Planting trees–Who gave you a chance?

‘I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.’

(Oprah Winfrey)

I continue to express the benefits of building effective partnerships and how networking can enhance this process.

My current Walk into the Future provides multiple opportunities for partnering and networking to continue to make a difference in the world.  Current relationships (mentors, tree branches, etc.) can be instrumental for the development of new opportunities.

I was virtually introduced to Isabella Johnston from Intern Pursuit through a mutual friend.  We connected via LinkedIn and then followed up with a phone call to learn more about how we could partner (if possible) in the future.  Happy to say Isabella’s role with Intern Pursuit and other projects she has in the Central Florida area are making a difference daily.  Enjoyed learning about the exciting things she is working on and will roll out later this year.

We discussed the possibility of me coming down to participate as a guest speaker for her Intern Whisperer Podcast.  Participating on the podcast seemed like a perfect partnership so I was happy to accept the offer to continue to work with Isabella and her staff.

What a great experience to meet Isabella, her staff and recording the podcast!  Very engaging format with questions designed to allow me to provide professional and leadership advice to listeners of the podcast.  Had a blast with the entire process and looking forward to continuing this newly formed partnership.

An interesting aspect to my trip down to Orlando was I had lunch with a ‘tree branch’ prior to recording the podcast.  I had breakfast the next morning with another ‘tree branch’—tried to get a lot accomplished in minimal time.  The interesting part of my connecting with my Orlando tree branches is they both know (know of) Isabella and her work and she is familiar with their work.  They are all master networkers, so I’m not surprised these folks all know each other—looks like I was the last one to the party! 😊

Who gave you a chance?

One question that was presented to me during the podcast was ‘Who gave you a chance’?

You can hear my full answer by listening to the podcast.  I’ve had a lot of great people mentor me over the years but my answer to this question is Ann Loyd.  Ann allowed me to transition from the Air Force into a role within the Macon State College Career Center.  Nothing in my professional background directly translated to career services but Ann took the chance my dedication and passion to help others would translate.  Happy to say it did—I’m still making a difference because Ann saw something in me and helped me shape my world view on helping students succeed.  My Walk into the Future started with the chance she gave me.

 ‘It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute.’

(William Pollard)

So, I pose the same question to you–Who gave you a chance?  Who will you give a chance to?  Interested in your thoughts—thanks!

Intern Pursuit May 2019

 

 

Making a Difference (Daily)

Make a Difference May 2019

I start each day with the purpose of making a difference.  Changing the entire world continues to prove to be beyond my ‘super powers’ so I focus on the small victories in life.

The picture above hangs next to my front door, so I must pass it on my way out into the world.  It is a simple reminder to ensure my focus remains on the small victories in life that can make a difference to someone.

My psychology educational background was selected because of a desire to understand others better.  My thought process has always been to understand what makes people do or think what they do.  Psychology provided me with the foundation to understand the importance of helping others.  Please note, helping someone can be as simple as asking them how their day is going.  Doesn’t have to get super deep to impact someone you cross paths with regularly.

I’ve written about the benefits of volunteering in the local community.  This small step can be a huge difference maker for your local community and especially someone who benefits from the organization you volunteer with.  Volunteer multiple times with an organization and you will begin to put smiles on the faces of people within the organization.

Mentoring others has always been a huge part of my daily routine.  My current Walk into the Future allows me additional time to reach out to my tree branches and put focus on topics they want to explore.  We always did this but now my availability enhances how often we get to check in.  I enjoy catching up with my tree branches and hearing the great things ‘they’ are doing in the world.  Following their progress and seeing how they make a difference is a highlight for me.

I’m able to expand my reach beyond my current tree branches because of my availability.  Students and organizations I was not engaged with prior are reaching out for me to help them move forward.  Some of the students knew me at FSU in passing or had a friend work with me and recommended they reach out.   I find this ‘underground referral’ process a bit flattering and it shows I’ve made enough of a difference for someone to put their friend in touch with me.  I never turn down these requests—the students have shown a tremendous amount of ambition by reaching out and requesting assistance.  Selfishly, I view this whole process as growing my tree—these new branches know they must help someone else move forward.

Working with organizations is an area I would like to expand in 2019.  I currently do some professional development/leadership consulting with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  We have several workshops planned and looking to add more to help them grow as a group.  Coordinating with a few local groups to highlight the Authentic Leadership principles for them to incorporate within their leadership development programs.  This process would expand my reach and provide a larger group to ensure I’m making a difference.

So, until I gain additional ‘super powers’, making a difference daily is how I plan to conquer the world! 😊

What can you do to make a difference today?  Who would benefit from hearing from you?  Don’t make them wait—reach out and make a difference!

Make a Difference 2 May 2019

Always reach back and help others: Networking grows tree branches

‘You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.’

(Zig Ziglar)

A lot of times we discuss networking in terms of attending an event and meeting people face to face.  That is a version of networking and requires skills to be able to introduce yourself and discuss mutual interest items.  Students use networking events (opportunities) to make their elevator speeches for potential career options.  More experienced folks may attend networking events to secure future business, opportunities or leverage to make career changes.  There is an art to networking within this type environment and successful outcomes are available to all.

The quote above was intriguing to me as it covers networking from a more basic level.  Networking is available to us all but how many go out of their way to ensure we are helping others?

I pose this question because I view my current Walk into the Future as my ultimate way to get what I want out of life because I am willing to help others.  The Walk into the Future blog is designed to capture my thoughts, feelings and adventures—sometimes all done within the same article.  Topics are also designed to help others—they are based on real world interactions (good and bad) with intent to provide talking points to help readers process my words and put them into play as needed.

An interesting aspect of my current Walk into the Future is I have availability to speak with others (students, potential clients, consultants, etc.) to help them move forward in life.  Most of these people reach out to me based on a recommendation which is another form of networking.  Meetings are scheduled based on their current schedule to make sure we have enough time to discuss their needs.  This form of networking is exciting for me as it helps me generate additional ‘tree branches’ and keeps me energized because I’m making a difference.  Networking does not have to be a stuffy process and opportunities are available to us all.

Always remember someone helped us all get where we are today.  How available are you when someone reaches out?  How can you enhance a networking opportunity to ensure your ‘tree branches’ continue to grow?

I came back to networking as a topic because I believe it opens doors and provides a framework to make a difference.  I got agitated (for 2 minutes only) when I reached out to someone for information on a specific organization this person worked for previously.  Thought this was a simple request but they automatically referred me to someone else.  I never got the two questions I had answered because the person I reached out to wouldn’t help me get what I wanted/needed. Don’t be this person, help people as much as possible and watch how the positive vibes will come back to you MULTIPLIED!

Networking April 2019

How engaging are you when someone reaches out?  What opportunities are available for you to help someone else move forward?

Networking

“Opportunities? They are all around us. There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.” – (Orison Swett Marden)

Networking

Who’s in your network?  No, really, what connections do you have to facilitate continued personal and professional growth?

Most people hear the term ‘Networking’ and immediately think of a stuffy, formal business event.  My view of networking allows you almost unlimited possibilities if you open your eyes and ears to the people and possibilities around you.  Networking opportunities are available in multiple forms, we must be open and ready for them.

Networking can provide a springboard to enhance goals, make contacts and potential employment.  People you meet provide a chance for you to network and share your story.  They may not be the direct person to change your world but can help introduce you to a friend, colleague or family member who may be able to help you Walk into the Future.

Networking 4

One of my mentor’s always says, “You’re networking even when you don’t know it”.  Strive to make a good impression on everyone you meet since this can be a critical component on how much or if they are willing to help.

Make a list of professional contacts, professors, mentors and friends who may be able to help with your networking goals.  Ask them out for coffee or lunch to discuss your situation and seek their guidance.  Networking in this way allows you to maximize your visibility and viability to others.

Networking can be done face to face or via technology.  The time you spend in the gym, at a coffee shop, or a formal networking event is a prime time for you to branch out and communicate with others.  My preferred on-line networking method is to utilize LinkedIn.  This platform allows you to ‘target’ search based on your desired outcomes.  You can search for contacts by name, by organization and by location.  There are other filters available, so find the best filter combination for your needs.

When working with students towards their employment goals, I always show them how to search for LinkedIn contacts at their preferred organization (Examples:  Google, General Motors, Proctor and Gamble).  We discuss the best way to introduce themselves to contacts and how to ask for the order (what do they want).    Creating an introduction script makes this portion easier (who are you, what are your credentials and what you want to discuss with the contact).  Remember, networking is more than what you can get from someone; convey how this interaction can benefit you both.

Local Rotary Clubs, Chamber of Commerce and other professional organizations provide avenues to network face to face.  Leverage the ability to meet and speak with locals in these networking rich environments.

Don’t forget to ‘listen’ to what others have to say.  Networking is not just you talking; allow other attendees to provide you with additional content to keep the conversations moving.  Again, an introduction script may enhance your ability to weave into and out of conversations.  Request business cards or other contact information to follow-up (thank you, informational interviews, mentoring) with individuals who may be able to enhance your current situation.  Remember to be respectful of others time but always look to ask for what you need from people in a networking environment.

Practice makes perfect and the process of networking becomes easier the more you get out there–make it happen.

What other networking techniques have you used?  How can networking help you advance in your field?

Networking 3

Volunteer

The Salvation Army states, ‘We are dedicated to doing the most good’ when researching the organizational mission statement.

This simple concept caught my eye as I looked for opportunities to volunteer and make a difference in the local community.  There are multiple local organizations geared to help others, but the Salvation Army was a great starting point to dip my toes back into the volunteer world.

I reached out to their Volunteer Coordinator to check on the process and see what opportunities they had available.  She was quick to reply and let me know they always need help in the Retail Store, but the most pressing need was organizing the donated items for the Library.

I decided to tackle the Library project since it was identified as a pressing need.  Turns out they had hundreds of donated items (bibles, hymnals, books, games) but no real organizational structure for the room.  My task was to bring some order to the Library and get items off the floor and on shelves—easy enough!

Took me a little over two hours to create an organizational structure for the donated items and get everything on the shelves.  This project was not rocket science, but it was something the staff needed done to enhance their operations and introduce visitors to the Library.

I shared a little about my academic and professional background with the Volunteer Coordinator and quickly discovered I could help them in additional ways.  Her major volunteer need for the holiday season will be Red Kettle bell ringers around the city.  Statistics show volunteer bell ringers garner more donations than paid bell ringers.  This is because the volunteers truly want to be there and are more engaging when greeting potential donors.

I’m using my local network of contacts to help the Salvation Army with their recruitment program to find bell ringers for the holiday season.  I’m sure they will have a few other projects I can lend a hand with and enhance programming to meet their needs.  Looking forward to a long and productive partnership with the Salvation Army.

What organizations can you help in your local area?  What special ‘skills’ can you lend to enhance the organizational mission and make a difference?

Make it a great day!

Volunteer

Thanks for Walking with me!

Interesting to note the people who have continued to walk with me into the future.

I have an amazing set of friends, some who have been with me for years and others who have joined my journey more recently.  I appreciate the time they invest in me and do my best to return their investment daily.

A large part of my journey is the inclusion of my friends in this walk.  The daily interactions (texts, emails, calls) I have with my friends allows me to continue to grow and know I’m making a positive difference in their lives.  I get great joy receiving a text about a professional accomplishment or huge ‘money move’ (Cardi B. reference) from my friends.  This keeps me motivated to continue to find ways to help others exceed their stated goals.

The ability to make a difference daily has not diminished at all.  Walking into the future has provided me additional avenues to help others while experiencing new adventures in my life.  The ability to be available for conversations, texts and emails without schedule constraints is the best aspect of my walk so far.  I’m enjoying being able to branch out into multiple areas (travel, leadership, life, music, etc.) while walking into the future.

Really looking forward to seeing what else this walk brings into my life!  I’m sure travel and mentoring will play a huge part!

Thank you to my Board of Directors who keep me balanced daily!

Thank you