Life and business are more meaningful when we seek guidance and sage advice from leaders who are making a difference in our world. Therefore, I offer you these valuable tidbits from some of my favorite thought leaders. May your day become that much more contemplative as you absorb these insights.

Beth Comstock, Vice Chair, GE

In her article, "Power versus Empathy," Comstock encourages people to use their power rather than wait for permission to act.

"Even after years of acclimating myself and others to change, I still need this reminder of what it means to have power rather than waiting to be "empowered." Waiting for permission." Comstock has noticed that an immense amount of progress on vital projects is often lost to waiting. "Waiting for enough information. Waiting for the perfect plan. Waiting for somebody in charge to give the go ahead.

"Don't have them wait for you. Don't let them waste your time by waiting around to be 'empowered'.

Leaders who, even with the best of intentions, interrupt this flow, actually prevent their companies from adapting and innovating. The key is to take actions, share your results and make them part of the information flow."

Ryan Holmes, CEO, Hootsuite

Holmes has discovered that these four words are the most important words in business:  

"How can I help?"

"The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. If business is all about who you know, then this simple line, 'How can I help?' might be the ultimate networking tool. At its heart, it's a powerful way to fast-track relationships and build goodwill. By offering to help, you cultivate instant rapport and establish an immediate sense of trust. Rather than waiting for someone to prove themselves to you, you take the bull by the horns and prove yourself to them. A foundation is built--with striking speed and efficiency --for future interactions."

Brené Brown, Research Professor, University of Houston

Brown says that "The people who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses in this world.

"The difference between 'I am a screwup' and 'I screwed up' may look small, but in fact it's huge. Many of us will spend our entire lives trying to slog through the shame swampland to get to a place where we can give ourselves permission to both be imperfect and to believe we are enough.

Failure can become our most powerful path to learning if we're willing to choose courage over comfort."

Shelly Palmer, CEO of The Palmer Group

Palmer says you need to learn everything you can about A.I. and put it to work for your brand right now.

"The human/machine partnership you need to forge is the next step in your personal evolution.

You've already outsourced parts of your brain to your smartphone. It stores and processes your contact list, maps, knowledge base, etc. Now you will enhance your cognitive capabilities by partnering with an AI coworker. You just need to start thinking for two. What parts of a given problem are best solved by a machine, and what parts need to be solved by a human? Working together, the two of you will achieve greater results than either of you could achieve alone. I know this sounds hard. It can be tough learning to split your thinking in two. But don't worry. There are many support and encounter groups that offer help and guidance."

Nir Eyal, Behavioral Design Consultant & Investor

"The practice of imagining a villain that's conspiring against us, scapegoating can be an effective way to motivate ourselves and change our behaviors," says Eyal.

He suggests that leveraging a powerful psychological hack he refers to as scapegoating can help us to make it through difficult challenges. By projecting a problem onto an imaginary scapegoat, we can feel more powerful and in charge of achieving our goals.

"Once we've identified our own self-defeating behaviors, the next challenge is to implement a change, which can be difficult if we think what's happening to us is beyond our control" he says. "In these situations, it's easy to feel powerless and to give up. It's here that scapegoating can be used to our advantage. By directing our anger and anxieties at an invisible they, the forces working against us seem more tangible, so we feel like we have more power to fight them."

Jennifer Pahlka, Founder & Executive Director, Code for America

"It's not your talent that makes you extraordinary: it is your empathy, and your desire to serve. Keep honoring that, and the service of those around you, and you will do more good for the American people than the most extraordinary talent this country has to offer."

Gretchen Rubin, author of New York Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project.

In this article, Rubin dubs some fundamental principles as her Eight Splendid Truths. Here are two of my favorite:

First Splendid Truth:

"To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth."

Fourth Splendid Truth:

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;

One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

Anna Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

From her article, "Career Advice on International Women's Day: 4 Things I'd Do Again, 2 Mistakes I Made:"

"Use fear as a divining rod. Embrace fear as both motivating and inspiring. It's scary to put your ideas out there. It's scary to stand up for yourself. It's scary to raise your hand.

And if something scares professional-you? Very often, that's the very thing worth doing."

Greg McKeown, New York Times Bestselling Author

"Deep engagement does not begin with getting people to listen to you; it begins when you really listen to them.

You can increase the ratio of listening to speaking by asking questions and spending at least 50% of any conversation actively listening to the other person speak. If you want to engage your employees at a whole new level, if you want to become a person of greater influence, and if you want to discover a new kind of power--listen."

Dan Schulman, President and CEO at PayPal

Schulman closed his Address to the Rutgers University Class of 2018 by telling them to be "relentlessly optimistic."

"Life has a way of throwing a lot of curve balls at you. You will be knocked down many times.  And it will be painful. But you must get up--and having a little attitude helps.

Shakespeare once said, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.' I believe that.  We need to imagine a better world in order to create it. So be optimistic."

Published on: Jun 18, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.