As the second in my series of "When Firing Your Boss Isn't an Option" series, I have come up with a list of 27 ways to use your Toastmasters experience to its fullest. Joining or Attending Toastmasters is actually tip #2 on my 27 Free or Inexpensive Ways to Drive Your Career and Build Your Brand tip sheet (the first tipsheet in this series). Since I am a ‘mixologist’ at heart, and hate having efforts go to waste, I like to look for ways to make skills / efforts transferable and repurpose-able. The Toastmasters organization offers such tremendous opportunities, I thought ...
Your accomplishments, successes, triumphs, feats, coups, and even failures can be, and most often should be, collected in your Money Story repertoire. As speakers, and business owners successful on Social Media, we know the value and power of a story to foster a connection, grow credibility, and make a point. Stories help craft and represent a 4-D version of ourselves, and create charges for others to connect to us. As a species in general, stories helped create the connections and sense of identity throughout the ages, in every culture. (Obviously, the reverse can occur as well, but for now we are sticking ...
The Power of Behance is not only in the tool - it's in the freedom it creates and the control it provides. Behance and Linkedin is a partnership which broadens the borders. While caught up in my presentation delivery on the power of LinkedIn & other social media channels in driving the power of You3 (directing and controlling your brand), I delivered a major Faux Pas. I think about it now and it makes my stomach cringe. I didn’t even realize it in the moment, even though it didn’t sound right in my head. Behance. B-E-H-A-N-C-E. Not Beyonce. B-E-Y-O-N-C-E. Haha – what a ...
Sadly, of late, I’ve been barraged by some family members who don’t understand what I do, what I am going through & the major changes I am trying to make. It upsets their natural order of things – they very much don’t like unpredictability.
That’s ok, I am working on a big, evil plans (not affiliate), mohwahhahaha. Not very many people understand, or appreciate.
In the process, I’ve uncovered a huge communication gap, one that I see with many people (myself included).
At the core: Not asking – just assuming. Just assuming people think like you do, and they are at fault when they don’t read your mind and do what you think you would do.
Here’s a story: I sat with a friend and listened to him discuss all his frustrations with people & why can’t they just do the right thing. He’s clearly going through a lot but some of it is manageable by modifying / managing the thinking process. I struggled with finding an example for him – but the perfect example came loud & clear today. Remember the ‘barrage’ I mentioned above? Well this morning, as I went to bring in the trash cans, a certain someone started talking about the wilted peony plant, & how could we have had a yard waste can out for trash pickup when the wilted peony is still there. A whole world war broke out over said peony between said ‘certain someone’, and another family member about my ‘lack of care & attention’ in removing the peony.
To be honest, I never even noticed the wilted peony. Ever. It was never in my line of sight.
It was at that moment when it struck me that this was the perfect example for my friend!
I didn’t see that peony because of my filters and priorities, not because I was being negligent, lazy, incompetence, or possessing a lack of character. I am in the middle of implementing some of those evil plans, and have lots of balls up in the air. BUT – had someone asked me to remove the wilted peony, I gladly would have made the time to do it.
Apparently though, the general consensus was that I should not have to be asked. I should not have to be told. I should know the ‘right thing to do’. Because I ‘slacked’, means that my character is flawed.
Everyone has their own sets of priorities, and therefore, their own agendas, focus, and filters. Because of those individual priorities, different things are attended to at different times. They cause people to see and filter out different things. It doesn’t mean they don’t know how to do the right thing. It’s question of priorities, not character.
You cannot assume the other person thinks like you, even about something important, or even surrounding a question about work ethic. When priorities and agendas, and therefore focus, are different, then by default what gets tended to when, and how, are different. An individual’s actions are not necessarily indicative of character, but of priorities, agendas, and focus. Therefore, you cannot assume the other person thinks like you or holds the same things as important.
Had someone simply said to me: ”hey, when you have a minute (or by the end of the day or some other time period), can you cut down the peony?”, then this would all have been handled, and graciously handled. It would have been a non issue, and this post wouldn’t exist.
When we expect people to think like us, be like us, and read our minds, then communication issues and tensions arise.
This same situation exists when we don’t let people know when they’ve crossed a line in some way with us. Most people don’t they’ve done something to upset us. They can also be so wrapped up in their world, that they don’t even notice our reaction (so they can read our mind).
A major portion of my upcoming book is on communications, being proactive and emotionally intelligent to specify, to set expectations, and to clarify / follow up. (I know, I know, I can just hear some of you saying “But people are adults. I shouldn’t have to tell them ‘this or that’.” To that I say, if you want better results, you need to be the proactive communicator, setting boundaries and expectations, and being clear.)
Most people will do what you ask, if it’s reasonable, clear, and specific. And, it’s up to you to followup to ensure they understand, agree, and deliver. Even then you may still encounter issues, because let’s face it, people are an unpredictable lot, and they have their own opinions.
When you take the steps and measures to be clear and concise, and act accordingly, you will have assumed all the responsibility you can to ensure results. They may not be the results you are expecting, but you have done your fair share, and cannot beat yourself up for it.
The next time someone doesn’t do what you want, ask yourself: did you drive the communication or did you expect someone to think and act like you?
What other communication tips do you have? Leave them below in the comments.
To your success,
When we are at certain points in our lives, or endeavoring to make big strides and changes, there will be people who cross our path who don’t approve of what we are doing, who don’t understand, or who plain old don’t like how you upset their natural order of things.
Did you ever notice that? Even with something like quitting smoking, or losing weight? Well meaning friends and family try to lure you with ‘just a little bite, it won’t ruin anything’ or ‘just a puff, for old time’s sake’. There’s usually a reason for that, deep down.
And I guarantee you, the more positive changes you try to make, or the more you endeavor to bring your dream alive, the more you will make some people (and perhaps some very close people) VERY uncomfortable. Why? Because now you have become an unknown factor, something that’s unpredictable. You are upsetting their comfort zone, their natural order of things. Unfortunately, there are very few of these people you can talk to intelligently, and sway them back to your camp; both which are the best case scenario.
If you cannot sway people into your camp, to them I say: “you do not get a vote in my life“. Or, ”I release you from having control over me“.
Since we become what we are around, the more we surround ourselves with the people we aspire to, or the people who will support us in our efforts, the faster we will achieve our desired results. But this will make things more uncomfortable for some others in our circles. And the more you stay around the negative people who do not accept or understand what you are trying the create, the worse that will become for you.
I’ve seen this time and again as a success coach at Working Wardrobes, as many of those transitioning their lives from one of bad choices to one of decisions for a better life and better family. Those who did not surround themselves with supportive people or like minded people, then relinquished control over their new lives back to those who couldn’t handle the change.
Wouldn’t you rather take control of the things you can, and keep pressing forward, widening the gap between you and poisonous relationships? Those that love you, that have a healthy relationship with you, who want to see you happy, will come to understand and support you.
To the others, simply say: you don’t get a vote in my life.
It’s a tough thing to accept and do, but you need to do what is right, and healthy, for you if you want the positive changes you are making to stick. Set up the best support system for your success.
Set yourself up for success!
This evening I saw an America Strong segment on ABC News Tonite, which featured photographer Shannon Johnstone and her quest to save abandoned dogs at the pound.
There are 2 important Personal Branding lessons here,
Easily increase your odds of being picked!
If you’ve been unemployed for awhile, or passed over for promotion, or have difficulty finding that special someone, take a tip from the dogs in the pound…..
Shannon took dogs who had been in the kennel the longest, took them out to a landfill, and photographed them. Shannon and her husband played with them, and snapped pictures of them in moments of joy, moments of play, enjoying their freedom. Those photos were posted on Facebook, in hopes they would be adopted. Her ‘adoption conversion rate’ is still very high, in attracting adoptive parents for these dogs.
These are dogs that have been in the pound the longest, overlooked, and who – like humans, showed their frustration and sadness in their expression and body language.
Believe it or not, I see the same thing in people who have come across hard times. Whether recently let go or long term unemployed, lost a love or divorced, etc., many people carry that ‘scarlet letter’ on their face and in the way they carry themselves around. If you’re looking for a job, promotion, new love, that ‘scarlet letter’ stands out and repels people from you. And may even attract the wrong people.
Go to any networking event, and see if you can find the ‘unemployed’. It’s easy. Go to a one stop center or welfare office, and watch the mannerisms and body language. Most times you can see and hear desperation, sadness, despair. And that environment is a draining one. It’s very tough work bringing yourself out of that ‘place’.
Take a tip from these dogs who let their real personalities shine, even for just a few minutes! Don’t wait for someone to rescue you. Go get a makeover, put on your ‘happy’ face, carry yourself confidently and proudly, and watch your conversion rates soar. Treat yourself to something good, and ‘feel’ that something great is coming, coming soon from right around the corner. Go out and do something fun. Hang around people who are where you want to be. Internalize that energy and hope and freedom, and keep doing that. A turnaround is sure to come much sooner than the sad puppy face.
When involved with Working Wardrobes Days of Self Esteem, the change in stature, facial expressions, and body language in all the participants was simply astounding. Particularly in the men! Women at least can get makeup and a new hairdo, but the men simply got trimmed or a new style and a new suit. They went from ‘just an unemployed man’ to a ‘man with potential’.
Do yourself a favor this holiday season. Treat yourself to a makeover from the inside, and watch it come out on the outside. Then accentuate it with an outside makeover. Snap a new Linkedin picture, and update your profile to represent that new you!
Get out of the pound – then send me the results. Good luck!! You’re worth it!
Bonus Branding Lesson: Power of Volunteering:
Easily increase the value of your network and increase your odds for having your 15 minutes!
The simple act of volunteering to help abandoned dogs get adopted, just using her skill & passion through her craft of photography, she was highlighted by ABC News Tonite in their America Strong segment – skyrocketing her brand and her 15 minutes. (You’ll never know when those 15 minutes will strike, are you ready?). I talked about the power of volunteering here, in The #1 Way to Improve the Value of Your Networking. Volunteering is good for your community, and good for you. Making 1+1=3. Look into it. Now let’s hope Shannon is ready to capitalize on all the instant exposure!
To your Success – now, go Raevolutionize!
Thanksgiving. Thanks. Giving.
A good friend of mine from the OC Speakers Bureau (Founder’s District for all you Toastmasters), Larry Gassin, did a great article about Gratitude vs Thankfulness, called ‘Some Thoughts on G.R.A.T.I.T.U.D.E‘. and brought up ‘state of being‘. Gratitude is actually the state of being thankful.
State of being. That base mental foundation that drives everything else. Many of us expect a result that we can create to – to be happy, to be successful, etc. When in reality, we are the driver of all of it. A state of being ‘ready’ and open for something.
In one of our Manifesting Monday sessions, the Power Pose, we discussed how our own body language actually has more impact to our mental state than it does to other individuals. Fascinating. If you have a chance to watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk, you should. Very thought provoking and powerful.
As we come upon the close of a tough year (for me anyways), I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the really important things I’ve learned about myself, and the power of the people I’ve started surrounding myself with everyday. (I can see the difference on my mental state, from the energy of the others I am around. I can also see the impact of my energy (positive and negative) on others, and I am way more aware of that impact now.
Bottom line – build your state of being, work on it. Even if your life or business is not where you want it at the moment, you have the power, right now, to impact your future and propel it towards the successes you desire.
You have power. Right here. Right now.
So how will you use your power? For good or for evil? (lol – thanks Chandler Bing).
To your Speaking Success,
The other day, while wallowing about looking for a non-typical Mother of the Bride dress and not being in the desired shape for said dress and corresponding event, I talked badly about every aspect of myself. Yes, I sadly wallowed when I know better. After tolerating my rant, a very dear & close ‘friend’ said,
“…that’s not how I see you. I see a Rembrandt. An image with all the parts in the right places, with the perfect colors, and the perfect lighting, everything done the way it was supposed to be. You can’t change a color, a perspective, a position or anything about that painting without changing the intent, purpose, or meaning of the picture.”
I sat there speechless. How can you really argue that. It was a perfectly timed, much appreciated, and a deeply profound statement.
How we see ourselves sometimes is not necessarily how others see us, yes that’s true. And how we see ourselves, and what we believe about ourselves will most times drive what people see and believe about us.
But, we are what we are, a work of art created by a higher being who orchestrated the timing, the genes, the colors, the perspectives. A true artist who designed the intent and the purpose and the meaning. There will be people who see it and get it, and there will be people who don’t.
I had been hit with a wall of sadness because of all that had been going on, but that statement alone was like a whack on the side of the head. I am honored to know a man that would say that, and who had the sincerity and wherewithal to know how desperately it needed to be heard, and more importantly, understood.
Words have power in them, and you never know what will be heard, when, and how….and how those words could impact the person who hears them. This applies to adults as well as children.
This reminds me of a quote by Miguel Angel Ruiz which I just included in my 80 Career & Income Boosting quotes and tips:
Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
You will never know when someone will be deeply impacted by what you say.
More importantly – when you find yourself asking ‘who am I’, start by understanding you are a piece of fine artwork, then work to understand what kind of work of art you are. What did your artist intend with the creation of you? ‘Avoid using the word to speak against yourself‘, or to fill your mind with negative thought. Instead, start believing that you are indeed a piece of fine art, and the right people will appreciate the style of you, and what the artist intended. So whether you are a Rembrandt, Picasso, Pollock, a Da Vinci or an Angelo, or you don’t yet really know….. know that you are here for a reason….to fulfill a mission. Believe it. Live it. Own it.
Thank you my friend, for saying what you did, when you did.
What kind of work of art are you? Share in the comments below.
What do you do when life constantly throws curve balls, and you end up not at all where you intended? When you are so off course you have no idea where how to get back to where you started, or let alone remember that starting place?
Are you being targeted, or are you actually an architect?
I can tell you from personal experience, the more you accept / tolerate those curves, the more life will deliver them. The more you intently you operate without having an overriding goal, strategy, vision, the more you will fall prey to what life throws at you. I am reminded of a quote I uncovered last month: ”For a ship without a destination, there is no favorable wind.” ~ Unknown and of one by Zig Ziglar “Are you a wandering generality or a meaningful specific?”
I’ve seen this countless time with my clients, with relatives and friends, with some of those ‘celebs’ who are a train wreck waiting to happen. And, I am living it right now. Caught in the vicious cycle of trudging on, contemplating and processing it, feeling sad about it, moving further away from the important things that make me happy, letting people make me feel guilty when I chose to pursue those things, and finally getting caught up in more ‘stuff’ as a result.
My mother’s illness and its corresponding complications have taken priority level, followed by supporting my father and coordinating care. My relationships & I have fallen to dead last place, with my incorrect assumption that me & they will understand my withdrawal or unpredictability of emotions. Everything else has fallen in the middle. I believe I have incorrectly turned my priority pyramid upside down; and you know what an upside triangle is, right? Highly unstable. That pyramid used to be grounded in the right direction, when all things were in flow, when I was in the zone. But unfortunately, not now. The hazard of all caregivers.
I am lost at the intersection of reality and misperception of what life is and could be. I am at present, a wandering generality. I wasn’t always that way. Has that ever happened to you? Driver of the bus, niw seemingly being run over by it? Once I moved from being a meaningful specific, a black hole opened. Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for SO MANY THINGS right now, because “there by the grace of God go I’, but I’ve lost my way and am sitting here in the family waiting area, working to map my way back. Just like regaining weight – it’s a tough ride to get back to where you were. I’m telling you it can be done. I’ve done it before, and it can be done again.
Let’s do it together. Beginning today. Even this simple act of rebuilding perspective can change an attitude in an instant. Curveballs in life then become more manageable.
Even if you don’t know exactly what you want, or where you want to function, commit to the simple decision of doing whatever it will take aiming to ‘that place’. Define it as best you can, right now. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for direction. Just as with sailing you have to tack with the wind, and zig zag to catch the power and momentum of the wind, you are still aiming towards a finish line. What’s that finish line for you?
Some outcomes you will see over the next few months: consistent delivery of a tips, speedier website, the launch of my kindle mini-books, some free telesummits for career and freelancing growth, Speaking opportunities, behind the scenes tools which make things easier for everyone. My small business crowdfunding page will be launched to help me finance some of the things I am doing for you and my clients.
2. Driving my coworking virtual space – with tools, tips, local coworking locations, for business success. Along with this is getting things rolling for an actual space in South Jersey, and looking for investors. I have another crowdfunding site here.
3. Launch of my mobile coaching program, Linkedin up & prospecting program, Guru.com .
Yes, it may sound like a lot, especially given all that I have going on right now, but I have started ‘small’ with the direction. Tomorrow is identifying what success in each of those areas looks like and why I want to achieve it.
If (our) reality is based on the filters and societal programming from an early age, therefore creating what we see and attract, and misperception is the improper processing of another’s intent, I have the immediate power to make immediate shifts so that I am no longer lost.
If I pull out my Progressive Mindset model, where my day is split into 3 major sections: 17% Energy (food and exercise), 30% Productivity (task and goal efforts), and 45% Sustainability (sleep, planning, relationships, spirituality and financial activities), supported by daily goals, then every curve, option, opportunity or decision is bounced up against the major goals and becomes either a bubble or a seed. Seeds become planted to yield results, and bubbles are popped and let go. More on this model later, but being proactive rather than reactive is the goal (this is a post I wrote for the OCSpeakers Bureau).
My merely taking time to craft this post, while sitting in the family waiting area of the hospital, my attitude has shifted, and several motions were set into play. Just in 1 hour of stepping away from the stress and becoming proactive instead of reactive.
What will you do to make things better? Where will you seek support? How will you invest in yourself? Start somewhere or start with these tipsheets.
The key is to start aiming in the general direction of what success and happiness looks like to you, and modify your destination as you gain more info along the way. But starting here and now is crucial. Change your mindset, change your results. Comment below to let me know how you are doing and some of the results you are achieving. I will report out the same.
To your Success,
As I continue through Toastmasters, I no doubt hear some excellent speeches, and speeches with some valuable lessons. It’s ashame that many do not get repurposed to further aid the speaker and the general public. It is my intent to help my fellow Toastmasters by providing a Guest post opportunity.
I am particularly drawn to speeches that have a ‘mixologist’ application to them, and today’s speech does. It’s about being lost, the accompanying feelings, and how to apply tactics to recover. This information was originally derived from Search & Rescue Techniques, and re-tooled for a Project Management course which highlighted the interesting parallels between being lost in the wilderness and being lost on projects.
The following post is by my good friend Sreehari Unnikrishnan, from the Voorhees Toasmasters club delivered in November of 2012.
Please enjoy and comment! Get ‘unlost’.
Good Evening Fellow Toastmasters and Honored guests!
Have you ever been lost? The experience of being lost can be a daunting one.
Consider an experience you may have had in your lifetime where you found yourself physically lost. Perhaps you remember being separated from your parents as a small child in a crowded place. Perhaps you were driving through a new place late at night and got lost. Or, maybe you found yourself lost while hiking in the woods.
What feelings did you experience? How did being lost affect your judgment or your ability to make thoughtful decisions? How were you or others able to rescue you? Consider these questions for a moment and make some mental notes.
Today I am going to analyze the behaviors of physically lost individuals and try to relate that understanding to daily life situations in which we tend to get lost, mentally. Amazingly, there striking similarities in the behaviors of individuals who are physically lost in the wilderness and individuals who tend to get mentally lost when faced with adverse or stressful conditions in life.
And because of these similarities, the common body of knowledge that exists for professional teams that search and rescue physically lost hikers in the wilderness, can also help the mentally lost individuals from dangerous situations in daily life.
What are the behaviors of an individual lost in the wilderness?
Individuals experience a range of emotions and exhibit a series of behaviors when they are lost. Interestingly, these behaviors may occur in a linear order or cycle through the individual many times.
Let’s look at each one of these behaviors in their linear order:
The initial sensation of being lost is the referred to as spatial disorientation. In layman’s terms, it is that feeling encountered when we have too many things going on and we suddenly ask ourselves: what was I trying to do or where am I now?
Fear is a necessary survival mechanism. Fear causes human beings to consider the dangers of their environment. But it can also serve as an aid to make more mistakes as anxiety sets in. Anxiety is the result of a person’s inability to logically think through fear.
As fear begins to create more stress on an individual, there is an extreme urge to push forward. For example, as a hiker lost in wilderness can no longer deny that he is lost there is a growing sense of urgency to find his destination. Interestingly, this behavior of hurrying to find the right place often results in the hiker becoming even farther off of from the right path.
At this stage, a hiker can begin to rationalize just about anything. “It’s just over that next ridge”, panic begins to grow in the lost individuals mind.
As panic takes its toll on the mind, the capacity to make thoughtful decisions diminish, number of assumptions made increase and obvious risks are ignored. Believe it or not, remains of lost hikers have been found who died of dehydration – yet they had water in their canteen.
The lack of results that occurs from poor decision-making will soon grow into a feeling of frustration. In searching again and again to find the right path back to a known point, hikers will experience increasing frustration.
If frustration is allowed to continue unchecked it will often lead to anger. Anger can encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior and in some instances, it will cause an individual to give up.
Depression and withdrawal often follow when anger has not created a successful solution to the problem. The cycle of continued frustration and resulting anger will lead the hiker to depression which is quickly followed by withdrawal.
The emotions of frustration, anger and depression usually create fatigue in most individuals. A fatigued hiker will be even less capable of maintaining himself until rescue arrives.
All of these behaviors culminate in forgetfulness. It is not unusual in rescue cases that the lost individuals cannot remember the decisions that were made or events that occurred while being lost. It is a sign that all other emotions have taken a toll on the lost individual.
Each of these stages builds on top of each other. For the individuals who do not recognize this, these feelings compound and escalate creating a dangerous situation.
The Behavior of survivors
Now let’s look at what behaviors allow individuals who are lost in the wilderness to survive and either find their way to a known location or to be rescued by a Search and Rescue team.
According to the Search and Rescue common body of knowledge: People who are lost in the wilderness often survive not because of a particular skill-set or access to tools, but rather because of their state of mind.
Having the necessary tools or knowing the techniques to survive alone is not enough. Individuals who survive being lost seem to rely on a simple approach that is referred to as the STOP method.
Those who survive lost situations recognize, intuitively or through training, that the moment confusion, the first behavior of being lost, sets in is not the time to continue to forge ahead. Instead, it is time to stop and asses the current situation. It is interesting to note that the best survivors in lost situations are small children. Research has shown that they intuitively follow the STOP method. For example, the lost child will often not continue searching for a known point of reference, but instead stay put and consider the immediate moment. They will take cover if shelter is necessary or find a log to crawl into if it is cold. They are intuitively better at conserving resources than most lost adults seem to be.
In today’s world where we are required to multi-task so often, even with all the technological advancements, it is so easy to get lost. Knowing these emotions you are likely to go through and the STOP method will help you find our way back and be successful.
Thank you, Mister /Madam Toastmaster.
Valuable insight Sreehari; thanks for the excellent speech. When you are overwhelmed, lost, or not sure of your direction, take a moment and follow the STOP method. Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan.
Take a breather and look at what’s going on around you. Look at what’s working, and what isn’t. Do you notice any patterns? Anything out of place? Is there something deeper going on?
Not only Think, but think out of the box. Step away from the situation if you must, to a neutral territory. You want to ensure clear thinking. Sometimes we get so caught up in routine, habit, precedent, that sometimes we cannot see that there is a better, easier, clearer path.
Observe process, people, environment, etc. Step outside of the picture. Sometimes it helps to observe from a different role to change the way you view things. Observe from the role of auditor, stakeholder, client, vendor, or the lowest common denominator. Different things may present themselves to you that way.
Plan a new route, attack, strategy, etc. When you plan and know why you are doing something and assess every action against that plan, it enables better decisions and actions.
Remember the STOP method for all ‘types’ of being lost.
What action will you now take to improve your situation and get unlost and unstuck?
Go Raevolutionize and think of a new path!
As speakers, and business owners successful on Social Media, we know the value and power of a story to foster a connection, grow credibility, and make a point.
Stories help craft and represent a 4-D version of ourselves, and create charges for others to connect to us. As a species in general, stories helped create the connections and sense of identity throughout the ages, in every culture. (Obviously, the reverse can occur as well, but for now we are sticking with the positive)
Much as been written about stories, how to craft, why to use, etc. Information overload is everywhere, and everyone is bombarded with so much information these days, we have all come up with our own complex system of internal filters, both primary and secondary, which can change day to day, project to project, relationship to relationship. These filters protect us from ‘useless’ information, or information that doesn’t match our needs. Understanding these filters, and by using stories, we can find ways to connect to people, and reach them with our message. Stories most often represent a non-threatening way to demonstrate, teach a lesson, highlight a point – basically creating ‘edutainment’ and creating a connection.
The power of stories are also effective for career folks and business people. I recommend to all my clients working a 9-5, or even working for themselves, that they create a Money Story repertoire for themselves. A portfolio, an inventory, a database, a folder of all of your accomplishments, feats, even failures which includes the highlights, lessons learned, key value added actions.
It’s as simple as keeping index cards at your desk, in your briefcase & / or notebook, and when something completes, or is a demonstration of something you’ve done well (you were in your zone), you grab a card and document: when, what, who, why, how. Also make sure to capture any other key pieces of information. Obviously, you can use a database (or whatever method works best for you, including my soon to be delivered app). All those successes or powerful lessons learned that can be referenced for presentations, interviews, performance reviews, speeches, etc.; your inventory of accomplishment stories with specific information which can enlighten someone else of the true value of doing business with you.
Keep up on this list, nurture it, edit it, use it – whenever you can. You will find what interests people, what works, what doesn’t. Also, and more importantly, you will find, when you have this repertoire to quickly reference in an interview setting, or pull up on your laptop for a client objection or question, you immediately establish your credibility and stand apart from the crowd. You are prepared & confident in your skills. The reality is though, this is the wave of the future, and if you don’t have these stories, you will lose your opportunities to someone who does.
What makes something a power story, a money story? Results. Documented, demonstrable results. Good or bad – believe it or not. A clear example of what it is about you that drove the success or turned something around. It can be something as clearly random as reading an article or listening to something on NPR about art appreciation that inspired you to think of your problem at work where no one has been able to reconcile. Or, it could be something as strategic and calculated as delivering the implementation of a $5 million system conversion with a team of 30.
Your money stories are everywhere, and everyone has them. I guarantee you when you start looking for them and becoming aware of your impact on things, you will begin to see them more, AND will be able to accomplish more in order to create more compelling and relevant stories. Having these stories convenient, easily accessible, and full documented will now turn your dreaded performance review into plethora of opportunity. It takes back the power of your actions and performance from your boss or supervisor, and provides you with more steering control.
I call these Money Stories because they help convince a doubting client, demonstrate your proficiency and value, get you a job or promotion, with more money, and demonstrate your credibility and expertise.
Look at your goals for the year, and at the very least, look for and record money stories related to those. But don’t stop there. Look everywhere. Run a successful fund raising event that brought in $10,000 for a non profit? There’s tons of money story detail and sub stories there! Start up a new Parent’s Association at your child’s school? Complete an ironman? Start a blog that went from zero to hero in less than a year? All of these can be used to create spectacular money stories, add depth and detail to resumes, provide content for social media platforms, or become fodder for a book. The possibilities are endless ……. Just like you know how to start looking for speech ideas everywhere, and connecting to all your different kinds of skills, the same applies to power stories.
Voila! You’ve got a portfolio! So the next time someone says “do you have an example of…”, or “I don’t know how that solution would work for me”, or….. you’re ready.
Next up – how to craft that power story into a white paper or position paper and use to obtain clients, a better job even when none are posted, and build your credibility and brand.
To your success! Now go Raevolutionize!
Time to let the cat out of the bag. I’ve just completed my Year in Review and my 2013 Performance Plan. Originally courtesy of Chris Guillebeau, I look at what went well, and what didn’t go so well, and course correct or drop.
In all honesty, 2012 WAS NOT my best year. Wasn’t the worst actually, but certainly one made of many self-imposed road blocks, basically not moving out of my own way. Not pretty.
Sad part was – I didn’t realize it was fear driving me, as I was going through the motions of a year. I let my emotions, excuses, feelings and lack of action be driven by that unrecognized fear. I let my weaknesses control me, instead of stepping up to own my stuff and driving it forward. I allowed low self esteem to surface as the face of my fears and subsequently relinguished control of the situation to external forces. Because I am creating something new, something almost entirely online, many people don’t see that as ‘traditional work’ & do not support it or get it.
To borrow a phrase from Lewis Howes, who also wrote a similar year in review: “It was a crippling feeling and it was really shitty to be honest.”
I thought I’d never be able to bounce back & regain traction. Ever feel like that?
My ‘thinkin was stinkin’ (thanks Zig, for pointing that out!) and it tainted my view, and actions.
I had big dreams, and let the overwhelming list of tasks fill me at times with a sense of ickiness (aka hopelessness) & , of profound inability to move forward. I’m an idea person – a strategy creator! Having way too many tasks made me feel there was always someone better than I already doing what I want to do. I was completely afraid and didn’t even realize it until I read Lewis’ post during a break I took a break from doing my Year in Review Performance Assessment.
That Said – I did make significant progress, and am on the cusp of a great launch. I learned some very valuable lessons, made some tremendous new contacts and friends, and got some interesting speaking opportunities. All of which I am extremely grateful!
It all comes down to CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement. Bad situations can be salvaged if you learn from them. Keep building upon them and improving yourself and your situation. I saw in an open, honest, and non personal way – that my fear was misplaced – that I was the driver of the results I received by the way I perceived. I realized, when I took a good, long look at the inventory of successes and challenges, I’m damn good at what I do because of the mix of skills and interests I bring into any interaction. It took me a lifetime to see that, and I encourage all of you who don’t see your own value to do this same year in review exercise.
My biggest lesson this year: as bad as things got, I still kept my eye on where I wanted to go, where I wanted to head, and continued to make small progressions in that general direction. It kept me moving slowly forward, putting bricks in random intervals; allowing me to continually receive glimmers of what’s to come. Having even the slightest glimmer of light can keep you from spiraling further down a rabbit hole. This lesson reminded me of an excellent passage from Henry David Thoreau:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment:
that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary;
new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves
around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted
in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license
of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life,
the laws of the universe will appear less complex,
and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
My most important lessons? Read here – as there as some doosies. Perhaps some of them will also help you.
The great news is, I have been building a foundation, connecting my legos together. I’ve turned a corner and am more happily adjusting to east coast life. All the work I did is coming together and allowing me to create a launch and list of services.
Wanna know what’s coming up? (a highly ambitious year for which I could really use your help!)
I’m so stoked for all that I have planned and coming alive shortly because it will allow me to better empower others in reaching their goals, growing their businesses, and aspiring more to create bigger, better projects. It’s the ultimate win-win.
My fears have held me back from a lot of things in my adult life, but at the same time, my hanging in the wings, being an astute-ever observing wallflower, and an odd-timed rebel have allowed me to create a wonderful stew of perfectly melded skills – just right for the times.
There’s a new Renaissance afoot my friends – and I intend to help everyone take advantage of the times. I will be writing more about it on my Main blog and my Business Site. How can I empower you? (Let me know!)
Thanks for making it this far with me, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have people like you stand by me and encourage me. Us introverts sometimes need an ‘outside’ perspective, to drive us through those analysis paralysis moments. Starting off on your own is hard enough, but having people beside you helps to ease the burden. I am sooooo very grateful.
I would appreciate your continued support in any of the following ways:
In exchange, let me know how I can help you achieve your goals for 2013!
Let go of your fears, keep plugging at what’s important, and get ready for an incredibly awesome 2013! It’s gonna be a great ride – will you come along?
Now, go Raevolutionize!
All the best,