Zen is you – Be.

Learn Something New …..

Posted in development, satisfaction by dave225 on January 26, 2009

“If you’re done learning, you’re done.”  I think it was Ben Franklin.  Maybe it was someone else who originally said that… But it’s true, nonetheless.

A few years ago, I absolutely hated my job.  Although I worked for a great company, I didn’t feel as though I was being used to my full potential.  Until that happened, I guess I had been fortunate in my career that I’d always been able to find the niche that kept me growing (or knew when to leave before things got stale.)  I was beginning to strategize my exit plan.  I needed a career boost.  Let me back up;  I had tried to get help with career counseling in my company and wasn’t satisfied with the options.  So I began to study.  I invested my own time and my own money (a considerable amount of each) to elevate my skill levels in preparation for a job search.  And I had some offers.  Some really good offers.

Maybe it was just luck, but as offers were coming in, possibilities opened up at my current job too.  But I believe you can make your own luck.  I never had to give my boss an ultimatum or hope for a counter offer.  An offer to advance from my current job came to me – or rather, it came near me and I grabbed it.

Oh, I think I’ve read the “invest in yourself” advice plenty of times before, so I won’t make a point of that as if it’s a new idea.  And it’s probably not a new idea that continuous learning keeps you sharp and on top of your game.  And yet, I continue to come across people who don’t seem to be interested in development – for professional reasons or self-development reasons.  Or else they’re waiting and wondering why their employers won’t develop them.  So I just want to reiterate that you can make your own luck sometimes.  Because luck isn’t luck.  Luck is options.

Last week, at Ignite! Columbus, Joshua Scott talked about knowing when to move on.  I wish I had his slides at the moment – and his content.. scurve2but if I can paraphrase, he said you have to have the courage to leave something that’s going well so that you can continue in an upward direction.  This picture is the closest I could find to describe what that means:

The idea is that you leave thing #1 before it reaches the decline and move on to thing #2.  That can be a business, a career, a job, a skillset.

You never know when your luck will change – when your curve will start to decline.  I watched a disheartening story this evening about DHL leaving Wilmington, OH and leaving 10,000 people without jobs.  I don’t mean to imply that those 10,000 people should have moved on before DHL pulled out of the community.  It’s just a devastating example of how quickly things can change.  So what I’m trying to say is, be ready.  Learn something new.

Learn something new to get ahead.  Learn something new to be better at what you do.  Learn something new to feel better about the things you do.

Learn something new to be ready.

Or learn something new just ‘cuz.  And then do it again.  Don’t stop.  Luck isn’t luck.  Luck is options.

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The Social Networking Popularity Contest

Posted in satisfaction by dave225 on January 24, 2009

In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of  “does she like me?” on my social networks.

Facebook

“Stuart from high school wants to be my facebook friend.  But we weren’t friends in high school.  Should I be his friend?  I’m friends with Becky, and Becky is friends with Carla, but Carla’s not friends with me.  Why didn’t she friend me?  If she does, should I say yes?”  Holy crap, 25 years out of high school and the drama continues…

Twitter

“I’m going to stop following people who don’t follow me back.” “People with more followers than followees are self-important.”  Why does twitter have to be two-way?  If you’re following someone you find interesting, why would you stop?  If someone doesn’t find you interesting – well, first of all, that’s their opinion and so what.  But if you’re really insecure about people not following you, maybe you need to be more interesting, more often.  Again I cite “there’s no honor in being right.” -if finding yourself interesting isn’t good enough and you need validation from others, it’s up to you to gain their interest.

Linked In – “Oh, you worked at Chase?  Do you know Roger?”  All I can say is, make it count.

So as much as I love the energy that comes with social networking, I can’t help but feel the stress of the social politics that have inevitably crept in.  Connect, connect, connect.. Good!   It’s not a competition, but it is a challenge to take only the positives and use them to enrich your work, your life, …


Here are my social network rules, for whatever purpose they may serve:
Facebook – if someone wants to be my friend, I say yes. (…unless they’re people I don’t know, collecting names.)   If someone wants to be my friend, then sure – be my friend.  And maybe they’ll be totally energetic about using their network the same way I do and we’ll hit it off.  Or maybe they’ll be totally disengaged and we won’t really reach each other.  Then who cares?  And I filter very little.  This is me being me, corresponding with people who want to know me – not my “internet persona.”  Everyone else is free to observe.  (Except my mom.)

Linked In – this is my trusted, professional network.  We have to know each other.  I don’t collect names -I connect people.

Twitter – I don’t care who follows me.  I don’t say much on twitter most days.  I follow people who will redirect me to interesting resources.  I follow friends so we can exchange short notes during the day.  I follow people who ask compelling questions.  I don’t follow people who don’t seem to have anything else to do but twitter all day.  I don’t follow people who use twitter like IM-meets-LadyGodiva.  I don’t follow people who obscure relevant tweets by yacking nonstop.

Plaxo – WTF is the deal with Plaxo?  People keep connecting with me and they never post anything.  I only have an account because I wanted to see what I could do with it.  (turns out – not much.)

Twine, Flickr, meetup, speakersite and any other community of practice – you bet we can connect there.  If you’re there, let’s talk.

In person – better yet.

Power

Posted in development by dave225 on January 7, 2009

Knowledge is power.

Have you ever heard that?  Do you think knowledge is power?

You’re wrong. ……

You. Are. Wrong.  Now before you become offended and tune me out – no , you’re not wrong.  But I heard a presenter tell me that once.  He went on to say that money and political position were power.  I didn’t pay attention to what else he said because I was dwelling on his statement that knowledge is not power.

And it all came down to one little letter, one little word:  “A”.  Knowledge is A power.

¨ Language is a power

¨ Money is a power

¨ Political position is a power

¨ Standing behind the lectern is a power

¨ Violence – is a power.

Power exists in different concentrations for all of us – those without a lot of money may rely on wit, some may use their spirituality to overcome a lack of political clout, some who have few options in life may turn to the power of a gun.

  1. Find your powers.  You may not be a superhero, but you have powers.  Figure out what they are.  What has led to your successes in life?  When people say “Nice job” or when you feel that you’ve done a great thing, what skills and resources did you use?
  2. Decide how/where to use it.  What can you do?  Learn how you can use your powers.  Now that you’ve discovered that you have knowledge in a certain area, what are the possibilities?
  3. Decide why to use it.  What is the gain?  My friend Andrew Pace says, “There’s no honor in being right.”  (Although I think the entire quote is from Mickey Kaus and it’s “There’s no honor in being right too soon.” But I suppose there’s no honor in pointing that out!)  You don’t gain anything by being correct if you’re not bringing people along with you.  Exercising power just to prove that you possess it is of little value to you or anyone else.  And it’s a sign of insecurity of your weakness in other aspects.
  4. Use it effectively.  Do something.  Don’t let your power go to waste.  There is no succeed or fail, there is only act.
  5. Develop and strengthen other powers.  As sure as you know what you’re good at, you also know your weaknesses.  Tapping into your natural abilities is a great place to start  – but work on everything.  If you’re like me, you’ll find that you develop fastest in areas that need the most work.

    If anyone tells you that something you value is not a power – you can prove them wrong!  Find your powers.  Use them.  Show results.

    This is also my next Toastmasters speech (spoiler alert.  oops, too late.)