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Don’t Limit with Goals & Anti-Goals: Treat Your Work/Career/Life Like a Garden Instead

August 19th, 2017

BESIf you follow me over at Instagram, you know I’m kind of a flower nut. I grew up in gardens – my mom is a gardener, and both of my grandmothers were gardeners too, one of which had a farm. I was reminded of gardening again when I read the post which the gurus are touting around the internet, about the importance of setting anti-goals. But, I have a bit of a problem with that idea, in that it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me as a career coach in an ideal state.

I’ve always been a cheerleader of writing down your goals. I do it once a year, as a habit, and then carry them around with me. I LOVE checking them off when they are accomplished, which in turn gives me some free mental space to think ahead to future goals too. It’s a great habit!

What I believe the writers of the linked article above are focused on is ensuring your day is NOT filled with stuff you hate. Important, yes, but again where I have a problem with it is that it focuses a little too heavily on what you don’t want, and sometimes focusing on what you don’t want can reverse, in that it takes your eyes off of your goals and sometimes puts the icky stuff front and center in your life, rather than the stuff you actually love and care about instead. You attract what you focus on.

This is where I return to the garden, which I still think is the best analogy for living your best life, career path, or day. Like a garden to a gardener, I think you should focus both on what you love–water, care for, and nurture your goals and/or best stuff. But, I also think you should spend a little time on what you don’t love – and weeding that stuff out of your day/life/career. Weed out the icky stuff. Also, are there items in your career garden overgrown? Meaning–is it time to cut back, or move on to another area of your life? Do a little trimming if you’re over extended and burned out, maybe?

Much like our lives, gardens can get over grown with stuff that consumes us and causes burnout. (In my current garden, there is a battle between daisies and Black Eyed Susan in the picture above – another analogy – which do you want more of and less of, or do you prefer a balance?) I also think of my career in seasons too – much like a garden. What season are you in with your day job, or side gigs, or non-profit work, and/or is it time for a change?

Your garden is your life/career/work palette. Don’t just think of it as a list of “love” and “hate” – I think that’s way too simple an analogy for a best life. Sometimes, there are surprises in your career or life you never expected that pop up too, and what if they don’t make it to your love and hate lists? You could miss out on something amazing just thinking bi-modally.

I’ve said my peace. Whatever analogy you use for your work/career/life, I hope most important that it works for you – whether that’s a love/hate list, a garden, or something else in between.

___

Erin Albert is a career coach, pharmacist, entrepreneur, community builder, writer and hack gardener.

P.S. It’s World Photo Day today! – Get out and take a pic or two – maybe of your garden?

Podcasting, in 5 Minutes or Less

August 1st, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 8.42.45 PMWhen @AmyStark wanted me to talk about podcasting in a 5 minute talk at #SMDames17 (that happened today, as a matter of fact), I must admit that even I was a little intimidated to drink from this firehose in 300 seconds. There’s a steep learning curve to podcasting, and I’m still learning myself.

So, I wanted to share a little more about the “Podcasting Hierarchy” I flashed at the audience for 5 minutes today, and share a little more with you, the fab 13, on where you can go to dig a little deeper (or climb a little higher?) into the world of podcasting, if you’re so inclined.

I laid this out via Maslow. Let’s begin with the basics at the bottom. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, take out your smartphone, head to iTunes or wherever you buy apps and look for Stitcher. Download it. Then start picking out podcasts you like. If you don’t have a smartphone, use a desktop player, like ShortOrange.  Right now, I’m personally listening to a lot of EOFire, BizChix Podcast, The Ask GaryVee Show, Tim Ferriss, James Altucher, and of course, the Pharmacy Podcast. Find stuff you’re interested in and step into the world of podcasting by listening.

Maybe you listen – and you have your favorites. Great! The next step is…if you’re building a business or brand, to ask yourself: does your ideal customer or Avatar listen to podcasts? Do your competitors have podcasts? An episode I like of EOFire has a link on defining your ideal customer or Avatar. Personally, I’ve noticed that while my target market for many of my books tend to be women, more men than women listen to podcasts. I don’t really know why that is, either, but realize your ideal customer, then ask if they listen to podcasts, OR could YOU be the FIRST podcast in your space?

Next up – try pitching to be a guest on your favorite podcast that fits your brand. I’ve personally not been good about this – I’m a little more focused on getting great guests on my segment of the Pharmacy Podcast. But, if you’re a rabid fan of a podcast in particular and it fits you and your jam, then why not pitch to them? You can try on the podcasting concept on someone else’s show, before you get heavily invested.  Another way to test the waters low stakes is try the free app Anchor.  You can record little audio snippets and updates with this app, then post it online at your other social media portals. It is, methinks, ephemeral now – I think the anchor clips (or waves as they call them) go away after 24 hours.

Let’s say you’re hooked. Great! Next up, you’re going to need to learn the mechanicals of a podcast, and frankly – this is the steepest part of the learning curve. It’s also where you need to spend the most time getting educated and understanding your why – why do you really want to start a podcast? What’s the goal or outcome? It’s where I’m still learning – and that’s also the technical aspects of recording, editing and hosting a podcast. One of my favorite places to learn is She Podcasts, a closed Facebook group of women podcasters. I’m lucky, in that on the Pharmacy Podcast, I don’t do my editing – we have a founder/wizard in Todd Eury who does that. All I use is a magical microphone, my MacBook Pro, Skype and a call recording software for my computer. You could use Garage Band, or maybe even quicktime.

See, I’m still learning here.

If you have multiple parties speaking live in the same place and not using Skype, you should also have a mixer. Then you need to use Audition or Garage Band to edit the podcast, add the jingle/intro, and any audio jingle outtros. Also, it’s nice to get the “uhms” cleaned up throughout the recording. This is where I’m still lost – and I’m still trying to learn more about the editing process.

Last but not least, at the top of the podcasting hierarchy (at least technically speaking) is getting a host for your podcast. I don’t mean emcee here either. I mean, you can’t just throw your podcast onto your WordPress site – it needs to be hosted by a site built for the bigger bandwidth necessary to stream and listen to podcasts. We use Libsyn at the Pharmacy Podcast, but you’ll see in my slide above that there are several choices for podcasting hosts. I’m not even going to go there when it comes to getting registered and the podcast on iTunes…that alone could take hours. Even simple stuff, like the right podcast art thumbnail for iTunes is a science in and of itself.

The peak or summit of this hierarchy is honestly creating a sustainable podcast. There are costs associated with equipment, jingles, hosting and the most precious resource of all – your time. It takes a long, long time to make a podcast profitable with advertising revenue and/or helping you drive your business.  Massive time vacuum.

So, this post was a little longer than 5 minutes for me to write. But I wanted to leave a digital leave behind for more on this podcasting magic, because it really has been magic for me. I’m grateful to the Pharmacy Podcast for the opportunity to co-host, and glad to help the women in our audience today at #SMDames17 think about another channel for themselves and their businesses to consider….

 

Where’s Your Operating Manual?

July 30th, 2017

OperatingI have a drawer full of operating manuals. In fact, the folder for them got so big I had to segregate the small appliances from the large ones. I have them for my toaster, microwave and other kitchen appliances, and even my lawnmowers.

Yet, some of the most complex entities on the planet come without operating manuals. Those complex entities? People. And, while I hate to compare humans to appliances (I realize this is a banal comparison–we are far more complex as humans than toasters or can openers), I will for the point of this article, which is this: do we clearly communicate with each other on how we best operate? If not, should we?

Kyle Westaway made me re-think about this concept of an operating manual for us as individuals this weekend in his newsletter, which I recommend.

I’m also a big fan of getting to know yourself via the Know Thyself Kit I’ve shared in the past – but by sharing your results on you, you do in a sense create a better path for people to communicate and work with you, which in turn gets you to a better, higher quality version of your very own life. So below, after doing some research around the internet, I’ve gathered a few questions that you may want to ask yourself, then share with your co-workers, family and friends on how to best work with you – because, frankly, most of us are not part of the psychic friends’ network.

Questions for a User Manual On…You:

  1. What is your favorite method of communication? (I’m an e-mailer, and I don’t like the phone. The best thing the invention of the phone ever did for me was grant me access to the internet.)
  2. What does it take for you to say yes to working on someone else’s project? (For me, care about what you’re trying to convince me to do. If you don’t care, why should I?)
  3. How does someone win a gold star with you? (For me, don’t waste my time. Gold star level happens when you ask for my time AND plan an agenda around the time, rather than just ‘picking my brain.’ Follow up also wins gold stars. I also like Jenny Blake’s idea of a 30:30 or 15:15 – where you each share something you’re working on or baffled by, and the other suggests ways to solve/improve or make better the issue, then trade and split the time.)
  4. What drives you crazy? (Again, for me – wasting my time. Or, going back and forth on an idea if you want me to execute on that idea, especially if you give me no wiggle room to invent. Or, noise. I’m not into noise when I’m trying to pound out my work.)
  5. When do you best operate – do you work best in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings? (I’m a night owl. Writing is starting to creep in to my mornings too.)
  6. How do you give and like to receive feedback? (In writing, please.)
  7. What’s the best way to show gratitude with me? (A hand written thank you note. It endures longer than the text, email or phone call. See the theme here? In. Writing.)
  8. What type of projects I love to work on include: (For me, studying the future of healthcare or many industries, entrepreneurship and women, gender parity, STEM and girls, and research around any of these areas. I also love outlets for sharing these ideas too – like podcasts, books, talks, etc. If I have some room for creativity here, even better!)
  9. How do you best like to make decisions or draw conclusions? I’m going to do a lot of research on something before I drive a stake into the ground. So bring me some real numbers and don’t bring a bunch of puffery. Opposite, don’t be wishy washy with your own opinions – either state you don’t know yet, or state your opinion. Be clear. Don’t go back and forth, because that lands me right back in question 4 above.
  10. Include me in and opt me out of…: (Include me anything new, exciting, and different where you need someone who is creative and/or can get me around other thought leaders in creativity. Opt me out of…purely social invitations. I don’t like parties, showers or weddings. Not my jam.)
  11. What do I value? (My time, working on the frontiers of knowledge, creativity, and honesty/integrity.)
  12. What’s your One Thing? (This is the question on what you’d give up last in all that you do or what matters most, from the book with the same title. For me, that’s easy…writing.)
  13. What gives you satisfaction – what’s ‘winning’ for you? (Getting things done, checking off my list, and creating new things that never existed before that in turn hopefully make the world a better, or at least more educated/edutaining, place.)
  14. How do I best like to be rewarded? (Hands down: give me my time back. If you can end a meeting early, or give me the day off to go speak, or give me vacation, I’m going to love it. I love income, true, but time is the one thing we never get back.)
  15. Strengths/weaknesses? (Futuristic, maximizer, intellection, ideation and input – pretty much anything to do with ideas, I’m totally in–writing, speaking, planning, executing. My weaknesses include: idle chit chat, social stuff, and sales.)
  16. What’s your best working climate? (Quiet, flexible, autonomous, can work from anywhere, and a ROWE environment for me, please.)
  17. What’s your tennis ball? Go read the book Known by Mark Schaefer to learn about this test and others for perseverance and sustainable interests.

Consider answering these questions on yourself, then take a brave step and share. I’ll even go so far as to state that LinkedIn should have a section in our profiles that allows us to share our User Manual-ness if we opted to.

Again, it would be really great if we could all share our best states of operation in the workplace, and in life – for all the reasons above, and one more: maybe, just maybe, it will get us to a happier place. No more guessing on how we best work together – we’ll know! And, if you do share, THANK YOU in advance for sharing for those of us who aren’t psychic. No more guessing – yay!

Sources I used for this article: 

  • Feld Thoughts, https://feld.com/archives/2016/04/user-manual-working.html
  • Aaron Hurst, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130128234025-201849-do-you-have-a-user-manual
  • Kyle Westaway’s newsletter – from 7/29/17
  • The One Thing book
  • Known

 

7 Steps to a Unicorian, Utterly Unforgettable Panel Discussion

July 23rd, 2017

#SMDames17 Facebook Live from Carmel Digital Media Lab Today

July 22nd, 2017

The girl with the face for radio accidentally stepped in front of the camera today for #SMDames17!

Tickets while they last are at: SMDames17.eventbrite.com.

and a separate one over at youtube.

Who’s at the Helm of Healthcare?: A Focus on Deans at US Schools of Pharmacy

July 16th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 9.18.02 AMThis week, the academic pharmacists are meeting for the annual summer meeting of AACP, or the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. So, I thought it might be fitting to post about where we are in terms of gender and leadership at schools of pharmacy again.

First off, when people argue with me about STEM professions overall, and state that there aren’t many women at the helms of STEM organizations because most women opt out of said STEM professions, I always return to pharmacy to refute the argument. Simply because pharmacy, as a profession, since the 1980s, has historically and continues to attract more women than men into the profession, and has for several decades. Historically, 60-70% of pharmacy students are women.

However, when you look at leadership–the very tippy top of pharmacy schools in this case–at the Dean position–that majority disappears. It actually flips, in that 25% of women are running schools of pharmacy as deans, and 75% are men! I went over to ACPE, the pharmacy school accrediting body today, to check the stats again. Despite the fact that ACPE updated its website of accredited programs and actually made it harder to go through the schools to see who’s at the helm, here’s my analysis:

Clearly, women still aren’t running the US schools of pharmacy. (Also, and candidly, I find it interesting that many pharmacy programs are ran by people who are not pharmacists. How can you run a program if you’ve never worked the bench as a pharmacist? I don’t understand this, but I digress.)

Here’s my point with this post: even though pharmacy as a STEM profession attracts more women, there are not more women at the helm of US pharmacy schools (and most of healthcare, as I’ve previously shared). We’re not even at parity – not event close, and we are actually backtracking again.

If we really want gender parity, particularly in leadership positions and in STEM, we’re going to have to keep banging on this drum, ladies and gentlemen. My plea: I hope the 35 women deans in US accredited schools of pharmacy are getting together at AACP this week and having a frank discussion about how to solve this problem – because it is a problem. And while I’m on my soapbox, my challenge to the Council of Deans at AACP: put in writing that you’re going to fix this by striving to attain 50/50 gender parity in pharmacy school dean roles by 2020. That shouldn’t be too hard to do considering the majority of pharmacists are women. And, if you get pushback on workload, try what one school of pharmacy does: have co-deans.

For all the reasons in the literature and then some – we have to have diversity in leadership in order to make programs stronger, more creative, and yes, even more profitable. While a lot of pharmacy schools are non-profit, they can still benefit by improving their programs with more revenue if they are attracting more students and higher quality students–to improve research and programming for students, who in turn can graduate and better serve their patients.

5 Cool Items I’m Working On…Right Now

July 12th, 2017

1. This – on the pharmacy podcast.

2. This – coming soon at #SMDames17 – I’ll be discussing podcasting. Here’s registration if you’d like to take your social media game to the next level.

3. This – working on lining up speakers for #HealthCarDev in Indy with HBA IN. Here’s a peek at our speakers.

4. This - I’m glad Indy and Mother Nature are getting all of the rain out of the way for our HBA IN 7/26 event at the top of Eskenazi Health at the Sky Farm!

5. Upcoming talks – on big data, privacy, ethics – so many egregious real-world cases to choose from…hopefully I’ll see you at Indy Big Data or ASPL to discuss them with you!

4-Letter Words

July 10th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 8.46.47 PM

Caution: this post is explicit. Well, explicit at least to me.

No, it won’t be full of profanity–at least the traditional vulgar words. (And I won’t even go down the road that showed that those who do swear are more honest.)

Oh wait. I guess I just did.

Anyway, that’s not the point of my article. Instead, I wanted to share with you my own home grown list of 4-letter words. And all of us in business and life should be very, very cognizant of them – because in a lot of cases, they’re even worse than a string of expletives.

My 4-Letter Word List:

  1. Time: My one true enemy and precious resource all bundled into one. There’s never enough of it, and once it’s gone, it’s never coming back. I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating: if someone gives you their time, they are never getting it back. Honor and respect it by not wasting it. Don’t be late for meetings. Don’t be late and barge in and apologize – that’s even worse, as you’re basically flipping everyone else in the meeting who showed up on time the bird. Don’t blow off or cancel meetings if you called them in the first place–especially last minute, unless there is a REALLY good reason why. Always respect others’ time…and your own, because it is finite. (And if anyone out there can ever teach me how to make more time, I’m all ears–you’re my new BFF!)
  2. Debt: Avoid this 4-letter word like the plague. Debt is an albatross around your neck and shackles on your limbs. If you’re in debt, you have very few options. You’re restricted. “Interest” is another awful word, but it’s more than 4 letters. I still try and avoid it. Pay off your debt. If you don’t have debt, you have one of my favorite words: freedom. You have options, and you aren’t as shackled or confined to your present state. Choices, options, and freedom = awesomeness.
  3. Meet: Meetings play right in to #1 above. I try to avoid them at all costs, ESPECIALLY if there is no agenda or meaningful reason for meeting. I really don’t like meetings WITH agendas but can also be solved with a 5 minute email. One one hour meeting with nothing productive out of it is 1 hour, 60 minutes or 3,600 seconds of your life you’ll never get back. See #1 above.
  4. Talk: High ‘I’ aside on the Myers-Briggs, one of the companies I used to work for (who shall remain nameless) had a crazy number of meetings. They’d have meetings to discuss meetings. They’d just talk at these meetings to hear themselves–the talk would come out, but very little would come of it. (Probably another reason why I hate meetings–scarred for life.) Here’s a two-letter word I like a LOT more than the 4-letter word of talk: DO. Let’s DO more, and talk less! The talkers but non-doers have been branded “Big hat, no cattle” in my life. Less talk, more action!
  5. Tele: Two items here: 1. tele-phones and 2. tele-visions. Both are incredible vacuums of time. The thing about the telephone is that you never know if you’re interrupting the person on the other side of the call (unless you’ve of course scheduled in advance with an agenda, which 99% of telephone calls I receive do not).  There’s a joke over at pinterest for high introverts: if they pick up the phone when you call, they really like you. That’s true!  Send me an email – and I’ll go over it when I have a second to breathe, not to mention a record or trail of our interaction (I can’t remember everything – I don’t have that superpower). Second, the thing about televisions – well, you already can guess where I’m going there – huge time waster. Now don’t get me wrong, I love watching Pride & Prejudice for the 500th time as much as the next gal – but I just have to make sure I earned the flake time after doing some actual work.

There. These to me are far, far worse than typical profanity. They are my brand of profanity.

So, what are your 4-letter words?

The 1 Day Girl Getaway

July 7th, 2017

Today, I hopped in my car, went down to gal pal TBB of Historic Indianapolis, and off we went to the ‘Natti – Cincinnati! We hit many vintage shops, a macaron store TBB conjured up, hit the Findlay Market, tried out Jean-Robert’s new restaurant, L (YUM!), even went to the American Sign Museum (thank you, Atlas Obscura). Pics at Instagram if you’re curious.

The thing I love about getting away for a day:

1. You can reconnect with an old friend.

2. You can see how another city lives.

3. You can get the Hades out of your own world for a few hours.

4. You can steal awesome ideas from the new city and bring them back to your own city.

5. It can help bring you some fresh perspectives and ideas.

6. You can barter and exchange ideas – both with your friend(s) attending, and the city your visiting.

In conclusion, I highly recommend you grab a girlfriend, get in the car, and go. I’m so glad we did!

 

 

Happy Birthday, America!

July 4th, 2017

And here’s what I’m working on…