Tag Archives: career development

Seven Secrets to Become an Overnight Sensation

By Denise MichaelsDenise Michaels

What do reality star Kim Kardashian, investor mogul Warren Buffett, and super attorney Gloria Allred have in common (besides the fact all three are swimming in money)?

They are all media darlings.  When they want the world to know what they are doing – people listen.  When they have a new offering, or, they want you to know about something they are doing, the headlines flash, the video cameras roll and within hours everyone knows what they want us to know about them.

Wouldn’t it be great having the ability to command headlines to tell people about your business without the paparazzi or the need for rehab a year later?

Knowing how to build your platform of fans and customers is an essential part of creating a business people will notice in 2012 and beyond. It’s how books become number one on the bestseller lists, how bloggers with a business drive sales into hyperspace, or how products like the Missoni line of designer fashions at Target are snapped up and sell out in a few hours.  Below are seven secrets to help you get noticed and be seen as influential when you want to get the word out about your business.

  • Your presence on social networking platforms like Facebook is essential.  Connect with movers and shakers you want to know you. You can add comments, start a group of followers or develop a fan page. Don’t know what to say? Share what you’re doing in a compelling way.  There’s only one degree of separation with social networking.  Post daily and build a fan base.
  • Conduct business with integrity and honesty – not for a quick buck. In this new era of citizen media, disgruntled customers can spin out of control and destroy your reputation faster than you can say “Twitter.” Trust is critical to your success in the post Bernie Madoff environment. Take care of customers and let them go online with a positive story about your business, not a negative one.
  • Get comfortable with media including radio, television, print and online sources. Surprisingly radio is an unsung hero because you have an opportunity to tell listeners how to connect with you. Print can be powerful, too. Professional trade journals are usually crying out for fresh articles for their eager readers. If you’re uncomfortable with this strategy remember that every day you own a business is like the biggest kick-butt seminar you’ll ever attend. Be willing to stretch.
  • Use public speaking in front of groups as a way to position yourself as an expert or an authority in your field. The minute you stand in front of a room full of people you’re automatically seen as an expert. Develop a sense of humor or at least memorize a few jokes.  People are more open to new ideas right after a good chuckle.  If speaking makes you uncomfortable consider joining a Toastmasters group for practice and constructive support.
  •  Discover ways to keep your energy level or “chi” up. You can work 24/7 and never get everything done. Learn to delegate things to others who are better suited and love to do the tasks you don’t have to do. Building up your success only to crash and burn a year or two later is no fun. Plus, in 2012 you never know when someone has a camera and captures you being you.
  • Use short videos (no more than five minutes) to share helpful tips and ideas about your expertise and how you help customers. Or, tell people about exciting events coming up in your business or life. Don’t be afraid to share your successes when they happen. Let your enthusiasm and passion for what you love shine.  Upload them to a platform like YouTube and share all over the Web.
  • Share your story of success in a way that’s emotionally compelling and helps people relate to you and what you’re all about. If you’re a positive person, generally you want to forget the tough times.  But that’s where your ideal customer is at right now, in need of your product or service. There’s a way to craft your story so you come across as a person who has overcome obstacles and who can relate to their concerns now.

These seven keys provide the broad brushstrokes to become an overnight sensation.  Of course an “overnight sensation” is really a person who’s worked hard for years then it appears they suddenly burst upon the scene. When you harness and leverage these secrets you’ll be well on your way to commanding the influence and positive attention that will help your business grow successfully.

A powerful way to gain the strategic skills and confidence you need to pull it off is with the help of two bestselling authors, Stacey Hall and Denise Michaels (pictured). Both know the secrets to creating success in a sea of constant change. In a two and a half day workshop called “Occupy Your Life… NOW!” they teach business owners ways to embrace the skills to become influential and an “overnight sensation” in your own right.

Make Your Own Managerial Impact: Avoid Your Boss’s Mistakes

By Esther Francis JosephEsther Francis Joseph

After years of hard work, you’ve made your way through the company’s ranks and have finally received the recognition you deserve by getting the promotion you’ve been dreaming of. And after many years of being overworked and under-appreciated by managers, you vow, “When I become the boss, I am not going to make the same mistakes my supervisors made and treat my employees the way I’ve been treated.”

So, how’s that working for you now that you are in charge?

Fifteen years ago, Sheila was hired as one of many receptionists at a huge firm. She went from receptionist to secretary, and now, she has just been promoted to office manager, where she will supervise those she used to work with. Through the years, Sheila has had to take on duties that were outside of her job description, often serving as a personal assistant instead of a business associate. Having to perform and deliver under unreasonable deadlines and conditions, and often not receiving credit for the successful outcomes, Sheila now understands how the skills of lower level employees are under-utilized and undervalued in her organization.

Sheila wants to be the kind of manager that recognizes employee’s strengths and potential, applying them to benefit the company.  She doesn’t want to blindly follow her predecessor’s examples, yet she doesn’t want to entirely reject them simply to be different. She is determined to apply her own leadership strategies; techniques that will work for her entire team and the company as a whole.

Of course, we all want to avoid the managerial and professional mistakes of our predecessors, but sometimes that’s hard to do when organizational culture is entrenched. This would be especially difficult for someone like Sheila who has been with a company for a long time and is now the manager of her former peers.

Making those changes are important to Sheila, but can someone who is in this situation gain the respect of her coworkers; some of whom have been with the organization as long as she has and have become her close friends in the process? How can she do that without resorting to the old style of leadership her predecessors exercised? Can she balance the two, being an effective and impartial professional supervisor while maintaining friendship with her staff?

To Gain Change, Change Must Be Made: What Sheila must keep in mind during her transition from employee to supervisor is in order to gain change, change must be made. In her efforts, she has to lead by example and grow a thick skin. Sheila will have to accept that some of her former peers will understand these changes, while others will try to hold on to the old ways.  She has to be fully aware that her old friends will now look at her differently and possibly resent her, but she can’t allow this to deter her from her new managerial goals. Instituting a new office culture, where everyone is treated fairly, where managers do what is in the best interest of the whole company will be a trying undertaking for her. Sheila will have to be forceful, yet considerate in making her desired changes.

Office Friendships: The number one mistake that some bosses make is trying to be friends with their subordinates. They believe that if everyone likes each other, the office will be more cooperative and run more smoothly. However, it has the opposite effect. Friends are on the same level as one another, while managers and employees have a hierarchical relationship. Sheila will have to put aside many of her friendships since friends do not order each other around; therefore this method of management rarely works.

Sheila must set the foundation of her new relationship with her staff on day one, addressing the new situation in a staff meeting, openly sharing her new vision and expectations and outlining the new direction and policies she wants to establish moving forward. Sheila must maintain her new focus and disposition no matter what.

Transparency and Respect: At first these new changes might cause tension since there will be some who will test her new authority. Sheila must remain resolute and not falter in achieving her goals, while always remaining respectful. If she continues to behave fairly and openly with all her staff, insisting on being treated with the same respect and professionalism she demonstrates, her workforce will come to support her endeavors. They’ll come to realize that the changes she’s advocating are in their best interest since they would be the ones to gain the most from them.

Employees should trust their bosses and know that they can come to them for help, but as an authority figure and not a pal. Employees need to know that bosses are the ones who set the rules and standards and administer disciplinary measures. Both supervisors and employees need to set and abide by professional boundaries at all times.

Times have changed and so must the way businesses are run. Those in positions of authority need to be prudent. New managers should take the best of what they’ve learned along the way and reject what no longer works while injecting their own style and values, in an effort to create a respectful harmonious working environment that will achieve both the company’s mission and bottom-line.

Esther Francis Joseph is a personal coach and author of, “Memories of Hell, Visions of Heaven: A Story of Survival, Transformation, and Hope,” her personal story of survival and perseverance, despite a violent childhood. Growing up on the picturesque island of St. Lucia, Esther molded her literary talents with her childhood experiences as she continues down her path to leading a joyous and fulfilled adult life.

Mindset For Success

By Dr. Farzanna HaffizullaDr Farzanna Haffizulla

It’s 2am on a Saturday morning. You awake in a panic. Your body is pulsing with electric jolts and your mind is racing uncontrollably! It is at this quiet, undisturbed hour of the early morning that it hits you: am I where I want to be in life? Did I meet my professional and personal goals? You close your eyes and the image of who you imaged yourself to be is vivid again. This image is so powerful that you awaken the next morning energized, ready to make this dream a reality!  How do you continue to achieve our life goals? What is needed to create a mindset for success?

As working professionals, juggling your family life, careers and community activities, you are faced with the looming question: are you happy with your status? Have you been successful, and do you see more success ahead? It is important to realize that everyone has their own set of priorities in life with different permutations of family, work, scholarship and leadership. While there is no “one size fits all” solution, there are common ideals that allow professionals to maintain a mindset for success. This allows you to ultimately achieve all of your life’s dreams and goals.

There are six steps to ensure personal happiness and professional success. These steps are the basic foundation of success in any endeavor, especially as a busy professional. It is vital to stay energized and focused on your goals always adapting to new variables that may be thrown your way.

1) Stay Positive: The first ingredient to success is maintaining and emanating strong positive energy from within, and surrounding yourself with positive people. Drawing from your own inner strength and not depending on external sources of confidence building ensures a continuous supply of “success fuel”: positive energy. Meditation, reconnecting with your spirituality, self –reflection and engaging in activities such as exercise, sports and a hobby of your choice are ways to cultivate your inner sanctum of positive energy. Though it may seem difficult to smile or stay happy during times of social or financial difficulty, remember that everything happens for a good reason. Live without regrets and allow life to teach you; learn from these lessons. A well-known adage is “A fool is one who makes the same mistake twice.” Visualize and state your goals out loud. This strengthens your inner visualization, making it a more concrete, definitive goal.

2) Maintain Academic Discipline: Develop self-discipline with regards to education.  Treat your academic life with utmost respect and continue to pursue higher learning. This gives you an edge over others and allows you to find an unexplored, untapped niche in your profession that can allow for tremendous success. Tailor your education to suit your goals and align yourself with mentors who can nudge you in the right direction and give you valuable experience.

3) Make a Plan: Plan out your goals and put them into action.  Create a work/life balance plan that factors in other aspects of your life that are important to you: family life, hobbies and other interests. Think about how your eventual goal will affect these other “spheres” of your life and decide where you are able to compromise. It is important to involve your significant other in these talks to avoid surprises and conflict. You must be pro-active in pursuit of your goals. If you continue to be consistent, responsible and show an edge and insight unsurpassed by your peers, you will shine and succeed.

4) Be Prepared: Prepare yourself for surprise scenarios that may interrupt your journey toward your goal.  This could be a company upheaval or financial “hiccup.” Take these changes in stride, never losing sight of your goal, but be open to modifying your approach. If problems arise, regroup to decide if you still want the same goals or if they need to be altered to suit your current situation. Your life is in your hands!

5) Be Humble: Never violate the cardinal rule of stepping on others to get to the top; this will eventually circle back around to you and has a negative snowball effect. Remain humble throughout your journey and accept criticism in stride. Winston Churchill once said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

6) Self-reflection and Re-evaluation: Frequent re-evaluation of your “happiness” thermometer is a good way to recognize if you are where you want to be in life. More angry or sad days than happy ones indicate that a change may be needed. Self-reflection, re-visiting your goals list and talking with your significant other is your next step in strategizing your move. Take a comprehensive worldly approach toward achieving your goals. Talk and interact with others who have already lived your goal and learn from their mistakes. Be willing to adapt to the new “climate” in your business life. As when the economy took a tumble years ago, instead of licking your wounds, remain open to new approaches within your area of expertise. This could be your golden opportunity to re-energize your career and professional goals.

There are many different ways to be a successful professional, even with the demands of other aspects of living. Choosing the best path depends on instinct, which must be honed over the years, and buttressed by the support you get from those closest to you. Open your heart and draw strength from within and envelop your life with positive thinking. You make your own mindset. The power has always been yours to use! You will learn through experimentation and good old-fashioned trial by error. Throughout your journey, keep this lesson at the forefront: With humility and drive you can yoke and harness your own inner strength as an adult and as a working professional, achieving all your life goals.

Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla is a speaker and expert in work/life balance. Her book, Harmony of the Spheres, offers methods to streamline workloads, solve interpersonal workplace issues and offers practical advice on integrating work and home life. In addition, she runs the website busymomMD.com, an informative site for modern, educated women juggling career and family.


Keep Up at Work as You Age

By Jennifer FitzPatrickJennifer FitzPatrick

Do you ever marvel at how fast the new college graduates in your office seem to move?  Have you heard them chatting about watching late night television or having sipped martinis at the latest hip club into the wee hours of the morning?  Despite this lifestyle they still seem to have unlimited energy at work the next day.  Do you remember when you used to be like that?  It’s not your imagination; you probably are moving a bit slower.  As we get older, the body has less “bounce back” than it did when we were younger.

As we age, we feel tired more often at work.  Even older workaholics in love with their jobs may remember a time when they could work 18 hours every day and not feel the effects.  These same driven career-oriented professionals are often surprised by their fatigue which often can lead to burnout.  How do we keep up with younger colleagues, subordinates, customers and even managers with seemingly unlimited energy, fresh ideas and appear to require little sleep?

Most people don’t realize that some of the natural aging process begins around age 30.  The need for sufficient sleep, good nutrition, and exercise becomes more important every year once the aging process starts.  Unfortunately for many of us, our responsibilities multiply in our middle age and older years which increases stress, just during the time when we should be reducing it.  Taking care of children, assisting older parents, buying homes, and increased career obligation often pushes good self-care to the lowest priority.

So how do we maintain excellent work performance, meeting our career goals while feeling good and being healthy?  Consider these 10 tips for feeling younger and healthier at work:

1) Treat your body better every year: Would you skip routine maintenance for your older vehicle and expect it to continue running reliably?  It’s startling how many responsible older workers wouldn’t dream of missing an oil change appointment for their car but don’t take time to eat a healthy lunch.  Eating healthfully, exercising regularly, minimizing alcohol and caffeine consumption, drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient sleep is essential to keeping energy up.  Treat your body at least as well as you treat your car.

2) Travel smart: Travel often becomes more challenging on our bodies as we get older.  If you are a road warrior, have a suitcase and toiletry case prepared at all times with items you will need such as toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush and makeup.  Try to pad cross-country and cross-continental trips with an extra day or two to reduce the strain of jet lag.  Stop regularly to stretch muscles during long car trips.

3) If you are ill, take a sick day: Even if you just have a cold, your immune system will thank you if you coddle yourself a little bit.  Take a day to drink tea in bed while watching an old movie.  If you truly have unavoidable deadlines, at least work from home.  The older workforce tends to see calling in sick as a sign of weakness, wanting to persevere even while under the weather.  Taking a day or two off when you begin to feel sick often decreases the length of an illness because the rest allows your body to recover more quickly.

4) Manage chronic conditions: Chronic and acute conditions are a not “normal” part of the aging process but they do occur more frequently as we get older.  If you have diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea any other chronic conditions, be sure to discuss with your doctor and see the appropriate specialists.  With the onset of chronic and acute conditions, older workers are more likely to be prescribed prescription medications.  It is important to do a cost-benefit analysis with your doctor when considering taking a new drug. The decision to take medicine should always be weighed carefully because many drugs tend to have side effects that may impact our work performance and quality of life.  Take into consideration how side effects such as sleepiness, weight loss or gain, fatigue or memory issues may impact your job if it is necessary to take a drug that causes them.

5) Stop rushing: Rushing from appointment to appointment is another surefire way to increase stress which can exacerbate chronic conditions.  Budget plenty of time to get to where you need to go.

6) Prioritize preventive care appointments: Preventive care such as routine physical, dental, and eye exams should not be constantly rescheduled in favor of work obligations.  Make it a rule that you will not reschedule a medical appointment more than once.

7) Schedule opportunities for stress reduction: Obviously taking vacations and unplugging from work altogether is ideal.  But regular yoga, massage, acupuncture, and psychotherapy appointments can help manage stress when a vacation is not possible.  Figure out a way to incorporate some relaxation into every single work day, even if it is only a few minutes of meditation.

8) Be more efficient at work: Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your job done in less time?  If you have trouble delegating, take a course on how to work smarter.  Ask others who seem to have a better work-life balance for their secrets.

9) Downsize your life in order to have more balance: If you have a high-pressure job that is your priority, you may need to cut back on volunteer or even some personal obligations in order to have more energy at work.  Keep a tickler file of activities and worthy volunteer opportunities to refer to when you retire and have more time.

10) Set boundaries with managers and subordinates: If you have the type of position where you need to be on call, let others know the way you prefer to be contacted.  If you don’t wish to be contacted on weekends unless it’s a true emergency, make sure you let people know.  Often older employees feel they need to be plugged in at all times, especially if younger counterparts are.  But everyone is entitled to set boundaries at their comfort level, especially during non-work hours.

Older workers often provide some of the most effective leadership and valuable contributions to the workplace.  When good self-care and healthy boundaries are cultivated, older workers can expect their example, wisdom and experience to influence others even after they are retired.

Jennifer FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C is an author, speaker and educator.  Founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., she has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare.  Jennifer is a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences and was an Adjunct Instructor at Johns Hopkins University. Her new book, “Your 24/7 Older Parent” answers the prayers of those dealing with the care of an elderly parent.  For more information on Jennifer FitzPatrick’s speaking, please visit www.jenerationshealth.com.

Conquering a Sick Day

By Dr. Farzanna HaffizullaDr Farzanna Haffizulla

It’s a crisp Monday morning; your agenda is interwoven with meetings, projects and the usual “catch-up,” from the week past. You awake with shaking chills and muscle pains that feel like you’re being pulsed by a million tiny lasers. Every time you swallow, your saliva feels like gasoline fueling an already rip roaring fire in your throat. You have too much to complete at your office, staying home is just not an option – or is it?  How do you know whether to stay or go? Though many often feel that they should fight through and go to work, there are many signs that indicate that you could be contagious; definitely a sign to stay home.

It is imperative to avoid spreading your infection and be evaluated for treatment to accelerate your recovery.  Signs that you are contagious, which should simplify your decision to not only stay home but to seek medical care to accelerate your recovery process, are as follows:

  • Fever

  • Persistent productive cough with fever

  • Outbreak of rash with or without fever

  • Red eyes with mucus discharge that seal your eyes shut in the morning

  • Severe sore throat

  • Muscle pains and achy joints with any of the above symptoms

  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea

  • High fever, stiff neck and headache

The spread of either a viral or bacterial infection can cause a negative trickle-down effect on the entire workplace. Realize that not only are your co-workers at risk from contracting your infection, but so are their families and loved ones, some of whom might have fragile immune systems such as the elderly and newborns.  Plus, it is unlikely that your coworkers will thank you when they contract the same cold or flu!  When your coworkers develop your illness, resulting in many other sick days across a department or office, productivity inevitably declines – many sick days could have been prevented by one or two!  There are many ways you can manage your workload while sick, especially if your coworkers or boss are willing to lend a hand and be flexible.  Some strategies that will allow for productivity during this “down” time include:

  • Work via remote computer. There are many projects in day-to-day office life that could be completed from your home computer while you are in your pajamas in bed! If you can link your office computer to your home desktop or laptop, you can tackle any computer-based projects you have lined up.  Another option is to have work scanned and sent to you for your home viewing and completion, allowing you to stay on top of your workload and recover at the same time.
  • Convert physical meetings to telephone or Skype consultations. Utilize technology to your advantage.  Most cell phones have the ability to add in multiple callers, allowing you to set up conference calls.  If you are supposed to call in to a conference line, have one of your coworkers send you the number and instructions.  Ask a coworker to set up an automatic, outgoing message with your “number for the day” and your Skype information. Not only will you impress your colleagues and clients with your innovation and dedication, but you show your consideration for not spreading your infection.
  • Take work home with you. This scenario works well if your symptoms start before the next work day.  Bring home that proposal that must be finished before the end of the week, and work on it in between naps.  Always prepare for the worst!
  • Arrange for coverage with a trusted colleague for these unplanned emergencies.  Along with letting your boss and other coworkers know that you will be at home, sick, arrange for a specific coworker to cover what they can of your workload.  Let them know of any pressing work or engagements, potential problems, or expected calls. This will allow a “physical” presence if one is needed in your line of work.
  • Utilize the time to work on “back-up work.”  This can be anything that needs to be done, but often falls by the wayside: expense reports, industry research or other tasks that you have pre-assigned yourself and have readily available. If you run your own business, this is a good day to review your budget, employee productivity and profit trends.

We cannot predict when an illness will punctuate our lives but we can certainly try to prevent such annoyances! The old adage “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” rings true here. There are many ways to protect your immune system and body against such infections, such as: diets high in Vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants that boost your immune system, avoiding sleep deprivation, smoking and alcohol, washing your hands regularly and encouraging your workplace to have hand sanitizers strategically placed for staff use, and taking time to de-stress.

You should also have regular medical checkups to screen for any underlying diseases that can compromise your immune system.  If you do find yourself sick and your primary care physician is not available at a moment’s notice to evaluate you, you have other options. You can either walk in to an urgent care center or have a telemedicine consult with a physician via web or phone.  There are also many walk in clinics at various pharmacies that can evaluate and treat you efficiently.

Many of us have experienced how a sick day can set you back. As professionals, parents and productive citizens, it works in our best interests to not only plan for these unforeseen sick days but incorporate prevention and maintenance of our wellness into our daily lifestyle. A healthy attitude and a positive spirit are also a basic foundation to achieving this art of health balance.  We are the architects of how we choose to deal with obstacles, such as sick days, that sometimes unpredictably insert themselves into our busy lives. Conquer them; don’t let them conquer you!

Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla is a speaker and expert in work/life balance. Her book, Harmony of the Spheres, offers methods to streamline workloads, solve interpersonal workplace issues and offers practical advice on integrating work and home life. In addition, she runs the website busymomMD.com, an informative site for modern, educated women juggling career and family.