it's not the social media that work for you it's what you do to make it work
Batya Mamman

Batya's Blog

Posted on: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013


Simply having a college degree will not get you hired. We need to break away from this idea. In all reality, most employers could care less about your GPA or where you went to school.

Today, getting hired in entry-level positions requires experience and fine-tuned skills, not a 4.0 GPA. This probably isn’t what most new grads want to hear, but it’s the truth.

Many new college graduates enter their job search with a why-wouldn’t-someone-hire-me mindset. But most employers aren’t going to take on an entry-level hire unless they’re certain they’ll positively impact the company.

So the real question for new graduates to consider is this: What can you bring to the table that makes you worth hiring?

Here’s some food for thought for those entering the workforce:

1. Your degree isn’t a golden ticket. We need to put an end to the “silver spoon complex.” Simply obtaining a degree may only help you out if you’re planning to go the corporate route, where companies have more time and money to invest in training programs. But at my company, I don’t even know which of my employees has a degree or not–it makes no difference to me. I care more about the impact my employees have on my company.

I’d much rather hire someone who has been freelancing as a web developer for three years than someone who has a master’s degree in computer science. They’re bound to be more passionate, driven, and profitable in the long run, as they know what it takes to impact the bottom line.

2. It’s all about experience. I started my company Ciplex when I was 17. Throughout college I ran my business on the side, in addition to working in my college IT department. Today, undertaking one internship isn’t enough to prove your experience to employers. The reason so many college graduates can’t find work is because they lack experience.

One simple way to get more experience within your industry is by taking on freelance work and contracting gigs. These types of experiences will help you learn and grow while developing a sense of independence, responsibility, and drive. All of these traits are highly attractive to employers.

3. Passion will help you succeed. If you’re just looking to get hired anywhere, employers will be able to tell. I get emails all the time from job seekers who are just looking to get hired and don’t indicate any passion for their work or my company.

Passion will get you hired. Experience is one way to showcase this, but you also have to learn to properly articulate it on your cover letter, resume, and during networking. If you use the same cover letter for every employer, do you really think you’re conveying your passion for the position you’re applying for? Remember, it’s not just about looking for a job. Employers want employees who are truly passionate about what they do and have a vision to benefit the company.

4. Companies hire the person who is certain to cause the most positive impact.Before you apply to your next job opening, ask yourself the following: What can you do for the company? How can you turn a profit? If you aren’t able to answer these questions, then don’t apply. Employers–especially small businesses and startups–are only interested in hiring someone who is going to positively impact their company.

When I review emails from job seekers, it’s very easy to tell who’s just looking to get hired and who’s actually going to impact my company. Make the effort to prove to employers you’re worth hiring.

5. Go the extra mile. Success doesn’t come to those who wait. You have to give everything you do your all … even if it means working late or on the weekends. Some people describe this as paying your dues, but it’s really just putting in the effort required to make an impact.

What do you wish someone would have told you when you graduated college?

Photo courtesy of Daniel Rocha.

About Ilya Pozin:

Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

Posted by Ilya Poziny

Posted on: Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


mindset

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” ~ Zig Ziglar

One of my all time favorite quotes that changes me every time I read it. This quote resonates with me because I’ve gone through my own cycles over the past few years.  I work daily with professionals who are stuck and stalled. The mindset makeover and attitude adjustment always begins between the ears.

Sustaining a positive outlook and energy is not the easiest thing to do when “stuff happens,” and we are usually our own worst enemy.

The benefits though of a PMA (positive mental attitude) and the liabilities of pessimism are well documented in various books and studies. Napoleon Hill’s famous work, “Think and Grow Rich”(1937), is one of the best-selling books of all time (at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, “Think and Grow Rich” had sold 20 million copies.) Hill’s works examined the power of personal beliefs and the role they play in personal success.

We move through cycles of motivation, commitment and interest that affect our disposition simply because we are human and it’s human nature. The National Institute on Aging reported“given the right disposition, in the face of difficulty, people can still find renewed happiness.”

 

Do you:

  • Dread Mondays?
  • Feel like you’re stalling or in a rut?
  • Procrastinate on projects and follow up?

Below are 10 steps that can help you makeover your mindset and adjust your attitude, if you commit to them.

Makeover Your Mindset and Adjust Your Attitude

Review Your Systems

Review all your systems and make sure they are really working for you now.

Review Your Time Management

Review your daily time management and priorities and watch out for those “bright, shiny object” distractions.

Create Quiet Time

Set aside quiet time for yourself to get centered, focused and take a break.

Address Your Fears

Address your fears and put them into a realistic perspective.

Wake Up Earlier

Get up 30 minutes earlier, especially on Monday and Tuesday, and add days as you get comfortable.

Eat Breakfast

Eat a good breakfast so that you fuel yourself  to start the day.

Connect with Others

Connect with your “A” people who nurture you and call you out.

Set “Fun” Days

Make Monday and Friday full, fun days that start and end your week strong and set the tone.

Read Positive News

Read positive news and information and listen to your favorite music daily.

Dress Up

Dress up, perk up and show up ready to make the most out of the day and make a personal statement about yourself.

Oftentimes we need to shake up our habits, let go of a few bad ones and start building new ones. Personal and professional development is key to professional advancement. Seek out a coach, consultant or other professional to help you, or get an “accountability partner” or start an “accountability group” of dedicated people and do it together.

Don’t accept being stuck or let fear hold you back. Your success and happiness is an inside-out job that you control. Start with your mindset and attitude and your heart will follow. Here are some additional ideas and suggestions for your mindset makeover.

How do you sustain your positive mental attitude?

 
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Deborah Shane

Deborah Shane is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media catalyst. Deborah hosts her Deborah Shane Toolbox blog and her Top 100 Small Business Podcast 2013, Deborah Shane Metropolis. She writes for national sites including Forbes, Monster, Personal Branding Blog and Small Business Trends. Her book, “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is available through all major book sellers.

Posted on: Monday, April 15th, 2013


In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art
Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?
But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.
The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art. Being an artist isn’t a genetic disposition or a specific talent. It’s an attitude we can all adopt. It’s a hunger to seize new ground, make connections, and work without a map. If you do those things you’re an artist, no matter what it says on your business card.

Marketing Wizard Seth Godin on Success and Inspiration

BY  | February 1, 2013|
Seth Godin

Seth Godin
Photography by Glenn Glasser

Seth Godin has one of the most-loved marketing blogs on the internet, has penned more than a dozen bestselling books and launched a social site that attracts more than 50 million viewers per month. Yet he makes little effort to cultivate a following, preferring to be discovered virally. Those who do find him stick around for his uncomplicated entrepreneurial mantras, which boil down to this: Make something happen.

Now, he says, the time is ripe for impresarios and artists to take the lead in the business world. He sat down with us to reveal the philosophies that have brought him to this point, as explored in his new book, The Icarus Deception.

“Icarus. The original myth had two parts. Daedalus said to his son, ‘I fashioned these wings for you. Two rules. Don’t fly too high, or the sun will melt the wax. But, more important, son, don’t fly too low. Because if you fly too low, the water and the waves will surely weigh down the wings, and you will die.’ We’ve left out the second part of the myth. We don’t say to people anymore, ‘Don’t fly too low.’ All we do from the time they are 4 years old is warn them against hubris. We have created this industrially led structure that says: How dare you.”

In the late 1990s, when the internet was a toddler, Seth Godin grasped the personal nature of the digital economy and made a fortune teaching people how to build direct-marketing relationships through e-mail. His groundbreaking book, Permission Marketing, detailed his strategy and made him the go-to marketing guru for web pioneers.

During the next decade, Godin wrote a dozen zeitgeist-savvy business books, penned a popular column for Fast Company magazine and started a daily routine of posting to SethGodin.com, which has long been in the top 10, if not No. 1 or 2, on the AdAge Power150 ranking of marketing blogs. In 2005 he launched Squidoo, a website that helps hobbyists publicize and monetize their personal passions and now attracts more than 53 million unique visitors a month.

And then, three years ago, he dropped out of sight. “I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing,” he explains. “I don’t do outbound stuff to interrupt strangers.”

Godin isn’t as bald as he appears in pictures. The white duck down encircling his head is trimmed close. Sinewy and alert, he is also gracious and relaxed and makes a habit of preparing his favorite lunch of brown rice, vegetables and a fried egg for guests who visit the apartment he has transformed into a homey office in downtown Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

For the past three years Godin has continued to write his daily blog and maintain a lecture and workshop schedule. He has no full-time employees. When he needs help on a project, he taps a small circle of regular collaborators. He is not a Facebook fan or tweeter; he has no publicist. Books from his publishing venture The Domino Project, launched in conjunction with Amazon, did not have major publicity pushes or wide release at bookstores; instead, its provocative ideas spread virally, as the slim volumes were passed from one person to the next.

Seth Godin

With his new book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, Godin ends his self-imposed exile. Published by Penguin Group’s Portfolio, the book was funded publicly via a Kickstarter campaign that raised $287,342 from 4,242 people in 30 days. “I am more proud of this than anything I’ve ever done,” Godin says. “Icarus feels urgent enough that I wanted to reach a group of people I can’t easily reach with a blog post. And I wanted to be able to talk to those people with authority, so that they open up and give it a try.”

Starting with this, his first-ever major magazine profile, Godin is aiming to connect with should-be, almost-are or want-to-be artists. They need to know, he proclaims, that this is their moment. “How many people get to go to work every day and say, ‘This might not work,’ and then go [do it]? The answer is, not enough,” he says. “But it is going up. And that’s what the book is trying to sell people. It is trying to sell them the joy of being able to say, ‘This might not work.’ Because it is so cheap to fail today compared to what it was to fail 50 years ago.”

Success, meanwhile, has never offered more rewards. “We are paying people more money and giving them more freedom than ever before to make art,” he says.

It isn’t just painters and potters and poets. Entrepreneurs, marketers, crazy people who dance on street corners and anyone else who isn’t afraid to express themselves has the opportunity to find an audience.

Seth Godin

“The sooner you deal with this and embrace it, the more likely it is that you end up on the side of the chasm with the people who can’t believe their good fortune, as opposed to people who are cursing the darkness,” Godin says, delivering his heaven-or-hell scenario with equanimity. “I’m pretty sure I’m right. What I’m not sure of is how long it will take and how unevenly it will be distributed.

“We’ve left the industrial era, the era of Mad Men, the era of ‘Build a system, spend money and grow it,'” he goes on. “The recession is permanent. The cyclical one is over, but there is a permanent decline in industrial labor that is going to continue for the rest of our lives.”

What we have now, he maintains, is a “connection economy,” in which impresarios are the new big men on campus. “We are in an era of handmade insights, of human beings who touch other human beings in some way, making change happen.”

As good as that sounds–and Godin assures it is good–such a change can be both disruptive and destructive. Expect collateral damage: Some people will not be able to make the shift from working for others to working for themselves.

All this is detailed in Icarus, which Godin describes as a “screed.” But though written in his discursive, stream-of-consciousness style, the book is neither long nor a rant. It is Godin’s clarion call, a public appeal to seize this moment of opportunity and riches before the barriers are rebuilt. If enough people make enough good art, impresarios might rule the world–an idea Godin finds appealing.

Walk into any bookstore and you will find titles promising to liberate you from ennui, a hundred fast rides to wealth and fame. The self-help guru of the moment is Tim Ferriss. His narcissist’s guide to getting rich by working very little, The 4-Hour Workweek, covers all the bases.

Godin’s books take the opposite tack. Rather than “how to,” they are “what is,” capturing big-business trends in short, evocative phrases.Unleashing the Ideavirus (2001) is a strategy for inspiring change in society. Purple Cow (2003) discusses the power of being unique in a world of sameness. And Tribes (2008) explains the new ways we are organizing ourselves in a hyperconnected world.

Whatever the particular market phenomenon he is describing, Godin’s central message is the same: Face your fears. Risk failure. Struggle. Persevere. Be free. He offers no shortcuts or detailed directions.

“Seth is one of the few people I know about whom I would be comfortable using the overused term guru,” says Kevin Kelly, one of the visionaries behind Wired magazine and author of What Technology Wants. “Technically a guru is an enlightened teacher of wisdom, not a mere expert. Seth is a legitimate guru. He dispenses wisdom and teaches wisdom. He is forever reminding everyone of the unchanging truths, and then overturning everything else, and constantly questioning his own–and your–discernment between the two.”

Michael Wayne was building his digital media company, DECA, when Godin released Tribes. “He captured what we were thinking and experiencing before anyone had a name for it. I bought the book for everyone in our office,” Wayne says.

Godin calls himself a teacher. He’d rather give his students a compass than a map. “I’m trying to say to people, just for a minute: Put on a set of glasses and see the world as I imagine it,” he says. “Does it work for you? Does it feel right? Does it make sense? And, if it does, don’t do what I just said to do–that’s a cookie cutter. Invent your own next chapter. ”

Seth Godin

At the time Godin started writing, his students worked in office buildings for companies with big marketing departments. Today he speaks to individuals who embrace what he says about the post-industrial world and are eager to leave the platitudes of the corporate world behind.

The ubiquitous checklist of “foolproof” steps to solve problems is “an easy sell,” Godin says, “but it isn’t true.” More important, “it isn’t going to put a dent in the universe. The way you make something happen is to do something that a fool could screw up. These things aren’t foolproof. They are risky, scary. They require vulnerability and a willingness to be in the world.”

Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1960s was a painful obstacle course for a scrawny kid growing up with what he now thinks was attention-deficit disorder. Everyone played hockey, so Godin did too, despite heart-stopping fear of being slammed into the ice. And everyone went to summer camp, so Godin’s parents sent him off to Camp Arowhon in northern Ontario. “I didn’t like it much as a kid,” he recalls. “Camp was about fitting in, and there was a fair amount of bullying.” He stuck it out, though, finding his niche as a canoeing instructor.

Godin’s job wasn’t just to teach canoe tricks–he had to convince campers to do that instead of horseback riding or swimming. “Canoeing was hard and scary, and the wind could blow you across the lake if you did it wrong,” he says. “After a year of not doing it right, I could talk to people and get them to sit up straight, take different kinds of chances, to breathe differently, to engage in the moment in the boat. And I changed them, and I changed me in the process. I did it for five or six years. I was really good at it, and I really loved doing it, and I’ve been trying to re-create that ever since.”

After graduating from Stanford University’s business school in 1984, Godin started a book-packaging company, peddling finished concepts to publishers. He had an early success, followed by 900 failures. Then, he says, he found his groove, before completely screwing up.

“This T-shirt here is one of my most treasured possessions,” he says, pulling out a garment featuring the cartoon face with round glasses that has since become his logo. “Forty billion dollars is what this T-shirt is worth.”

In the early 1990s, before the online world had fully formed, Godin snagged a magazine assignment to write about “cool things” happening on the internet. He parlayed that into an $80,000 book deal, Best of the Net. The T-shirt was part of the package. “I hired a lot of people,” he says. “It took six months. We made a 250-page book, and it sold less than 2,000 copies.” At the same time, “Jerry Yang and David Filo saw what was going on with the net and said the best way to tell people is to start a search engine. And they started Yahoo.

“I knew what they knew,” he continues. “I had the resources they had. And I created a book that sold nothing, and they created a company worth $80 billion. I figure I would have had half of that, so that is why the T-shirt is worth $40 billion.”

It was an invaluable lesson, says Godin, who went on to launch Yoyodyne, an internet marketing company he sold to Yahoo for some $30 million in stock in 1998, when Yahoo shares were rising $2 per day.

Seth Godin

Yoyodyne was a scrappy little company that punched above its weight. When everyone else was treating internet users as a commodity, Godin preached relationships. “Seth likes to say there are two ways to get married,” says Michael Landau, a colleague at Yoyodyne who became vice president of brand marketing at Yahoo and is now CEO of Drybar, a chain of chic hair salons. “You can go up to every single girl you meet and hope that you get some random sucker who agrees to do it, which is what traditional advertising does, or you can take a more methodical approach: Ask someone out on a date first and get to know them. Then another date. And, eventually, get married.”

Yoyodyne, Landau adds, was an “intoxicating” experience. “The world was changing in a big way, and no one knew what to do. Desperate is probably the wrong word, but clients were anxious and grateful for someone helping them figure it out.”

Godin needed a way to explain exactly what he did for clients. “We weren’t selling ads, so what were we selling?” he recalls thinking. “I got in the shower one morning and didn’t get out until I had my answer. Just as the hot water ran out–15 to 20 minutes–I had it. What we do is ‘permission marketing.’ We deliver anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.” He laid out the philosophy in Permission Marketing.

“Seth has created his own school of marketing,” contends popular Silicon Valley blogger Guy Kawasaki. “He doesn’t fit into anyone else’s. He’s all about clear differentiation, permission and not asking customers to do something that you wouldn’t do.”

Landau calls Godin a mentor who “truly changed the trajectory of my career and my life.” That said, he adds, Godin “can be the most frustrating person because he really makes you think. He is never going to tell you what to do. He is never going to give you the answer. He is going to steer you in the direction to get there.”

At Drybar, Landau has been struggling to control costs, in particular the cost of taking phone reservations. He was thinking about offering $1 off to anyone who booked online, but Godin’s advice changed his mind. “Double what you spend on telephone operators,” he told Landau. “Encourage customers to call in–these people love connecting with your brand. They are your evangelists.”

Landau says those words “completely shifted” his thinking. Indeed, “Never squander your relationship with your customer” has been a Godinism for 20 years.

A year after the Yahoo buyout, Godin left Silicon Valley to live a writer’s life in the Hudson Valley, helping people improve their marketing skills. “What’s really cool, which I didn’t plan on, is that it applies to people way down the hierarchy of scale and profitability,” he says. “It applies to second-grade teachers, a waitress in a restaurant who wants her tips to go up, or musicians or painters who want to make a living. And that’s all new.”

Indicating a giant compilation of the best of his blog posts, a gift to the Kickstarter investors in the project, Godin says, “The name of the book is This Might Work, but if you turn it over, the back cover says This Might Not Work. And if you open it, you see a list of all of my projects that have been complete failures. You have to embrace the stuff that doesn’t work or you don’t get to play.”

But if you can accept that, and you offer your art to the world, Godin contends, life improves. New things are possible–witness the artisanal revolution that swept through the food world a couple of years ago. Mass-market producers like Procter & Gamble are losing more shelf space to impresarios every day. “If it isn’t going to happen in your industry, then your industry is dead, and you should get out of it. It will downsize and cost-reduce, and you can’t win there,” Godin warns.

“The connection economy creates abundance,” he notes. However, “there are not going to be jobs like we used to think of jobs. Those jobs are going away. But the number of opportunities for tribe leaders goes up.” This is because the connection machine and the marketing machine and the announcement machine that is the internet allows everyone to create.

“I can’t even go to the edges of how revolutionary this all is, because people can keep coming up with stuff that is even closer to the edge,” he says. “The thought that there will be franchises where there is no franchisor isn’t that big–it is only two years from now. The idea that if you can’t get on TV, you will make your own show and broadcast it is happening right now. No matter what field you are in, your bluff is called. You can no longer point to boundaries that are there, because they are pretty easy to surmount, if you want to.

“In 1918, the one thing you wanted to hear was ‘Make sure you have an assembly line. Make sure you have mass production.’ In 1950, the one thing you wanted to hear was ‘Buy more ads.’ [Now] the only thing you need to hear is ‘Be more generous. Make more art so that you can be trusted.’ If you try to maximize those things, everything else will take care of itself.”

Postscript: I approached the research and writing of this profile wearing two hats. I was both a journalist and an entrepreneur. My standard curiosity spiked with skepticism made room for a bit of optimism that perhaps I’d learn something that would help me build Zester Daily, the journalists’ business cooperative I founded.

I asked Godin about skills, talent and connections. “If I were talking to people who are diamond-cutters or cardiac surgeons, I think we can agree that skill first, second and third are all I care about,” he said. “But almost everyone who is making progress in today’s economy isn’t doing something with a certified skill. So the skills we are talking about are the skills to connect with people, to see the world as it is, the ability to imagine a different place you would want to take the world. These are fundamental human skills, not something you learn at Harvard.”

I asked about money. “Anyone subscribing to this magazine has enough resources to put something into the world and see what happens. It has never been easier,” he said. “We just connected you to a billion people for free. It costs you nothing to start that eBay business. If no one buys your stuff on eBay, then don’t sell it. It costs you nothing to buy Google Ads. If no one clicks, you don’t have to pay anything. It costs you nothing to have a blog and give away every secret you know. If no one reads it, nothing happens.”

The thought of failing makes me sad, I told him. “If Zester doesn’t work, it will be because you have been protecting yourself from being sad,” he said. “Art is painful. Bob Dylan got booed offstage when he went electric. He got booed offstage when he went gospel. The Monkees never got booed offstage.”

Then I asked about finding an audience. “Generally, the tribe finds you,” he said. “If they are hiding, you are never going to find them. And if they find you, it is because you are being generous to others who are in your tribe. Generosity in the industrial setting means giving them stuff. But I’m talking about giving them kindness and attention and connection.

“I thought what was neat about Zester,” he added, “besides the writing being really good, is that the tribe of people who are going to spend the time reading is exactly who a certain group of people need to reach with their advertising. But they aren’t going to do it willingly. They are only going to come along after you are so dominant in the space that they have no choice. The key is, if every one of your users gets you 10 more, and you do that three times, then you win.”

Read more stories about: MarketingInnovatorsSeth GodinProfiles

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Posted on: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


They work hard, and they work smart. But highly productive people also tend to think about their work differently from everyone else.

Highly Productive Traveler

ome people get more done than others–a lot more.

Sure, they work hard. And they work smart. But they possess other qualities that make a major impact on their performance.

They do the work in spite of disapproval or ridicule.

Work too hard, strive too hard, appear to be too ambitious, try to stand out from the crowd. It’s a lot easier and much more comfortable to reel it in to ensure you fit in.

Pleasing the (average-performing) crowd is something remarkably productive people don’t worry about. (They may think about it, but then they keep pushing on.)

They hear the criticism, they take the potshots, they endure the laughter or derision or even hostility–and they keep on measuring themselves and their efforts by their own standards.

And, in the process, they achieve what they want to achieve.

They see fear the same way other people view lunch.

One of my clients is an outstanding–and outstandingly successful–comic. Audiences love him. He’s crazy good.

Yet he still has panic attacks before he walks onstage. He knows he’ll melt down, sweat through his shirt, feel sick to his stomach, and all the rest. It’s just the way he is.

So, just before he goes onstage, he takes a quick shower, puts on fresh clothes, drinks a bottle of water, jumps up and down and does a little shadowboxing, and out he goes.

He’s still scared. He knows he’ll always be scared. He accepts it as part of the process. Pre-show fear is like lunch: It’s going to happen.

Anyone hoping to achieve great things gets nervous. Anyone trying to achieve great things gets scared.

Productive people aren’t braver than others; they just find the strength to keep moving forward. They realize fear is paralyzing while action creates confidence and self-assurance.

They can still do their best on their worst day.

Norman Mailer said, “Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”

Remarkably successful people don’t make excuses. They forge ahead, because they know establishing great habits takes considerable time and effort. They know how easy it is to instantly create a bad habit by giving in–even just this one time.

They see creativity as the result of effort, not inspiration.

Most people wait for an idea. Most people think creativity happens. They expect a divine muse will someday show them a new way, a new approach, a new concept.

And they wait and wait and wait.

Occasionally, great ideas do just come to people. Mostly, though, creativity is the result of effort: toiling, striving, refining, testing, experimenting… The work itself results in inspiration.

Remarkably productive people don’t wait for ideas. They don’t wait for inspiration. They know that big ideas most often come from people who do, not people who dream.

They see help as essential, not weakness.

Pretend you travel to an unfamiliar country, you know only a few words of the language, and you’re lost and a little scared.

Would you ask for help? Of course. No one knows everything. No one is great at everything.

Productive people soldier on and hope effort will overcome a lack of knowledge or skill. And it does, but only to a point.

Remarkably productive people also ask for help. They know asking for help is a sign of strength–and the key to achieving more.

They start…

At times, you will lack motivation and self-discipline. At times, you’ll be easily distracted. At times, you’ll fear failure or success.

Procrastination is a part of what makes people human; it’s not possible to completely overcome any of those shortcomings.

Wanting to put off a difficult task is normal. Avoiding a challenge is normal.

But think about a time you put off a task, finally got started, and then, once into it, thought, “I don’t know why I kept putting this off–it’s going really well. And it didn’t turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined.”

It never is.

Highly productive people try not to think about the pain they’ll feel in the beginning; they focus on how good they will feel once they’re engaged and involved.

And they get started. And then they don’t stop.

…And they finish.

Unless there’s a really, really good reason not to finish–which, of course, there almost never is.

 

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up fromghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

 

Posted on: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


They work hard, and they work smart. But highly productive people also tend to think about their work differently from everyone else.

Highly Productive Traveler

ome people get more done than others–a lot more.

Sure, they work hard. And they work smart. But they possess other qualities that make a major impact on their performance.

They do the work in spite of disapproval or ridicule.

Work too hard, strive too hard, appear to be too ambitious, try to stand out from the crowd. It’s a lot easier and much more comfortable to reel it in to ensure you fit in.

Pleasing the (average-performing) crowd is something remarkably productive people don’t worry about. (They may think about it, but then they keep pushing on.)

They hear the criticism, they take the potshots, they endure the laughter or derision or even hostility–and they keep on measuring themselves and their efforts by their own standards.

And, in the process, they achieve what they want to achieve.

They see fear the same way other people view lunch.

One of my clients is an outstanding–and outstandingly successful–comic. Audiences love him. He’s crazy good.

Yet he still has panic attacks before he walks onstage. He knows he’ll melt down, sweat through his shirt, feel sick to his stomach, and all the rest. It’s just the way he is.

So, just before he goes onstage, he takes a quick shower, puts on fresh clothes, drinks a bottle of water, jumps up and down and does a little shadowboxing, and out he goes.

He’s still scared. He knows he’ll always be scared. He accepts it as part of the process. Pre-show fear is like lunch: It’s going to happen.

Anyone hoping to achieve great things gets nervous. Anyone trying to achieve great things gets scared.

Productive people aren’t braver than others; they just find the strength to keep moving forward. They realize fear is paralyzing while action creates confidence and self-assurance.

They can still do their best on their worst day.

Norman Mailer said, “Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”

Remarkably successful people don’t make excuses. They forge ahead, because they know establishing great habits takes considerable time and effort. They know how easy it is to instantly create a bad habit by giving in–even just this one time.

They see creativity as the result of effort, not inspiration.

Most people wait for an idea. Most people think creativity happens. They expect a divine muse will someday show them a new way, a new approach, a new concept.

And they wait and wait and wait.

Occasionally, great ideas do just come to people. Mostly, though, creativity is the result of effort: toiling, striving, refining, testing, experimenting… The work itself results in inspiration.

Remarkably productive people don’t wait for ideas. They don’t wait for inspiration. They know that big ideas most often come from people who do, not people who dream.

They see help as essential, not weakness.

Pretend you travel to an unfamiliar country, you know only a few words of the language, and you’re lost and a little scared.

Would you ask for help? Of course. No one knows everything. No one is great at everything.

Productive people soldier on and hope effort will overcome a lack of knowledge or skill. And it does, but only to a point.

Remarkably productive people also ask for help. They know asking for help is a sign of strength–and the key to achieving more.

They start…

At times, you will lack motivation and self-discipline. At times, you’ll be easily distracted. At times, you’ll fear failure or success.

Procrastination is a part of what makes people human; it’s not possible to completely overcome any of those shortcomings.

Wanting to put off a difficult task is normal. Avoiding a challenge is normal.

But think about a time you put off a task, finally got started, and then, once into it, thought, “I don’t know why I kept putting this off–it’s going really well. And it didn’t turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined.”

It never is.

Highly productive people try not to think about the pain they’ll feel in the beginning; they focus on how good they will feel once they’re engaged and involved.

And they get started. And then they don’t stop.

…And they finish.

Unless there’s a really, really good reason not to finish–which, of course, there almost never is.

 

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up fromghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

 

Posted on: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


 

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Great employees spend the majority of their time helping other people succeed: Their company, their employees, their customers and vendors and suppliers… the list goes on and on.

Great employees also spend some time helping themselves succeed, both for “selfish” reasons and because their success creates success for others.

To succeed you must stand out from the crowd. Here are six ways:

Be first with a purpose.

Lots of employees, managers, and business owners are the first to arrive each day. That’s great, but what do you do with that time? Organize your thoughts? Get a jump on your email?

Instead of taking care of your stuff, do something visibly worthwhile for the company. Take care of unresolved problems from the day before. Set things up so it’s easier for employees to hit the ground running when they come in. Chip away at an ongoing project others ignore.

Don’t just be the one who turns on or off the lights – be the one who gets in early or stays late in order to get things done. Not only will your performance stand out, you’ll also start to…

Be known for something specific.

Meeting standards, however lofty those standards may be, won’t help you stand out.

So go above the norm. Be the leader known for turning around struggling employees. Be the owner who makes a few deliveries a week to personally check in with customers. Be the manager who consistently promotes from within. Be known as the employee who responds quicker, acts faster, or always follows up.

Pick a worthwhile mission, then excel at that mission. People will notice.

Create your own side project.

Excelling at an assigned project is expected. Excelling at a side project helps you stand out.

For example, years ago I decided to create a Web-based employee handbook my then-employer could put on the company Intranet. I worked on it at home on my own time. Some managers liked it but the HR manager didn’t so it died an inglorious death.

I was disappointed, but the company wasn’t “out” anything, and soon after I was selected for a high visibility company-wide process improvement team because my little project made me “that guy.”

The same applies for a business owner. Experiment on a new process or service with a particular customer in mind. The customer will appreciate how you tried, without being asked, to better meet their needs, and your business will become “that business.”

Put your muscle where your mouth is.

Lots of people take verbal stands. Few take a stand and put effort behind their opinions.

Say you think a project has gone off the rails; instead of just pointing out its flaws so you can show everyone how smart you are, jump in and help fix it.

Everyone talks about problems. The people who help fix them stand out.

Show a little of your personal side.

Personal interests help other people to identify and remember you. That’s a huge advantage for a new employee or a company competing in a crowded market.

Just make sure your personal interests don’t overshadow professional accomplishments. Being “the guy who does triathlons” is fine, but being “the guy who is always training and traveling to triathlons so we can never reach him when we need him” is not.

Let people know a little about you; a few personal details add color and depth to your professional image.

Work harder than everyone else.

Nothing – nothing – is a substitute for hard work. Look around: How many people are working as hard as they can?

Very few.

The best way to stand out is to out-work everyone else.

It’s also the easiest way, because you’ll be the only one trying.

(photo courtesy flickr user lestaylorphoto)

Posted on: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013


  BY  | FROM YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR| February ,2013

 

Figuring out what kind of business to launch is hardly a science, but it should be considered logically.

Think about the basic entrepreneur make up. While naturally all entrepreneurs are unique under the sun, they do tend to conform with certain archetypes. Some entrepreneurs are really inventors, who view the challenges of building a business as a necessary evil. Others are really marketers who believe that they can entice customers to any offering. Some just want to change the world and make it a better place.

 

But why does this matter? It’s my view that if you know what your strengths are early, you’ll be better equipped to launch businesses that are more likely to survive and even thrive.

I’ve always wondered if there was some way that I could quickly deduce a new entrepreneur’s “sweet spot,” and optimize my mentoring to those strengths and weaknesses, maybe similar to the Myers-Briggs type indicator for business professionals. I just saw an interesting step in that direction via a new book “Entrepreneurial DNA,” by Joe Abraham, with his assessment website.

His framework seems to be picking up some traction, and is already in use informally by several entrepreneurship platforms, including StartupAmerica, and CoFoundersLab. His methodology measures an entrepreneur’s fit or DNA in each of four quadrants — Builder, Opportunist, Specialist, and Innovator (BOSI), defined at a high level as follows:

1. Builder. These entrepreneurs are the ultimate chess players in the game of business, always looking to be two or three moves ahead of the competition. They are often described as driven, focused, cold, ruthless, and calculating. Many might say Donald Trump epitomizes this category.

Related: 4 Steps for Making Early Financial Projections

2. Opportunist. The Opportunist is the speculative part of the entrepreneur in all of us. It’s that part of our being that wants to be in the right place at the right time, leveraging timing to make as much money as possible. If you ever felt enticed to jump into a quick money deal, like a real-estate quick-flip, or an IPO, that was your ‘opportunist’ side talking.

3. Specialist. This entrepreneur will enter one industry and stick with it for 15 to 30 years. They build strong expertise, but often struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Picture the graphic designer, the IT expert or the independent accountant or attorney.

Related: 4 Tips for Overcoming the Top Challenge Young Entrepreneurs Face

4. Innovator. You will usually find the Innovator entrepreneur in the “lab” of the business working on their invention, recipe, concept, system or product that can be built into one or many businesses. The challenge with an Innovator is to focus as hard on the business realities as the product possibilities. Too many Innovators are like Dean Kamen, still struggling with the Segway Human Transporter, while holding 440 other device patents.

Of course, discovering your entrepreneur type is only the beginning. After that, it’s all about capitalizing on those strengths, shoring up your weaknesses and building a plan that works for you.

Overall, I see real value in using this methodology in conjunction with incubators, business accelerators and mentoring. I’m not yet convinced that anyone has a fully automated system that will nail your entrepreneurial DNA and help you succeed, despite the unpredictable business and personal realities.

Related: How to Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills

But I see a real opportunity here for every entrepreneur to optimize his impact and his personal satisfaction with a minimum of effort. I challenge each of you to take a hard look at what makes you tick.

What do you think makes up an entrepreneur’s DNA? Let us know in the comments section.

Read more stories about: PlanningMaking decisionsStarting a business

This story originally appeared on Young EntrepreneurYoung Entrepreneur

Posted on: Monday, February 4th, 2013


By:Tony Dungy

I recently tweeted that the three most important qualities of a leader are integrity, integrity and integrity. It received a multitude of re-tweets. You can’t be a true leader without integrity.

But what is it?

Tony Dungy says,

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage.

That’s a pretty good definition and it reminds me of the story of the carpenter.

There once was a carpenter that was nearing retirement. He informed his contractor-boss that he planned to retire and spend more time with his wife and family.  He was tired and desired to live a life of leisure.

His boss was sad to see him go and asked as a personal favor if he would agree to build just one more house. The carpenter agreed.

In time, it wasn’t difficult to see that the carpenter’s heart just wasn’t in his work anymore. Because his work was unsupervised, it was easy for him to cut corners and resort to shoddy workmanship. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

The day finally arrived when he finished his work and the boss came to inspect the house.  The boss said, “That won’t be necessary, I know that you are a fine carpenter and have served me well for many years.”

Then he handed the front door keys to the carpenter and said “This house is my retirement gift to you.”

Imagine the carpenter’s surprise….and his shame.

If only he had known that all along he was building his own house.  He would have done a much better job.  But, now he was stuck with his own shoddy workmanship.

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.

The life you are building is your house. You are the carpenter.  Every day you pound in a nail, put up a beam, or paint a room. Build is wisely, even when no one is watching.

That’s integrity.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


Our Deepest Fear by:  Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Posted on: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


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