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Sharing Happiness

on March 23 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

A dear friend sent me a card with this quote: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle cannot be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — attributed to Buddha Sharing happiness, even it’s smallest form of a smile, is an important but not urgent action–and can make all the difference in the world. I smile at strangers all the time. Walking to the grocery store, for example. It’s incredible how many people are (a) not smiling at all and (b) not smiling back–or even looking at others as they make their way through the world. Maybe it’s fear, avoidance, or just plain not being in the present. . . Smiling takes so little time and effort. So why is it challenging? Like Chrissie Hynde sings, “I got a smile / for everyone I meet / as long as you don’t try dragging my bay / or droppin no bomb on my street.” (Those might not be the right lyrics but that’s how I sing ’em and I how I live.) When you are happy, share some of it by smiling. It’s contagious. There are bigger ways (of course) to share happiness, which can be Quadrant 2 activities. How are you sharing happiness in big and small ways? Thanks for following the #30DaysofQ2. See below for...

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Learning While Teaching (or Presenting)

on March 22 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

Somewhere along the way I got the idea that I had to know everything about a particular topic to “teach” or “present on” it. And I never considered myself an expert on anything because my definition of expert meant “someone who knows everything.” Logically, I know it is impossible to know everything. That I should not hold myself to this standard. And yet here I am, down-playing my accumulated knowledge and experiences because I am not omnipotent. Am I alone in falling into this trap? The beautiful thing about life is we get to learn. Constantly. And hopefully be changed by that learning. I have–and continue to be given–lessons that I want to share in order to help others. There is never a shortage of lessons and knowledge, until we die. The challenge? Overcoming the feeling that just because there is so much to learn does not mean we are any less capable of teaching what we know. We don’t have to have it all figured out. Beating ourselves up about not being perfect or an “expert” is a waste of time. I think I’ve said that before and it’s because I need to learn it, too. So this is a real meta post. I’m actually teaching something and learning it at the same time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey and in embracing the position as learner-and-teacher without guilt or fear of being an imposter. Bonus: All the leaders I admire have humility as a trait. I know that’s not something everyone agrees on as being valuable. But for me, I think it’s important. Being open to the idea that there is more to learn as a leader IS being humble–and is a good practice. My #30DaysofQ2 important but not urgent action for today:  Live happily in the intersection and trust it is where I can do the most good. Update on March 22, 2108: If you’re interested in topics like these, I invite you to follow me on Medium where I am more active these days–although “active” is a relative...

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Communications Planning

on March 21 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

At Arthur Andersen, communications planning was part of my day-to-day activities. And I was trained to plan communications. Our marketing department had a distinct way of doing this. (In fact, it was at Arthur Andersen that I received training on The 7 Habits.) To this day, I apply communications planning to strategic communications for service-based clients.  But I’ve learned not everyone has the patience–or ability or framework–to PLAN their communications efforts. For example, fast thinkers sometimes don’t plan their communications effectively. They expect everyone to be operating at their speed. They forget to paint the picture and bring an audience along step-by-step. They have a tendency to gloss over things or leave out elements as they discuss their vision. (I admit, I fall prey to this, too, but mostly when speaking.) They might also be overlooking opportunities to make their materials work for them. In other words, create trust or drive buyer action. Or, they attempt to achieve too much in a single communications piece. You can only move a prospect along 2 steps at a time with any given piece. And you must align communications so that you have the right materials for every stage. This is at the heart of communications planning. And avoiding the other pitfalls. We all forget sometimes that the purpose of written communications is in fact communication! That means we must step outside ourselves and see our writing as our audience would. (If this is difficult, outside perspective is a big help.) It’s not just about the writing but about the structuring of the material and information so that it is palatable and powerful. People need guidance on how to read things and what is important. Not everyone can do this visually.  That is, lay it out in a way that makes absorption of information seamless. This is part of the value that a strategic marketing communications consultant provides. It’s not just about semicolons and em dashes. Even people who are expert communicators–especially in the realm of speaking–or marketers themselves may be missing out on opportunities to really communicate and engage their audiences in ways the audiences need when crafting written materials. As a strategic marketing communications consultant, I find the blind spots that you have and...

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Giving Others a Vote of Confidence

on March 20 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

Taking the time to let those in your professional network know that you support them is an important but not urgent activity.  An easy way to do this is to endorse them on LinkedIn. Endorsements are those opportunities you see to “check off” that a connection knows her stuff.  As opposed to recommendations, which are another (albeit more time-consuming but important) way to show support for an A-lister or someone you have worked with before. I realize many don’t take those endorsements seriously–and for good reason. In fact, for the very reason I’m listing here:  Endorsing people is really a vote of confidence. It says to them, “Hey, I believe in you.” Most of the time, I suspect we will only endorse people when we have awareness of their skill set. Sometimes, I admit, I do not have direct knowledge of someone’s expertise, say with SQL or Project Management.  I figure, common sense. A database admin and PMP probably do have that knowledge. When we endorse in this way, we are simply taking the person at his word. An endorsement simply says, “I trust you.” Sometimes we can be skeptical of people’s skills and that’s fine, too. We can also like them and not endorse them for something if we do not have first-hand evidence that they know something. I’m not “endorsement-happy” in that I skip over a lot. Making time to endorse others and let them know you believe in them is a good way to reconnect with our weak ties, build relationships, and say “I’m thinking about you.” It’s not to be taken lightly. Not to be used as a marketing tactic. But to be approached with authenticity, joy, and honesty. How do you feel about LinkedIn endorsements? Are you endorsement-happy? Do you approach it mindfully with the intention of giving someone a vote of confidence?...

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Find Your Pillars

on March 19 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

Self-discovery is a necessity for authenticity. And it never ends. But there’s nothing urgent about it, so making time to find out all that we believe in can be challenging. While some people are highly conscious of their beliefs–whether limiting, expansive, definitive, etc.–I suspect that they haven’t tapped into all of them. My take is there’s always more to explore. Time spent looking inward and finding our “pillars”–those unique ideals we rally behind is important. For growth, for leadership, and for marketing. And while we may not be able to build Rome, is there one pillar you can find today? That’s the Day 20 challenge for #30DaysofQ2. Here is one of my pillars, based on my core value of AUTHENTICITY:   Need help discovering a pillar? Let’s...

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Defining Success

on March 18 in #30DaysofQ2 | 1 comment

I’ve discovered, with help from Michelle Lee, The Coachapist, that I make a lot of rules for myself that prevent me from having fun and being successful. I’ve focused on the importance of fun before but haven’t talked much about how spending time defining success is a valuable activity. In my case, I’m beginning to think success looks like freedom from (at least some of) these rules. Imagine what I could achieve if I had less contraints! And by the way, these pesky rules aren’t just for me but everyone around me. What do I gain from that? I’m not a hella angry person but I have caught myself getting angry when other people who don’t have my rules are being or seeming successful. Hey Jealousy! (How’s that for authenticity?) Good news: I’m a results-oriented problem solver. And a change agent. So I move to finding the solution by asking: What can I do to loosen up on the rule-setting and get rid of the anger? The answer is changing my rules. Not holding myself accountable to rules that don’t serve me. Releasing others from the obligation to follow my rules. So step 1: Rule identification. What are these silly rules, anyway? Step 2: Writing the reverse of those rules. Say the equally true but opposite thing. Step 3: Realize that rules don’t make me safe, they keep me small. And playing small is so.not.successful. Ok, but what does success look like for ME? Answer: Expanding capabilities and getting broader experiences while delivering value to clients. Mutual growth. But doesn’t that run counter to what a lot of people expect from consultants? Consultants are already at the top of their game. They’ve “arrived,” and are completely knowledgable–plug-and-play, not trial and error! Sounds like a rule, doesn’t it? That’s probably why it’s been hard for me to call myself a consultant. My way of doing it isn’t matching up to my limited definition of success with respect to doing it. Sigh! Return to step 2. Rinse and repeat. Let me hear from you: Have you defined success for YOU authentically? Have you figured out what might be in your way?   Related articles across the web How To Become an Expert at Something...

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