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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gifts



She pretends it's not important to her.

At age 10 it's all about being nonchalant, but the first place she looks  when she enters my office is my bulletin board.

Since she was 3 she's spent a week with us each summer. She left  this note when she was 5. Her dad came to pick her up early on a Friday morning, I'd already headed out for the day and didn't notice it until I returned late that afternoon.

It sat in the middle of my desk, where I'd be sure to notice it.

"I will miss you." 

Scrawled with a red crayon on a post it note, the edges were wrinkled where she'd tried to hold the paper down. 

It's been on my bulletin board ever since. 

When I start feeling smug and full of myself I swivel in my chair and look at it for a few seconds.

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Corinthians 1:20

There is a genuine sense of vulnerability in that simple, heartfelt  scrawl.

It says don't be afraid to admit that you need  other people in you life. 

It says that it's okay to admit you don't know everything and that collaboration beats the snot out of competition. 

It says there will be those days of weakness, doubt, and indecision.

It says it's okay to show your warts and your own weaknesses. 

It says you are loved and treasured and valued.

What my grand daughter taught me was: When you want to bite your tongue because you're afraid of what the person staring back at you might think, go ahead and tell them you'll miss them.

The worst they can do is run away.

Namaste dear ones

Friday, December 18, 2015

An Instrument of Your Peace..... Bonus Blog


I have a favor to ask. 

Would you share this posting?

You see, while I normally put the "P" in positive I am growing weary of peoples attempts at humor at the expense of other people.

I didn't know poverty, addiction, emotional illness and hopelessness were fodder for an acerbic tongue on social media. I'm speaking of the postings both written and in picture that poke fun at people who aren't, well lets be hones here, people who aren't like US.

On top of being really good looking I read minds.

Yes, I count myself among those who have backed away from a person who doesn't seem "quite right."

Yes, I've laughed at people and made jokes.

I did all those things.

Then, like Paul of the road to Damascus, God gave me my own form of blindness in the manner of barley being able to walk without pain and agony for close to three years. Then, those who moved haltingly and in pain, those whose balance was compromised, those who suffered from anxiety and depression because there was no "cure"...............

Yeah, "them people." - I was one of them and the view I saw from the other side wasn't pleasant.

The people who beep at you in a parking lot and roll down their window and yell "What the hell is your problem?!?!" simply because you are walking slowly and gingerly.

The people in the grocery store who looked at you like you have three heads and moved away quickly when your whole left leg goes numb and resembles a noodle and you are left leaning against the end cap display because if you move you're gonna fall down. You find yourself alone really quick.

The folks who stayed away because they didnt want to be reminded.

You wanna cry out "It's not my fault! I didn't ask to be like this."

God blessed me. I see than now. I see that he gave me that opportunity to learn  there is nothing funny about suffering. He humbled me - big time, and I'll tell you while today the lesson was learned, thank-you-very-much, it was no fun.

I could go on and on.

I'll share something with you I say each  morning as I clear the sleep from my head and fumble about the bedroom getting dressed.

It's the Prayer of St Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


I'm not ready to ascend into heaven quite yet. 

Paul said it best in his first letter to Timothy

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.

I have my faults and they are many

The picture I snagged from Facebook at the beginning of this posting says it best. God only asks for our hearts, nothing grandiose or spectacular, just love and understanding for everything and everyone we encounter

It's a full time and a life time job. 

Now.......... as Dr. Laura always says Go do the right thing!

Namaste


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In Transition




I musta started this posting at least 10 times in the past 3 days. I'd type 5 lines or so and look at the page and shake my head. 

Who the hell wrote this?

Nothing seemed to resonate, so I'd delete and go on about my business. 

My daily appointment with God comes somewhere between 2 and 230 AM each morning. No matter how early or late I retire; no matter how many practices and remedies I employ - I still wake up every night at roughly the same time. 

I used to just lie there and get frustrated. Now, I figure if I'm awake I might as well be somewhat productive, ya know? 

I told God the problem I was having writing this weeks posting. In a surreptitious way I was probing to see if His fine hand was involved and I was in the middle of another one of those life lessons He is so fond of using. 

What do you want to say?

I told Him

Okay, so go back a year and look at where you were at and then look at where you are now. Did everything you'd planned on come to fruition?What changed  and what stayed the same? What do you know now that you didn't know then? 

I'll spare you the details. 

Here is what I learned: 

  • My life is constantly changing and evolving and presenting me with all sorts of opportunities. If I'm alert enough to take advantage of those opportunities I am going to grow and and be more happy and successful. 


  • Even when I do not take advantage of those opportunities there has always been a lesson to be learned and if I can somehow struggle through the disappointment, pain and frustration I'm better for having had the experience

  • Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit and be quiet. Curl up in the corner and peek out for a bit. So silent and so quiet that people will wonder where you've gone!

I have come to believe in transitions. I have come to believe that in a very fluid way our lives move from one scenario to another and often we don'y catch the subtleties until we are smack dab in the middle of a new experience.


This is my last posting of 2015. I am taking the remainder of the year to prepare for next year. I do not know what it's going to bring. I don't know where I'll go and what opportunities will reveal themselves along the way. 

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!


Do not misunderstand. My head is teeming with thoughts, ideas and new adventures, but like my cup of green tea I drink each morning, I prefer to simply savor it for the next few weeks and look forward to what's next.



You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked. 
But mostly they're darked. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! 
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?



Quotes for this blog are from the Dr Seuss book Oh, the Places You'll Go. 



Monday, December 7, 2015

Sounds of Silence



Nothing's been going where I wanted it to go these past couple of weeks!

Do you have any idea as to why? 

It's like every road I walk down hits a dead end. 

I scribbled something on a napkin and slide it across the table.

 Psalm 46:10

When you get a chance look it up. 

I took the napkin back and added in quotations "Been there, done that."

Just so you don't feel alone. 

Rick shot me one of those "What am I paying you for if I have to look this stuff up myself" looks.

It says "Be still and know that I am God."

And, how does that help me get to where I want to go? 

Lemme tell you a story...........

Years ago I met a gentleman of the Hari Krishna faith. I asked him for some wisdom. This is what he shared with me:

Where you are, is where you are supposed to be, right now!

Rick just stared at me

Suppose you got something before you were ready or equipped to use it to its full potential. I mean what if you knew from he moment you touched it that it was going to fail.?

I'd pass

Exactly! Sometimes we have to wait until the moments right. How do they say it "Until the planets are aligned ?"

You're telling me to be patient. 

I'm telling you that maybe, just maybe something better and more effective then what you're looking for may be right around the corner but as long as you and I are making so much noise we'll never hear or see it coming.




Be still, and know that I am God. 



The photo was taken by me in Seal Beach, California in February of 2006.



#soundsofsilence

Sunday, November 29, 2015

No One is Ever 100% Wrong (Or right for that matter.)






Hey, can I stop over in a few?

I thought you were working until 9?

I was. ((((Some Silence)))) We were slow so they told me I could leave early. Can I stop by? 

"I'm crazy but I ain't real dumb." David Crosby, Cowboy Movie

It's Black Friday, you are an assistant manager at a nationally known boutique and you're slow?

The Cliff Notes version goes like this:

There had been a management change 4 months ago. The old manager thought she'd hung the sun. She was their top producer, the golden child. Life was good. Corporate people were talking bonuses and promotions.

"Life is good please enjoy it while it lasts." DMX, Ain't No Sunshine

Her mentor left the company and when the new manager arrived she began creating a different environment. She wasn't so much about sales and competition as she was about unity and teamwork and everyone being successful.

The proverbial 180

In short, her boss told her to adjust her attitude or maybe it might be time to move on. Her career goals were not in alignment with the new regimes way of doing business. Square peg in a round hole and all that stuff. She was devastated. She'd made a complete investment in this job. Not only does she enjoy working retail she is good at it.

Bad news, in our family travels faster than a brush fire. Siblings banged their chests in support and proclaimed they would never shop in that store or any of its affiliates ever again.

Did I say "Ever?"

I sat at the kitchen table looking out the window.

Joan shot me one of those "Are you going to say anything looks?"

No one is ever as good as you think and no one is ever as bad as you think. 

Ray Taylor taught me that. He was one of my first bosses and he told me that it is never, ever an all or nothing proposition especially when it comes to dealing with people. The best will one day disappoint us and the worst will one day surprise us.

Now, the dad in me wanted to get in the car and go beat a few people up and start a social media campaign that would put the company out of business. How dare someone hurt my little girl!

But little girls grow up and sometimes being a growling father pawing the ground is not in anyone's best interest.

I don't understand dad. 

It means your boss isn't 100 percent wrong and neither are you. There is some wisdom in both of your  positions. My advice is to find a common ground and work together. 


I told her it was natural and normal to hurt and be angry.

This life we live was never meant to be easy. The challenges, the struggles, the failures and disappointments we experience are the dings, nicks and scrapes of this world.

It's sad but true; there are no absolutes, no 100 percents, just a lot of wriggling and maneuvering to create the optimal degree of comfort Some days we have to look into that corner of ourselves we'd rather not see and do a bit of housekeeping painful as the process may seem.The advice I gave her went something like this:

Call your mentor and ask for her guidance. She knows the geography much better than I do. Listen to what she has to say.

When you go back to work tomorrow sit down with the boss and ask her to make a list of the areas she feels you need to improve in. Ask her to meet with you weekly and give you feedback on your performance.

The coach and consultant in me says there is lots to learn for both of them.

The dad in me just hugged her.






Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don't Challenge, Change


Yup it,s that time of year.

My inbox is stuffed with exhortations to be healthy, to plan for the future, to get organized, to free my soul, to make 2016 the best year ever............... I could be here all day

I'm not hating.

I need to do all of those and a few more to boot.

By mid February even the greatest iron clad challenge of the year administered by the most influential guru's on the planet are often a fond memory.

But, what if................

What if there were one change that could be made universally that would take care of everything else?

What if instead of challenging ourselves to do something for a short period of time we dug deep, became a bit uncomfortable, tossed and turned for awhile but when the wrestling match was over we were left with serenity?

What if gratitude, thankfulness and being grateful were more than platitudes?

What if weren't discretionary in our thanks?

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:10-14

I'd like to think of myself more like the tax collector but in truth I live my life like the Pharisee thanking God that "I'm not like....." or "I'm grateful this didn't happen to me." 

Often my gratitude is smug and tinged with pity for the poor soul whose lot in life is just a smidgen worse than mine. 

We don't like to read these things, much less think about them. I know I don't. 

I've found that when I post blogs that have unicorns, fairy dust and magic in them my readership and comments spike, but when I talk about "this stuff," the things necessary to get to all of the magic, people vanish. 

I am grateful that I am learning to be thankful for everything that crosses my path on a day to day basis. It's made me, me. 

There has been much joy, some sadness and pain, but mostly days that are simply days that connect the two experiences. 

What if being thankful was standard operating equipment? 

What if innately I was thankful for you and you for me and for all the collective experiences in the universe?

Would we need anything else but each other?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Only Marketing Tip You'll Ever Need ***Bonus Blog***



"It was great sitting next to you this morning at the networking event! It is easy to see you are incredibly passionate about your profession."

It came in an email late Friday afternoon. I wish I could share a complicated formula with you on how to arrive at that place of passion. I can't.


"Be Yourself."

62 years of life have taught me that it is easy to get lost and fall for the call of the bright and shiny and veer off of your chosen path. It's easy to get immersed in all the bling and buzz words and what's popular and what isn't popular. 

I listen to webinars while I am eating my lunch and a few weeks ago the speaker made an observation. She said:

"There are guru's and then there are poo-ru's" Which one are you?"

At times, probably both.

I've learned to be John and John cares deeply about other peoples success and he'll work hard to help you get there and then challenge you to help someone yourself.

That's it.

If you want to know the nuts and bolts read my web page. 

If you want to experience me Skype, Hangout, phone or visit me in person. 

I don't follow the rules. I never have. 

We are on the cusp of 2016. Wouldn't it be a great gift to you if your main goal was digging deep and finding the best you there is, and then using your career to share it with the world. 

By the way............. I still do not understand how to create and use a landing page. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Do You Deserve: Only You Decide

Over the next 3 weeks I am going to share three universal truths that will help you create success and happiness in your lives. 

No magic bullets


You can pay me thousands of dollars to work with you but it wont mean a thing, unless you are committed to your success. 






Yeah, it's a scary proposition, buy ya know what? 

You are up to it


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"I'm That Good"


I never told you about Kaitlin, did I?

Kaitlin was a cheerleader, honor role student, athlete and eventually class president.

I was in the drama club. I enjoyed the technical side of the theater, specifically the directing and producing part.



I did try acting once and Mrs. McDonald introduced me to the concept of a broom handle being put in a certain part of your anatomy. That was the first time I'd heard that phrase. 

One afternoon Kaitlin slid in next to me as we were walking down the hall.

Can I ask you a big favor?

I wanted to tell her that dying on the spot would really upset my parents and at least my sisters. I've never been too sure about my brother. Besides I didn't think Kaitlin even knew who I was.

You're working on the school play , right? 

I nodded.

I want the lead female part and someone told me you were good at directing people. 

More nods

Would you work with me? So I could get the part? 

I knew something Kaitlin didn't know. I knew that Mrs. McDonald had pretty much decided who was getting both male and female leads but since she wasn't the head of the English department she couldn't make her own rules so she had to go through the pretense of holding tryouts.

Please, it would mean a lot. 

Did I mention on a scale of 1 to 10 Kaitlin was a 15?

For the next 4 weeks I worked with her. Every day after school, sometimes on Saturday's and once even before school in the drama room.  When the dust settled she was awarded the lead role.

In my star struck mist it took me many years to realize that all the honors Kaitlin had racked up in her short life came to her because she believed she was that good. It wasn't luck. It was a deep seeded belief that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to accomplish. Even if it meant reaching out to someone she barley knew and asking  him for help.

Try to remember that in the 14 to 18 year old world stepping outside of your social class and talking to much less eliciting assistance from someone 2 or 3 rungs below you was anathema. 

Kaitlin taught me that the "cool kids" often get a bad rap. They have no problem saying "I'm that good." and they had the courage  and wisdom to back it up.

I knew the person who was slated for the female lead. We sat beside each other in drama class. When we graduated she had her pick of drama scholarships to some of the best colleges in the country. One day she and I arrived for class early and she sat there looking at me.

You helped her, didn't you? You helped Kaitlin?

I nodded  (I nodded a lot back then!)

That was smart of her......... to get someone to work with her. 

We all have visions. The Kaitlin's of this world take it one step farther, don't they? They do whats necessary to make that vision a reality. Those 4 weeks we spent together? She was all business and focused on what she wanted to attain. Despite my Mitty-like dreams there wasn't any socializing

We didnt talk after she got the lead role. When we'd pass in the hall she'd wave or smile, once she even winked at me (I damn near peed my pants) 

There's a lesson here. Believe in yourself and what you want and then do what is necessary to get there. Whether it's your life or your career  --- GO FOR IT!

Post Script
A few years ago someone asked if I remembered my first coaching client. I prattled on about a company that hired me to help them navigate out of a tough situation until one day it dawned on me that Kaitlin was really my first coaching client all the way back in 1971 before we even had a glimmer of what coaching was. 

BTW Kaitlin is not her real name  and I don't know whatever became of her   :)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Apples Just Aren't Apples & Neither is Your Resume ***Bonus Blog***

Joan and I were at the grocery the other evening. While she checked off the items on her list I found myself square in front of a huge display of apples.

I didn't know there were so many varieties of apples.



Did you know the best apple pies are made with more than one variety of apple? 

Okay, moving on.

Driving home I thought about a conversation I had earlier in the day with a client.

He wondered why the resume I created for him didn't look like the resume I'd created for his brother.

You're not your brother

Blank stare

Despite what the "experts" opine on a regular basis a resume is 3-dimensional. Imagine a beating heart. (I didn't actually say "opine" but I always wanted to use the word.)

He nodded.

In other words it's just like your DNA - No two alike. 

The easiest way to explain this, so you can get back to your life, is like this:

Everything you've done in your life and career has an individual imprint on it.  That imprint  is yours alone. While other people may share your interests and qualifications no one does it quite like you.

So how come your resume looks like everyone else's?

How come it's not like that display of apples - distinctive?

Whether were a Boomer, Gen X, Y, Z or a Millennial we all pretty much stick with the tried and true.

I mean, it's your career right? No sense fooling around with it. Make it vanilla, predictable and  safe.

But then when you sit around waiting for your phone to ring for an interview, maybe it's time to look beyond the experts, ya know?

We don't hire resumes, we hire people. Make yours a mirror of you.




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Humility Trap

Ever get that feeling that something just isn't right?


A pebble in your shoe? A meal that didn't sit right on your tummy? No matter how many ways you look at it something just isn't right!!



I was working with a client who was preparing for a final  job  interview

But something wasn't right. So I asked

I don't feel comfortable John. A lot of this sounds like I'm bragging.

Is it all factual?

Yes

You gave credit where credit was due?

Yes

No plagiarism, theft or exaggeration?  

Correct

I sat back and looked at her and grinned.

You've fallen prey to the Humility Trap. When you look at yourself a little voice says one of two things: "No one is that good! or "Just who do you think you are?" 

She laughed, out loud.I mean the real kind,from the old days.

We chose a path to follow, work hard and set some goals. We make sacrifices, at times, because we saw very clearly where, how fulfilling and satisfying life would be. It was worth it!

Then in one fell swoop, we sit before a group of somebodies who could help us reach that goal and we downplay and minimize everything we've worked on for so long and so hard.

That could be an alternate definition of insanity. 

Humility has it's place, but never in our career search or development. That myth was spun by people who didn't put in all the hard work, make the sacrifices and set the goals we did. So someone, somewhere turned a plus into a minus.

I asked my client three critical questions:


Is it factual - No exaggerations?
Did you acknowledge other people who participated and assisted you? 
Was what you accomplished authentic? 

When you answer yes to each of those questions you are acknowledging your worth and value. 

You worked hard. you should be proud and the right employer will see your value as a determined and confident candidate. 

My grandma said it best: "If it's the truth, it's not bragging"


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Don't Ever Get Comfortable



There is part of me that just wants to leave it there, hit "publish."





No matter what path you choose to follow in life, your career is an important relationship. I always wonder why that relationship is often left to chance.

My advice is pretty vanilla.

Always (Did I say always?) have a plan in place for whats around the corner.

In most cases we don't anticipate it.

"John can I talk to you for a second?"

After a few mumbled "I'm sorry's" and a lotta looking at the floor, you, your box and your career are headed for the parking lot and you feel like someones hit you over the head with a fence post.

No vacation, no new car, no man or woman cave. No addition to the house.

The experts and guru's - most of whom have never faced the situation you find yourself in as you walk towards the car - tell you it is time to grieve, to reflect, to examine your options.Ever try  telling the gas company you are grieving while they are wondering where this months payment is?

Have you ever trained athletically?

Something interrupted the flow and suddenly you aren't training or working out any longer.

In your mind you know you should be but it gets easier and easier NOT TO.

You start most of your sentences with "I used to...."

It's called a comfort zone. ( We are good at creating them!)

Going through an unexpected career transition may be painful and unsettling but after awhile, whether we admit it or not, we become comfortable with the change. It's similar to injuring your knee and knowing that if you turn the wrong way there is going to be some pain.

Why can't we apply the same logic and wisdom to our careers?

Keep your resume current.
This should be SOP for everyone, entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants included. But you know, it's like life insurance, 401k's and wills. Everyone says you are supposed to have one but very few people keep their resume current.

I'm not just talking about updating career moves and accomplishments. If you have not reformatted your resume in the past three years it may be out dated. It's not enough to have the old and reliable vanilla resume. When the unexpected occurs you can do a quick review and begin using it immediately as a career search tool.

Keep Informed
Since 2008 more often than not many people find themselves in a situation where they are living from paycheck to paycheck. Many of their jobs were eliminated or changed.

"It is widely believed that by 2020 as many as 50% of all jobs will be short-term contracts, freelance work and temporary assignments. We know now the average length of service at any one company for Millennials is 2.6 years. But how are we changing our talent management practices to address these facts?" Pamela Harding Next Dimension Media

That is a scary proposition and its only four years away.

What can you do right now to prepare yourself  if you find a sudden career transition puts your income at slightly more than half of what it is today? There are number of strategies - enough to fill an entire blog posting.

Is it time for you to start looking at "other options" before thy look at you.

The internet has given us limitless opportunity to research anything our hearts desire.

What about alternative careers and should you start preparing for a transition now?

My next five or six blogs will cover career transitions and how to prepare.

So as my late mentor Lou Tice always said

"Stay tuned, there's more to come."




Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.



"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19 11-12

Two weeks ago I spent some time talking to people from all over the world about how to effectively network for your business and career.

From the USA to Ireland, Bulgaria, Australia, Canada and Mexico, people weighed in on what makes them  effective at  networking.

Authenticity, Integrity and Giving before Receiving; they were all cornerstones of their networking success.

But there was one quality I had over looked.

It's listening. More aptly put it's active listening. 

You know, like I am truly interested in what you are talking about because I am honoring the you as a person with valuable insights and a business or career you are proud of?

Ouch!

Gotta tell you it stung  a bit. 

When the bell sounds and the networking begins, if I'm not the first one out of the gate, I'm going over my elevator pitch in my head, refining it to my audience. Getting ready to put my best foot forward.

Excuse me, did you say something?

(((Oh, well I don't think I'll ever need a veterinary service for exotic reptiles so I'll smile, nod and add a few "Oh really's" !?!?")))

It never dawned on me that other people were doing the same thing when I was talking. 

When I listen to you I increase your chances of listening to me. 

Yeah sometimes it is a battle. 

I DO LISTEN! - Really I do. 

By that Friday morning I was in a bit of a tizzy. 

Somewhere during the drive over that Scripture verse slid into my head. 

"And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 

(Thank you Holy Spirit, ancestors and assorted angels who guide me.)

The prophet Elijah couldn't hear God's call because he was listening for all the wrong things. He was tailoring other peoples messages (God's) to his own personal needs.

Never mind that the message might be of benefit to someone he knew, loved or worked with.

How do we, me included, become more effective listeners.

First,  understand that listening isn't a passive skill but an active one.
REAL listening takes effort and self discipline. It's easier when I believe in my core values that what you share, even if it is something I'll never need or want, is equal in value to what I share.

Second, I can tell if you are listening.  - You are making eye contact when I am speaking.
I made a concerted effort to look at the speaker and take a few quick notes. It shows I'm engage. Ask them questions. You would be surprised that when it's your turn to speak how people will return the favor.

Third, practice the 5 P's - Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. 
Networking is an essential part of your career or business. Just like everything else you prepare for networking should be something that is "good to go" when you arrive at the event.

One of the more effective net workers I know has her team work off a loose script she prepares for them each week. It is always something memorable - good advice or an FYI.  I've noticed, since I've started taking Remedial Listening Skills 101-A that the prepared person is able to listen comfortably to what other people in the group have to share.

How I listen to you says a lot about my character and integrity.

It's an uphill battle, for sure, because just like you I want to be heard.

"The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both." Proverbs 20:12

____________________________________________________________________________

This is the final blog I'm writing on networking. I hadn't intended for there to be 6 of them but every time I finished writing I felt I had more to say on the issue. I've been encouraged to put together a webinar series on networking. So stay tuned and if you'd be interested in learning more you can contact me at newcareercreations@outlook.com


Next week I'll begin talking about the issue of Career Transitions.  Should be fun














Friday, September 25, 2015

A Special Announcement (Just sharing some joy!!!)



My dad's brother changed his name from Jurkiewicz to Foley sometime in the early 1960's. He said it was  for business reasons. He wanted to get ahead and someone told him shortening and anglicizing his name would help him reach that goal.

My dad never said it but I could tell it bothered him. He was proud of his heritage and his name.

I am also

It's why when I began this entrepreneurial journey almost 16 years ago I decided there was no better way to show my pride and honor my dad then by calling the company Jurkiewicz Consulting Services.

A few weeks ago I began working with a great team of graphics and marketing professionals at alphagraphics in Evansville, Indiana. It started with some new business cards and as we spoke they opened my eyes to some possibilities I hadn't considered before.

My domain name jurkiewiczconsulting.com was a mouthful to say possible even more difficult to type correctly.

alphagraphics motto is "increase your reach."

It made sense and then I took it further.

New Career Creations was born.

It feels good and it fits - I am the guy who is looking out for your business and your career. New Career Creations sums up my WHY.

On October 1, 2015 I'll make the change. New email, new domain name, all that cool stuff.

What remains is the same is the consistent service and dedication to you that's been there my entire career. I am making it easier to identify what I do. My web provider will remain the same until early 2016 and then I'll be creating a new look with the help of the folks at alphagraphics. 


So stay tuned there is much more to come

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Which One Are You?

It's hard being me and I'll bet some days it's hard being you.

There is so much pressure to be part of everything that's swirling around us.

I call it the cool kids lunch table phenomenon: At some point in time all of us wanted to be with the cool kids and if we WERE one of the cool kids we felt the pressure to stay there.

Some days it's a monkey-see-monkey-do sorta world. Ya know?

You walk into a large networking event and you almost lose your breath. It can be over whelming and you're not sure where to start.

Are all of these people potential clients? No.

Are many of these people potential contacts? YES!

In his book The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell suggests there are three types of people that influence us.

The Connector
The Connector knows people.  There may be other people who know more people than the Connector but their value lies in knowing the right people. They know people who make decisions and who have influence. They know the right people.

They are the person at the networking event who takes you by the elbow and says "I'm going to introduce you to........"

They usually know the answer to the question "I need to find someone who......"

Connectors are the social glue.

The Maven
The word "maven" has it origins in the Yiddish word that means "One who accumulates knowledge."

A Maven knows trends, they know opportunities  and  they are educators. They are extremely intuitive.

I had a Maven as a client a number of years ago. He could look at multiple situations and pick the one he felt had the best chance of being successful. Mavens  can be life savers because they collect information that many of us over look.

Mavens are data banks

The Sales Person
The Sales Person job is to persuade. They evaluate the knowledge and trends, peer through the tea leaves of connections and ultimately influence whether something fly's or fails.

As a colleague of mine once said They separate the contenders from the pretenders.

The Sales Person can look at the data and can tell you whether something has potential  "as-is." or if it is in need of an adjustment. They know the market.

The Sales Person and The Maven know each other well.

The Sales Person is a fortune teller.

Which one are you?

We are a combination of all three but we have a dominant behavior that influences  our ability to be successful.

That dominant behavior defines our authenticity. It says "This is who I am."

I'm a Connector. I love meeting people and help them find other people that can help them connect with success in their lives and careers.

 I've found a niche for the people I connect with. They are small business people who need a product or service at a cost that's affordable to them. That's the short version.

When we connect people with each other we create influence. Influence creates opportunities.

It's not about sales. It's about building relationships.

The abundance guru's like to suggest that we will our way to prosperity.

Genuine abundance comes from creating relationships and that is the corner stone of the networking process.

Genuine authenticity comes from discovering what your role is and using it to help others find their success. It comes from building relationships.






Thursday, September 17, 2015

The WHAT's &HOW's: The Nuts and Bolts of Networking


Once you know your WHY, your HOW and WHAT come pretty easy.

Finding your WHY can be daunting because we live in a world full of buzz words, one liners and "Hurry-up- and-impress-me-I-am-busy."



It's the reason many people begin with WHAT and HOW.  In short, its easier but it often falls short of engaging your audience.


I want you to know you deserve to be successful. I want you to believe you are worth all the effort you put into yourself. I want you to know how valuable you are. 

That's my WHY

As soon as they hear it  my audience knows what motivates me to do the things I do.

My WHY is the my platform and just like the foundation of any solid building; when its aligned right everything else is clear.

Make sense?

Okay good.

So lets say you've just heard my WHY, you are on the edge of your seat and that little voice is wondering just how in the name of all that is holy are you going to reach those lofty ideals.

My WHAT is simple.

You will look inside yourself and make the adjustments that are necessary for you to reach your success goals, create the action steps for yourself that will move you forward and finally help you learn how to create you internal support system to reach your goals when things get tough.

My HOW is: Your path to self discovery through questions and answers. 

A  participant in a leadership workshop I was teaching set a goal to train for and run in a marathon race. He was young, and in good shape. I noticed when we'd take a break he was the first one out the door and  would light a cigarette.

At lunch I told him how much I admired his dedication and how hard it was to train for a marathon. It required dedication  and sacrifice. I asked him if he'd identified any immediate obstacles.

During our afternoon session he announced he was adjusting his goal. He was going to enroll in a smoking cessation program. He really wanted  run a marathon and by quitting smoking he would overcome an obstacle in his path.

He got there by listening to some of the questions I'd asked about what was necessary to complete his goal and he arrived at his choices after he realized that smoking was a huge impediment to reaching his goals.

When he finished here is what it may have looked like to him:





So when I formulate an elevator speech it sounds something like this.






(Yup that's me caught in my natural habitat with my mouth wide open)

Once you've put it all toether you may want to record your pitch to see how it sound. 

I hoped this helped. 

Next week I am going to talk about Authenticity and Honesty in Networking




Thursday, September 10, 2015

When You Find Your WHY - Networking is Easy.

There's an old joke that says if you put five lawyers in a room and ask them the same question you'll get at least seven answers.

The same holds true when you talk to people about why they attend networking events. There are a host of reasons - and they're all good ones.

Networking can be a highly effective tool for your business, your career or to beef up your contact list.


The most effective net-workers I've met understand their WHY.

Your WHY is the thing that motivates you. It's similar to a lighthouse in the fog. Your WHY attracts other people to you. It makes them want to know more about you.

Most elevator speeches talk about what we do and how we do it. There are 60,500,000 hits from a  Google search for small business consultants and 4,200,000 hits for career development coaches. Let's add life coaching to the mix while we're at it. That's another 64,000,000. If you found a venue that would  hold all of us chances are we'd all give you the same variation on a theme and you'd become distracted in short order. That's because  what we do is similar.

Our how may add a bit more diversity but I've yet to see anyone reinvent the wheel so most of us in the coaching and consulting business follow a pattern, albeit an elastic one, as to how we can effectively serve our customers.

It's a don't mess with success mantra!

That leaves the WHY as a critical variable and I'll tell you straight up , it can be elusive.

Our WHY is what motivates us and it should be as unique as our DNA.


I want you to know you deserve to be successful. I want you to believe you are worth all the effort you put into yourself. I want you to know how valuable you are.  I am fulfilled when I can play a part in you accomplishing your goals. I help good people become better

It tells you I'm motivated to help other people and when I begin my elevator speech with my WHY  you want to know my WHAT and HOW.

I've led off with a flourish and a unique signature.

I'll share a secret with you.

In most cases the people you are talking to aren't 100% engaged with you or what you're saying.

 I mean no disrespect.

Most folks are rehearsing their own 2 minutes of fame and potential fortune while you and I are talking.

But if I preface my WHY with something like:

I don't really know any of you all that well but I'd like you to know when you leave here today that someone cares about you and your career or business. You see...........

Then I launch into my WHY.

People listen.

How do I know?

After most networking events one of two things happen; I get an email thanking me for sharing those thoughts and/or an invitation for coffee or lunch. They are specific in what resonated with them.

My WHY creates a platform to develop a relationship with someone.

Those relationships take time to foster and grow, but tell me what worthwhile thing doesn't?

Find your WHY and you'll find a path to people who want to know your Whats and Hows

Speaking of what's and how's; I'll tackle those in my next posting.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Uninvited


There's a knock at your door.

"Huh," you mutter. "I wonder who that is?"

You open the door.

"Hi, I'm John. I met you at a networking event last week. I gave you my business card, but you know what? I figured you'd want to know more about me and my business. So, I decided to stop by and tell you more.


Do you have a cold drink?"

Don't worry, I'm not going to show up on your door step. I don't have to.

I can decide you really need to receive my unsolicited email correspondence. It may be my newsletter, or blog.There could be a landing page in your future with a really special offer.

You never asked for any of it.

What we have in common is that we exchanged business cards at a networking event.  When I returned to my office I decided you needed my uninvited, unsolicited correspondence.

***********************************************

There are some unwritten rules involved in networking. I'm going to be charitable and presume that some folks aren't aware of those rules.

How do I know?

I'm receiving newsletters and other "special offers" I never asked for. I recognize the sender from their business card. They presume, because we made the exchange I'm interested in their information.

The correspondence is unsolicited. I did not ask for it and even though it lands in my inbox it is still "spam" If you engage in that practice you are spamming. That's not cool.

"But John, how do I get the word out there about me and my company?"

I'm glad you asked.

Be courteous.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a new contact. In the email, they told me what networking event we'd met at, their email address, their company web page, links to the social media pages they'd created and an opt in link for a newsletter. They asked me to "take a look," and if I felt moved to do so "like" their social media pages.

They opened a door and gave me an option as to whether or not I'd walk through.

I appreciated their courtesy. It was a few days before I got around to looking at their stuff and decided I wanted to receive their newsletter.

They left me a choice and most importantly it told me a bit about them and how they did business.  

Arrange a one-on-one. 
“You meet someone at an event, and you have a great conversation. You hand her your card. You go home and just know that she will call. She doesn’t call. You decide networking sucks.”

Those are the words of Monica Shah in a blog she wrote over 3 years ago. 

Most peoples lives are as busy and hectic as ours. When I meet someone I'd like to know better I arrange a one-on-one before we leave the event, mark it in my calender's and follow up with a text or email the day before the meeting. 

When  we meet we  share more about our businesses. I'll tell them I publish a newsletter and a two blogs. I'll  share my web link. If they opt in or not is up to them. 

As the great philosopher once said "Easy, peasey, lemon squeezy."

Remember why you are networking to begin with. 
Networking can be valuable if you understand it's two basic principles. 
  • The purpose of networking is too create relationships.   
  • The purpose of networking is to share something that is valuable to the people you engage.
How do we do  this? 

Funny you should ask. 

I'll cover that in my next posting Elevator Speeches Are Easy, Once You Find Your "Why"

See you soon. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Networking Can Be a Powerful Tool If...................

Networking  can be a  powerful tool for your career or small business if you understand how it works and what it's purpose is.


Here are a few insights I've gained:

Understand what networking really is.
The purpose of networking is to create relationships.

People want to know who we are, what motivates us and most importantly how we can help them be more effective in their lives or  business.

Don't  judge a networking event's potential after one visit.
Get to know the "regulars." They are the people who attend frequently and add value to the event.

Establish a rapport with people and find common bonds and interests.
I try to interact with as many people as possible

Connect with people who you can see yourself working with. 
I met someone at a networking event who sells commercial real estate. He deals mostly with small business owners and if he sees a potential opportunity for me he'll suggest it to his client. It makes him memorable - He's not just selling commercial properties. He's helping his clients create overall success.

I got on an elevator with a former client and as we were catching up he told me that he was in the market for a bigger store - He was outgrowing his current space. Did I know anyone? Yup, I sure did!


Walk the Talk
"I'm ready to hire you so that we can get busy."

That was a line from an email I received recently.

I'd met them three months earlier  at a networking event. I'd answered questions on business start up strategies and suggested they would benefit from some coaching.  I'd also suggested they put three things in place before we started the coaching relationship - things that would assure their business had the best chance of getting off the ground and being successful 

That process took close to three months. We'd meet for coffee every week or so and they'd update me  their progress.  During that time I didn't earn a single dime from the relationship. 

I earned, credibility, trust, and authenticity. I was who I said I was and my actions proved it. I genuinely cared about their success and when they were ready to take the next step they contacted me. 

Those are just a few tips that can help you using networking as an effective tool for you and for your business. There are more I am sure and I'd love to hear from you with the things that have worked effectively for you!



Monday, July 13, 2015

It Don't Mean a Thing if You Ain't Got the Bling

Quick question for you.............

How many of you have purchased exercise equipment - a treadmill, elliptical, weight bench........ and end up using them as a coat rack after about 60 days of use?

See me waving my hand!!!

Do you know why? It's because left to our own devices we get frustrated, blame ourselves and end up moving on to something else.

It's because know one shows us how. There is no A-B-C.

It's the same with out internet marketing and sales efforts. We listen to guru's and set off on our merry way. A web page, a blog, email marketing......... then it's on to the next thing.

Want to know why?

It's because we don't take the time to couple our marketing platform with our sales initiatives. We create a super marketing plan that provides a great product or service and we're not sure what to do next. We take all the time, resource and expertise we invested in creating a brilliant vision and we just sorta let it lie there, waiting for something to happen - Kinda sorta like magic.


I've watched a lot of webinars on how to put together a great marketing platform but  I've never, ever seen one that shows you how to use that marketing plan  as an  effective sales tool. - Until Now


On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 social media expert +Meilani MacDonald and me +John Jurkiewicz  will share 3 tips each on how the marriage of a great marketing platform and a targeted sales initiative, can propel you and your business to greater success. For approximately 30 minutes we will share with you our secrets on creating greater success in your business

By clicking on the event icon below you'll be transported to the event page for this informative broadcast



See you Tuesday, July 21  You won't want to miss this

P.S. If you get there early you'll be able to participate, live with us in the film strip. We have room for 8 people actually ask us live questions.   


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Don't Be A Blue Head And Other Common Social Media Mistakes or Don't Make a Habit of Stepping in It

My friend Andrew calls them "blue heads." They are people who race forward creating social media profile pages with bare bones information and no picture - Sorta like our friend on the left.

Andrew leads a number of membership only online communities. That means you have to pass inspection before you become a member. His first criterion is a picture and a few postings on your profile page so the world knows you are a real live person.

Last week I talked a bit about how to create credible connections that can help you and your business grow in What You Focus On You Magnify Hope you read it, hope you enjoyed.

Here's the thing. Once I make contact with you what are you going to do? You are going to check me out. You are going to make sure I'm some one that is worth connecting with. Here are a few tips on how to create a good first impression.

Be consistent
I've had the pleasure of learning from an online marketing branding expert.  I was  taught  that my brand should be consistent across all my social media sites. That way people know that I'm me. This includes the use of color.


This is my web site header. When you access my Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube sites you'll see the same brand using the same color. It's my social media signature and it's how people identify me. My profile summaries are all the same text. In a word, or two, I am consistent.

Be considerate
I received an email the other day with someones newsletter and attached to it. While I knew this person I didn't recall subscribing to their newsletter. My first fear was that either my or her email had been hacked. So I picked up my smart phone and called her. She told me that I had given her my business card at a local networking event and so she would start sending me her newsletter.

Uhm, okay. She's a friend of mine so I took a few minutes to walk her through the protocol of online subscriptions and how the provider can black list you rather quickly if you start getting too many people unsubscribing from your blog or newsletter.

You can easily place a sign up form on your web page, your blog or your social media sites. I have a colleague who will email you right after they've met you and encourage you to go to their sites. That's an appropriate method of making contact.

Hope this is helpful to you in your journey.

Our world's changing and my role is to make that change in our workplaces, whether they are in the shop, the factory or the home, live and in person or virtual as smooth as possible.

If this information helps you please subscribe to this blog and say all sorts of wonderful things about it.

You can contact me through my web site




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What You Focus On You Magnify

True confession time.

I'm as bit of a whiner.

You know: "Things work out for the next person but not for me and some people have all the luck and yada-yada-yada."

I got tired of listening to myself complain and moan. Well actually the dogs went to Joan and said "Look he is driving us nuts. We're here with him all day long and you have no clue. We may need therapy...."

So I decided enough was enough and if I REALLY wanted to increase my presence in the marketplace - Every time I write or say that I envision myself in a bazaar in some exotic location selling kumquats or some other delicacy. - then I would get with the program and reach out to those people who might, help me build a list to market my services from.

It's a simple act that costs nothing but time and common sense. It's ferreting out where the people are  you want to know better and asking them to become a contact of yours.

I stuck my neck out and asked some people who I respect and admire if I could connect with them. Most of them accepted and it wasn't an acceptance through a virtual assistant or an auto responder. They wrote me a personal message.

Okay spoiler alert for you: Most of these folks aren't recognized outside the communities that I have a passion for. There is no Brad Pitt or people like that. As the old saying goes "Not my monkey, not my circus." So if you go stalking me anywhere you might fall asleep reading the postings.

Here are a few tips to build, fortify and impress people with your list of followers

Make sure your social media pages are professional in appearance and content. 
I'm not suggesting that you invest thousands of dollars in hiring someone to script your message. I'm saying that if the first thing I see is a cartoon of grandpa encouraging junior to pull his finger,  I'm moving on. When you create a posting or reply to a posting  don't answer with those cute little emoticons of animals with hearts emanating from their chests. I am all for being yourself and for establishing your own brand but if you want the top 50 folks in your field to sit up and take notice - See "Influence is not a dirty word - then you may want to keep it friendly but professional.

Somewhere, I read a quote that made a lot of sense as it relates to social networking, virtual or otherwise and I'd like to apply it here. "If I want to socialize I'll have drinks with my friends but my networking efforts are to advance my business." 

I'm sure many of the people I follow through social media are great people and would make great friends but my purpose for connecting is learn from them and to take advantage of any opportunity that may come my way through my business relationship with them.  I'm the king of sharing and if your blog or posting is something my audience would like then I'll share it with them. 

Invest your efforts wisely. 
A few weeks back I received a request to connect from someone who "said" they were connected to 3 or 4 people I respect, mostly for their honesty and integrity. So I went ahead and checked the "Yeah, I'll let you in"  box." For two days I received multiple marketing and sales messages for things I had no interest in. Choose your contacts wisely (I'll give you a checklist in tomorrows posting about what to look for!)

Identify Yourself!!
I've found that when I ask someone to connect with me it gets done quicker when I mention where and how I became acquainted with them. I might refer to a really good blog posting or a webinar or a comment they made on social media. It adds dimension to the request and it lets them know you aren't using a spam program. 

Influence is not a dirty word. (Really, I checked, it isn't!!)
Whether you've reached this point in your career or not you work to make money. Your passion, desires and enthusiasm are great. The power company will not accept them as payment - I've tried.

Back in the old days you could pick  up the phone and call someone and ask them about me, my business, my character and my results. Today it is all about who you are connected to and how you can use that connection to increase your influence, build a list and ultimately make some money.

When I first make a new connection I look at their postings and blogs and see if I can find something my audience would benefit from.  When that happens the person whose posting I shared gets an notification. In many cases they will reciprocate with sharing one of my pearls of wisdom.

Give before you take.
Want to endear yourself to someone? Offer to be part of what they are doing, support their efforts and make yourself available. We are all super busy people. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. I subscribe to blogs and newsletters as a way to share my contacts offerings.

Okay, I've given enough for one day, lol. Time to make a request or two:

1. Please subscribe to this blog. I promise I wont annoy you with crazy requests.

2. Subscribe to my newsletter. Yes, I do offer programs and stuff like that but mostly I share things that I believe will help my audience in their lives and their careers. On my home home page you'll see a box that says Stay Connected With Me

3. Want to chat? Hit me up via email and we can arrange something.

Hope this helped and hey, lets stay or get connected.

Want to?

#networking #blogging #connections #buildinglists #socialmedia 





Saturday, May 16, 2015

"But Do You Use Your Own Pot's and Pans?"

The late Zig Ziglar began his career selling pots and pans. When he died in 2012 he was one of the most quoted, inspirational and beloved people of our time. Before Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins and all the others there was "Ol' Zig"

He went from knocking on doors to authoring countless books, tapes and DVD's on how to live an authentic and success life and he said he learned his most valuable lesson selling cookware to house wives in the 1950's.

You see, Ziglar would commence his demonstration and hail the values of  his product, it's price, durability and the like. In the end there was always one question: "Does your wife cook with these pots and pans?"

He and his wife were dirt poor and were barely meeting ends meet. A new set of pots and pans meant there was a bill that didn't get paid that month. Not only did he buy the pans, but after he made the the initial contact he'd arrange a place and time to cook a meal for the whole family using a set of his company's pots and pans. He rapidly became the company's leading seller and as he said many times over he simply sold himself and something he believed in.

What about you?

If you are looking to work with a coach ask them how often they work with a coach. If they are worth working with they'll gladly tell you who they have worked with and how they've benefited.

In the past 15 years I have worked with a financial planning coach, a business coach, a writing coach and a few life coaches. When the need arises I find a coach to help me get to the next level or help me discover where my road blocks are. It's using my own pots and pans.

If I don't believe in coaching why should you.

In the end it's all about being authentic.

Do you use your own pots and pans?


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Glue to Consistency

The question comes up, especially this time of year, "What's the one thing that sets someone apart from all the rest when interviewing for a job?"

It's not education or experience.

It's Responsibility.

Sit back, relax and let me tell you a story:

About 10 years ago I was assisting a client in hiring an entry level professional. We interviewed over 20 people and the department head found each one lacking. With each successive interview my usual cheerful countenance was fading. - We were running out of people to interview.

The client had rejected some very qualified people. She said they just wouldn't fit with "her gang." We kept interviewing until late one afternoon Amber sat down in front of us. Qualification wise I would put Amber dead in the middle of the pack of candidates. She met all the qualifications but I could have made a case  there were others with more experience and knowledge.

I noticed on her resume that she'd only had one job during high school and college. She'd risen through the ranks after starting out, well after starting out by asking, "Would you like fries with that order?" From the time she was 16 until she graduated from college at age 23 Amber worked in a fast food restaurant.

One job and one job only.

For her it was a no brainer. This fast food chain allowed you to contribute part of your hourly wage to an education fund that they would match. This limited the amount of money she had to borrow. But the thing she was proudest of was that she'd never missed a scheduled shift and had the documentation to prove it. She told us it was touch and go when she went into labor with her daughter but she finished her scheduled shift.

I guess you know where this going.  Amber was hired and 10 years later Amber is still working at the same company. She's received 3 promotions and a Masters Degree. When the head of the department retires in a few years Amber has been identified to take her position.

Sometimes we over look the obvious. We focus on the latest and greatest divining rod to help us make the best choice. But in the end, it's those who show up all day and everyday, those who choose something and stick with it. It's those people, like Amber, who make the best people for our organizations.

The average cost of hiring in the USA is approximately $9,000 per person. That's from the time you decide you need to fill a position until the time you feel that person is making a contribution to your company. If you make the wrong choice you will spend a lions share of that figure in finding a replacement.

Responsibility, no matter how small, can be the glue to consistency in your company.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Few Words on Blogging

Everyone has an opinion - especially me.

I see a lot of postings that deal with teaching you how to become a successful blogger. So I thought I'd weigh in and give you my two cents worth.

I mean, it cant hurt right?

I am going to begin with a question: Why do you blog? 

If it's to funnel traffic to your web site, advertise a service or product or to convert wisdom into cash I'd suggest you are blogging for all the wrong reasons and in the end you will be less than successful. Don't get me wrong - a good blog can and will do all of those things for you and your business, it just shouldn't be the main reason you blog. You should blog because you have to.

Yes, you read that correctly. Blogging is writing and good writing comes from a desire to write. It can be a compulsion, like running or fishing or scrap booking.

That leads me to my second tip. If I want to read Ernest Hemingway I'll go buy A Farewell to Arms.

It is YOU and your unique voice I am interested in. How can it help me on my journey. Make me want to share it because you present things in a way I've never read before. Think Kerouac, Thompson, those folks. They forged a literary following by leaving the map on the credenza and cutting a new road through the wilderness. I want to see you!!!

This next tip may sound a bit brutal: Temporarily quit reading other peoples blogs.

Developing your own voice is critical to any successful writing especially blogging. There are so many of us out there and you and I can easily get lost in all of the traffic. Suspend reading your favorites for awhile and get to know yourself.

That leads to number 4: Practice, practice, practice. 

Good writing is just like any other endeavor. The more you practice it the better you become. I write for two hours daily, six days a week. Never mind the inspirational aspects - just write and if you end up highlighting everything you've written for the last 30 minutes and deleting it, well ,then so be it.

Begin again. I wish I could disconnect this notion of the tortured writer baring their souls, fraught with anxiety trying to put on paper the mysteries of life. Frankly that reminds me of someone with a bad case of gas.

The more you write the better you will become. you will find your cadence and your authenticity. Just like anything else it will take time. Yes, I know, in today's world time is not a luxury.

Then why do you write?

Finally, Do not pay anyone to teach you how to write the great American novel in 3 days.
Oh. you'll write a book and you'll publish it and then you can always tell your friends and relative you wrote a book.

It took me 3 years to write my first E-Book. I sold 49 copies. It cost me a lot of time, and yes my time is valuable, but I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that writing the book was the easiest part. I learned that I am, among other things, a writer. I learned I am not a marketing expert, sales guru or the like. If you build it they will come is often a myth. (My wife and mom were proud of me)

I hope this helps some of you looking for clarity.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Who's An Expert? - The New Work & Marketplace

I start my day going through the blog postings and articles I've starred as favorites so I don't forget to read them. Today's postings  began something like this........... "Experts Finally Reveal" or "The Experts Weigh In On" and "Expert Opinion Says....."

Maybe its because I battled a foot of snow yesterday and I am looking at sub zero temperatures for the next few days but this morning after being told by the "experts" what I am supposed to think, feel and eat, I got annoyed.

Really annoyed.

The article that raised my blood pressure over the legal limit was written by an expert on leadership and communication skills who told me how to lead other people while readily admitting they had never been in a position, career or otherwise that afforded them the privilege to lead other people.

Experts please not that it is "privilege" to lead. 

They never fought over what time you went to lunch, where you parked your car or who got to choose the prime vacation weeks.  They KNEW a leader when they saw one and proceeded to tell us how to lead and how to manage and how to do all sorts of things they'd only heard about or read about but if you wanted to be a good one in the new workplace you'd better heed their advice.

They are, after all, an expert.

Am I the only one who sees the irony here?

How can you be an expert in leadership if you've never lead anyone...........anywhere?

We've confused having an opinion with  having expertise.

I'm one of those opinionated people. I'll readily admit to you that I'm not an expert on anything, at all. I market my services by telling you I have 40 years experience in leading, managing and coaching. I'll show you what I've done over my life to back up those opinions and then you can choose to believe and act on them.

Experts write blog postings and articles and when they get enough people to agree with what they are saying they morph into an expert. People will pay them until they discover that they don't know much more than they do on the chosen topic.It's kinda like all those honors you garner playing World of Warcraft - They mean what?

I'm fairly passionate about this topic because I see so many good people - People like you - get hoodwinked into believing that anyone who has an opinion can help you do whatever it is you want to do in life.

Shoot, even people like me can write and self publish a book or two.

The exhortation in the marketplace "Let the buyer beware," still holds true no matter the medium or its pitch. Before you make a purchase whether it is for a service or a tangible item read all the fine print and find out whether the person before you, virtual or otherwise, is the real deal. A mentor of mine put it this way:

It separates the pretenders from the contenders

Finally, I'll bet by now, just like me, you are tired of seeing the word expert in bold.