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Archive for October, 2009

So, What Do You Do For Fun?

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I must confess, I find this question…odd.

I’ve been asked this question several times in the past few weeks.  It usually happens in the context of a face to face business meeting, where people are trying to unearth information about each other (which no doubt is a great thing)! We talk about work, and then, the aforementioned and odd question pops up.

Here’s why I find it odd.  To me, fun IS my work.  I ENJOY what I’m doing in my work.  MY WORK IS FUN!  Granted, I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am in my current career spot, and continue to do so and enjoy the support of great friends and family to help me along the way, but I’m lucky enough to love what I do, and although EVERY job has at least a few billing and administrative dim spots, why would anyone do something that makes them absolutely miserable, and reserve ‘fun’ only for the waking hours OUTSIDE work?

I fully understand and realize that people NEED to work in order to pay their bills, and put food on the table for their families, and may not have the luxury of doing exactly what they’d love to do.  But, a job being ‘fun’ or ‘not’ is somewhat a state of mind…yes?

If you view your work as fun, congrats!  You are lucky!  Maybe you like me find the title post an odd question too…?  Not sure.  But I’m super stoked and grateful that work and fun are not separate compartments – it makes the time fly, and it really doesn’t feel like work!

If you aren’t quite there yourself, maybe it is time to start asking what would make your work more fun?  Is there a way to foster the stuff you enjoy doing at work and remove some of the weedy stuff you don’t enjoy? Besides, someone at your work might LOVE dealing with your nightmares, and ROCK at it!

Life is short.  Be sure to grab some fun!  And hopefully, it is already inside your work, too!

The Spike Six

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Had the chance to meet and hear from a distinguished alum of the IU Indy law school today, S. Steven “Spike” Karalekas.  He had a really legendary career in Washington DC.  But at the end of his talk, he gave us the Spike Six, which I’ll share most of with you, as I thought it was great for anyone in the career realm:

The Spike Six:

1.  Do your research – if you want a gig somewhere, if you want to learn about someone or something–do your research.  I probably would have given up my first (un)born child for Google when I was in college; so for those of us in school now (or those who really never left), research is a piece of cake – so just do it!  Make sure you know the people and the company to which you are speaking with…before you speak with them.

2.  ID what you want - While Spike didn’t compare bullet 2 with the Beastie Boys song, it started playing in my head.  If you have no idea what you want, how the &*!@ are you going to get it?  Be as specific and narrowly tailored as you can be when trying to work for a big org like the federal government…or for that matter, anywhere else.

3.  And speaking of narrowly tailored – customize your resume.  My brother always jokes that one must create a ‘match needs resume’, but I’m starting to think he and Spike are right.  (Don’t tell my brother, though, he doesn’t need the ego inflation….)  However, your resume should be designed for the job you’re applying for – does it have similar key words?  Do the skills match your dream job?  Of course, don’t lie or make up stuff, but wordsmithing can go a long, long way when it comes to your next job or career move.

4.  This was the most critical component, in Spike’s list.  Ready?  Ok, don’t get mad, but I’m not going to give it to you.  It really is good, but Spike’s list is Spike’s…!  (That way you’ll go hear him speak if you ever get the chance!)

5.  Don’t talk yourself out of a job, an agency or a company JUST BECAUSE they say they don’t have anything IMMEDIATELY.  Things can change in a heartbeat, and even though you interview with your dream company and they don’t have anything today doesn’t mean they won’t have anything available tomorrow.  Which leads me to Spike’s last of six:

6.  Follow up. Spike said about 99% of the people he gives this advice to don’t do it.  I’d like to think that’s a little lower in my world, but probably not much lower, unfortunately.  STAY in FRONT OF THEM.  Touch base!  Send someone you met a cool article you found relevant to your previous conversation.  Keep in touch.  Dare to use SNAIL MAIL and a HAND WRITTEN NOTE.  The universe has a super odd way of being freakishly coincidental.

So there! You received most of the Spike Six.  But, if you ever get to hear him speak, ask him about #4.  It’s the thing that can make or break your new, first, or next career move!

3 People I Need to Know

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Dear Universe:

I need to know people who know the following:

1.  Someone who can build iPhone/Smartphone apps.
2.  Someone who can print custom T shirts (locally, in Indianapolis).
3.  An attorney who knows a ton about the Gardner Boston Art Heist and adverse possession.

If you can help me out, I’d appreciate it.

Sincerely,

e

Growing Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

How does a city, a state, or a country grow entrepreneurs?

It is a question that probably keeps a lot of leaders up at night.  It even keeps me up at night.

Granted, we want to grow talented employees–people who are great at working for employers….but it is another thing to grow people who are willing to stick their necks (and other parts) out on the line to make things happen and grow businesses which in turn hire employees.

Considering that some of the wealthiest Americans neither finished nor graduated from college, what else is it that successful business owners possess?  Here are a few qualities I’ve witnessed from the best of the best:

1.  Moxy – they believe in themselves.
2.  Tenacity – they really don’t take no for an answer.
3.  Work – they work their you-know-whats-off.
4.  Charisma – they ooze coolness, and they value people.
5.  Curiosity – they dig learning from others, from books, and love playing with new ideas.
6.  Big Picture – they look at the big picture, and try not to get too bogged down in the dirty details.
7.  Lucky – let’s keep it real here, some of them are just REALLY lucky!
8.  Genes – entrepreneurs grow other entrepreneurs.
9.  Passion – they believe in themselves and their businesses more than anyone else.

I’m sure there are other characteristics too, but these are the few I’ve witnessed of late.  Let’s keep the chi going, because we need to grow more people with super cool ideas, who have PASSION around what they are doing with their lives and their businesses!

Time To Rethink the ESOP?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Those who know me also know I am seriously passionate about entrepreneurship.  I think every person on this earth should have a clear shot at creating something big, bold, exciting, and that meets his/her own personal mission, vision and values.  While that can be manifested in several different ways, I’m starting to think that maybe, as a country, if we all owned a stake in the businesses we worked within, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are in economically.

One of my favorite local business leaders in Indy just turned his company into an ESOP, Dr. Evans of AIT Labs. Those who are familiar with AIT know that the growth has been like a rocket over the past few years with this (or now I should say–their) company.  Now that it is employee owned and every employee has a stake in the venture, I eagerly anticipate watching the entrepreneurial minds dig in at the organization and create even more new & exciting growth.

Michael Moore also talks about the ESOP in his latest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story.  There are quite a few ESOPs out there turning record profits and succeeding, DESPITE the economic downturn.

Is it time to rethink the ESOP?  What if every employee had a stake in the business?  What fantastic, amazing, astounding growth could occur from everyone having their creative minds turned on at work???

I delight in the possibilities!

3 Really Cool Things I’d Like to Exist…

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

If these already exist, dear Universe, TELL me!  I’ll be first in line to buy them! (Oh yeah, Dear FTC: I got paid exactly what I’ve been paid for all my other posts where I endorsed a product, book, or idea: NOTHING!)

1.  Heated ear muffs, compatible with my iPhone that has stereo quality sound.  These are pretty close, but I need them with a heat dial and it needs to come in different colors (preferably red).

2.  Neck pillow – but heated too.  Kinda like this, but throw in the heat.

3.  Experience Cards – so some of the card dealers have music in their cards, which the quality of the sound…well…sucks.  So, why not give a card with a scent and music AND it comes with a downloadable version of the song in stereo?  Ok, even better – throw in a stay at a spa or hotel!!

If you’ve already invented any of these – great! Just let me know!!!!

We Are Golden

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I think my property professor is actually cooler than I initially thought.  Here’s why:

I think she’s been hanging with Mika!

Just ran to the library to grab Mika’s new album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, and the first track is: We Are Golden.  Our Property professor, when we answer things correctly (sometimes not as frequent as we’d all like), she sends a shower of gold stars our way.

But, I’d like to think we are all golden, just like Mika sings!  We just sometimes need some help unleashing the goldenness…..?

I’m sending gold stars YOUR way – as YOU are golden!

“The world wants to believe in America again because the world needs to believe in America again.”

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I’m following Bono on Twitter.  The post title today is his last post on Twitter.  I dig it!

It reminded me of this great project I learned about at the GCEC, or Global Entrepreneurship meeting I attended last weekend in Houston.  There was a guy who spoke about national Lemonade Day…here’s the site and you can watch the video posted at the bottom of the page.

Friends, when it comes to good old fashioned American ingenuity and tenacity, I certainly hope we haven’t lost them.  Most of the rest of the world believes in us.  Bono believes in us.  So WE need to believe in US!!!!

The Great Supersleuthing Experiment

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

This week I’m trying a little experiment I learned at one of the professional meetings I attended this weekend in one of my classes and with myself (I love it when I experiment on myself!!!)  My students were willing to try it out, and so then must I.  Here’s the exercise, which I’ve called the “Supersleuthing Experiment”.  I invite you to try it too!

The Great Supersleuthing Experiment:

Tools needed: you, 2 hours of your time, an excel spreadsheet (or a piece of paper) and your powers of observation!

Exercise:  Sit for 2 hours in any environment – a classroom, a workplace, a third space, wherever, and ONLY observe/identify PROBLEMS and RECORD them.  Find as many as you can.  (For example, at work, you found your computer doesn’t have a movie editing program for your latest video, or you don’t have a pen in front of you when you need it, or you ran out of stamps, and the office is noisy.)  WHATEVER, but if it is a problem, write it down and run a list of problems throughout this 2 hour period either relative to you, or others whom you observe.

After you have listed your problems (hopefully 200+), go back later and start another column next to the problems and come up with SOLUTIONS to each of the problems.  If you have too many problems to solve, go through the list and pick up the top 20 most frustrating and create solutions for each of them.  Put the solutions to the right, and more than one solution per problem is cool!

What did you learn?  1.  HOW TO THINK ABOUT BEING A PROBLEM SOLVER!  2.  Better yet, you learn about how to see problems as OPPORTUNITIES!

I can’t WAIT to try this…and I invite you to try it as well!  Viewing the world through a problem solving lens is a skill we could all use in order to improve, change, and innovate!

Adolescence & Rome

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

One of my friends texts me the following yesterday:

“…there was a dream that was Rome…and it was so fragile you could shatter it with a whisper.”

Yup, that one was from Marcus Aurelius…fall of democracy…gloom and doom, blah blah blah.  I got it, but I see this another way when comparing it to America.  Our current state is a lot like Bella and Edward’s love story in New Moon – beautiful, tragic in some ways, and tenuous, but…in the end…hopeful and evolving.

I know what you’re thinking – oh no, here she goes with more Twilight stuff – but stick with me.  Teen love is a lot like the state of our country and economy right now – slightly awkward, somewhat painful, but just think of all the opportunity – the amazing development and evolution of the economy, just like growing up and out of adolescence.

Why did I mash these two concepts together?  Well, I bought the New Moon soundtrack this weekend (the 2nd movie in the Twilight series is coming out in November, in case you’ve been out of the Twilight loop), and the music on it reminded me a lot of the state of us today.  Tenuous, a little foreboding, but full of promise and evolution.

I left it with my texting friend that we’re not down and out just yet – we’re just growing up and going through a slightly awkward stage.  Like Paris becoming the new Rome in history, as an example.  We’ve all just got to roll up our sleeves and do what it takes to get to the next level.

I’m excited about what is to come!