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

Feeling appreciated? Or not?

For years employers have been regularly conducting surveys to help them determine the level of satisfaction their employees are feeling. One of the factors in determining employee satisfaction is to ask them to rate on a scale how well appreciated they feel.

If you are not fortunate enough to work at a company who regularly takes your pulse on your level of satisfaction to work there, you are not alone. However, you should be concerned this isn’t happening. Why? Because doing so is very inexpensive to accomplish, and is as simple as sending out an on-line survey with some well thought through questions to help determine your level of satisfaction. Hint, make the survey anonymous for better results. 

Independent of the type of industry you are working in, the role you have, or geographically where you work, everyone can be positively influenced by feeling appreciated by their employer. So, why is this seemingly a concept that appears to escape being carried out on a regular basis?

Let’s peel back the onion on this question, as there are many layers to consider why this is happening. In my opinion, this is partially caused by our society being dismissive about the power of saying two words more often. Thank you. Yes, this is easy to do, and should be conveyed sincerely. However, potentially like you, I have witnessed hundreds of missed opportunities to accomplish this.

Another reason people do not feel a greater sense of appreciation in the workforce, is due to unspoken or poorly articulated expectations by managers of their employees. When assumptions about performance are not clear, everyone loses in this scenario. Worse, is that the employees will immediately head down the path of feeling unappreciated.

Although most employees are considered to be employed by their free will and not under strict contract guidelines, this doesn’t mean they are exempt from feeling they are being taken advantage of. Of course the feeling of being taken advantage of can be highly subjective. However, it is worth considering this as a potential cause for why employees feel underappreciated.

So, how do you determine if an employee is feeling unappreciated, and what can you do about this? Below are some suggestions to consider to potentially turn around a toxic employee work environment.

  • Ask your managers how often they engage with their teams to get a pulse on their level of satisfaction of being on their team, or more generally, at the company.
  • Have your managers been trained on how to gauge their teams’ level of energy? When a team’s energy level is low, this is one of the leading indicators there is a problem brewing, or on its way to escalating to a level you don’t want it to reach.
  • Has your company ever sent out an employee satisfaction survey? If you answered “never” to this question, consider doing so within the next few weeks. There are plenty of on-line resources to consult and help you to craft questions to do this.
  • If your company has not sent out an employee satisfaction survey within the last year, it’s time to do so. Generally doing this several times a year, or potentially on a quarterly basis would be ideal.
  • If you are on the management team, consider the factors that contribute to your level of feeling appreciated at your organization. Are these factors that your team members would be positively influenced by too? Or, are they factors which only apply to someone at the management level (e.g., you receive quarterly incentive bonuses, but your team members do not)?
  • Consider doing something early next week to increase the level of everyone’s satisfaction of being on your team. Can you think of what this would be? Perhaps you could start by making sure you simply acknowledge and say hello to everyone on your team each day. Something as small as this gesture is more powerful than most give it credit.
  • Noted above was sincerely saying thank you to someone relating to the work they are currently doing or worked on and accomplished. Do you routinely do this? I’m always amazed at how often this gesture is overlooked, and the damage it does when it does not occur.
  • Write down a list of 5-10 items which contribute to making you feel either appreciated, or potentially more appreciated. Factor in which of these items are actionable right away, or that will take some time to implement. Then put them into practice.
  • Have a conversation with each member of your team about what makes them feel appreciated. There will be some people who will need time to think about what would be on their list, and make sure you follow through with them to determine what’s on their list.

When you put measures in place to have people in your organization feel appreciated, you will noticeably begin to see a difference in the results outcome of your business on numerous metric levels. Productivity will be one of them, and so will engagement, which both will positively impact your bottom line.

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

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

Are you in career survival mode? Many are.

If you are like the majority of the people I talk to, your career is similar to the ocean. What I mean by this is that there is an ebb and flow of when and how often you are satisfied with your current job, or the career you are in.

Surprisingly, many people end up in a career they didn’t intend to be in. Or worse, stay in the one they don’t desire to be in. How does this happen? In a word. Life. Even the people who carefully plot out what they think will be the perfect career for them might not calculate this decision perfectly. If this happened to you, hang in there, as I’ll be sharing some ways to cope, and perhaps thrive again in your present or future and different career.

Speaking of thriving, no one signs-up for a career where the best they can hope for is to be in survival mode. Sometimes survival mode happens in one’s career sooner than they anticipate. If you are one of the fortunate ones and have not experienced this, congratulations! You are in the minority, and should consider yourself fortunate. However, a large percentage of people will find themselves in career survival mode at some point.

What does it mean to be in career survival mode? It’s similar to when you lose motivation about the very thing you are either passionate about, or never dreamed you would become less than enamored with. Other what I’ll refer to as ‘symptoms’, are lethargy, less patience, you can’t seem to think of other options, and you are feeling trapped without an exit sign anywhere in sight. Do any of these “symptoms’ describe how you feel, or have felt before?

Yes, generally, others will notice you are in career survival mode. Although some people are experts at acting as if everything is fine. In my opinion, the energy that it takes to do this isn’t worth the effort. I would prefer to see someone invest their energy into figuring out a better career for them to be in.

I professionally work with people and teams (e.g., work & sports) on helping them to leverage and harness their natural talents every day. Because of this focus, I would be remiss in not mentioning that I would want to see everyone focused on knowing and applying their strengths towards the career or careers which would best suit them. Unfortunately, not everyone has been made aware of the advantages of knowing what their top strengths are when they are making their initial career choice decisions. I certainly wish everyone did.

As a matter of fact, one of my own career passions is to have as many people I come in contact with learn what their Top 5 Strengths are. I know you are smiling right now if you know me, and have learned what your strengths are because of my passion for you to know them.

However, hang with me for a moment on this thought, and imagine if we started out with this knowledge at a much earlier age? I can tell you that I might have ended up in a different career, but the one I initially choose seemed to suit me for a number of decades. It was marketing, in case you didn’t know this.

If you are currently in career survival mode, as promised, here are some suggestions and thoughts for you to consider, and potentially take action on to get yourself out of being in this mode.

  • Consider how you ended up in the career you are in. Was it by choice, or did someone steer you in that direction?
  • If you were given the opportunity to pick a new career starting tomorrow, have you given thought about what it would be?
  • If you could change your career, do you think you would?
  • Be honest with yourself. Are you more satisfied with complaining about how much you do not like the career you are in, versus taking action to do something about this?
  • Is it possible you are currently in a burn-out mode from not being able to, or taking any time off?
  • Have you kept up with the educational demands of your career? This may not apply to everyone, but if it applies to you, perhaps you are in survival mode because you have not kept up with the knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in your role. Maybe you couldn’t afford to do this, either monetarily or because of lack of time and other obligations. Or, perhaps both and other contributing factors.
  • Some careers are more demanding than others from a physical, emotional and intellectual perspective. Perhaps all three, or more! Is it possible to reduce the level of any of these factors to a more acceptable level?
  • What if you looked at your current career from a different perspective? Is there a new lens you can look at it, and which would re-energize you to be in it? Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your job or career. Is one longer, or could if you had a different perspective add more items to the “like” category?
  • Ask people in your circle of influence what other career they could envision you in. Make sure you ask people who know you really well, and can see you from a multi-dimensional perspective.
  • Regardless of your age, and how long you have been in your current career, would it be possible to shadow someone who appears to be in your desired career? Or, perhaps to talk to them about how they ended up in this career, and why they made the decision to pursue it? You might find clues about whether this may or may not be the next potential career for you to consider exploring or aiming to be in.

As an eternal optimist, I can always see the upside of every situation. In the case of experiencing career burnout, I look at this situation as temporary. Life moves fast, and circumstances can change quickly. The trick is to focus on knowing this, and realizing that even though your situation may seem permanent, it isn’t. As my Mom likes to say “this too shall pass.” Hang in there, you will survive.

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