My 2022 reading progress

Reading list

(Books I’m reading now)

“A book is a gift you can open again and again”.

(Garrison Keillor)

I start each year with a measured set of goals.  Reading and writing are two areas I focus on for my goals.

These are the areas where I find a ton of joy daily along with my running program.  My 2022 reading and writing goals are below:

  • Read bible daily / Proverbs, Matthew, and other areas for better understanding
    • Read 2 books monthly
  • Write daily (poems, journal, BLOG articles, LinkedIn posts monthly)
    • Publish Authentic Leadership eBook (April 2022)

So, this is where I update you on my progress. 

I discovered the book The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott 15 years ago and adopted an aspect from the book into my daily life.  The book highlights the benefits of Proverbs and how King Solomon identified secrets to success, wealth, and happiness.  I originally read the book thinking it would TELL me how to become rich financially which did not happen.

I read the book and did not understand the lessons the author was trying to relay to the readers.  I dismissed it as an attempt to get people to read the book because of the catchy title.  Luckily for me I decided to go back and read the book multiple times and followed the directions provided to see where they would lead. 

I adopted the practice of reading Proverbs daily because of the wisdom (secrets to success, wealth, and happiness) this book provides to readers.  I have been a daily Proverbs reader for over 15 years now and continue to discover new wisdom insights.  Decided to add other books in the bible to my daily reading program in 2022.  This is the reading goal I continue to meet and/or exceed so far this year.

Now, let’s talk about my goal to read 2 books each month.  I started the year off with a bang and was able to handle my book goal in January and February.  I started to go downhill with my reading program in March.  I added more racing and training to my routine to get prepared for multiple half marathons but that’s not the real reason my reading has been slacking. 

I have not done a great job of identifying book topics/titles that keep my attention.  I big part of reading for me is an interest in the topic/title and the author.  I started grabbing books off Amazon based on recommendations but some of the books did not have a true flow and caused me to become a slower reader than normal.  No excuses but it is taking me longer to digest and get through the books I have selected.  I’m averaging a book a month but need to increase my pace or make the time to read these books.  There is still a lot of 2022 left to get more books read but I may not average 2 books each month.

My writing program remains strong, and I am happy with my progress in 2022.  The blog articles keep me searching for new adventures and ideas, but I am happy with my ability to create content.  It helps that a lot of my life revolves around traveling, running and the beach.  I am sure I will continue to have content to turn into another Walk into the Future blog article. 😊

I have published multiple articles and posts on LinkedIn so that is another goal win.  I continue to look for ways to network and connect with a larger audience.  LinkedIn has allowed me to attract readers to my blog and share my adventures and leadership thoughts.  I will use LinkedIn to build my leadership audience so I can get back to conducting Authentic Leadership workshops for organizations looking to improve/grow.

I have rolled my publishing a leadership eBook into 2022.  I have the content for the eBook but need to get busy with cover art and putting the content into publication.  I will use the summer months to finalize the content and work to get cover art so I can get the eBook to market.  It’s coming—I promise! 😊

Still got work to do but I am making progress towards my 2022 reading and writing goals.

How are you doing with your 2022 goals!  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

Irie!

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”.

(Joseph Addison)

Busy or productive?

Busy or Productive

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”.

(Socrates)

Dictionary.com defines busy as having a great deal to do.

Conversely, Dictionary.com defines productive as producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.

So, which of these definitions describes your daily endeavors in the workplace?

People use the terms in a similar fashion, but I am quick to tell folks my goal is to be productive daily

Busy can quickly become a mindset that leads to staff becoming overwhelmed with the tasks they must handle in the work environment.  I ask staff members how they are doing throughout the day and when I hear someone say they are busy I simply ask:  are you busy or productive?

This makes folks pause for a bit and then they want to know the difference.  Again, I refer to the two distinct definitions.  Someone who exclaims they are busy is identifying they have a lot of things to do, and they are thinking about that workload.  Some will just come out and say I have a lot on my plate and need to get things done.  Sounds reasonable but it can also cause a mental drain on the staff member and anyone else who hears a constant “I am busy” drumbeat in the work environment.  Yes, there may be a lot to do but saying ‘busy’ does not move the needle to get things done. 

Flip the script!

My goal is to be productive daily, and this starts with the concept of coming to work to get things done.  The old saying talk is cheap would apply here.  Talking about being busy does nothing to get task accomplished.  A productive mindset allows staff members to come in with focus and take an active role in getting things done.  Tools I use to increase productivity:

  • To Do Lists (daily, weekly, monthly)
  • Outlook calendar (meeting reminders, team time off, out of office reminders)
  • Face to face conversations
  • Email
  • Large Post It Notes on my office walls
  • Staff meetings (group, 1:1, virtual)

I have used To Do Lists for most of my professional life and these lists help me plan/organize my day to keep me focused on deadlines and work products I need to complete.  I begin each morning before going into the office with a list of action items I want to accomplish for the day.  I sync this list up with any items I did not complete the previous day once I arrive in the office. 

FYI, I am also the first person in the building most days so I can have 45 minutes to consolidate my lists and build a game plan for the day.  Yes, I put this much thought into my operation to ensure I have a productive day.  I am trying to maximize my opportunities to be productive and leverage all the tools available to help me with this.  A secondary benefit of my lists is they allow me to pick up where I left off when I must help staff members with a task or problem.  I can come back and pick up where I left off without wasting time trying to remember what I need to get done.  Please note, staff and clients take priority, so I get a lot of practice coming back to my daily lists.

Face to face conversations are a great way to keep the productivity flowing.  I find simply getting up from my desk and going to have a conversation is more productive than emailing back and forth.  We can talk things through, come to a consensus and eliminate potential misunderstandings.  Of course, this only works if the person is available to have a conversation. 😊

Busy or productive office

The large Post It Notes on my office walls is something I started while working in the Florida State University’s Career Center.  The concept was for me to put big projects on Post It Notes so staff could come into the office and add updates to each project.  I began to allow staff to build their own projects and put them on my office walls so we could work them together.  I got the Post It Note idea because my white board was not large enough to highlight multiple projects.  I purchase the Post It Notes from Staples and they stick to the wall.  These notes provide a great visual to highlight how productive we are on any given day.  One of my current staff members said coming into my office and seeing the notes is like being ‘in my mind’.  I quickly told her to get out of there because there is a lot going on up there. 😊

There are other ways to become productive in the work environment, but these are a few that I leverage daily to help move me and the organization forward.

So, I ask you, are you busy or productive?  What tools are you using to help your productivity?  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

“Focus on being productive instead of busy”.

(Tim Ferris)

Mastering College to Career—the mentor returns

Inspire

(Image by Bryan Stewart from Pixabay)

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself”.

(Oprah Winfrey)

My Walk into the Future allows me to explore activities that I enjoy.  This concept provides me unlimited access to find new ways to make a difference in the world.

I understand most of my blog articles center on my adventures, travel and things that cross my mind (social justice, current events, etc.)  I continue to seek opportunities where I am making a difference and then decide how to highlight those efforts on the Walk into the Future blog.  Please note, I do not take notes when I am engaged in an activity—I try to sit down after the fact and then document my thoughts to share with my readers.

I received an email from Daniel Botero who is one of my tree branches.  Daniel’s name should be familiar with readers since he hosts the Mastering College to Career podcast, and I have been a featured guest 4 times so far.  Daniel has added an interactive mentoring component to his program and invites national guests to speak with his mentees. 

Mastering College to Career has grown quite a bit since I last sat down with Daniel in March 2020.  He continues to add value to college students across the country by helping them understand how to make themselves attractive to recruiters. 

The program helps colleges students LEARN how to build their online presence, resume, and mock interview skills.  Surprisingly, COVID-19 allowed Daniel to extend his program since he uses Zoom meetings to check-in with his students.

The email Daniel sent me was a request to join him via Zoom to speak with his students.  He did not provide a specific topic but wanted this to be a free form conversation so his students could ask me questions. My roles within Career Services at multiple schools was a targeted aspect of the conversation.  Daniel wanted me to share my knowledge on the correct way for colleges students to network with employers to ensure they are visible and viable in the recruiting process. 

I made sure to express being visible and viable is the key to transitioning from a college student to the world of employment.  This was a bit of a revelation for some of the students because they assume a degree means the transition will be easy.  This is a common thought of students everywhere I have been, but it is not true.  There are a lot of talented graduates at every college and university, the key to going to work is being visible and viable to recruiters.  Sounds simple but students without these key components are not on the radar of recruiters.  Daniel’s students were amazed by this statement and quickly wanted to know how they can gain an advantage.

I shared a quick story of a student I worked with at UCF.  This student had a GPA that was not high.  This student was not a U.S. citizen, so this eliminated them from certain organizations that refused to sponsor students for the hiring process.  This student was a native Spanish speaker so English was the second language.  These are three huge strikes within the on-campus recruiting process and the student in this example was not feeling good about the chances of gaining employment after graduation.  I met with this student, and he explained the things he PERCEIVED to hold him back from getting a job after graduation.  I developed the visible and viable concept while working with this student.

I told him he needed to identify organizations he wanted to work for and identify when they were on-campus.  He was advised to ensure that each time one of these organizations was on-campus, he would meet with them and expressed his interest working for them.  He was schooled on how to ensure the recruiters saw him as someone with potential and not worry about a low GPA.  Fast forward a bit and several organizations saw him as visible and viable and offered him interviews.  Not only interviews but this same student received 6 job offers prior to graduation—not bad for someone who supposedly had the deck stacked against him.

Can you guess the name of this student?  If you guess Daniel Botero, you would be right.  The person who learned how to be visible and viable is teaching his students the same skills he learned sitting in my office a decade ago—small world! 😊

The reaction of the students on the Zoom session was a renewed energy.  They needed to hear others have struggled with this process and overcame similar doubts.  Sharing my knowledge with the students provided a reminder they control their destiny—no one can stop a determined person.

I received about 20 LinkedIn requests from students in this session to connect for future advice on their journey.  I gladly accepted the requests and actively help these students anyway I can.  I found a higher level of satisfaction by volunteering my time to help these students. 

Inspiration Man continues to seek ways to make a difference in the world!

How do you reach back to help others?  Irie!

“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how”.

(Anonymous)

Irie vibes–control the controllable

Control

(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay)

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”.

(Maya Angelou)

Control the controllable is one of my favorite sayings.  Do not remember where I heard it first, but it has been a way of thinking for many years.  Try to leverage this saying when things appear difficult and I need to remind myself to trust the process.

I shared the saying in a LinkedIn post back in April and was pleasantly surprised with the number of views (900+), reactions (20+) and comments the post garnered.  The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we view normal and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with everything happening around us.

Dictionary.com defines control as the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Control the controllable can serve as a positive mantra to help tackle difficult times and situations.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself can be done in many ways.  For some this may mean ensuring you make time to exercise.  For others this can be done by eating a healthier diet.  This combination is a critical aspect of controlling how you function daily.  A key component some of us may have forgotten until now is the mental and emotional elements in your life.  COVID-19 has made us view life differently and reveals the importance of mental health.  The ability to seek and find clarity should be at the forefront of taking care of yourself.

Take care of others

Who are YOUR tree branches?  Make sure you reach out to them to help them navigate this new way of life.  Most people will tell you they are doing okay but keep checking on them.  They will appreciate the effort and it helps you keep your tree growing.  You can also reach out to people who are not tree branches; make someone’s day and become a mentor to help move them forward and provide some guidance.

Continue to practice physical distancing

The government and news agencies penned the term social distancing.  Believe this connotation has been a problem from day 1.  Most people had never heard of this term prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and it may have confused some.  I like the term physical distancing because it says right in the title to stay away from others.  We have got enamored with social media and everything that comes with it—think a lot of people could not understand what was really being asked of them when told to practice social distancing.  Regardless how you address the term, physical distancing is something we have some level of control.

Create personal outlets

Look for personal and creative outlets to leverage the things you can control.  The Walk into the Future blog has become a major way for me to express a creative side I really did not know existed.  I get excited researching topics and then challenging myself to create an article someone else may want to read.  Have no idea if anyone is really reading this stuff but I keep plugging away because it is something I control.

Running and weightlifting are other outlets I utilized to control the controllable for myself.  Journaling outside of my work on the Walk into the Future blog has a calming effect for me.  Most times when writing in my journal I can generate work and life ideas to implement later.  Handwriting content in the journal also makes me slow done a bit and really think through what I want to write down.  Always recommend journaling to anyone who will listen to me because it is an excellent outlet to express thoughts—try it! 😊

Reggae and the beach are other outlets I have available to me daily.

Open your eyes and your mind to see your outlets!

The control center of your life is your attitude”.

(Anonymous)

Live, love and laugh

Life can be a compilation of good and bad. Let’s focus on the good and leverage the positive energy this mindset brings.  Live daily, love often and laugh always!  (I just made that up). 😊

What daily things are within your control?  How do you maintain this control? Thanks!

“The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.”

(Kobe Bryant)

 

The Wolf of Networking

Wolf of Networking

(Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay)

“Networking is an enrichment program, not an entitlement program”.

(Susan RoAne)

My Walk into the Future continues to provide me with opportunities to make a difference daily.  It helps that I have opened my eyes and mind to all possibilities and the opportunities keep presenting themselves to me.  The journey moves forward!

The title of this blog article references the Wolf of Networking.  I have identified myself as a People Builder, running tourist and Inspiration Man in multiple posts.  Well, say hello to my next moniker, Wolf of Networking! 😊

I selected this new moniker to have fun with a project that has been years in the making.  My past roles in university career services allowed me to build and maintain a network with recruiters who primarily hire recent college graduates.  I was responsible to find, network and recruit these recruiters to come on-campus to hire students.  My unit put on career fairs, networking events, professional development workshops and scheduled on-campus interviews to connect students and recruiters.  So, this put me in a prime position to learn inside information on how different organizations created their on-campus recruiting programs.

The Wolf of Networking had to compete with other schools for recruiters’ attention and resources to ensure our students got opportunities.  Happy to say we won more battles than we lost and maintained a robust on-campus recruiting program at multiple schools (UCF and FSU).  Shared tricks of the trade with other wolf packs (UF, USF, FAU, FIU) to help them become more successful getting employers on their campuses.  Found it was easier to keep employers in Florida if other schools were viewed as attractive options—I am competitive but also practical.

I leveraged the Wolf of Networking status to build my handpicked wolf pack and I am happy to see the great things they are doing around the country at prestigious institutions.  We stay in contact to ensure the pack continues to grow.

Went back to my wolf pack mentality recently to help a tree branch network with recruiters for future employment.  This tree branch had heard about my contacts but did not fully understand how connected I still am in the college recruiting world.  Happy to say they get it now! 😊

I was presented with a list of 9 organizations of interest for future employment.  I had professional contacts with 8 of the 9 organizations on the list.  Some of these contacts are also personal friends so it was a bit easier to get them to respond to my requests.  My tree branch now had people inside the organizations they wanted to work for looking out for them.  Nothing was promised but my network was looking out for my tree branch just as I would.

I tell people I work with you are always networking even when you do not know it.  Look for ways to benefit others and then when you need a helping hand people will respond to you.  Think my tree branch will look at the Wolf of Networking from a different perspective now.  The wolf makes positive things happen! 😊

Who can you help reach their goals?  What action steps are needed for a successful outcome?

 “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives”.

(Michelle Obama)

 Network Tree

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

2020 Wolf pack:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-apgar-m-s-38ab4035/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurenkume/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mforges/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vrhanikuhaynes/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sean-a-collins/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jadevite/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pagetisdale/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaylabriwilliams/

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