Frances 0. Thomas

National Certified Counselor

Still searching for meaning

hands-1345059_640

 

I love the results of a recent study done by researchers at the University of Sussex and the University of Greenwich It confirms that bosses have virtually nothing to do with how meaningful employees feel their jobs are. Viktor Frankl had the right of it. Meaning only comes from within.

The researchers interviewed 135 people in ten jobs ranging from priest to garbage collector. They found that people feel they have meaning as a fellow human being; it’s personal.

This can happen when others find what they do matters.  They label this self-transcendent.

The feeling can occur in a situation that is uncomfortable or even painful, what they term poignant

Purpose is not a constant. It is episodic and comes and goes according to circumstances. It also takes a while before we realize that something meaningful has happened upon reflection.

Bosses get in the way when they interfere with employees’ values, judgment, or supporting relationships.

Dr. Adrian Madden of Greenwich’s business school says organizations that master this concept will have greater success in attracting and retaining their best employees.

That only makes sense, right? Who wants to go to work every day thinking “What’s the point?” Why is it so hard for companies to get this?

Exercise with a buddy

gecko-1362618_960_720

Many years ago. I bought a Pilates machine from QVC. I used it religiously when it was new. Then, as these things go, I got out of the habit. The machine languished on a screened in porch here in Florida and the rollers deteriorated.

Well, I got re-motivated so I ordered new rollers. My husband and I managed to remove the crumbling old ones and attach the new ones, all without causing each other any bodily harm, a feat of which we are both proud.

After copious applications of WD40, the machine is working pretty well. Now, I am again exercising under the observation of a gecko. Poor creature can’t quite figure what is going on. He wouldn’t be my first choice as an exercise buddy. He is not nearly as much fun as the one in the commercials. No witty repartee.

Do you have an exercise buddy?

 

 

 

 

 

Delusional

bikes-1347199_1280

Self-awareness is such a rare commodity.

I like to think that I am just a little out of shape. This morning, I decided to take a spin on my bike and soon learned how badly I have been fooling myself.

Mind you, I have the old-fashioned kind of bike. No gears or hand brakes for me. Still, I live in Florida, so my route is flat. Piece of cake, right?

First I had to pump up the tires since it has been so long since I rode it. Then I set out wobbling down the block, pedaling slowly.

I lasted about ten minutes before I had to head for home. My legs were all but shaking. Yikes!

Now, according to Web MD, short bouts of exercise, like. for example, ten minutes here and there, are effective. Let’s hope so.

 

 

Propel yourself to marketing success

Propel book Front Cover (1)

 

I am no stranger to marketing; I’ve done it in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Yet even this old dog learned a few tricks in Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business by Whitney Keyes. If you, on the other hand, are a newcomer to the field, her five marketing principles lay out everything you need to know very clearly. They apply equally to big business, small business, and even personal branding.

Keyes breaks it all into five sections aspects: strategy, story, strength, simplicity, and speed.

A lot of thinking goes into marketing before you ever take any actions. The Strategy section thoroughly defines the basics: mission, vision, values, and SMART goals and objectives. Keyes also covers SWOT analysis, how to do market research, and what to do with the information you discover.

Keyes talks about the process of branding and finding target audiences in her Story section.

Strength comes through developing and then leveraging authentic relationships with customers as well as collaboration and alliances with other businesses and with the media.

Simplicity is the result of focus on priorities and setting action plans to avoid wasting time and money.

Speed is not only about being able to move quickly to take advantage of opportunities but also being able to judge quickly whether your actions are getting the right results.

What I particularly liked about Propel are the numerous examples all along the way from Keyes’ own career and clients. These clarify the concepts she offers and demonstrate how they work in real life.

If you need a crash course in marketing or just a refresher, you will find it in Propel.

 

whitney

Over the past 20 years, Whitney Keyes has worked as a senior Microsoft manager, strategic adviser for American Express and a marketing consultant to thousands of individuals and organizations around the world. She is a member of the National Women’s Business Council, a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Whitney was a winner of the Small Business Administration’s Women in Business Champion of the Year Award for Washington State.

Whitney serves as a professor and fellow for the Center for Strategic Communications at Seattle University and guest lectures for the University of Washington and other academic institutions. She teaches Global Reputation Management and related marketing communication courses. She also manages a consulting practice, delivers keynotes and facilitates workshops for organizations including the Small Business Administration and Port of Seattle.

New magazine premieres

Displaying MediaKit_Logo_IndieLoveMagazine.jpg

IndieLove Magazine

by Sarah Gai

IndieLove Magazine is a new publication showcasing Indie Everything. From Independent Authors, Musicians, Film makers, Actors, Art, Etsy Crafters. With Bonus features such as content articles, recipes, DIY, not for profit and travel.

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Sarah will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Please follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/04/book-blast-indielove-magazine-by-sarah.html

 

Links:

www.indielovemagazine.com

Facebook page : https://web.facebook.com/indielovemagazine/

twitter :  https://twitter.com/IndieLoveMag

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/indielovemag/

What Makes You Fascinating?

Sally Hogshead has just released a completely revised edition of her book Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist. With an extensive background in advertising, she brings a specific viewpoint to differentiating yourself from others. According to the system she has devised, your brand can be Innovation (using the language of creativity), Passion (the language of relationship), Power (the language of confidence), Prestige (the language of excellence), Trust (the language of stability), Mystique (the language of listening),or Alert (the language of details.) She’ll help you determine which one you or your company are and how to use your innate qualities to your best advantage.

I found her original book, well, fascinating. This new and improved version promises even more help for those who want to stand out from the crowd.

Excerpt:

Democratic Design

Ikea’s business model is as quirky as its furniture. The company believes that good design shouldn’t be reserved for the elite; instead, it markets good design for the masses. Each piece of furniture is a collaboration between the company and the consumer. In exchange for assembling the furniture yourself, you get better design at a lower price. Ikea calls this “democratic design.” A replicable process for ideas makes it possible to have “democratic branding.” Anyone can develop good ideas. I want to bring branding out of the ivory tower and into the trenches. Most businesses have limited time or money, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create effective and engaging messages. Just as you no longer need a travel agent to book your cruise, or a trip to the doctor to learn the symptoms of a common cold, you no longer need a marketer to do marketing.

Marketing for Non- Marketers

If it was easy to create a brand message, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could build a brand, then branding experts would be out of business.Here’s why: If a process is confusing and terribly difficult, only a few exquisitely talented minds do it. That’s why many agencies cultivate an intimidating image, hotbeds of new and exciting trends. Brand development usually requires months of research, development, and testing. The process is not for the faint of heart or the low of budget. Someone coached me that when presenting ideas to a client, it should be just one idea, so that it would be one of a kind. Like precious jewel sitting atop a black velvet cushion. By doing so, it would feel more rare and unreplicable. I believe that’s backward. Brands live inside communities, not corporations. Your brand lives inside conversations and aspirations. A brand lives in workplaces and schools. Inside homes and dinner table conversations. Brands aren’t static; they are living, breathing things that organically change and evolve as new people join the conversation. Your brand won’t shatter like your grandmother’s brittle china doll. Don’t keep your brand high on the shelf, out of reach. Hold your brand, push it, stretch it, and see how far it can go. A brand shouldn’t live under lock and key, hidden away at night. Quite the opposite. It should unite people, giving them a shared sense of ownership. Don’t just give consumers a better option to purchase . . . give them a better perspective on themselves and their world.

How the World Sees You (and Your Brand)

If you’re a brand, it doesn’t matter how you see your consumers; it matters how your consumers see you. Corporations don’t create brands. People do. The people inside your company are also the keepers of your brand. An outside party won’t know the culture and spirit and nuances like your team. You might not have a dedicated marketing department, and that’s okay. But what if the branding process could be open source, accessible to anyone?

It can be. It should be. You can do this. You can build your brand. You should build your brand. In fact, if you want to compete in a crowded and competitive marketplace, you must. Nobody knows your brand like you. You just need a template to follow. Or a hack.

Branding Hacks

You’ve probably heard of “life hacks”— clever shortcuts that allow you to save time, money, or hassle. Life hacks might reveal how to sneak more green vegetables into your kids’ meals, or how to relax more quickly to fall asleep. A productivity hack might show you how to speed- read. And the author Tim Ferriss once described a “sport hack,” in which he supposedly hacked the national Chinese kickboxing championship by winning with only a few weeks of training. Josh Linker, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, describes hacking this way: “Putting motives aside, the act of hacking requires tremendous creativity. A hack is an innovative and unorthodox way to crack big problems.” So what about marketing? Can we “hack” that process? What if branding could be open source, accessible to anyone? It can be. It should be. You can do this. You can build your brand. You should build your brand. In fact, if you want to compete in a crowded and competitive marketplace, you must. And you don’t need an ad agency.

 

You too can have a super power

wonder-woman-1016324__180

 

Wonder Woman got it right

If you are feeling helpless at work, there is a very simple strategy that may help you feel more powerful. Strike a pose.

Amy Cuddy of Harvard University has researched how assuming the classic Wonder Woman pose, hands on hips, feet wide apart, shoulders back, actually raises your body’s testosterone. After holding the pose for only two minutes, you feel a surge of confidence, and those around you perceive you as more powerful.

Another benefit is a reduction in cortisol, so you also feel less stressed.

This is classic body language advice of being open versus being closed in stance. But now there is physical evidence to back it up.

In other words, don’t cross your arms as if to protect yourself. Take up as much space as you can. Keep your head up. You probably want to avoid putting your feet up on your desk though.

There has been some push back on these ideas by other researchers. Maybe they won’t work for everyone, but maybe, just maybe, they will work for you.

Why not give the pose a try and see what happens?

Bullying on the job

bullying-679274_640

A lot has been written about the topic of bullying in schools over the past several years. But what do you do if you are an adult and the bullying is occurring in your workplace?

The Workplace Bullying Institute definition is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse.” The Institute conducted a national survey in 2014 and found that 27% of responders have been subjected to bullying. Most of the bullies are bosses, but 72% of employers deny it is happening, defend it, or even encourage it.

Who becomes a target of a bully? Generally someone who is a veteran employee and the most skilled and thus poses a “threat” to the bully. When a target tries to preserve their dignity and their right to be treated with respect, the bullying escalates.

Workplace bullying, sadly, is not illegal. At least, not yet. The Institute is lobbying to have a bill passed. Until that is achieved, what can an individual do?

The Institute offers suggestions but not much hope.

First, call it what it is; give it a name. This legitimizes the problem. The source of the problem is external. You did not invite it.

Second, take time off. Check the state of your mental health with a professional, not your employer’s EAP. Decide whether to stay and fight or look for a new job elsewhere. Check the state of your physical health too. Stress takes its toll. Research state and federal legal options. In a quarter of cases, discrimination plays a part. Talk to an attorney and look at your employer’s internal policies, but if you take an action, expect retaliation.

The Institute cautions against taking advice commonly given by human resources or career coaches. Don’t beat yourself up for not confronting the bully. If you could have, you would have. Hold your employer accountable for creating the work environment that allows bullying. Don’t ask for relief from the bully’s boss. They are allowing the bullying. Create a paper trail, but don’t share your documentation with anyone at work.

The Institute estimates that a person who has been targeted by a bully has a 66% chance of losing his or her job either by quitting or by being terminated. That is a sobering statistic.

S.L. Young in the Huffington Post states that workplace bullying is a “toxin to an organization.” He urges leaders to take proactive and corrective measures.

Have you ever experienced or witnessed workplace bullying? How did you handle it?

 

The Productivity Book virtual tour

 

The Productivity Book

by Michael Brecht

GENRE: Non-fiction/time management

About the book:

Ever wondered what the secret is to productivity? Here’s a hint: there isn’t just one. Introducing the Doodle Productivity Book! Containing in-depth interviews with 30 of the world’s top productivity & time management experts, this book lifts the lid on the industry’s best kept tips and tricks. The result? An engaging and practical guide that will help you find your natural pace, so you can work smarter—not harder.

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 Michael Brecht will be awarding 5 Doodle Premium Accounts for Free to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Excerpt:

CONCLUSION

Since the questions we asked opened a window into a day in the life of a productivity expert, we wanted our final conclusion to reflect this. So, here’s our summary of what a productive day should look like.

The perfect day starts the night before. Outline your goals. Whether this is a simple to-do list or time blocking, make sure tomorrow’s objectives are clear. Then sleep on it.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Know what works for you and structure your schedule around that. Nearly all of our experts cited adequate rest as essential to maintaining productivity.

Wake up bright and early. Leave enough time to spend at least an hour and a half preparing for the day. Whether it’s reading, yoga, Pilates, running or simply thinking. Follow this with a healthy breakfast and you’re good to go.

Get to work. Now that you’ve prepared mentally, it’s time to take on the day. This period is when you’re at your most productive, so use it wisely. Let the calls go to voicemail, put your cellphone on silent and don’t answer emails. Emails are rarely worth your most energized and motivated moments. Unless it’s a creative meeting, don’t take it.

If you need time constraints, use a timer! Or the Pomodoro Technique.

Once you’re into the afternoon, time block to focus on admin and less important tasks like responding to emails and taking meetings. This will stop you from getting distracted and help you to focus on one thing at a time.

Because your brain is slower, this is the best part of the day to incorporate technology. So, start up your favorite tried and tested apps and use them to help you take notes, see your reminders, book appointments and whatever else is important. And remember, saying “no” can be more productive than “yes”.

By this point, you should have had a highly productive day. So, use the evening to relax with friends or family. But remember: A little planning the night before can go a long way toward having a successful, fulfilling tomorrow.

 

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I am a serial entrepreneur, have more than twenty years of experience in IT and Digital Media and have held several international leadership positions in Europe and AustralAsia.

Since the beginning of 2014 I am CEO of Doodle – the world’s favourite online scheduling tool. Together with my fantastic team we have integrated Doodle into the Digital Portfolio of Tamedia AG, Switzerland’s largest media company. Our focus is to grow the business into a global application while strengthening its product offerings and continuing its successful monetisation. Doodle AG is a highly profitable business with offices in Zurich and Berlin.

My experience ranges from founding a start-up to various exits to multi-national corporates and subsequent integration. I enjoy topics of digital transformation and the leadership of highly innovative teams with a particular focus on growing a business internationally.

Now that digitalisation is increasingly becoming a topic for all businesses from start-up to large corporate, I have decided to start my own blog. Here you’ll find information on productivity topics, quotes about personal and professional efficiency, my reviews of awesome apps I use myself and I am trying to present a few stories that aren’t meant to be too serious too.

In my private life I am married and our home comprises of four children and our dog (an Australian Labradoodle). We are currently living in five different countries and I myself carry a German and an Australian passport. I enjoy sports, in particular football, swimming, tennis and all kinds of outdoor activities and I am passionate about the discovery of great wines.

 

Links:

http://productivity-book.com/

https://twitter.com/michaelbrecht?lang=de

http://michaelbrecht.com/

 

Buy links:

https://itunes.apple.com/book/the-productivity-book/id1050616645?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-productivity-book-michael-brecht/1122830470

https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/the-productivity-book

http://www.amazon.com/Productivity-Book-Professionals-About-Management-ebook/dp/B016UQV92K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452530967&sr=8-2&keywords=productivity+book

 

Book links:

http://www.businesszone.co.uk/decide/productivity/the-four-productivity-hacks-every-entrepreneur-needs#.VnRXHbQzHNM.twitter

http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/32236-seven-time-saving-apps-your-fellow-entrepreneurs-use-to-boost-productivity

https://sliwinski.com/productivity-book/

 

 

 

 

Novel advice by James O. Born

Scent of Murder cover final

 

The SW FL Reading Festival is an annual event I try not to miss. This year, I attended a 2 hour long presentation on novel writing by James O. Born. He writes police thrillers which are so not my thing, but I figured good writing is good writing, regardless of genre. I’m glad I went to hear what he had to say. He is personable, self-effacing, and humorous and very easy to listen to.

Born distributed a one page handout with space to take notes. By the end of his talk, I had filled nearly all the white space with his good advice.

Born said to structure your novel and indeed each paragraph and each sentence with a beginning, middle, and end. The entire novel is like a three act play. Within each of those acts are a beginning, a middle, and an end. And within each of the sections are also a beginning, a middle, and an end. In other words, each “act” should comprise 9 (or more) scenes for a total of 27 in the novel as a whole. This is a problem area for me. So far, all I can come up with are enough scenes to fill a novella.

He will sometimes write a “treatment” instead of an outline, as if for a movie. In Hollywood, a treatment should be as short as possible, one page maximum. Even better is a “tagline” that describes the novel in one sentence.

Born said he defines a character by the choices that person makes. Hard choices make an interesting character. A happy protagonist is a boring protagonist.

Dialogue must match the character. Born thinks of dialogue as what you wish you had said in a situation but didn’t think of until it was too late to say it. To learn how to write good dialogue, he suggests eavesdropping. He always reads his dialogue out loud. If it is spoken by a woman, he reads it in a high pitched voice. He confessed he only does this when nobody, not even his wife, is around.

Born gave the following as a bibliography: How to Write the Break Out Novel by Donald Maass, On Writing by Stephen King, Story by Robert McKee, and The Lie That Tells the Truth by John Dufresne.

Born’s latest novel is Scent of Murder.

Post Navigation