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Don’t Sacrifice Talent To Survive a Crisis

Nobody needs to tell you that we’re in hard times. A pandemic is sweeping the nation, a trail of personal and economic devastation behind it, and frightening uncertainty ahead. Businesses are struggling to figure out the best path to survival. For many leaders, the impulse is, understandably, to lessen their organizations’ financial load with layoffs.

The good news is that eventually, through the efforts of courageous health care workers and our technology, we will defeat the virus, and life and work will return to a version of normal. And many economists predict that when this happens, our mothballed world economy will snap back to life, unleashing a wave of pent-up demand.

Will your company survive and be ready for this?

After all, consider what happened post 9/11. After the attacks, the world economy reeled, oil prices surged, and the stock markets plunged as the world braced for war in the Middle East. Many companies, fearful about the future, indulged in a layoff binge, slashing their workforce without thought to who their top talent was, or what current and future skills the organization might need to remain viable and recover with the economy.

But then the economy quickly rebounded, and the downturn turned out to be what economists call a “V-shaped recession.” The sharp decline in GDP was followed by an almost equally sharp increase in business activity. At this point, companies found that the talent they let go was desperately needed. They scrambled, and the result was a massive hiring binge to fill the gap that they themselves created.

The fact is that fundamentally, there was nothing significantly wrong with the underlying economics on September 11th, 2001. The economic downturn was not caused by normal business cycle considerations, the firing binge was followed by a scramble to replenish a depleted workforce.

Today, the pandemic is cutting a swath through what otherwise had been a robust economy, so the mistakes of 9/11 are a cautionary tale.

If you are among the business leaders queuing up the pink slips in reaction to this unprecedented crisis, I urge you to stop, take a breath, and think your next steps through — lest you sacrifice valuable employees in your rush for short-term relief.

While I understand some companies are in crisis and don’t have the luxury of time to pause for analysis, most do have the wherewithal, and I would argue, a duty to their workforce and, if public, their shareholders to proceed with wisdom and caution.

So instead of rushing to throw off what might feel like human ballast, consult with your HR executives to put together a strategic workplace plan, or crisis plan, by performing a three-dimensional review of your current workforce, considering more than headcount and cost. Instead of responding in panic only to the here and now, look ahead, 6 to 18 months in the future, and decide:

  • What skills your people have today and what your organization will need
  • How to ensure you have an adequate supply of these skills and where to deploy them
  • Your succession plan for key leaders

Upon sober reflection of these needs, you probably will find that you can keep most of your workforce in place, and you will be ready to make clear decisions based on your data and forecasts. Additionally, doing a strategic workforce crisis plan will set you up for the future by seeing how you can maximize the productivity of the workforce you have. From this plan you will be in position to drive higher performance and workforce engagement, creating what I call “PEIP capability,” where PEIP = People Engagement, Innovation and Performance.

PEIP is a strategic capability that not only creates higher performance, it creates a more engaged workplace, which naturally leads to greater productivity. Who doesn’t want to work in an organization that wants to optimize employees and work with their skills and their career aspirations? A workplace that tries to align people to what they do best? An engaged workplace is a fun place to work, but it is also a competitive advantage. Some of the highest performing companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Accenture, IBM, and SAP, have implemented PEIP strategies to create competitive advantage, and this is reflected in their people engagement scores as well as share-price performance.

PEIP can also help future-proof your organization. New smart technologies and AI perme.ating the workplace create another opportunity for the workforce and the organization to align the right people with the right skills to harness new technology. This creates a “turbo-charging” effect, driving more engagement, innovation, and productivity, as well as return on investment on IT spend.   

We are at the fork in the road — once again. It’s a scary time, but rife with opportunity for companies that respond with foresight. We can do as we have done for decades before and continue the hire/fire binge, or we can step back and be more strategic and thoughtful in addressing the current crisis, while at the same time positioning our businesses to thrive in the future — whatever it brings.

Photo: Free To Use Sounds

My Job Search During COVID-19: Keep Dreaming

Hey, all. 2019 graduates. Recent 2020 graduates. Early-hires. Young professionals. Those who have been laid off. Those in furlough. Those on unemployment. I know it feels like everyone is looking for a full-time job (or any job right now). As a recent graduate from SUNY New Paltz, who majored in journalism and minored in Spanish — and experienced the job market during a pandemic, I’ve learned this: don’t let a virus dash your hopes for a dream job.  I’ll share some of my own takeaways to keep your dreams alive during this time. 

1. Start with introspection. 

Did I solely want to be a reporter/journalist, or was I open to ideas where I could potentially use my journalism skills in other fields? I encourage you to ask yourself what skills you want to keep building on. That will lead you to answering what other roles you’re open to exploring. And it led me to understand that writing, reading and researching have been in all the jobs I’ve ever loved and grew from. Those skills and passions needed to be integrated in the job I chose for the future too. Then I asked myself: Did I solely want a full-time job or was I interested in part-time or freelance work to get my foot in the door? Keeping the answers to these questions in mind helped me widen my search, and apply to jobs more focused on the quality of work than the quantity of jobs. That way I’d still be able to make a stable living even if the full-time jobs weren’t coming. 

2. Use all the job boards.

I looked for jobs in my field via Linkedin, Twitter, Indeed, Glassdoor, PND: Philanthropy News Digest, and Idealist because as aggregators, all the potential jobs were in one place. Generally, Linkedin and Twitter are great social media tools to follow the company for job posting updates and connect with potential employers. Indeed allows you to customize job alerts that land in your inbox and provides resources about all-things career-related. Glassdoor is useful for learning about company culture, salary, and benefits offered. PND and Idealist make reaching out to the employer and applying abundantly clear: who to email, who to address your cover letter to, and how/where to submit. 

3. Go long and go hard.

I applied for dozens of writing jobs in a total of 10 months since graduating. A Google Sheet titled, “Dynahlee Padilla Job Shopping,” was my BFF (thanks to an alumna and friend who tipped me). This sheet included the company name, title of the role, date I applied, compensation if stated, the name of the contact/hiring manager, and link to the original job posting. This structure helped me keep track of who I needed to follow up with, who I should be connecting with on social media, and the types of jobs I was looking for. It served as my timeline of progress.

4. Find a good fit.

Yes, we all need to be working for a company that’s a good fit. Can you see yourself enjoying the role based on the job posting and any interviews you’ve participated in? Can you see yourself doing the responsibilities asked of you well and with passion? Do you agree 110 % with every part of the company’s mission statement and values? Can you see yourself grow with the company now and later? I once went all the way to D.C.  to interview — for a Booking Producer role at a media company with an extremely conservative perspective, and I knew right away it wasn’t right for me. So, don’t compromise your values to fit in. You can choose to be a part of the company, the same way it can choose and consider you to join the company. 

5. Keep your resume, your professional and personal story on paper, crystal clear. 

Maintain a resume that’s up-to-par: education, succinct summary, publications/achievements, language skills, and relevant experiences that relay your skills in chronological order from the most-recent. Include keywords that target the roles you are looking for. When I worked at ABC’s “7 on Your Side” as an intern (post-grad), I learned that data journalists were trending in the media industry, so I tagged the word “data” and “producing” onto experiences that included those skills to stay on potential media companies and employers’ radar. Also, update your resume (and your LinkedIn) as soon as you begin a new role. Always proofread, and have editors in your trusted circle review for you. And for recent grads, add a “Professional Experience” headline — because now you are a professional — still learning but not a student.

6. Cover letter

A cover letter should never be optional. Job postings often say that, but as I’ve learned on TalentCulture, sometimes job postings are poorly written or generic or do not meet the needs of the company. Include a compelling signature with contact info. Use this piece of writing and ready-to-go clips/samples as your power tools to stand out! 

7. You’re not done yet.

Getting a callback or interview doesn’t mean the work is done. Continue to apply for other jobs, because in this particular economy and market, we never know where these opportunities might take us. 

8. You’re really never done.

Remember: job hunt is like dating. Brace yourself for rejection. Many times, we’ll get ghosted. Sometimes we’ll get led on — to nothing. So keep applying, and keep dreaming. And don’t stop. Ever. Check in with your own network and build on it — colleagues, friends, alumni, professors, family members. I reach out to my network often, especially during these times, because cultivating relationships are important to me — and not only when you need or want something. I usually ask: How are you doing? What are you working on? And then include, by the way — “I am working on this, and still looking for this. I’d love to get your thoughts. And keep in touch.” 

9. Have faith and focus. 

Make sure you check LinkedIn and job portals like you check Instagram, or any other platform you are obsessed with. Be obsessed. Your dreams will come true if you put in the time and energy to stay focused and follow through. 

10. Landed a remote job? Here’s how to shine. 

Let’s say you’ve got a job — but you’re not going anywhere but home. You can shine anyway. Be vocal with those you live with about the space, time, and tools you need in your home to work productively — not just busily. Natural lighting, a comfy chair, and privacy works for me.

Talk with your employer about your needs. I moved out-of-state amid the health crisis, which wasn’t easy. I spoke to my immediate supervisor and others I work with and got a few extra days off to get settled. 

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. There are various crises happening while our lives are still happening. So, take actual breaks. Step away from the screen. Do breathing exercises, stretches, therapy coloring, a walk/run — whatever works for you. Take the time to process what you are feeling and become recharged. And keep dreaming! New goals await. 

How to Make Your Career Strategy Thrive Within A Corporate Culture

Large companies sort of rumble along, pushing and pulling employees along the way. Some people are nimble enough to get on top of the steam roller while others get run over and spit out the other side.

We’ve all seen examples of each of these scenarios.

But what most people forget in their career strategy is that their job fate doesn’t rest solely in the hands of the corporate decision makers.

You and you alone have the reins of your destiny, should you choose to take control of them.

I’m not talking non-conformity. I’m talking about being actively engaged and being your own advocate.

And the best part is when you can dovetail helping your current employer while gaining new knowledge and skills, as well as experience.

Hopefully, the company already has a professional development plan in place to help build employee skill sets.

If not, then you need to be your own champion and identify key industry conferences that all of your peers are attending.

Keep in mind that the ROI to your employer is that you are not only gaining knowledge, but boosting your company’s profile and visibility, making valuable connections, forging potentially powerful partnerships, and creating more opportunities.

If you want to take an organized approach, make note of the number of people you meet and create a year-long tracking system. Your tracking system will show how many opportunities came out of those conferences, etc. and what the pull-through (end result) was because of those connections.

Then make a strong business case to your boss as to why you should continue going to this conference.

Want to plug into your company’s culture even more? Then provide recaps of what your biggest takeaways were from that conference and then share with your peers, co-workers, and boss.

Showing value out of the experience can justify the expense, in the mind of the boss, while improving the skill sets of those around you.

Some other things you can do to make your career strategy thrive within a corporate culture is to get on internal committees, volunteer for company-sponsored events, take on stretch assignments, ask to be considered for cross-training opportunities, or step up and offer to take challenging projects.

All of these activities are putting you into an active, engaged role at the company.

But you know what the biggest secret is to advancing your career?

Asking to be promoted.

And many people forget this part.

It’s important to let the key decision makers know, at an appropriate time, that you have career goals within the company, and be specific.

Many times, people get passed over just because they don’t articulate their goals. They end up assuming that their good work stands for itself, and everyone will recognize it for what it is.

But unfortunately, at the end of the day, supervisors usually promote those who make their value to the company front and center, and therefore at the top of the list for advancement considerations.

So your job is to make your career thrive within the corporate culture by making your background more well-rounded and adding to your subject matter expertise, while at the same time, keeping track of what value you deliver to the business.

Then communicate that value to your management team, so they know exactly how indispensable you are!

Photo Credit: Miss Captcha via Compfight cc

Working With Your Spouse–And Making It Work

Can you work with your spouse and make it work? It’s common nowadays to hear someone dedicated to their career say they are “married to their jobs,” especially in today’s non-stop workforce. However, it’s become more common to find couples working together behind the scenes of entrepreneurial businesses.

My husband, Scott Thomas, and I are a successful example of spouses who have fused their marriage with their work.

I had been working as President and Creative Director for the design and marketing house, The MOD Studio with a client roster that included —Exclusive Resorts, Lexus, Circuit of the Americas, Dell, Four Seasons Residences, to name a few. After more than seven years of collaborating with my husband, Scott Thomas, who served as President of the revenue growth agency, Intelechy Group, we decided to join forces. Building a stronger company ecosystem between a creative firm and technology partner has since allowed The MOD Studio to evolve into a fully integrated print and digital marketing house, plus offer a more complete range of services.

While we both agree that we have experienced our fair share of roadblocks—and lessons—along the way, our businesses and our marriage have valiantly withstood the tests of this merger.

  1. Balance. We have found that to make such a situation harmonious for each person involved, a work and home balance is vital. Though in the past, the rule of thumb has been “keep your work and personal lives separate,” it’s becoming increasingly unrealistic in our tech-centered world to be able to unplug from work once the 5 o’clock whistle sounds—especially when you own your own business.
  1. Rest.To avoid falling into an “all work, no play” mindset, it’s important for you each to give yourselves a little rest here and there. After long, hectic hours at the office, reward yourselves with relaxing getaways—and be sure to turn your “out of office” message on! This is your time to reconnect with one another. We often extend the length of our out-of-town business trips to sightsee, recharge and indulge in some much-needed together time–sans work-related conversations.
  1. Respect.Having and showing respect for your partner is essential for both your marriage and business partnership. It can be easy to let your temper flare, especially when you can’t quite see eye-to-eye, but it’s vital to be understanding and respectful. Maintaining the same level of dignity in the office as you do at home will prevent feelings from getting hurt and keep small disagreements from snowballing.
  1. You are a spouse first. Above all, your marriage should always come first. Being able to run your business as a couple is quite a privilege, but mixing business with pleasure should never be compromising to your marriage. We stress the importance of these practices to maintaining a fulfilling professional and personal relationship with your spouse: Support each other unconditionally, stay attentive to each other’s needs, embrace compromise and keep in mind that even if you are a CEO—you are a spouse, first and foremost.


The Benefits of Allowing Employees to Build Personal Brands

I recently attended a talk on personal branding given by Dorie Clark, bestselling author of “Stand Out,” at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

At the conclusion of the talk, I asked Dorie her opinion of employers that restrict employees attempting to brand themselves using social media. I was in agreement with Dorie’s answer that employees should be allowed to build their personal brand.

Employers are concerned that employees frequently writing and posting could embarrass or negatively impact a company’s reputation. What employers fear are employees who build their reputations outside their business, making them more attractive to recruiters and other employers.

I used to observe employers attempt to retain employees by denying them training or asking them to work long hours to make it harder to network and attend interviews. Today I see employers creating processes for approving employees social media posts that are often arbitrary, slow moving and without transparency.

Some employees have told me that their posts have lost some relevancy as weeks and months pass waiting for employer approval. Employers in the financial industry, hiding behind the excuse of compliance and regulatory approval, have told employees to stay completely off social media.

The courts and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) have weighed in a with variety of opinions, many of which have tilted in the direction of employees having some right to free speech. I understand employers’ point of view and their concern about protecting their reputations. I also would advise employees to not use social media to rant about their work grievances, how much they dislike their boss or to speak ill of their employer. An emotional outburst on social media disparaging an employer could stay with the writer throughout one’s career.

Employees creating original content, or commenting online, is an opportunity for employees to further intellectually engage, stretch themselves and grow as leaders in their field. This growth is beneficial to the employer as new relationships are formed, employees think of new ways to analyze and solve problems, and the company enhances its reputation having an emerging industry superstar as a member of their team.

Employers that hold back their employees, and don’t let them grow, run the risk of sliding into obsolescence. Employees pushing the boundaries of their expertise will bring new knowledge that has been vetted online (and likely offline as strong online relationships can lead to strong offline relationships). This gift of constantly flowing knowledge into companies will keep employers updated on changes in their industry. Employers can use this as an effective feedback mechanism to allow themselves to pivot quickly when necessary.

Job security is a relic of the past. Anybody can be fired at any time for any reason. Every employee needs to create their own career insurance. Writing and posting on social media allows employees to expand their network of contacts. Employees can show the marketplace their insight, expertise, skills and desirability as a potential hire. As the global economy continues to progress towards a knowledge-based, gig job market the competition for employment will become furiously competitive.

Advanced degrees and specialized education are becoming so commonplace that these credentials will transition from being competitive advantages to being minimal requirements on a job listing. References have lost much of their impact on the hiring process as many employers, worried about the threat of litigation, provide nothing more than basic information about an employee when asked about an employee’s performance. A person’s ability to stand out from a crowd will be crucial to obtaining employment. Having a strong social media presence in one’s field will be a key tool necessary to differentiate oneself from the thousands that will be seeking every work opportunity of the future. TalentCulture’s CEO Meghan M. Biro wrote an excellent article, “Five Reasons Why Social Media Should Be On Your HR Radar,” that details the importance of your social media brand and recruiting..

Employers must let employees write and comment on their social media personal pages about their industry. Employees need to be thoughtful and professional about every post they write, and every comment they make as they are creating a permanent record for all potential employers. All posts should contain an employee disclosure that their posts and comments are personal and do not reflect the views of their employers.

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Before You Launch Your Resume Into Deep Space, Read This

Have you ever gotten a job by uploading your resume to an online application portal? I haven’t and I don’t know anyone who has. You could be the answer to an employer’s prayers, but if you don’t know how to appease the algorithm—by, say, using a sans-serif font like Verdana instead of a serif font like Times New Roman (for years the resume standard)—you’re sunk.

As if writing your resume for a human audience weren’t challenging enough, you now have to write it for an audience both human and robot.

The designation “black hole” comes up again and again in complaints from recruiters as well as candidates—when you upload your resume into an applicant tracking system (ATS), it’s sucked into the void. My hero, Liz Ryan, inventor of the Human-Voiced Resume and a longtime HR executive, puts it this way: “You’re better off putting a stack of paper resumes on the passenger seat of your car and driving down the freeway with the window open. One of the resumes from your stack might fly out the window and land on a hiring manager’s desk.”

Once your resume is swallowed by the gaping maw, it’s anyone’s guess where it goes. Where it almost certainly does NOT go is the desk of the person you want to be your next boss. There is a way around this, however; write a letter.

The best way to get a job is to have someone who works at the company you’ve targeted refer you to the person you want to be your next boss. In real estate, the mantra is “location, location, location;” in the job search it’s “networking, networking, networking.” That’s how you develop a contact who works for the company you want to work for.

Skip the resume abyss for now and write a letter directly to the person you want to be your next boss. Even if you’re not able to open with something like “Peggy Olsen suggested I contact you,” write a letter. Even if there’s no job opening at your target company, write a letter. In fact, there’s a hidden job market chock-full of positions that are never posted.

Jobs can also be created. It happened to me. I approached the woman I wanted to be my next boss at a UCLA extension course—her scheduled appearance on a panel of industry big wigs was the reason I took the course. During a break, I marched up to her and delivered my (finely honed) pitch. She asked me to send her my resume and a letter reiterating what we’d talked about.

In the letter I sent her, I reiterated who I was and what we’d talked about, but I also took the opportunity to tell her what I could do for her—I knew what she needed done because I’D done my homework. Before you network, network, network, you must research, research, research. I’ll get you started; here’s a great article from the aforementioned Liz Ryan called “How to Reach Your Hiring Manager Directly.”

I told the woman who would become my next boss that I understood what she and her team were going through, then gave her a couple of examples of how I’d successfully confronted the same issue for my previous employer. Liz Ryan calls these “pain letters,” because they say to the person you want to be your next boss, “I feel your pain. I know how to relieve it. Here’s how I did it for my last boss.”

Once you’ve arranged a meeting, if necessary, you and your next boss can figure out how best to get your resume through the ATS. Or not. When someone is champing at the bit to hire you, it’s amazing how easily the system can be circumvented.

Truth be told, you could study up on how to beat the resume-submission robots—there are plenty of tricks online—and still not be able to penetrate the fortress. Or you could write a letter. On paper, stapled to your resume, unfolded in an 8.5 x 11 envelope. How much email do you get in a day? How much snail mail? If you want to stand out, sometimes “ya gotta kick it old-school.”

Don’t get me wrong—I love robots. They’re terrific for surgery, weaponry, manufacturing, even hunting and killing jellyfish, but when it comes to finding you a job, don’t be surprised if all they have to offer is “Warning! Warning! Alien spacecraft approaching!”

A version of this post was published on Creative Profiles on 12/4/2015.

photo credit: STS-133 Launch from KSC press site, No. 1 via photopin (license)

How to Find the Career You Can Commit to

As the saying goes, “Choose a job you love, and you never have to work a day in your life,” but for most people, turning passion into work (or work into passion) is easier said than done. After all, how can you tell what you love to do before you start doing it full-time, forever? Few marriages remain so lovingly close for a lifetime, and it seems absurd to expect such passion to endure at a job.

However, hundreds of happy workaholics around the country prove that career-love does exist—it just takes a while to find the right match. You absolutely can settle down with a job that inspires you, as long as you know how to look.

Consider What Makes You Curious

Contrary to popular belief, your passions don’t necessarily make for good career opportunities. For example, plenty of people are passionate readers, but reading rarely pays well enough to pay off the mortgage; alternatively, many of the most impassioned music lovers have little or no musical talent themselves.

Instead, some career experts suggest you should stop thinking about your passions and start considering what makes you curious. Curiosity is a remarkably human urge that is endlessly motivating, not to mention, diversely applicable when it comes to career searches. Often, curiosity springs from passion; for example, a person passionate about marathons—but unable to compete herself—may remain curious about the workings of muscles or the nutrition required for feats of endurance or the habits of the best marathon runners around the world. As long as your career continues to spark your curiosity, you will love your career.

Determine Your Must-Haves

However, even a career you love can be difficult to stick to when it lacks essentials you need to feel secure in your livelihood. Like a beautiful romantic partner who has bad credit, dream jobs can seem perfect, but they can make your life miserable after you commit. Thus, to narrow down your career pool, you should develop a list of fundamental career features you can’t live without. These may include:

  • High salary
  • Family benefits
  • Schedule flexibility
  • Location flexibility
  • Advanced education opportunities

Armed with these qualifications, you can begin your career search in earnest, exploring particular jobs that fit your needs.

Investigate Like a Journalist

It may sound tedious, but the more research you perform on your chosen career path, the better. You should spend hours on the Internet and in the library, reading news about your industry, learning common application and apprenticeship practices, and uncovering ratings and reviews of possible employers and positions.

For more in-depth information, you should consider making contact with a current professional in your career. You can find such professionals through particular career mentoring programs or simply online. For example, a career hunter interested in social work might follow a blog written by a doctor in that field and connect with her through email. Active professionals will have more accurate advice on career strategies, and they could point you in the direction of open positions.

Look for Like-Minded Organizations

Though your career may have nothing to do with your core values, it might be worthwhile to apply primarily to companies that do not directly contradict some of your closest-held beliefs. For example, an avid environmentalist starting a career in marketing would naturally be displeased to learn his employer lacks recycling bins. Working for a company that directly opposes your fundamental ideals can be draining, mentally and emotionally, and exhaustion usually leads to animosity. Therefore, while it isn’t imperative that your employer holds all of your diverse beliefs, it is wise to select an organization that aligns generally with your life and career values.

Keep at It

After a few weeks or months—or even, heaven forbid, years—on the hunt for the perfect job, you might be tempted to abandon your dreams and settle for the job that makes you money without making you inspired. While solvency is important, you should never fully give up hope on achieving the career of your dreams. Without a consistent effort toward your ideal career in mind, you will sink more securely into an unintended job path, making it even more difficult to leave for greener career pastures. Thus, no matter how impatient you are to get to work, you must avoid compromising if your chosen career is harder to attain than you initially suspected.

photo credit: Clock – career via photopin (license)

Why Everyone Should Be More


Most of us are constantly facing, juggling, and overcoming challenges–in both our personal lives and professional lives, often subsiding our life’s dreams, wishes, and wants.

Be More by Todd Putman is a narrative of stories and life challenges of people, encouraging each of us to find our own truth. It’s a book for anyone who struggles to answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Because no matter how old, and regardless of life accomplishments, it’s a question we all need to be able to answer—and sets the foundation for a smart career strategy.

The central idea behind the book is simple really, be more. Almost everyone wants more out of life. But until we can articulate exactly what that means, it’s very difficult to get there. Be More provides practical direction in the form of the Skills, Values, Passion (SVP) exercise to help people better understand their innate gifts, and what matters most to them, as tools to articulate what they really want from life.

The book was inspired by the many career-centered conversations Putman has had through the years. He found that there are so many people who are incredibly smart and talented but aren’t able to articulate their dreams. They know they want more but can’t say what that means, and as a result have no clear path for success The result is a colossal waste of potential–potential for good, for innovation, for change, for value creation and more. That waste is what drove Putman to take action.

The book doesn’t fit into a traditional self-help book category. Though the fundamental concepts aren’t new, I found that Be More is practical and helpful guidance. It doesn’t stop at the broadest strokes and it doesn’t make grand pronouncements and then leave readers in the weeds. There are a lot of books out there that encourage people to follow their passions, but Be More challenges soul-searching that goes a step deeper. It offers straightforward direction to get to the answers and then explains what to do next to be more. The book is engaging and accessible while simultaneously in-your-face and ass-kicking.

My top six takeaways to apply to your career strategy:

  1. There’s so much opportunity for impact and fulfillment just waiting for someone to go after.
  1. When you help yourself, those around you will want to help too.
  1. Creating individual success rests solely in the hands of the individual.
  1. No one is responsible for you except you.
  1. It’s important to know yourself inside and out, and use that as a filter to guide problem solving and decision-making.
  1. If you don’t take charge of your own destiny someone else will, and that person may not have any interest in what really matters to you.


Be More is necessary for individual exploration. Understanding yourself and your life’s dreams is hard work. It’s deeply personal and sometimes it’s deeply painful. But the work is worth it. Get started, pick up a copy and read it.


Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Sony, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, Kashi, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.




Reach For Greatness – Developing Development

Continuous improvement is one of the key phrases of our age, and it applies as much to employees as to processes. We want our staff to keep developing themselves, to take on new skills and refine their existing ones, to absorb the values and priorities of the organization even as those shift over time. But this isn’t easy. Change is scary and people need to be encouraged. So how can we do that?

Developing The Meta

A stagnant, unchanging approach to development is clearly counter-productive. If employees are told that they should develop, but they don’t see that the organization itself develops, then you are sending out mixed messages which will create resistance.

To counter this it isn’t enough to talk about development within the employee development program. You need to engage employees in a meta-analytical conversation, looking at how the development program and the support for it develops. Then take this one step further and apply it to the company as a whole.

Get employees’ opinions on what works and what doesn’t in the organization. Engage them in improving it. Create an organization that doesn’t just talk about development but that lives it, where employees can see innovation, improvement and development in every corner of their working lives. Then they can’t help but buy into development.

Developing A Space

If development of the organization is going to encourage self-development then it has to exist within employees’ control. Thomson Reuters have done a lot of work on this in recent years, creating a culture in which teams can put forward ideas to change the business and then get involved in working on them.

The Thomson Reuters example is a huge and intimidating one, but the principle behind it has applications on even the smallest scale. Rather than trying to develop your employees from the outside through massive programs, create a space in which they are encouraged to develop themselves. Provide the tools, time and opportunities for them to pick up skills and knowledge that are in line with the culture and aims of the organization, but that also suit them.

Use this space to let employees contribute to organizational improvement as well, even if it’s just updating their team’s procedures or improving template letters. By giving them an active role in shaping both their self-development and the development of the company you foster a positive and empowered attitude.

Developing Daring

‘failure always arrives in a whimper’ – Seth Godin

If you want truly great employees then you have to foster truly great employee development, and fostering anything truly great means taking risks.

Giving people the freedom to shape their own career and skills means risking that they’ll go in a direction that you don’t want, or that they’ll waste the time and opportunity that you’ve given them. A minority will abuse the chance, and you’ll have to deal with that.

Giving them the chance to shape your organization means that mistakes will be made. There will be failures and dead ends, just like always.

But giving people the freedom to shape their development and that of the organization also gives them the space to be great. For every failure there’ll be a dozen successes, and some of those will be truly great. These will forge the game changers, the homegrown leaders of your company’s future, the improvements that save you millions or sky-rocket sales.

So create a conversation around the development conversation. Create a space for employees to improve themselves and your business. Be bold in how you encourage development to take place.

Take a risk and reach for greatness.

Photo credit: Bigstock

Build a Career Plan That Drives Best Results in 5 Easy Steps

The future of employment is right around the corner and about to rear its ugly head to an already floundering middle class. It’s real and it’s starting to happen right now. Here’s the inside scoop on what growing employers really want from their candidates and employees, and how to create a career plan that fits.

For job seekers, today’s new normal economy calls for a strategic, multifaceted approach. Whether you are a janitor, administrative assistant, general laborer, accountant, or sales representative, taking your career to the next level begins with you. Employers don’t want do-it-all generalists; they want top performers who specialize in one field and have systematically built in-demand skill sets that make them masters of their craft. And they’re no longer looking for bodies to fill a seat and perform a function. They want an innovative, forward-thinking person they can call their partner. By being proactive and taking the initiative to speak up for your professional future, you are giving potential employers exactly what they are looking for: accountability.

Most job seekers I interview have the same goal in mind: to secure a position in a company culture that brings them joy, presents new challenges, and offers opportunities for career mobility and salary enhancement. But there’s one factor missing: they have no idea how to make a career plan that leads to happiness. Left feeling stuck in their crappy job situation, working professionals often turn to their inner circle of influence (family, friends, mentors, and colleagues.) They tap everyone around them for career support and neglect the one person who holds all the cards: themselves.

1. Treat Your Career Like A Business And Yourself As Its Owner

An overwhelming majority of the candidates who walk through my door believe that an invisible force is guiding their future—the economy, their current boss, the tooth fairy, whatever. But my team’s extensive research tells us that it’s just not that complicated. The most successful people (physically, mentally, and monetarily) are those who recognize that it’s up to them to decide their fate. These people also approach each new position as an opportunity to add to their skill set in a way their previous position couldn’t. And they’re constantly evolving professionally in order to establish a well-rounded background. If you drop the self-sabotaging mindset that you work for “the man,” and realize that the choices you make guide your professional development, it can be incredibly empowering.

2. Identify An In-demand Specialty That Aligns With Your Skill Set And Background

Although they’re undoubtedly well-intentioned, your friends, relatives, and colleagues aren’t expert career advisors. Too many people choose occupational choices based on outdated and limited viewpoints. “It’s the family business and I sort of just fell into it,” or “I went to law school because my parents wanted me to” are common excuses I hear all the time. Not enough professionals take the time to explore their options and find out what type of work makes them happy. Or they’re hesitant to follow their dreams because they were taught to think traditionally. Step out of your inner circle and research in-demand jobs that align with your skills. Take advantage of career assessments, which never fail to provide some much-needed perspective.

3. Choose Educational Training Opportunities That Support Your Career Goals

Because traditional higher education is a big promoter of stereotypical high-paying jobs that have been around for ages—medicine, law, finance, engineering, teaching—many budding minds miss out on new positions in emerging technologies and marketing, for example. So many positions go unfilled due to a lack of awareness, which is a shame since job creation is soaring. For those of you already working, be sure to keep your skills sharp both inside and outside of work. Very few companies that offer optional training programs have a healthy number employees who actually take advantage of them.

4. Build A Marketable, Online Professional Brand

It goes without saying that your professional brand plays a significant role in your current and future success. Employers aren’t relying solely on resumes and cover letters to fill their next role. They want to get to know their candidates on every level possible. At the very least, candidates must create, optimize, and maintain a LinkedIn profile. But, make no mistake, I don’t support the “build it and leave it” approach. Keep active by sharing growing trends in your field, contributing to group conversations, and connecting with thought leaders you admire. Not only does it demonstrate your expertise and show that you’re not letting your skills soften, it also shows you’re tech-savvy and ambitious—traits employers look for in a new recruit. Not to mention the fact that the professional exposure is in itself worth it.

5. Map Out A Blueprint For Achieving Short-term And Long-term Goals

If you don’t know what your ultimate dream job is, that’s ok. That doesn’t mean you can’t accept positions strategically. The key here is to amass a variety of experiences that build upon each other. Staying at one job in one capacity is no longer a sustainable career plan. If you’ve spent some quality time working for a large corporation, try a smaller company. No matter your career situation or experience level, it’s important to have a written professional plan you can commit to.

Photo credit: Bigstock

Interview Tips: Ask a Question and Bag a Job

Bagging a job, especially a dream job can be quite the sweat dropping experience in the present times. The key here is to have an excellent interviewing session with the employer that will put you in a promising and employable position. If possible, plan out the interaction in your head and go over it a couple of times to have your answers ready. Keep it in mind that every step of the interview is crucial and contribute to the final decision made by the employer.

How Do You Do That?

In case that you are really keen on bagging this job, it is always advisable to have a game plan in mind for the interview. One of the best ways to have a successful interview with your potential employer is by asking questions. Not always do you have to be on the answering seat.

Asking questions allows the employer to understand what you are trying to portray better. He/ She will see your interest and wishful dedication towards the post and the company. Hence, asking a few questions will always help you create a better opinion for yourself. You may use dissertation writing service to guide you through the process.

What Should You Ask?

There can be a number of things that you can ask your employer, but your motto here is to ask questions that are efficient and effective. Your questions should be all about saying, “I am in it to win it”. If that is the attitude you have, it should not be hard to capture the job. Some questions that will help you move up the ladder and impress your employers, are-

  • Ask About the Background:

Not many candidates are well aware of the employer and that is a major drawback. One of the best things you can do on your interview is come prepared about the employer and his achievements. Ask him about his success story, or how he managed to get that contract last year with limited investment, or how he took his company to the top in such a short span of time, etc. All these show your knowledge of him and his achievements. Allow him to answer and speak of himself while you listen intently.

  • Ask About the Company:

Now that you have allowed your employer to boast a bit about himself, it is time that you show interest in his creation, his company. Relate the company to the latest market conditions and ask questions that will intrigue your employer’s interest. Wow him with your knowledge of the company and your interest to know more.

  • The last Strike:

With the first question you were luring the boss into a conversation. With the second you were having a proper discussion. The third and final step to a successful interview is when you give him potential strategies for growth. Ask him what he thinks of your suggestions.

Use these interview tips and they will surely give you a head start in compared to the other candidates appearing for the interview. Remember, asking questions is always good, especially if you are asking the right ones.

Photo credit: Bigstock

7 Things Successful People Know About Decision Making

After a few reps at the gym your muscles naturally start to fatigue. It’s a sign that you’re working and your muscles are responding. In the same way that your muscles eventually give out during a workout, your mental muscle starts to fatigue throughout the day, hampering your ability to care, make choices, stay motivated, weigh decisions, and ultimately take action.

Radishes and chocolate chip cookies can help us understand why.

In 1998, Roy Baumeister and colleagues asked people to sign up for what participants thought was a taste-perception experiment. The researchers formed three groups: radish eaters, chocolate-chip cookie eaters and non-eaters (control group). They asked the participants to skip one meal and arrive hungry for their scheduled appointment. When the radish and chocolate-chip cookie eaters arrived for the appointment, they could smell freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies. On the table before them they found a bowl of beautiful red radishes and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and chocolate candies.

The radish eaters were instructed to eat two or three radishes and told they could not touch the chocolate-chip cookies or candies. The chocolate chip cookie eaters were instructed to eat two to three chocolate chip cookies and/or candies but not to touch the radishes. The non-eaters did not participate in this part of the study.

Once the participants had finished eating, the researchers asked all three groups to solve an unsolvable spatial puzzle. The subjects could abandon the task at any time.

Who quit first?

The radish eaters. The chocolate chip cookie eaters and non-eaters stuck with the task longer and for more or less the same amount of time. The early quitters, the radish eaters, reported feeling more exhausted than the other two groups.

So what do these odd food choices have to do with making a company-wide decision or considering change?

It takes significantly more self-control to avoid the temptation of mouthwatering chocolate chip cookies and candies than it does to avoid eating radishes. Resisting temptation took a bigger toll on the radish eaters. That resistance depleted the mental energy needed to tackle the puzzle and thus the radish eaters to abandon the task more quickly. On the other hand, subjects in the chocolate-chip eating and non-eating conditions depleted fewer mental resources maintaining self-control and could more easily spend additional time with the puzzle.

If resisting cookies can make your mind weary, imagine what resisting a big change in the workplace can do to you, after adding in all the other stuff you do every day. Resources like willpower, decision-making acuity and focus are depletable properties of the brain. New and unfamiliar routines and choices challenge the comfort zone of our ingrained habits. When we effect a change or resist something that we would normally not resist, we force ourselves out of our comfort zone. It requires energy and can wear you out.

Psychologists call this ego depletion or simply, mental exhaustion. It’s a state of mind where you can lose critical elements of your self-control and other mental processes that require focus and conscious effort.

So think about it in these terms. Your alarm goes off. You make a decision about whether or not you are going to press snooze. Then you decide how frequently you are going to press snooze. Then you get out of bed and make a decision about whether or not you are going to take a shower. Hopefully you make the right choice. Then you decide what you are going to wear. Then you decide if you are going to work out. Then what to eat. Then what the kids are going to eat. Then what direction you are going to drive to work. Then this and then that. By the time you get to work, you have made so many decisions already that your decision-making capabilities are already depleted. The good news is that if we know this universal truth about our brains then we can operate a bit differently.

Here are some very simple things you can do to counteract the radish effect:

  1. Routinize as much as possible: The more of a routine you have in the morning (e.g., waking up at the same time, eating the same thing for breakfast, having a system in place for prepping everything, etc.) the better off you are. When you leave options open in the morning, you are tapping into your limited well and causing depletion on tasks and things that really don’t require much thought. For that matter, if there are any tasks that can be routinized throughout the day, not just the morning, do so. Your brain will thank you when you have to focus and decide on the things that really matter.
  1. Do what you can do the night before: Before you go to sleep at night take care of the things that are easy to take care of for the next day (but can deplete you if you focus on them in the morning). Making simple choices like what you will eat for lunch tomorrow, what you will wear, or fleshing out tomorrow’s to do list will minimize the amount of energy you need for making these choices the next morning.
  1. Have a uniform: I am not suggesting wearing the same thing every day. However, I am suggesting finding a few looks that work for you and buying that look in different colors. The less time you spend agonizing over which shoe and belt works best with which pants or skirt, the more mental energy you will have when you are helping a client decide on the best avenue to take with your product line. Ever notice that Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day? Some of the most successful people may not have the most creative outfits but they certainly make up for it with their power brains.
  1. Be diligent about replenishment: We all know we need to sleep, eat well, exercise, take breaks, allow for mindfulness and relaxation. But very few of us are as disciplined about these aspects of human functioning and performance than we are about checking our emails, responding with urgency, working around the clock, constantly being on, and all the other stuff that goes hand in hand with depletion. Be as diligent about creating the space for replenishment as you are about working. Elite athletes and performers understand that they can only practice for a set amount of time before they require rest. The same is true for every human and their mind. The mind is an athlete and can produce extraordinary results if provided with the replenishment it needs.
  1. Make the most important decisions first thing in the morning: Knowing what you know now, don’t save the life altering and company-altering decisions for the end of the day. If you have an important decision to make at work or in your personal life, do it first thing in the morning. Do the difficult stuff when you are the least mentally taxed and save the easy stuff at the end of the day.
  1. Set some boundaries: According to Gloria Mark and her colleagues at the University of California-Irvine, 3 minutes is the average time we spend on a given task before we are interrupted or our focus shifts. This doesn’t bode well when faced with having to make an important decision. Thus, give yourself the necessary mental space when you have an important project or task. Set boundaries by removing distractions and creating uninterrupted time, if only for ten minutes, so you can concentrate on the task at hand.
  1. Sleep off the emotion: If you are having a strong emotional reaction (positive or negative) to something, keep the decision at bay until the storm of the emotion blows over. Although emotions are incredibly informative and provide useful information, when an important decision is made through the lens of emotion, decision-making can become skewed. Give it some thought and let it marinate over a good night’s sleep. Remember, negative emotions can skew logical thinking just as much as positive emotions can. Unless you’re an emergency room doc, you probably can give the decision 24-48 hours to marinate.

Being disciplined with these simple steps gives your mind the foundation it needs to be rock solid when it comes to decision making and tackling problems.

The Dark Side of Improvement-ology

In the rush to offer “content,” social media has become a veritable tsunami of advice on how to improve just about everything, be that a process or yourself.

These books, articles, classes, seminars, webinars, workshops, and videos all sound wonderfully helpful and well-intended, but, as Gerald Weinberg said, “There’s always a trade-off.”  One should be aware of the dark side of improvement-ology.  It runs a constant risk of corroding precious confidence in yourself.

To illustrate using some artistic examples:

When I was a music student, I was often told in lofty tones that “there is never enough rehearsal time.”  This seems to make sense, except for the fact that . . .  it doesn’t.    When I got to the “bigtime,” I was told something else: “save it for the show.”   There is always a point where you can’t make a knife any sharper, and “improving it” just wears out the blade.

Another story: some years ago I published a musical play.  I was of course eager to make it “perfect,” so, as a believer in “constant improvement,” I edited it endlessly.  But then one day I realized that in order to add a new funny line, I had to delete an old funny line.  I could make it different, but I could not make it better.

Part of being an artist is knowing when to put the brush down.  This requires trust in yourself.

Trust in yourself is ephemeral.  It is easily fractured, especially by those who have not yet found it for themselves, and are seeking it in external processes.

It is essential to have the humility to see when things need improvement, but we should also have a balancing energy of appreciating things that are imperfectly beautiful just as they are.  That includes you.

– Justin Locke is an author, speaker, and philosopher.  His books include Real Men Don’t Rehearse and Principles of Applied Stupidity.  Justin played bass in the Boston Pops for 18 years, and his music education programs are performed all over the world.  Listen to his recent appearance on CBS Radio and visit his website at

How to Take Charge of Your Career

Want to let your peers outpace you?

If you’re not constantly looking for ways to enhance your professional worth, you’ll soon find yourself in the cloud of dust your peers leave behind as they race past you. They’ll be moving rapidly toward your promotion, your job, and the recognition you were meant to have.

If you don’t take action, your value will simply be undermined.

To avoid getting stuck in your career while your colleagues outplay you, you must increase your market value. You must continuously acquire new skills and new experience.

Take charge of your growth

To avoid undermining your professional value, you have to stop settling for good enough, and start aiming higher.

Trying to exceed your own performance can be scary, especially if you’re a fan of comfort zones. Naturally, you fear ending up with even more work and longer days in the office.

Luckily, taking charge of your professional growth doesn’t mean you have to spend 10 extra hours a week at the office, or that your happiness depends on getting a promotion (although the latter might unintentionally happen after what you’re about to do).

Rather, you should approach your development as a series of projects. Projects are advantageous because they’re designed to be completed one step at a time within a definite time frame. This allows you to work on a project alongside your daily tasks and avoid overwhelm.

Come Up With An Idea

So, what should the project be about?

Doesn’t matter. The only requirement is that it allows you to acquire skills and experience that benefit you and your work place. The idea is to make your professional development an intrinsic part of your work life. Since you’ll be spending time on it during office hours, it must have a positive impact on your work.

Maybe you want to read about the latest trends in your professional field, build relationships with people in your industry, create a more efficient system for solving your daily tasks, or even find new creative ways to improve the work environment.

Choosing which idea to pursue can be intimidating, since it involves taking a chance. You have to set a course and commit to taking one step forward every day, even if you’re not sure whether you’re on the right path.

For instance, if you’re looking to acquire new skills, but you aren’t sure which ones would be more beneficial in your job, pick one at random and commit to studying as much as you can in the next hour, day, or week. If it feels right, keep going – if not, change the topic.

Decide On A Time Frame

To increase your chances of success and avoid getting stuck (again), assign a specific time frame for your project. Once the time is up, move to something else. Your primary purpose is to keep growing.

The time frame could be everything from 1 to 12 weeks. Its primary purpose is to make sure you don’t get stuck on a particular project. In his book Project: Success, Mark Sieverkropp suggests a maximum of 60 days. This gives you enough time to immerse yourself in the project but ensures that the end is always in sight.

Even more important, however, is that you commit to taking small steps and set milestones that illustrate your progress. How many hours a week will you spend on the project? How many minutes a day?

You can also measure progress as an outcome, e.g., how many books you read, how many leads you create, or how much time you save due to increased efficiency. But beware: you have limited control over these outcomes. Therefore, I recommend assigning an amount of time or specific little tasks as your measure of success.
This corresponds to what James Clear calls focusing on systems rather and goals. Of course, it’s valuable having a clear direction – maybe in the form of a measurable goal – but it’s the effort that counts.

Take Action Today

The first step is usually the hardest. So to get the ideas flowing, start by asking yourself:

What would be a fun project to do?

Some measure of fun (in this case, earnest interest is just as valid) is critical to mustering the energy necessary to keep growing professionally. Of course, you can’t practice rope skipping during work hours, but surely there is some topic you’d be interested in studying or a skill you’d enjoy improving.

Please share your idea in the comments below. For accountability, you could also share it with a friend, or stick a post-it on your computer screen. Just commit to start working on something that will help increase your professional value.

So get out that pen and paper, and write down one idea for a project that you could start today. Keep it simple – and enjoyable!


Image: bigstock

10 Tips To Forge A Successful Career

No one’s career path is ever a straight road. Invariably we all experience some more windy routes along the way. That doesn’t mean, however, that one can’t make a plan to help you go in broadly the right direction.

Here Are 10 Can’t-Miss Tips To Help Your Career Planning:

  1. First, know yourself; then after explore towards different career options and also figure out which kind of job would certainly suit you best. Have a clear vision of what you actually want to do after completion of your education.
  2. Collect information related to your dream career and compile any data you can get; analyze the skills, abilities required, then match it with your present skills.
  3. There are lots of ways to achieve your goal, so you have to map all the possibilities and you have to figure out how you want to be there.
  4. You should invest your most time in learning so you can have a clearer vision and direction
  5. Be a good listener and listen to your seniors very carefully and without any hesitation feel free to ask. If you ever come across any doubt get the clarification on your doubt.
  6. As you want yourself in a better position in future, you should create your resume with objectives and goals and the things you want for yourself. Resume is the most important thing, which reflects your all educational efforts so you will have to learn how to perform professional resume writing.
  7. Be knowledgeable, on the daily basis read newspaper and keep yourself updated with the latest technologies and information. Google can be your one stop solution.
  8. Rather than wasting your time in hanging out and playing candy crush you should spend your free time with minded people so you can have more creative ideas. You will also have an opportunity to share your knowledge if you have about any recent technology or activity.
  9. Get experience – when you are a new kid on the career block you’ve got to be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up
  10. While climbing the corporate ladder, make sure to connect with colleagues and clients. Oh, and don’t forget, be nice to those other people climbing the ladder too – you never know where they’ll be in the future!

Image: Big Stock Images

How To Ensure Swift And Steady Business Growth

This post is specifically about acupuncture, but I hope you’ll find some lessons and ideas which can be used in any industry to achieve business growth. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical art that is practiced for centuries. The practitioners of this art treat a broad range of psychological and physical conditions. Nowadays, a career in this field has become lucrative and flourishing. For this reason, lots of students study acupuncture and want to make a successful career in it.

For a rapid business growth in the practice, I’d suggest that you keep in mind some tips. Here are a few key factors to consider for a smooth and speedy growth in acupuncture practice…

Give Your Practice A Sheer Importance

Practice in alternative medicine requires a lot of commitment. Give it an equal importance as you would have given to your business. Instead of wasting your time in going to cafe or club, give your complete attention towards the steps necessary to get success in the practice. All the successful entrepreneurs boast a good time management. Get engaged in the leisure activities only when you have earned it. Socialization and comfort come after the work. 

Part Time Jobs Can Be Done If You Are Short Of Cash

Try to invest all your time and money into your practice as an acupuncturist. Doing any other job with practice may lead to the delay of realization of your goals in career like business growth. You can do part-time job to ensure money floatation. 

If You Want To Work In Another Practitioner’s Office, Establish Your Own Office Too

Never settle for working for another practitioner for the long term. You will end up earning considerably less than independent practitioners. Try to set up your independent office. Having your own venture will pave a way for financial success of your career. 

Get An Office As Per Your Needs

As an acupuncturist, you will need a minimum of two treatment rooms, one waiting area and a bathroom. Setup an office and be regular to it. You must not treat your personal office like going to stereotypical jobs every day. Enjoying your work is extremely important for getting success in the career. 

Having A Sound Knowledge About The Field Is A Must

You must know almost everything related to acupuncture. For this, you will need proper education. Many institutes offer programs related to the acupuncture sector. You can go for a diploma in acupuncture program for any affiliated institute to embark and progress in this sector. 

Take Marketing Decisions Smartly

Taking the marketing decisions smartly is extremely important for growth in acupuncture practice. Hold off any decision if you think it may turn up into poor marketing. Having blind hope or fear can prove hazardous for your growth as a practitioner. 

Strong Vision Is Imperative

There may arise many vicissitudes in the practice. You must remain steadfast in your vision, as it will motivate you to achieve your goal without being failed. If you get easily distracted or lack in wide vision, you must maintain monthly or daily goals as the means of elevating your purpose and conviction in the career. You must write down about you goals in acupuncture practice and should visualize them as well. Setting up specific goals is extremely important for ensuring rapid growth in acupuncture practice. 

Relish The Marketing Of Your Practice

For dedicated marketing, it is imperative for you to enjoy it. You must consider marketing inseparable from your practice. Treating and drawing patients are the parts of the process. Not taking interest in marketing will lead to lack of quality of practice. To become successful, you must learn to relish the process of marketing. 

Never Avoid Taking Risks

Taking risk is business is extreme important for a remarkable growth. Managing risk in business is a skill that an entrepreneur must boast. Playing safe will never lead to success at all. Learning from the mistakes and keep refining the knowledge about the field will develop you as a professional practitioner. 

Make An Apt Team Of Professionals

A skilled team is equally important for the constant growth of your business as an acupuncture practitioner.You cannot do everything on your own and hence you need a team that encompasses marketing coach, graphic designer, accountant, web designer, etc. All the successful practitioners need a team of skilled professionals. 

Frequent Marketing Is Mandatory

Dedicated practice can never be fruitful alone if it is not mixed with smart and frequent marketing. Marketing should remain a constant emphasize. As long as you are in business, keep your marketing goals high and think of the ways to augment your exposure. Growth in business refers to keep expanding your reach. Frequent marking will prevent you from being stagnant.

Keep the above-mentioned guidelines in mind and secure a bright and beneficial career as an acupuncture practitioner.

Picture Credit: Big Stock Images

How To Avoid Common “Interview Pressure” Induced Mistakes

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said or done during a job interview? Are you aware of the top mistakes that are most common during the interview? You may be doing things you’re completely unaware of, and this could be hurting your chances to get the job you really want. Think you know how to ace a job interview like a pro? You could still stand to benefit from the downfall of others who have come before you. Here are the mistakes you should avoid, and what you can do to improve.

  1. Too little or too much confidence
    Most people are aware that they must appear confident during a job interview, but did you know that it’s possible to be overconfident? If you’re not confident enough, you appear unsure of yourself, and your potential employers will be looking for people who know they can do well in the position. Having too much confidence can also be a big problem, because you can appear too cocky or sure of yourself, rather than letting your work and experience speak for you. It’s important to find that happy medium.
  2. Talking about how they can benefit you
    Many make the easy mistake of focusing too heavily on what the prospective company will do for their career, as opposed to highlighting what they can individually bring to the table. The company doesn’t need to know what they can do for you; they need to know what you can do for them. Impress them, but do it in an honest way.
  3. Not dressing appropriately for the job
    Do some research online for proper attire to wear to the office if you aren’t quite familiar with office etiquette and standards. Have you ever heard the saying “Dress for the job you want”? That applies here. Personal grooming is a must for any job interview, as well as dressing like a sharp, professional, sophisticated individual. It’s okay to show off a personal sense of style, but do it in a tasteful way. High cut skirt lines for a female or jeans for a male are never a great idea. Something as simple as this can make the difference between getting hired and getting dismissed completely by your potential employer.
  4. Being pretentious or fake
    By all means impress the interviewer, but by no means do it in a fake way. Playing up your strengths is essential, but be genuine about it. Most employers can see through BS pretty easily, and once they detect you’re being fake, they won’t want to hire you. They’ll want people on their team who are trustworthy and straightforward. In this case, it pays to be yourself.
  5. Over-sharing
    At the same time, being yourself doesn’t mean making the interviewer your best friend and telling them everything. Know what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. One of the most common mistakes people make in a job interview is being far too familiar. This shows up in the form of a bad joke in poor taste, or talking too much about family or problems that are going on in the person’s life. Remember, you want the interviewer to like you, but you don’t need to tell them your entire life story.
  6. Being unprepared in the interview
    This can absolutely kill your chances to be hired. Remember to do a couple of things in order to prep for the interview. The first is to research the company you’re applying for. This way, you can bring up positive points about the company during the interview to prove that you’re prepared. You’ll also be ready to answer the question, “So why do you want to work for this company in particular?” If possible, research in depth. Sometimes you can even find interview questions they may ask that others have made available online. Some even post about their experiences with the entire interview process. This gives you incredibly valuable insight into how everything will go, once you get the interview. The more prepared you are, the better. The second thing you’ll need to do to is to think of answers you will have for challenging questions they could ask. If you already have an answer in mind, it should be able to flow naturally during the interview. You’ll also want to come prepared with specific questions of your own.
  7. Arriving too late
    This shouldn’t have to be emphasized, but if you have a problem with time management, get it in check at least for the interview. There’s nothing worse than arriving late; it demonstrates an unprofessional attitude as well as disrespect to your potential employers. Arriving too early is also not great, as that can make you come off as too eager, or desperate even. Aim to be there no more than 10-15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
  8. Talking negatively
    It’s okay to be honest if you’ve had a bad experience in the past with a former job, but find a way to spin it in a positive way. Employers know that bad situations happen, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. Make sure to communicate to them how you were able to turn it around. And whatever you do, don’t ever bad mouth former employers or former colleagues. This makes you appear self centered and even childish.

No matter what you do, be prepared to be professional, put together, confident, and remember to have a good time during the interview. Your potential employers will want to see how you can contribute to a positive work environment not only with your work ethic, but your personality as well. Let it shine through, and get that job you really deserve.

3 Ways To Future-Proof Your Career

A realization that we haven’t made the smartest of career moves might have dawned on many of us when reading the news this week. Experts have predicted that 10 million British jobs — which equates to one in three roles — could be taken over by computers and robots.

Whilst honing our skills to make sure we are indispensable in the workplace is still essential, it’s equally important to remember that we are competing against computers as well as people. If you want to make sure a robot couldn’t do your job in the future, it’s vital to future-proof your career now.

Choose a Low-Risk Career

It goes without saying that some jobs are more at risk of automation than others. The positions that are at the highest risk are those in the sectors of administration, sales, transportation, construction, mining, energy and production.

When it comes to choosing a “safe” job, careers in healthcare have consistently proved to be among the most resilient. When the recession hit in 2008, healthcare jobs ranked among the most recession-proof careers. New research also lists the healthcare sector as one of the “safest” fields, along with computing, engineering, science, law, education and financial services.

Create a Professional Online Profile

You can’t argue with the facts. Ninety percent of employers are using social recruitment tools like LinkedIn to source talent and 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network. Having a fully developed online profile and an established network of contacts is a vital way of engaging with your industry. As well as keeping you alert to changes and new opportunities in your field, it’s a great way to get noticed by employers should it come to that in the future.

Start creating a professional profile online by building up your online personal brand to strengthen your authority in your chosen career field and make sure that you look the part. Once your social media profiles have been perfected, learn how to network effectively on social media. Launching an online portfolio or blog to showcase your work, whether that’s website designs, articles on key trends in your field, or even just a presentation about you and your skills, can also be a good move.

Adapt and Diversify to Survive

You don’t need to go back to school and change your career completely. However, being willing to adapt and able to diversify is essential to future-proofing your career. A recent study from PwC, which explores the need for better alignment between talent and opportunity, cites the need for individuals to be willing to embrace change and apply their skills in new places.

Take stock of your skills. Sixty-three percent of CEOs say availability of skills is their primary concern, so find areas where skills gaps are emerging in your sector and invest time in learning how to fill those gaps. You wouldn’t put all of your funds into one investment and the same rule applies here. When the time comes to make a change, you’ll have the skills in place to transfer roles. Adapt, diversify and survive.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

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Career Inspiration: Strive To Be These 3 Things

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We live in an age when we allow ourselves to be ruled by our fears. The more we have the more we curl in on ourselves to defend it, clinging to our past achievements rather than reaching forward for more.

But nobody ever achieved great things through caution. It is boldness of speech and action, the willingness to let go of our fears and step bravely forward, which allows us to be the best that we can. Einstein didn’t become the most famous scientist in the world by quietly accepting what he had been told. Neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs became global business leaders by timidly working in long established fields.

If you want to achieve great things then you need to be bold.

Be Different

It’s easy to feel pressure to conform, to work in the same way as others in your business, to take the same model as your competitors. But all this will do is guarantee that you blend into the background.

Apple built their business on a guiding principle of simplicity. In an ever more complex age they stood back and asked how they could take that complexity out of their products. From the way they look to the way they work you can see that principle at play in Apple devices, and it’s part of how they’ve been so successful.

Be bold enough to be different.

Be Challenging

It’s always tempting to be timid and not to challenge the attitudes of others. Maybe it’s accepting your boss’s view even when you disagree with her. Maybe it’s setting unambitious targets because you know that your team can safely meet them. Maybe it’s giving your customers the same product year after year because that’s what they’ve come to expect.

But challenging the status quo is a great way to create your own space, to show the intelligence, insight and creativity that you’re capable of. And it can lead to opportunities no one expected.

The success of organic farming is an example of this. Going against perceptions that all customers cared about was identical fruit and vegetables at dirt cheap prices, organic farming has turned into a thriving business sector and in the process challenged the way that we think about our food.

Or think of Bob Dylan going electric. It was a challenge to his audience and to the traditions of folk music. It changed the face of rock and roll and guaranteed his place as a cultural legend.

Be bold enough to be challenging.

Be Yourself

At the heart of all of this is being yourself. If you can be the real, authentic you, if you can define achievement on your own terms, then you will be more comfortable in your own skin, more effective in your work and more compelling to others. Your energy will be unleashed and your passion will show, bringing out the best both in you and in others.

Russell Brand may not be everyone’s favorite comedian but his willingness to intelligently discuss subjects he cares about has made him a star. Richard Dawkins may seem abrasive but by standing by his beliefs he has widened debates on science and religion, selling a substantial number of books along the way.

Be bold enough to be you and the rest will follow.

Let Go of the Fear

Fear of loss, of challenge, of embarrassment is natural, but it will only hold you back.

Be bold. Be the best that you can.

Apply Now

(About the Author: Mark Lukens is a Founding Partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm. He has 20 plus years of C-Level experience across multiple sectors including healthcare, education, government, and people and potential (aka HR). In addition, Mark currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Behavioral Health Service North, a large behavioral health services provider in New York. He also actively serves on the faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY) and teaches in the School of Business and Economics; Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Management, International Business and Information Systems. Mark holds an MBA and is highly recognized in the technology and healthcare space with credentials including MCSE and Paramedic. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity. Mark resides in New York with his wife Lynn, two children, and two Labradors. The greatest pursuit; “To be more in the Service of Others.”)


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6 Small Changes You Can Do Today to Improve Your Career

In order to avoid the dreaded career burnout, it’s important to do little things to make your days easier and a bit more enjoyable. After all, if you enjoy what you’re doing and do it well, that opens up your prospects for career advancement and for less stressful days. Thankfully, there are many small and simple changes you can make to your workday to instantly perk you up and put you back on track. Try some of these suggestions today.

1. Tackle Tough Tasks First

If you have a dreaded or difficult task facing you, it’s best to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. This way, you won’t have it hanging over your head all day and you can get on with more enjoyable things. Brian Tracy goes over this in his famous book, Eat That Frog. Morning is the best and most productive time of day to jump on challenging projects, not the after-lunch slump.

2. Quit Multitasking

No, doing more than one thing at a time does not make you more productive. Your brain simply can’t handle it, even though you often think it can. Multitasking pulls you in a million different directions at once, to the point where nothing you are doing gets the full attention it deserves. Instead of multitasking, try “singletasking,” a movement started by this hilarious video from The Atlantic. By sticking to one task at a time, it will be much easier to cross those to-dos off your list.

3. Get Enough Sleep

A better work day begins the night before, with a good night’s sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll end up feeling groggy and irritable, and you’ll be more prone to making careless mistakes. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. There are plenty of reasons for not sleeping well, including stress, sleep apnea, and just staying up too late. Make it a habit of going to sleep at the same time each night, and wind down with a quiet activity such as reading. If that’s not enough, there are sleep apps that can track your sleep and even wake you up during the best part of your REM cycle.

4. Make Time for Breaks

You are not a machine, and you should take little breaks throughout your day to recharge your batteries. Don’t eat lunch at your desk; visit the cafeteria and socialize with coworkers, or get out and take a walk. Take mini-breaks at other times as well. Step outside the office for a minute, or get up for a cup of coffee or water. Don’t be a slave to your desk.

5. Record Your Accomplishments

When you’re working day in and day out, you may begin to feel like Sisyphus, that character in Greek mythology who was condemned to push a boulder uphill, day after day, for eternity. It sure is easy to feel frustrated if you don’t pause to look at your accomplishments and see how far you’ve actually come. That’s why you should track your progress and feel good about all those things you have accomplished, outside of the big picture.

6. Plan Something Fun

In order to avoid feeling trapped in a rut, you should be sure to schedule some enjoyable activities to look forward to. Plan a lunch date with a friend, happy hour with your coworkers or a weekend away with your spouse or family. There is so much more to you than just being a worker, and by nurturing other aspects of your life you will appreciate and enjoy your career even more.

Put some of these tips to work for you today, and you should see an immediate improvement in your outlook. It’s little things like this that can make a big difference in your career.

Apply Now(About the Author: Scott Huntington is a career specialist, writer, and blogger from Central Pennsylvania. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.)


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Office Time: How Much Does An Hour Difference Make?

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

Although he didn’t use the terms, “efficient” or “effective”, that’s what Mark Twain was referring to in his quote. Sometimes the hurdles employee face during the workday are more biological than task-driven. Everyone is more alert and energetic at a particular time of day. When workplace efficiency and productivity suffer, it may not be the work that’s the problem. The real problem may be with your own body telling you that adjustments need to be made.

Know Your Own Biological Clock

Our bodies have a powerful “clock” working inside us at all times, creating periods of peak and less productive moments. The term for this biological clock, is “circadian rhythm”.

If you are a “morning person”, your body is most alert and efficient early in the day. If that describes you, an 8 to 5 job is ideal. However, some people perform better in the afternoon, needing more rest in the morning. For them, a later start may help them be more productive.

In order to be the most productive and effective for yourself, and your employer, tackle your biggest and hardest jobs when you are at your best. While it’s possible to self-adjust your biological clock somewhat, finding ways to work with your natural rhythm is healthier. A slight switch in your work schedule, may be the most effective way to reach your optimal productivity.

What are the Benefits of an 8 to 5 Job Schedule?

If you are more productive earlier in the morning, an 8 to 5 job may be better for you related to your biological clock.

There are other benefits to working this schedule. One benefit is that by working an 8 to 5 schedule, your work hours may more closely coincide with your family’s needs, especially if you have children. This allows you to be more focused and efficient during the day. It also provides you the valuable family, or personal time, you need after work.

Would a 9 to 6 Job Work Better for Me?

Pay attention to your body’s rhythm, and notice if you are most effective earlier, or later, in the day. If you find yourself sluggish and having difficulties getting started early, a 9 to 6 job may be a better choice. Wasting valuable time getting awake, gives you less time to complete your work. Your employer will notice the problem.

If you find it difficult to get moving early, consider switching to a later schedule. Just an hour difference in your start, can mean a huge improvement in your productivity.

In your family life, a 9 to 6 job can also be a benefit, leading to better focus while at work. Starting later in the morning can give you extra time to get ready, and focus on yourself, or family. This extra time would allow you to have a relaxed breakfast together. Or, the extra hour might give you time for yourself, or to run errands. With the peace of mind that comes from this efficiency, you will find you are more focused and productive at work.

The Greek philosopher Socrates has been credited with the saying, “Know thyself.” Knowing yourself is the key to being an efficient, effective, and productive employee. Pay attention to what work schedule is best for you. Have a discussion with your supervisor to see if a change is possible.

Apply Now

(About the Author: Mary Isabale is a career expert and experienced hiring manager. She has written more than 100 articles on career advancement and unemployment issues.)


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6 Steps To Create The Life You Want

Begin to see life through a completely different lens.  Life doesn’t happen TO you.  Rather, it can happen BECAUSE of you.  You have far more power and influence than you can possibly imagine.  And once you decide, you can use your power to affect your own life as well as the life of the people around you.”  Dick Sutphen

It happened.  You’ve reached the point in your life when you’re ready to “do your own thing.”  Maybe your position was eliminated and you don’t want to use your talents and skills to build someone else’s business.  Or you’ve had a burning desire to pursue a venture that is all yours. Perhaps you’re feeling the need for a radical change in your career aspirations.  However it happened, you feel you’re ready for a big change in your life as an entrepreneur.  Follow these six steps to let your entrepreneurial adventures begin!

1.  Dream Big.

What do you want your life to look like in five years? Why do you want to accomplish this goal? Figuring out your “why” is the most important detail in the process. If you’re goal is simply “to get rich,” chances are good that you’re going to fail. The money will never come quickly enough, and if it does, it’s never enough to keep up with the demands.

Maybe you want to have more flexibility in the time you spend with your kids. Perhaps you’d like to sleep until you’re done (don’t count on that for awhile!). It could be you’d like to travel. You “why” may be to give back and make the world a better place. Whatever your “why” is, make it significant and powerful. Your “why” may not be a dream after all – it may be a dread. You may wake up one day and ask, “What will my life look like in five years if I continue to do the same thing I’m doing now?” For some, that question alone is scary enough to try something different. Dream big and start the process!

2.  Educate Yourself.

What do you have to learn about your chosen profession? Do you need to go back to school? Do you need to read books about the industry or product? Do you need to subscribe to trade journals? It’s been said that “readers are leaders” and also that “learners are earners.” If you don’t have time to read, how about learning while you drive? A study by the University of Southern California found that if you live in a city and drive 12,000 miles a year, you receive the equivalent of a two-year college education every three years by listening to audiobooks while you drive. Do what you can to learn as much as you can. Education will prepare you for the ups and down – and the surprises – that you’ll run into along the way.

3.  Commit.

This is a big one! There is no line drawn in the sand here. Know that whether your goal takes six months, six years or sixteen years, it shouldn’t matter. You are in this to win this and the only way you can fail is to quit. Having a dream (or a dread) that is significant enough makes committing to its achievement that much easier. Mack R. Douglas, the author of several books on success, once said, “The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.” Very powerful words indeed!

4.  Identify the steps.

Identify the steps you need to take to get to where you want to go. Put together a business plan and set your goals. Figure out what you need to do step-by-step. If you have a five-year plan, start with where you want to be in five years and work backwards. Write your goals down! After all, an unwritten goal is a wish. Create SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Review your objectives on regular basis – whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. Consistency is important. As you achieve each step, make sure you reward yourself along the way. After all, the journey should be fun too!

5.  Do it.

You can dream, read and visualize all day long, but without taking daily action to move forward, you’re not going to accomplish your goals. Jack Canfield said, “As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams, you must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right.” And as famously said by Thomas Edison about his invention of the light bulb, “I have not failed 10,000 times; I have successfully discovered 10,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” So, just go out and take action. Do the 20% of the activities that are going to get 80% of the results. Don’t be afraid to mess up – learn from your mistakes, get over your big bad self, and move on. You need to take action to move forward.

6.  Express gratitude.

No matter what your goals and dreams are, chances are good that you’re not doing it alone. Make sure to acknowledge and thank those people who helped you along the way. As Mary Kay Ash said, “Everyone has an invisible sign around their neck that says ‘Make me feel important.'” Send a hand written thank you note to those who helped you, mentored you, or went out of their way for you. If you show sincere appreciation, you will inspire others that they can accomplish their goals as well. Always pay it forward, and show gratitude for all you have.

These six steps will give you want to need to thrive as an entrepreneur.  Remember:  have a Dream, Educate yourself, Commit to your vision, Identify the steps you need to take, Do what you need to do, and Express appreciation to those who have helped you along the way. In short – DECIDE.

Decide once and for all that you will see this through to the end and that you will reach your goal. Commitment comes from within. So commit with all your heart and muster all your willpower to persevere, no matter what. Remember, if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to achieve it. Decide that you will succeed and claim your victory!

Apply Now

(About the AuthorAs Founder of Grategy, Lisa Ryan works helps organizations keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s.  She is the author of seven books, and co-stars in two films, the award-winning: “The Keeper of the Keys,” and “The Gratitude Experiment.”   To learn more, visit


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Don’t: Apologize For Success Or Make Excuses For Failure

Success requires no apologies. Failure permits no alibis.”  Napoleon Hill

When I think of Napoleon Hill, I consider the profound impact he had on my life with his book, Think and Grow Rich.  I always believed that because he was given the opportunity to interview 500 of the world’s wealthiest men, his life’s journey was filled with “wine and roses.”

However, after reading his newest book, Outwitting the Devil, I discovered that in the course of his research, he interviewed thousands of failures as well.  He found that he learned much more from people who failed than he did from successful men and women.  By seeing what people were doing wrong, he was able to capitalize on the best kind of experience – other people’s experience.  This allowed him to bring a balanced view to his readers, and point out what causes us to be led astray.

One of the things that Napoleon Hill focused on throughout both of his books was having a chief aim and definite purpose in life.  He revealed that when people are single-mindedly determined to reach a goal, they are much more likely to achieve it.  It’s not always easy.  Oftentimes, just when it seems we’re on the right path, life throws us a curveball.  I believe this is a way of “testing” us to see how committed we really are to achieving success with our life’s goals.  Are we going to give up or move on?

When you are very specific in my goal-setting, magic happens.  Many years ago, I wanted to create the perfect job.  I was working as a straight commission, independent contractor and was ready to move on to bigger and better things.  My sales coach encouraged me to write down everything I could possibly want in my ideal new position.

When creating my list, I got a little “crazy.”  I wanted a large salary, company car, investment plan, expenses, opportunity to travel, great boss, etc.  The list went on for a page and a half.  I put away the list and promptly forgot about it.  Several months after accepting a new job in medical sales, I found that list – and discovered that every single item on the list had come to fruition.

By being specific, I was able to give my subconscious mind the information it needed to bring my dream to reality.  I could see the perfect job in my mind’s eye, and I firmly believe that it was because of that list that I found the position that I held for more than seven years.  Writing down your goals is good; being very intentional in your wording and your objective is better; and taking action towards the achievement of your goals is best.

If you’re not where you want to be right now, it’s ok.  This process doesn’t happen overnight.  If you’re thinking that the grass is greener in someone else’s backyard, think again.  The people that you are envious of may be equally jealous of you.  Success usually comes after some kind of mess.  The bigger the mess, the greater the success.  When you fall down, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, learn from your mistakes and “try, try again.” Focus on what you want, be specific, write it down and you’re on your wait to achieving the success you desire.

PS – Read the biographies of the people you admire, and you’ll see how much “muck” they had to go through until they found their ultimate “luck.”

(About the Author: Employee Engagement Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She achieves this through personalized employee engagement and customer retention keynotes, workshops and seminars. She is the author of six books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: or email her at

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 7pm-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Career Advice: The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

There can be few things more disheartening than having someone completely steal your idea and try to find success off the back of your hard work. Imagine if you’d released a popular app that had had thousands of downloads and a ton of positive feedback; only to find that several imitators had proceeded to release carbon copies of what you’d made and begun damaging your sales and stealing your customers. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but in reality it tends to be far less flattering and much more frustrating.

The question is then, what do you do about these imitators and how do you ensure that they don’t steal all of your thunder? Should you tackle them head on, or should you be more subtle about it?

The Best Defense

The best defense here is definitely a good offense. That doesn’t mean you want to attack your copycats though, rather it means you want to move forward with your project in an ‘aggressive’ manner so as to effectively bulldoze your opponents. Just think about how many Angry Birds imitators there are out there: do you care about any of them? No: because Angry Birds was the first and the best and as such it got all of the attention. This is the way you need to be with your project: rather than worrying about protecting yourself legally or chasing down every last attempted copy, you should just focus on making your project the best and being the first to market.

Ideas Aren’t Everything

In fact when you think about it, the magic of Angry Birds wasn’t really in the idea at all, so much as it was down to the execution. It was the charm of Angry Birds and the physics that made it a hit, and this is the case with many creations. People can steal your idea, but they can’t steal your personality and your fingerprints which should be all over your creations and often that is far more valuable than the idea itself.

As tech-investor-and-author Tim Ferriss put it to the Huffington Post:

“Ideas are worth nothing, they’re not a dime a dozen, they’re just nothing. All the good founders I know – even the bad founders – can come up with ideas all day long. It doesn’t mean anything. You have to execute.”

Don’t Become the Bad Guy

Generally where we’re going with this then is to say: don’t fret if someone tries to muscle in on your territory. In fact it’s fairly normal for people to ‘borrow’ your ideas, just as Microsoft has borrowed from Apple and SEGA has borrowed from Nintendo. A little competition – even if it feels like an affront – will only lead to a better marketplace for your customers and more progress in your industry.

And if you take too aggressive a stance you can end up becoming the bad guy: just like ‘King’ did when they ridiculously copyrighted the term ‘Candy’ for use in computer games and merchandise.

Sure it’s annoying when someone tries to steal your intellectual property, but eventually it’s all but inevitable. Don’t waste your energy fighting them, instead focus on taking your own products to the next level. You’ve innovated once, you can do it again!

(About the Author: Greg Fisher, founder of Berkeley Sourcing Group, has a strong manufacturing and engineering background, and is proficient in Mandarin. After graduating from UC Berkeley with an engineering degree, Mr. Fisher worked in the medical device, hard drive storage, ice cream, and professional tools industries in various management, manufacturing, and quality control capacities.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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10 Social Media Resources To Advance Your Career

Knowing which social media resources to use and how to get the most from them can help during job hunting as well as for taking your career to the next level within your current organization. It’s not just about finding jobs using LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s more about getting the most out of learning opportunities, building your authority, enhancing your workplace productivity, external networking and last but not least job hunting.

Here are 10 star social media resources that can help you tackle all the activities mentioned above. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, establishing yourself as a thought-leader is important for all steps in your career ladder.

Learning Opportunities

  1. Ted Talks provides videos on informative and thought provoking talks from TED Conferences. The portal also has a section to engage in related ideas, questions and debates.

Key Benefit – Ted Talks are 18 minutes or shorter. All you need is a lunch break to keep growing your knowledge base.

  1. Slideshare’s your library of presentations, pdf’s, videos and webinars. It’s a crowdsourced solution for educating yourself with a diverse educational and professional community contributing material and sharing comments.

Key Benefit – Students, CEO’s and professional speakers all contribute content to Slideshare, providing information from all levels of the professional and educational worlds.

Building Your Authority

  1. Quora is a community of 1.5 million professionals answering business questions. Quora answers often get syndicated in major publications such as Forbes which helps build the author’s credibility.

Key Benefit – Quora answers typically get more exposure than a blog for personal branding.

  1. WordPress is a simple blogging solution with free templates and a community of bloggers to share content with. Suitable for professionals and newbies, WordPress lets you blog like a pro.

Key Benefit – Blogging helps you get clarity on your ideas by polishing them up.

Workplace Productivity

  1. Evernote can be considered as “Note taking on steroids”. You can sync between devices, add images and audio content, clip web pages – all of which lets team members share research and notes.

Key Benefit – Your ideas, research and notes will all be in one place rather than scattered across devices and applications.

  1. Asana’s aimed at those who are looking for an alternate to email for collaboration. It provides a way to manage tasks, get updates on progress and organize ideas, plans and deadlines all without email.

Key Benefit – By fully implementing Asana you can automatically segregate your business and personal life…digitally at least.

External Networking

  1. Twitter is a popular tool because it’s 140 character microblogging platform creates a low barrier for maintance. It has become a popular place to connect with influencers across all industries.

Key Benefit – You can have one-on-one conversations with recruiters even before you score the interview.

  1. LinkedIn Groups are like conference rooms where professionals of a certain industry or interest get together and talk. It’s a way to post updates, share news or add you own post links.

Key Benefit – A great way to advance your career is to be considered a thought leader in your field by becoming a well-known contributor to LinkedIn Groups.

Job Hunting

  1. DoYouBuzz starts job hunting on the right foot by helping you create a snazzy resume. It provides templates for creating CVs, storing them online, exporting .pdf versions and even provides statistics for premium users.

Key Benefit – Recruiters are overloaded with CV’s thus having a unique resume increases your chances of capturing their attention.

  1. BeKnown combines Monster job search with the ability to connect to professionals at their listed companies. It integrates with Facebook and keeps your business and professional connections separate.

Key Benefit – Sometimes all you need is a foot in the door to advance your career in a new organization…that’s exactly what BeKnown does.

What about you? What social media platforms do you think have been the most valuable in advancing your career? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

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