the “AA” button, then the Themes button to toggle between Light, Dark and Sepia Themes. Happy eyes!

10. Share with Buffer from the Pocket App

Share with Buffer from inside the Pocket App

Got Buffer?

I sure do! The Buffer option is another one of my favorite features about Pocket. I can share across my main social media platforms with the drop down menu. (Seriously, Omega 3′s are great for sleep, just like the Dark Theme lighting option) (I’m all about the good sleep!).


Pocket is the tool I rely upon for saving articles you run across online for reading at a later time. In fact, it’s one of my most-used productivity tools. It keeps me on track on a day-to-day basis by being the perfect place to set aside content for future consumption.

Knowing what tool to use- and when- is a key for keep us all on track!

  Free Instant Website Evaluation 2014

Now that you’re ready to use Pocket like a pro, click here for my free website grader tool.

I created it to let you know what to do next to keep your website working like a pro.


More of the Use it Like a Pro Series

How to use Gmail like a Pro

How to use Evernote like a Pro

The Worst Way to Measure Your Success

comparison trap, We all do it. We compare our lives, our businesses, our bodies, our families, our kids, our houses. And even though we hate how it makes us feel, we do it anyway. For many of us, the trap of comparison has become almost like second nature.

Today we are going to dive into what the comparison trap is, how it affects us and how to overcome it.

I have a friend who ran a marathon when she was 50 years old. A marathon. She crossed the finish line at 6 hours and 20 minutes, way faster than a few thousand other people. Filled with pride about this incredible bucket list achievement, she posted her finish line photo and finishing time online.

Some minutes later, she saw the finish line photo and finishing time of a few of the women she trained with and realized they had finished (together), and  faster than her. Embarrassed by her time (and not wanting them to see it) she deleted her photo, the joy of her day and her incredible accomplishment stolen by comparison.

Now, I don’t even run, so in my mind, the fact that she ran a marathon is crazy amazing, I have no point of reference on her time or what is good or bad. My guess is 99% of people are just like me; they would see the picture and be amazed that she did it. But she was caught in her own comparison trap, measured her success by the wrong thing and ruined her own happiness.

Comparison is a liar who says our best won’t ever be good enough. Measuring your success through comparison is a recipe for failure. <- Tweet it

Let’s discover what comparing ourselves to others *really* does to us and exactly what to do to escape the comparison trap.


5 ways we lose when we compare ourselves to others

1. We don’t measure up when we compare ourselves to others

My granddaddy used to say, “When we measure our worth with someone else’s yardstick, we always come up short.” Isn’t that the truth? The moment we try to determine our worth by comparing ourselves against someone else’s success, we are going to feel like we don’t have what it takes to succeed. And the moment we feel like we won’t succeed is the moment we start failing.

“When we measure our worth with someone else’s yardstick, we always come up short.”  <–Tweet it

Great Article: How to stop comparing your success to other people's success by Alli

2. We don’t celebrate our wins when we compare ourselves to others

I think about the parable of the worker in the vineyard. Here was a guy who was getting paid a massive wage to work in a field. He was excited about his good fortune and couldn’t wait to tell his friends and family all about it. That is until a few more workers showed up hours later, and he discovered they were getting the same exact paycheck for half the work.

He went from celebrating his good fortune to being disappointed and angry, all because of comparison. His life was not in any way hurt because of the other workers’ paychecks, but the trap of comparison sucked the celebration right out of him.


3. We resent people we love when we compare ourselves to others

I confess; I *want* to be happy when good things happen to the people I love (or even like), but all too often, I compare my life to their good fortune, and I find myself resenting them instead of celebrating with them. That behavior causes me to ruin my own day instead of living the life I’m meant to.

Comparison can make us bitter and jealous, ultimately damaging great business and personal relationships. It’s important for all of us to admit that, because we are human, we will often fall into the trap of comparison. Learning to tame the comparison tendency is crucial for longterm success and happiness.

How to stop comparing yourself to others


4. We experience depression and lower self-esteem when we compare ourselves to others

Research has shown that people who constantly compare themselves to others suffer from depression and lower self-esteem. This is especially common thanks to social media, where we can compare ourselves to others 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the click of a button.

According to this in livescience-

“When asked how they felt about their place in life and their achievements, people with lots of Facebook friends gave themselves lower marks if they’d just viewed their friends’ status updates, compared with people who hadn’t recently surfed the site.”

Comparison makes us feel worse about ourselves and social media can kick it in overdrive. I love Social Media so don’t think that I’m knocking it, we all need to handle it with care.

Research shows the more often people use Facebook, the lower their self-esteem. <–Tweet it!


5. We fall in love with perception and hate reality when we compare ourselves to others

Another thing that happens to us when we compare ourselves to our friends on social media is we fall in love with the *perception* of their reality and hate our *actual* reality. We need to keep in mind that while Betty’s kids are all on the honor roll and her husband brings her flowers every day, she might be living a different real life on the other side of that screen. Chances are, unless she’s a really really close friend, you only have a perception of the life she lives.

Don’t fall for an ‘InstaSham’ version of other’s lives. You know the InstaSham updates, the house is perfect, the kids are knitting scarves for the homeless and the parents just finished a lovely 5 course meal, but in reality it took an hour to clean up the room and make the kids stop playing video games long enough to pose for the picture.

Comparing your reality to the *perception* of someone else’s reality is like comparing your real life to someone’s Instagram. <– Tweet it! 

5 ways to escape the comparison trap

5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others

1. Revel in competition and reject comparison

There is a big difference between competition and comparison, and it’s fairly easily defined. Competition is good! It drives you to be the best you can be, and makes you feel positively about yourself in the midst of it. Comparison is bad. It makes us feel bad about ourselves from the get-go.

2. Celebrate other people’s success

Imagine that the young man in the parable from above had celebrated with the workers that joined him near the end of the workday, instead of feeling cheated and angry.

Just picture the scene with them all leaving the field, high-fiving each other and talking about all the things they were going to do with the money they had earned. Not only would he have not wasted his day being miserable, he would have been happier just by changing his perspective.

There is a great amount of power that comes with not ruining your own happiness and by celebrating the win of someone else.

3. Retrain your brain by shutting down negative talk

When we start hearing the voice of comparison in our head saying “You’ll never be as good as her,” or “Your business won’t ever be as successful as his,” shut it down with positive self-talk.

When you notice someone else reaching a certain level of success, don’t even let those thoughts creep in.

Do this exercise every time you feel tempted to compare:

1. Notice what is triggering you to compare and start negative self-talk
Example thought- “He gave a terrific presentation. Mine will probably suck.”
2. Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself you are done with the comparison trap
“I’m being negative comparing again. Here’s another step in breaking that bad habit.”
3. Flip it around by being positive.
“His presentation was great. Luckily the audience is now happy and warmed up for my talk. I’m excited to teach today!”

Something as simple as being mindful and noticing when negative self-talk is happening will start retraining your brain to stop comparing.

4. Compliment, don’t compare 

I saw this statement in an article I read recently. It said,

 “Whenever you find you are comparing yourself to someone else, you should go right up to that person and compliment them on the very thing you’re jealous of or comparing yourself to.”

 I really like this idea because it takes the focus off of comparison and puts it right back into celebrating (see #2), which is a win-win.

5. Focus on your path Comparing your life,  your personality and  talents to others  is a waste of your gifts. Focus on your path from

There is only one you. And you alone were created to do incredible things on this earth.  Your path may include launching a business, or caring for a family, or moving to the other side of the world to build wells. Whatever you are meant to do, and whatever path you are on is uniquely yours and the paths that other people are on are of no significance to yours.

Remember, you have a special set of gifts, personality traits and talents that are unique to you. Comparing your life, your personality and talent is a waste of your gifts. Guard your time because it’s precious, minimize your time spent on Social Media where you find yourself falling prey to the lie of comparison and give negative self-talk the boot.

Measuring your success with someone else’s yardstick leads to frustration, and living a life free from the comparison trap will lead to happiness and success.


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Blogging is Dead. Publishing is Dead. TV is Dead.

You aren't late  to the game,  you are  right on time.    You don't need  permission,  you need a  game planThe most depressing thing a person with a dream, an entrepreneur or an artist can hear is that the future that they aspire to is gone. “You’re too late.”  “You should have started earlier.”  “You don’t have what it takes.”

Lies. All lies.

Seven years ago, I was wandering around a bookstore and began daydreaming about writing a book. A week later, I logged on with a horrible dial-up internet connection and googled “How do you publish a book?” The results were depressing. I remember learning that if I wasn’t famous, infamous or well-networked, it was a long shot.

As I kept searching, I read that another way to publish a book was to build a popular blog and show publishers that you have an audience. That same day, my next search was, “What is a Blog?

Can you imagine in 2006, years before blogs blew up,  how impossible that must have seemed to me?  Just like some things today may seem impossible to you.

But guess what? Nothing is impossible if you’re willing to do what it takes to accomplish it. (Tweet This!)

I never listened to the naysayers and neither should you. Earlier this month, my book proposal went out to publishers to review. It’s been a long road online, one that has come full circle, right back to the place I started. It’s exciting and terrifying and wonderful, and it is a continuation of me doing what I do- sharing what I’ve learned (just all packaged up in a new way).

In the meantime, I’ve read approximately a gazillion articles on the death of blogging, the death of traditional publishing and the death of TV. The only things these articles have in common is a very limited (and dare I say asinine) view of the future.

You have the world at your fingertips. You have the chance to learn what you need to know. You have the opportunity to create your own road. Nothing is dead; no time periods for success have expired, no one needs to give you permission to succeed.

You have the world at your fingertips.  You have the chance  to learn what you need to know.  You have the opportunity to  create your own road. from

Can you tell I feel passionately about this?

What do you dream of doing with your life? Go find people who have done it and learn from them. Read their words, listen to their advice and arm yourself with information.

Learning from people who have been there and are doing what you dream to do is crucial. That was the vision behind BlissDom:  gathering together, learning from each other, sharing wisdom, building new opportunities.  And it remains the vision that drives everything I work on now.

Don’t listen to the naysayers who announce certain things are dead, and who casually announce you are too late to the game. There is no expiration date on your ability to be successful; there are continual invitations for people who see opportunity and embrace change. Blogs, Video, Publishing, Radio, TV aren’t going anywhere. They are evolving, and that is a great thing, because you can grow with it.

Keep hustling, keep gathering, keep building, keep creating, keep learning.

You aren’t late to the game, you are right on time.  You don’t need permission, you need a game plan. (Tweet this!)

During the past six years I’ve seen trends, platforms and fads come and go. I’ve bumbled along and failed often and learned a lot.

I’ve seen brilliant business people give up too early due to the uncertainty of building their dreams. Books that should have been written, businesses that should have flourished, messages that never had enough time to spread… don’t let that happen to you.

Business and Life Success Coaching

What do you have inside you? What do you need to make your dream become a reality?

Answering those questions  is why I coach individuals now, instead of focusing all of my time on consulting with large companies. Coaching helps the idea become the book, the product get spread to the world, the message get crafted so it will resonate, and the vision become reality.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve built of team of experts and coaches, and we work with people just like you. Who, if they just knew exactly what to do, could reach a new level of success.

Is that you? Are you tired of listening to the lies that tell you, “You can’t?”  I’m accepting new applications to work with people just like you.  To walk alongside you and teach you what you need to know. Click here to get the help you deserve.

Build that business, market the heck out of your product, get those clients, get that freedom, and never believe them when they tell you that you’re too late.

You are right on time.



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