Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Diverse & Successful Network is Your Best Career Insurance

Did you know there is such a thing as Career Insurance?  We are all used to Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Boat Insurance and Business Insurance.   However, when you are a planner and investing in your career, it is almost like your investment is like paying a premium toward your Career Insurance.

Being proactive and not waiting until you are in job search mode to connect with people is obviously the best path toward maintaining your career success.   

Of course, so many of us get caught up in doing our jobs that we neglect our network... until we need them. Problem is, if you haven't been actively networking, you cannot expect too much from them when you suddenly need help.

A recommended suggestion when at an event is a gentle breaking of the ice to begin reconnecting, rather than leading with "Hey there! I'm in job search. Can you help me out?" What we suggest is sending them an article and saying something like, "Hi there! I saw this article. Made me think of our days at Example Company. Thought you might be interested. Would love the opportunity to catch up." Another idea is to see what groups they belong to and send a note saying, "I see you're a member of Example Group. I'm interested in joining. What can you tell me about them and their membership? What's been your experience as a member of the group?"

No matter how you do it, if you've let a connection become dormant, you need to find ways to revive it before you start asking for help. While you're reviving a connection you need, you may want to consider reviving connections you don't currently need. Send them a link to an article you find relevant to them; comment on something they’ve posted; ask them about a group; give them a call; take them for coffee; find something you can offer to help them with. 

Successful networkers are always looking for reasons to connect with their network so that their network is active and healthy.

If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won't succeed. 

We can't pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships. So invest in your network in a planned, ongoing manner.

We suggest scheduling one hour a week to reach out to people in your network to share articles, comment on posts, offer help, and connect people with others in your network you think they'd be better off knowing. 

If you don't schedule it, you won't end up doing it, and you'll end up with a neglected network that isn't helping you and won't be much use to you when you need it. 

Invest in yourself. Consider it career insurance. You have life insurance. You have car insurance. You have homeowner's insurance. You have medical insurance. You should have career insurance. 

Career insurance is a healthy network. Pay your premiums in the form of reaching out to your network one hour per week. Pay those premiums now and you’ll be able to make withdrawals down the road when you need to.

Go to your calendar out right now and set a recurring weekly one-hour meeting titled "Build a Healthy Network." Go ahead, your career will thank you for it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

How Video Can Help You Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking

When it comes to what people's biggest fear, what are the first things that come to mind?

Going to the dentist?
Dealing with your ex after a breakup?
Going through tunnels in a big city?

How about public speaking?  25% of Americans say public speaking is their biggest fear.

Imagine if your boss or business partner pulls you into their office and asks you to present a key topic that in front of hundreds of people or on a smaller scale, you have to give a speech at a wedding in front of a bunch of intoxicated guests.   The first thing you want to do is hide under the nearing table.

Public speaking is one of the most fearful things anyone can do.   They stutter, say "Um" or sometimes pass out in mid-sentence.   It is much easier to be in the audience versus being the focus of the audience.

I personally had a fear of public speaking.  I remember getting in front of a room to present an IT project at a large retailer and proceeded to sweat so much, I had to put my dress shirt in a dryer to dry it out.   My speech was full of those "Um's" and "Ahh's" and the famous "You know" after every other word.

I ended up taking a Toastmasters class back in 2008, which really helped me beat the fear of speaking in front of others.  Case in point are some of my videos on my YouTube Channel where I had to get in front of people to talk about business networking and social media.

However,  there is a more immediate way to help beat the fear of public speaking instead of Toastmasters, and it happens to be that little device in your pocket.    It is the video camera on your smartphone.   I do recommend checking out Toastmasters at a later time.

Ok, I am going to cut to the chase.   My suggestion to you if you hate public speaking is to use your smartphone and video record yourself taking about your favorite topic and then work your way up to a topic that you may have to speak about in a public forum.   The old saying is practice makes perfect, so why not use something that is free, easy and personal to practice talking to people?

There are also all sorts of live video applications out there that you can practice doing live videos.   I look at live videos on social media as the next step after you practice doing videos on the Camera app on your smartphone.   By doing live videos on Facebook Live, Periscope or Instagram, you can ask your connections to critique your video and if there are any suggestions to improve your speech.   After all, your social media connections are your friends, right?

Start doing videos on a regular basis on your favorite topics such as sports, the weather, owning a business and other topics, and then over time you will notice your confidence increasing, especially if you start getting those social media likes for your recent live video.   Ask for feedback and note how much engagement there is after posting your video.

Ok, finally, you are asked to speak in a public forum.    So what really is the difference?   If you like the topic you are talking about, and if you look at your audience through the screen of your smartphone and think the audience are there to support you, then go for it and have confidence that you will rock it and woo your audience with great insight!  It gets easier more and more.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It is Holiday Time - Some Tips to Beat Stress and Stay Healthy and Feel Awesome

It is the most merriest time of the year. 

A time for spiked egg nog  
Online Shopping
Sitting in Traffic
Scraping ice off your windshield
Dusting off the snow shovel 
and office holiday potlucks.

Whew!  That is a lot, no wonder people are stressed this time of year!

It is no secret that stress is the leading cause and a lot of times the root cause of health issues in the world.

When it comes to diet and food/beverage of choice, it seems the more stressed you are, the more you reach for the most sugary snack or drink.

Bad diets are one of the leading causes, next to lack of exercise and good sleep, for most of our health issues today.   People get sick and are very reactive toward addressing health issues resorting to pharma products to solve all of their issues.   But that is a topic for another day.

So, how do you beat stress?    Some tips are fairly obvious, but some are somewhat of a surprise.  If you do them all together, you may find out stress is a thing of the past and you don't want to live in the past.

So here we go!

(1)  Exercise three or four times a week, preferably in the morning.

Talk a walk at lunch, go to the gym in the morning and set precedent for a great day.  Personally, I notice myself to be less stressed fighting epic Boston traffic in the morning on the days I work out.   There is no excuse for not exercising.  Make the time!

(2)  Eat the Right Foods and Not in Excess

The Europeans got it right.  There are no such thing as buffets there and their meals are mostly made fresh and in small portions.  The less sugar and dairy, the better.   Bread products make you depressed due to bad carbs.   Eat dark vegetables and lean meat and you will notice your digestion to be better and you will feel more energized for the day.

(3)  If you are tired,  Sleep.   Get your Beauty Rest!

After all, you are a pretty good looking person, so in order to be less stressed, if you are tired, then sleep sufficiently.  Around 7-8 hours a night is ideal.  If you have trouble sleeping, check your diet and don't eat anything one to two hours before you call it a night.

(4)  You have a Brain.   Nurture It!

Just like physical exercise, your brain needs exercise constantly by learning new things.   Read an inspirational book, or a topic that makes you happy and positive.   The most successful people in the world are always learning.   Listen to Tom Brady, the five-time Super Bowl winner, when he is talking to the media.  He mentions that he is always learning.     When you are occupied and learning, you don't have time for drama and stress.

(5) Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is the Present

You can only control the present, so don't stress about what happened yesterday.  It is not going to change things.   Live, think and experience your life now in the present and focus on things you can control.   A classic case is if your sports team lost a game.   What control did you have over your favorite team besides screaming at the top of your lungs at your TV?  Get over it and move on.

If you put all of this tips together you will notice yourself to be less stressed and will enjoy the holiday season and any season for its best.     Stress is the root cause and it is always important to solve the root cause of any issue, especially if it has to do with your health.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Why Networking During the Holiday Season is the Most Important Time of the Year w/ Nine Tips

You hear it all the time in business, once the holiday season is upon us.
Let's connect after the holidays. 
I am really busy with holiday shopping and family events.   
We are doing our finances for the year and can't do any events. 

Or finally, I need to chill out in front of a TV, since it is getting too cold to go out.

Actually, the months of November and December is the absolute best time of year to network with all of the holiday parties, events and family visits.    First, you are being proactive going into the new year, getting a head start with building your network, and you are also networking at a time where everyone is more into enjoying the time of the year and may be more inclined to talk to you versus January or February.

The following are some tips for business and social networking during the holiday season and why it is the best time.

1 - Don't be a schmuck and say Yes to those Holiday Parties and Events.

If you are trying to fill your pipeline with new people, you will have the opportunity to meet them at everything from the neighborhood holiday party to the office party as well as those special holiday business networking events.   The holiday is a great time to follow-up with connections and clients.

2 - Host your own holiday party or business networking event.

This is a great way to take initiative and reach out to your network.

3 -  Prepare the event and ask for introductions before the networking event.

Prepare for the event and know who you want to meet and don't be afraid to ask your friends and/or acquaintances for introductions.   Bring business cards and have your calendar ready to book a follow-up.

4 -  When meeting someone at an event, ask questions - DO NOT do a sales pitch!

Here are some sample questions:

  • How do you know the host/hostess of the event?
  • What has been the highlights of your year?
  • How is your family?
  • What plans do you have for the next year?
  • How was business this year?
  • What kind of clients are you looking for these days?
(Also be prepared to answer the above questions)

5 -  When meeting someone at an event, talk about something else besides business.

In building relationships, which is what networking is all about, you want to get to know people on a personal level, as well as a professional level.   It shows the human side and builds trust.   The holidays are a great time to relax and socialize and get to know people better.

6 -  Focus on other people and again DO NOT do a sales pitch and ramble on about your company.

Listen at least as much as you talk.   It is better to err on the side of listening too much rather than talking too much about yourself and your business.

7 -  Dress Professionally

Whether it is a holiday party, an office party, a business networking event or an open house, dress to impress with your best professional attire.   Ladies, this is not a dance club so no need to show off your goods!

8 -  Act Professionally

It's the holidays and the cheer is flowing, so relax and enjoy yourself.   It is fine to have a good time but keep the alcohol intake in check and act professionally at all times.

9 -  Follow-up! 

You are ahead of a lot of professionals by networking during the holiday season.    Follow-up with everyone you met this past year and wish them a Happy Holiday Season.   You will have a head start going into the new year and your business will grow!!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Your 9-to-5 Corporate Job is Killing You. Really. Some Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy.

It was yet another epic commute into downtown Boston this morning crawling at the top speed of 20 miles per hour on the Mass Pike, when lucky.  It made me think how awful commuting is, not only for our mental health but also for the environment, for our productivity and our wallet.   So why do we still commute in the age of personal computers and VPN, I wonder?

We are in the world of the 9-to-5 and it is not going to shake soon.   We are entrenched with being stressed in the morning, sitting it traffic and then plopping ourselves into a desk chair for eight hours then getting even more stressed with the afternoon commute home hoping that you see your family before they hit the sack.  Yes, there is flex time, and working from home, however, judging by traffic patterns, they have not made a dent changing reality.

It is not that you probably hate your job and we are not bashing the 9-to-5 job.  After all, you may be doing some interesting work, making some interesting phone calls or working on that cutting edge project.

However sitting at your desk is killing you.    You have muscles for a reason.  They need to be worked to stay fresh.   But we sit, sit and sit again.   In our office, at the endless meetings and your body is stressed out from not moving.  You are in front of computer screen or a phone and your eyes start getting blurry from the glare of the screens.

Then lunchtime rolls around and what do you do?  You take the elevator to the cafeteria and order that salad with blue cheese dressing and some onion rings and proceed to go back to your desk and eat your lunch in front of your computer screen getting stressed out over the latest string of emails.   Not exactly the mission to health & wellness.

By the end of the afternoon, you would have to be pried from your chair so you can get into your car and take on that afternoon rush hour at the breakneck speed of 15 miles per hour out of the city.

Between the stress of our commute, the lack of movement at your desk sitting in front of a glaring computer screen, worrying about deadlines and our bad lunch diets, we are killing ourselves as if we are better off smoking a pack of cigarettes dangling from a crane high above the city below.

Again, I am not recommending quitting your corporate job.  After all the bills need to be paid.   I would however recommend planning your exit from the traditional 9-to-5, but that is a story for another blog.

So here are some suggestions to tackle the health habits of the Corporate 9-to-5 day in timely order -

-  Before you leave for work - Start off your day with Exercise -  The best time to go to the gym is in the morning, bottom line.   It sets the tone for the day, it de-stresses you and you end up feeling awesome.   If you cannot make it to the gym, do some exercises at your house.   I have a great video on what to do with a couple of dumbbells that can help.

- OK it is commute time - Don't look at the traffic report.  It stressed you out.   Instead either queue up some upbeat music or listen to an inspirational audio in your car.   It would allow the time to past by and the next thing you know, you are pulling into the office garage.   If you have a hands free phone in your car, catch up with some people that make you happy.   

- Now you are at the office and that office chair is calling your name.  If you are on calls, stand up in your office and periodically move your muscles.  Try to sit as little as possible.    Do some stretches every once in a while to keep your body alive.    Snack on something healthy like raisins or trail mix instead of a sugary snack.

- Of you are off to a meeting five floors above you.  You guessed it, I am going to suggest taking the stairs whenever possible.  Stair climbing is amazing exercise.  If you are having a 1-on-1 meeting or a small group, I suggest a walking meeting.   I like to do my 1-on-1 meetings taking a walk outside to a nearby park.  Walking and exercise in general, kicks the creative thinking in gear and you would be amazed how much you can accomplish versus if you just sat in your office.

- OK it is lunch time.   Step AWAY from your office and go out.  Get fresh air and a light lunch low on sodium and sugars and high on protein and Vitamin B & D.   Lean meat, dark vegetables and a nutritious juice is ideal.    Everyone is busy, but believe me you will get more accomplish away from your desk at lunch versus sitting there stressing over emails.

- The afternoon is nap time.  Yes, you heard me.   Take a quick five minute nap if you can and then have a healthy tea or snack and repeat your morning activities of periodically standing up when taking calls and stretching in your office to keep your body moving.    Before you know it, your work day is over and you will feel as great as you did at the beginning of the day.

- Now you are ready for that commute home and the traffic is just as bad as the morning only in all directions.   Put on that relaxing Jack Johnson song or listen to an inspiring JR Ridinger or Tony Robbins talk and take your mind on all those red lights in front of you, and before you know it,  you are home in the arms of your family.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An Entrepreneur NEVER Asks How Much Money You Make

I was at a networking event last evening and was chatting with someone and after some small talk, the topic turned to what I have been working on.    I mentioned one of my ventures to be my Market America business, which I started around nine years ago.   As in any business, I have had my challenges and successes and have valued what I have learned over the years understanding what works and doesn't work.    Eventually, my colleague asked me about my MA business and that dreaded question - "How Much Money Do You Make with Market America?"


My first impression of this person is that they do not understand business ownership, and the art of risk taking.   Typically, if you have a job, you are paid hourly or a salary for your time working at your employer.   You may get that 2% raise every once and a while for the overtime that you work.  Even though the question "How Much Money You Make" has a straight answer at your corporate job, it is still a ballsy question to ask someone.

The difference between a corporate job and owning your own business is how much you control your financial flexibility. 

You see if you and I owned the same business, selling the same products and service while participating in the same compensation plan,  it is very likely we would not be making the same amount of money.   Just because I make six-figures in my business, does not mean that you will make six-figures in yours.    That is the beauty of owning your own business.  You can dictate how much you earn, by how hard you work, how great you are leveraging your time and how self-sufficient you are leading the pack and building your own empire.  The ones that take action, simply succeed.

Now, there is a little more to being successful in your own business than working hard.   You would also need the ability to be a risk taker as mentioned earlier.  Corporate Employees are not risk takers.  They like comfort.   Entrepreneurs/Business Owners win the battle all the time since they are self aware and acknowledge what is happening in today's world and are fully aware there is more to life than a salary and performance raises.  Entrepreneurs set the bar in terms of how much money they make and also understand it is unfair to ask other entrepreneurs what they make.   They are risk takers that know social media is important, that age is not a factor in success and taking action is the most important road to success.

Finally, in summary, understand that in business, there is no cap on what you can accomplish whether it is financial or personal goals. 

Don't get defensive if someone asks you how much money you make with your business.  Instead educate that person that is depends on how much risk, how hard you work, how you leverage your time working your business and your willingness and patience to answer questions like the dreaded money question.

A Diverse & Successful Network is Your Best Career Insurance

Did you know there is such a thing as Career Insurance?  We are all used to Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Boat Insurance and Business Insur...