BLOG

Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?

Who am I anyway?
Am I my resume?
That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

What does he want from me?
What should I try to be?
So many faces all around, and here we go.
I need this job, oh God, I need this show.

When I work, I am prone to listen to old musicals as my background noise. I’m not talking about just the soundtrack; I play the movie on a separate tab of my browser semi-listening to the dialog and songs. Musicals are my happy place.

An idea has been rattling around in my head for a while to write an article about the musical Gypsy, about how it’s just a story of self-realization. I mean, “Everything’s coming up Rose!” is basically a song about a woman who’s been the power behind the scenes wanting, for just one moment, to be the star. LOVE IT.

This past week, however, I was listening to A Chorus Line. Similar to Gypsy, it’s a back-to-back tap dancing extravaganza of “please like me!” songs. I was plugging away on some spreadsheet or another, and a remarkable tenor voice rang out:

Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?
What does he want from me? Continue reading “Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?”

Would you work for free for 2 years?

At times it may not seem like it, but I do plan the topics of my articles. The topic for this week’s newsletter was inspired by the Podcast “How I built this with Guy Raz.” Raz interviewed Howard Schultz of Starbucks about the early days of the company. There’s much about the interview that is both interesting and entertaining, but one fact was an idea I’d jumped on as an article topic. Schultz pitched the concept of Starbucks to 242 people for the first $1M investment. It took 242 times for Schultz to raise the initial funds that became the juggernaut that is Starbucks today. And yes, I’m a customer.

That, my friends, is persistence in asking.

My original topic for this article revolved around persistence in asking for the business. I have examples of my own experience in cold calling businesses in NorthWest Austin back in the 90’s. I asked over and over again for business owners to believe in me and in this “world wide web” thing I was selling. I have a slew of concepts that I’d mastered along the way to share. One being understanding your personal close rate. I knew, like every good salesperson should, what my close rate was. I understood that if I made sure I got to 10 decision makers by close of business on Thursday, my pipeline of business would stay full which meant I could take the day off on Fridays creating my very own 3-day weekend whenever I wanted one.

I was going to take this and present the idea of making sure you’ve done the math on what is the appropriate frequency of telling YOUR story, making sure you’re genuinely connecting with someone more than once. Understanding that a “no” today might not be a “no” tomorrow, and to keep asking. Keep asking to understand what problem you’re uniquely solving and showing that you’re the best solution. Continue reading “Would you work for free for 2 years?”

When Connecting on LinkedIn, It’s the Little Things That Count

If you’ve gone through one of my workshops, you’ll know that I can dole out some tough love. Why? Because I can’t imagine anyone wants to spend time with me and come out the other end just average. So I call out examples of average.

One of the most prevalent examples of average I still see is asking for a connection on Linkedin. So often I get the generic “I want to connect with you on Linkedin” message from people I’ve met.

Sigh. Continue reading “When Connecting on LinkedIn, It’s the Little Things That Count”

What were you great at when you were 10?

Your 10-year-old self was wonderful. And while yes, the voice of self-doubt was beginning to rear its ugly head, it hadn’t taken hold. You were passionate, brave, curious, bold, and all the other amazing words we are when we are our best selves. And isn’t that 10-year-old person still inside you? I know mine is.

What was I best at then? I never got lost. I always knew where we were going. I could see the pathways ahead. Pretty much like now.

I asked that same question to a room full of amazing women at the Content Asia Summit in Singapore. Since my last missive, I had the marvelous opportunity to fly halfway around the world to share my ideas with a brand new audience. I could go on for pages about the city, the weather, and the lovely people I met there, but I must share the surprise learning for me. I might be helpful to you too.

As you know, I help people figure out how to articulate in a bold, compelling, unique, and authentic way how and why they are awesome. You also know that if I asked you right now “why are you awesome?” many of you would pause or stumble. Continue reading “What were you great at when you were 10?”

When things aren’t so awesome

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels 

It’s when you’re lying on the floor crying so hard that crap is coming out of your nose that interesting things start to happen.

This is the advice I give myself when things are going, well, not so awesome. Or at least I try to. I’m usually ignoring my own words of wisdom because I’m on the floor sobbing and feeling sorry for myself. But I get up, I always do. I pick up the pieces of whatever situation I’ve found myself in and get on with it. I’m a professional getter-upper.

So why am I telling you about my personal pity parties on the floor? It’s because of that interesting bit that happens afterward.

Usually, when I’m playing out my personal 3-year-old tantrum hammering my fists into the carpet, I’m also usually thinking, “Well damn. A new lesson about life I just learned.” Some lessons I’ve learned on the floor include:

  • Life sometimes isn’t fair and whining about it manifests nothing.
  • In a relationship with someone, professional or personal, you own half the relationship part of the relationship. Sometimes even more than half.
  • Sometimes a risky move doesn’t play out the way you wanted it to.
  • Sometimes playing it safe doesn’t play out the way you wanted it to.

And my personal favorite:

If you try to be someone you’re not, you will always end up on the floor.

Continue reading “When things aren’t so awesome”

The Awesomesauce Equation

Do you know what makes your people awesome?

I’ve talked at length about why it’s important to be able to articulate your particular awesome. Yes, you have one. Trust me on this. Just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s the high level. There are things you’re good at; it’s why you’re awesome.

  • You like doing the things you’re good at because it’s fun for you.
  • People should know what you’re good at; often they don’t.
  • People choose you because you’re good at what they need you to do.
  • You get to DO what you’re good at, so you’re happy.
  • The person who asked for your help/work gets the job done by a happy person.
  • Bottom line – everyone wins.

Simple right?

Value + delivered value = Everyone wins.

I know, it’s never that simple. That’s why, at this very moment, I’m sitting in an airport lounge about to hop on a LOOOONG flight to Singapore to chat with a room full of formidable folks about why they’re awesome. Continue reading “The Awesomesauce Equation”

You did good.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the destruction so close to home. We’ve had four (or is it five now?) major hurricanes drowning or demolishing everything in their paths, another lunatic with a gun, and now friends who have lost their homes in the Northern California wildfires. Don’t get me started with #45. While I’m not suffering like those directly impacted by these horrific events, the hurt (and sometimes anger) I feel for them is forming a permanent crease in my brow. More importantly, I can feel the negative tenor of these events spilling over into my day to day life.

This angry, frustrated, sad, worried, overwhelmed, and powerless person is not who I am.

I strive to be the eternal optimist with a healthy dash of practicality.

I’m the person you sit next to when you have a kernel of a good idea because I’ll listen, cheer you on, and banish any self-doubt, so you can make something incredible happen. Better yet, I’ll help you make your idea into something even better than you thought it might be.

I’m the person who’ll hear what you’re trying to accomplish and identify someone in my network who might be able to manifest your dreams. (Y’all are awesome friends by the way.)

I’m the person who’ll pour a large glass of rose (or whatever your beverage of choice) and empathise with you about how your current project makes you feel lonely, exhilarated, like you’re not good enough, empowered, and any other dramatic word you can come up with.

Current events have been making is hard for me to be me. I decided to do something about it. I thought I’d share what I’m doing in case you were interested in joining in.

I’m spreading awesome wherever I can. Make someone else feel great about themselves. Make them feel like they matter, if only for a moment.

How on earth can you do that? Let me give you an example from the person who reminded me of this simple and powerful act.

I won’t go into the boring details, but I received an email back about a collaborative idea from a fellow Ladybadass, Sali Christeson. She chose the following words she used to open her email:

“Hi!!! Love this email so much,…”

I read it and was immediately in a good mood. Just a little sprinkle of kind words and the whole conversation went from the usual back and forth to include a smile. I felt great and that, in Sali’s world, I mattered.

It’s that simple. I was inspired.

So I asked myself, how can I manifest this little dash of awesome into someone else’s day?

Here are some ideas:

  • I emailed back someone who connected me, and the subject line of the email was: “You did a good thing.” In the body of the email, I went on to thank her and tell her why.
  • I signed off multiple emails today with the sincere words, “You Are Awesome.”
  • I texted a couple of friends an amusing .gif about their fabulousness with the words “just because” typed underneath.

You might be thinking I’m a bit self-congratulatory here. However, these little explosions of awesome are not about me. It’s about the other person. I expect nothing in return. But here’s the secret: It’s in the doing that I’m feeling better.

Spreading awesome to others is helping me deal with all that awfulness I keep seeing.

If you’re feeling the same way I am and want to do more, then find your way to spread happiness. You’ll find it is contagious and cathartic.

You did good.

Let’s Talk About the “Ick” Factor of Sales

“In your life, you are the product. Which means you should be the best person at selling yourself.” I explain. “But that feels weird, and I can’t sell,” they exclaim with horror.

I had no less than three coaching calls over the last couple of weeks where I had to talk someone back from the “ick” reaction when it comes to sales. While each situation was a little different, all of them practically recoiled with horror at even the idea that they might be “selling” in some way shape or form. The reaction was even stronger when I suggested that they needed to imagine THEY were a product they were trying to sell.

Earlier this year I wrote, “You Are the Product: How to present yourself in a powerful & impelling way.” The article outlines five objectives you should consider when defining your role, your product to sell.

So what is it with this genuine dislike for the idea of selling? Since these conversations, I’ve been wondering why the stereotype of the “sleazy car sales guy” or that selling is somehow dishonest and tacky still persist. Fortuitously, the Time article “5 Tactics to Win a Negotiation, According to an FBI Agent” about negotiation showed up in my social media feed this morning. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About the “Ick” Factor of Sales”

Being Authentic: “The only thing you have to offer is you.”

The only thing you have to offer is you. … If it’s truthful to who you are and you’re concerned how people are going to react to it, stick up your middle finger and charge into that fire. You have to. If you’re trying to be a provocateur just to be a provocateur go f* yourself. That’s the bad stuff; it’s not real.

The quote was Darren Aronofsky’s response to the question on The Tim Ferriss Show: What advice would you give a filmmaker who doesn’t fit into the widget factory of movie making?

I pulled over my car to note the time on the podcast. I knew that I had to capture his words to include in this blog. His advice applies to you. It’s that important.

Your Human Value Proposition outlines why you matter, what you are known for. There are four things I listen for in your Human Value Proposition:

  1. Is it bold?
  2. Is it compelling?
  3. Is it unique?
  4. Is it authentic?

Aronofsky’s advice speaks clearly to the need authenticity, for being your real self. It also points out the real fear of being judged for that authenticity. Continue reading “Being Authentic: “The only thing you have to offer is you.””

What’s Your Medium?

I have a confession to make: I was using the internet back in the early 1990’s to find dates. Not its original purpose, but I was a trailblazer! I (and probably many others) laid a course for the development of products like Match, E-Harmony, Tinder and the plethora of dating sites that soon followed the creation of the Internet. I was a member of a local Internet Relay Chat (IRC) group. In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure it was there for the sole purpose of getting a date, but in reality, that’s what it did.

I tell you this story not to share the details of my dating life, but to give you a little peek into my early curiosity of technology. In a world of DOS and 14.4 modems, I was inquisitive about the overlap between technology and humanity. I was hungry for knowledge about this new phenomenon. It didn’t take long before I took my first dot.com job and my curiosity became my career.

We all know the story, the internet, this concept that everyone “didn’t get” at the beginning, is now a core component of pretty much everything we do. It has transformed nearly every aspect of our daily lives.

Roll forward a couple of decades from those early days. The transformation of our daily routine continues. Technology and all that it touches is just spinning in a new direction. Along with these changes, we’re beginning to see many alarmist headlines about how jobs are going to vanish and machines taking over the world. We hear about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrency, all of which will automate more and change the way we work. While much of this new technology future is a way off today Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce, uses Artificial Intelligence in his staff meetings. And we have a computer that can write poetry.

This makes one wonder, if all this new technology is going to start doing the significant portion of the work that exists today, then what will we be doing? (Remember that no industry or job is protected from change.) How will you incorporate new technology in your job? Do you need to be afraid that your role will transition to a machine? Continue reading “What’s Your Medium?”