How To Drive More Opportunities in 2020

January 13, 2020

How To Drive More Opportunities in 2020 Looking for a way to create more opportunities in your life in 2020? Building and strengthening your reputation is a simple secret to doing that! If you aren’t, you are missing out on one of THE best opportunity drivers in your life! Relationships are a foundational piece of building your reputation (and opportunities)!  But are we being intentional with how we are authentically building and nurturing those relationships? Or, do we tell ourselves that we, or they, are busy and we’ll get to it soon? Here’s my challenge to you for 2020 – I challenge you to make 156 reconnects in your network this year! Sound impossible? It’s not.  I promise! Here are the simple steps: 1. Carve out 90 minutes a week – whether that’s 90 minutes in one day or 30 minutes three times a week. 2. Make a list of the people in your network that you haven’t connected with in a while. 3. Make the calls!! Make three phone calls to people in your network each week and you will have made 156 reconnects over a 52-week period. This is your chance to ‘check-in’ and ‘catch up’ with those people in your life to see how they are doing? What are they up to? How is work?  Maybe you even offer help or encouragement. Don’t think that will drive opportunities? Don’t think that will strengthen your reputation? If you own a business, this is also an opportunity for you.  I have a very dear friend who shuts down his office at Noon every Friday. Now, his team doesn’t leave.  They actually spend the balance of the day making calls to people in their network – old colleagues, old clients, old friends. Over time, he started tracking when he was generating the most new business for his agency.  When do you think that was? You guessed it – on Fridays between 12-5! So give it a try and see how this enriches your life and blows open the doors of opportunity! Want to watch this message? Click here to watch a short video on my YouTube channel. Be intentional … be deliberate … drive your reputation forward this year to experience opportunities you never knew existed! Cheers to 2020 and your success! Keep digging!

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How to Follow Your Passion

December 2, 2019

How to Follow Your Passion “Go follow your passion!” Such a great phrase, but how do you know to do that? Passion is a powerful word! It’s inspiring. It’s unique to you. It’s fuel to keep us moving forward. It can also be dangerous if not thought through. We often hear “follow your passion” when someone is trying to inspire young people to live a life that is truly theirs. Other times we hear “follow your passion” when someone is at a crossroads in their life and are trying to figure out what to do. But do we know how to follow our passion? You see, “follow your passion” is not a one-size-fits-all opportunity for life. The reality is that if you don’t know how to follow your passion, it could do you more harm than good! Our passion can serve multiple purposes when identified and harnessed properly! Below are two of the most common … 1 :: Passion As A Revenue Generator Your passion could become a source of income. We see this happen to those who have developed a service or product that, through significant and daily effort, becomes a thriving business. My personal story led me to this place where my passion for driving people forward through reputation management, coaching, and consulting efforts – and a $hit-ton of hard work and perseverance! 😉 – has allowed me to replace my ‘corporate gig’ salary and “follow my passion.” This was not easy. This was not a, “I woke up one day and decided to follow my passion” type of experience. This took years of preparation. This took hours of work. This took significant commitment and a level of self belief in the value I could offer this world during my brief stay. So, how did I know to follow my passion as a revenue generator? Read what the three key elements are below … On the other side, your passion can deliver supplemental income – your side hustle. You don’t have to quite your 9-5 (or, maybe it’s more like 7A-10P for you?!) in order to bring your passion to life. Following your passion does not have to be an either, or decision. It can be and … read here for more insight on how to make these types of decisions. 2 :: Passion As An Impact Generator Other times, people find that their passions are about making an impact, not necessarily making money. They know or come to realize that their passion isn’t all about making money. Your passion could be about supporting an effort or movement in which you believe. I have a friend who builds orphanages in underdeveloped countries – his passion is helping these young people have a chance at life that was not available before. However, he realized that it was his high-paying corporate job that had allowed him to generate donations and access resources to help bring his passion to life. You see, he didn’t just quit his job to follow his passion and put himself and his family at risk. Many years ago, I came across this three-prong approach to discerning […]

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Do People Know Your Intention?

October 12, 2019

Do people know your intention? I read once that trust is comprised of two elements – character and competence.  Knowing the character of an individual will certainly determine if they are trustworthy.  Do they act with integrity or kindness? Just as well, it’s imperative to know that the person has the competence, the ability, to get the job done. That got me thinking about a third element that I don’t hear much about in leadership conversations.  How often do we focus on intention? I really believe this is one of the most fundamental elements of leadership and a building block for trust and reputation and yet, how often do we intentionally focus on intention (see what I did there?)? To be clear, I’m not speaking of being intentional in behavior or starting your day by setting your intentions – which are very important, by the way – rather, I’m speaking about your team, customers, or stakeholders knowing the true intention behind your actions. Are your intentions externally focused on your team’s mission, goals, values, and growth opportunities? Or, are they internally driven for your gain? If people don’t know your intention, it leaves them to wonder and in those spaces of speculation, trust, reputation, and results can diminish because rarely are people thinking of positive intentions.  Oh, you say that sounds so negative, Mike! According to a Harvard Business Review study, 58% of employees would trust a stranger over their boss! Think that’s a problem with intention? Jim Meehan, a British psychologist, once wrote that to gain trust with people you need to let them know two things: I mean you no harm I seek your greatest good As leaders, isn’t that our true goal with building trust, which then will lead to results? Stop leaving your intention to question! It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy – two resources we never have enough of! So, how do you let people know your intention? It starts with how you show up and engage based upon your values.  Are you values grounded in your personal belief? The team’s mission? The company’s vision? If you are living into these values on a consistent basis, then people will know your intention by what they see.  Complement your actions by also verbally telling your team your intentions – for them, for the project, for the client. Transparency is a vital piece of trust and leadership.  If you are walking the walk, then being transparent won’t be an issue! Give it some thought.  How do you ensure people know your intention? To watch a video on this message, please visit my YouTube page here!

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How to Break Out of the ‘Either, Or’ Decision Trap

August 25, 2019

How to Break Out of the ‘Either, Or’ Decision Trap Have you ever gotten caught in the ‘Either, Or’ Trap when making a decision? I was recently talking with a friend who was trying to think through a career transition and was contemplating some pivots of things she could do.  The conversation cadence went something like this, “You know, I have a great opportunity with company x, so I could either move forward with them or pursue some speaking gigs.” “I also have interest from company y and have been asked to do some coaching and mentoring.  So, I could work with company y, or really dig into the coaching and mentoring.” It’s easy to fall into that ‘Either, Or’ trap when we are thinking through life and career options since it’s been a decision-making process we’ve been trained into for many years! Think back over your life when people would tell you that, “you can do either this, or you can do that.” Or, “you can be either this, or you can be that.” Make your choice! Yeah, I remember plenty of those throughout my life! But, does that have to be the case with our decisions? I encouraged my friend to think about her decisions through a different lens.  What if the answer you are looking for didn’t have to be ‘either, or’, but could be ‘and’? She said, “I never thought of it like that.  This completely flipped the way I can look at these decisions!” 3 Key Tips to Embrace Your AND: Look Around You: Observe others in your life who are creating multiple streams of impact.  You’ll probably notice that they have a passion for something, unique talents and skills, and there is a marketplace where people are willing to pay them for the work they are doing (we aren’t talking about you finding another hobby!).  Talk with them and learn how they went about building this multi-faceted life.  You can learn a lot from them as well as get inspired to really connect with your unique skills and talents! Capacity & Systems: Once you speak with these people, you’ll probably notice that they have identified how much they can do in each area (i.e. capacity).  It’s about understanding your capacity and having the right organizational systems in place to do great work. Start to outline the time you could allot to this work and the systems you would need to put into place. Scale & Patience: It would be foolish to believe that we could do everything 100% right out of the gates.  The reality is that we need to start methodically.  I would recommend devoting the majority of your time to the area of work that is generating and delivering significant and/or stable cashflow.  Then begin carving out time for your ‘and’ to begin working on your craft, product, or content.  As this begins to gain traction, you can use your systems (refer to point No. 2 above) to do more, create more, and scale up your work. This will take both patience and consistency! How would your life look if you used […]

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3 Keys to Avoid Change Fatigue

July 3, 2019

3 Keys to Avoid Change Fatigue How many times do we hear that people WANT change, but don’t WANT TO change? I’m a believer in that, however, I believe that leadership and Change Fatigue has a lot to do with the latter! A study on change management featured in Forbes article illustrated that 70% of organizational change fails! Change is thrown around so much these days that it can cause more harm than good – for individuals and organizations. Change Fatigue can happen when people have experienced poor change managers and management – “Here we go again! What makes them think it will be different this time?”, is a refrain I’ve heard in hallways over the years (both as an employee and change agent). People have to belief that the promise of the new is worth the abandonment of the old. What can prevent Change Fatigue is change WITH leadership serving up healthy portions of vision, planning, and communication! It takes all three if you are leading change and only providing 1/3 or 2/3 of that equation (in any combination) will lead to team frustration, dissent, ambiguity, anxiety, and disenfranchisement, to name a few areas of concern! For many people change can be paralyzing. Change can leave them wondering about their value and worth within the team or organization. “Am I going to work myself out of a job?” “I’ve been known for this skill on the team, but will it still be needed? Will I still be needed?” Vision: Where are we going? Why are we going there? How will this benefit our organization, and me?? These are just a few of the questions that must be addressed, built out, and clearly defined if people are going to put forth the effort and invest the time required to bring this vision to life! Planning: How will we make this vision a reality? What is my role? What are the benchmarks that tell us we are heading in the right direction? Planning brings to light the tools and processes that will be required to bring the vision to life! Communication: The consistent cadence of updates, reminders and encouragement during challenging times of change is vital when we often don’t see the immediate results. Communication becomes a glue that will help bind teams and individuals together – or, if there is not enough well-thought-out communication, can erode trust and enthusiasm. I once read that if people on your team can’t do a good impression of you, then you aren’t communicating enough! The responsibility of change rests on the shoulders of leadership. So, if you are considering change within your organization or team, embarking on change, or in the middle of change, make sure that you are hitting the vision, planning, and communication targets to drive the change you are looking for and drive out Change Fatigue! What are your experiences with Change Fatigue?

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What’s the Difference Between Ignorance & Apathy?

June 10, 2019

What’s the Difference Between Ignorance & Apathy? I was recently at my son’s New Student Orientation day at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and one administrator was telling the parents about how she works with new students to shift their mindsets from high school to college. One way to do this, she said, was to ask the students what the difference was between ignorance and apathy.  She said she got an interesting response from a student one time that went like this, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” First off, what a priceless answer, but after the room of parents composed itself, I really started to think about that question and what came to life for me when I reflected on the answer and its mindset. For me, as I thought about the question, answer, and subsequent mindset, I began to think about the word complacency! I can’t afford to be complacent in my work as I build my practice or the value I strive to deliver to those in my life.  In order for me to create, evolve, and make an impact, I cannot be complacent.  I cannot sit back and be satisfied, nor can I just sit and wait for opportunities to just show up. Years ago, that mindset would have scared me because it meant that I was always on and couldn’t celebrate or be happy.  And, for a long period in my own life, I was that person.  I feared that if I showed any sign of happiness or contentment for my work that I would fall behind. I learned that is not a healthy way to live or work towards my goals (not for myself or the people around me!). I’ve learned that I can chill, that I can celebrate wins, and be happy – and, most importantly, that I won’t lose my edge to be competitive, to create value, and drive forward! But, getting back to complacency … I’ve written that word on an index card as a visual anchor to keep me focused on making that call … sending that email … creating that piece of content in order to keep moving towards my goals – and, yes, still celebrating along the way! I’d love to know what word pops into your head when you think about this! Please share it in the post and let’s continue to motivate each other … if you’d like to see this video message, please click here and enjoy! Cheers to you!

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Shed Your Skin of Survival!

May 19, 2019

Shed Your Skin of Survival! We are living in an amazing time of greater awakening and personal awareness to “what could be?” Many are waking up to question that little voice in their heads telling them all the fear-based reasons they aren’t enough … Many more are harnessing the courage, strength, and vision to drive themselves towards greater opportunities – a greater life!   A greater life is purely defined by the individual, but I can tell you that it is definitely not a life of survival! It’s not a life of sleep walking!   New habits will create a new life.   Can you catch a glimpse of a vision that you can run towards? Can you put a name to the habits that no longer serve you in this new season?   Remember, habits are also the thoughts that we give credibility, acknowledgment, and belief to … habits are also our self-talk! The way that we speak to ourselves when thinking through choices of either staying in survival mode or breaking out to thrive in new ways.   So, what are you saying to yourself?   We can’t underestimate the power of that little voice in our heads … but here’s something to remember – the more we think about and move towards breaking out of our comfort zones to do more or be more, the louder that little voice will become … know why? Because that voice is rooted in survival! It’s fearful … it knows that if you listen to another voice – the one in your heart – that you will no longer need it … and, the truth is, you don’t!   Check out this quick video HERE that brings the message to life!   Cheers to you shedding the skin of survival!

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Was Anyone Spotting for John Skipper?

March 24, 2018

I feel for John Skipper, former ESPN chief.  It’s hard not to, in some capacity, when you see someone’s life work unplugged and unravelled.  But here is where my mind goes after reading his fall-from-grace story – he was not alone. I grew up watching ESPN and I know a lot of what I came to love about the ESPN brand and sports was a direct result of John’s efforts and passion. As a professional, I also had the privilege of working with ESPN on numerous occasions with NASCAR, NHRA, B.A.S.S., and other sports properties.  I can tell you that the people who worked there reflected John’s attitude and vision – they were first-class people. Now, I also believe that we make and must stand by our choices.  And, like John, we are not alone. In racing, we have spotters.  These people have an elevated perspective of the race track and tell drivers what is happening in their blind spots and how to navigate through wrecks happening ahead of or around them.  There is a remarkably high level of trust between drivers and their spotters to ensure their safety and ultimately their success – as a team. I don’t know who John’s spotters were in his years of cocaine addiction, or if they tried to help and he ignored them.  But I can’t believe he was alone. Can we learn from this? Yes. Who are your spotters? Who are the small group of people in your life that are looking out for you?  The ones to tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.  We may not like what they have to say, but if they are trusted, then we know from where their words are coming – and we need to listen. So, who are they? Can you rattle off their names right now?  Do they even know that you consider them your spotters? Who are you a spotter for in your life? We are all in this journey together and need each other to have our backs when we are operating in our blind spots. Career stage does not matter.  Life stage does not matter either.  We all need spotters and they need to know that we need them to shoot straight with us and that we will listen! John, I have no doubt you will rebound from this and be stronger than before!

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Crisis of Values

December 24, 2017

We have a problem.  That’s right, we have a problem.  It’s not someone else’s problem – it’s our problem as leaders. The floodgates have burst opened through traditional and social media channels on the subject of people in power abusing their positions by taking advantage of those further down the organizational chart.  The storylines read of sexual misconduct, harassment, and greed, to name a few behavioral trends. Have these stories been told because people are fed up and are ready to name names? Is it because there are more news outlets willing to cover these stories? Perhaps it just took one brave person to step up and tell their story for others to find the courage to do the same?  I believe it’s a combination of all of those and more.  However, what I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that these stories shine a spotlight on the crisis of values that we see in leadership. The word values is one that we grew up hearing about and were told to reflect upon, think about, and use in our daily activities to guide us through the maze of life.  What we are seeing is a significant disregard of values by people in positions of leadership and power.  This chasm between values and behavior is what I’ve seen time and time again when deconstructing crisis situations over my 25-year career. Media reports make us first-hand witnesses to the void in the individual’s value in themselves, their relationships, their intentions, and their legacies.  Ultimately their actions, not just from a year or two ago, but some accusations spanning decades, are all being judged in the court of public opinion delivering career-shattering verdicts. These power plays have been happening for thousands of years and are not isolated to people on the public stage.  And, these behaviors are not gender based either as I think about inappropriate male student/female teacher relationships that are just as much about position and power as a senior-level executive or influential TV talking head.  But in today’s world of instant information sharing and online lynch-mob trolling, the stakes are at an all-time high. In many cases, careers have been ended, families have been split, decades of work have been unravelled, and legacies forever tarnished. And this isn’t just an issue for those in the public eye.  I can think of a person in my life who was a very close friend and was fired from his job of 10 years for embezzlement, which ended with jail time and a divorce.  Can you think of a scenario in your life that has hit close like this? What could have stopped these missteps from occurring? Some cases may have required professional counseling, however, at the foundation of this is a lack of values – plain and simple. Our values should be at the core of who we are … or, at least they should be! Our values are not negotiable … or, at least they shouldn’t be! Our values are what make us stand up for what we believe even when not popular … or at least they […]

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