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Archive for June, 2011

More on…Being Less of…A Tool

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Before I go into a full postprandial lunch lull, I thought I’d share a little more about how to be…less of a tool, since people are coming out of the woodwork who want to chat about this, particularly how it relates to social media and professional career development.  Here are a few more thoughts on how to stay out of the toolshed (because it’s getting kinda full):

1.  Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Who’s the master of this?  I think personally it is Dan Pink.  He does a great job of nicely jabbing on his own professional background (and as a law student myself right now, I have extra appreciation for his humor), without knocking his own content (and what is more important than intrinsic motivation?)

2.  Be good to your tribe. If I seriously had $5 for every time a pharmacy student sends me the “what should I do with my career life?” exactly 24 months after they graduated, I’d be a rich woman by now.  But I ALWAYS answer their questions to the best of my ability.  Even though they appreciate the advice years after they’re off campus, I’m glad they still ask about the off-the-beaten-path career stuff.  I try and respond to ASAP.  Or sooner.  Flattery really will get you to a lot of places!  So all 5 of you faithful readers of this blog – mom included – I’ll do my best to be good to ya!

3.  Help others. Said it before, I’ll say it again.  Wherever you are in your life (other than maybe newborn) – you have something to offer someone above you and below you.  Don’t forget to help out ALL people.  You’d be shocked at how many people in your life who have seemingly “been there, done that” can actually learn from YOU and your mad skillz.  Don’t just help down – help up and across too!

That’s all I have for now.  I seriously need to go on a caffeine hunt.

Start Looking for the “Yes, Let’s!”

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Had a bunch of email exchanges and conversations in the past few days about the word…yes.

Also went through an exercise at a course a while ago (it actually was Lacy Leadership’s LEAD program, which I believe is currently accepting applications, BTW for Indy professionals and I recommend).  In this part of the course, we had a “Yes, let’s!” exercise.  Where instead of everyone bashing everyone else’s ideas in a group, we actually had to BUILD on their ideas by saying, literally, “Yes, Let’s!” then coming up with another crazy idea to put on top of theirs.

It was a liberating experience.  How many time do we try to fight change, resist it, and say “no” or “that won’t work and here are the 50 reasons why not” or “absolutely not.”?  What, instead we all just tried on the “Yes, let’s!” mentality and grew new ideas on the top of others’ awesome ideas in order to build a foundation of awesomeness, rather than skepticism and negativity?

Ideas should never be riding towards a cul-de-sac to quietly die.  They instead should not only be something for new and positive change, but they should also be a foundation by which we all grow, foster, and become a closer team.  After all, we’re all in this together…despite what some may believe.

Go ahead – try it next time you’re brainstorming with others or in a meeting.  Exclaim the “yes, let’s!” and grow some awesome ideas.  You just might surprise yourself, and your team, by being part of the positive change.  Inevitably, the only thing that stays the same is change, so embrace it and give it a big ol’ smooch by saying YES!

Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How To Stop It

Monday, June 27th, 2011

As a singleton myself, I have a special place in my mind and heart for the plight of other singles in the U.S.  Dr. Bella DePaulo has written yet another great book on the final frontier for discrimination in this country: that of the single person who chooses not to marry, in Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It.

In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. DePaulo did send me a review copy of this book. (There, my legal blogging obligations have been met.) And honestly, I was a little shocked when I received my copy in the mail which is over 200 pages of information, stats, and interviews with singles experts across the country (hence, me taking a little more time than I originally thought to go through this book).

If you aren’t familiar with Dr. D, she wrote another fantastic book about the fallacies of marriage, matrimania, and single discrimination in her previous book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After.  In both books, she sets the record straight about the ‘true’  benefits of marriage, and the tough choice singles make in staying solo–and forbid all, also find happiness along the way in being solo.

As a law student, the thing that kept hitting me as I read through her new book was this disturbing “OK-ness” of discriminating against singles that permeates this country.  The two-for one deals that so many organizations put out into the world, making the solos pay more for experiences is one mere example.  The right for couples to sign on for health care and other benefits, while the singles are prohibited from doing so is yet another.

Even now, with New York finally legalizing gay marriage, I’m still perplexed as to why Americans love to cram marriage down everyone’s throats as an end-all be-all solution for happiness.  I don’t think it is.  And as Dr. DePaulo so eloquently shows in her new book yet again, a lot of singles in the US (now in fact the majority of households in the US–along with adults living more life alone than married) actually are happy without being attached to a ‘significant other’ – thank you very much.

As a singleton, I’m glad Dr. D is focused on this pursuit, because she’s right.  Singlism really is one of the final frontiers of prejudice in this country.  I only hope that with the traction that is being gained in the press by alternative lifestyles, that the single can also ride this wave of change and gain some equal footing along with the rest of the country.

I hope you do read her book.  If nothing else, to understand that singles are not equal in this country…yet.  But shouldn’t they be?

Klout, SM, and the Paper Resume: Don’t Tear it Up Just Yet…

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I’ve been watching some twitter banter between a couple of people @yuspie follows on Twitter this morning, and I have mixed feelings about their conversation.  One was describing that they are going on a job interview tomorrow, and giving a presentation on social media’s big 3, then at the end ripping up their paper resume.  I’m not so sure that s/he’s 100% right just yet.

When one works in an industry that is behind the times (like health care or law), ripping up that paper resume may not be such a brill idea.  Besides, databases for HR still track resumes, but they might not yet be tracking klout scores or social media – other than hunting for the negative posts and finding a reason to NOT hire someone.

While I personally don’t have a resume (I have a CV, because that’s what we do in academia, and besides, if I don’t write down the stuff I’m doing somewhere, I’ll forget it), but I don’t think we are quite at the day where the paper resume is ready to leave us.  In fact, I would argue that a good old fashioned cover letter of all things is the ticket into an interview.

I do agree that once you are in the building for an interview, it’s much less about the paper and much more about the personality.  But I think we all have to have some baseline by which to start from…and that just isn’t a klout score yet.  Besides, when I do a vanity search, there’s a lot of crap out there in Googleland about me that I never even wrote.  And there are other people with my name.

So before we go on a paper witch hunt, I’d humbly suggest that we not tear up our resumes and CVs just yet.  We still need to balance the old with the new, until the new has its you-know-what together.

In Pursuit of Beauty

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Not-so-secret confession: I had a small crush on Bill Cunningham.  Now, after seeing Bill Cunningham New York today, my crush is even bigger.

He’s one of the reasons I click on the Style section every weekend at the New York Times.  I tear through it with my eyes, to see if there’s one of his collages or better yet, videos.  As I sat and watched his genius from week to week, I always wondered who he was–that older man, on the bicycle, roaming around the city, taking fabulous shot after fabulous shot of fabulous people, in one of the most fabulous cities on earth.

Came to learn today that Bill lives (or lived? It was a controversy in the film) at Carnegie Hall, in a tiny apartment, with no kitchen or private bathroom, surrounded by decades of his photographs.  Although the film didn’t talk too much about his younger life, I did learn he was a Harvard man for a few months (damn, that explains my crush – Harvard men are my kryptonite).  He also went to the military during the draft, happily.  But I was most impressed by what didn’t interest Bill in the movie.

He’s not into celebrities (unless, of course, they are dressed in something fabulous).  He’s not into things (anyone could witness that after seeing his shoebox sized apartment).  He goes to church every Sunday, wears the same clothes (navy blues) pretty much every day, doesn’t obsess with food, and most importantly, stays out of the circle of the New York power and money.  He won’t even accept a drink of water from the hosts of the parties he shoots.  He never married.  And, at 83, he’s on his 29th bicycle (the other 28 were stolen.  This one he locks up.)

Yet…most impressive of all?  He LOVES what he does.  He in fact took photos for Details Magazine and literally ripped up his checks when it sold out to Conde Nast.  He believes that freedom comes at a very high cost, but should be treasured.  While in Paris shooting fashion week in the movie, the French gave him an award, and he graciously and humbly accepted it, (speaking great French) and basically said that he loves what he does, and choked up when he said that if one chases beauty, he or she will definitely find it.

Yup, big crush on Bill.  If you don’t look for his photos in the NY Times, I’m here to tell you that your life literally is not yet complete.  Go.  Look.  His eye is impeccable.  But you can’t crush on him – he’s mine!

SM Channel Management: Make Sure the Messages are Different

Friday, June 24th, 2011

One of the things I learned (the hard way myself, earlier in the year) and this week again at the writing conference I attended was this.  If you have multiple channels for your messages as a writer, make sure you have different things to say on each channel.

For example, say different things at your facebook page v. twitter.  And linkedin.  Mix it up.  Don’t blast just one message out each time on all 3 channels.  Your followers H-A-T-E that.  If they’re going out of their way to follow you on different channels, they want to hear different things on those different channels, not the same thing. Blurbed. Three times. In a row.

Again, I learned this the hard way.  Having two very different companies and brands, I tried merging my linkedin account updates with my twitter feed on only one of my organizations.  Big. Mistake.  The people didn’t want to hear my messages from one company to another.  It was a mess, which I quickly untangled and haven’t forgotten since.

So, my good social media savvy friends, you probably already know this, but it is important to restate.  Have different things to say on your different channels.  Otherwise, you’re just going to PO your followers, and you don’t want to do that – because they are your 1%ers who actually care what you have to say.

On the Hunt for a Valentine

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Just returned to one very cluttered email inbox after attending BizBookLab Live for two days in Portland, OR. Although the regret of leaving the office should officially be hitting me today, I’m still glad I went, despite my 2 am bedtime back into Indy last night and an onslaught of backlogs today.

I can’t give away all the secrets, of course.  You’ll have to attend on your own and have Todd and his crew (this crew was Todd, Out:think Group and Leap7) give you the full publishing business book industry scoop. The trip to Portland is an added bonus on top of the education.  All 3 companies involved impressed me, and I’m not easily impressed anymore (being the final year, jaded law student I am). BUT–I will share with you one lesson I learned, that I had honestly been thinking about prior to the event, but Todd and his group just shed a little more light on that for me.

I’m on the hunt for a valentine.  I’m going to have a little sample of my stuff put together in one little special package for my extra special peeps.  What will that valentine be?  I’m working on it.  But I have some fantastic ideas after attending this conference.

As I shared before, I’m a hack writer.  I was never an English major.  I never took a creative writing class in my life. When it comes to writing, I’m not totally sure that I’m even doing it “right,” whatever that means these days. What I do know is that I’m glad I travelled across the country to hear what some of the brightest minds had to say around business book publishing, and met some fellow writers like myself just trying to figure out how to change the world, one book at a time. And although my inbox is frighteningly overflowing from the past 2.5 days of being out of the office, I think I might now have a glimmer of hope and a little more education on what it truly takes to be a successful writer.

That, and all writers are delusional.  Add that to my title.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: The Trifecta Social Media Shift

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

I don’t know if this is happening to other people out there, but I’ve noted it of late with my own social media platforms.  I’m actually doing more business in…wait for it….facebook, believe it or not, more than the other two platforms!

Not really sure when this change officially happened, but I’ve noticed it over time.  Maybe it is a product of being “more” connected to people I’m connected with on facebook than the other networks?  (And by “more,” I mean people I’m closer to in terms of either age or first world connection currently (?)) I don’t know if I even have that definition right.  But what I do know is that lately, I’m getting more interesting business and transactions through facebook than the other two.

Granted, I was in the penalty box for awhile on Twitter – you can see my rant today at yuspie about that issue…so now that I’ve alleviated my following to follower ratio, that problem might go away.  As for LinkedIn, I have the most connections there of all, but I’m just not getting as many cool ideas and connections from LinkedIn that I once did.

Maybe this is an anomaly, or maybe it is just me.  But, there’s been a shift in my social media trifecta.  Have you witnessed this as well in your own social media world?

How To Toot Your Own Horn, Without Being a Tool

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

I’ve already blogged about this before, but it seems to be a recurring theme in both men and women that I’m encountering, of my generation and younger.  So I thought it was worth a blog post, because my good peeps, it is sometimes a fine line between self-promotion and toolness.

First off, always, always, always – offer to help other people who you admire.  That creates more positive mojo around you, and less toolness.  It will also get you learning how to promote yourself indirectly – by watching others who you admire do it.  I told a friend of mine the other night, use a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1: that is, offer to help others twice to three times more than you personally ask for help.  That way you keep your karma in the black, rather than red.  Social capital in the red = tool time, big time.  Also, when they return the favor, take them up on it, provide them what they need, in a timely fashion, and THANK THEM for their help.  I can’t emphasize the gratefulness enough.  Without their kindness, you wouldn’t be where you are today.  We are each owed: nada in this life.

Secondly, follow up.  Always.  Don’t be like 95% of the people in this world who say they are going to do something, then don’t.  Yeah, I get that people are busy, they have lives, stuff happens, blah blah blah – but at the end of the day, if you say you’re going to do something, then don’t do it?  That. Is. A. Tool.

Underpromise.  Overdeliver.  That will keep you out of the toolbox too.

Third, Socrates said this best: “Know thyself.”  I tell my students ad nauseum, he was a smart dude, and he was totally right on this one.  If someone asks you what your strengths are and your only reply is “…uh…uhm…I don’t know…,” fix that.  There are PLENTY of books and self-assessment tests out there to get you comfortable with knowing who you are, what you are passionate about, and what your authentic story is.  If you can’t share it, or think you’re becoming arrogant by knowing yourself, you’re not even a tool–you’re ignorant, and that’s worse…

Last, don’t act like a tool via overkill.  If you have a personal fan page on Facebook, for example, rather than just a personal page…you’d best have something that makes you stand out.  In the writing world, that means NY Times best seller or Pulitzer Prize.  If you’re a “writer” and not a NY Times best seller, or won a Pulitzer, you’re officially a tool if you have a fanpage, rather than a normal personal page.  People don’t want to connect to fan pages.  They want to connect to other people.  I’ve seen some recent violations of this example, and it made me think of one thing: toolness.  I guess there could be one exception to this: if someone else created the fan page for you, and you didn’t pay for it.  Otherwise, you’re officially in my penalty toolbox.  Sorry.* (*Businesses and brands are different here..they can have fan pages.  But people as the brand w/ the fan page? Better bring it!)

That’s it!  If you consider these few rules, you should stay out of the toolshed.  And friends, that’s not a place you want to be.  BUT–we all need to be our own best promoters, instead of worst enemies.  And that’s something we’re all trying (or should be trying) to get better at, without overkill.

Whatcha working on?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I get this question a lot.  Here are some of the top writing projects I’m working on of late.  If you have thoughts or feedback on any of them, of course, you know where you can get me.

Writer, SheTaxi – an awesome, POSITIVE portal of inspirational stuff for women, it has been an honor and pleasure working for Peggy Paul and her team taxi ladies!  I look forward to being a guest blogger for them in the months to come.

The MSL Guide, 2nd eBook edition – two forces around this one: 1. ebooks have officially taken over hardcopy books in terms of sales, and 2. people have been telling me for years I must. Do. Follow up on this book.  So, my MSL fans will get both – the book in eReader format AND bonus material, answering the #1 question I get as a consultant to the aspiring and current MSLs of the world.  What is that question?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

FTE-PTEs – This book. Is. Cranking.  It’s odd as I’ve shared before, that once you set your intent for a book (or any project, really) with the universe, it completely unfolds for you and brings you what you need.  This book will rock, because this is what the future of work will look like in this country.  I am stoked to share the stories of the interviewees from this one.

Children’s Pharmacy Book Project at Butler – this one isn’t out in the media much…yet.  But it will be very soon.  You get a sneak preview since you come here first to get the scoop.  We have 9 students from 3 different colleges working on an AMAZING project–to develop a children’s book about pharmacy!  Although I’m not writing this one, the idea came to me from several conversations with my co-workers at Butler.  The students have drafted concepts and they are equally awesome.  Big voting is due today on how to proceed on the project, and I can’t wait to see the results.

I have a few other writing tricks up my sleeve too.  FINALLY going to attend a writer’s conference next week, BizBookLab 2011, and see the world famous Powell’s books while I’m out in Portland (better late than never).  My only big fear is that I’ll fall in love with the city and the bookstore and never leave.

So, that’s what I’m working on.  What are YOU working on???  I look forward to hearing about it!