Karma and kindness. What’s your impact on others?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

With all the sad news overwhelming us this past month, I started thinking about what could I or others do to help to offset all the “negative” things and vibes happening in our world. One thing I saw which was posted on-line was a list of kind things someone could do to inspire more acts of kindness. Most of these acts could be applied in a professional environment, but were namely intended to occur outside of a business environment.

Last week I attended a marketing technology event in Boston and American Author, Entrepreneur and fellow Marketer Seth Godin was the afternoon keynote speaker. One of the questions which came up at the end of his speech, was what can we do to offset all the negative news? Seth indicated that although the news is real, and is certainly sensational, he brought up a point which struck home and related to television journalist Wolf Blitzer. He asked the audience to think about why Wolf is always in the “situation room”? If he is always in a “situation room”, then there must be a situation going on, and of course this will then automatically sensationalize the topic related to the “situation room”. In other words, by establishing Wolf is in a “situation room”, naturally evokes a negative connotation. This then feeds into what the media is often criticized for which is to promote topics which are geared only for ratings purposes. This is one reason I prefer to obtain my news from sources which are more “neutral”, and actually focused on not putting their own spin, usually a negative one on the topic.

Now, back to what can we do in a professional environment to begin a chain reaction of inciting more acts of kindness. There are plenty of examples of what we can do, and I wanted to share with you ones I have participated in, or been the recipient of. I would love to hear back from people about the random acts of kindness they are doing, or on the receiving end of. We can all certainly use an infusion of kindness, and positivity in our daily lives. The trick will be to not become complacent and stop being kind to others each day. Here’s my list of acts of kindness which I hope you will benefit from and use:

  1. Smile at everyone you see and say hello to them too. Yes, everyone.
  2. Bring in some “treats”, healthy ones if you can (e.g., fruit) to share with your colleagues, once a week if possible. Inspire others to participate too.
  3. Buy some flowers and put one flower in a small cup of water and place it on as many people’s desks as you can. I actually did this one day, and passed out over (40) flowers, without telling anyone who did this. The reaction people had about receiving a single flower was so much fun to see how happy it made them.
  4. Bring in an item or items from your home to be donated. Put them in a box, ask others to contribute one item, and then take the full box to your favorite charity.
  5. Send your colleagues an e-card. There are a number of “free” e-card options. Here is a link to (11) places to find “free” greeting cards .
  6. If you have a special talent (e.g., you play an instrument, are an artist, know how to make things – websites, quilts, sweaters, clothes, robots, jewelry), offer to share your talent or teach them about your talent during a break or prior to or after work.
  7. Take some photos of your colleagues at work, share them with them, and then let them decide what to do with them. If they have kids, it might be fun for them to share the photo with their kids or significant others to have a “random” photo of them at work.
  8. Have some extra books around your house? Bring them in to share with your colleagues. Leave them in a public place with a note that they are for others to now enjoy. They can keep them, pass them along, or bring them back in for others to read.
  9. If you have access to tickets of any kind, offer to give them to the first person who sends you an email to claim them. The tickets could even be to a local middle or high school play or concert.
  10. Offer to donate an hour of your time to a colleague outside of work who might need help with a project (e.g., they are moving, they need help assembling something, they need help in their yard or with fixing their car or something in their home).
  11. Celebrate people’s birthday’s and accomplishments – even the ones which might seem insignificant. The point is to have more celebrations for the sake of creating smiles and opportunities for people to focus on something positive.
  12. Genuinely compliment as many people during the course of a day you interact with. It could be something as simple as they have neat handwriting, or are always on-time to meetings.

This list is clearly only the start, and I hope the actual catalyst for others to think about the kind things they can do each day to make other people they work with and their lives a bit brighter each day. What kind thing(s) will you be doing today?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.


Going out for lunch and coffee is more important than you think.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

It might seem obvious as a relationship building tool, but have you taken full advantage of getting to know one of your colleagues, or perhaps your boss or team better via a cup of joe or soup? When I ask people how often they make plans to go out to lunch or coffee with others they work with, I am always surprised by how few people are doing this. Or, at least not on a regular basis. Personally, I have experienced incredible transformations in terms of the relationship I had post my coffee and lunch interactions with people I have gone out with.

As a matter of fact, there was one time when I asked a colleague out to lunch simply to see why they were acting so passively aggressively towards me. Some of my other colleagues thought I was crazy for investing any time or energy in the relationship with this passive aggressive individual. However, the outcome from just one lunch with this person turned them from being a nightmare to work with, to being one of my biggest supporters, and who post our lunch experience, worked collaboratively with me from that point on. What made the difference from having lunch with this person? It was actually pretty simple. This person did not fully understand the work I was asking him to do, and he thought it was a waste of his time to be doing the work. What he did not realize was that the work he was doing was enormously helpful to me and understanding the analysis he produced. When he realized his work was perceived as being a valuable contribution to the business, his passive aggressive behavior evaporated, and he turned into a nice person to work with. We continued to have lunch, and actually have kept in touch since we stopped working together.

The example I have given you was not in fact an anomaly, and I have been able to repeat similar results with almost 100% of the people I have spent time with. This simple exercise is absolutely applicable to any person in an organization you are working with. All you have to do is ask them out for coffee or lunch.  Here are some questions you can use to have similar results I have experienced.

  • Start by asking them if they like to travel?
  • If they have not done much traveling, ask them about what are three places in the world they would like to visit someday.
  • Ask them to tell you if they have any pets.
  • Ask them to share with you if they have any favorite charities.
  • Ask them how they picked the career they are in?
  • Would they recommend their career choice to others?
  • What would they say is their “super power”, and how do they use it on a regular basis?
  • Do they enjoy learning about topics unrelated to their profession, or do they invest their free time learning more about topics related to how to advance in their current role?
  • Who inspires them?
  • Basically, get them talking about themselves, and you will be amazed by the fact they might not reciprocate and ask you anything about yourself.

If the conversation goes the way I predict it will; and I have years of experience with coffee and lunch outings, by the end of your time together, you will have “planted-the-seeds” to develop an entirely different relationship with the person you spent time with. Now, the next step in this process is to make a list of the people you need to start queuing up coffee and lunch experiences with. You can either invite them informally by talking to them and agreeing upon a date and time to get together, or you can send them an email invitation asking them when (not if) you can “treat them” to coffee or lunch.

The more experiences you have with going out for coffee and lunch with the people on your “list”, the more opportunities you will have to expand your network, be considered an influencer, and in general take your career in a direction I promise you would not be headed in without doing this.  So, what are you waiting for? Start putting your list together and sending out your invitations today. Doing so will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you on your professional journey, and it is never too early or late to do this.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.






Embrace Your Weirdness – Yes, You Can Do This in a Professional Environment.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Why do so many people want to emulate others or be like someone they are not? Maybe because it is actually hard or uncomfortable to simply be yourself, or because it looks likes it would be easier to imitate what someone else is doing. Lots of people do this, but they are not being true to themselves or allowing their actual talents and personality to be fully actualized. Part of the reason people act like others is because they think they need to conform and fit in to be accepted, or because they do not want to call too much attention to who they really are. Why wouldn’t you want to do this, and why wouldn’t you want to fully embrace your uniqueness or what I will playfully call your “weirdness”?

This week I saw a Broadway show called Dear Evan Hansen. The story was about a teenager who wanted to be noticed, and how desperate he was to have others acknowledge him as a person. However, he did not know how to go about getting noticed, and indirectly through an action he took, he got more attention and was noticed not in the way he had anticipated he would be noticed. This presented a challenge to him which he was unprepared to handle, but he handled the situation the best way he could, which was via a series of lies he told which spiraled out of control. Ultimately Evan was able to get the situation back under control, but it wasn’t until he realized he needed to embrace who he was as a person first in order to do so. Sound familiar to the experience you may have had as a teenager? Now fast forward to your 20’s and 30’s when you may still be trying to figure out how to express your true personality while being accepted for who you really are, and in a professional environment.

Allowing your true personality in a professional environment to come out is not an easy thing to do, but it is possible to achieve this. The trick is to be honest with yourself about who you really are. Are you someone who is empathetic to your co-workers and truly interested in collaborating with them? Are you highly competitive and only interested in getting ahead no matter who you upset or burn bridges with? Do you enjoy making others laugh and bringing a “light hearted” air to your working environment?  Or, perhaps you are the creative or analytical type who want to share these skills with your colleagues? If you had to describe yourself in 2-3 words, would you be able to do this easily? Would others have an easier time doing this, or would they perhaps describe the person you are portraying to be, rather than the person you really are?

So, who are the people who embrace their “weirdness”? In my experience, they are people who are the happiest and most successful in terms of having found what they want to be doing professionally. They do not look at their work not as work, but as something they enjoy spending their time doing and happen to get paid for it. When I ask them about how they figured out how to incorporate their interests and potentially their passions with the profession they have chosen, often they will tell me the work they are doing best suits their personality, and this is what makes them happy and allows them to be true to who they are.

Since most people know what type of personality they have, using your personality traits as a foundational basis to help you to pick your profession will serve as solid guidelines to allow you to truly express your personality in a professional environment. If you are in a profession currently where you do not feel like you can be yourself, have you stopped to consider why? Are you in the right profession, or are you trying to conform to be accepted in the environment you are working in because you think this is what you have to do? If you are conforming to fit into your environment or profession, perhaps it is time to stop doing this. If you have not thought about this, think about what you can do to be truer to your personality and what makes you unique. When you allow yourself to be who you really are and accept yourself and embrace your “weirdness”, everyone benefits from the unique qualities you are then bringing forward for them to enjoy, and for you to be free to express.  There is a saying “be yourself, as everyone else is already taken”. Embrace this statement, and start seeing how much happier you can and will be, both at work and in life.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.









Is Fear Driving Your Decisions?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

All of us are making continuous daily decisions, but have you stopped to think about whether your decisions are based on being completely confident with your decision, or are your decisions fear based due to your lack of confidence with trusting your gut instinct? Trusting your gut instinct is something most people in general have a hard time doing. Why? Because we are so conditioned to seeking others opinions or the acceptance and approval of others, that we often make decisions based on how other people will perceive the decision we made, and is essence, this is fear based decision making.

Many work based decision making scenarios involve having to come to a consensus.  This is often when the ultimate decision which is agreed to is less likely to be based on what would be the best decision. The result is that the decision was heavily influenced based on fear contributing to the decision inputs. When a group decision consensus is required, people will generally resort to projecting in their minds what they think others will want the decision to be, and not what it should be if fear were not part of the equation. So how do you stop having your resulting decisions being based on fear?

I often have conversations with business people about the concept of listening to the voice of reason in their brain. To convey this concept in a simplistic way, think of there being two voices in your head. One of them is a positive influence and the other is negative. The positive voice is your “gut instinct” providing you with sound and reasonable guidance, while the negative voice is the fear voice. The fear voice is not based on any type of instinct. The challenge is to practice drowning out the negative voice in your mind. You can start doing this with less complicated decisions you have to make such as thinking through a typical scenario everyone deals with. The example is to think about your response to the decision about whether you should stay a bit later at work to finish a project. If you listened to your positive and gut instinct, it would tell you it is alright to spend slightly more time at work to complete your project. As a result of doing so and listening to your positive voice, you will not be stressed all night at home about the project not being completed on time or advanced further to a point of comfort. This decision illustrates not being afraid to commit some additional time in order to have more time to relax later.

If in the example of staying later at work, you decided not to stay later, your negative voice was probably telling you fear based reasons about why you should not stay late (e.g., you don’t have the energy to stay later, you should have planned your time better to complete the project, you will be missing out on so many other things later that night due to staying longer). Another way to look at understanding why fear plays a role in our decision making is to actually think about potentially what fear really stands for. I do not know who to credit the breakdown of the word F.E.A.R. into a memorable statement, but the one I especially like is that the word fear stands for “False Expectations Appearing Real”. This particular explanation of fear nicely supports the “negative voice” concept I was discussing, and about 99% of the time, if I stop to think about something I am afraid of when making a decision, I remind myself of this fear based explanation.

When I am working with business executives or people in general, and we are talking about how they go about making decisions, I ask them to consider whether they are making the majority of their decisions based on fear. Most people will admit some percentage portion of their decisions are based on relying upon their “gut” or the positive voice, but far too many of them are making a large amount of their decisions based on fear. The first and best step to take to start eliminating making fear based decisions is to recognize and admit to doing so. The next step is to begin to slowly and consciously make and think through your decisions based on what your initial gut decision would be, and to then stick to it. The third step is to be retrospective about the decisions you have made with your gut, and to see how often these are the best and strongest decisions. Once you start to become comfortable with relying on your gut or positive voice, you will approach making decisions in an entirely different manner. You will also feel a new sense of freedom of not second guessing or making decisions once made primarily from a position of fear.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.