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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.