Top 5 Reasons Companies Should Adopt Alternative WorkSpaces – Love #2 & 5!

why companies should adopt alternative  work spacesWant better productivity?  Here’s a novel idea: treat your employees and partners as creative resources instead of trying to manage rats. 

I recommend creating or offering alternative workspaces at all companies.  Why? Because people work differently, at different times, and mainly because innovation, creativity, and collaboration can not occur freely in confined, gray cubes. Individual (small) meeting rooms, a working space in the cafeteria, a sitting area, standing desk area, unique meeting rooms with whiteboards and/or chalkboards, movable walls for a little privacy, etc. are all different types of options for alternative work spaces

There is typically push back when I say the above in a presentation to executives, so here are some of the typical concerns, or myths, that seem to drive that push back.

Myths vs Truths, flip the issue to find the real benefit:

1. Myth: I can contain and control the way my workers work (or I must contain). Gray and taupe and steel blue cubes may be the most inexpensive way to corral and manage your workers, but this is counter productive to the working styles of your most valuable resource. Want more productivity, innovation, collaboration, and advances? Allow your workers options. Yes – I know you may be concerned about fairness, liability, management….but if top companies like Microsoft, Apple, and pretty much every silicon valley company figured this out and made it work, so can you. Don’t want to make changes to your work environment?  Look for an alternative solution! There are plenty that exist.

2. MythA clean desk means a productive day. (this comes from left brained leaders and others who operate from a level of detail). NOW – don’t get me wrong – a messy desk can be a sign of something else, but when having to crank something out to deliver results – there’s no real measurable impact. A person with a messy desk can still meet deadlines and deliver results. It’s simply the challenge of a creative mind – embrace the ‘message’ you see and support that creative worker with alternative organization methods / ideas… you really do need these types of people even if they work differently than you.

First thing you can do to help – by default, acknowledge this person is NOT you, is NOT LIKE you, and does NOT WORK like you. Help them with alternative organizing methods, or offer to create a system with them, in a way that works FOR them. Many WANT to be organized like you, and get frustrated that they cannot be like you, and sometimes worry what you think of them. Look at this not as a flaw, but as a long term, impactful conversation that will yield more than what you can ever expect.

It really comes down to being all about diversity of thought and mental processing, and valuing the deliverables of the worker. You say you’re all about diversity? Perhaps not if all you focus on is the color of someone’s skin, or their ‘dis-ability’. It’s all about enabling & empowering differences, in whatever form,  to get the most ‘quality’ work out of someone, and increasing contributions to the team.

A supervisor extraordinaire associate of mine can turn around ANY team. With all the troubled teams she has dealt with,  she found that the  different, individual working styles of the members of the team were trampled on and disrespected for so long. This caused all types of team problems. The poor team results were simply the by product of work beating down on them so long, they’ve gone into ‘protective’ / ‘survival’ mode and have lost direction and value.  Firing to get rid of those ‘problem workers’ isn’t always the best answer. When you value and honor a team’s different work and style, and allow them to contribute – you cut down on absenteeism, dramatically improve morale, and more importantly, dramatically improve the results and bottom line of the team.

3. MythUnmanaged people will go haywire. There’s a common misconception that if you give people some privacy or can’t see what they are doing, they’ll play on their social media all day, take personal calls, do anything but real work. Really!? They do that not, when they are being watched.

Ever watch the dog whisperer?  For problem dogs, there is something like a .001 chance that there is a real defect in the dog.  In most cases, it comes down to the worst traits in the ‘alpha’ bringing out the worst traits in the ‘problem’ dog. Now I know you may be the best leader EVER, and have this attitude problem employee who doesn’t do what you want, how you want, etc. Take a look inside. There’s typically a good reason. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying the employee is without fault.  But someone is the leader, and you cannot make anyone think / do / act like you, or your other star employees.  Look for the differences this person brings, and how to capitalize on that for the best of the team.  I bet you – treating all of your members with respect and looking for their individual value to the team will reap rewards you haven’t expected.

While this is ‘myth’ is related to #2, we are talking about allowing a worker access to an alternative work space. In terms of alternative working solutions, this should be a privilege in a working environment, not a right. There has to be mutual trust and respect.  Bottomline, you are looking for results, not how (or where) it’s done. If you get your results in less time, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Sometimes (if not most), creative workers’ minds are open to all the things around them – sights, sounds, energy levels, conversations, etc. because they are crafting ideas, designs, etc. all the time that are dependent upon those things. Yet this same gift, can be a major detriment during times when work has to be cranked out. Each of those things which helped in crafting ideas, now become major distractions in doing the tasks.  A Coworker’s constant cracking of gum, the heavily perfumed scent of a coworker, the negativity of the team under a deadline – all of these which were tolerable before become MAJOR impediments to work. So, many of these workers, particularly in crunch times, need quiet spaces, deadline rooms, white noise rooms, creative space rooms, to crank stuff out.  Honor and understand that instead of trying to control it.

4. Fact: current cube layouts were born in old business models. Efficiency isn’t manufacturing. Think madmen and secretarial pools. Or rows of accountants cranking out numbers, or lines cold calling salespeople desks all calling the next victim (er, sales lead) or services centers taking questions and complaints. This old style of rows and rows of cubes came from the manufacturing and union days of controlling and ‘managing’ employees. It was the old galley ship propelled by oars model. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.  For manual labor this might work. And in Manufacturing where you are dealing with heavy machinery which could inflict major damage, or you needed to get the most out of that machinery in a day. But a different model is necessary when dealing with information, knowledge, and service workers. Driving efficiency in this model is about support for the individual’s working style or brain processing for optimal performance. The development cycle goes through different phases, as does an individual’s working style.

5. Myth: No person is strictly a cost center. Just as the company exists to be a profit machine, so should each department, and each individual. Many companies say they want to honor the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit, but do not support or embrace what that really means, or know how to really make that a reality.  There are inherent risks, right?, because by default most ‘entrepreneurs’ are unemployable and tough to manage / handle. BUT – when you support the department & person as a profit center model and mentality…you are now defining the work as ‘stuff in (input)’ that is ‘transmogrified’ into ‘stuff that someone wants (output)’….it’s a micro business. The employee (or department) is responsible for delivering what someone wants, or they don’t get paid (income2profit). They are providing a service. To get the most profit (days off, awards / recognition, raises, bonuses) employees must be able to work in a way that supports what they bring to the table, within obvious constraints (legal, financial, risk).

6. Fact: Brainstorming needs a place to storm, and to invigorate the brain. Every notice how the high level exec or management teams go ‘off campus / off site’ during ‘that time of year’ to strategize and come up with the direction of the business (or budgeting)?  Well, I’m hear to tell you that 5 year plans no longer work (a topic for another day). That’s way too long a time period, given how fast things are moving. BUT – at the core of that or any plan is the service, the process. And as a department head, or individual in that department, you also need to remove yourself from the current place of business or environment,  to come up with new concepts, methods, plans of attack etc. Just as you have different rooms in your house to sleep, eat, watch tv, clean, take care of business, etc. the same applies to the way you work and the type of work you must complete.

Many creative agencies and environments already get these concepts and support the creative process.  But creative people reside in all types of departments and skill functions, especially in this era of disruptive technologies, business models, and generations. If you want to keep your department, your lifestyle, your services viable, profitable, and competitive, businesses and managers need to find ways to till the soil and fertilize the seeds. (even seeds need different types of environments to grow)

How are you going to develop results from your pool of talent? Consider alternative work solutions. They exist in your office, at your neighborhood coworking space, a maker space, and possibly even as close as your local library.  There are more benefits to utilizing those models than you could ever expect!

Really look at the diversity of talent you are responsible for leading. Or, if you are an individual, understand what really works best for you, especially during the different cycles of work.  What makes you most productive? Know that about yourself, and find places that honor that.

Comment below on what works best for you, or the challenges you encounter!

 

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Honey – I’m stuck in the Coffice!

Do you coffice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Merriam Webster Dictionary’s top 10 list, my favorite new word!

Coffice

Definition: a café that a customer uses as a place in which to conduct business

Example:  ”Acceptable ‘coffice’ etiquette states that something must be ordered during your stay.” – post on GetItBusinessServices.com, April 21, 2011

Since I live and breathe coworking, and other alternative working locations, I absolutely LOVE this word, and can’t for the life of me, figure out why I hadn’t thought of it before. :-)

Coffee houses, Paneras, Wegmans, libraries, co-working spaces (soon I’ll have my own), at the beach & on a boat (well, I live at the shore so these need to be on the list) all make great locations for working places.

When you’re serious about working though,  co-working spaces are the best, because when it comes down to it, sometimes you need different types of places, and you need people to bounce ideas and problems off of, and to make some serious headway.  The other places can be loud, distracting, and slightly inconvenient if you need to go to the bathroom or make/take a business call.

Join the revolution and honor your working style, create tools to support your success.

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A Question of Priorities, not Character

question of prioritiesSadly, 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,

Rae-Ann

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Support System: You don’t get a vote

No VoteWhen 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!

Rae-Ann

 

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Personal Branding Lessons: Are you a Dog in the Pound?

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,

  1. the power of your body language and expression (environment) on ‘being picked’;
  2. the power of volunteering.

 

sad dogExpression and Body Language:

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’ Happy Dog Happy Brandface, 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!

Rae-Ann

 

State of Being

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,

Rae-Ann

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Are You a Rembrandt, Picasso, or a Stick Figure?

what kind of work of art are youThe 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.

 

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Lost at the Intersection of Reality & Misperception

how to deal with curveballsWhat 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?

Mine?

  1. Launching some of my information products which will help my clients and prospects create a more successful future. I find when I am helping people succeed, and helping them see what positive momentum that creates for them, I become stronger and create stronger information channels for them. The impact to the world becomes exponential.

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,

Rae-Ann

 

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Top 27 Ways to Use Your Toastmasters Experience

toastmasters and social media 27 ways to use toastmasters

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 I’d list at least 27 ways to use your Toastmasters experience, just so you can fully showcase of all the work you are doing.

You are no longer ‘just a speaker’, but you are crafting yourself into a triple threat!

 Golden Rule: After your first couple of speeches, make sure to do some speeches on your work expertise, or other skill for which you excel or have an interest (could be a hobby, a passion, business or other topic).

  1. Create Videos for those key speeches that highlight your knowledge &/or skill(s).
  2. Create some meaty power point slides which highlight your expertise, and include specific keywords related to your skills.
  3. Create some YouTube or Vimeo  how-to’s, show-n-tells, best practices, humor, or talent showcasing
  4. Add the links and slides created from the above efforts to your Linkedin Profile
  5. Get recommendations for your event / contest planning & coordination, leadership roles, volunteering
  6. Create a lessons learned / best practices tip sheet for creating a successful / profitable contest, or membership drive or rebuilding a club etc
  7. Do a Video Intro of yourself for Linkedin
  8. Head a class at a place like Extraordinary ED, or prepare and record a class for sale on sites like Udemy.com – both highly over looked for practicing your speaking skills
  9. Take on additional leadership roles outside of your comfort zone, commit to them, and showcase your HPL project on Linkedin as a project with milestones, successes, teammates
  10. Endorse / recommend others for the work / volunteering they do – acknowledge the over & above efforts as a skill they excel at
  11. Turn some accomplishments into money stories (power stories, case studies) for use at interviews or to get your foot in the door (Did you create a sell out event for your contest or club? Were you able to bring in 15 new members in 3 months? Did your video win an award? Did your HPL have positive and monetary impact? The Possibilities are endless when you realize that you can repurpose your work & start looking at results through new lens)
  12. Connect with fellow toastmasters and look out for & share opportunities, connections
  13. Contact your church and offer to do a fundraiser on the topic of your strength – motivation, speaking, overcoming, etc. Gives you experience event planning, fundraising, and in preparing your speeches. Allows you to also start building your list of followers
  14. Build a website with your name or nickname or topic of expertise, and use to present blog posts or videos of your speeches and topics. You can eventually add some affliates for some side income.
  15. Volunteer for a local or favorite non profit and put your toastmaster contest, event planning, and speaking skills to the test for the non profit. Offering to be a spokesperson, event coordinator, etc.  Perhaps even sponsor a toastmasters club at the non profit.
  16. Do a webinar or 2. If you stay with your field of expertise related to work, you can now use all of this to position yourself as an expert in your field and add constant updates and information to your linked in.
  17. Make sure you have, use, and populate consistently, your linkedin profile. As a speaker, at the very least you should capitalize on this tool to showcase all that you do in Toastmasters and elsewhere:
    • Populate it with keywords specific to your skills, expertise, and what you want to be found and hired for
    • Add slides and videos of your speeches, work, papers, and posts
    • Showcase your TM projects and teammates
    • Collect and share endorsements and recommendations
    • Participate in groups around your area of expertise
    • Include ‘professional or public speaker’ in your profile
    • Include links to your youtube, and website
    • Connect with diverse groups of people (like me!)
  18. Become smarter when designing and crafting your speeches.  Create a strategy to speak on a topic or theme where each speech builds on each other.  If you have ever wanted to write a book, have each speech be a representation of a chapter. Each speech can become a post on your website where each builds on the base of the other, and can then be turned into a possible information product or book or video etc.
  19. If you get into the habit of posting successes from work, your hobby, your speaking as blog posts, video logs, podcasts, you now have ample material for speeches at anytime.  The more you become comfortable with your topic, your strengths, your expertise, the more capable you are to speak on a moment’s notice and speech writing isn’t that difficult anymore (and the more confident you will become, and the more income you will make, and the income you make….. starting to see the cycle and pattern here? You are creating your own wave of success.  No longer are you at the control of other people, you are creating opportunity for you!)
  20. Start a talk radio show / podcast on your topic, even if no one listens at first, it’s another tool to help you become found for the strengths, expertise, and keywords you want to become found for – you are creating associations.
  21. Use your speeches to start flushing out ideas you’ve always had for work or personal projects, side interest, making them stronger, or letting them grow
  22. Begin creating your portfolio of strengths
  23. Because you have to develop, craft, engineer bio’s and intro’s for your speeches (at least you should be anyway) – start using those opportunities to create your positioning statement.  (Inventory what you’re good at, why people should listen to you, WIIFM, your hook. No one else has this unique opportunity to flush this out – many business & professionals just slap something on a page.  No consistency. No Messaging. No impact. If  you start identifying what you’re all about, and fine-tuning it along the way – you will definitely be ready when your 15 minutes hit!)
  24. Use all of your efforts in contests, volunteering for roles, heading committees to build strengths you need for that promotion or more salary.  Most jobs nowadays pigeon hole you and no longer offer training outside your skill arena. Take the bull by the horns and create your own opportunity and promote the wins and successes. (No one’s going to toot your own horn but you!)
  25. Share the wealth of your toastmasters, but not by preaching or trying to convert. Lead by action! In a class or learning environment, or even a meeting or work environment, showcase your Table topics skills by volunteering for and delivering off the cuff (but eloquent and prepared) responses. Volunteer for presentations to committees or projects that require building a team. Offer to train your PTA, Church Group, Scouts, Book club on a specific skill relevant to the group (how to use your new smartphone or ipad, how to stay in online contact with your grandchildren, how to build successful teams, how to throw a successful findraiser, how to build membership etc). It’s leading by example in action!
  26. Highlight, share, craft a press release to your local newspaper about a contest, award, honor, speech, launch, etc and add the link to your website and linkedin.  Build your presence everywhere based on your work and your skills.
  27. Offer to speak at your local library for free on a topic of interest.

 

The Possibilities are endless for all your Toastmaster efforts, when you realize that you CAN repurpose your work, & begin looking at each effort and the associated results through new lens.

Are you starting to see the cycle and pattern here – the endless potential? Toastmasters only shows you a microcosm of what’s possible. The main goal is for you to become capable and confident in speaking & leadership first. I want you to see what you can do with it.

You are creating your own wave of success.  No longer are you at the control of other people, you are creating opportunity for you!

Every speech (as long as it is original) is information that can be working for you as your intellectual assets.  All you have is information.  Start making that information an extension of you.  Your advice, guidance, motivation and knowledge, which can now be crafted into something you-nique like you, shared online to build your following, demonstrate your portfolio, and grow your brand. You now have information that can speak for you, instead of none or someone else’s version.

The work you put into crafting your bio’s and intros can be repurposed into online profiles, creating a consistent view and message of you.

Corporate America has changed and is continuing to change at an alarming rate. Using the above will allow your Toastmasters work to give you titanium career protection by turning you into a triple threat. Through skills growth, empowering you in the use of branding, marketing, networking, social collaboration, cross cultural capacity, competency and skills, and becoming trans-disciplinary, you can empower yourself to stand out from the competition. Today’s world is becoming flatter and more competitive. You have the tools right in front of you to build your own career insurance!

How else will you take advantage of your Toastmaster experience?  Share with me what you do with you with your toastmasters below in the comments, or on on my Facebook Company page or my personal page at Facebook.com/RARuszkowski.

 

 

Guest Post: Get Unstuck and Unlost

lost without a compassAs 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’.

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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:

  • Confusion:

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:

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. 

  • Sense of Urgency:

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.

  • Panic:

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.

  • Poor decision making:

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.

  • Frustration:

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.

  • Anger:

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:

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.

  • Fatigue:

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.

  • Forgetfulness:

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.

the stop methodThe STOP Method is an acronym for: Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan.

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.

Closing

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!

Rae-Ann