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.

 

 

 

 

 

Articulating Your Value Proposition. Yes, You Have One.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

No matter who you are, what industry you work in, or if you are starting out in your career, or have worked in your respective line of work for more than twenty years, everyone should be able to articulate their Value Proposition. Another common term associated with this is called “Elevator Pitch”. Both can be utilized personally or professionally, and in the interest of this blog, I am focusing on the development of your personal Value Proposition, and why you should create one.

The first reason you should create one is to be able to verbally showcase your talents when anyone asks, so “What do you do?” Even if they are not entirely interested in hearing what you have to say, or are simply asking to be polite, you never know if what you are conveying to the person you are speaking with might be giving you an opportunity personally or professionally you never imagined. For example, let’s say you are at your friend’s graduation party and are speaking with another guest. The two of you have at least one person in common; the graduate, and the person you are speaking with happens to be at a “hot” start-up who is hiring 100 people this year. After hearing your “Value Proposition”, the other guest asks if you are interested in learning more about the company they are working at, as your background sounded perfectly aligned to several of the open positions they are trying to fill. This type of interaction happens all of the time, but too often, people are not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity because they have not created their Value Proposition to share with others.

The second reason to create your personal Value Proposition is to be able to readily converse with others on a general conversation topic relating to how you spend your time and energy. Granted you might not be doing exactly your dream job right now, but perhaps you are working towards developing the skills to go after your ideal career role? Your personal Value Proposition would revolve around describing this, and the people you meet might in fact be able to help you get one step closer to your ideal dream job or the company you desire to work at. People in general like to help other people, especially when they come across as being open to assistance, and the desire to meet and network with others who can potentially help them pursue the new direction they working towards going.

The final reason to craft your personal Value Proposition is to share with others your own story and journey related to where you are personally or professionally. One of my blog articles titled “Are You Curious Enough?”,  poses this question. By nature, most people are curious, but some are more than others, and even if the person you are speaking with is only mildly curious, they will still be interested in hearing your Value Proposition. Think of your Value Proposition also as a way to establish a personal connection with the person you are conversing with, and by all means, make sure you ask them to tell you about their personal Value Proposition, but you do not have to refer to it using these works. As a matter of fact, I do not recommend it. Instead, simply ask them how they spend their time and energy, or what keeps their interest and attention during the day. You might be pleasantly surprised by what they tell you.

Since you now know why you should have your own Value Proposition, here is a link to a document, I found which will provide you with the structure needed to get started on developing and crafting your Value Proposition. I promise you this document will navigate you easily via the process of crafting your Value Proposition, and offer details which will result in the development of your personal Value Proposition. After you have crafted your Value Proposition, I would love to read it, so please share it with me at kathymurphy@me.com . I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who has already developed their personal Value Proposition, and also to those who are inspired to create their own Value Proposition after reading this article.

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.

Harnessing Anticipation as Motivation

By Kathleen E. Murphy

As I was trying to motivate myself to continue to work on a project, I thought it would be an interesting twist to see if I could tap into and harness the energy I had from anticipating news I will hear about next week. Instead of potentially being anxious about hearing the news and procrastinating on what I should be working on, I considered how I could constructively utilize my anticipation of the news to motivate me in a productive and positive manner. So far so good, as I am sharing this experience with you now, and I hope you can apply my strategy to help harness your anticipation as motivation.

Another way to look at harnessing anticipation as motivation, was to direct my frustration in waiting for a response, and to again, redirect my energy in a constructive mode. I will admit, I had to think about how to do this, as it was not my first instinct, but the outcome and redirection of my energy is far more rewarding. My last blog article called “Persistence is a Super Power – Got it?” also inspired me to write this blog article by the type of people and organizations who were reading this article. Perhaps you have heard of a few of them?….The Garner Group and The Boston Red Sox. I was thrilled there are companies who are well known brands who are reading and benefitting from the topics I have been writing about. All of the topics I write about have come from my interest in exploring and learning more about the subject, and to share what I learn with others who might be curious about the subject too. If you are curious about how I pick my topics, I have a handful of people who I typically ask which topics from my list they want me to write about next. Often, it is difficult to decide which one to focus on, as they are all intriguing topics from my perspective, so it comes down to deciding which one I can relate to the most at that moment in time.

Have you ever thought about why you might be more motivated some days, or specific times of the day more than others? I have, and often I attribute my motivation levels to influences such as the weather (e.g., sunny or cloudy), whether I am well rested or tired, or if it is the morning, which tends to be the time of day I have the highest level of motivation. I attribute being a “morning person” to why my motivation level is highest in the morning. However, regardless of these influences, another factor I had not considered was what my level of “hope” I have in terms of anticipating a positive outcome. If I am anticipating hearing about, doing, or going someplace, the concept of how “hopeful” I am about doing so also plays a significant role in how motivated I am. Have you ever noticed this about yourself?

You may have heard the phrase, “hope is not a strategy”. However, I would disagree and say it could be. As a matter of fact, in the absence of having hope, I have personally felt myself become more stressed, and less optimistic about the anticipated outcome of a situation being positive. When I am hopeful about something, my attitude and motivation factors are much higher, and I have a sense of the possibility of anticipating an outcome which I can both visualize and desire. The next time you are faced with a situation when you are anticipating news of any kind, see if you are able to harness the energy derived from the anticipation to motivate you to do something positive, or constructive. I’m counting on doing this myself for the next few days.

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.

Persistence is a Super Power. Got it?

 

A quality I have often admired in others is their persistence, and their ability to apply their persistence and focus both at work, and outside of work. People who are persistent seemingly have a plan, and they typically execute on the plan and get results. Do you know someone like this? Is this one of your “super power” traits, or do you wish you were more persistent?

Perhaps being a persistent type of person is an innate quality, or is it one which can be developed? It is also possible to perhaps be more persistent is some situations than others, as you could be more motivated to persist towards a particular goal (e.g., getting in shape for the summer, going after a promotion at work, organizing and cleaning your home for a party you are having this weekend). Naturally I did some research on whether there was an approach anyone could take to become more persistent, and of course, I found a wealth of examples on how to do so. The article I liked best was written by Lou Macabasco and is called 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent. As the article is titled, it provides you with a simple breakdown of steps you can take to become more persistent. The benefits of becoming a more persistent person certainly outweigh any negative consequences, and anyone who knows me, knows this for a fact, as I practice being focused and persistent every day.

One of my future blog articles which ties well into the topic of persistence will be focused on thinking through the process of plotting your career strategy and mapping it out. The other part of this article will focus on having an “end game, and goals to work towards.” By leveraging the six steps involved with how to become more persistent, you can develop the framework or foundation for your future career goals. A long-time and close friend of mine, Carol Agranat is a professional career coach at Career Mapping Solutions, and I guarantee you she works with all her clients on first developing what her clients “end game”, or goal is for the type of career they desire to have. In my opinion, the most interesting part of Carol’s job is that she works with people who are on the entire career spectrum (e.g., recent college graduates, mid-career professionals and people who want to switch careers or re-enter into the work force). The common thread for all of her clients is their desire to move onto the next level of their career, and doing this will require them to be persistent in their pursuit of doing so.

Although I have not confirmed this, I can imagine the most satisfying part of Carol’s job is helping people create a pathway towards their professional goals, and seeing them achieve them. Having been a lacrosse player and lacrosse coach for a number of years, as well as a professional motivational coach for executives as well as people at various stages of their career, there is almost nothing more gratifying in helping someone else or a team achieve what they may not have thought was possible. One of my secrets in helping people to achieve what they set out to achieve, is working with them to have them believe they can accomplish their goal or goals. By breaking down the steps of reaching their goals, similar to the steps outlined in the article 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent, I know for a fact achieving what you set out to achieve is entirely possible. If you do not believe in yourself, find someone who does, as they can make all the difference in your life in helping you to be persistent to get you to where you want to be either professionally or personally.

This blog is dedicated to Carol Agranat who I have known for well over 30 years, and who is one of the most courageous and genuinely passionate people about helping others to succeed. Thank you for your friendship Carol, and may you continue to do amazingly work with others.

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.

Got Culture? Company Culture that is.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

I have had the fortune of working at two of the best companies in the US when it comes to outstanding company culture, and I credit Lou Shipley, CEO at Black Duck, and Gail Goodman (former CEO) of Constant Contact for their support of allowing their company cultures to be genuine and not contrived. This is not easy to accomplish, and it’s not by chance their corporate cultures are impressive, as they work on developing their culture every day, with the help of many others. At Black Duck, Tim Kenny has the title of Vice President of Culture, and he embodies how to practice and make a company culture that even Google would be jealous of. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of one of Tim’s famous office antics, accomplished while the person was out of the office. This should give you a good sense of Black Duck’s culture.

Are technology companies the only companies who understand and embrace the importance of having an amazing company culture? I hope not, but there are also industries who are well known for their lack of a healthy corporate culture, and they know who they are. Is this a badge of honor for them? I certainly do not think so, as the benefits of having a strong and positive corporate culture cannot be underrated, as outlined in an article and infographic by Eric Siu, Contributing Editor at Entrepreneur.  Sure there is a cost to creating and maintaining a corporate culture, but I would argue there is more evidence to support why you should invest in “upgrading” your corporate culture, than not investing in this area.

There are varying degrees of what effort it takes to create a corporate culture, and if you think of creating corporate culture from an analogy perspective, and as a way to remain fit and visiting the gym regularly, you are on the right track….pun intended. Some examples of creating a corporate culture would be to start slowly, and by forming a small group of people in the company who are genuinely interested in making it a better and more fun place to work. Next, this group can brainstorm on ideas they can apply to help develop their corporate culture on a monthly basis (e.g., Black Duck employees make waffles every Wednesday, and call the event “Waffle Wednesday”). The company invested in some commercial grade waffle irons, assign people to procure the ingredients, cook and clean up each week. It is a really fun activity, and most of the employees in the company participate in the activity at some point during the year. Another idea would be to capitalize on inviting some food trucks to your parking lot, especially if you are in a large building complex. Or, perhaps you could have a monthly themed activity which everyone can rally around (e.g., Cinco de Mayo), or Pizza Friday’s or Potluck lunches once per month. You could also have sports themed days, where people wear their favorite professional or college team’s shirts or hats to work.

The bottom line is, corporate culture does not have cost tens of thousands of dollars to support, and it can make a significant contribution to helping your company retain employees because they are happy working at your company. Reach out to me if you would like additional “free” ideas on what type of low-cost corporate culture ideas I can recommend for your company, or if you have ideas to share with me. It delights me to see other companies working on improving their company culture, knowing how much fun it can be to work at a company with an amazing corporate culture. As I shared earlier, I’ve been at them, so I know this for a fact. Don’t delay and start today on making your corporate culture the one everyone wants to work at.

This blog is dedicated to Tim Kenny, who I admire for his amazing creativity and talent to create a corporate culture which both Disney and Google would be impressed with.

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.