Remaining relevant. Are you?

No one wants to be deemed irrelevant. Yet, as a concept, it seems to creep up on us when we realize that perhaps we need to tweak or make some adjustments to our area of expertise. Or, what I’ll refer to as our “game”.

You know when you are experiencing being at the top of your relevance game, and it’s a tremendous feeling. One that perhaps you wish you could bottle and tap into when you need it. However, it doesn’t work that way. So how in fact does it work? By remaining flexible and open to the fact that making adjustments, or fine tuning are necessary, not optional.

As an example, let’s consider athletes. Not your average backyard athletes, but the elite ones at the top of their “game”. They are continuously tweaking and perfecting; as close as possible, what they do well. In fact, they work at remaining relevant with their skills for as long as they possibly can. It takes dedication, focus and being open to suggestions on how to continuously improve. You need to be comfortable with constructive feedback and know how to apply it in order to ascend to the next level. Elite athletes excel at doing this.

Another category of professionals who have to maintain their relevancy are healthcare professionals. We depend on them to continue building upon their knowledge to take care of us, especially during the Corona-19 pandemic we are all living through.

A good friend of mine is a critical care nurse. Two weeks ago, she was re-training on how to use a ventilator, as she told me that there have been some aspects of this device that have changed since she was regularly using it. Literally the lives of people depend on her having relevant knowledge of how to use equipment to keep them alive.

My admiration is immense for my friend and all of the other healthcare professionals who are taking care of people, especially during this time period. We all know they are risking their lives to do this, and that they must maintain their care knowledge relevancy to do this. We count on them to do so, and fortunately they are delivering their expertise at the top of their games every day. Thank you for doing this, and for choosing to do so.

So, what is it that allows some people to retain their relevancy, while others either consciously or unconsciously let it slip away? Determination and dedication are two of these factors, and ones we easily with elite athletes and healthcare professionals. Are there other ways that if your profession does not deem it necessary for you to maintain your relevancy you can do so? Naturally this is a rhetorical question, and here are some suggestions for how to remain relevant.

  • If you are in a profession which requires you to maintain licenses’, consider yourself fortunate, as you have a built-in system of checks and balances to keep you focused on remaining relevant in your profession. Make sure to keep your licenses current.
  • A number of professions refer to their craft as a “practice”. Even if your profession doesn’t apply this terminology, make sure you think about what you are doing to consciously practice your skills, especially the ones you might not be using on a regular basis.
  • Challenge yourself to keep up with the trends in your industry. Some industries trends don’t change frequently, but there are other ones which will require you to devote time each week or month to learn about the trends impacting your industry. Many of which will allow you to remain relevant in your career.
  • Invest in your learning. This doesn’t mean you need to take out your credit card to do this, but it does mean to find ways to learn more about your craft (e.g., on-line, or through talking to others in your industry) about what new things they are doing to remain relevant.
  • Consider teaching others in your industry. Look for opportunities to talk about or show others how you do your work. Make sure you consider applying a “hands-on” aspect to your learning if it is a topic which lends itself to being able to do this. Showing someone how to do something and then allowing them to mimic this is a powerful way to teach others.
  • Ask other people what they are doing to remain relevant. I guarantee you they will offer you a few “golden nuggets” of advice that will be invaluable to maintaining your relevancy.
  • Set new standards for yourself on maintaining your relevancy. Do this by looking around and finding people in your same profession or area of expertise who are at the top of their game. Then set out to see what you can do to mimic aspects of what they are doing, keeping in mind that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Now that you are armed with new ways to maintain or regain your relevancy, what are you waiting for? Go out and make your relevancy something that becomes an integral part of who you are, and how you define yourself.

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

 

 

Are you connecting with others? Are you sure?

You have likely heard the expression you have two ears and one month for a reason, and that you should use them proportionately. In other words, you should be listening more than you should be talking. However, this doesn’t seem to be a well understood concept for everyone.

At the heart of connecting with others is being able to listen, and to do this well. Yes, this seems overly simplistic, but in reality, it’s not. Truly listening and hearing what someone is saying takes focus and practice. Consider the last time you spoke with someone. Do you think they were intently paying attention to everything you were saying? Or, were they like most people, and only semi involved in the conversation and doing a lot of head nodding and saying “ungh-hungh”?

When it comes to connecting with other people, the ones who have mastered this are similar to a Swiss Army Knife. You know, the kind of knife that has lots of different tools on it which can be used in many different circumstances. The act of connecting with a person is not a single dimension activity. Although listening well is one of the components required to connect with someone, it’s only one of the actions involved with the process.

If you were to break down the visual process of being able to connect with other people, it likely wouldn’t be a straight-line diagram. In fact, it would probably look like a scatter gram plotted across a sheet of paper. It would contain many starts and stops, and multiple directions in the visual engagement plotted on paper prior to landing at an end point. The end point also might in fact be the actual starting point of the connection being made, or taken to a different level of connection.

Why does it look easy for people who are good at making connections with others? It’s because like a Swiss Army knife I referenced earlier, the person establishing the connection is skilled at leveraging all of the tools required to develop a human connection.

Can this be a skill that is taught? Yes, I believe it can be taught, but don’t expect it to be like a drive through window experience with instant gratification. The analogy I would use in terms of the time it takes to learn how to master connecting with others would be similar to taking on an apprenticeship in a trade skill such as electricity or plumbing. It’s going to take time to become a pro.

So, what are the things you or someone you know who wasn’t born with the innate skills of being able to establish meaningful connections with others can do to improve your skills in this area? Here are some ideas I have for you.

  • The next time you are talking to someone, pay attention to whether you are really, and I mean really listening to them. Actively listening is a skill which needs to be fostered and practiced.
  • While you are listening to the person you are speaking with, make sure you are asking them thoughtful questions which are on point, and not disruptive to the conversation.
  • Don’t try to change the subject you are talking about. Let the person speaking control where the conversation is headed and captain it. Remember to play the role of a co-captain during the conversation and to be supportive of what they are saying.
  • Connecting well with others also involves determining points of common interest you share. By asking the right questions, you can establish at least one item you have in common. Use this as a thread in your conversation to build upon to help further develop the connection.
  • Test your connection strength. If the person you are engaging with is only providing short, one-word answers and not conversing with you, the connection you have is weak. To strengthen the connection during your conversation, start asking the person questions about themselves. I have shared this tip before, and it’s almost foolproof to help you elongate the conversation. This will give you an opportunity to keep an otherwise dead-end conversation going.
  • Your body language can work against you when you are trying to connect with them. One of the best ways to increase a positive connection is to mirror the body language of the person you are speaking with. However, if they have their arms folded across their body while speaking with you, make sure your arms are down by your sides. Crossed arms are a sign the person is not open to establishing a conversation or connection with you.
  • Think of someone you know who is a “pro” connector. Listen and watch them in action. There is a great deal to learn from them.

As I mentioned earlier, developing your connection skills will take time. The sooner you start to work on either developing or improving them, the sooner you will start to experience the benefits of being a strong connector. Remember, most amazing “connectors” are natural at this, but everyone can become better at this skill. Be patient with yourself as you are developing your “connector” muscles. They will emerge at some point after you have invested time in developing them.

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

 

 

Impact. What’s yours?

Each day every one of us has an opportunity to positively impact the life of someone else. Yet, when I see some people’s actions, I am disappointed with how many people miss or are not aware of the ability to do so. Consider thinking about this today, and some of the actions you may have taken. If you could, would you want to apply a do over to any of them?

Being consciously aware of our actions, and thinking about how we always have a choice about which direction to apply our impact is critical. So, why don’t more people seemingly do this? Is it because no one gave them permission to help versus hurt someone with their impact? Perhaps the modeling they had growing up wasn’t constructive, and they are mimicking what they witnessed? Or, possibly they are not aware of their destructive choices and actions, and the outcome of them.

Yes, it may seem ridiculous that some people are unaware of their impact, but I guarantee you that this is happening more than we might like to admit. What is contributing to more people having a negative impact on others? Many factors, and ones we are all contending with. Let’s start with an easy one. Social media. I picked this one, as you are hopefully positively benefitting from the impact of it by reading this article.

For some, it appears they consciously or perhaps unconsciously leverage the power of social media as a weapon, versus a gift. I prefer to have the tool of social media work favorably for others. That’s my way of positively having an impact on a global audience.

Let’s take the concept of impact into the work place. Or, for those of you who love sports, let’s apply this to your favorite sports platform. In either scenario, there are numerous opportunities for both the leaders of each scenario to widely and favorably impact their groups every day. The easiest way for them to do this is to verbally or in writing let their team members know they appreciate the work they are doing. As you know this doesn’t cost anything to do, and most would refer to this as praise. When praise is authentically given, it has an enormous positive impact on others.

So, what are some of the other ways people can have a positive impact on those they interact with? Here are some suggestions to get you started, and moving in the direction of potentially counter acting any negative impact you unknowingly are causing.

  • Everyone has a degree of empathy. Some more than others. However, regardless of the amount you have, if you notice someone is having a tough day or moment, tell them you are aware of this. Also, ask them if there is anything you can do to help them.
  • Giving someone an opportunity to be listened to, and truly heard can be enough to have a positive impact.
  • Carve out more time to help someone. It could be as little as 5 minutes, but it could make a world of difference in their lives, or in the work they are doing, or with something they are trying to master in the sports realm.
  • Look around. Do you see who might need some additional support? If so, then either directly offer to help them, or talk about who else can be involved with doing this. You don’t always have to take on the full responsibility of helping someone. There are times when it is better to also involve someone else in the effort of doing this.

Let’s assume you are having a positive impact on others on a daily or regular basis. What if you are dealing with someone in your life, on your team or in your workplace that is having a negative impact on others? Here are some suggestions for how to contend with them, and to potentially turn them around. At a minimum, to make an attempt to do so.

  • Ironically, many who are not having a desired impact on others are often unaware of their behavior. Yes, it will take courage, and perhaps more than one conversation, but someone needs to confront this individual. If you are in a workplace and work at a company who has a Human Resource (HR) professional, seek out their assistance or obtain guidance from them prior to your conversation. If you do not have access to an HR person, Google will be your best friend to provide advice on how best to initiate the conversation with the individual, and what questions to ask them.
  • On or coaching a sports team? The common thread between sports and work scenarios is communication. Strong and clear communication with someone who is having a non-desirable impact is the first step in changing this behavior. In other words, having the person acknowledge and then understand via talking how their impact is not having the type of outcome they think it is having. Will this be an easy conversation? No. Will it have an immediate positive impact? Yes, and no, but the first goal will be to get the person to a neutral place and in a non-judgmental frame of mind to have the eventual desired positive outcome from having them acknowledge their negative impact.

Since I always like to challenge both myself and others, my request is for you to keep a running tally (e.g., positive or negative impact) for a minimum of a day, ideally for a week, on your work place or sports team interactions. The goal will be to help you to determine whether you are having more positive or negative outcomes on others. You know which category you want to be in, so go make this happen.

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

Are you aware of your unconscious biases?

Look around. What do you see? Depending on where you are is going to impact what you are seeing and reacting to. If you happen to be at work, you might be seeing your colleagues, and any number of different visual images of what is happening in your work environment. What you are seeing and experiencing could be the same thing every day, or perhaps the opposite of that a job that provides constant changing circumstances and scenery.

Essentially bias is another word, or a softer word for prejudice. If you know me, this is a word or type of thinking I don’t tolerate. As a matter of fact, I have called people out on this in my own family. When I do this, I ask them to explain why they think the way they do. Most of the time I vehemently disagree with their thinking, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt to consider re-thinking the way they think. I’m not saying my thinking is always right. However, when someone is overtly voicing or acting upon a bias I’m not going to be quiet about it.

Yes, I realize you cannot change people. They have to want to change themselves. However, I have found that 100% of the people who have a bias are not able to credibly explain why they think the way the do to justify their biased thinking. This is sad, and I understand they have been negatively influenced by their environment and the people they have been around or are associating with.

I view being biased as a human flaw. One which is supported often by closed minded thinkers. Yes, I’m giving closed minded people credit by suggesting they are actually thinking about why they are biased in the first place.

We can all agree that at the beginning and end of the day we are all the same. Humans. No one is better than someone else, and everyone has something good to offer others. Although, sometimes you have to look a bit harder to determine what it is, I guarantee it exists.

So, is it possible to remove biases in our day to day lives either professionally or personally? Absolutely. You just have to commit to doing so. One of the ways to do this is to commit to noticing biases you might have in every moment of your day. Think about why you might have this bias. Then think about whether you can reduce or ideally eliminate it.

Imagine how much better our world would be if we were all able to see one another as equals? I’m not sure if in my lifetime this will be achieved. However, I can do my small part which is to put a spotlight on this topic. When we think, and talk about concepts, it allows us to consider the reason why we act or say the things we do.

Here are some suggestions I have for you to begin reducing or attempting to eliminate biases in your life. I know this is a huge challenge, but I am compelled to make this a better world for all of us to live in. So, this is my version of heading us in this direction.

  • Commit to really getting to know new people. Find out what motivates them. Learn what makes them happy, or what makes them disappointed. Ask enough questions to determine whether they are “Pro” people, or closed minded and unwilling to give most people a chance to get to know them, or vice versa.
  • Try not to immediately judge both people and situations. Attempt to be open minded right from the start. This applies to both what you hear and see.
  • Listen to what others are saying. Really listen to them. Ask them questions to explain when you are hearing a bias of any kind. See whether by asking them additional questions you can potentially move them to at least a neutral place in their thinking, or verbalization on the topic you are discussing.
  • Model neutrality. Do this as you are working on becoming less or unbiased, and do not verbalize or act upon ones you have.
  • Do something kind instead of being biased towards a person, or put yourself into a situation you normally would not be involved with due to your own bias.
  • Lastly, an old piece of advice which is still applicable today, is to treat others how you would want to be treated. I have practiced this my entire life, and give credit to my parents for teaching me this. It really works, and has made an enormous difference in my life.

Although I have hope I will live to see the world become an unbiased place, I am realistic about this. As you know that change can only take place if we want it to, we can all do our part by at least acknowledging our own biases, and doing our best to understand why we have them, and ultimately to let them go. Being free from biases is an incredibly lofty aspiration. However, why wouldn’t we want to aspire to something that could literally and positively change the world we live in?

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 Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

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 bored? Or boring?

I have a source of irritation to tell you about. It’s when I hear someone say they are bored. When I hear this, I automatically think how is this possible? Sure, you might hear young kids say this, but when I hear this from a teenager or anyone older, I feel badly for them. Why? Because they don’t seem to understand it’s their own fault they are bored.

Why do I think no one should be bored? It’s simple. There are too many choices of things to do to possibly be bored. You know I love lists, so naturally I’ll be providing some G-rated options in case your mind is drawing a blank on what you can do to avoid boredom. Seriously, I can’t imagine how it would even be possible to be bored. Can you relate?

If you can’t relate to how I find it impossible to be bored, then I am going to challenge your thinking about this. We all know there are plenty of things we should be doing to be productive each day, and yes, I understand some people are far more productive than others.

For those of you who fall into the former category, you have even less of an excuse to utter the words “I’m bored”. Yes, it might be possible to be bored for short periods of time, say for example when you are sitting in grid-lock traffic. However, this is a perfect time to listen to music or give someone a call. Notice how I didn’t include texting, as in many states it is illegal to do so while driving, and possibly talk on the phone too.

So, if you are guilty of uttering the words ‘I’m bored”, consider if you really are. Why? Because for one thing, I can tell you are not fully leveraging your brain power to come up with more than one or two things you could be doing instead. Even when we are in situations when we are waiting for someone or something to happen, we can still engage ourselves in a productive activity. The first thing which comes to my mind is reading or listening to a Podcast.

Recently at the gym I found myself less enthused when I was working out on the resistance bike. Typically, I would listen to upbeat music while I’m biking, but I found when I switched to listening to podcasts from Ted Talks, the time on the bike flew by much faster. I think it is because my mind is more engaged when I am listening to the fascinating stories being told. The best part for me is that I always learn something new from each podcast.

Going back to the question of whether you might in fact be boring if you often find yourself to be bored, is another concept I want you to give some thought to. For instance, when you are in conversation with other people, are you only talking about other people, or are you in fact sharing information about something interesting you learned? Many people who chronically talk about other people are often the ones who would claim to be bored.

How do I know this? It’s because in the past I felt surrounded by people who often expressed this out loud. When I realized these were not the type of people I wanted to be associated with, I quickly made a conscious decision to find different people to interact with. What a fabulous decision this was! Are you possibly trapped in this type of web?

Perhaps you have heard of the expression relating to interesting people talk? What do they do differently? They talk about a variety of subjects versus people.  If you are guilty of this, take some time to think about why you do this. It’s not that hard to course correct on this behavior style. The first step is to be become aware of the fact you are doing this.

Now, as promised, here is a list of things you can do if you claim to be bored, and which won’t cost you much money. Not having money shouldn’t ever be an excuse for being bored, and I’m sure you have also heard the expression “creativity is the mother of invention.” It doesn’t cost money to be creative, so let’s get to the list to start you off in your non-bored direction.

  • Plan something. Yes, literally anything. It could be a party, it could be a trip, it could be putting together a list of books you want to read, or people you want to meet.
  • Challenge yourself to learn how to play an instrument, or another one if you already know how to play one.
  • Another challenge would be to learn how to speak another language, and to be at a conversational level within a period of time you set the goal for.
  • Everyone needs to eat. Are you good at cooking? I’m not. So, I have challenged myself to become a better cook, and to cook with a goal of making healthy food.
  • Do you have a hobby? Someone recently asked me if I had one. I had to think about whether I did. I’m not sure if it is a hobby, but I love looking at residential real estate, and designing rooms on-line. Ok, my other and secret hobby is finding the perfect IPA beer. So far, Lunch from the Maine Beer Company is my favorite one.
  • If you have any extra time, look for an organization you can donate and volunteer your time to. This can be really rewarding, and your time is more precious than money.

I could go on with countless more ideas, but you get the idea. When you are doing things which are productive, it provides you with a way to valuably spend your time. You also won’t be talking about other people, and essentially you will be building up your conversation list to become a more interesting person. Not the boring one none of us wants to be classified as.

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 Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

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