When is it the right time to invest in yourself?

How is your investing going? That is, the investment in Y.O.U.? Is this something you actually consciously and strategically think about doing, or are your investments purely sporadic and absent of any planning? If your self-investments fall more into the second category, you are not alone, but it might not be the best category club to be in. Although the good news is it is never too late, and there isn’t a perfect time to invest in yourself. You simply need to get started.

Fortunately, the options to invest in yourself are only limited by your imagination. Some of your investments, such as financial investments offer a greater return. Investments in your attire should be on the easy end of the difficulty scale of investing, but make sure if you are at all fashion challenged, you seek the counsel of someone who has expertise in this area. This applies to both men and women. Although the good news for men is that the options for selecting the right attire is far less complicated than it is for women.

Depending on whether you have recently graduated from college or some type of professional training program, or have been in the working world for over 20 years, your level of educational investment is going to vary.  Regardless of whether you graduated last year or decades ago, you should always be investing in your education. I’m not suggesting everyone needs to obtain their master’s degrees, but I am advocating for some type of continued education. Your continued education can either be in the field you are working in, or in an area you might consider going into. It could also be studying about a topic which simply interests you.

There are numerous conferences and on-line resources for you to further invest in your education, and depending on the company you work for, some companies may in fact pay for your educational pursuits, or professional certifications. Learning is something everyone should consider investing in. Why? Because it can help to increase your level of proficiency, provide you with more job satisfaction and make you a more desirable employee based on your added level of educational expertise. Unlike some other things in life, your educational investments cannot be taken away from you, so they are generally sound investments for you to make.

I have written about how traveling is one of the best methods for you to learn about the world around you, and how it inherently makes you more aware about the world you work and live in. Traveling can also provide you with a greater appreciation for how and where you live, and help to inspire you both personally and professionally.

When you travel, you also become a more interesting person, as you can share your traveling adventures and what you have learned with others. When we travel, we also have a different mindset which can also help us to think about and solve challenges we have not been able to solve when we are physically too close to a situation.

Investing in yourself can take some planning, and every moment you invest in doing so will be worth the effort you put in. Not all of your investments have to take place during a particular time of the year or cost a fortune, and you can begin the process at any point. Everyone should be investing in themselves.

Still not convinced? Think of yourself as an investment bank account. It if is empty, it will not have a chance to appreciate. However, if you start saving and wisely investing in your account and specifically for the purposes of investing in your future, it will all be worth it…because you are worth it.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Break down the silos

Businesses thrive on many things, and two of them are being well managed and having solid structured processes in place to grow the business. If your company has more than 15 people in it, chances are you have a few different departments which have specialists in the traditional business disciplines such as operations, marketing, sales, customer service and accounting.

Depending on the size of your company, you could in fact have dozens of different departments, and each of them will function interdependently if they are running smoothly and are well managed. When the departments start to operate as independent units, or in what I refer to as silos, this is when challenges within your business will typically start to emerge.

Due to the fact the silo effect tends to move at a slower pace, it may in fact not be something you notice having happened. At least not until the negative aspect of a silo appears. Some examples of this could be finger pointing, lack or reduced communication, reduced efficiency and potentially a reduction in trust between the business departments. So, who owns or should recognize the silo effect occurring?

Typically, someone on the Operations team will begin to recognize the signs of the departments taking on the characteristics of becoming siloed. However, the marketing and sales teams are often the first ones to feel the effects of this. When this happens, the heads of marketing and sales should take steps to begin figuring out what caused the silo effect to occur, and then commit to coming up with a solution to start removing the reasons the silos have been developed.

Here are some tips on how to tackle breaking down the silos.

  1. Recognize and admit you have created silos.
  2. Silos are often a source of management power for certain types of individuals, but what they do not realize is that they will be stronger and more powerful when they collaborate with others.
  3. Mutually determine and agree upon the fact the silos created are not actively supporting the growth of the business, and could be harmful to its growth.
  4. Appoint someone from a neutral team to help with identifying how to begin taking down the silo barriers.
  5. Keep the initial meetings to discuss the silo problem small (e.g., 3-4) people, and typically the heads of the departments.
  6. Come up with a list of tasks, people, processes or systems which have contributed to the silo effect.
  7. Assemble a silo dismantling team, and partner people from the opposing teams to work on this project together.
  8. Determine a time line and milestones to accomplish breaking down the silos. The goal of doing this will be to focus the teams on ultimately contributing to eliminating the silos.
  9. Once the silos have been dismantled, celebrate the fact they have been, and leverage the experience to help other departments or teams which have become siloed.
  10. Similar to weight gain, the silo effect can creep back into the business. So, have your teams be aware of this, and commit to being disciplined about not allowing silo creep to occur.

Once the silos have been officially dismantled, you will see a noticeable lightness and higher levels of collaboration amongst the formerly siloed teams. The team members from the various departments will also be much less stressed, and potentially even enjoy doing their job more. I’ve seen the positive impact results from taking down silos happen, so you can take my word on this, or give the process of dismantling your silos a chance to experience this on your own.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Seeing Opportunities. Do you?

Are you constantly amazed by either people you know or read about who always seem to be able to take advantage of opportunities better than others? Are they lucky or do they have a sixth sense when it comes to being able to see or capitalize on situations which are highly favorable to them? The answer as you might imagine is not completely straightforward, and I am going to share with you how you can start to do this too.

Part of the challenge most people have in terms of not being able to take full advantage of potential opportunities either at work or in their lives is simple. They are not fully paying attention to what is going on around them as they are too busy dealing with their day to day challenges at home and work. However, if you conciously look up from time to time from all of the day to day distractions you have, you will begin to notice and see things going on around you via a different and more opportunistic lens.

When you begin to notice what is going on around you, the next part of capitalizing on opportunities is to start asking questions to those who are associated with what you are seeing going on. This might seem more difficult than it really is or needs to be, as you can generally obtain most of the basic information you will need by asking a limited amount of questions. For example, you can ask:

  • Do you see others being involved in “x” with what you are working on?
  • What is your timing for “Y”?
  • Have you put a plan together, even an initial one to determine the validity of the “Z” opportunity?
  • Providing you are interested enough to inquire and sincerly would want to participate, you can then ask: Could I play a part in the opportunity you are pursuing or engaged with?

If what I have outlined above seems a bit too nebulous for you, I want you to think about some of the times you have seen opportunities which you noticed, and did not pursue doing something about to take advantage of them.

Perhaps it was an opportunity to go on a trip with some of your friends, and you neglected to ask if you could be included in going on the trip. Or, possibly there was a discussion at work taking place about your department expanding which would create new roles, some of which you would be more interested in taking on the challenge of pursuing. Another example would be talking about how a certain neighborhood appears to be on the edge of becoming a more trendy place to live, and yet is currently a very affordable place to live. Did you think about taking advantage of this opportunity and let it pass you by?

Sure, luck and timing certainly play roles in why some people seem to be able to take better advantage or have more opportunities presented to them, but I would argue it really has to do with them paying more attention to their surroundings.

The next time you are frustrated with yourself or your life or work situation would be the ideal time to practice exercising how to see and leverage the opportunities surrounding you. If you do not do this, you will only continue to remain in what I refer to as neutral gear. From my perspective, why would anyone want to stay in this gear? Live your life at least in first or second gear, and when you really start to take advantage of and having opportunities present themselves, you will soon be moving onto third, fourth and fifth gears which are way more fun to be living in.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Did you know? My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon, and has been getting five star reviews! Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift, and is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers. Why? Because the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best.

Gentlemen. Please continue to mentor women.

Arianna Huffington recently warned about men potentially shying away from mentoring women as one of the biggest downsides to #MeTooMovement. She also alluded to how this would place a further divide between the two genders interacting professionally. If anything, the genders are at a point in time when we need to work towards figuring out how to do a better job of interacting. One of the ways to do this, is to increase the amount of mixed gender mentoring, not go in the other direction.

Mentors have a tremendous responsibility for professionally guiding those who are working with them, and the wisdom they impart is literally priceless. The information mentors provide is also not easily obtained in most educational settings. Being a mentor myself, and having mentored both men and women, I always keep in mind how important it is to share from my gender perspective about the topic I am in the process of teaching my mentee. This does not happen all of the time, as I tend to look at most situations as being gender neutral, but there are plenty of instances when it is important to understand where the other gender is coming from, and why they might have the perspective they do.

So, why should men not shy away from mentoring women? Namely because they genuinely want to help the woman in her career, and do not have any ulterior motives for doing so. Many of them likely have a daughter, wife, girlfriend or other women in their life they perhaps wish had a mentor, whether it be a male or female. They understand the value mentoring can bring to a person’s career, and how it can put them on a better and faster trajectory for success and higher career satisfaction.

Here is my take on why more men should sign-up for becoming a mentor, and how they can mitigate the current cultural risks seemingly negatively associated with them doing this.

  • A male’s perspective is not always well understood by females, and not being taught how to see through your perspective lens can potentially stymy their career opportunities.
  • Not all women are comfortable working with men, but they will never tell you this. By being a mentor and confidant to them, over time they will ask you questions to better understand and realize the reasons they are potentially not comfortable working with men. They will also start to look at men as people versus a particular gender.
  • In general, men’s communication style is different from a woman’s. As a mentor, you can help women to better understand the male communication language you take for granted, and vice versa. When people better understand one another, we all benefit.
  • Be a role model and representative of the gentlemen out there who have stellar ethically oriented reputations.
  • You have a great deal of wisdom to share, and depending on what decade of life you are in, perhaps more than others. Sharing knowledge is a way of caring about others, and is a gift which can be professionally given. No strings need to be attached, other than the understanding you are 100% behind the women you are mentoring and looking out for her professional best interests.
  • Put in writing what your intent of being a mentor means, and that you will take on this role honorably and with the highest level of professional integrity and courtesy.
  • Help be part of uniting the genders versus pulling them apart. The more people who take this approach and have this attitude will help to repair and lessen the divide which has been increasing.
  • If you have a female in your life who has a career, wouldn’t you want her to have a wonderful mentor like you?

If you are a male, I sincerely hope you will consider or reconsider becoming a mentor for a female. More importantly, I encourage you to be part of another movement to help disprove the negative sentiment in our society about the value of men professionally mentoring women.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.