Tag Archives: career strategies

3 Keys for Unveiling and Leveraging Your Brand

brand-elements2I attended a fascinating conference for corporate women last week. One of the presenters spoke about the importance of understanding your personal and business brand. I also had an insightful conversation with a visibility expert who reiterated the same thing.

As an employee or small business owner with a limited budget, you may be thinking “I don’t need a brand”, “I don’t have a brand” or even “I can’t afford a brand”.

But you’d be wrong. You have a brand whether or not you’ve actively constructed one. Your brand is how OTHERS perceive you and the value (or lack there of) that you provide.

It’s critical that you take an active role in creating the impression you WANT
to have in the public domain.

There are 3 factors that will help you articulate your brand. Once you know them, you can leverage them by CONSCIOUSLY articulating them in your marketing materials, resumes and cover letters, service offerings, emails you
send, interviews and sales meetings.

Here are 3 factors and the very simple ways to get at them that Deb Miller,
Chief Marketing Officer of Adreima shared.

The 3 factors are:
1) Your Essence Factor
2) Your Authority Factor
3) Your Superstar Factor

Your Essence Factor the core of you. You can access it by completing the sentence, “I know I’m in my element when I’m …” When you work in your essence, work is a joy instead of a drudge. You are doing what comes naturally and it therefore seems easy.  Life is good. You feel in harmony with the world, with your calling, with your purpose.

Your Authority Factor is based on your knowledge and skills. It’s what makes you credible in your profession. You can access it by completing the sentence, “People recognize my expertise in…”

Your Superstar Factor addresses, as you might imagine, your ‘secret sauce’, that quality, skill or ability that makes you a unique standout.  The way to
think about this one is to finish the sentence “People comment on my ability

Once you’ve identified these 3 factors for yourself, do some market research and ask others how they would answer the same questions. Compare the responses. Again, your brand is largely how others see you.

So decide if what you hear from others is actually how you want to be perceived. If not, you’ll have to get active in changing your behavior, image and/or service delivery so that it reflects more closely the you you want to be known as.

When you have landed on the right combination of Essence, Authority and Superstar Factors, fashion them into a sentence like one of the following:

  • I use my ____(skill) for ___ (outcome)
  • Using ____(trait), I ____( result)
  • Through my ___ (quality), I ____ (thing you do/produce) when I serve ____ (your client)

An example might be, “Using my creativity, I spark innovation in others”.

When you’re clear about who you are, what you do and the market sees and values you similarly, you’ll be well on your way to capitalizing on your skills and living in harmony with your gifts and your purpose.

5 More Facets of Being Extraordinary

extraordinary2My last article on being extraordinary received such rave reviews, I thought I would continue with a few more simple ideas.

1. Bring people together. Don’t separate them.
The world is filled with real and potential conflict. Conflict is a way of life. It won’t be avoided so long as people have different values, motivations, wants, goals, thought patterns and desires (the list goes on).

Conflict is inevitable. However, an extraordinary person seeks not just to fan the flames but to bring resolution to the issue. (As the ‘revolutionaries’ of the 70s used to say, ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’)

Complaining and protesting have their place but true progress is made with people collaborate and create solutions that meet the needs of the parties in conflict. Positions are hard to meld. Interests, on the other hand, once thoroughly uncovered can be addressed. When groups or individuals are at odds over something, strive to discover their underlying interests and needs. Focus on them, not the ‘solution’ each of them is arguing for.

2. Respect people’s partners.
The last article spoke about the importance of respecting people’s property and not taking what isn’t yours. This idea builds on that one. While people aren’t property, respecting existing relationships will deter a whole lot of ‘mess’ and drama.

A colleague of mine found herself on the verge of a triangle – 2 triangles really. She and her attraction were both married, neither happily. But before they ‘jumped in’, they both ended their relationships so they could start with a clean slate. It was still hard, but at least they didn’t muddy their existing relationships with an extra person. Realizing how unhappy they individually were, they courageous decisions, untangled their commitments and then moved forward together.

3. Don’t waste other people’s time.
One of the bullets in the last article had to do with making the world a better place. It seems that the way some people feel empowered is by usurping the energy and time of those around them. If you ask people for things you don’t need or create processes that are unnecessary, just because you can, you’re doing damage. You’re wasting valuable resources, time and energy just to build yourself up. Don’t do that.

4. Avoid fascination with other people’s problems.
Unfortunately, an entire genre of ‘reality’ shows are dedicated to telecasting people’s troubled lives. People who watch have said that seeing the issues others face make them feel better about their own lives. I know that’s possible, but here’s another alternative.

Do proactive, positive things in your own life and feel good about that rather than measuring yourself as ‘superior’ to people who can’t get it together. Shape your life the way you want. Set the bar high and get to work. Living vicariously while judging others poorly isn’t a good way to move forward.

5.  When someone else is happy or successful, celebrate and enjoy it.
The ‘cheap’ approach is to be envious and diminish their success. It’s the counterpoint to the bullet above. If they’re ‘all that’, they must have cheated or they must be bad humans.

When people accomplish great things, especially things you’d like to have, you must appreciate it, even if you don’t like the person. Doing otherwise tells the Universe you don’t like success, you don’t value having a lot of money, you don’t want to get promoted.  Don’t be a hater! Celebrate the success of others and keep doing what it takes to create that success for yourself.

I heard this great line at my conference last week, “If you’re not getting recognized as fast as you believe you should, make sure you’re doing everything you can to be WORTHY of recognition.”

5 Secrets for Making Time Work for You

What are you doing with your time? If you’re like many people, your days rush by you leaving you exhausted or exhilarated and frustrated or ecstatic. Maybe some days, you feel all four of those emotions.

What is the key to keeping the pendulum hovering over the exhilarated and ecstatic positions?  Focus.

Knowing what to focus on though, can present a real challenge for some. Stephen B. Covey provided invaluable guidance in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But that was published in 1989 before many people had email.  Mark Zuckerberg was just 5. The internet was the bastion of academic universities and world wide web was still in its infancy.

So how do we profit from time today?

1. Set long- and short-term goals
When you know where you’re headed, the pathway becomes more clear. When the path is clear, the correct daily actions along the path are more easy to discern. Without direction, any action keeps you busy but won’t necessarily get you anywhere you truly want to be.

2. Do something everyday that scares you
Miracles happen outside our comfort zone. Our routines and habits keeps us ‘safe’, in the mind’s eye at least. Unfamiliar activities are seen as dangerous and a threat to our survival. Yet, no true progress is made if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. My husband makes the distinction between people who have 20 years of experience vs 1 year of experience repeated 20 times. One person is more likely an expert; the other, not so much.

3. Track your time
It’s a tedious practice but can yield frightening results that will motivate you to make changes. Pick, in advance, 2 – 3 ‘typical’ days in your upcoming week. Every 15 minutes, make a brief note about what you did with the previous 15 minute time frame. Review your activities after 2 – 3 days and notice which ‘rabbit holes’ sucked up your valuable time. Make a vow to yourself to avert time wasters and energy drainers. Delegate. Negotiate. Procrastinate (on those things that aren’t worthy of your time and talents).

4. Clump like tasks together
If you have a lot of calls to make, do them all at once. Shifting from a phone call to an email to an office visit down the hall to working on a report uses up valuable energy. Allocate time to completing similar tasks during one period. Your mind won’t have to make so many transitions. You’re less likely to get distracted during one of those transitions and will feel more productive once you’re accomplished a list of things rather than the onesy-twosy items you may fall victim to.

5. Set a courageous, unpredictable revenue or salary goal
With this big number in mind, evaluate every task against the value of your time. Ask yourself, “Would a person who makes $’X’ be spending their time on this activity?” Even if you have a job with ‘constrained resources’ available, this is still a valid practice. It will cause you to prioritize your activities in terms of their real value and help you look for other, easier ways to accomplish some of your goals.

Focus is the key. Focus your energy, your time and your talents to accomplishing specific tasks. Put mental blinders on and stay with a task until it (or some predetermined portion of it) is done.

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The Power of Presence: 5 Critical Skills for Maximum Personal Effectiveness

The workplace is a web of communications between individuals and teams.

When things don’t go well, we tend to blame the other person or group.

If you’re ever tried to change anyone, you probably realize how pointless that is.

Our highest salvation and sense of peace is to work on ourselves, rise above the commotion and lead the way from a place of groundedness and authenticity.

Maintaining presence of mind in the midst of chaos is the way to accomplish that.

So, how does one maintain that presence when the world seems to be caving in on you? It is possible but takes concerted effort.

Here are the 5 skills that are critical for maximizing your effectiveness:

1. The ability to discover the things you do that other people notice but that you don’t know you do
We all have habits, patterns of behavior that seem to run themselves. We also all have blind spots. Things we do but are unaware of. Rarely do we seek them out and even less frequently, do we do anything about them

If you’re striving for maximum effectiveness in the workplace, you MUST know the impact you’re having on people. It takes courage to uncover them, but shining a light on the areas of your blindness will help you become more likeable, respected and influential.

2. The ability to calm yourself when your reptilian brain has just thrust you into Fight or Flight
When tensions mount, our instinct is to protect ourselves or annihilate the threat. Before you commit that career limiting move, take a moment to get ‘present’. That means calming yourself briefly before you lash out or duck and cover. Put your attention on your your physical body. Take a few deep breaths. Notice the pressure of your butt on the chair or your feet on the floor. Taking these few precious seconds will give you a chance to collect your more grounded thoughts and respond from a more centered place.

3. The ability to notice and objectively address the process you or a group are enmeshed in
Communication is a process which includes not just the words that are said but the underlying subtext of the conversation as well as what’s NOT being said. In a group or family, people fall into ‘roles’ they play in that community. When those roles can be brought to light in a way that is nonjudgmental the grip of the role is loosened.

For example, when a group is led by a powerful and directive boss, they may be reluctant to speak up if they have a different opinion than the one that is not being proferred. This is what triggers water-cooler conversations).

As the boss, it’s critical that you get the feedback you need in order to accomplish your goals. Notice that your staff is hesitant to be forthright with you. tell them you need their input AND THEN LISTEN AND TAKE IT INTO ACCOUNT.

As the staff member, it’s critical that you voice your perspective, not in a combative way but as another point of information that is valuable and key to moving forward on the right path.

4. The ability to quiet our inner critic
To be human is to have a voice that tries to protect us from harm. Unfortunately, it usually stops us from taking ‘risks’ that would actually be helpful to our personal growth. Notice what your inner critic or judge usually says to you. Then when it pipes up (in your head) in various situations, notice it and say ‘Thank you for pointing that out’.

Then imagine that there is a miracle awaiting you on the other side of whatever fear it raised and take some action toward bringing that miracle into fruition.

5. The ability to cultivate the Sage within you
There is another voice within us that knows what’s possible on a grander scale than what our human persona normally perceives. It is the voice of intution, Spirit, knowingness, God (or whicheve deity enlightens your world).

It whispers to us to take action. It’s suggestions sometimes scare us and that’s almost always a signal that growth or transformation is right around the corner if we go there.

Cultivating the Sage means creating quiet time and space for it to speak to us during periods of restfulness,

meditation or prayer. It means listening to the voice and honoring it by taking action on its suggestions. It’s a discipline and practice, being quite and taking acion. Ant it is a practice, that if done consistenly, will pay off in really big ways.

So, be aware then be courageous. Release the judge that condemns yourself and others. Invite the Sage to take a larger role in your life and the power of this new presence will dramatically improve your personal effectiveness.

Let me know how it works out for you!

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Turn the “Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in Your Business or Career into Cold Hard Cash

One of the biggest complaints I hear today is that people aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Whether they are a corporate professional looking to move up the ranks in their career or a business owner looking to land more lucrative clients and contracts, they’re struggling to distinguish themselves in an authentic and profitable way.

Recently, I’ve honed in on what it takes to turn what I call “The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in your career or business into cold, hard cash! Once you’ve mastered that process, you’ll attract better clients, gain more recognition in the office, feel way more confident, set yourself apart from the herd, stop worrying about the competition and earn more money.

It’s a simple model. Think back to your high school algebra or logic class to the phrase “Venn Diagram”. The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot is at the intersection of 3 concepts:

1) Your expertise and passions
2) Your customers needs
3) Your offer, well-timed



Your expertise and passions
It’s critical you know what you’re really good at and it’s likely that you don’t. If you’re like most people, you undervalue what you know. When something somes naturally to you, it’s easy to assume that everyone is good at it too. Nothing could be stronger from the truth.

Take a trip down memory lane and ask yourself what you loved to do as a child or teenager. Recall the kinds of things people have asked your advice on over the years. When you’re clear about your expertise and focus your business or career around the expression of that expertise, you’ll be effective and experience less struggle. Work will feel graceful and full of ease. If you aren’t aware of and don’t effectively market the value of your skills, you’ll sound like everyone else when competing for clients or jobs. You’ll seem like a commodity and be easily replaced by someone with a lower bid.

When you focus on what you’re passionate about, you’ll also experience a feeling of fulfillment and joy. Time will fly by because you’re doing what you love.

Your customers’ needs
People will pay good money to someone who is perceived as being someone who can help them solve their most urgent issues. You have to know what keeps them awake at night and how your ‘magic’ will let them rest more peacefully. If you aren’t aware of their problems, your marketing messages to them will sound like that Charlie Brown teacher “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah”. They don’t care how cool your process is. They only care about their pain and getting rid of it.

Your offer, well-timed
You must have a specific methodology you use to help solve those problems. That’s your “offer”. Having a trademark system in place gives you more credibility and positions you as an expert. Even if you’re an employee, you probably have a certain way you go about solving problems. When you can describe and name your process, it’s value goes up. It’s one of the steps I take my clients through in my VIP “Monetize Your Niche” and “Be Dream Job Ready” private consulting days.

The second component of this is the ‘well-timed’ part. You could have the most compelling solution but if it fixes a problem they’re not having now, you likely won’t get the sale. You must learn to recognize the buying signals that foretell a prospect is ready to take action.

When you clarify these three concepts and implement new activities in your business, you’ll be on the way to pushing more cash in the bank!