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News Article | August 31, 2016
Site: www.sej.org

"Emily Pratt wasn’t impressed when she heard about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration probe into the potentially deleterious effects of tattoo ink. She would have shrugged to show how little she cared, but she was a bit sore from the tattoo machine that had just been smacking away at her left forearm. This was her seventh inking, after all: a wrap-around bouquet of six roses in shades of yellow and red rendered at Embassy Tattoos in Washington. “The fact that I’m here,” the 22-year-old said, recovering in the waiting room near a stuffed mongoose, “says I’m not worried about the side effects.” But the FDA is, as are some experts in the field. The concern has grown with the explosion in the body art’s popularity and the availability of tools and inks online. The industry is growing about 9 percent a year, a rate research company IBISWorld projects will make it a $1.1 billion business by 2020. “Even the most reputable places can’t guarantee the safety of ink,” said Arisa Ortiz, a dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of a 2011 article that cited reports by researchers in Spain, Germany and the U.S. who discovered substances including mercury and charcoal in tattoo dyes."


News Article | November 17, 2016
Site: www.fastcompany.com

After spending several years on a waiting list for a subsidized apartment in Tennessee, "Jack" says he was turned away by a leasing agent when incorrect information turned up in a routine background check. "She’s like, 'You have a sex offender charge on your record,' and I was shocked," says Jack, who requested that we not use his real name to avoid having it further associated with the erroneous allegation. "I never have been charged with that." The agent showed Jack a copy of the report, which referred to a man with a similar name and birthdate, he says. The report also included a photo of the alleged sex offender, who the leasing agent acknowledged clearly wasn’t him. (Among other things, the man pictured had conspicuous face tattoos.) But Jack still lost his spot on the waitlist—he’s currently staying with a relative—and had a separate housing application also declined because of the mistaken information. As he tries to correct the record and clear up the confusion, every day is a new day of limbo. Vidhi Joshi, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands who is representing Jack, filed a formal dispute with the screening company that included the alleged offender’s picture but hasn't yet received a response. She has also requested a copy of the report used for the second rental application, which was issued by a different background check firm, she says. (Joshi declined to identify the firms involved, since their responses are still pending). Jack’s story is just one of what fair credit advocates say is a growing number of cases where incorrect information on criminal and other background checks is making it difficult for innocent people to find work and housing. Such checks are routinely required for employment and rental applications, and conducted with varying levels of diligence by hundreds of companies around the country, but they only work properly when the information they contain is accurate. And, increasingly, that's not the case. "We have gone from back in the early part of the century seeing a couple hundred [cases] about criminal records a year up to more than a thousand a year," says Sharon Dietrich, litigation director at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and head of the legal aid group’s employment unit. Digitizing data like court records has made background checks significantly cheaper and faster than in years gone by: In 2012, a Society for Human Resource Management survey found that more than two-thirds of organizations polled conducted criminal background checks on job candidates. "I think employers are scared not to do it because they feel like they may be found liable for negligent hiring," says Dietrich. But regulation has not necessarily kept pace. Even some jurisdictions that have passed so-called "ban the box" legislation, which forbids employers from requiring potential hires to indicate on job applications whether they've been convicted of a crime, still allow criminal history checks later in the application process. Not all background screeners conduct rigorous research, and not all clients are willing to pay for it. Companies typically use a third-party background screening service to verify the work and education histories of potential hires, and often to check a candidate's credit history and search for any criminal convictions that might serve as a red flag, says Mike Aitken, vice president of government affairs at SHRM. According to a May report from business intelligence firm IBISWorld, the $2 billion background check industry is mostly composed of small, local firms, which have benefited from easy internet access to more and more public records. Fear of liability for employee misconduct and post-9/11 security concerns have also contributed to rapid growth in the industry in recent years, according to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, an industry group which counts more than 850 background screening companies as members. And while the majority of checks are likely accurate, Dietrich says she’s seen a "good number" of cases where background reports include information about people with similar names to her clients. In one case, she says, a client with a common name received a report with 65 pages of criminal history data about unrelated people with similar names. "I have even seen cases where a female’s record is attributed to a male or vice versa, simply because they don’t use gender information, even though they have it," she says. Even job applicants who do have criminal histories can still be unfairly harmed by slipshod background checks. Often, convictions legally expunged by a court still show up on reports. Crimes can also be misclassified, such as when misdemeanors are erroneously labeled as felonies, Dietrich says. One problem is over-reliance on commercial databases, which can contain incomplete information or return hits based on false matches, says Larry Lambeth, the president of screening firm Employment Screening Services. Lambeth is also the founder of Concerned CRAs, an association of consumer reporting agencies, as screening companies are known under federal law, voluntarily adhering to certain ethical standards. The group requires its members to consult original documents, like court records, and compare information like birthdates and addresses to verify data from databases actually corresponds to the subject of a background check. "If you use a database for his criminal records, if you find a hit, we require that you pull a criminal record from the courthouse and find the identifiers and ensure it’s the right person," he says. But not all background screeners conduct such rigorous research, and not all clients are willing to pay for it, he says. And even well-intentioned screeners can have difficulty verifying records in jurisdictions where privacy-minded courts redact personal information like addresses and dates of birth, says Melissa Sorenson, executive director of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. "It’s extending the time frame of getting people to work," she says, since it takes screeners longer to complete reports for employers. The organization generally tries to work with state and local regulators to make sure background screeners have access to the data they need to do their jobs, she says. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, applicants do have the legal right to receive copies of their background checks and to contest any inaccuracies with the agencies that did the screening. But in practice, critics say the process can be arduous even for experts, let alone for individuals looking to correct their own records. Dietrich says she’s had a screening firm resist providing her with an address to send mail on behalf of a client. "You have to know even where to look—look for a little link at the bottom [of a firm’s website] that says ‘consumers,’ and maybe that’s where you’ll find the dispute procedures," says Dietrich. And those procedures often require documentation like proof of address that not everyone can easily provide, she says. "Some people can do that, some people can’t, especially my clients who tend to be low-income and on the move," she says. Even in cases where data is obtained directly from government sources, it can still be incorrect or out of date: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, now a partner at law firm Covington & Burling, wrote letters on behalf of Uber to local legislators earlier this year, urging them not to require ride-hailing services to vet their drivers against the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s fingerprint database. Critics have long said that the FBI database, which many states use to vet childcare workers, health care professionals, and others in regulated occupations, often contains wrong, misleading, or incomplete data. The database contains arrest records from law enforcement agencies around the country but only includes final case outcome data roughly half the time, according to a 2013 report from the National Employment Law Project. That means that arrests that resulted in an acquittal, dropped charges, or even expunged records can essentially appear as unresolved. And updating outdated or simply incorrect data in the FBI’s files can be laborious and can leave jobseekers out of work while they reach out to multiple agencies to get the information fixed, says Maurice Emsellem, director of the NELP’s Access and Opportunity Program. "Basically, you have to go back to the state that created the record to get it fixed," he says. "The FBI won’t fix it in the FBI system." And while reforms to the FBI background check system have been proposed as part of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, they’ve yet to make it through Congress. Nor, says Dietrich, have regulators addressed issues that have arisen around private background checks in the more than 45 years since the Fair Credit Reporting Act became law, such as how background screeners should handle record matching issues in computerized databases or how they should deal with potentially expunged cases. "The world of regulation of these companies is not what it might be," she says. Meanwhile, the promise of future regulation is cold comfort for home-seekers like Jack, whose lives are being immediately damaged by bad data in a data-obsessed world. "He has suffered from homelessness," Joshi says. "It’s had a pretty big impact."


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Headaches and backaches also come with the job, which lacks ergonomic guidelines COLUMBUS, Ohio--Getting a tattoo may hurt, but giving one is no picnic, either. That's the finding of the first study ever to directly measure the physical stresses that lead to aches and pains in tattoo artists--workers who support a multibillion-dollar American industry, but who often don't have access to workers' compensation if they get injured. Researchers at The Ohio State University measured the muscle exertions of 10 central Ohio tattoo artists while they were working, and found that all of them exceeded maximums recommended to avoid injury, especially in the muscles of their upper back and neck. In the journal Applied Ergonomics, the researchers presented their findings and offered some suggestions on how tattoo artists can avoid injury. The study was unique, explained Carolyn Sommerich, director of the Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety at Ohio State. She and former master's student Dana Keester spent a summer "hanging out in tattoo parlors with our EMG equipment, cameras and a tripod," observing artists who agreed to work while wearing electrodes that precisely measured their muscle activity. The electrodes gathered data for 15 seconds every 3 minutes for the entirety of each tattoo session. Though a single tattoo session can last as long as 8 hours depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo, the sessions used in the study lasted anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. In addition, the researchers used a standardized observational assessment tool to assess each artist's posture every five minutes and took a picture to document each observation. To the researchers' knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has gathered such data from tattoo artists at work. To Keester, some reasons for the artists' discomfort were immediately obvious. She noted that they sit for prolonged periods of time, often taking a posture just like the one immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting "Tattoo Artist"--they perch on low stools, lean forward, and crane their neck to keep their eyes close to the tattoo they're creating. All 10 tattoo artists exceeded recommended exertion limits in at least one muscle group. Most notable was the strain on their trapezius muscles--upper back muscles that connect the shoulder blades to either side of the neck, a common site for neck/shoulder pain. Some exceeded limits by as much as 25 percent, putting them at high risk for injury. Those findings mesh well with a prior survey of tattoo artists that Keester carried out at the Hell City Tattoo Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in 2014. Among the 34 artists surveyed, the most common complaints were back pain (94 percent), headache (88 percent), neck pain (85 percent) and eye pain (74 percent). Tattoo artists suffer ailments similar to those experienced by dentists and dental hygienists, the researchers concluded. Like dental workers, tattoo artists perform detailed work with their hands while leaning over clients. But, unlike dental workers, tattoo artists in the United States lack a national organization that sets ergonomic guidelines for avoiding injury. One of the main problems is that the industry doesn't have specialized seating to support both the artist and the client, said Sommerich. "There's no such thing as an official 'tattoo chair,' so artists adapt dental chairs or massage tables to make a client comfortable, and then they hunch over the client to create the tattoo," Sommerich said. Adding to the problem is the fact that many tattoo artists are independent contractors who rent studio space from shop owners, so they're not covered by workers' compensation if they get hurt on the job, Keester said. Despite these challenges, the Ohio State researchers came up with some suggestions that may help artists avoid injury. Artists could experiment with different kinds of chairs for themselves, and try to support their back and arms. They could change positions while they work, take more frequent breaks and use a mounted magnifying glass to see their work instead of leaning in. They can also consider asking the client to move into a position that is comfortable for both the client and the tattoo artist, Sommerich added. "If the client can stand or maybe lean on something while the artist sits comfortably, that may be a good option," she said. "Switch it up once in a while." In the United States, tattooing is a $2.3 billion industry. A 2016 Harris Poll found that a third of Americans have at least one tattoo, and an IBISWorld report estimated that the industry is growing at around 13 percent per year. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided funding for Keester's graduate studies.


Patented green-tech nanocoatings protect consumers and drive sustainability by enabling repair, recycling and reuse SCOTTS VALLEY, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 10, 2016) - Semblant, the market leader in protective nanocoatings and liquid damage protection for electronic devices, today announced that its patented MobileShield™ smartphone waterproofing technology was named a multiple CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree during the CES Unveiled New York event. Semblant's technology was recognized in three product categories by a panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media: Tech For A Better World, Eco-Design & Sustainable Technologies, and Embedded Technologies. MobileShield nanocoatings are a green, corrosion-resistant waterproofing solution, proven in ultra-high-volume manufacturing capacity, with over 1 million units/day currently in production. Semblant's approach offers multiple environmental advantages over other waterproofing technologies. For example, MobileShield nanocoatings do not use off-the-shelf chemicals or long-chain fluoropolymers that contain PFOA and PFOS, known toxicants and carcinogens that persist indefinitely in the environment. Semblant's technology uses nontoxic precursor materials to create complex and unique nanopolymer shield layers that protect mobile devices against multiple elements, as well as protecting factories and factory workers, the environment and the consumer. The company is also committed to the environment by reducing waste. Its coatings allow for the reuse and repair of electronics; according to IBISWorld's 2015 Cell Phone Recycling market research report, recycling cell phones is a $742 million business in the United States alone. "We are excited that our game-changing waterproofing technology continues to be awarded, and we are honored that CES -- the largest global consumer electronics association -- has provided the strongest acknowledgment that Semblant's technology continues to lead the way in this booming industry," said Simon McElrea, CEO of Semblant. "Our patented nanocoatings protect phones against water, dust and corrosion. We apply a simple, invisible, environmentally friendly nanocoating onto any electronic product surface at exceptionally high manufacturing volume. Our technology also advances the culture of sustainability, as Semblant-coated devices can be repaired, recycled and reused instead of being thrown away." View YouTube videos of Semblant's MobileShield technology in action, protecting a smartphone against water ingress and resisting corrosion from nitric acid. The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the producer of CES 2017, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976. Entries are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function and user value, unique/novel features present, and how the design and innovation of the product directly compares to other products in the marketplace. Products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market. Semblant is the global leader in innovating and deploying protective nanomaterials in the electronics industry. The company's unique nanoshield nanotechnology solutions, backed by a broad range of fundamental patents, have been designed specifically to protect electronic devices from liquid ingress, corrosion and many other forms of damage. This saves the industry billions of dollars each year in return and repair costs. Semblant's nanocoatings are also environmentally friendly and release no hazardous materials in the manufacturing process. The company provides solutions to the mobile phone, wearable, enterprise computing, network infrastructure, medical device, automotive and space/military/aerospace markets, as well as the printed circuit board and semiconductor/semiconductor packaging industries. For more information, visit us at www.semblant.com.


News Article | November 13, 2016
Site: www.fastcompany.com

"I opened this box, looked at this beautiful object, and found myself thinking, ‘How the fuck do you use this thing?’" she recalls. "So I think to myself, ‘There’ll be instructions inside,’ but all I find is this one-pager that tells you how to charge it. Nothing about what goes where." Officially, anyway, Gallop has been in the business of showing people "what goes where" since launching Make Love Not Porn, a user-generated adult video platform, in August 2012. But many people first heard about the venture in 2009, when Gallop gave a popular TED Talk challenging what she still sees as the porn industry’s warped and often misogynistic ideas about sex and sexuality. Since then, however, Gallop has had trouble attracting investors, and she isn’t alone. The "sex tech" sector may in fact hold enormous untapped potential, but investors—mostly white straight male investors—appear to be keeping their distance. In a world where over 36% of internet content is pornography and where people collectively watch 4 billion hours of porn every year, our sex obsession is matched only by our inability to talk about it openly, Gallop argues. After unboxing her new sex toy and finding no instructions, she recalls turning to YouTube, where she eventually stumbled on one explanatory video featuring a woman holding the device and demurely telling her how to use it. "I’m listening to her and going, ‘What?’" Gallop says. "‘So you put that inside and then the guy puts in his cock as well? How the fuck does that work?’" She adds, "You simply can’t overestimate how our unwillingness to talk about sex impacts the ability of every manufacturer out there to shift their product." Still, sex does sell. In the U.S. alone, adult sites generate over $3 billion in revenue a year, according to the research firm IBISWorld. Reliable figures aren’t easy to come by, but the global sex toy industry has been estimated at some $15 billion and is growing at more than 30% a year, potentially outpacing high-growth tech sectors like drone manufacturing, which is expected to hit $12 billion by 2021. Amazon currently stocks over 60,000 items classed as "adult." But Gallop believes the commercial opportunity is bigger than even these figures suggest, and in any other industry it isn’t hard to imagine investors flocking to an entrepreneur with her credentials. After over 20 years as an advertising exec, Gallop resigned as chairman of Bartle Bogle Hegarty to start two companies of her own and advise several more. Since going solo in 2005, she’s continued to work as a consultant, cementing her position as a go-to branding guru. "Many VC friends of mine tell me that what I’m doing could be huge," she claims, "but if they took it through the official channels, their partners would say, ‘What are you on?’ As a sex tech venture, I can't even get across the threshold to pitch most of the time. Either investors don't take you seriously, or they don't even want to have the conversation because it makes them so uncomfortable." So Gallop bootstrapped Make Love Not Porn with her own savings and support from a single angel investor, then built a bare-bones platform. In the four years since launching, it’s signed up more than 400,000 users and successfully monetized their content—the site’s pay-per-view model splits revenue equally between the site and the creators—to the point where Gallop says many top users get regular four-figure payouts. That profit-sharing model differs sharply from the porn industry’s typical practice of paying performers by the scene (one porn exec I spoke to said that figure usually caps out at around $2,000 for newbies and major stars alike). Gallop wants her platform to open up more new avenues for monetizing user-generated content, and to expand most people’s ideas about sex in the process. For that to happen, investors will need to open their wallets as well as their mouths, both of which seem pretty firmly shut at the moment. Many VC firms have "morality clauses" preventing them from investing in anything considered adult content. After contacting dozens of tech investors, including the top 20 VC firms as ranked by CB Insights, the only one willing speak on record was Tim Draper, who’s backed emerging sectors like bitcoin and one venture, Jimmyjane, that sells high-end sex toys. But the most Draper felt comfortable sharing was that he "backs great entrepreneurs who are bold enough to take on the status quo and potentially transform an industry." To do that, though, those would-be disruptors will need more and better data, and Forrester Research doesn’t even track the major industries that might fall under the sex tech umbrella, like sex toys or VR porn. There’s more to the problem than just reticence and lack of information, though. Some entrepreneurs say they’ve been outright blocked from operating. E-commerce heavyweights like Amazon and PayPal won’t touch companies dealing with adult content. Both turned Gallop away. As she recalled in a 2014 Medium post, she "couldn’t find a single bank in America that would let me open a business bank account for a business that has the word ‘porn’ in its name." Facebook and Pinterest take a similar tack. Polly Rodriguez, CEO of Unbound, a lingerie and sex toy retailer, has found it difficult to market on either platform. "You can't promote sex toys, videos, publications, live shows, sexual enhancement products, or services that provide casual sex, international matchmaking, or escorts," Pinterest warns advertisers. Facebook’s policy is to disallow the promotion of "adult products or services (except for ads for family planning and contraception)." Even this lingerie ad fell afoul of that rule because Unbound’s landing page also markets lubricants and sex toys aimed at millennial women: "Funding is difficult in our space," concedes Ian Paul, CIO of Naughty America, one of the first porn companies to get into VR content. "We’ve had to rely on nontraditional methods of funding, like securing loans from vendors who already work with us." That’s meant the company has had to pump profits back into its own R&D rather than investing elsewhere. Entrepreneurs who can’t self-fund or find like-minded angel investors often face a choice between playing into the narrow, damaging tropes Cindy Gallop railed against back in 2009, or else risk being labeled as "alternative" and commercially unviable. Take Dutch "teledildonics" company Kiiroo. Its mobile-connected dildos and vibrators allow for long-distance interaction and incorporate social elements, two-way haptic feedback, and modular flexibility—all in real-time. That means you can mix and match your devices to your heart’s (or chosen orifices’) content, no matter the types or number of bodies you like to play with. Yet Kiiroo markets itself like any traditional sex toy: Its packaging tends to feature young, slim, busty women in stockings and suspenders. (Kiiroo is "selling an experience to our users," says communications manager Ashton Egner, so despite being a self-avowed tech company, "talking about the details of how the products work is not what our customers want.") "Body technologies" researcher Ghislaine Boddington says Kiiroo’s case is typical; even the most innovative sex tech companies find themselves pushed "toward that objectification side" of things to get funded. According to Boddington’s research, 96% of VCs are men, and only about 8% of their money goes to companies cofounded by women. Women entrepreneurs in particular, Boddington says, are innovating on the margins of adult industries, like mindfulness and well-being, but those products’ crossover potential—as tools for enhancing erotic experience—isn’t being tapped. "One investor said to me, ‘Give us 10 years, Ghislaine, and we’ll get there, but at the moment it’s not going to bring a return for us.’" One exception to this picture is Crave, which raised $2.4 million from no fewer than 60 angel investors. Founder Michael Topolovac says the investment community was actually open-minded to Crave’s pitch, which was geared to creating upscale, tech-savvy sex products aimed at the female market. It was still tough going, Topolovac says. He and his business partners had to take a unique approach, wooing angel investors on one hand while doubling down on crowdfunding on the other. The company ultimately got booted from Kickstarter anyway, since the platform prohibits "pornographic material." But as equity crowdfunding sites like CrowdCube and others gain traction, hybrid investment models like Crave’s may help otherwise anathema startups validate their business propositions early enough to attract investors more easily. John McCoy, CEO of teledidonics startup Intimuse, thinks VCs will eventually come around, and that "the only question is who will be first to seize that opportunity." If he’s right, there may not be just one tipping point but several. As technology advances, demand rises for sex tech products and services (especially from women), and a slow drip of successful companies show investors what’s possible, VCs may no longer be able to ignore an opportunity so large. Greater gender diversity in the investor community couldn’t hurt either, of course, but that unfortunately may be a more distant prospect by comparison. In the meantime, obstacles like these are still fueling Cindy Gallop’s determination. Make Love Not Porn finally located a friendly a crowdfunding platform in iFundWomen (which just launched in beta this month and is geared toward women entrepreneurs) and is now kicking off its first-ever crowdfunding campaign. Gallop is also at work on an investment fund that she hopes will do for sex tech what Privateer Holdings did for cannabis, an industry that went from taboo to investment darling in just a few years. Gallop has upped her original funding target to $10 million, which she reckons is enough to finance not only Make Love Not Porn but to kick-start the entire sector. If it works, not only might the world of sexual pleasure soon be better funded, more creative, and higher-tech than at present, it may also better resemble the world overall. For Gallop and plenty of others, that's a pretty sexy idea. Alice Bonasio runs the Tech Trends blog and contributes to Ars Technica, Quartz, Newsweek, The Next Web, and others. She is also writing VRgins, a book about sex and relationships in the virtual age. She lives in the U.K.


News Article | November 22, 2016
Site: marketersmedia.com

— SuperiorPRO Exteriors, one of the area's leading home improvement and painting companies since 1998, unveiled a new batch of limited-time special offers at www.superiorpro.com. The new discounts include the best deal on Window Replacement Atlanta providers have to offer, with prices starting at $399 per top-quality window. Another coupon at the SuperiorPRO website entitles bearers to a $150 discount on any roofing repair of $650 or more when working with the best Roofers in Atlanta. With a total of six attractive new limited-time offers now available at the company's website, visitors are encouraged to call SuperiorPRO soon to request a free quote or schedule an appointment. "This is our favorite time of the year for home improvement and repair work, so we thought that putting up a brand-new collection of special discounts would be a great way to celebrate," said SuperiorPRO Exteriors founder and owner Irwin Weitz, "Our new offers cover everything from window replacement and stucco repairs to roofing work and painting. In the eighteen-plus years we've been in business, there has never been a better, more affordable time to make use of our top-quality services. With our calendar filling quickly thanks to these special offers, we encourage homeowners throughout the greater Atlanta area to give us a call soon." Market research firm IBISWorld figures that the home remodeling and improvement industry in the United States accounts for around $75 billion in revenues in the average year, with more than 400,000 businesses nationwide contributing. Last year's Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report by the National Association of Realtors highlighted exterior home improvements as the kind that delivered the greatest returns on investment in terms of increased home value. With a 2016 placement on Remodeling Magazine's nationwide "Remodeling 550" list, SuperiorPRO Exteriors has been recognized as one of the nation's leading home improvement and painting contractors. Since the company's 1998 birth, it has consistently delivered the kind of customer service and work quality that founder Irwin Weitz made a priority from the very start. Serving customers throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, the Marietta-based company provides a full range of exterior replacement and repair services, along with exterior and indoor painting. With six special new offers now available at the SuperiorPRO website, now is an especially opportune time to work with one of Atlanta's top companies of its kind. Site visitors can also read about the full range of SuperiorPRO services and request a free quote online. About SuperiorPRO Exteriors: As Atlanta's leading home improvement and painting company since 1998, locally owned and operated SuperiorPRO Exteriors delivers unbeatable customer service and work quality with each and every job. For more information, please visit http://www.superiorpro.com/


NEW YORK, Dec. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Increasing acceptance of cohabitation has caused a significant proportion of couples to postpone their nuptials over the past five years, posing a challenge to the Wedding Services industry. For the full report, visit IBISWorld's Wedding...


NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bail Bond Services industry has grown steadily over the past five years. IBISWorld expects industry revenue to increase at an annualized rate of 2.7% to $2.4 billion over the five years to 2016, including a 0.2% decrease over this year as the...


News Article | April 28, 2016
Site: www.fastcompany.com

At some point during your career, you may feel the need for a little extra motivation, insight, or accountability. For many, the solution is to hire a professional coach who can help you move in the direction you want. IBISWorld’s 2015 Business Coaching report estimates that the sector has grown to $11 billion annually in the U.S. But what if you’re not ready—or willing—to add your cash to that pool? Is it possible to coach yourself? Yes, says career coach Susan Bernstein, PhD, who is based near San Francisco. While it can be enormously helpful to have a dedicated professional focused on helping you achieve your goals, there are a number of principles you can apply yourself in order to reap the rewards. Here are seven actions you can incorporate. A good coach helps you take inventory of where you are versus where you want to be, says Bernstein. But chances are that you have a good idea of that yourself. Think about the areas of your life where you’re stuck or dissatisfied. What will it take to make you happy or fulfilled? What specific goals do you want to achieve? Think about where you want your life to change or improve, being as specific as possible, and think about the actions and behaviors that are going to need to happen to get there, she says. When you don’t have a coach helping you track where you are and where you’re going, a journal can be an invaluable tool, Bernstein says. Not only will it give you a place to write down your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them, but it will also help you track how far you’ve come. Detailing actions and feelings in a journal lets you analyze them later when you’ve had some time to get perspective and can be objective about your actions. A journal can also help you sort out complicated feelings and track the actions and behaviors that are working for you—and those that aren’t. "Notice your thoughts and emotions around the things that you’re tracking and track metrics [how you’re measuring success]," she says. Some people have a promotion focus and others have a prevention focus, and it’s important to know where you fall, says Harrison Monarth, CEO and founder of executive coaching firm GuruMaker Executive Development Inc. and author of 360 Degrees of Influence. A promotion focus means that you’re motivated by becoming better, while others are motivated by fear of losing something they have. A good coach can help you identify your key motivators and use that insight to help you keep your resolve and remind you of the reasons why you wanted to take action in the first place. If you’re doing this solo, it’s important to monitor what makes you most want to take action so you can tap into that insight when you need it, he says. "You are either motivated by gaining something or you are motivated by not losing something," he says. Thinking about past situations and what made you succeed can give you some valuable insights, he says. Having regular sessions with a coach is also a powerful motivator, Bernstein says. Knowing that you’re going to have to answer to someone about what you’ve done or not done since the last session can help you get off the mark. So if you’re not going to have a regular coaching session to keep you on track, it helps to set up another form of accountability. Choose a friend, colleague, or mentor who is willing to check in with you on a regular basis for a report on how you’re moving toward your goals or making improvements in your life, she says. In addition to accountability, you also need regular feedback, Monarth says. This may come in a variety of ways. Finding good advisers or mentors is one way to receive input that can help you grow, and find solutions when you encounter challenges. A skilled coach would guide you through a process to find the best solution for you, but a knowledgeable mentor can have similar benefit, he says. Nick Kettles, a faculty member at The Coaches Training Institute, a coach training and certification organization, says you need to find people who are committed to your growth and not your ego. Feedback is intended to help you get better, not to feed the ego, he says. In addition, it may be useful to explore some of the many psychometric tests available, which can deliver insight into your own personality type and traits. In a coaching relationship, you would be encouraged to think about why you make the choices you make each day, and why you take certain actions. Without that support structure, it’s important to be introspective on your own, he says. As you review your journal entries and take additional actions during the course of your day, think about the motivations behind each action, and whether the action is serving you, he says. "It’s like going to the gym," he says. "You're developing the self-awareness that helps you to be more conscious and more deliberate in the way you assess situations and make decisions about what it is that you want to do." As you become more mindful and deliberate about the actions you’re taking, you’ll also notice what’s not working. It’s okay to change your approach and focus more on what’s helping you, Bernstein says. A good coach would encourage you to do so, as well as to celebrate your successes to help keep you motivated, she says.


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