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.

Become More Confident

 

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Where does confidence come from? Are some people born with more than others, or is it a skill or strength you develop over time? I am sure you have encountered people who seem to have a level of confidence way beyond their chronological age. Still there are others who are at a point in their life and career where they should have a high degree of confidence, yet are severely lacking it, and for no apparent reason. If desired, can you build confidence and maintain it? Where does one begin to do this?

There are numerous ways to increase your self-confidence, and here’s a link I found which lists (25) actions to boost your self-confidence – and ways to do so, all of which are completely easy to achieve, as I read through all of them and mentally ticked off the box to determine if they were achievable. They are, and I know you will feel the same. In case you think only non-celebrities suffer from lack of self-confidence, I did some research and found there have been numerous people documented in history who seemingly have reached the pinnacle of their careers or talent, and who yet are what I will call plagued with lack of confidence.

Examples of well-known people who suffer from lack of confidence are singer/songwriter Mariah Carey, singer/songwriter/actor David Bowie (1/8/47-1/10/16), tennis superstar Serena Williams and Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning actress Kate Winslet. Each of these celebrities have documented histories of battling with low self-esteem, or what I would classify as low self-confidence. How is it possible for these well-known “super stars” in their respective fields to not have over the top levels of confidence? Part of the reason has to do with the negative narrative they have running in their minds, and which has them perceive themselves far differently than the outside world does. Another contributing factor to low or lack of self-confidence is not believing in yourself, even though there is vast evidence to the contrary that you should be able to do so.

Building self-confidence is not something you can do overnight, but is in fact something you can work on every day. The methods to building self-confidence need to be practiced daily, and yes, you will have days when your confidence is lower or higher. The goal is to try to maintain a balance in your level of self-confidence, and this can be done with some of the items listed on the 25 actions to boosting your self-confidence. Another quick way to increase your self-confidence is to stand up and in front of a mirror if one if available, and put your hands on your hips and pose like superman or superwoman. Now, saying out loud, tell yourself “I’ve got this” (5-6) times until you feel a positive change in your demeanor.  You will be amazed at how such a simple action can make you feel more confident than simply a few minutes prior to doing so. I know this for a fact, because I have leveraged this technique numerous times in my life. Give it a try.

This blog is dedicated to our daughter, Bronwyn Shinnick, as she is one of the most confident people I know. She also inspires me with her drive to succeed and her magnificent level of focus and confidence every 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.

 

How to stay passionate about something. OK, your career.

 

Staying passionate about something seems like it would be an easy assignment, and perhaps it is if you find something, anything in life you can be passionate about. The topic of finding your passion and then pursuing a career aligned with your passion has been in vogue for the last decade. Colleges, career counselors and human resource professionals routinely give out the advice to follow your passion. I will agree it makes sense to align your passion if possible with your career or career aspirations, but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Or is it?

Personally when I think back to finding my passion, it began when I studied Advertising in college. This major was under the School of Journalism, and truthfully, I did not know this was something I could study. However, because I was always interested in print, radio and television advertising, it made perfect sense for me to study this subject. When I thought about advertising, I was always fascinated by how each product, service or brand told its story, or value proposition via words, images and sounds. I enjoyed the narrative of each advertisement, and the sheer delight in assigning my own grade to each advertisement I encountered. This was fun, and when I was faced my sophomore year of college with declaring my major, I will never forget how fellow University of Maine student, Gary Huffnagle told me he was an Advertising Major, and how much he loved it. He loved this major because it combined both writing and a creative element which could be expressed visually, verbally or via a combination. His enthusiasm for the major, the type of classes he was taking, and the fact I was always interested in advertising made it the obvious choice for me to follow in his footsteps.

I’ll admit I have always been a practical person, so my degree in Journalism was not a coincidence, as I knew it was a practical degree. I also knew I could find a job with the skills it provided me. Having these skills allowed me to practice and master my communication skills in the business world, and it opened up the proverbial door for me into having a Marketing career which has spanned over twenty years. Most of the Marketing expertise I acquired was via hands-on learning experiences. For example, I will never forget in one of my early jobs the company was going to a tradeshow and it was up to me to figure out how to get us there, and what this entailed. I also vividly recalling learning about social and digital media marketing as it was becoming a new way to do marketing, writing my first press release and holding my first press conference without any guidance on how to do either.

The point I am making about my various early career marketing experiences is because of my passion, I was fearless when it came to trying new things, which often I had no business in even attempting. However, each time I tried something new, I then had more confidence to try something else I had little to no experience doing. Having passion for Marketing gave me a sense of confidence, and it was my confidence which helped me to stay focused and figure out how to accomplish what needed to get done to succeed. Best of all, it never felt like work, and this may in fact be one of the key elements to knowing if you have found your passion.

Sure there are other things in my life I am passionate about (e.g., real estate, interior design, coaching/mentoring people), but when I truly think about what I am rock solid passionate about, and what has held my interest for so many years, it is the field of Marketing. The fact this field is so varied and offers such a diverse amount of marketing options to pursue (e.g., advertising, channel, communications, content, demand generation, digital, events, graphic design, international, operations, product marketing, public relations, web site design), is what has held my attention for the length of time it has. The field of Marketing has also been a perfect profession for me because it has also allowed me to work with so many different business disciplines, and to learn more about how the functions work together (e.g., Accounting, Customer Service, Engineering, Human Resources, Product Marketing/Management and Sales).

So, if you are faced with either starting out in your career, or making a decision to change the career direction you are in, think about the type of subjects which make you smile (e.g., traveling, playing a musical instrument, designing, riding your bike, running, baking, fixing computers or anything mechanical). Now think about the fields associated with these subjects which interest you. Then make a list of all of the types of jobs which are aligned, evenly slightly with the subject. Once you have your list, narrow it down to your top three subjects you are interested in. Finally, begin asking people you know to introduce you to people who have jobs associated with your top areas of interest. Ask them about how they got started, and what advice they would give you to get started. Most importantly, have fun with this, as I guarantee you will find motivation in pursuing knowing more about the topics you listed. You can then ideally begin your path towards pursuing your passion via a career which will hold your interest for many years to come.

Thanks to Tom Snelders for encouraging me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about next. Up next will be the topic on “Thinking through the process of plotting your career strategy and map. Have an end game, and goals to works towards.”

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market 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 work life balance a myth?

Not everyone who writes about balancing your life actually has “street cred”, but I do. My experience of balancing “life” is from having three kids, two who are in college, one in high school, and what I call my permanent “furry baby”, or our five year old Golden Doodle, as well as a frog and lizard. I also have a husband who’s office is 200 miles from our house and who has commuted there for four years, a sister, brother, Mom and Dad and in-laws as well as relatives from their relationships. I am fortunate to have friends I met as far back in elementary school in the fourth grade (e.g., Greg, Kathy & Monique), and I have maintained these aspects of my life while working full-time in the demanding high technology marketing industry for more than 20 years. The first thing I will tell you is this has not been easy. The second thing I will tell you is I would not trade my experiences for anything. However, I now have perspective on balancing my life, and I will share this perspective with you.

Being a full-time working Mother puts you in a position of constantly weighing the pros and cons of decisions on an hourly basis, sometimes simultaneously both at work and home. So, it has been critical for me to be able to have my family reach me at all times, meaning my mobile phone is always on and with me. There have also been numerous times during my career when I have often excused myself during important professional conversations when my children or other family members have reached out to me. Yes, this might seem impolite, but I prioritize my family over work 100% of the time. No job or career is worth the reverse of this prioritization, especially if you are in a field that demands you work excessively long hours. I also do not apologize for taking these calls, and that is a whole other topic I will be writing about, as women apologize way to often for things they should not be apologizing for.

Friends are another part of the equation, which you should never forget to maintain as part of your balance. I have seen too many people compromise their friendships because they are unable to simply send a text once in awhile to their friends to let them know they are thinking about them. If you really want to let them know you are thinking about them, you can drop them a handwritten note, or buy them a cute card, or simply leave them a voicemail. When was the last time you received a card from a friend of yours “just because” they were thinking of you? I regularly send my friends cards for this reason, or leave them extended voicemails.

Proper amounts of sleep, nutrition and exercise are also fundamental aspects of obtaining life balance. Yes, there are times when each of these will be compromised. However, the point is to make each a priority, and to strive to maintain as much discipline as you can with making these aspects of your life a priority too. At times in my life when I was averaging 5-6 hours of sleep at night, not able to exercise or eat the proper food, I paid dearly for this by feeling overly stressed, exhausted and as if I had no control over my schedule or life. With help from friends and family, by reprioritizing these aspects of my life, I was able to get back on track and have my life come back into balance. Again, this was not easy, and I ask you to be kind to yourself and not become overly frustrated when you get out of balance. You also have to realize you are not a “super hero”, and it is fine to ask for help from others, as you can reciprocate when they will need you at some point.

Of course there are other facets of my life and yours you want to factor into the mix, and this is when it gets really interesting in terms of a balancing act. However, I think this is the fun part, as the “trick” to streamlining all the other facets of your life are accomplished by literally scheduling them, or writing them down on a “to do” list. As many of you know about me, I am a huge fan of “to do” lists. It’s because of these lists I am able to accomplish all I do, as I have found that if I write something down, it will get done. Once it is written down, it is like my “up-front-contract” to adhere to and to make it happen. Perhaps not in the exact timeframe of when I wanted it to, but as close to when it would be possible to accomplish the item (e.g., travel, coach and see our kids participate in their sporting or other activities, take a course, work on my hobbies, go to the gym, spend quality time with family/friends, etc.).

I am not saying my life is perfect, as I do not think there is such a thing, and I do believe you can strike a balance in your life and accomplish more than you imagine is possible. I firmly believe I have struck a balance in my life, and I look forward to continuing to do so given the opportunity. Lastly, I hope my shared experience on creating and having balance in my life might help you to do so too, or provide you with some thoughts on how to strike your own balance in life.

Thanks to Holden Laquerre and Patrick Sweeney for encouraging me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about next. Up next will be the topic on “Staying passionate about something.”

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market 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.