- I believe that we should rejoice in the success of others as much as we do in our own.
- We should not only admit our mistakes but we should share stories about them with others.
- Our mistakes instruct us how to live a better life. They are gifts.
- We should ask others for help when we need it.
- I believe that gossip is bad- it is like committing an act of violence against the person being talked about. They will probably never know exactly what was said, and will never be able to defend themselves.
- We should surround ourselves with interesting people.
- We should be brave and do things that scare us.
- We should always do work that we love, embrace change, and take a chance.
- We should give others a chance, even when they haven’t asked for one.
- We should not panic.
- What do you believe?
November 17-24th is Global Entrepreneurship Week, which began in 2007 with 37 countries participating and has since risen to over 140 countries. Next week is “the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare” (gew.org). On this day, entrepreneurs are encouraged to thank their mentors and spread awareness through sharing their experiences.
There will be events going on across the country to fuel interest and help people take their entrepreneurial endeavors to the next level. Start ups help create jobs, innovate industries, and help stimulate the economy overall, so it’s important to keep interest and achievability alive. These events can help shape potential business ideas through seminars, and create networking opportunities along the way that could even lead to finding investors.
With each new success story, others decide to take the leap and start their dream business. So during this week, I hope entrepreneurs take a minute to share tips on how to achieve success when starting your own business to those aspiring to do the same.
If you’re interested in finding an event near you, go to: http://us.gew.co/activities
Or take a look at the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming events, here:http://acchamber.org/events.aspx
Categories: Business Development, Leadership, Success
I love to listen to National Public Radio. Over the years, Car Talk has become one of my favorite programs. It’s a favorite, not because I have a love for cars, but because I’ve always found the conversation between the two brothers who co-host to have so much practical advice for living.
I remember one conversation where Tom Magliozzi, one of the brothers, said he believed that America should have one universal speed limit: 35 miles per hour. Why? Because he had been in a very bad accident when he was in college that made him stop and think about what would happen if we all slowed down a bit in everything we do.
Perhaps if we take just a slightly longer look at everything that is going on around us, we would make for fewer mistakes and have fewer accidents. Not bad advice. I was reminded of his speed limit wish when I learned of his passing this week. It made me think that it would probably make him happy to know that at least one person was listening to his speed limit idea and, agreed that slowing down so we can appreciate more of the precious opportunities we have definitely does make for a better ride.
A recent survey by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America found that millennial women ages 25 – 34 have the highest interest among all age groups in learning about financial planning and financial concepts. These same women often do not put this interest into action because they feel as if they are not at the proper stage to worry about financial planning, or they let their significant others handle it.
In fact, 39% of millennial respondents who are in a relationship say they let their partner focus on the investing. To these women: A) It’s never too early to start planning for your fiscal future, and B) Be an active part of your finances. If your partner handles the bills gain a basic understanding of where your hard earned money is going, and make sure you agree with the plan. Here are a few easy first steps that can help you get on the right track:
1. Write down everything that you owe- mortgage/rent, student loans, car payments, etc. Write down your payment schedules for each, what you’re paying in interest, how much you make, and what you spend weekly on things like gas, groceries, utilities, and other necessities.
2. Make goals to plan for better financial success in the future. What is important to you? It could be saving up for your child’s tuition, travel, or a house. Take note because these are goals you want to start putting money away for.
3. Budget. I know it’s hard. Life is full of temptations, but those little spur-of-the-moment purchases add up. Make a plan and stick to it.
4. Emergency Stash. This goes along with budgeting, but get into the habit of saving 10% of your monthly income to have something to fall back on. A good rule of thumb is to have three months of expenses saved up in case of an emergency.
5. Get the most out of your employee benefits. That’s what they’re there for, right?? For example, if your company matches what you put into your 401(k) plan, make sure you’re putting a significant amount into it.
6. Never be afraid to ask! Planning for financial success can be incredibly stressful, and is not always taught- recent graduates often feel overwhelmed by the thought. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it be from parents or from a financial planner, use your resources. I know some young women feel they aren’t in a financial position to get a planner, but it can really help. Do some research to find a consultant that fits your budget and your needs.
Don’t put planning your financial future off. It can be really difficult budgeting, saving up money, and paying off debt, so mapping out a strategy is crucial. Take the time to write down what you want and put it into action, it’s your future at stake.
Every year KeyBank hosts a Key4Women Forum focusing on issues of interest to women. This year’s speaker was Rebecca “Becky” Halstead, a retired Brigadier General who founded her own leadership consultancy company, STEADFAST Leadership. She spoke about how we must be able to lead ourselves before we can lead others by being clear and confident about our own leadership behavior and principles.
One principle she spoke about was, “going beyond success, and being significant.” This important point made me pause and consider how easy it is to fall into the trap of focusing so much on success, work-life balance, breaking the glass ceiling, etc., that it’s easy to lose focus of finding ways to make a difference in the lives of those around us.
There are always opportunities to help those around you, but we often miss them because we are too focused on the next task. I was at a conference for five days last week, almost 3000 miles from home, and as I was walking to the first meeting of the day, I got a message that a friend of mine had died. I hardly knew anyone at the meeting. No one knew me let alone my friend. A woman I had just met approached me and instead of hurrying to her seat, she asked me if I was having a good morning – she surprised me by waiting for the answer.
Without realizing how much I needed her empathy, I looked up at her with tears in my eyes. Through her taking the time to listen, I felt the heaviness of my news lighten a little. How many times do we ask people how they are only to be out of sight before they even get to answer us? The act of kindness she displayed by stopping to ask, and caring about my answer, made a world of difference to me. What she did was significant.
She became significant to me because she will forever be a memory of someone showing compassion when I needed it most. Everyday we have the opportunity to make some small gesture that can positively alter someone else’s day. It can be as easy as smiling, or asking someone how they are and actually listening to the answer. Halstead says, “You’ll never regret smiling at someone on the street. Something so small can make someone feel so good, so why not do it?” With striving to improve our careers and reach the top, it’s good to take the retired Brigadier General’s advice and remember to work towards being significant, too.
Significance is so much better than just success. Halstead covers this poignant topic in her book, 24/7 The First Person You Must Lead Is You.
Categories: General, Leadership, Success
We’ve all been there - spending hours looking over our resume trying to decide what verb to use, what should go where, and adjusting the margins to make it all fit. It can be really difficult creating a one-page document that reflects your working career to-date. Trust me, I get it, but a solid resume can really help you standout from the rest of the applicant pool.
Some people opt for having their resumes done professionally, which can be helpful, but you have to reread it after to ensure that it really reflects your work history. I had someone apply for a job in my company several years ago, and noticed a section on the second page stating that he had been an airline pilot. I thought this was interesting given he didn’t do it for very long, had no training in that field, and the job he was applying for was more of a customer relations position. It turned out that the company he had hired to do his resume made a mistake and cut and pasted his experience into a template, inadvertently leaving in the pilot experience from the previous client’s resume. He didn’t realize this mistake had occurred until I asked him about it during the interview. If he couldn’t pay attention to the details on his own resume, how much attention would he give to his work?
Resumes are the first impression a future employer gets of you, so really make it count. Make sure your resume directly reflects yourself and your work history as best as you can. Yes, you want to make it interesting, but you don’t want to get caught in a false claim. Proofreading is key!
Categories: General, Public Image, Success, Work Environment
We have all heard that body language sometimes speaks louder than the words. This common phrase reminded me of an interesting Ted talk I recently watched featuring Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, discussing her research on body language. During the talk she compares poses that convey power to poses that convey intimidation or weakness. Her studies show that people who pose in powerful positions for two minutes a day actually become more confident. Power poses are those that take up more space, whereas low-power poses are those that make you smaller. She basically reinforces the directions my mother always used to give to me, “stand up straight!”
Cuddy makes the point that standing tall can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, thus making us feel stronger and more confident. This not only helps in the moment, but standing in power poses for two minutes a day actually has long-term benefits as well. According to Amy Cuddy, one can in fact fake it, not until you make it, but until you start believing it. Standing in high-power poses for just two minutes a day by yourself can positively alter your perception of yourself. So what’re you waiting for?!? Give it a try!
Link to the Ted talk:
Language… We all use it, but how often do we think about what it means to put words to something? Putting our thoughts into language has more power than we might realize. Being able to use language in effective ways is an incredibly valuable skill, but the simple act of writing can help in your personal life as well.
To put our thoughts on paper is to bring them out of the confines of our minds to be fully composed, or perhaps put into action. It is the first step to declaring our wants, needs, questions, and ideas. To write our ideas down, or speak them aloud, gives them a whole new life and opportunity to grow. If you have goals for the future, write them down to make them more than fleeting thoughts in the car on the way to work. Writing down your thoughts or wants can also help you mentally prepare to ask for them in the future.
Language can also help you realize what you need to watch for. For example, words like “should” or “ought” are red flags. Should you do something because it’s what you want or because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do? If it’s the latter, then you need to course correct. Your goals should reflect what YOU want. Try this…make a list of the ten things you want most. It’s a surprisingly simple exercise to get focused on personal and professional goals.
Use the power of language to your advantage- write down your goals; this will help in creating the opportunity for achieving them. Be precise when you are asking for something, and say your ideas with conviction. I know someone who wrote down a goal to have a very busy, bustling business, but what she left out was that the business was to be prosperous. She was busy all of the time working seven days a week, but she didn’t have balance in their life or money in the bank!
What is it that you want?
Do you ever hear yourself saying, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have …”?
When I was 25, I had graduated from college, launched my career and found my passion. I worked in a nonprofit, which rapidly grew under a CEO who became my first significant mentor. If I could sit down with that young, ambitious woman today, here are 25 things I would tell her.
(1) Make a list of the five things you want most in the world and think about why you want them — then ask if the job you have is going to help you get any of them.
(2) Ask for help.
(3) Be persistent.
(4) Listen with your ears and your eyes — you’re more likely to get the whole picture.
(5) Learn as much as you can about as many things as you can. Just because you are done with school does not mean that you’re finished learning.
(6) You will be most successful if you learn how to write and speak well — even better if you can speak in public and learn to enjoy it.
(7) Put yourself first. Eat right, exercise, take time off to have fun — no one will ever be able to do that for you. Don’t put it off.
(8) Don’t confuse what you do for a living for who you are as a person. Never wear your job title like a cloak.
(9) Success never happens by doing something all alone — it’s impossible. Really. Nurture the friendships that you make when you are 25 — you will be surprised to find out how many of those people will still be in your life and able to help you 25 years later. Rejoice in their success as much as you do your own.
(10) Make plenty of time for your family, especially your parents and grandparents — they won’t be around forever and they have a lot of support and experience to share. I planned on having my own mother around until she was in her late 80s, thought I had plenty of time. She died at 63. I could make a list of a thousand questions that I never got to ask her.
(11) The best connections come from personal contact — not an email.
(12) Be more concerned with doing something well than with doing it fast. Speed does not equal quality.
(13) Be brave, practice courage, keep innovation high on the agenda, and strive to make the exceptional real.
(14) When faced with a very difficult decision, ask yourself if you could explain it to the world on the six o’clock news — either now or in 30 years. If the answer is no, rethink how you are handling things.
(15) No matter what is happening, if you are in a leadership position, people are counting on you to stay calm.
(16) The longer you hang on to a bad idea, the harder it is to let it go.
(17) Don’t confuse effort with results. Just because someone works from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week does not make him or her smarter or more productive than you; it makes them more likely to burn out.
(18) Practice patience with yourself and others.
(19) Try to learn what everyone goes home to at the end of the day — you will become more compassionate.
(20) Never yell at anyone. EVER. People never recover from this. You remember the leaders you have worked with who admit that they made a mistake and try to make it right far longer than the ones who never admit that they are sorry for something they did.
(21) Be the first to forgive — really forgive. Chances are it will make working with that person again a whole lot easier.
(22) Walk away from gossip. Don’t listen to it. Don’t participate in it.
(23) Keep a journal of every accomplishment, award and promotion — it will help you to build your resume.
(24) Never compromise your standards.
(25) No matter how awful something seems today, it will get better. You will get over it.
I would also tell my 25-year-old self to always keep your eyes open for challenges — they are there to help you grow. If there is something facing you that you fear you can’t handle, that is most likely the very thing that will catapult your career in the direction of the greatest success.
“If it is to be, it is up to me.”
I once had a friend who was a great mentor as well as a very successful business owner and philanthropist who would hand out two-dollar bills with those ten words on them. He built a multi-million dollar company on his conviction that he alone was the architect not only of his life, but also of his business. Hard work and belief in his ability were what he needed the most to be successful. He was 90 years old when we became fiends. On my first visit to his office in Manhattan, I was surprised that he didn’t have a fancy office; it was messy, piled high with stacks of papers, pictures of his friends and family and a lifetime of awards and plaques of recognition. His office was on a high floor of a modest building overlooking New York City. But he didn’t have the best view; in fact, his office didn’t really have a view at all. He saved that for a conference room for visitors to enjoy. I often think of the advice he shared with me, and I want to share some of his favorite tips with you.
1. Be generous. Really generous. Be outrageously generous with both your time and, most of all, your talent. Only you can decide how much of yourself there is to give. But give as much as you’ve got. It will come back into your life a thousand fold. He gave his advice, support and more than a few million dollars to the work and people he believed in.
2. Anything is possible. You can do anything you really want to do. The hardest part is figuring out exactly what that is. He had no patience for people who would not help themselves. He was a generous philanthropist and I never saw him give money to anyone who was just looking for a donation from him to solve his or her problems. He expected people to come to him with a solid business plan that included what the person doing the asking planned to do to help the situation.
3. Fail fast and fail cheap. If something isn’t working the way you planned, don’t keep putting money into it just because you don’t want to admit your idea isn’t working out.
4. You are never too young or too old to take a chance on a big idea. He was always coming up with new ideas for businesses and he was excellent at making them work. He started his own business when he was in his 20’s and he worked on creating new ventures into his 90’s.
5. Use the talent that you have, and use it every time you have the opportunity.
6. Be grateful, laugh often, and be a good listener.
7. Cry if something is heartbreaking.
8. “You hear everything you say” – meaning watch what you say about yourself. People often speak as though they don’t believe in themselves -- they won’t take a compliment without putting themselves down. Avoid this at all costs. Say thank you instead.
9. Life is one big story -- make yours one that people will talk about forever. He loved to tell stories and other people’s stories were important to him. After he was long gone, his stories about how he grew up, what made him happy, and situations that disappointed him still stick with me. The stories he loved to tell the most (aside from how much he loved his family) usually had to do with times that he would come up with a business idea that others would think was outrageous, but because he believed it was possible, his vision became a reality. “Life is so simple, people try to make it a complicated story.”
10. Don’t dream alone. He wasn’t a secretive kind of guy. He loved to think out loud. He taught me that the best ideas come from talking your plans over with someone you trust.
My friend Marty is gone now, but his words live on for me. Every time I am faced with a particularly difficult task, I know what Marty would say… those ten magic words he believed were the only directions we need for success… “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
Management Expert, Executive Coach, Columnist, Strategic Networker