Who do you surround yourself with?

When we are young, we don’t always think about every one of our moves in terms of how it might be shaping our personal brand. However, as we become more aware of our surroundings and who we are, we begin to evolve. During this time, we may or may not consider how the people we interact with will, or we allow to shape and influence our lives. Or, perhaps not.

For those of you who would classify yourself as an inclusive person, and who embrace having lots of different people in your lives, I get you, and I’ve always have been this way too. Part of why I enjoy having such a diverse group of people in my life, is my fascination with each of them in terms of what makes them unique. A perfect example of this is one of my friends who I have referenced before. Her name is Ellen O’Brien.

Ellen is a renowned jazz and blues singer in New York City, and who hails from Boston. Although the two of us have a number of things in common, we probably have more things not in common if you were to compare our lists. In fact, it is the list of our opposite characteristics and interests that has bonded us over the years. Do you have an “Ellen” in your life?

Sometimes the people who are in our lives are there due to our life circumstances or the timing of where we are (e.g., school, neighborhood, work). However, I would be remiss if didn’t suggest to you that you should never use any of these as an excuse for not being able to broaden who you involve in your life. The important thing is to be aware of this, and to do something about it. Especially if the people in your life are what might in fact be our doppelgangers.  In other words, being the same as everyone else may not work in your favor.

Another expression I am partial to is that “variety is the spice of life”. Naturally this concept can be applied to the type of people we surround ourselves with. Now, let’s pause for a moment and consider the people we have in our professional and personal lives. Did we choose to have them in our lives, or are they in it due to our current life circumstances?

Circling back to the question of “Who do you surround yourself with?”, have you ever given this some thought, or at least recently? If you haven’t, below are some suggestions I have for considering why you might want to do this. My suggestions also tie into a conversation I was having with one of my friends this morning. We were discussing how some people are in your life are there for a reason, season or a lifetime. If you are curious, he is in the last category.

  • Think of yourself as a gardener. One of the main things they need to do to help their gardens grow, is to prune out items which are preventing growth. From time to time, we need to do the same thing with our personal or professional network.
  • Do you have a criterion for evaluating why or how you let someone into your life?
  • Are there people in your life who you would classify as toxic? If so, give serious thought to how you can reduce or eliminate the amount of time you interact with them.
  • Consider who is in your current circle of influencers. Are they each contributing to advancing or holding you back? Also consider whether their influence has been impactful, and whether the impact has been positive.
  • Look around you, whether physically or mentally. Are you in a place you want to be for the rest of your life? If not, do you have a plan in mind for how you can leverage the help from your network to help you get to where you want to be?
  • Have you thought about whether you have settled on who you interact with out of ease of doing so because it is convenient to do so?
  • Are you motivated to seek out meeting new people to include in your life?
  • What methods do you typically apply to meet and develop your network and circle of influencers? During the Pandemic, we have had to resort to more on-line methods, but they can still be impactful if you are willing to give them a try (e.g., meeting someone for coffee over Zoom).
  • Make a list of the positive and negative outcomes from the people you surround yourself with. Is your list balanced? Or, is one side longer than the other?  If one is longer than the other, and it’s not the favorable side, it’s the perfect time for you to re-evaluate who you surround yourself with.
  • Having outstanding people in our lives can be enriching in numerous ways, including being better for our health, and both physical and mental well-being.

Although as we get older some people are more reluctant to open up their circle of those who they include into the various layers of their relationship types, my feeling is that we should always embrace an opportunity to meet new people and integrate exceptional ones into our lives. I hope the people you currently or in the near future are exactly the type of people you would design and architect to be in your life. If not, perhaps you need to consider having a new blueprint drawn up.

Tags: #Business #Success #ProfessionalNetwork #PersonalNetwork #Influencers #happy #trendingnow #innovation #management #personaldevelopment

Why work at a company vs for yourself?

I hear people, often millennials talking about wanting to strike out on their own to work for themselves. Most of the time the reason they site for wanting to do this is because they would rather work on behalf of something they can be passionate about, versus simply collecting a paycheck. When I hear this, I generally think about two things. The first is will they actually have what it takes to do this and be successful? The second thing is, have they thought through what they are saying to a really deep level of understanding and appreciating what they are bargaining for?

The benefits of working for a company can really stack up much higher in the positive column than you might think they would, especially if you start to list them. The biggest positive attribute of working for a company is a consistent paycheck. This would be followed by your healthcare/dental coverage being paid for at some percentage level, paid vacation, sick days, holidays and potentially other company benefits such as tuition reimbursement, matching 401K plans and daycare services to name a few.

Other benefits such as daily social interaction if you are in an office, generally free coffee or snacks at most mid to large size companies, and access to a wealth of experience and other resources you take for granted such as printers, the IT staff and communication services all just steps away from where you are sitting.

When you work for a company, they are also taking care of a myriad of other business services you might not be taking into consideration on a daily basis: Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Human Resources, Operations to name a few of the foundational company departments which make a business run. Legal and contract work is sometimes taken care of in-house, but is sometimes outsourced depending on the requirements of the company. Other big ticket items such as the rent, general office operating expenses, sales tax and benefits payments are also overlooked when peering through the vail of striking out on your own.

The first advice I give to people who want to strike out on their own, is to sit down and draft a business plan. It does not have to be an incredibly in-depth business plan, but it should cover the essential elements of what it will take to start up and run the company, with the goal of reaching profitability within a set amount of time.

The second piece of advice I give is to have the person make sure they have at least one year, possibly two, of income reserved before striking out on their own. You could split the difference and have 18 months of cash on hand, but this will be different funding than what you will utilize as operating capital to run the business. You will need to determine if you are going to borrow money to start up your business, or whether you will be self-funding it. Generally, when you self-fund it, you can do so via either family and friends investing in you, or via crowd funding sourcing options such as Fundable which is exclusively for business, Indiegogo a global fundraising site, Plum Alley which is specifically for women and Tilt which has fees cheaper than most other crowdfunding sites. 

Providing you have a solid business plan, a product or service which solves a problem and that people truly need and will pay for; I’m going to assume you have done the research to support your business concept. You will also need access to business advisors who can help you navigate through the start-up obstacles you will encounter, and enough cash to help fund your business.

Now, I challenge you to do one last thing. Honestly think long and hard about your answers to the questions below. If after reviewing your responses you are still game for striking out on your own, then I wish you the best of luck and success in your new adventure. Here are the questions: 

  • What is really driving me to want to strike out on my own?
  • Have others told me I should become an entrepreneur, or does the appeal of this option seem irresistible and something I am 100% compelled to try and be successful, or potentially fail at, and be okay with doing so?
  • Do I have a backup plan or a timeframe in mind in terms of how long I can “test” whether this concept of being a business owner is the right option for me at this present time?
  • What is my definition of success as defined and outlined in my business plan? Is it realistic?
  • Is this something I have always wanted to really do, and believe this point in time is the best time to carry out my plan?
  • What will the impact of my decision to strike out on my own have on others who depend on me either emotionally or financially?
  • Am I prepared and have I ever really had to truly sacrifice just about everything I own or have worked for to make being a business owner a reality?
  • How risk adverse am I on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most risk adverse?

If after reviewing your responses to the questions above you are still convinced you want to start-up your business, then roll up your sleeves, dig into the process and go for it!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of two business books (e.g.,  Wisdom Whisperer, Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

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

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

Heads up! Everyone is looking down.

Quality time. You hear people talking about this all the time. Most of the time they are referring to it as a long-lost art. Something they used to have more of, or wish they had more of. Can you relate?

No matter where I go when I’m outside of my home; and yes, this happens at my home too, there is always bound to be someone looking down at their phone. I’m not a Chiropractor, but I suspect they see many people in their office due to issues with people that have some sort of neck issue related to looking down all the time.

There have been studies to suggest that many of the applications in our phones are designed to have an addictive component to them. In the software and marketing world, it’s referred to as a phenomenon of being “sticky”. Having spent decades in software marketing, I could bore you to tears on this concept, but I will spare you from these gory details. You don’t have to be a genius to understand how you have probably experienced this “sticky” concept as recently as today.

I can’t say I like seeing my phone remind me at the end of the week via a push notification about how many average hours I spent using my phone, but I’m always surprised by the number. Not in a good way, so I’m not proclaiming to be fabulous at not looking down at my phone like everyone else. However, I do make a conscious decision that when I am out with people and engaging with them, that I put my phone away. To actually engage with them!

For those who are not extroverts, their phone in social settings actually serves as a force field to shield them from feeling uncomfortable. Or, at least this is my perception of how it can help them to feel less anxious or shy. However, although having your phone with you in social settings and using it might make you feel more comfortable, I guarantee people are noticing you are engaging more with your phone than the people around you.

In some respects, we have moved closer to a society of it becoming acceptable to zone in on our phones in social settings. My opinion is that we are seemingly hitting the ignore button with our surroundings. When I think ahead in terms of the impact this is having, or will have on our society from a long-term basis, I’m not seeing a pretty picture.

The term social isolation comes to mind when I see groups of people together who should in fact be interacting with one another; both at work and in social situations, yet they are not doing this. By nature, we are social creatures. Although our phones allow us to be social in a different way with more people, it is via a method which is one step removed from physically interacting. Yes, you might get the sense you are having positive interactions with people in your digital world, but at the same time, you are not able to gain the benefit of an in-person interaction. I’ll refer to an in-person interaction as a multi-dimensional one.

Multi-dimensional interactions with “live” people are what help us to feel less social isolation. However, it can take more effort, and bravery to interact with people, especially ones you may not know that well. However, if we continue to increase the amount of time in front of our screens, and don’t flex our actual social interaction muscles, I’m concerned about our future abilities to be able to do this well are being severely compromised.

In the spirit of offering some solutions to reducing our screen time and heads down phenomenon, here are some suggestions to consider implementing if you find yourself to be part of our heads down society.

  • Consider using your phone as a tool to find interesting topics you can read about, and then discuss with others around you. Naturally you should take into consideration the people in your present environment so the topics you discuss are relevant or at least potentially intriguing.
  • Challenge yourself for one week with limiting your time in front of your phone by as few as 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes per day. Use this time to do something else, ideally something productive or creative.
  • Actually, be aware and record what you are doing instead of looking at your phone. This is equivalent to when you work with a dietitian and they ask you to record everything you eat during the course of a day. Sometimes we are unaware of the amount of time we are spending on our phones, or calories we are consuming.
  • If you are in a social setting and see someone else on their phone, go over to them and strike up a conversation with them. Perhaps you could ask them something related to their phone (e.g., Do they like the current one they have?). Or, you could ask them about what was the most interesting thing they have done lately that did not involve having their phone in use?
  • Instead of looking down at your phone, and it happens to be dark outside, consider downloading a star finder application to use your phone to learn about astrology and the stars. Consider doing this activity with another person so you are leveraging your phone for a more social purpose, while looking up!

I’ll be leveraging my own advice this week, and I hope that some of my suggestions will be useful to you too. Let’s all commit to becoming better and aware of the importance of reducing our screen time. There are so many benefits to spending less time on our phones, do you agree?

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of two business books (e.g.,  Wisdom Whisperer, Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

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

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

 

Different is not bad.

When you think about it, who is really not different? The truth is we are all unique, and that’s what makes our lives so interesting. Sure, there are times when conformity might have its place, but my opinion is that this is a lower percentage of time for it to be required. In fact, during times when people haven’t complied with conformity is when most of our inventions have been created, or pharmaceutical remedies produced.

The phrase “thinking outside of the box” is one of the concepts related to being different. When the expression is stated, it’s a direct request to ask people to not conform. My professional expertise before I pivoted my career focus had been in marketing, and the majority of the time in my former profession I spent thinking about how not to conform. In fact, I was always challenging myself and my teams with what we could do differently that would make a positive impact on the business. I loved thinking and working this way, and for me, this was incredibly satisfying.

Fortunately, the profession I spent the first two decades of my life in supported thinking differently, and was embraced and encouraged. My early and informal training as a marketing professional took shape in how I expressed myself with the clothing I wore. This was much to my Mom’s dismay, as she saw me walk out the door each day, even in elementary school with the most colorful and non-matching items I could find. I used to challenge myself with how creative I could become over time with my unique outfits.

When I was in high school, brightly colored clothing and accessories were not the norm. However, I happened to be ahead of my time from a fashion sense, as I was on the early side of what became known as the “preppy-look”. I loved this look, and embraced it with over the top ways of adding to experimenting with how I would put items together in what I referred to as my “collection”. Surprisingly you would have thought heading into fashion would have appealed to me. It did, and it didn’t. I loved the design aspect, but not the business part of it.

Both my Grandfather and Dad worked for a company that no longer exists, Polaroid. When I think back about how them working there influenced me, it did so by having me embrace being different as a good thing.  As I was thinking about what contributed to this, the simple explanation is that I was probably photographed more as a child than most people in their entire life. The reason for this had to do with the fact that both my Grandfather and Dad were testing their products on me. My Grandfather was inventing cameras and film, and my Dad was buying the materials to make them. Part of their jobs, especially my Grandfather was to experiment with the cameras and films to see which ones could be marketed.

So, having to see myself in photos for years and not feel judged by the way I looked was truly freeing. It also contributed to giving me the confidence as a young person, to know how I looked, and to embrace it without any self or others judgement. Little did I know at the time how this would lead me into my first career, and then the one I am presently in.

With the profession I am currently in, it satisfies my need for embracing being different perfectly. Why? Because I understand the statistics that coming across someone who might be similar to me has the odds of 1 and 33 million. I love this, as it fully supports my thinking about how important being different is, and that it’s not a bad thing. In fact, one of the things I like most about the fact people are all so unique, is how to teach them to embrace and fully capitalize on understanding their talents.

Part of my professional work includes teaching people how to have a new language for how to express who they truly are to others. More importantly, when someone tries to use anther persons talents against them, I help that individual know how to explain that in fact what they are being criticized for, is in fact a strength of theirs. A strength that is perhaps misunderstood, misinterpreted or mis-applied where it should be. Has this ever happened to you?

Having confidence can play a big role in how comfortable people are with being different. The more confident people are, the easier it is for them to express themselves without being concerned about what other people think. It’s incredibly freeing when you have confidence, especially an abundance of it. When you do, or even if you have a small amount, being able to embrace either being different, or your differences to others can provide you with a sense of satisfaction I hope you have felt, or will feel in your life.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

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

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

Investing in relationships. How’s your portfolio?

Not everyone feels the need to be continuously growing their network of relationships. For those who do, they understand that growing their relationships takes both effort and time. They are also willing to do what it takes to add value to their relationships.

What propels some people to feel compelled to continue developing the relationships they initiated? Perhaps it is a genuine desire to get to know others better. Or, possibly they gain satisfaction in learning more about the people in their lives. Possibly they have the motivation to do so for professional or personal gain? Regardless of whether it is one or more of these reasons, any investment someone makes in another individual is worth it.

Think about a time when someone you know personally or professionally took the time to help you. Even in the smallest way. Perhaps they were motivated to do this for reasons you didn’t understand or could explain, but they still proceeded. How did it feel when they helped you? Maybe you noticed right away, or possibly you haven’t considered the impact they had? It doesn’t matter, as anytime someone takes the time to do something productive and kind for another individual is meaningful, and it doesn’t have to be measured for it to count.

Here’s a question for you to think about. How much time each day, week or month do you invest in all of the relationships you have in your life? Do you consciously invest more time and effort in some of them more consistently? Or, do you haphazardly without a plan cultivate your relationships? Could you conceive of the benefits you would gain if you invested more time in even half of your relationships?

If you were willing to invest more time and attention in your relationships, what would it take for you to change your approach to how you engage with other people? Carving out more time would obviously be one of the factors, and many people would argue they don’t have enough time. I would challenge this thinking by saying we can always make more time to do anything we put our mind to. Or if we are motivated to do so.

Consider how you spend the majority of your time each day. Are there portions of your day where you could substitute investing in cultivating your relationships versus doing something else? Of course. However, we also know there are always trade-offs anytime we shift and do something different with our time. If you are negatively thinking about this, instead think about the benefits you will be further developing, and where you can take them.

So, if you want to grow your portfolio of relationships, here are some suggestions about how to begin doing so.

  • Social media is one of the easiest ways to engage with lots of people. From a professional approach, LinkedIn offers an extraordinary way to easily engage with the people in your network by way of their “message” feature. Take on the challenge of engaging with 5-10 people in your LinkedIn network on a daily basis for a week. Make it a meaningful message to increase your level or engagement, and be sure to follow through when someone responds back to you in a timely manner.
  • Let’s go old school for a moment. When was the last time you sent someone a card? One that perhaps already has a message written in it that says something like “Thinking of you.” Consider sending out some of these cards to people who you have not been in touch with for a while. I guarantee you will make their day. You can do the same thing for your business relationships, but swop out the messaging and relate it to a positive last experience you engaged with them.
  • Remember that device called your phone? Challenge yourself by starting at the beginning of your digital address book and start making calls to catch up with people. Even for just a few minutes. Chances are you will end up leaving voice mail messages, so consider what you want to say ahead of time to re-engage with this person. Perhaps that’s your message focus!
  • Sending texts are easy and most people respond to them in a timely manner. Apply the same concept as the one above, and see what happens to your relationship engagement level.
  • When was the last time you had a party? One for no reason at all? I’m guessing it’s been awhile. So, when we get past our pandemic restrictions, put yourself in high gear and start sending out your invitations.
  • I’ve written about the importance of scheduling regular coffee and lunch times into your schedule. Right now, we are limited to doing this virtually, but the good news is that more people are around to be able to do this now more than any other time!
  • Plan to do an activity that can include other people. Again, when we are able to do this. This can be fun to think about, and when it happens, creating memories of doing something with others is one of the most powerful relationship building investments you can make in each other.

Time is an investment we make in ourselves and others. Consider well how you use your time to develop your relationship portfolio, and start to see it grow with some of the tips you can easily apply above.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

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

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One