How Voice Search is Potentially Evolving and How Local SEO Will Change

Voice search has really gained popularity, with devices like Amazon’s Alexa enabled devices becoming more popular and widely used in homes all over. Rather than jumping online or grabbing a phone to type in a search, you can simply use voice commands to get the answer to any question you may have.

They technology is also able to work with other devices to create convenient hands-free operation. Voice search has the potential to advance and also continue to impact local search engine optimization. Several business owners weighed in to give their opinions and thoughts regarding how it could possibly change and what that would mean for local SEO.

More searches while driving.

“Watching my children search YouTube — they only know voice search. As a result I envision voice search from smart phones to grab more and more local searches as adoption increases and people search while driving.” — Shawn Schulze of

Formation of partnerships.

“I see Alexa and similar services partnering with more data sources, which will then focus local SEO efforts onto the optimization of whatever sources they are pulling information from. Local SEO will never disappear. Instead it will just advance as how consumers perform information searches change.” — Christopher Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics

More on-demand focused.

“The next advancement in voice search will be services on-demand — booking hair appointments, scheduling a doctor’s visit, reserving a table at dinner. Local businesses will need to be prepared technologically to be able to not only book these appointments but also make sure they’re easy to find.“ — Sean Christman, Founder of Slamdot

Google Duplex will lead the way.

“ComScore predicts that 50% of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020. The recently unveiled Google Duplex assistant carries out “real-world” tasks over the phone, like booking a consultation with a lawyer. Local businesses should focus on getting more rich snippets in the search results.” — Joseph W. Belluck of Belluck & Fox, LLP

Amazon partnerships.

“I think we will see more companies partner with Amazon to integrate voice search and also tie into Amazon’s massive data resources. Just like Google is the online source of data and info, Amazon is fully controlling the voice market. There are endless possibilities.” — Tom Munroe, CEO of RugStudio

Answer customers’ questions.

“Being able to tell Alexa what to do would be awesome when it comes to local SEO. But being able to have Alexa answer your target customer bases questions in real time would provide an edge that most can only dream of.” — Marc Webb, Founder of Real PDL Help

It will change grocery shopping.

“I think we are going to be able to order groceries directly from Alexa. You can already add items to your Amazon account via voice, and with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods I think they are going to get heavy into home grocery delivery. Alexa will make it an effortless process.” — Ari Evans of AAA Handbags

Order integration.

“I think we will see it integrated with ordering. For example, I think customers will be able to place reservations at their favorite restaurants all by voice, as well as order a pizza from their local spot. Eventually local SEO will be entirely voice search focused.” — Andrew Tran, Founder of Therapy

Search results will become more relevant.

“Optimization of search engines with a focus on the mobile experience. Increasing the ability to use keyword search to produce up to date local results immediately. What that means is as business leaders we need to ensure our businesses are relevant and searchable.” — Shawn Freeman, Founder and CEO of TWT Group

More navigation-based searches.

“With voice search integrated with navigation I think there will be a huge push to optimize for location based searches while driving. Restaurants, gas stations, etc. They all have customers passing by their locations by the second. As voice search is more widely used the opportunity will increase.” — Edward Doskey of Doskey Law, P.L.C.

Yelp and Google reviews will become more important.

“I think reviews from places like Yelp and Google are going to play into the results even more. Nobody wants to ask a question and be provided with a poor choice. This is going to cause businesses to have to get creative in order to get as many strong reviews as possible.” — Jim Epton of Dom Huga Ltd

Used more by local information seekers.

“It seems to me as though it was more meant for local search options when you are on the go than if you were doing research for a blog article to write. I think people will use it more for local information because of its convenience and need for simpler information immediately.” — Ben Walker, Founder of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC

Better voice capabilities from your car.

“Better voice search in your car. Navigation has had a lot of focus, but we will begin to be more conversational about business hours, choosing which business to visit, etc. The systems should get easier to use.” — Matthew Kolb of All High Schools


Annika Bansal Successful Entrepreneur Says It’s All About Networking

Annika Bansal and her roommate Matt Segal are dedicated outdoors people. They enjoy hiking, canoeing, and especially rock climbing. One thing they noticed when out in the wild was how difficult it was to find an instant coffee to start their strenuous day that tasted any good. On an impulse, Bansal quit her safe and secure job in 2016 to find a way to make good instant coffee available for the outdoor and camping community.

Using one-hundred percent Arabica beans, she and Segal eventually discovered an instant blend that traveled well and tasted great. They began selling it at sporting goods stores in Ziploc bags. Then the huge sports retailer REI came calling, wanting the instant coffee to sell in all their stores.

Annika says that she thought their company, Alpine Start, was not yet big enough to undertake such a project. She asked REI if they couldn’t start with a target area with just a few stores, as a test run. REI replied it had to be all of their stores or nothing.

So Bansal started networking with coffee distributors, manufacturers, and packaging experts until she was able to offer REI exactly what they wanted.

Her advice to other entrepreneurs is simple:  When opportunity finally comes, get out and network instead of sitting in front of a computer screen all day.


5 Rewarding Jobs for People Who Want to Help Others

No matter how much you love your job, work can be a challenge. However, if you’re working towards something grander and nobler than just padding your bank account, it makes it infinitely easier to trek to work each day.

When you’re deciding on your next career, consider one of these jobs that are all about helping people.

  1. Personal Injury Attorney

You might have mixed feelings when you hear about personal injury attorneys, but when it comes down to it, they’re there to help. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, and the at-fault party refuses to cover the damages and medical expenses, you’ll be glad you have an attorney to get you adequate compensation.

Auto accident lawyers are like knights in shining armor for people who have been injured and need support. You can help them find the evidence they need and file a court case so that they can get their lives back to as close to normal as possible. 

Medical bills must be paid, and your client needs a working car to get around. In some cases, the injury can be so bad that your client is unable to work. If someone has taken the right to free mobility away from your client in an accident, helping them sue for compensation can be the best course of action.

Personal injury attorneys live a comfortable lifestyle. Their hours are relatively regular, and they work on a commission basis. That means that if you want a good income, you have to win a lot of cases. That being said, the average personal injury attorney makes between $73,000 and $164,000 per year. You can help a lot of people on a salary like that.

  1. Cancer Researcher

If you’ve never given up hope that there’s a cure for cancer and you’re constantly looking up facts about lung cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, or any other carcinoma, a job in cancer research is probably the best place for you.

Cancer researchers work in teams to identify causes of cancer and develop strategies to diagnose, treat, prevent, and even cure it. You’ll collect and generate countless pages of research through studies and experimentation.

You can choose the specialty and area you’d like to work in. If you prefer experimenting and creating your own research, you’ll want to look into a lab job. If researching facts and making connections on the studies of others is more your thing, search for a desk job.

Cancer researchers are medical scientists, and such occupations require extensive education. You can get started in the field with a master’s degree, but most major research facilities prefer a doctorate of medicine degree (M.D.) and adequate licensure.

Having an M.D. also gives you more freedom to research in every capacity. If your research is successful, you’ll eventually move to clinical trials on human patients, but you won’t be able to be a direct part of the process if you’re not a doctor.

The median salary for cancer researchers is good at $82,000. There’s also a rapid growth projection, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a job once you finish your education.

  1. Nurse

One of the oldest and noblest professions for people who want to help others is nursing. A nurse assists doctors in performing treatments, educating patients, and doing lab testing. Nursing is the largest health occupation in the United States, and it’s in constant demand.

As a nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a hospital, clinic, or private practice. Hospital nurses tend to live a more fast-paced lifestyle as they rush between patients or pull shifts in the emergency room. They may also work odd hours, since hospitals must be staffed 24/7.

If you prefer a slower pace, working in a private practice or clinic is best. You’ll work more regular hours and won’t have to pull night shifts. You’ll also work more closely with doctors in these practices.

Nurses should be interested in helping people. They spend more time with patients than doctors do, and they can help to cushion the blow of bad news and make patients feel better when dealing with pain or sickness.

Currently, there’s a nursing shortage in the United States, which means that you won’t have any problem getting a job as a nurse. Baby boomers make up a large population of older nurses, and they’re retiring. That leave a lot of openings for freshly educated nurses to take their place.

To become a nurse, you’ll need formal education. You can start with a certificate program to get your CNA, but it’s more beneficial to at least get an associate degree in nursing (ADN). After getting an associate or bachelor’s degree, you can take a test to become a registered nurse, which raises your pay outlook significantly.

Pay varies by state, but the average salary for a registered nurse is $68,000. That’s above average for a two-year degree, and if you get a bachelor’s degree or beyond, you qualify for more pay.

  1. HVAC Contractor

Imagine that your AC has just gone out and it’s 90 degrees outside with 90 percent humidity. You have fans running, but it just doesn’t cut it. Can you imagine anything more welcome in this situation than an HVAC contractor coming to fix your air conditioning?

An HVAC contractor specializes in installing, maintaining, and repairing all things related to ventilation, air conditioning, boilers, furnaces, heat pumps, and refrigeration systems. They inspect, clean, maintain, and repair HVAC systems in both residential and commercial buildings.  

An HVAC contractor might also help clients decide on the best HVAC system and equipment for their needs. Most people know very little about heating and cooling, so your job as a technician will be to educate them and help them make a great choice.

Helping people repair things they can’t fix themselves is a great profession, and it pays close to $30 per hour. You may also be eligible for commission on sales and repairs, offering excellent growth opportunities.

  1. Dietician or Nutritionist

The obesity epidemic is a plague, and dieticians and nutritionists are out to cure it. Along with helping people lose weight through the right foods, they promote health through healthy eating tips and lifestyle changes.

Nutritionists often work with those who have long-term diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. They coach patients on what to eat to avoid exacerbating their illness. They may also help patients eat right when recovering from an injury.

As a dietician, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings including cafeterias, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and private practices. You’ll meet with a variety of clients and work alongside them in an often-difficult lifestyle transition, so good people skills are a must.

A nutritionist needs at least a bachelor’s degree to get into the field, but you can seek a master’s or doctorate if you choose. The median salary is about $60,000, and it’s in very high demand. The growth rate for the dietician occupation is much faster than average, so getting a job should be a cinch.

There’s nothing more gratifying than helping people in your work. It takes the edge off of bad days and helps you stay positive. Whether you’re looking for a career change or getting started in your adult career, consider these career opportunities which provide rewards far beyond the typical paycheck.

Why Voice Search Should be a Top SEO Priority

Internet users, until now, used to simply type anything that they needed to find through the search engine bar. These words are described as keywords or search phrases. Usually, these keywords are not types in complete sentences. Take, for example, the search ‘Italian restaurant NYC’ rather than typing in ‘I need an Italian restaurant in NYC’.

The keyword basically is an Italian restaurant NYC which in itself does not make complete sense. Google is intelligent — it takes the gist of it and then provides users with results that closely relate to the search.

Since speaking into a phone is much easier than typing, people are now turning to voice search to find information, especially local information. For example, saying ‘I need an Italian restaurant in NYC’ will bring up local options. You should focus on voice search, as its popularity is greatly increasing.

What is SEO today?

SEO is the practice of performing on-site and off-site strategies designed to help rank for specific keywords and search phrases. Take for example the website of any Italian restaurant in NYC — they would show up high in the results when someone searched for ‘Italian restaurant NYC’ on Google.

“It’s important to also understand that SEO involves providing the visitor with a pleasant experience,” says Darryl Howard of Boca Raton Med Spa. “You need content on your website that visitors can engage with, and you need your website to be mobile-friendly, allowing all visitors, regardless of their browsing device, to navigate effortlessly.”

SEO has advanced over the years, and it’s really important to focus on the consumer, and now with voice search becoming more important because of its convenience, it’s time to focus on this component.

How does voice search impact SEO?

It is no secret that voice search will revolutionize the way that content will be written. Since most people will now be speaking more, rather than typing, keyword phrases are going to be longer. Take for example, ‘I need an Italian restaurant in NYC’ — it is exactly the content that will be required to optimize for, rather than just targeting ‘Italian restaurant NYC’.

“Content quality has become more of a focus over the years,” says Dana VanDeCar, COO of Optimally Organic. “Back in the day, content and keywords were targeted that wasn’t natural, because the language types into a search bar was brief and not human-level. Now, with voice, searches are much more detailed.”

Publishing quality content that is focused around the user is always the best practice, and now websites with high authority are going to benefit even more. Voice searches will begin to trigger the content that was written naturally, as it now relates more to the type of searches that come via voice.

Keyword phrases are now more specific.

With the help of voice search, keyword phrases are going to become more specific. People are likely to speak specific details when they search for something by voice. Take, for example, a person may say ‘I need an Italian restaurant in NYC with a cozy atmosphere and seafood’.

The websites that have content which identifies them as Italian restaurants in NYC which particularly serve seafood having a cozy atmosphere will actually be ranked much higher and shown in the results. “In-depth content is now going to benefit websites even more, and those that adapted to long-form content previously are going to benefit greatly,” suggests Luqman Khan, Founder of Wireloo, a websites that just announced the best fitness tracking watch.

It’s not if — it’s when.

Content needs to include clear and short statements. SEO will soon be based on what people would say when they are searching for a particular thing by voice. “Content needs to cater to what people actually say when they are trying to find something online,” says Jake Braun of ChopperExchange, a website that features tips to sell your Harley.

This is not something that may happen or that some experts are predicting. If you look at any of the recent mobile-usage surveys, you will see that mobile use is climbing and voice search is being used more in everyday lives, thanks in part to devices like Amazon Alexa.

4 Reasons An Entrepreneur Should Hire A Life Coach

The day you decide to launch a business and tackle the journey of becoming an entrepreneur can be filled with lots of excitement. Many individuals who venture down this path do so because they no longer want to have to answer to a boss and they want to see their ideas come to fruition. Yet most who are overwhelmed with enthusiasm don’t recognize all of the challenges and responsibility that come with this choice.

Launching and running a business is a lot of work. Because you will need to overcome many obstacles and adversity, the path you are on is going to force you to grow and become a better version of yourself. This is why it can be very beneficial to hire a life coach.

A life coach is someone who can help you stay focused, remain organized, and can support you when many tough decisions come your way. Here are four more reasons for having a coach on your side:

1. Create A Balanced Life

All too often, when people jump down the rabbit hole of becoming an entrepreneur they find that their life gets out of balance. When this happens, it is quite easy to become unhappy and depressed.

While working twelve hour days can be common, it’s important to keep your life in balance so that you don’t feel bitter or resentful towards your dream. A life coach is someone who can help keep you honest when they see that you may be out of balance.

2. Less Stress & Anxiety

Having someone who can support you when things get hard is essential so that you don’t feel stressed out all the time. Your coach is going to provide you time every week where you can pause and reflect on what is happening right now in your life.

During this time, not only can you vent so that it does not stay bottled up inside, your coach will be able to help you put it into perspective so that you can get back to the task at hand and feel better about it helping to relieve any stress or anxiety it may have brought on.

3. Overcome Fears

Running your own business is going to challenge you so much that it will literally bring up every fear you have about yourself. When this happens, it can be very helpful to have someone to work with your through them so that they don’t get the best of you.

4. Be More Productive

Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is all about making the most of your time. From when you get up until you go to sleep you are going to need to squeeze out high productivity from each minute.

Working with a life coach will help you organize your time in a way to ensure that you are being as productive as humanly possible.

Fine Tuning Entrepreneurship Over Seas

“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.”  –Gerald Ford

Across the world, children are reaping the benefits of the enriched education that music can provide. A musical education has been linked to breakthroughs in language development, higher IQs, growth in neural activities and in creative development. Children who grow up in introspective, musical environments benefit from a greater sense of self. Children learn to honor the process of learning and to bring an artful consciousness in all that they do, see and become.

For entrepreneur, Candace Chen, gaining a musical education was instrumental (no pun intended) to her success. Candace and her family left Taiwan when she was only three years old. Raised on a close to minimum wage salary, Candace’s single mother pushed her to work hard in school and supported her in her pursuit of learning how to play musical instruments. A classically trained musician, Chen played as a Pianist for 13 years, a violinist for 10 years, later becoming a self-taught guitar and ukulele player as well. She later went on to teach violin and piano to help offset the cost of college. This upbringing ultimately led to Chen’s MIT acceptance, where she obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a milestone she considers to be her greatest achievement. Candace’s musical upbringing also laid the foundation for becoming a well rounded individual, capable of taking on a variety of diverse tasks throughout her career. As a solo (technical) founder, Candace now wears many hats in her company, handling design, copywriting, video editing, Facebook advertising and patent writing. She is also able to work well with limited resources available, using her bedroom 3D printer to prototype and test her designs.

In her successful, one-woman powered venture, Chen honors everyone around the world who has benefited from a musical education, as well as those who continue to hold a soft spot for music in their heart. Creating a travel-friendly ukulele instrument, Chen makes it easy for music lovers and adventurous travelers to bring the joys of music wherever they go. Her product, the Ava ukulele boasts an impressive model of unique features, in a market that has seen very little change. The instrument is portable and may be easily stowed away. Ava retains a bold sound, to be shared proudly with others. It may also be practiced quietly, in Silent Mode. Simple plug in your earphones and your solo jam session will remain barely audible to those around you.

The Ava ukulele came into being when Chen was setting off for a vacation in Costa Rica. Excited for a relaxing vacation, playing ukulele on the beach, she was devastated to find that her beloved instrument had been destroyed in her travels. For Candace Chen, whose life had largely revolved around music, this instrument was more than an object,  it was a friend. Empathizing with other musicians who have experienced the same heartbreak, Candace decided to create a compact ukulele that would not only withstand travel, but become an agent for social interactions and joy shared among others. “I want Ava to inspire people to get out there, travel, and share music with others,” says Chen.

For any entrepreneurial spirit out there hoping to follow your lives’ compass to the heart of inspiration, listening to Candace Chen’s story can help you get there.  Based on her personal experience, Candace offers the following advice to entrepreneurs in diverse industries:

Take advantage of the growing freelance economy (like Upwork and Fiverr)! I’ve found freelancers for electrical engineering, PR, marketing, user studies, creative copy, graphic design, patents, and video production on a per-project basis which keeps on-going expenses (like salary) low. This is crucial in the early stages when you’re bootstrapping or trying to manage your burn rate before that next investment round. 

Create prototypes to help answer questions and stress-test assumptions, not for sake of creating a prototype. A prototype at each stage (MVP, proof-of-concept, critical module, beta) are all different types of prototypes that help answer a different question. 

If you have an app idea, your first step is not to hire a developer. Rather, create an MVP mockup (there are drag-and-drop programs that let you do this with no coding experience), and test with your target users to figure out if this is something they’d want. Saves a ton of time and money.

You should be de-risking and refining at each step along the way (product-market fit, features, high-risk engineering modules), not at the very end where you present a final polished product and find out nobody wants it!


22 Uncomfortable Signs You’re Challenging Yourself On A Daily Basis

  1. You pretty much have no idea what you’re doing, every single day. Because on a near-daily basis, you are doing something new or trying something outside of your wheelhouse.   
  2. You’re constantly surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you, more talented than you, more developed in their skill than you, etc. You’re not satisfied unless you’re feeling constantly inspired to be better by those around you.
  3. You have a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset. Get yourself right by reading 300+ Top Inspirational Quotes & Quote Pictures | Quote Catalog
  4. You have learned that feeling unsure of yourself means you are doing something to get better or improve yourself, so rather than running away from this kind of feeling, you run towards it.
  5. You are out of your comfort zone ten times as often as you are in it.
  6. You consistently ask mentors and superiors for feedback, even if (and especially when) you know it will come with intimidating or uncomfortable criticism.
  7. You make decisions based on what will be most beneficial for you in the long-term, as opposed to what feels best or easiest right now.
  8. You are accustomed to doing things you don’t feel fully prepared for, and you have gotten comfortable with simply trusting that you’ll figure it out along the way.
  9. You pay very close attention to when you are actively forcing yourself to engage in much-needed relaxation, and when you are simply procrastinating.
  10. You know how to fail, and you fail often.
  11. And instead of this failure destroying you, it just fuels you to keep going. It may slow you down for a while, or bum you out, or even break your heart. But failure never stops you from trying again.
  12. No matter how hard it hurts or how much pain it causes, you still manage to look at failure as a learning opportunity – as a way for you to further get to know yourself, understand yourself, and understand how this will make you better and stronger next time.
  13. You have specific goals for yourself every single day, no matter how small or trivial they may feel in the moment.
  14. You find familiarity easy and comforting, but never invigorating.
  15. You are not afraid of admitting when you don’t know something. In fact, you are quite comfortable with it, because you know it brings you one step closer to learning something new or becoming just a little bit better.
  16. You do your best to be very conscious of and wary of criticizing or gossiping about others – because you know it usually means you’re projecting something you’re insecure about within yourself.
  17. You are way more afraid of plateauing than you are of failing.
  18. In your mind, ‘good enough’ is no different than ‘not good enough.’ You are never satisfied with ‘good enough.’
  19. You try every single day to find happiness in little present moments, because you’ve learned that there’s never going to be a moment when you simply reach your destination and no longer need to grow.
  20. You are very much okay with talking about those things you need to improve on. And being okay with it doesn’t mean you like talking about your shortcomings, it just means you know how to address them in a healthy and productive way.
  21. You ask yourself the hard questions – does this matter in the long run? am I just trying to take the easy way out? will this be a temporary distraction or will this actually make me better? does this challenge me? does being challenged by this bring me joy?
  22. You have found that you’ve grown to love the process just as much as (or even more than) the outcome.

50 Tiny Powerful Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

  1. I am enough.
  2. I am not wrong or weak for feeling things deeply.
  3. I deserve to be happy.
  4. But that doesn’t mean I automatically deserve to have whatever I want, whenever I want.
  5. Tomorrow is always a new day.
  6. Everyone I know is a fully, three-dimensional person with feelings and insecurities and a life story that I haven’t heard – even if I don’t like them.
  7. I can do this.
  8. Bravery doesn’t usually come from feeling brave – it comes from doing something despite how afraid I feel.
  9. I cannot settle for mediocrity.
  10. The people I look up to didn’t get there by sitting on their asses.
  11. Sometimes a really tiny and simple thing can completely turn someone’s day around.
  12. Being in love will not always be easy and effortless.
  13. I am me, and that can be a lot of different things, and that’s wonderful.
  14. Being able to admit when I’m wrong is way more important than being right.
  15. Sometimes I will try stuff that I won’t be automatically good at. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to get better.
  16. It is okay, and even necessary, to walk away from people who hurt me.
  17. The online version of my life is not what gives me meaning.
  18. Even my ideal dream job is still going to be incredibly difficult, because anything worthwhile takes blood and sweat and tears.
  19. When I am going through heartbreak, it means I am experiencing one of the most universal feelings on the planet. I am not alone.
  20. Sometimes maintaining friendships in adulthood is hard and that’s okay, as long as I keep trying with the people who matter to me.
  21. The people who really love me are the ones who are telling me what I need to hear, even if I don’t want to hear it.
  22. It’s normal that sometimes I truly crave credit or validation or praise. It’s part of being human.
  23. I can be a different version of myself in front of different people, and it doesn’t make me any less authentic.
  24. This doesn’t have to be where I end up if I don’t want it to be that way.
  25. Sometimes, I’m just going to have a really rough day, or week, or year. But I will survive it. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
  26. My heart is fragile but my strength is unwavering.
  27. I’m allowed to leave a job I hate to find something better.
  28. No matter how careful I am, I’m going to make mistakes. What’s important is how I handle the aftermath.
  29. The times when I really don’t want to get out of bed are usually the moments when it is most crucial that I do so.
  30. Anxiety and depression and other mental health related struggles don’t make me weak. I just need to remember to be strong enough to ask for help.
  31. It’s important to tell the truth, especially to myself.
  32. Everybody is scared. I’m not the only one.
  33. Sometimes feeling lost is a good thing.
  34. Usually when I’m heavily judging someone, what I’m really doing is projecting something that I dislike within myself.
  35. Money can make things easier and less stressful, but it won’t make me happier or more fulfilled.
  36. I’m allowed to be proud of myself.
  37. I should never take advantage of the fact that my loved ones are only a phone call away.
  38. The only time procrastination feels good is in the moment.
  39. I can’t change the fact that my body will age, but I can control how I handle it.
  40. No matter how happy or put-together they seem, everyone is struggling with something, just like me.
  41. Regret is much scarier than failure.
  42. When I make others look good, I look good too. And it’s a much more joyful way to live.
  43. Admitting that I care about something is so much more fun than trying to play it cool.
  44. It’s important to be humble, but it’s also important to stand up for myself when I’m being treated unfairly.
  45. Just because someone is cold to me doesn’t mean I need to be cold back.
  46. There is no better quality than making others feel like, and understand that, they matter.
  47. Laughter should always be a high priority.
  48. Being warm to others can take me so incredibly far.
  49. I am here to do something.
  50. Looking for ways to feel grateful for things, instead of frustrated over them, can drastically change the way I look at the world and the way I feel about my life.

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Minot Sober Living Home Offers Support to Women in Recovery

A sober living home called the Sanctuary opened at the beginning of the month in the city of Minot, North Dakota, to support women who live in the area and who are recovering from substance use disorders.

The facility focuses on promoting non-chemical coping skills, volunteer efforts, profitable employment, education, and action and bases its program on the 12-step model to recovery which involves structured environments, workshops, as well as spiritual teachings.

There is a total of 11 trained individuals who are involved with managing the sober living home, which can accommodate a total of 14 women for provisional periods in a four-bedroom house. The representatives of the center stated that, in addition to a double room, the large size of the bedrooms allow them to be shared by up to six women.

The staff members explained that they believe that the fact that the women have to share the premises prevents them from becoming isolated.

The Sanctuary features numerous other congregational rooms for the assisting women who have gone through detoxification for a drug or an alcohol addiction but haven’t returned to their homes or routines yet.

The first residents have moved to the center and the staff members are currently in the process of reviewing other applications that have been submitted by potential residents.

Applications from anyone who meets their requirements and is truly committed to achieving recovery will be accepted.

The women are required to go to 14 meetings every week across recovery programs — some of them that are held at the house and some are not, such as the meetings with peer support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.

The residents of the Sanctuary also have to participate in random and unscheduled drug tests, and due to the zero-tolerance drug use policy, anyone whose tests results come out positive gets evicted.


Higher Education and the World Bank

HOPES of higher learning institutions in the country of obtaining faster access to broadband space links on the basis of a project of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology forwarded to the World Bank for a loan facility have now evaporated. A ministry proposal for $7bn loan from the World Bank to finance access to broadband for close to 35 institutions of higher learning fell flat, partly because broadband communication is not a core business of the International Development Association (IDA(), its soft loans window. At the moment IDA is interested in the wider doing business environment, not big ICT.

It is undeniable that the ministry prepared the proposal in line with Vision 2025 and the Big Results Now program, without understanding that the notion of ‘development partners’ does not mean there is always an element of co-financing. The error of the ministry was to seek ‘big finance’ for a big ICT project, whereas it is more likely that IDA         would be safer extending leverage financing, so that it catapults project uptake by other stakeholders like commercial banks, bond holders of university investments like pension funds or private foundations, charities, etc. Asking the IDA for a $7bn ICT loan was faulty, an error on its strategies, mandate.

The lesson from this failed inititive is that Big Results Now has to be pegged more or less consistently to availability of local financing, and this doesn’t just mean the government budget or loans from commercial banks, Indeed it is hard to see how $7bn can be raised by commercial banks at the local level, but it is easier to see how foreign investors actually purchasing land, for instance that which bears this or that mineral, could ‘beef up’ owners of land with that sort of cash. It is a matter of strategy where the government skips its prerogative of owning the land, as that way it is compelled to bring up cash, instead of land raising it in being transfered.

Uplifting the country’s information technology level is vital in mapping out all issues of quality education as well as inserting small local firms, entrepreneurs in the local and regional market. They also need to make inroads into wider markets, where access to bits and pieces of information spread out in websites etc is key to success. Banks can supply much of this finance if they can take land as collateral.

What this drawback means is that the country’s doing business environment needs to be reformed in a way that is more radical than in current government programs, as a conservative attitude on land transfer and ownership presumes that one does not need the land to raise finance. It is to suggest that the government shall meet most of what higher learning institutions need and then it is supplemented by either World Bank loans or grants by donors, a modality that is now diminishing.

For instance Kenya has a fixed broadband subscription of upwards of 43,000 by mid 2013, Uganda upwards of 36,000 subscriptions and Tanzania slightly below 4,000 subscribers to broadband connection. Those who place their hopes in IDA loans should ask if it is the World Bank which facilitated our neighbours to obtain Big Results in the ICT broadband field? Not at all; they used local resources, and this means transferability of property and access to loans, not widening the tax base as some experts constantly scream at the government this side of the border.

Nobody has doubts that the current team of cabinet ministers, the veterans and the novices, all have great ideas about Big Results Now, the problem being that the Tanzanian bureaucracy has not yet come out of its planning mentality. They see achievements not as a result of an excellent business envirronment whose essential premise is the transferability of fixed property but elaborate or ‘deliberate’ plans and powerful delivery bureaus to ensure that results are registered as expected.  When we have one tenth of broadband connections at individual level (not at group level as in offices or internet cafes), and we depend on World Bank loans even to link up universities and colleges, loans we can’t get, do we wait for Big Results?