The gift of time. Are you using it well?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

There is a time in our life when we feel we have infinitely more time than we might, particularly when we are younger than 18. I picked this age because in the US, this is when you legally become an adult. We all know that no one really knows how much time each of us has to be on this planet. So, what would you do differently if you knew how much time you had to be alive? Would you make a “bucket list” of the things you want to do, or could possibly do, or would you not act any differently? Maybe you have not given this concept much thought?

What if you could do exactly what you wanted to do with your time without any consequences? Or, what if you could do only the things which truly made you happy? I began thinking about time and how each of us looks at it from a different perspective, and how it is governed by each of our own life circumstances. Sometimes the choices in life we make have an impact either positively or negatively on our life, and other times situations occur which are out of our control and which bring our time to an end suddenly.

Attending a funeral this morning and listening to the story of the beloved person who passed away, her life was described by her daughter in the most captivating way. I was thoroughly absorbed by her storytelling ability, but what struck me the most, was her Mom’s absolute joyful perspective on the life she had had lived. Not all of her days were a perfect “10”, but this woman clearly knew how to have a joyful life as described in great detail by her daughter. Essentially everyone she met, she adopted into her life. She did this with the sole purpose of making them feel like they were a gift and special to her. Each day this woman literally made it her mission to make everyone she engaged with have a better day.

I wish I could tell you I knew and met my friends Mom. I did not have the fortune of doing so, and  I actually only saw her within the last ten minutes of her life. When I saw her, she was in a hospice situation surrounded by her family who was gathered at the kitchen table for dinner. She was peacefully resting in her bed behind the kitchen table, joining them in her own way. This family was clearly making the best use of the time they had with her, and showered her with their presence and love.

When you think about time and how you utilize it, do you think of it in terms of it being a gift? Today I was reminded I need to think of time as a gift, and to not assume I have an infinite amount of it. Instead I need to focus on making sure I am capitalizing on each day to the fullest.

As I referenced in my article about Success, everyone will have a different definition of what success means. Time is similar in terms of how people approach thinking about this concept. As we get older, the saying “time flies by” takes on a new meaning. When I was younger, there were days when time felt like it stood still. I am not exactly sure when I realized time was moving at a faster rate, but it was likely when I was in my mid to late twenties when I felt the pressure to make various life choices (e.g., career, marriage, children). Looking back on my choices and the timing of them, I am glad I made the choices I did. My timing choices and the decisions I made are the building blocks which have made me into the person I am today.

I am still sad my friend’s Mom passing away was a catalyst for making me seriously think about time as a gift, but I gained a new perspective on the reality of it being so today. If you take one thing away from this article, I hope it will be to reflect upon how you view the concept of time, and I hope you have an abundance of it to enjoy.

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.

 

 

Why Everyone Needs a Coach or Mentor.

 

By Kathleen E. Murphy

In honor of Mother’s Day, I chose to write an article about a person the majority of people would consider to be their first coach, their Mom. Yes, perhaps it was your Dad or someone who played the role of “Mom” in the formative years of your life. Whomever your first coach or mentor was, today would be a perfect day to thank them for what they did for you as you were developing as a young person.

The ironic thing about having a coach or mentor, is we typically have one early in our lives, but often do not continue to have a person in our lives who plays this role as we progress into the future. Why don’t we, or are you one of the fortunate people who do? For me personally, I always wanted to have an “official” business coach or mentor, but did not have one. So, I took it upon myself to become one. I first did this informally, and then more formally by joining various organizations (e.g., a shout out to the Babson College MBA program for accepting me as a mentor for 3 of their women MBA’s, as well as to the Women Unlimited Program who formally mentors executive business women, and whom I am a mentor for). Both of these mentoring programs are amazing programs who support the values associated with coaching and mentorship, specifically in the business world. However, the concepts of coaching and mentoring can also be applied outside of the business world.

Having mentored well over 100 people in my career; and many of them who would still consider themselves to be a mentee of mine twenty years later, I am a staunch supporter of the benefits associated with having a mentor or coach. I have personally seen how coaching and mentoring has directly and positively impacted both their business as well as their personal lives. Some of the benefits a coach or mentor can provide you are: they challenge you, they listen well, they can guide you to where you want to go, have the experience required to help you, they offer emotional support when its required, provide feedback which is constructive and make themselves available to you when you need them the most.

Recently I attended a Gallup seminar which cited a new report they released which has documented what Millennials want in the workplace. The number one thing they noted they expect or desire to have in the workplace is a coach or mentor. Based on fact in a few short years we will have more millennials in the workforce than we have any other generation category, I was intrigued by this top request, as it is a very reasonable one. However, the challenge organizations will face is the fact there will not be enough people who are either trained, or desire to be a mentor or coach. How will the shortage of coach/mentor’s be addressed? My insight into this challenge will be for millennials to initially seek outside through their respective organizations to help them find the resources to support this need (e.g., colleges, religious associations, community groups). I am not associated with this organization, but I found a “free” mentoring organization on-line called Find A Mentor.

You can also join this organization if you want to be a mentor. Their concept is based on paying it forward and helping others. We all know it is highly rewarding to help others, and if you need a coach or mentor, this seems to be a good place to start if you do not have other resources to tap into.

Thank you to all the Mother’s out there, and to those people who have moved on to play the instrumental role of being a coach or mentor in people’s lives. Continue doing what you do, as you are all making a tremendous difference in other people’s lives.

This blog is dedicated to both Terry Kuprevich who passed away last night, and is the Mom of my dear friend Misty Grennell, and also my Mom, Emily R. Murphy. Thank you for being my first mentor and coach. You were and still are an amazing one to this day. Happy Mother’s Day.

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.

 

 

 

 

Success. What’s Your Definition?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

It’s the time of year when many students will be graduating from either high school or college, or perhaps from some other program format which will be handing them a diploma. With this type of achievement, particularly for college or other program graduates (e.g., trade schools), it naturally brings on the age-old question of “what will you be doing afterwards”? My first thought when I hear this question is why can’t people skip this question and accept the act of graduating is in fact an act of success itself? I think they do, but it should be further recognized and celebrated for longer than simply the graduation ceremony. This brings me to the point of thinking through what are the elements which define success?

Fast forward past graduation and into the “working world”. Here’s where many people begin to stress out about how they are defining themselves from a success perspective, and here are some samples of what may be going through their brains…..have I accepted a position at the right company, am I on the “fast track” to move up the career ladder, am I networking with the right people, or enough people? These are some of the questions early in their career people are thinking about, and this may not be the best use of their energy. I say this because if you study truly successful people, it really doesn’t fully matter what you are doing early on in your career. The point is to do the best you can do in the role you are in, and to leverage this role as a stepping stone, unless you are in a field which requires a strictly defined path (e.g., nursing, engineering, teaching).

Success can be defined many ways, and I challenge you not to be boxed-in and limited by others, or via the more traditional methods of how success in numerous first world countries is defined (e.g., money, fame, status). Instead, try a new perspective and think about success in smaller more “bite size” pieces, and in terms of achieving success by other methods. A few to consider are ones such as your health (e.g., mental and physical), how genuine your friendships are and how long they have lasted, whether you have a family or network to support you in times of celebration or crisis and how much freedom you have to make choices in your life which can make each day better, or another person’s life better because of you being in it.

Yes, success is often thought of in monetary terms of status and achievement, but what if money and status did not matter? Could you then define success as achieving happiness each day, or perhaps everyone on the planet being kind and accepting of each other? Perhaps success could be defined simply by ticking off all the boxes on your “to do list” each day, or teaching another person about something they did not know? The point I am making is to stop stressing out about how success is defined by others, or by the standards you have had ingrained into you since you were a young child. Take time to create your own definition of success, and do not empower others to do this for you. You will only end up being disappointed, as someone else’s definition of success is always going to be different from your own. Stop comparing yourself to others. Think about this for a moment. I did, and it made all the difference in the world to me. I hope it does for you as well.

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.

 

Make a decision – Benefits to being decisive

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Making a decision seems to be a process which is increasingly becoming more difficult for people. This applies to people in both professional environments, and at home. I have noticed a trend in people deferring decisions, or what I will call “over consulting” with others. Having the web at our finger tips has also contributed towards this trend allowing people to easily yet unnecessarily over research and over analyze situations. When I have spoken to numerous people about how they make decisions, or whether making a decision is an easy process, the majority of people tell me they find it to be difficult. Why is this the case, and what are the benefits to delaying, or simply not being decisive?

Having worked in the business world for over 20 years, I acknowledge the fact my decision-making abilities have matured and been accelerated over the years. This is partially to do with the fact in the past I relied upon trusted advisors or mentors to help me with applying their wider and more polished perspective to each situation. I highly recommend to people who are starting out in their careers to build-up their stable of people they can rely upon for advice. My experience in having made thousands of decisions during my career and gaining more confidence with each decision I made has contributed towards me accelerating the speed at which I make decisions. Now consider how my experience has also allowed me to apply more layers of considerations factored into decisions, arguably making them much sounder, stronger and defensible.

There a variety of decision category types, but for the purposes of this article, I will focus on making decisions in a business environment. When people in business are empowered to make decisions on their own, and not by a committee, I have found they are more satisfied in their roles. They also are more decisive, and take better and more calculated risks, or what some refer to as “fail fast” decisions. However, many of these types of quick, definitive decisions produce extraordinary results, and the person and their employer gain the benefit of time being on their side. When decisions are elongated, and mulled over either by an individual or a committee, they lose the benefit of making a swifter decision which could have produced positive results right away. Yes, the opposite is possible, but thinking back to my article on “How Positivity Thinking Impacts Your Life”  my stance would be to think about how you can accelerate all or most of your decisions.

Switching gears and focusing on you, now think about some of the times when you have been in a situation when you have been waiting for a decision to be made, or had to make a decision. When you are waiting for a decision to be made it can feel like an eternity. Conversely when you are making a decision it can feel like the clock is ticking loudly in your ear and you may feel physical pressure as your body tightens up as the minute’s tick by. My friends who are yoga and meditation experts would tell you to take deep breathes and slow down your thinking. This is good advice regardless of the situation, but wouldn’t you agree you feel better and more satisfied when you make a decision? Granted you might not be 100% satisfied, but it sure beats being indecisive in my experience every time. Yes, I will also agree not making a decision is a decision, but in my professional experience, it is better to make a definitive decision.

There are a number of informative articles on making decisions, and I came across one which breaks down and gives you 11 ways to help you do so. The article is from Success Magazine, and is called “11 Genius Tips to Be More Decisive”. We will all be better off if people we work with make an effort to be more decisive, and yes, make a decision and not vacillate, drag them out, or opt not to decide. Please consider being more decisive. I promise you others will appreciate you doing so. Give it a try and see what happens, and find a mentor or advisor if you cannot do this well on your own.

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.

 

 

How to Amp-up Your Swagger

 

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Swagger. What actually is it, and how do you get some, or more? Now consider those who have it (e.g., Mick Jagger,  Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock, Mark Wahlberg, Beyoncé) certainly seem to be having more fun, or perceivably more outward success than others. Perhaps it is all an illusion, or only perceived by some and not others? In looking up the definition of this word in the on-line version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, as a transitive verb they define this word as “to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially:  to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence”. My take on the definition of this word is a bit different, as over the years I have heard it utilized more as an adjective to define someone who exudes confidence and has an illusion about them which sets them apart from others who may be classified as ordinary.

Assuming it is possible to obtain more swagger, how does one go about achieving this? Perhaps you could start out with your attire. Consider the fact celebrities often rely upon professional stylists to select their attire for them. They do this for numerous reasons, but namely to make sure they are presenting their image of who they want the public to see them as….perhaps as being more stylish than if they were to select their own attire. The psychology behind fashion and how and why people choose their clothing is a topic which could be explored on its own, but think of the last time you bought and then wore a new item. Did you feel different or better, or more attractive wearing this item? Did you feel more confident, or more willing to talk to people you might not otherwise talk to if you had been wearing one of the items you have had in your closet for a while?

Hairstyles can come into play for both sexes and amp-up one’s swagger, providing it’s the right cut, and color (Hint: some of the extreme hair colors might not be adding to your swagger, but in fact detracting from it). Most people notice when others get their hair styled, and typically will comment in a positive way, although not always. Having the right hairstyle can make you look younger, older or more fashionable. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get my haircut and styled, I can never achieve the same look the stylist does, that’s why we go to them in the first place. I consider myself hair challenged from a styling perspective, and I am going out on a limb by assuming most people place themselves in this category.

Becoming proficient at something can contribute to increasing your confidence and swagger too. It does not matter what it is you are good at, I simply encourage you to do more of it if you find you are deriving a positive result (e.g., you are skilled at making gourmet meals, you help others who need assistance in their life, you can draw realistic images of anything, you have mastered the art of throwing amazing parties which everyone wants to be invited to). As I have noted in my blog titled “Articulating Your Value Proposition. Yes, You Have One”, everyone is good at one thing, some people are good at many things. If you do not know what you are good at, ask your friends and family to help you sort this out, or as I often recommend, check out the book Strengths Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath and take the on-line survey which will tell you what your top five strengths are. Mine are Positivity, Strategic, Arranger, Individualization and Woo. There are 34 possible strengths, and it is really fun to find out what yours are.

Add more swagger to your life and see if people take notice, or if you feel differently in a positive manner by focusing on doing things which contribute to setting you apart from others. In my opinion, and I tell this to my kids all the time, being ordinary is not an option when you can strive to be extraordinary and have a bit more swagger in your life each day.

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.