May 142012
 

Jane Falter and I met each other over a cup of coffee about a year ago, and we’ve been good friends since. A plethora of initials follow her name, including ACRW, SPHR, and CPC. Jane is a career coach and certified résumé writer who is passionate about helping individuals identify and achieve what’s next.  Here’s what is on Jane’s mind this month.

“Are you looking for a job? Then, don’t forget LinkedIn. It’s the place for professional networking. In fact, many recruiters and companies use LinkedIn to find candidates instead of placing openings on Monster, Indeed, and other sites. Post your profile, but also network to make the most of this important site. Make LinkedIn a part of your career toolbox.”

Visit Jane at http://www.JaneFalter.com.

 

May 072012
 

Cheri Britton is one of the most talented and funny motivational speakers, authors, and coaches I know. Cheri inspires people and organizations to break out of the old mindsets that hold them back by showing them how to lower the bar to raise their game, find the funny in the frustrating, and kick their  “big ol’ butts” to the curb. Here’s what is on Cheri’s mind this month:

One of the simplest and most overlooked ways to feel happy is to be productive. Not the nose-to-the-grindstone kind of productive, but the gently-getting-things-done kind of productive.  Make time to do something today that cannot undone in a day. For example, straighten the kitchen junk drawer, weed a flower bed, or send a card to that long-distant friend. With a little effort you can experience the yummy goodness of making things happen.

Find out more about Cheri at http://www.CheriBritton.com.

 

Mar 252012
 

Jane Falter and I met each other over a cup of coffee about a year ago, and we’ve been good friends since. A plethora of initials follow her name, including ACRW, SPHR, and CPC. Jane is a career coach and certified résumé writer who is passionate about helping individuals identify and achieve what’s next. Here’s Jane’s career tip for this month:

“Create a “Me” file. In it, place copies of appreciation letters/cards, testimonies, and bits of papers that remind you of your accomplishments. You’ll then have all the information you need for filling out your next performance review, creating your resume, developing goals, asking for a raise, and most importantly boosting your ego when you’re feeling down.”

You can visit Jane at http://www.JaneFalter.com.

 

Mar 182012
 

Do you ever read something and have a magical “aha moment”? Here’s one of mine.

Erich Fromm in To Have or To Be? describes a modern misconception. He writes that most of us spend our lives trying to:

Have enough (money, power, things) so that we can…

Do what we want in terms of work and how we spend our time, because then we can…

Be happy.

Unfortunately, most of us get stuck at the first step: we never “have enough.” As a result, we put living our lives on hold.

“Once I pay off the house, I will consider changing careers.”

“When the kids are grown, I’ll deal with my marriage.”

“When I retire, I will take up painting, golf, or traveling.”

Fromm says that in order to have a rich life you need to invert the formula. First, you need to:

Be who you are. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and your purpose. This self-awareness will lead you to….

Do what you love. When you use your unique strengths to be of service to others, you will be rewarded, and…

Be happy. You’ll have what you need. That doesn’t mean you will have everything you want, but it does mean you will have what you need. Dick Leider says in The Power of Purpose, “There are two ways to be rich; one is to have more, the other is to want less.”

How can you invert the having, doing, and being cycle? Stop making money your primary goal. Instead, follow your passion, heart, and values. Stop measuring your success by your bank account. Measure your success by your happiness.

Happiness is a feeling that comes from inside; it cannot be bought. Sure, you can feel unhappy if you don’t have enough money to meet your basic needs, but after that, money will not make you happy. To be happy, do what you love to do and do it to be of service to others.

Aha!

 

 

Jan 302012
 

More than twenty years ago, I was appointed general manager of a large public relations firm and charged with building the Atlanta office. Although I did my best to cover it up, I lived in constant fear I might fail.

Uneasy in my new role, I became hypervigiliant. Something as simple as an employee’s suggestion that we do something in a different way felt like a direct assault on my authority. I heard the employee’s suggestion as a criticism that I was not good enough.

Once I became more self-aware and comfortable with myself and my abilities, I began to operate from a place of attunement. I was more relaxed and receptive. My desire was to know, understand, communicate and connect. I was no longer threatened by suggestions.  Instead, I welcomed them.

When we are attuned, we resonate with ourselves and other people. We seek connection over safety.

To find attunement, we must first be attuned to ourselves. The journey toward connection challenges us to become more self-aware. By shifting from hypervigilance to attunement, we own our feelings, become more open and receptive, and pave the way for authentic communication.

Jan 092012
 

Many mornings, I ask for direction for the day and draw a tarot card. This morning, I draw “Patience.” My first thought is, “Damn!” Patience is not one of my virtues. Still, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect card.

I am frustrated; it is the second week of January, and I still feel stuck. 2012 was supposed to be a better year.

The card reminds me this is a time that “all that is required is to be simply alert, patient, and waiting.” On it, a pregnant woman patiently waits while the phases of the moon pass overhead.

Osho writes that we have forgotten how to wait. Yet, “the whole of existence waits for the right moment.” Nature knows when to let go of the leaves and when to grow new foliage. Osho continues, “In silence and waiting something inside of you goes on growing—your authentic being.”

I take a deep breath to allow this message to sink in. Once again, I am reminded of the Divine Order of life.

 

Nov 272011
 

Where is a burning bush when you need one? I’ve been waiting for clarity and direction for some time now, and no lightning bolts of inspiration have hit. Or have they?

Maybe insight is whispered, not shouted. Maybe we find direction through a gentle nudge, rather than a harsh shove. If this is true, we have to trust more.

While it’s easy to trust which direction to take when Moses parts the Red Sea, it’s a little harder when that quiet voice inside whispers, “This way.” It gets even harder when you look up to see where “this way” is taking you, and the fog is so thick you can’t see the destination, only the space right in front of you.

I am beginning to learn that “this way” can only be achieved one step at a time. God didn’t supply Moses and his people a week’s worth of manna; it came one day at a time.

When I am still and listen, the quiet voice inside tells me that right now it’s not about what I do, but how I do it. For someone who gets his sense of worth by checking things off the “to do” list and for the “attaboys” I receive for making things happen, this is a hard lesson. Yet it’s an important one.

Happiness may not depend so much on what I do. I can do many things and not be happy. Instead, maybe happiness comes with focus. When I focus on awareness, attention, and intention, life seems richer.

 

Sep 292011
 

Good News! I’ve joined Little PINK Book as one of its expert bloggers. A global online community for professional women, Little PINK Book has been called “the number one online resource for America’s working women.” It has been recognized by Forbes as a “Top 100 Women’s Website 2010″ as well as a Yahoo! “Top 10 Women’s Business Sites.” My blog addresses career and relationship issues with a unique masculine-feminine perspective. Check out my first two articles at  http://www.littlepinkbook.com/blog/everybodys-gay-best-friend.

Sep 262011
 

My girlfriend “Martha” goes on and on. Her stories are so jammed with unimportant details that it’s hard not to lose interest. In college, we used to interrupt her mid-story and ask for the “Cliffs Note” version. Thirty years later, we’ve given up; we just tune her out.

Being brief is a challenge for many of us, and no where is it more important to be brief than in business. Author Ron Hoff shows us how to get our point across clearly and succinctly in his little book Say It in Six: How to Say Exactly What You Mean in Six Minutes or Less.

One: “Let’s get right to the point.  Here’s what we need to discuss….” (30 seconds)

Two: “Here’s a quick overview of the situation….” (60 seconds)

Three: “This lead to an idea….” (120 seconds)  Make the idea tangible by holding up something that they can touch – a model, storyboard, color proposal, or something!

Four: “This idea will more than pay for itself. Here’s the payoff….” (120 seconds)

Five: ”Here’s what we need from you to get going….” (30 seconds)  Tell your audience it’s their decision to make, and you want to hear what they think about your idea.

 

Jul 082011
 

My girlfriend Vivian and I were having coffee at our favorite downtown coffee shop. Vivian was looking for work, and she was frustrated to the point of tears.

“I can’t tell you the number of ads I’ve responded to, and nothing. I haven’t gotten one response!” she wailed. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Sweet pea, you might as well drive down the street and throw your resumes out the window,” I said. “These days, more than 60 percent of jobs are found through networking for information. I can’t think of a better way to find a job in this crazy economy.”

I suggested that she begin by listing her contacts. Her contacts could include:

  • Past employers, coworkers, direct reports, suppliers, and salespeople
  • Friends
  • Her parents’ friends and her friends’ parents
  • Family members and neighbors
  • Community contacts in groups such as social clubs, sports teams, and civic organizations
  • Professional organizations
  • Former professors and alumni groups

“Once you compile your list, commit to contacting a set number of people each week and ask for a brief appointment. Most clients set a goal of e-mailing five people a week.”

I reminded her that the primary objective when networking for information is to learn. As such, her first duty is to listen. I recommended that she ask these questions:

  1. How did you get started in the field?
  2. What attributes, skills, and education do you think someone needs to be successful in your field?
  3. What advice can you give me about my job search?
  4. Would you keep an eye out for me for any appropriate openings?
  5. Who else would you recommend that I talk to?

“During the course of the interview, you’ll want to share your unique selling proposition and no more than three criteria from your ideal work environment list. Your ideal work environment is an environment that encourages you to be your best. You may need to adjust your unique selling proposition depending on the person’s responses,” I advised.

Finally, I suggested sending a thank-you note to each person. In that note, she should reinforce her unique selling proposition and provide a few details about the position she’s seeking. She should also ask for the person’s help in identifying suitable openings and referring her to other people to talk with.

Finally, I suggested following up with referrals right away, within twenty-four hours if possible. “Stay in touch with your expanded network throughout your job search. A phone call, e-mail, or handwritten note every six to eight weeks should do it. When you do land a job, send a thank-you note to anyone who helped you. In it, express your desire to return the favor.”

Vivian looked overwhelmed. I saw that I’d given her too much information all at once. Smiling, I said, “Let’s take it one step at a time beginning with your list. Are you ready?”

My girlfriend Vivian and I were having coffee at our favorite downtown coffee shop. Vivian was looking for work, and she was frustrated to the point of tears.

 

I can’t tell you the number of ads I’ve responded to, and nothing. I haven’t gotten one response!” she wailed. “What am I doing wrong?”

 

Sweet pea, you might as well drive down the street and throw your resumes out the window,” I said. “These days, more than 60 percent of jobs are found through networking for information. I can’t think of a better way to find a job in this crazy economy.”

 

I suggested that she begin by listing her contacts. Her contacts could include:

 

  • Past employers, coworkers, direct reports, suppliers, and salespeople

  • Friends

  • Her parents’ friends and her friends’ parents

  • Family members and neighbors

  • Community contacts in groups such as social clubs, sports teams, and civic organizations

  • Professional organizations

  • Former professors and alumni groups

Once you compile your list, commit to contacting a set number of people each week and ask for a brief appointment. Most clients set a goal of e-mailing five people a week.”

 

I reminded her that the primary objective when networking for information is to learn. As such, her first duty is to listen. I recommended that she ask these questions:

 

  1. How did you get started in the field?

 

  1. What attributes, skills, and education do you think someone needs to be successful in your field?

 

  1. What advice can you give me about my job search?

 

  1. Would you keep an eye out for me for any appropriate openings?

 

  1. Who else would you recommend that I talk to?

 

During the course of the interview, you’ll want to share your unique selling proposition and no more than three criteria from your ideal work environment list. Your ideal work environment is an environment that encourages you to be your best. You may need to adjust your unique selling proposition depending on the person’s responses,” I advised.

 

Finally, I suggested sending a thank-you note to each person. In that note, she should reinforce her unique selling proposition and provide a few details about the position she’s seeking. She should also ask for the person’s help in identifying suitable openings and referring her to other people to talk with.

 

Finally, I suggested following up with referrals right away, within twenty-four hours if possible. “Stay in touch with your expanded network throughout your job search. A phone call, e-mail, or handwritten note every six to eight weeks should do it. When you do land a job, send a thank-you note to anyone who helped you. In it, express your desire to return the favor.”

 

Vivian looked overwhelmed. I saw that I’d given her too much information all at once. Smiling, I said, “Let’s take it one step at a time beginning with your list. Are you ready?”