Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What goes around comes around

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard….

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

There is an old saying “What goes around comes around.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Live and Work

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.
As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Being Intelligent and Hardworking Isn’t Enough

I’ve heard people say there are plenty of hardworking, intelligent people who still fail to achieve their dreams and because of this, their advice is to be realistic and have a plan B. To a certain extent, I agree. You should definitely have a plan B if that backup plan is also something you really want. However, if falling back on your plan B and achieving it will still leave you feeling empty, forget plan B.

Are there really that many intelligent, hardworking people who fail? First of all, we have to define “intelligent”. Getting a 4.0 in school doesn’t necessarily mean you’re intelligent. Memorizing a bunch of facts and figures doesn’t necessarily mean you’re intelligent either and neither does knowing how to solve a Rubik’s cube (it’s really not that hard).

Here’s my definition of intelligence when it comes to achieving goals:
The ability to quickly figure out what is needed to be successful, what works, what doesn’t work, and being able to efficiently apply and improve upon what works.
What’s Missing?

People who are ambitious and work hard for years and still don’t reach their goals most likely did the wrong things or they did the right things but didn’t stick with it long enough. It could also be because they were missing some crucial pieces to the puzzle. You could have a great product but without a great marketing plan, not enough people are going to know your product even exists. Sometimes, it could just be that you don’t currently know the right people.

You can be a hard, dedicated worker who happens to be working for the wrong company, a company with a culture that promotes people who are in the “in crowd” for example. If you’re trying to get fit, you may be focusing too much on the exercising aspect and not enough on the nutritious food aspect. It could also be that you’re doing all the right things in the right order, but you just hate what you’re doing and therefore, are likely to end up quitting way too soon.

Achieving the Results You’re After

So what can we do to increase our odds of succeeding in whatever it is we’re working on? Assuming you already know your outcome, the first step is to take action. Being way too concerned about whether you’re doing the right things or not in the beginning can prevent you from ever getting started. The important thing is to take that first step.

From there, measure your results. As you take action, you’re going to get feedback. Compare your results to your ultimate outcome. Are you getting closer or further away? Once you start getting some results, good or bad, you will be in a better position to focus on what needs to be improved. You’ll also have a better sense of what sort of information to look for.

It’s sort of like reading and studying a chapter before it’s discussed in class. Any questions you might have for the teacher will be a lot more focused and efficient compared to going to class and learning everything for the first time. You’ll simply have too many questions that could probably be answered had you taken action and looked into the material beforehand.

What you’re really after in doing all of this measuring is the few crucial things that make the biggest difference.

The Pareto Principle
There’s a well-known concept called the Pareto Principle. In relation to the topic of this article, this principle basically states that of all of the things you can be doing that’s related to producing the outcome that you want, 20% of those things will produce 80% of the results. Another way of putting it is that you could be spending all of your time focusing on the 80% of tasks that only produce 20% of the desired results.
Being intelligent when it comes to achieving goals, in my opinion, is being able to figure what that 20% is. Once you figure that out, the work and time that you put into your goals will be a lot more efficient.
If other people have already achieved the results you want, then they likely focused their energy on the right things. Either find these people and ask them what these things are directly (email, networking, conventions, etc.) or read books that talk about what the right things are. For just about anything you want to achieve, someone wrote a book or an article about it somewhere that explains how to do it. Perhaps there are interviews where you can find out this information as well. You could also take the longer trial and error route and figure it out on your own.

Final Thoughts
As I said, there’s nothing wrong with having a plan B or C through Z for that matter but only have them if those backup plans are also something you truly want to achieve. My belief is, it’s all about what makes you happy. Some people pursue a dream, never reach it, but are still happy because they’re doing what they love on a daily basis. What’s the point of pursuing a goal that doesn’t somehow add to your enjoyment in life if you achieved it?

I understand that in certain cases, things like luck, talent, or having the right parents are involved in the achievement of a goal but most of the people who fail to achieve their goals fail not because of the lack of these things but the lack of correct, consistent action and intense desire. If you’ve failed to achieve your goals, it’s most likely because you didn’t focus on the right things or because you gave up too soon.
The “right things” can vary depending on the goal. In some cases, it could mean getting to know the right people while in other cases it could mean working for the right company or hiring the right people. Whatever those key things are, figure out what it is and apply them.

Bare in mind that the “right things” today may be different than the “right things” 3 or 5 years from now especially in the world of business where things are constantly changing. This is why it’s a good idea to keep up to date with information regarding your industry. Find out what the top people in your field are reading and subscribe to the same magazines.

Success is mostly based on logic. If you do the right things (which can constantly change) for a long enough period of time, you are very likely to succeed.
Until next time…

Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five Reasons Recruiters Aren’t Calling You

Five Reasons Recruiters Aren’t Calling You

No doubt, this is a tough job market, and who knows when it will get better? With so many applicants for too few positions, it’s no wonder employers ignore all but the top qualified candidates. Do you find yourself applying to positions that you are sure you are the best qualified, but you still get no response? It may be more than just competition, the problem may be your resume. Here are five reasons you might not be getting interviews.
Get that Dream Job!

  1. Your resume leaves off vital information.
    You must illustrate that you have the best qualifications by listing all your relevant responsibilities, certifications, education, professional training and technical skills that relate to your current career objective. Don’t forget volunteer work that demonstrates skills needed for your next job. Key industry words and phrases are also very important.
  2. Your resume has too much useless information.
    This is a common problem for those who update their resume simply by adding new text to the old resume. If this is your update method, chances are your resume has a lot of dead wood that needs trimming. A good rule of thumb is that everything on your resume should relate to your current career objection. That means before adding new information, check the old text to see if it still relates. If not, you may need to change the emphasis on prior employment entries, or delete extraneous details.
  3. Your resume doesn’t show enough experience.
    If you are short on needed experience showcase the next best thing, your transferable skills. Include your accomplishments that illustrate your most important transferable skills needed for the job. Your transferable skills may include customer service, problem solving, client relationship building, cost cutting or revenue generating.
  4. Your resume shows too much experience.
    If you feel you are being labeled “overqualified” maybe that’s just what your resume is saying. If you apply for a non-management position, emphasize your ability as an individual contributor. Write about what you accomplished as part of a team rather than how you led the team. Illustrate how you contributed to the development of a new process rather than how you designed the process.
  5. Your resume lacks results.
    In today’s difficult economy employers are looking for people who can impact the bottom line. Every company wants employees who can save money, contribute to revenue growth, streamline a procedure and keep customers happy. Make sure your resume includes accomplishments that result in these corporate initiatives. Quantifiable results give you the sharpest edge against all other job applicants who have the same qualifications as you.
Competition for good jobs will continue to be high. A well written resume is your best tool to help get you in front of hiring managers who will call you for interview. Don’t let another good opportunity pass you by. Improve your resume and improve your chances for your next job
- Deborah Walker, CCMC 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Value of Time

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.

It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do?

Draw out every cent, of course!!!

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.

There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!

The clock is running. Make the most of today.
To realize the value of one year,
ask a student who has failed his final exam.
To realize the value of one month,
ask the parent of a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week,
ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one day,
ask a daily wage laborer who has a large family to feed.
To realize the value of one hour,
ask lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of one minute,
ask a person who has missed the train, the bus, or a plane.
To realize the value of one second,
ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond,
ask the person who has won a silver medal at the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This Is Good

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!” “What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” “If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

You Had the Job Interview - But Now What?

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is an HR Director at a large company. I like to keep in touch with her to get the other side of the story about how candidates are coming across in their job searches and some of the latest tactics that work for her, and those that don't.
She was telling me about an out of work friend who, after submitting her resume, was calling the hiring manager daily to inquire about the status. "After about three days of seeing the same number come up on caller ID I'm sure that hiring manager won't be calling her back, regardless of how qualified she is. Who wants to hire a stalker?" my friend commented. And sadly, it's true. Just like that guy or gal who calls you incessantly after having a great date, or a salesperson you briefly talked to in a store. You might have been interested in them, or working with them at the time, but too much, is still, too much.
So what should you do? Send your resume, and if you have the contact info (and the ad does not specifically say "Do not call."), you can place a brief, friendly follow-up call the following week to touch base and let them know you're a real person who didn't just hit the Submit key on Monster.com. You can even say one or two unique aspects about your experience that specifically relate to the position leave your name and contact info, and then that's it. If you're a fit-they'll call you back. If you're not-then they won't.
However, if you have made it to the interview stage, you have earned a little more leeway. First, you should NEVER, EVER leave an interview without asking-"What are the next steps?" or "What is your timeline for filling this position?" You can even ask "I'd love to follow-up with you, what works better for you, a call or an email, say, next week? I don't want to turn into a stalker. " (insert casual laugh here) There you have it-you just got their timing, showed you were interested, and saved yourself a stress-ridden week of worrying about the position.
After you've made that initial post-interview follow-up call, don't revert to your former stalker ways and leave a voicemail every day, but it is OK to check in with them, either by phone or email every week and a half to two weeks. You can simply remind them of your interest in the position, or better yet, include a link to a relevant article about something happening in the industry is completely appropriate.
- Melanie Szlucha