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Archive for the ‘Personal Success’ Category

3 Fears You Need To Overcome If You Want To Be Successful – Forbes

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Fear. It cuts like a knife and goes way too deep for far too many people. It can severely impact your ability to achieve personal or professional goals, experience happiness or develop a meaningful career. How you deal with it or not will impact your ability to achieve and sustain success.


While anxiety and depression can make fear feel like a best friend, disappointment and regret can make it feel like an enemy. Whatever you know about fear, you are likely to know that, rational or irrational, it has the ability to cause extreme fight or flight reactions even complete inaction to circumstances and events. Still, like an old, familiar friend, some of us are hard pressed to let it go.

Neuropsychologist Theo Tsaousides says in Psychology Today that, when the fear is overwhelming, you experience fright: You neither fight nor flee; in fact, you do nothing. I can certainly attest to this from professional and personal experience. For more than two decades, Ive served in roles to include a social worker, business educator, management consultant, executive coach, chief executive and keynote speaker, and people from all over the globe have felt safe to share their fears and anxieties with me. Ive also had to overcome my own fears and demonstrate the mental fortitude to be truly successful.

Success is predicated upon an ability to understand and appreciate fear. And before experiencing success, we need to figure out how to overcome these three specific fears for long-term personal and career success.

If every single human being could voluntarily decide to stand in one of two lines, one for failure and one for success, Im willing to bet everything I have that there would be very few people (if any at all) in the line for failure. From the youngest of ages, we are taught to go out into the world and succeed. We are taught that success is better than failure. We are taught that winners succeed and losers fail.

After years of programming, it becomes abundantly clear that failure brings disappointment, shame, embarrassment or humiliation while success brings honor, praise, pride and dignity. Naturally, we start to have an aversion to failure. But having an aversion to failure isnt the same as having a paralyzing fear of it. People with an overwhelming fear of failure do things like

I dont know anyone whos actually okay with rejection. Most of us want some level of acceptance from others, and this is normal. But there is a big difference between being uncomfortable with rejection and being so afraid of it that you let it stop you cold from achieving personal or professional success.

Ultimately, fear of rejection is a reflection of the anxiety you have with not being accepted. It is an indication that you may have an excessive need to belong or an excessive fear of being judged or ridiculed. People with an overwhelming fear of rejection do things like

Say it aint so. How can anyone be afraid of success? Fear of success is real. Some people have a crippling fear of success and are more afraid to succeed than they are to fail. Success means change, and it can bring an unwelcomed spotlight of attention and many new detractors. The more successful you become, the more you get noticed. While getting noticed often brings on more admirers, it also brings on more haters.

Another reason people fear success is that it creates new standards and expectations, and people get stressed about how to manage those standards and expectations. When you succeed, you raise the bar. Others start to expect more from you and hold you accountable for higher levels of performance than you were delivering prior to the successful project, initiative or activity. The fear of success is about fearing pressure and resisting accountability. It is a fear of new attention and expectations.

Even though success can bring honor, praise and pride, it also brings anxiety and new accountabilities. This can become debilitating. People with an overwhelming fear of success do things like

Although these three fears are challenging, they are rather normal and common. Successful people experience many of the same fears as everyone else. The difference is that successful people dont let it become so overwhelming that the fear negatively impacts their personal or professional success.

Here are four categories of specific things you can do to overcome the fear of failure, the fear of rejection and the fear of success.

This was created by Brian Tracy, author and consultant, to help with overcoming fear of failure and rejection.

I highly recommend that you apply the action steps above so that you can manage even overcome your fears and achieve the personal and professional success you want.

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3 Fears You Need To Overcome If You Want To Be Successful - Forbes

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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Neuronetics and Success TMS Partner to Increase Patient Access to Leading Depression Treatment, NeuroStar Advanced Therapy – WFMZ Allentown

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MALVERN, Pa., Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --Neuronetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: STIM), a commercial stage medical technology company focused on designing, developing and marketing products that improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders, today announced a partnership with Success TMS, a healthcare provider specializing in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-drug, non-invasive treatment for adult patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). As part of a three-year agreement, Success TMS will offer Neuronetics' NeuroStar Advanced Therapy system as its preferred TMS device at 21 locations across six states.

Sparked by Founder Jonathan Michel's personal journey losing his sister, Alex, to suicide after her five-year battle with the disease, the facility's flagship location opened in 2018 in Lake Worth, FL to treat local residents. Michel and his leadership team have since pursued a far-reaching, rapidly-growing expansion strategy to provide compassionate care to depression sufferers. The practice has seen both organic and inorganic growth in the last year, with the aim of "ridding the world of depression" as per Alex's last request.

Today, Success TMS is one of the leading TMS Therapy providers in the US, treating hundreds of patients each day and every day in Alex's honor. Neuronetics is the global leader in TMS therapy for depression, and the uncompromised focus of both companies on maximizing patient outcomes led to this collaborative partnership. Success TMS has helped many patients with NeuroStar TMS, which uses magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that are underactive in depression.1,2

"The Success TMS team understands the hardship of depression firsthand. We've seen this disease in friends and loved ones and believe in the power of providing specialized care in order to maximize successful outcomes for patients," said Randy Syrop, CEO and Co-Founder of Success TMS. "NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is the treatment that makes this possible. We know because we have seen it work, and we're excited about this partnership because it means more sufferers will have access to this treatment, giving hope to those who need it most and offering true remission from this disease."

Under the terms of the partnership, Success TMS will offer NeuroStar Advanced Therapy TMS systems at all its locations. This partnership is expected to allow for the treatment of thousands of patients across Success TMS's clinic locations. Success TMS plans on continuing its aggressive growth by launching new clinics in both existing and new regions over the next 18 months, including four in South Florida by 2019 year end Miami, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, and Boca Raton (

"Success TMS is at the forefront of exceptional patient service, fueled by a very personal connection to depression," said Chris Thatcher, President and CEO of Neuronetics, Inc. "We're proud to expand our relationship with such a dedicated practice in a united fight against this disease that affects too many."

Formore information on both companies, visit neurostar.comand

About NeuroStar Advanced TherapyNeuroStar Advanced Therapy is the market leader in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive form of neuromodulation. NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is the #1 TMS choice of doctors, and is widely available acrossthe United States.

NeuroStar is reimbursed by most commercial and government health plans, including Medicare and Tricare. In addition, there are programs in place, such as NeuroStar Reimbursement Support, to help patients and providers obtain coverage and reimbursement for NeuroStar Advanced Therapy.

NeuroStar is indicated for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode. In an NIMH-funded, independent, randomized controlled trial, patients treated with TMS using a clinical-trial version of the NeuroStar TMS System were 4.2 times more likely to achieve remission compared to patients receiving sham treatment (P= 0.02; odds ratio = 4.05).3The most common side effect is pain or discomfort at or near the treatment site, which usually resolves within one week. It is contraindicated in people with non-removable conductive metal in or near the head.

NeuroStar is a registered trademark of Neuronetics, Inc. For more information and full safety and prescribing information,

AboutNeuroneticsNeuronetics, a commercial-stage medical technology company focused on designing, developing, and marketing products that improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders. Our first commercial product, the NeuroStar Advanced Therapy System, is a non-invasive and non-systemic office-based treatment that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, to create a pulsed, MRI-strength magnetic field that induces electrical currents designed to stimulate specific areas of the brain associated with mood. The system is cleared by theUnited States Food and Drug Administration, orFDA, for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode. NeuroStar is also available in other parts of the world, includingJapan, where it is listed underJapan'snational health insurance. Additional information can be found

Forward-Looking StatementsStatements in the press regardingNeuronetics, Inc.(the "Company") that are not historical facts constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may be identified by terms such as "outlook," "potential," "believe," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "predict," "may," "will," "could," "would" and "should" as well as the negative of these terms and similar expressions. These statements include those relating to: the Company's expectations regarding the build out of and demand for its NeuroStar Advanced Therapy System, including with respect to trends in the incidence of depression, and its expectations or beliefs regarding future applications and development of the System; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing items. These statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from those projected. The Company cautions investors not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks and uncertainties related to: continued availability and adequacy of coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors for treatments using the Company's products; physician and patient demand for treatments using the Company's products; developments in respect of competing technologies and therapies for the indications that the Company's products treat, including depression; product defects; the Company's ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for its technology; and developments in regulation intheUnited States, Japanand other applicable jurisdictions. For a discussion of these and other related risks, please refer to the Company's recentSECfilings which are available on theSEC'swebsite These forward-looking statements are based on the Company's expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or changes in the Company's expectations.

1Post A, et al. J Psychiatric Research, (2001)

2Liston C, et al. Biol Psychiatry, (2014)

3George MS, et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry, (2010)

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Neuronetics and Success TMS Partner to Increase Patient Access to Leading Depression Treatment, NeuroStar Advanced Therapy - WFMZ Allentown

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The Science of Upgrading Your Identity and Success – Inc.

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Ifyou look at your present and future selves as twodifferentpeople, then yourlikelihoodof making better decisions here and now will improve.

Because we don't take thetimeto imagine the future,we assume that things will pretty much be the same in ten years as they are now.We evenerroneouslybelieve we will be the same person in ten years as we are right now.Gilbert and others call thisThe End of History Illusion,and what it means is this:

If you look back on who you were ten years ago, you will likely see some differences.You were probably in a different situation. You probably had different goals. You likely had different friends and hobbies. Ofcourse, some of what you were doing is probably still the same as ten years ago.

As people get older, they tend to change less over ten year periods of time.

From age 15 to 25, you're going to see some big change.

From 25 to 35, you're likely to see some big changes as well.

But from 35 to 45, the rapidity of change tends to slow down for most people.

According to researchon the Big 5 Factors of personality,as people age,theytend tobecome less and less open to new experiences.They stopseeking novelty and change.They stop imagining a bigger future.Their past becomes increasingly prevalent in predicting who they are and will be.Their life becomesincreasingly routine.

Althoughroutinesare good formomentum,over time they are verybad for the brain.The brain thrives on novelty, newness, and challenge.As someone seeking rapid growth and progress in your life,you have tobalance these two conflicts.You need routines to move forward, but yourroutines need to continually involve pushing beyondthem.Your routine needs to becontinually challenging yourself beyond whatyou've ever done before.

Theonly way to createconfidenceis bypursuingwhat you've neverdonebefore.

AsDan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach,said,"Personalconfidence comes from making progress toward goals that are far bigger than your present capabilities."

So, withthat backdrop,it's time to start imagining abigger and better future.It's time tostop attaching yourself so much to the person you think you are.It's time to let go of the notion that your future self is going to be the same as your present self.

Your future self will be a different person regardless of effort and intention.Change isinevitable.Growth isoptional.Moreover, as Dr.Gilbert explains,remembering is easier than imagining.

Albert Einstein said that"Imaginationis more important than knowledge."So the question is,how much imagination are you willing to create in your life?

The rest of this article will providefive powerful strategiesfor imagining and creatingyourdesired future:

1.ImagineWho You Want to Be in Three Years

"Yourvision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it's difficult to score."-- Paul Arden

There is a growing body of research in psychology examining the difference between our current and our future selves.

What the research shows is that:

This is wherevisioncomes in.

What is your vision for your future?

How detailed is yourvision?

Without having a vision, you will have little meaning in your life.According to the late psychiatrist,Gordon Livingston M.D.,humans need threethings to be happy:

If you don't havesomething to look forward to,for which are you exerting conscious and daily effort to create,then you cannot have happiness.Without vision, the people perish, the Bible states.

When you create a new vision for your life, you immediately begin to see your whole life in light of that new vision.It becomes thecontext of your life.Changingthe context changes the meaning and possibility.

So, let's get clear on your vision.According to the business author and expertCameron Herold,youshould havebothapersonal and professionalVivid Vision.

In this vivid vision,you should not focus on how you're going to achieve thevision.You simply want togetvery,very clear on what you wantthree years from now.

So, pull out your calendar and put a big Xthree years in the future.

What does your life look like?

What does your environment look like?

Who are the main people in your life, and on your team?

What types of clients or people are you working with?

What is the overall experience you're having?

What does your typical day look like?

How much money are you making?

What is important to you?

Remember,your job right now is not to determinehow any of this stuff is going to happen.Your first job is simply toget clear on your vision.The more clear your vision is, the more obvious and easy it will be in the execution.

According to Herold,you should ideally haveafive-pagevivid visionwritten downwhichyou beginsharing with EVERYONE!

There are mixed science and opinions as to sharing your goals publicly.The question is: if you're 100% committed to your goals, then why wouldn't you?

People talk about how publicly sharing goals decreases motivation because you feel like you've already achieved something by simply saying it.This argument is a straw-man for one important reason:ifyou're trying to figure out how motivated you are toward a goal,you probably aren't committed to it.

Once you getcommittedto something:

So, create your five-page document.

Where will you be in three years from now?

Then, begin sharing it with EVERYONE.Watch what happens.You'll begin to repel the wrong people from your life and attract the right people.

The question is: are you really ready to do that?

If you're committed, then the answer must be yes.If you're not, then stop reading this article.

2.Feel, Deeply, What It Would Feel Like To Truly Be That Person

"According to research on mentalrehearsal,once we immerse ourselves in that scene,changesbegin to take place in our brain.Therefore, each time we do this, we'relayingdown newneurologicaltracks (in the present moment) that literally change our brain to look like the brain of our future.In other words,the brain starts to look like the future we want to create has already happened."-- Dr. Joe Dispenza

Once you've committed to something, your job is toshift your brain, mindset, and identity to match that future reality.

During your morning meditation/visualization, you want to see your future goals.You want to see yourself where you ideally want to be.This is an important distinction.All goals are not really desired outcomes butdesiredversions of yourself.

That's all a goal is:a new you.

Your body is a chemical machine that becomesaddicted to andaccustomedto various emotional states.Your body then subconsciously actsin waysto reproduce the emotions it has become habituated to.

So,before you know it, you grab your cellphone and are back scrolling the newsfeeds. You didn't consciously choose to do this.Your body impulsivelydid it because when youengage in that particular behavior, your body gets the chemicals it has become addicted to.

If you want a new future and new you,then you need new chemicals.

Each of these produces emotions.The new emotions can reset your subconscious normal.You want and need a new normal becauseyour sense of normal is your identity and reality.

Every day,you need toproduce the desired emotions of your future self.This is what visualization is all about.

How often do you visualize?

It turns out only 3% of Americans have written goals.Only 1%write their goals down daily.Myguess is far far less than 1% have avivid visionwhich they share with everyone.Far less than 1% trigger the emotional state of their future self.Far less than 1% courageously pursue their future dreams, right here and now.

3.Shift As Much in Your Current Life to Reflect Your Future Self

"Designcrushes willpower." -- Dr. Bj Fogg

Visualization isn't enough.You need to begin seeing evidence throughout your life that you're serious about this.One of the most powerful ways to create evidence of your future dreams is to begininvesting money in those dreams.

Recently, my friend Draye and I invested $800 to sign up for an Ironman Triathlon in July of 2020. To be honest, I'd only vaguely thought about doing such an event over the years. It wasn't something I was committed to or really thinking about.

But then, Draye and I were superpumped upafter some big stuff happened in our businesses. So we decided to just sign up for an Ironman together.

It's really interesting what has happened, psychologically, to me in the past two weeks since we made that spontaneous investment. I've begun seeing myself complete the Ironman,in my head, much more lately.In other words, investmenttriggereda great deal of imagination.

I've been thinking about it and visualizing myself doing this Ironman much more. I've also begun listening toaudiobooks aboutendurancesports.I've been doing way more cardio and changing my diet.

It's totally shifted everything related to my fitness. But the effects have also spilled over into my other goals.My whole life is becoming more active and excited.My body is changing,as aremy behaviors androutines.This is positively impacting my relationship with my kids and my work as a writer and entrepreneur.

When you beginmaking powerful decisions in your life, you are then enabled to prioritize your life.You can determine who you want in and out.You can determine what success looks like, for you.You can stop playing other people's games and reset your brain to expect very different and unexpected results.

How much do your current life, environment, and behavior match your desired future?

4.Expect Everything, Attach to Nothing

"Expect everything and attach to nothing."-- CarrieCampbell

One of the most commonplatitudesis to lower your expectations so you don't get hurt.

Why are we so afraid of getting hurt?

According to theExpectancy Theory of Motivation,your expectations play a huge role not only in your motivation but in your results in life.According to the theory,there arethree prerequisitesto being motivated:

Now, the moreevolvedyou become, the less you are the one to do everything involved.You increase your confidence byteaming-upwith other capable people.You increase confidence by making progress.

Often, people fail to make progress and instead procrastinate becausethey don't know what to do.They have a goal but have little skill or knowledge.So, the goal becomes a dream unfulfilled.

When you begin taking action toward thedream, investing in that dream, and building a team around you -- then you'll start making progress.This progress will increase anticipation and expectation that you'll succeed.

It's your choice, really, if you succeed or fail.It's up to you howbold and committedyou will be.It's up to you how motivated you will be.

Of course, you're going to face painful moments.If the future you're pursuing is boldly bigger and different from your present, then you're going to fall flat on your face a lot.

It's going to hurt.You should get used to that.

It'sgoing to be complex and confusing.You should and can get used to that.It just takesrepeated exposure, increased knowledge, commitment, and support.

Lots of self-help writers these days argue you shouldn't have goals because they make you feel horrible. You feel bad if you fail and you're disappointed when you succeed.

This is total nonsense.Without purpose, you perish.The problem isn't goals or expectations.The problem is an emotional attachment to the outcomes you'll experience along the way.

Get used to pain and failureand nothing can stop you.

5.Measure the Gain, Not the Gap

"The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal."-- Dan Sullivan,THE GAIN AND THE GAP

Every 30 or 90 days, a solid practice thatDan Sullivan teaches his entrepreneurs in theStrategic Coachprogram is toMeasure the gain.

Every 30or 90 days,answer these questions:

That first question may be the most important. It helps youframe your past in a positive way.It helps you selectively attend to the progress you're making.Most people, regardless of their success, focus on the gap. They only see lack. They only see what they're not doing well.

Ofcourse,having high expectations can be good for performance.Butarelentlessinsistence that nothing is good enough is also bad for joy and evenconfidence.


Are you in the gap or the gain?

Are you emotionally attached to outcomes along the way?

Are you incessantly negative, despite your success?

Is happiness always somewhere in the future, and never here and now?

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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The Science of Upgrading Your Identity and Success - Inc.

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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Robert Downey Jr. on Bidding Iron Man Farewell: "The First Thing You Learn in Theatre Arts Is…" – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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Robert Downey Jr. is most known for his career-defining role as Iron Man. Playing the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist for over a decade, the actor and the character grew intimately connected; fused by sheer exposure, fans began to see RDJ as Tony Stark.

From the selfish egomaniac to the selfless world savior, Tony Stark boasted the sagas most emotionally stirring and narratively satisfying character arc. He was the face of the MCU, and the man responsible for kickstarting the franchises success back in 2008. So, after all those years, how do you say goodbye?

How do you say goodbye to the character people marvel at you for? How do you bid farewell to a role so ingrained into your existence that snapping into character has become a seamless transition? Robert Downey Jr. sat down with The Off Camera Show to discuss his time with the Avengers, and what he must remind himself as he departs.

During his interview with The Off Camera Show, Robert Downey Jr. discussed Tony Stark and put the experience in a nutshell, stating, I had an incredible ten-year run that was creatively satisfying. It was very, very, very hard work and it dug very deep, but I have not been forced to explore the new frontier of what is my creative and personal life after this.

RDJ goes on to explain that its always good to get ahead of where youre going to wind up, as to prepare yourself psychologically. The interviewer goes on to note that it must feel strange to say what am I next? Downey explains how he copes with the farewell, relying on two words he learned as a newbie in theatrical arts. Downey stated:

Well, heres the thing. First thing you learn in theatre arts: aesthetic distance. I am not this play Im doing. Im not a character in The Fantasticks. Im not Will from Oklahoma. Aesthetic distance. Its job one. Im not my work. Im not what I did with that studio. Im not that period of time that I spent playing this character

Downey explains that, as an artist, you must always retain aesthetic distance. As much as the kid from theatre camp is screaming from inside you, arguing that you are that character that its never going to change and you can stay Stark and sing Kumbaya alongside your buddies forever the adult mind (the awareness) must, at some point, take over. Reality must return.

RDJ played Iron Man for several years, and he gave an Oscar-worthy performance for his denoument. There was no better way for Stark to say goodbye. Now, he will take on the starring role in a Doctor Dolittle remake and return to Sherlock Holmes for a third installment alongside Jude Law. Iron Man is gone but never forgotten; and he lives on through his young protege, Peter Parker.

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Robert Downey Jr. on Bidding Iron Man Farewell: "The First Thing You Learn in Theatre Arts Is..." - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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‘It’s a tradition here:’ Another achievement for Oak Grove High School – Hattiesburg American

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Ellen Ciurczak, Hattiesburg American Published 4:00 a.m. CT Oct. 28, 2019

It's become a tradition for Oak Grove High School to shine in Mississippi's accountability rankings - which rates schools from A-F and places them in state order by points.

Oak Grove High School isn't all about football. The school has done it again academically. It's landed in the top 10 high schools in the state.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education's 2018-19 accountability ratings released in September Oak Grove HighSchool was No. 6 in Mississippi with an A grade.

The schools are ranked by points. Oak Grove High School scored 790 points out of 1,000.

Ocean Springs High School came in at No. 1 with 811 points.

In the past five years, Oak Grove High School hasbeen as high as No. 1 and as low as No. 14 always ranked A.

"It's a tradition here," said Principal Helen Price. "The students and the teachers enjoy being part of a good thing.

"We work hard to keep that tradition of excellence."

Senior Calvin Pierce is proud to be part of a No. 6 school. He realizes how it's benefited him as he's been accepted to six colleges.

"I think it's really cool," he said. "I didn't understand how lucky I was to be here to realize I've been getting an excellent education all four years."

Story continues after photo gallery.


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The tough part about giving kids an excellent education, according to Price,is:

To participate in the standardized testing that goes into the accountability rankings, Oak Grove High School students must take a variety of tests:

They're not allowed to take the same test from year to year.

"You have to kind of start over each year," Price said. "Those who took English (II) one year will be taking U.S. History the next year.

"It's not like we can use their English data to help with their U.S. History (scores)."

Price said the teachers begin the school year by assessing their students' strengths and weaknesses.

"Then we address our instruction accordingly what will help the students grow academically," she said. "Then we work really hard."

Price said the high school faced a special challenge last year because it had several dozen English language learners.

"This accountability grade that we just got was the the first score to include points in that category," she said.

It has a feature called Tribe Time named because the school mascot is a Native American warrior. It's ahalf hour each day where every student even those doing wellgoes to the classroom of the teacher of their choosing.

Requirements are:

But Price said Tribe Time benefits every student even the academically successful ones.

"I see students who work feverishly trying to finish their homework assignments," she said. "If they'll use that time to get the assignment done, then they have time for (a job)or after-school activities."

Price said the teachers also participate in Professional Learning Communities where instructors of the same subject discuss:

Reaching students is perhaps the most important key to success.

"I build relationships with teachers and teachers implement relationships with students and together we can build an interest in each other's lives," Price said. "Students have to know teachers care about them personally and about their success then you get the most in return from that student."

Teacher Jennifer Kelly gets up close and personal with her students.

Here's what she does:

"In close, I have a better gaugeof their learning," she said.

Even though staying a top school is difficult, Price is not complaining.

"I think the good thing about accountability is it builds accountability for every student not just the high-performers, not just the low-performers, not just the English speakers," she said. "Even though it's a huge challenge, it's a good thing so we can reach all of our students."

Principal Rob Knight: On top-ranked Petal High: 'We can always get better'

Going for the top: Sumrall High School Principal Sheila Kribbs: 'She doesn't accept less than the best'

Contact Ellen Ciurczak Follow @educellen on Twitter.

Oak Grove High School state accountability rankings

2018-19: State rank: 6 Grade: A Score: 790 out of 1,000

2017-18: State rank: 3 Grade: A Score: 829

2016-17: State rank: Tie for 6 Grade: A Score: 832

2015-16: State rank: 14 Grade: A Score: 765

2014-15: State rank: 1 Grade: A Score: 790

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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A Companion Voucher for me and another for my partner TPG reader success story – The Points Guy UK

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Weve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community.

This week, Scott contacted us to share details of how he and his wife are about to travel to the Caribbean in first class with one Companion Voucher and how they are in line to each earn another valuable Companion Voucher:

I came across the TPG site around a year ago and obtained a BA personal Amex and BA corporate card.

My wife and I are now off to Barbados next May. We managed to book first class on the way out and business class on the way back. This cost us 121,000 points (using my Companion Voucher) and 1,100 in total fees, taxes and surcharges. When I looked at the price to pay for the flights, it was more than 7,000.

My wife now has a separate BA personal card. Well each earn a Companion Voucher every year, and by grouping our points, I reckon we can use the two Companion Vouchers to redeem for two long-haul business-class trips a year!

Scotts tale is a true example of the value that can be had from a Companion Voucher earned from a cobranded American Express card. Whether you have 50,000 Avios, 100,000 Avios, 150,000 Avios or 200,000 Avios to spend, Companion Vouchers can be a great way to maximise your return on one of the most valuable credit card perks in the U.K.

Featured photo by Tristan Ashurst/Getty Images.

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A Companion Voucher for me and another for my partner TPG reader success story - The Points Guy UK

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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Building a Culture That Embraces Data and AI – Harvard Business Review

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Executive Summary

Many organizations aspire to have cultures that embrace data, analytics and AI, and other new technologies, but few make specific attempts to create such cultures.TD Wealth, the wealth management unit of Toronto-based TD Bank Group, created a program called WealthACTfor Accelerate Change through Technologyto get senior and middle-level executives in the business unit excited about what technology can do for their business. This article describes how the program works and how it has performed.

Many organizations aspire to have cultures that embrace data, analytics and AI, and other new technologies, but few make specific attempts to create such cultures. TD Wealth, the wealth management unit of Toronto-based TD Bank Group, is one organization that isnt content to think wishfully about this sort of cultural change. It created a program called WealthACTfor Accelerate Change through Technologyto try to get senior and middle-level executives in the business unit excited about what technology can do for their business.

I was only a bit player in this program, having spoken to participants in the first WealthACT program in the summer of 2018. They visited Cambridge and Boston to hear from MIT faculty, startup entrepreneurs, and assorted experts like me. At that program I met Atanaska Novakova, a heat-seeking missile of a banker who led the design of the program and in her day job leads operations and shared services for TD Wealth. Novakova, who originally hails from Bulgaria, worked with TD Wealth business head Leo Saloman analytical, data-driven decision-makeras executive sponsor of the program. Senior leaders of the unit felt that its data assets were finally ready to be used, and the most important factor in using them effectively was demand from executives. Novakovas passion for technology and change was evident even to an outsider like me, and Ive now heard from many at TD that her personal example inspired a lot of program participants.

An Ambitious Program Design

The first participant group of about 100 wealth specialists didnt just troop to Boston. They also visited Silicon Valley and the UK, studying not only new technologies but also the open banking movement. It wasnt just industrial tourism; participants had various assignments throughout the five-month program and even participated in a hackathon to develop new apps. The trips were memorable, but the bulk of the program involved expert-led instruction and hands-on and immersive workshops to build customer empathy, understanding emerging tech, and practice pattern recognition to spot trends and opportunities ahead.

The specific goals of the program were to develop six core skills:

TD Wealth worked with consultants from Deloitte Canada (I am a Senior Advisor to Deloitte, but only to the U.S. firm) to help design the program and to serve as coaches for the participants. Alex Morris, Deloitte Canada partner and head of innovation and design, has a particular focus on user-centered design. He told me that from the beginning of WealthACT he wanted participants to recognize that mindlessly throwing technology at customers is not the answer. He hoped the program would foster not only much deeper awareness of technology, but also greater sophistication about it, and a deep understanding of the customers TD Wealth serves today and how they are changing. Some aspects of the program involved visits to customers homes, for example, and penetrating conversations about death and inheritance.

Morris said that the design of the program continues to evolve. The first iteration, he said, involved a lot of classroom learning with blather (my word, not his) from talking head types like me. Subsequent program versionsWealthACT 3 is just getting startedhave become more experiential and immersive. The second cohort did go to exciting places like Israel (to learn more about cybersecurity advances), San Francisco (primarily for voice technologies), and Montreal (which has a thriving AI ecosystem), but it also involved more interviews and collaborative projects by participants. Morris thinks the program is working: It has certainly nurtured the innate curiosity of these people, he says. I hear participants say that this program has shifted them from fearing change to embracing change with joy. Some new initiatives, like using AI to better serve customers, can be directly traced to the program.

Not surprisingly, as both Morris and Novakova report, other business units at TD, and other companies in the close-knit Canadian business community, are beginning to implement similar programs.

One Participants Perspective

To understand the types of changes in thinking and acting that the WealthACT program has engendered, I spoke with Braunwyn Currie, who leads mutual funds operations for TD Wealth. Currie was in the second iteration of WealthACT, and was particularly interested in the impact of automation since her mutual funds process had been deemed well-suited to automating. She was, she admits, apprehensive of and inexperienced with technology before the program. I love to read and learn, but my strengths were on the human sidein the past I always liked working with people, but generally avoided technology whenever I could. Before the program, however, she worried about how she could ever support her team through initiatives like automation without personally embracing the new technology.

Entry into the ACT programs is competitive, and the application process thorough. Currie had to say why she wanted to apply, what skills she would bring to the program, and what she expected to get out of it. She believes she got in because she gave the application considerable thought and time, and was able to demonstrate a strong need for personal change.

Participants in Curries offering of the program visited Israel, San Francisco, or Montreal; she was selected for the Montreal trip. There the participants met with the well-known AI researcher Yoshua Bengio at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), and Currie was impressed by his thoughtful and humanitarian perspective on AI. The Montreal visit also involved a visit to the Deloitte Greenhouse in the city, where the program focused on the neuroscience-related aspects of a customers visit to bank websites.

Her perspective on technology has changed completely. She now finds the capabilities of new technology to be exciting. She realizes that what humans want from technologies is a critical aspect of their success at the bank, and her own orientation to people can make user-centered design a personal strength. Shes leading a multi-stage implementation of automation technologies in her groups mutual funds processes. Where she was previously concerned that the automation systems would eliminate human workers, shes now enthusiastic about how they can change human work for the better (consistent with that view, the technology is called innovation automation or IA, at TD). Participating in WealthACT was, she says, life-changing.

Next Steps

Now that about half of the senior management team of TD Wealth has graduated from a WealthACT program, Atanaska Novakova, the program leader, knows the program is a success. We have turned anxiety into excitement, and now everyone whos been through the program is a change agent, she explains. I hear all sorts of ideas from business leaders about how we can use AI and chatbots in the business. It used to be that the push for those came from our IT people, and IT would get the blame if they didnt work out. Now the business sees these projects as a joint responsibility. Weve also created some great relationships among people who have never gotten the opportunity to work together, which was an unexpected benefit of the program.

However, shes restless to improve the program. It was expensive, she says, and she doesnt want it to be viewed by anyone as obligatory. She believes that such an intervention should never be viewed as a right, but rather an opportunityand shes not sure that those who havent applied thus far are sufficiently motivated to gain anything from the program. Shes also wondering about how to make these one-shot programs an ongoing experience for the business units leadership team.

She also knows that its not just the leaders of TD Wealth who need to participate. Shes in the process of designing a WealthACE program Accelerate Change through Execution. She envisions that the program will involve less travel, will involve some of the ACT participants as trainers, and will involve many of the same design components. This program is aimed not at 400 managers but at 4,000 individual contributors, and Novakova expects that it will go on for a long time.

Its too early, of course, to know if these cultural change programs will have a long-term impact on TD Wealth or TD in general. However, there is little doubt that wealth management and banking are becoming increasingly technology and data-intensive, and that the industry leaders of the future will have that focus embedded in their strategies, business models, and products. The WealthACT program has clearly helped TD take a big step toward having a tech-focused DNA. How that plays out in day-to-day business and competition will be fascinating to watch.

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Building a Culture That Embraces Data and AI - Harvard Business Review

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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Congress Explores "Backdoor" Plan to Disrupt Facebook, Twitter, and Others – The Motley Fool

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The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission continue to probe Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) breadwinner Google for evidence of efforts to maintain monopolies. Meanwhile, Congress has quietly introduced a bill that could at least address the privacy concerns surrounding social networking giants like the aforementioned Facebook, as well as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act of 2019, or ACCESS Act, aims to mandate a way for individuals to transport their personal information from one social media account to another.

Investors in these tech companies should be worried. Although the proposal has only recently been unveiled and may or may not become a law, it's another glimpse into the mindset of regulators and lawmakers. If not this bipartisan bill, one like it could eventually be squeezed through. A seemingly small tweak could open the door to competition the world's top social media platforms and tech names have thus far been able to keep at bay.

Senators Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) are the authors of the bill Warner says will make it "easier for social media users to easily move their [personal] data or to continue to communicate with their friends after switching platforms." Perhaps more important in this case, "start-ups will be able to compete on equal terms with the biggest social media companies."

Image Source: Getty Images.

Social media users already have this option in a certain sense, but the proposed law will require web companies like Facebook and Google to develop a clear, uniform method -- with instructions -- for a newcomer to the social media landscape to retrieve and procure the user data about themselves that has been compiled and stored by those companies.

The wording of the bill calls for a "third-party custodial service" to facilitate the data exchange. It also permits charging a fee for performing such a service, though it's conceivable that a new social networking platform would be willing to pay such a fee in exchange for gaining new users.

It hasn't taken the world's dominant internet companies long to realize they can leverage their size and complexity to prevent rivals from mounting a major affront. There were no laws to prevent the application of such leverage, as the internet itself is still a relatively young (even if overwhelmingly important) means of transacting business and sharing information. Consumers have also been mostly unaware of how much digital data is being gathered about them and then used on them by advertisers and others willing to pay for access to the detailed information.Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal arguably brought both long-brewing problems to a head.

But unlike most such scandal-prodded movements, this one hasn't faded. It's continued to swell in popularity. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now found himself answering questions about user privacy as part of a congressional hearing more than once, including this week. Alphabet, Twitter, and Amazon executives have also sat in the same hot seat.

In that same vein, consumers are largely on board with the regulatory scrutiny of so-called big tech. A survey performed by Trust Radius earlier this year found that only 29% of the respondents trusted Google. That's far better than Facebook's rating of a mere 5%. Apple and Amazon earned the trust of 27% and 25%, respectively. For perspective, the average level of consumer trust in companies observed by the study was a notably better 56%. More eye-opening is that more than 40% of respondents indicated they didn't trust any of the big four tech names.

The reason for the distrust? A separate study done by Dentsu found that roughly two-thirds of distrust in tech companies stemmed from misuse of personal data.

Again, it's only a proposed bill at this time and far from becoming law. Similar privacy-minded and portability measures have been put on the table before and ultimately been rejected, most before they were ever put into bill form.

Those efforts weren't made in an environment like the current one though. The FTC and the DOJ and consumers and lawmakers appear to have had enough, even without knowing exactly what they've had enough of. Such legal and regulatory efforts don't appear to be going away.

Regardless of when it may finally take shape, it was Charlotte Slaiman -- policy counsel for digital-rights advocacy group Public Knowledge -- that arguably lays out the full extent of the threat to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and others. She explains "It's really hard in today's environment for a company that would rely on this thing that doesn't exist yet to survive without it for a while. So I think that if we are able to have interoperability required, then innovators will know if you come up with a new start-up that is based on this system, you will have the opportunity for success."

It's that potential success of a newcomer prompting the present giants of social media to slow-walk and stall the ACCESS Act and other akin proposals. It's apt to come at their expense.

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Congress Explores "Backdoor" Plan to Disrupt Facebook, Twitter, and Others - The Motley Fool

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AfD candidate compared to Hitler inflicts crushing losses on Merkels party in regional vote – The Telegraph

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The nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) made sweeping gains in regional elections on Sunday, inflicting heavy losses on Angela Merkels Christian Democrats (CDU).

Bjrn Hcke, a politician who has been compared to Hitler by German national television, led the AfD to second place in the eastern state of Thuringia with 23.8 per cent, according to initial projections.

The AfD was held off by the Left Party of the current regional Prime Minister, Bodo Ramelow, which came first with 29.5 per cent.

But Mr Hcke beat Mrs Merkels party into third place in a state it has dominated since German reunification.

Following a campaign that saw far-right death threats against its regional leader, the CDU limped in with just 22.5 per cent -by far its worst ever result in a state where it has come first in every previous election since 1990.

With the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) also recording their worst ever result in the state with just 8.5 per cent, the mainstream German parties appear to have lost control of Thuringia. Instead the state is now starkly divided between the hard-left and the hard-right.

The result will be seen as personal vindication for Mr Ramelow, Germanys first regional Prime Minister from the Left Party, a successor to the former East German communist party.

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AfD candidate compared to Hitler inflicts crushing losses on Merkels party in regional vote - The Telegraph

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Suzy Batizs Empire of Odor – The New Yorker

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A few days after Suzy Batiz learned that shed made Forbess 2019 list of Americas richest self-made women, she lay down on her kitchen floor and wept. Batiz, whose net worth is estimated at more than two hundred and forty million dollars, grew up poor. She describes her family as Irish potato-famine people on her fathers side and cotton pickers from Arkansas on her mothers. For most of her life, she was driven by an intense desire to make money. I really believed that money was going to get me out, she said. Not just out of Arkansas and generational poverty, but out from under her oppressive religion, her mothers low expectations, her fathers alcoholic volatility, her childhood sexual abuse, her suffocating first marriage, her tumultuous second marriage, and her cash-strapped third marriage.

As an entrepreneur, Batiz has prodigious drive but a spotty track record. Heres a non-exhaustive list of her gambits: Shes sold exercise equipment; started a clothing line; opened a clothing store, a beauty salon, and a tanning salon; and sold cheap lingerie at a markup to strippers, until a club owner with three missing fingers demanded a percentage of her profits. Shes sold green-tea patches and at one point wanted to create a caffeinated gum. (You know those Listerine strips? I tried to make those with, like, Red Bull, she said.) There was a tanning-bed-repair business and a hot-tub-repair business. One time, I sold a tractor-trailer load of gearboxes. Another time, a couple tractor-trailer loads of fabric, she said. I needed money, so I would call manufacturers and see what excess inventory they had that I could turn. I was just a hustler, you know?

In 2001, she was in the final rounds of fund-raising for a startup, a recruiting firm that matched job seekers and companies by cultureThe problem was that it was twenty years ahead of its time, Batiz saidwhen the dot-com bubble burst. Her investors backed out, and within a year shed lost her house and her Range Rover.

She swore off business and stayed home, painting and listening to the heavy-metal band Disturbed. They were very energetically aligned with where I was at the time, she said. One day, she went to see a hypnotist, who told her that her life lacked purpose. He gave her the book Mans Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, which inspired Batiz to take what she calls a spiritual sabbatical. She studied Buddhism, Kabbalah, Hinduism, and metaphysics. I had an insatiable desire to find something, she said. I was the ultimate seeker. At a bookshop, she came across Loving What Is, by the motivational speaker and author Byron Katie, who teaches a method of self-inquiry called the Work. Two weeks later, Im at her ten-day workshop, Batiz said. I went in drinking a big thing of Yellow Tail every night, and, when I came out, I was sober for eight years. After that, I was in a bliss state. I knew there was a larger meaning here. She developed a self-help course called Inside Out: How to Create the Life You Want by Going Within. She started to meditate. She got out of her head and into her body. She listened to her gut. Then, she recalled, I was at a dinner party, and my brother-in-law asked, Can bathroom odor be trapped? And lightning went through my body.

Batiz is the creator of Poo-Pourri, a bathroom spray made from essential oils, which has sold sixty million bottles since it launched, in 2007. As its name suggests, Poo-Pourri is designed to mask the smell of excrementor, more precisely, to trap unpleasant odors in the toilet, below the surface of the water, and to release pleasant natural fragrances, including citrus, lavender, and tropical hibiscus, in their stead. Its ostensible mechanism is depicted in an animated video on the products Web site, in which cartoon bombs and missiles plunge into a toilet bowl, detonate, and trigger an efflorescence of vines, daisies, and butterflies. In 2012, Poo-Pourri formed its first national partnership, with the home-shopping network QVC. In 2014, it made its first national brick-and-mortar appearance, at Bed Bath & Beyond. Earlier this year, it rolled out at Costco. The company recently expanded into shoe odor, and also released a line of cleaning products, called Supernatural, which sold out within two hours of premiring on Gwyneth Paltrows life-style site, Goop. Scentsible L.L.C., the parent company of Poo-Pourri and Supernatural, is projected to generate a hundred million dollars in revenue in 2019. Batiz owns ninety-seven per cent of the company, and her three children own the remaining three per cent.

There are many remarkable things about this story: that a toilet spray could make someone as rich as Reese Witherspoon, with whom Batiz is tied on the Forbes list; that Batiz, who has no background in consumer goods, created not just a successful product but also an entirely new product category (Poo-Pourri is not so much an air freshener as an air prophylactic); and, perhaps most surprisingly, that Batiz no longer sees herself as a mere businesswoman, but as a spiritual explorer whose medium just happens to be business. Linking financial success to spirituality is nothing new: its been done by people from the productivity guru Stephen Covey to the basketball coach Phil Jackson. But Batiz is an especially improbable example of the C.E.O. as spiritual leaderher gospel is late capitalism taken to its extreme. Business, for me, isnt just something I do. Its a purpose, she told me. This is not a rags-to-riches story. Its a spiritual-evolution story.

Batiz, who is fifty-five, has large blue eyes and wavy blond hair, and speaks with a soft twang. Although she lives in Dallas, her clothing style is reminiscent of a Venice Beach moon-circle facilitator: she favors rock-band T-shirts and silky floral dusters. She lives in a fifteen-thousand-square-foot, century-old restored Methodist church, which she bought after the end of her twenty-six-year marriage to her third husband, Hector Batiz. She overheard someone at a hair salon talking about a church that was on the market, found the listing, and called the owner, who didnt take her seriously. People who have the money lack the vision, and people who have the vision lack the money, he told her. She replied, I might have both. She purchased the church over the strong objections of her real-estate agent, who told her that it was a bad investment in a bad neighborhood.

Five years later, after several million dollars worth of renovations, its a serene, light-filled space, with white brick walls, cathedral ceilings, and pine flooring. Its also a shrine to wellness and personal growth. Batiz calls her home the Temple of Transformation. Im only about transformation, she said. Thats just what I do. Thats my whole life. I transform poop into smelling good.

Two enormous trees, named for Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, flank the former nave, which serves as a living and dining area. Upstairs, theres a sauna and a massage room. Batiz set up a laboratory in the former Sunday-school classroom, with a wood table where she keeps essential oils for experimenting with aromatherapy blends, bath products, and perfumes. Her kitchen counter, which used to be an altar, holds a cluster of devotional candles and a row of jars containing wild-blueberry leaves, collagen, lions-mane mushroom, cordyceps, and other ingredients for a tea that Batiz drinks every morning. (She calls it her little potion.) The former choir loft is a sitting room with crystal singing bowls for sound baths. The former parking lot is a Zen garden, complete with Buddha statues, fountains, and a beehive rescued from inside the church walls.

Batiz sometimes hosts personal-development workshops for women, and occasionally she shares her home with young female entrepreneurs in transition. Katie Anderson, the founder of Save Water Co., a data-based water-conservation firm, was one such entrepreneur. I woke up to aspects of myself while staying with Suzy, Anderson told me. Shes tapping into herself in a place of authenticity: What does self-care really look like? What does authenticity look like? And self-inquiry?

When I visited Batiz, in August, we ate breakfast at her enormous dining-room table: scrambled eggs with tomatoes and arugula, prepared by her chef. My plate came with toast grilled with coconut oil, which Batiz called a game changer, remarking wistfully that she wished she could heal enough to eat gluten again. Next to both of our plates was a little dish containing a vase with a yellow flower, a crystal, and a statuette of Ganesh, the Hindu god revered as a remover of obstacles.

Batiz is proud that Poo-Pourri shattered a taboo. I remember one day I was sitting on the plane with an attorney. Hes telling me all these poop stories, and he goes, I cant believe Im a sixty-something-year-old man and Im sitting here talking to you about poop! she said. We dont want to talk about our shit. We dont want to smell it. We dont want to face it. But she sees the companys goal as something larger. Its not just a toilet spray, she said. The underbelly is transformation.

When Batiz tells her life story, it hews to a particular American narrativeredemptive, merging New Age corporate mysticism with the traditional recovery speech. Its a Horatio Alger story for the new millennium. Her father, a musician who opened for Buddy Holly, was a bipolar alcoholic. Her mother, an artist who got pregnant at eighteen, suffered from depression and became addicted to pain pills.

Batiz was raised in the Church of Christ, an evangelical denomination. She was taught that God loved her but wouldnt think twice about consigning her to Hell for wearing shorts. On movie nights, the kids were shown films about Armageddon. Batiz rebelled. In 1981, when she was seventeen, she had an idea for denim pumps that matched jeans, and made a demo pair. She received so many compliments that she called Guess, the clothing company, to suggest that it manufacture a similar item, and was invited to come to New York. (She didnt go; her mother told her, Youre just a little girl from Arkansas. Theyll chew you up and spit you out.) At nineteen, Batiz dropped out of college and got married; by the time she was twenty-seven, shed had two kids and two divorces, and had declared bankruptcy, after a bridal salon that she bought with her first husband failed. For the next twenty-one years, she worked in retail or recruiting full time, but was always launching one side hustle or another.

By 2006, when Batiz had the dinner-party conversation about bathroom odor, she had begun mixing essential oils as a hobby. She couldnt get the idea of a smell-trapping spray out of her head. She began experimenting with an oil mixture that, when sprayed directly onto the water in a toilet bowl, would suspend on the surface. To test the formula, she followed family members and house guests to the bathroom. Batizs husband, Hector, was her official tester. (Which made her the official sniffer, he told me.) Nobody thought that the business would work; it seemed like just one more in a long line of crazy ideas. Batizs son C.J. said, I thought that she was completely nuts. Shed be chasing us to the bathroom all the time, and shed be, like, Hey, go in there and smell the bathroom. Im, like, Mom, youre insane. Ive got to pee. Please let me pee. Then, one day, Hector burst out of the bathroom, shouting, Were going to be millionaires! Batiz didnt know what he meant. He said, Do you realize what youve done? Youve taken the smell out of shit!

Batiz shared ten bottles of the spray with friends, and Hector built a Web site. The first shop to sell her product was owned by a friend of a friend. The day she delivered the spray, there was a customer in the storea woman with a mink headband and a Louis Vuitton bag, Batiz told me. The shop owner asked Batiz to tell the customer about her product, which shed brought in a plastic milk crate. I go, Poo-Pourri! Two sprays before you go, nobody will ever know! Batiz said. And she looks at me and goes, Thats clever. Ill take four. I was freaking out. And then the next day another store called, and then another.

Poo-Pourris breakthrough came in 2013, when the companys first commercial, Girls Dont Poop, went viral. The commercial featured the company spokesperson, Bethany Woodruff, a pretty Scottish redhead with a convincingly posh English accent, sitting on a toilet in various locations, primly extolling the products benefits in shockingly scatological terms. You would not believe the mother lode I just dropped, she says conspiratorially. And thats how I like to keep itleaving not a trace I was ever here, let alone that I just birthed a creamy behemoth from my cavernous bowels. Potty humor is so prevalent at Poo-Pourri that it took an outsider to see how over-the-top the commercial was. One of the commercials writers, Daniel Harmon, added the line Yes, this is a real product, and, yes, it really works, so that people wouldnt mistake it for a comedy sketch.

The response to the commercialwhich claimed that Poo-Pourri had better Amazon ratings than the iPhone 5, and which was eventually viewed more than forty-two million timeswas matched by the response to the spray. Kathie Lee Gifford mentioned it as one of her favorite things on the Today show, and the media started to pay attention. Customer reviews were giddy. (Nose and Family saver, one read.) Within days of the commercials release online, Batiz had four million dollars worth of orders. The sudden success was chaotic. We only processed, like, a hundred orders a day, C.J. told me. We could only print out as fast as the printer could go. We were screwed. The bookkeeper quit on the spot. Batiz slept in the warehouse on a bed of empty boxes and bubble wrap.

That year, Batiz gave a talk at the Harvard Business School Club of Dallas, and people waited for hours afterward to meet her. They wanted advice on how to tap into a new market. Batiz felt that she didnt have answers, and decided not to speak in public again until she did. Then she saw a political ad in which a candidate used the metaphor of doors being slammed in her face to talk about the experience of being a woman in the military. It just clicked, Batiz told me. I was, like, Her through line is doors, my through line is shit. In a spoken-word piece that Batiz wrote for Hustle Con, a startup conference, she uses the word shit a hundred and twenty-one times, in every imaginable context. She summarized the speech as: I was shit, I was in shit, I got out of shit, I became alive in shit.

Batiz attributes Poo-Pourris success to the fact that it was an alive idea, which, she said, means that it had an energetic resonance that aligned with her own. The company made a million dollars in its first year. At the same time, Batizs oldest son, Dustin, was going through a period of depression. Batiz suggested that he go on an ayahuasca retreat. Four days later, he was on a plane to Peru, and soon he called her from Iquitos to announce that God was real. Batiz began going on ayahuasca retreats, too. She has participated in ninety-four ayahuasca ceremonies to date. Each time, I would come back from Peru with a little more of myself, she said. (At one point, I asked Batiz if shed ever tried micro-dosing. She smiled and said brightly, I may or may not be micro-dosing right now!)

Batiz began to wonder whether she should be a shaman, and asked for advice from one of her own shamans, whom she described as a former heroin addict who owned one of the largest psychic networks in England. He replied, Shamans move energy. They pull negative energy out. They make space for positive energy. Money is energy. And business is the biggest way to move money. Youre going to do more good there and impact more people than pouring ayahuasca to twenty people at a time. Batiz told me, Thats when I was, like, Oh, Im a business shaman!

The history of American capitalism is littered with inventors who connected magical claims to prosperity. In the late nineteenth century, this trend manifested as the cult of success known as New Thought. Incorporating ideas from early Christian mysticism, Eastern religion, mesmerism, hypnotism, and nutrition, and drawing on the emerging fields of neurology and psychology, New Thought posited that matter was merely a projection of the mind and could therefore be shaped by the spirit. Negative thoughts created bad situations, and positive thoughts happy ones. As Beryl Satter, a professor of history at Rutgers University, wrote in her 1999 book, Each Mind a Kingdom, when the movement began, it was largely led by, and aimed at, middle-class white women who saw themselves as inaugurating an era of spirituality, virtue, and selflessness.

By the early twentieth century, New Thought had shifted its focus from health and social betterment to the attainment of wealth. It spawned dozens of best-selling books, such as Wallace Wattless The Science of Being Great, The Science of Being Well, and The Science of Getting Rich. Although New Thought lost momentum in the nineteen-twenties, the central message of thought-as-power lived on, according to Satter, in everything from The Power of Positive Thinking to the teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step groups. More recently, Oprahs enthusiastic embrace of the 2006 book The Secret, which was inspired by the writings of New Thought authors, popularized the mantra of Ask, believe, and receive and spurred the sale of some thirty million copies. American business took a turn toward the mystical at around the same time, in part because of the rise of Silicon Valley, with its deification of the visionary founder, embodied by Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. (Technological innovation, as scholars have pointed out, often has a messianic tone, promising a glorious future that will eradicate the sins of the present, so long as we place our faith in the prophetic leader and his company.)

The tech industry and Oprah had a lot to do with the shift toward spirituality, Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious and American studies at Yale, who writes about capitalism and celebrity culture, told me. But the element Id really add to that is the housing bubble. Lofton thinks that stories like Batizs are comforting in the new reality that emerged after the 2008 financial crisis. Batiz, who lost her house in an earlier crash, went on to build her company with no funding, no network, no formal education, and no structural help. Even women who lost their house in the financial crisis can relate to the woman who says, I was beaten down, I had a revelation, and now I continue to find mystical power, Lofton said. As the wealth gap has widened, she said, weve seen the normalization of spiritual talk from the pulpit of commerce.

Recently, Alan Murray, the president of Fortune, wrote about a fundamental and profound change in the way that American C.E.O.s speak about their roles. He first noticed the shift in 2008, when Bill Gates introduced the idea of creative capitalism at Davos. During the next few years, Murray wrote, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter began pushing what he called shared value capitalism, and Whole Foods cofounder John Mackey propounded conscious capitalism. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wrote a book on compassionate capitalism; Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO of family investment company E.L. Rothschild, started organizing for inclusive capitalism; and the free-enterprise-championing Conference Board research group sounded a call for sustaining capitalism. Lofton told me, Weve heard all sorts of new arguments for compassionate capitalism and spiritual capitalism, because were trying to explain how capitalism can still be a moral good.

Batizs guide to navigating contemporary capitalism is her mentor, Gay Hendricks, who is a psychologist, a writer, and a personal-growth guru. About two decades ago, Hendricks and his colleague Kate Ludeman published a book called The Corporate Mystic, inspired by Hendrickss observation that many tech luminaries draw on mystical principles. Basically, the premise of the book is that youll find more actual spiritual principles being practiced in a corporation oftentimes than you will in a monastery, Hendricks told me. He pointed to the rise of once countercultural practices such as meditation, yoga, and mind-altering drugs as tools to boost the productivity of executives. An alternative title for his book, he said, was Conscious Business.

This migration from counterculture to corporate culture has been particularly prominent in the wellness industry, which now represents a $4.2-trillion market. Like New Thought, it has given rise to a new kind of success guru. Gwyneth Paltrows empire promises a life of spiritual perfection and physical purity through high-end consumption, and Amanda Chantal Bacons Moon Juice, an emporium of herbal supplements and skin-care products, promises to bring cosmic health to well-heeled customers. The rhetoric of these companies and their imitators has filtered into nearly every area of lifeincluding, with Poo-Pourri, the management of our lowliest functions. When I asked Lofton about Batiz, she laughed and replied, Theres something so pure capitalist magic about her! She literally picked one of the three possible symbolsblood, water, shitthat root you in so many metaphysical systems. Batizs company, Lofton said, is actually about how to manage the stuff that makes you dirtier, and the stuff that can make you healthier, purer, a better person.

Poo-Pourris headquarters are in a strip mall in Addison, Texas. Inside, there are neon poop-emoji signs and poop-shaped pillows; scatological inspirational quotations (Do epic shit) line the walls. The company employs almost eighty people, including a happiness manager and a feng-shui master, and offers Transcendental Meditation classes.

Batizs latest venture is the Supernatural line of cleaning products. The idea came to her after her mother was given a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer that has been linked to chemical exposure. Batiz began thinking about the prevalence of chemical cleaning products in her mothers home. She wanted to start a company that used all-natural ingredients and glass bottles, and, after experimenting with blends at home, she hired a rogue hippie chemist to work with her on concentrates. The Supernatural Web site features naked people frolicking in nature, with a directive to save the worlds butt. Here, too, Batiz sees products meant to deal with human detritus as an opportunity for self-care. One user quoted on the Web site attests that, with Supernatural, cleaning has become a therapeutic and sacred experience through ordinary daily ritual.

Batiz is currently in the process of reviving her self-help workshop. Shes also trying to more effectively integrate her message of transformation into the Poo-Pourri brand. We have the world talking about poop now, she said. But how can we let people know the emotional aspect of the release? In early October, the company went on tour with a giant inflatable poop emoji. The vision, Batiz told me, is about letting shit go. Inside the inflatable structure, visitors encounter an immersive experience: they are asked to sit down on a toilet, and are then surrounded by a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree video projection in which they are encouraged to write down, and flush away, all the crap you need to let go of. You really have a physical reaction when youre in it, Batiz said. Its, like, literally, not only can wastepoopbe released, but toxic thoughts and toxic energies.

In Batizs living room, above the fireplace, theres a painting that she commissioned from a Kauai-based artist, Isabel Mariposa Galactica. Its an image of a woman surrounded by animals. Shes got this leopard on her head and these two coyotes down below, and then she has owls, Batiz said. The coyotes are a reminder to be aware of tricksters. The owls are a reminder to use your wisdom. The butterflies represent freedom. Right in the center is a lotus flower. In Buddhism, a lotus grows out of mud, Batiz continued. Interestingly enough, the shit in our lives is what usually produces the most beautiful flowers, right? Its the fertilizer.

Read more from the original source:
Suzy Batizs Empire of Odor - The New Yorker

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Personal Success

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