Archive for January, 2011

Linked Out? Link In.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

supply_chainThe job is tedious. Below you. Boring. Ridiculous. Worse than ridiculous when you consider your degree, stage of life, needs, self-image, friends’ careers … the litany is long, when it comes to why you are better than your job.

What you don’t know is that your miserable job is a link in the chain that pulls the world in the right direction. Or not.

Destination or part of the journey

Before I got on-air – before I thought I could get on-air, I went to a broadcast program at this small jewel of a program at Chapman University in Orange County, California. Leo Green, my first instructor and mentor had been in charge of news or features for seemingly every major (and minor) program, network or station that I’d watched or heard about.

I thought I might become a news reporter.  So I went to see if I could.

Short answer: yes. Before I completed the program, I began doing pieces for KOCE, the public television station in Orange County, among other local stations. Short story? Reporting is very, very boring. It is tedious. It is silly. You spend hours learning about a tree ordinance and then hunt down people who cry on camera because the city cut down their trees. All that effort gets you maybe 180 seconds of a news package.

Suddenly, in my ear a producer’s voice said, “Smile, when you say cocaine bust,” as I sat at an anchor desk talking about what the police did in Hemet: a scorching little dot on the map near Palm Springs, California. And, the point is?

I found out that local news reporting is the least, best use of me. There’s more to tell, and worse, but that will do.

I love business. I love being a business pundit in media. Totally different gig, which I would not have gotten if I hadn’t happily congratulated Hemet’s finest for their haul: exactly as I was instructed to do.

Leo taught me something more valuable than learning to read prompter without moving my eyes. Something I believed, even when it was raining and I was doing a standup in high heels on a hill that was coming down during a mudslide. Which for me, looks dumb, feels dumb and is dumb. Dumber than dangerous.

“Everything matters.”

I don’t care if you like it or feel like you’re being actualized by it. Whether you are delivering flyers, entering data, collating, photocopying, using a scissors, braiding hair or doing brain surgery: everything matters.

All the very small and miserable things you and I do to earn a living matter – because we are responsible for some link in some chain that pulls some company in, God-willing, the right direction. And, that’s how commerce, media, government or charitable organizations work, and how the world goes around. And, your career with it.

LinkedIn? Yes, but first link in.

You matter.

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Act Like You Expect Great Things

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

job-interview-photoI’ve interviewed five people in the last two weeks, because I’m adding to my staff. Some candidates were qualified skill-wise, but their personal brands were filled with sarcasm, skepticism and hostility. No matter what you say or what your resume has printed on it, your personal brand is going to win you or lose you the next perfect opportunity for you.

Fake it till you make it?

Not that these candidates don’t have reason to be bitter. It is a tough job market. They each had been laid off. They have been sending resumes and trying to get interviewed for months, if not longer. They were dying on the vine at home trying to get a job, rather than coming home from a job they found rewarding – if only money-wise.

Each was going through the stages of grief that losing anything puts you through. I know. If 2010 had a theme for me, other than work, life dealt an almost incalculable amount of death, illness and personal loss my way. I clung to my two remaining loved ones and lost one in the process. I kept working because I can and I must, even when I very much wanted to dwell and maybe even deal with the misery that subsumed me.

Wearing your situation differently

I’ve had years like this before. I am no stranger to really bad circumstances. I just wear it differently than most other people. My personal brand is rooted in encouragement, invention and freedom. That’s not for show or for nothing. The qualities that attract and engage clients, coach people to realize their potential, or put me in the media, are the same values that create the self-talk I hear all day long.

Here’s what I hear.

This is a new opportunity. One phone call can change everything. A rejection is the start of a great relationship – I know, I have proved it. If there’s something that cannot be done, give it to me – I’ll invent a solution and drive in the revenue. If there are 2 seconds on the clock and we are 3 points down, get the ball into my hands. Inconvenience me, I can do what I do and help you, too.

But like most people, I have no answer to the empty place at the table. I keep the nightclothes and the dog bed where I can see them. I keep up the photos and the security questions so I can reflect, even just for a moment, on my new normal.

But, this is really my secret: each loss has its own bucket of tears. They don’t all run together and form a river. That gives me time to jump on firm ground, add to what’s stable or growing, and revel in who I am now and who I am determined to be in the future.

It’s a new attitude

Because I am one of you, because I don’t live a charmed life but simply a real one: I don’t understand why you come to an interview or work angry, cynical or rude. I don’t understand why, when a friend who loves you traded on their relationship with me to introduce you, you come filled bitterness about what happened to you rather than joyful expectations about what can happen to you now.

Personal brands, I know what’s going on out there. I understand where the anxiety, fear and worry come from. Just don’t wear it to the work place, because we can’t hire you if you throw off a dark, troubled or mean vibe.

Recognize a safe harbor when you find one.

Start every new relationship with a new attitude.

Let loss have its due.

Respect what happened and still expect great things.

Enter smiling.

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Tactically Speaking: VPPs Matter

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

targetLaunching  or re-launching your personal brand? The best target audience is the toughest to get. You need to be known by Very Powerful People. Visibility and connections with your industry’s VPPs gets you faster traction and a sharper trajectory, whether you’re looking for a new job, ready to leave one field for another, or want to become a thought leader yourself.

Very Powerful People

For your personal VPPs campaign, try these proven Twitter outreach techniques. Your goal? When VPPs search their names, you and your tweets show up. Don’t implement all of these tactics at once – because you’ll seem like a stalker!

1. Follow your VPPs on Twitter. They may follow back automatically. When they do, send a direct message. EX: Looking forward to your insights on blogging for personal branding – will share some too!

2. Spark a dialogue. Link your content or tout a source when you direct message a few times each quarter. EX: Chris, do you agree with Meg? Why Personal Branding Matters In Job Search http://bit.ly/bdRGWs

3. Mention VPPs in your Twitter posts. Show how you put VPPs insights into action. EX: @nancerosen 2011 pledge rocked my resolutions – leaving family business after years of agony http://bit.ly/hF9nOf

4. Retweet VPPs. Emphasize a benefit you got. EX: Cut my SM time by half. RT @grahamlubie on Twitter overload http://goo.gl/fb/mm1Uy

5. Tweet links to VPPs books, blogs and other content. EX: Inspiring calendar http://is.gd/klVm0 found thru @GuyKawasaki.

6. Tweet when you attend an event (live or online) where VPPs appear. EX: @DanSchawbel on Harvard campus today: you are not too young to make an impact even before graduating.

7. Tweet links to your VPPs YouTube videos. EX: Introducing your boss to social media? See @KarlKasca Twitter basics: http://bit.ly/hx9bMV.

On all your social media sites, make sure your content represents the personal brand you want to project. You get one chance to make a great first impression with VPPs and the rest of us.

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Personal Branding Pledge for 2011

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Happy_New_Year_2011-05This is my year.

This is the time when I re-launch my life.

I blast away to my dreams and my visions.

I leave behind ties that bind me for no reason.

This is the season of my greatest leap forward, into my zone.

I decide who I am and how I want to be known.

I own my place on this planet, and whatever is beyond it.

My trajectory goes exactly how I want it.

This is the journey of my lifetime with no concessions, just blessings.

I defy anyone who tries to quell me, or compel me into squandering my time.

I defy gravity.

I defy the odds.

I do what I have never done before. I will soar. I will be more.

This year I am the greatest iteration of who I can be.

Because this is my time, this is all about me.

I don’t care what I was; only what I can be.

I have the strength; I have the will. I am ready for the fight.

I know how to accomplish things that seem larger than life.

It’s done in small bites, so it’s easy for me.

I am voracious; I am courageous; I am prepared to be outrageous.

I know where I am going and how to exit the past.

This is my year; this is my life.

Now I get what I want and I get it real fast

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