Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts racing in my head

I'm smack in the middle of reading "Linchpin Are You Indispensable?" by Seth Godin.  It's the kind of book that you instantly identify with & want to keep reading, however finding chunks of uninterrupted time in my life are rare, so I'm reading & digesting it in bits & pieces.

Seth has the gift of being able to coin new terms. He reintroduces old concepts in new ways so that you visualize them in entirely new contexts.  He really paints a new vision for his audience - it's almost like art. One of those terms is "the resistance" which more often than not prevents us from staying on course and seeing our goals through to the end. There are also those endless personal to-do lists that we all continually add to, but never seem to fully complete.

"Whichever way the wind of resistance is coming from, that's the way to head - directly into the resistance. And the closer you get to achieving the breakthrough your genius has in mind, the stronger the wind will blow and the harder the resistance will fight to stop you." - Seth Godin

There have been so many thoughts and ideas racing in my head as I've been reading this book.  It makes you really take a look at how you have been approaching your life & more specifically, your work life & career.  Most people have this vision of the things they strive to accomplish, but perhaps are not as deliberate when considering the process or the journey. Things just happen & most people are unaware of the specifics of what got them from point A to point B. Most of us have done the things asked of us & have been rewarded for doing so. Or so we thought.

"Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow." - Seth Godin

Reading this book, however has made me reevaluate my journey from here on out. Maintaining optimism in my thoughts will be a key to making that happen. It's also related to the "awakening" I mentioned in my last post which is part of my personal recession definition. Nothing in my career life right now seems to be moving quickly towards certainty or closure.  This past year has seemed so much more like a roller coaster ride - one I'm not behind the controls of.  Along with that feeling of having had my fate fall in someone else's hands, a fear of sorts, comes an almost primal need to make a transfer of power, to free up the resistance and to keep driving towards accomplishing my goals even if it means swimming in uncharted waters. It's an effort to develop & share my own works of art with the world in whatever form they may be.

"Where do you put the fear." "The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds." - Seth Godin

We all have episodes in our lives when initial fear has held us back & the ideas presented in this book really challenges us to push past where the fear wants to take us in lieu of something greater, something much more fulfilling. While I will share more nuggets of truth from this book in future posts, hopefully for now I have given you a little taste of what this book is about, so that you'll want to pick it up & read it for yourselves. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Your six word recession: heartwrenching, funny, revealing | MinnEcon | Minnesota Public Radio

Your six word recession: heartwrenching, funny, revealing | MinnEcon | Minnesota Public Radio

Check out this article & if you love this idea too,  join in the conversation along with me.
My words are:
Sobering

Awakening
Digging Deep
Cherishing Family

Have a great Thursday!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brisk 1st Day of Spring

Yes, today was the long awaited 1st day of Spring.  We had been spoiled with 60+ degree weather for a few days last week, so it was a rude awakening going out & feeling a distinct chill in the air today.  It wasn't exactly warm - kids were out playing in the sunshine, but were bundled up because the wind was COLD!

It wasn't a routine Saturday morning.  We had an alternate plan since my son participated in his very first photo shoot for a friend's clothing line.  We had talked about this day all last week in preparation, but with kids you never know what's going to happen. They are always full of surprises.

Of course DS was bright-eyed & active all morning, that is until we got on the highway, when I could see a little head bobbing up & down in the rear view mirror.  The car was lulling my son to sleep. I didn't want his hair to be mussed up or a funny imprint on the side of his face from his head plopping to the side & pressing down on the car seat straps. I handed him a train to play with, but to no avail - he was out like a light.

Luckily, it was a short car ride.  When I parked the car, got out & opened his door, the Brisk 1st Day of Spring air hit his little face, he was up & ready to walk inside the industrial warehouse building.  My son was intrigued by the old building's architecture along the way as we made our way up the old wooden stairs to where the shoot was being held.

Right away I new we were in trouble.  Dear son was groggy at first after waking from his brief nap. He clung tightly to my leg as we walked through the doorway.  The tall windows were covered to control the lighting on the set, so it was a bit dark & spooky I suppose to a little kid. Fun music was playing in the background & other kids were playing with brightly colored balls awaiting their turn to be photographed.  We got our 1st outfit & long story short - it took an eternity and a lot of cuddling and talking in a private little area for my dear son to finally relax and warm up enough to want to even put the outfit on, let alone have his photo taken under direction of a complete stranger.  A little bribe was eventually offered & accepted, after which we turned the corner.

He was starting to see the fun the other kids were having so he relaxed little by little & by the end of the shoot after a 2nd set of clothes & more photos, he finally said "You never told me how much fun I was going to have." He had made my day, being brave enough to test uncharted waters & to do something he never thought at the start of the day that he'd be able to do.  With my continued coaching & encouragement, something switched in his little brain telling him - "it's going to be okay - I know I can do this."





I'm so glad it did - I am always proud of my son - without question, but today I was proud of myself too for helping him get to that place. Oh the lessons we can learn from our kids about what can be accomplished if we dig down deep enough & just believe. Such priceless joy & wisdom they bring to us. It's a shared experience I'll never forget.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is virtually here.

Days like today are why we live here. It finally hit 60 degrees.  Seems like an eternity since we’ve seen so much warmth & sunshine.  No coats, plenty of short sleeves & even shorts came out for some.  We’re less than a week away from March 20th, the 1st day of spring. It’s time for renewal & a rebirth of hope in many ways. Birds are back in full force, bugs are getting in the house, and the rabbits & squirrels are in sight.  Some flowers have begun to sprout in our landscaping.



Spring d├ęcor will go up in the house this week – a seasonal tradition I’ve adopted since moving into this home. It may seem silly to some, but it’s those little things that spell tradition for our family.  My son notices every little change I make, unlike my hubby. (  ;

I’m in the middle of “Relevance” by Tim Manners.  I’ve had it forever, but had put it down to start reading a couple other new purchases. He talks about what it means to have relevance in a marketing strategy. Trying to limit the source of product development and innovation to your internal resources is not usually a catalyst for growth or success.

“Relevant brands let their best customers in on the creativity by inviting a conversation. Your best customers can also be your best innovators. Your brand’s relevance is not about what you have to sell; it’s about what your customers have to say.” – Tim Manners

A year ago at this time, my layoff was still fresh & very raw in my mind - I had my resume revised & re-written a couple of times & was looking for more sets of eyes to refine it more. I was just starting to think about my personal brand & what stories I needed to tell about what I had to offer my next employer. I thought my unemployment would be very short lived.  I didn't fully understand how bad the economy was or would get in the months to come.

Flash forward to 2010, I am still fine-tuning the formula for marketing my personal brand. To take this one step further, I’ll apply Tim’s ideas to making my own personal brand relevant to prospective employers, treating this job search strategy like the new season of spring. Employers don’t only want people who can execute what they already do well. They are looking for people with vision & insight for what can make them even better; people with concrete ideas & solutions for solving their problems.

“Frustration is the mother of relevance.” – Tim Manners

My goal is to approach each new opportunity as if I were a best customer or major vendor. By listening to their hot buttons, while researching their frustrations and intimate needs, I plan to show that I understand & epitomize what’s relevant for them in filling the position. Why give any potential employer a reason to overlook me?! I invite the conversation & will ask for the interview. Until I’m successful & land my next career role, I will continue with renewed enthusiasm & vigor in my search.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Knock Knock... Opportunity is that you?!

Over this past year I've been trying very hard to believe that when one door slams shut, another will open for you. I just have to stay patient & keep working toward my goal - to be the big breadwinner of the family & employed again. Ask - Believe - Receive - Repeat.  Those simple words make it sound so easy.

Tonight before bed, my son asked what day it was.  He's been asking that a lot lately.  A sign that not only my world has been turned upside down, but his has as well.  Not that I think he's damaged in some way by what has happened over the past year, but rather that he's getting older & can digest or process more of what's going on from day to day.  

We talk about things going back to the way they used to be when Mommy goes back to work & I have to believe that will happen one day.  I used to think soon, but now I'm not exactly sure.  I just have to keep doing my part to help make it happen.

Ask - Believe - Receive - Repeat. Then maybe one day soon, I'll find my next calling. Or it will find me.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Striving to be the best and thriving though change

Last Sunday was Oscar night.  I don't normally spend 3+ hours glued to the tube awaiting the results or critiquing the gowns & this year was no exception. I do, however like to know who won the major award categories. There were a number of things that made watching those final categories enticing, including Sandra Bullock's and Gabourey Sidibe Best Actress nominations for The Blind Side & Precious respectively.

Sandra received a Worst Actress Razzie Award for her role in “All About Steve” literally a day before winning the Best Actress award for her work on The Blind Side. I loved watching her Barbara Walters interview prior to the awards & then her acceptance speech upon winning her Oscar.  She has such incredibly believable wit, candor, humor & warmth in her thoughts & words. She makes you want to understand, trust & love who she really is inside - beneath all the layers that we've seen on & off the screen. We want to believe her when she speaks of her husband Jesse James "having her back" and what that means to her. Even Nate Berkus described her the other day on Twitter as "funny, open, warm and sweet."

Gabourey has been quoted in the past as saying "People look at me and don't expect much. I expect a lot." She went into the auditions for the role with a lot to gain & nothing to lose. She didn't let the fact that this role was her very first stop her from giving an extraordinary performance, even a career defining one. It was her once in a lifetime opportunity & she wasn't letting it pass her up. She is truly grounded & focused on her goals, with her self esteem intact.  

"I will not let anybody's opinion destroy me." - Gabourey Sidebe

She should have a long & very bright future ahead of her, as long as she continues to keep it all in perspective.

Striving to be the best, and thriving through change was my idea for this post. What I love about Sandra's win, is that she stepped out of her usual box & ventured into the uncertainty of a serious role.  It was a change, not something she was unfamiliar with because of the influence of her parents, but untested waters for her none-the-less. She found a way to not only survive the change, but she thrived on it.

Not every situation we encounter will have that element of familiarity, but we still need to embrace the uncertainties. When you stop and listen to the issues you'll always discover what within yourself of significance & value can be brought to the table. Only then will you to be able to rise to the occasion, make substantial progress & lead that vision for change. Let every opportunity to contribute to a "win" for promoting & leading through change, be like your own mini Oscar performance.

Monday, March 1, 2010

No Kidding Sherlock?!

It's no surprise that a study, performed by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association" last fall, stated among it's findings that "Women with children at home are more likely to use Facebook (60.3%, MySpace (42.4%), and Twitter (16.5%) than average adults (50.2%, 34.4%, 15.0%, respectively). Additionally, 15.3% of moms maintain their own blog." For more info on this study, visit: http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=786

There are more socially active moms on twitter than I could have ever imagined.  I also frequent four mom-centered sites on a regular basis, including BabyCenter, MomsLikeMe, CafeMom & Circle of Moms. Found a new playgroup through one of them which we tried out for the first time today.  A mix of circumstances brought these women together, from relocation to this area, loss of ft work or pure choice to be a SAHM.  They were all looking to replace the adult interaction they all miss on a day-to-day basis, similar to the camaraderie & networking that exists out on Twitter.

@GirlMeetsGeek recently tweeted "LinkedIn = Office Desk. Twitter= Water Cooler. Facebook = Bar" which I totally identified with. Okay well maybe it's not the total picture, but it neatly summarized, for the most part, how I utilize each of those social networks. Perhaps I'd swap out "Bar" for "Girls Night In/Out." While retailers are trying to capitalize on this growing social networking sites for raising brand awareness & increasing future sales through partnering with MomBloggers & other forms of WOM positive advertising, some "Women with children at home" have other motivations for being active on these social networks.

While there is a time & place for all types of agendas, I don't want to see the true value of these personal interactions between people who may have never crossed paths before and those relationships that are being built or maintained clouded by spam & purely commercial interests. Please respect those networks for their organic purposes.