Let’s Make September Electric

I hope that you had a great summer recharging your batteries. Whether you are heading back to work or heading off to college for the very first time, I truly hope that your September will be electric!

I hope that you will make new connections in September and sparks will fly. I hope that you join a new network of friends and peers and you become a conductor of energy that flows throughout them. Sometimes having all of this energy and electricity running through you might create some tension with others. If that’s the case, act like a lighting rod and deflect all of the negative energy and electricity and bury it in the ground.

As long as you have the nourishment you need to keep your body healthy, you’ll have the energy to do whatever you want. Channel it and put it to good use.

electric, electricity, lightning rod, conductor, sparks, batteries

These 4 Words Can Help You

Networking, Connections, Mentors, Inspiration

These are some of my favorite words––words that I use a lot. What makes these four words so important is that they are linked––well, at least I consider them linked. For instance: when you are “networking”, often times you are building new “connections”. These new bonds, over time, could lead to one of your connections becoming more of a “mentor” in your life who might support and give you some “inspiration”. Some people use their networking abilities to meet more like-minded individuals who are following down a similar path. They use their connections to opens doors for themselves both in business and in life.

But a word of caution: Don’t just take, take, take from your network, connections and mentors. If you finally get to that fourth word and find “inspiration”, and you owe some of it to the people in your network, you need to flip the script and learn to give back. Become a mentor yourself, and inspire a whole new generation. Be that connector in your group. This is when life really gets interesting.

4 words, inspiration, networking, connections, mentors

Be the Hub of your Network

Louis Henri Pingitore, Oread, light, photograph, photography

Louis Henri Pingitore, Oread, 2012

Sometimes when we chose to befriend someone, our network grows. That’s the key, right? To converge into a large enough bunch and intermingle, share ideas, thoughts, advice, and time with others––others who have similar wants, needs, and tastes. What if we got close enough to the others but never really made a connection: we never really clicked. We might just be floating along with no ending in sight, like random lightwaves traveling through time, crisscrossing and zooming by.

Be that beam of light that shines brightest and lights up a room. You are colorful in many ways. Show everyone what you are made of and you might become the hub of the network you so desired to belong to.

Focus on these 3 Powerful Words

michael donnor, connections, photographer

Michael Donnor, Connections, 2014 from the series Notes on a Paper Universe

Today I want you to concentrate on these 3 powerful words: Networking, Connections, and Mentors. These are words that you should get use to seeing. They are very important in today’s society where millions of people are trolling the Internet and becoming “social”––as in “social networking”. You’ve heard that term before, right?

People were social before the Internet––I’m certain of this. But the definition of being social had changed quite a bit from interacting in person, to then interacting via a telephone call, to now interacting via email, text massages and social media sites. We attend fewer social gatherings in person. They have been replaced by chat rooms, virtual meetings via Skype and Hangouts on Google+. I actually think our society is less social now even though we are more connected as ever to practically anyone in the entire world.

The three magical words (Networking, Connections, and Mentors) can be applied to your everyday life, regardless of what business you are in. You could be a corporate-type or an artist––it doesn’t really matter. When building your personal brand or climbing up that corporate ladder or even taking the leap to start your own business, it’s much easier if you have a defined and well-rounded network, a group of people who are connected within your industry, and mentors to bounce ideas off of, stroke your ego, and guide you away from a variety of pitfalls. The people defined by these 3 magical words should be people that you have actually met. People that you have shaken hands with or shared a meal. People who can vouch for you as a person, not just someone that is a connection on a social media website. There’s much to be said by this. Real networks, real connections, real people––real, real, real! They truly matter.

I love the social media websites that I visit on a daily basis. I get my news from some of these sites, I get inspired by words and stories people write, and I can catch up with family and friends. But I honestly would be lost if I didn’t have the core group of people that I refer to as my network, connections and mentors that I work with and speak to on a daily basis. They mean that much to me.

Today’s exercise: Think about these 3 sentences and see what you are doing in your life to fulfill them.

  • What are you doing right now to build and create your real, true network?
  • How are you creating connections in your industry without the use of social media?
  • If you wanted to have some mentors in your life, are there people in your network that could connect you to them?

Food for Thought: Practice Makes Perfect

Remember the saying, “Practice Makes Perfect?” It is very important to practice whatever craft you want to master. It might not just be the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell describes in his book Outliers and they discuss in this article.

The last sentence of the article asks, “the important question now is, what else matters?” The fact is, besides practice, you need a solid network and connections. People who will talk about you, confirm your abilities, and help strengthen your brand. Without those so called “Influencers” or “Validators” in your corner, you could be the best at whatever you do, but never be recognized for it.

Read more of this article at Business Insider, or by clicking on the image below.

business insider, malcolm gladwell

What will 2014 bring?

jason landry, author, writer, collector“Opportunities will come at the unlikeliest of times. Sometimes they’re because of instant connections.” ~ Jason Landry

 

The biggest event for me in 2013 was getting my book published. I’m sure you probably figured that out by now. What will 2014 bring? I am not going to bore you with any New Year’s resolutions, rather, I’m going to tell you a few things that I will be doing for certain:

1.) I will be cooking more. Late in 2013, I got the cooking bug. I never really cooked much in our house. Either my wife cooked, or we’d go out. Okay, I would cook pasta once in a while––that’s not that hard. I’m also a master at making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. What I’m talking about is cooking real meals, ya’ll––and desserts too! We just purchased a whole new set of pans and I’m ready to get my chef on! If any of you have any recipe suggestions or good mobile app suggestions to find the best recipes, let me know.

2.) I will be spending more of my time helping others make connections. This is one thing that I learned from the people who have mentored me. They gave me direction over the last couple of years and helped me create the network that I currently have. I wrote about these mentors in my book Instant Connections ––it’s now my turn to give back. It’s not like I haven’t given back. It’s just in 2014, I’m really going to give back. This is something that makes me feel good.

3.) I will begin to write a new book. I have a few ideas brewing, but nothing that I can share with you at this time.

I hope that you all have a great New Year.
Try new things.
Set some achievable goals.
Meet some new people.
Shake some hands.
Break some rules.
Read Books.
Give back.

That’s all.

Reinventing You

dorie clark, reinventing you, bookI met Dorie Clark a few months ago at a literary conference called The Muse & the Marketplace, hosted by Grub Street in Boston. As I sat in on the session that she was leading, I was drawn in by her upbeat and powerful speaking voice and enthusiasm. Following her session, I went out to the mezzanine level where the booksellers had set up shop, but was bummed out when I found that Dorie’s book was sold out.

On one of my recent strolls through the Harvard COOP bookstore, I purchased and read her book Reinventing You. Now, I didn’t read this book because I recently added a new job to my resume (which I did): I read it because the points that Dorie makes within the book can be retrofitted and used to better your life, regardless of whether you are changing jobs, or looking for something new in your current career.

As the owner of a gallery, I spend a great deal of my time mentoring and guiding artists in their careers. Some ask me: How do grow as an artist and How can I connect to a broader audience. This book seeks to help people who are interested in defining their brand and those that are looking toward their future. It starts off with a simple first sentence: Are you where you want to be professionally?

Some of the chapters hint at certain things that I preach to artists. A few chapters that are pertinent are: Recognize Where You’re Starting, Who’s Your Mentor?, and Building Your Narrative.

Here are just a few of the lines of text that I underlined in the book that I didn’t want to forget:

“Everyone has a personal brand.”

“Just as your contacts are helping you, you want to try to add value to their lives.”

“Another valid reason (to head back to graduate school) is when you want to expand your skills and network.”

“It’s your demonstrated expertise––not your academic credentials––that counts in the business world.”

“There may not be one perfect person to be your mentor. Instead, you can focus on creating a broad-based “personal board of directors.”

“There are often underlying themes that guide us professionally.”

“Patience––and being honest with yourself about your real interests, personality, and brand––can pay inspiring dividends.”

“Your status is portable and transferable.”

“Develop Validators”

“One of the most important ways you can maintain your positive brand momentum is to be consistent.”

“You can’t buy goodwill…you need to build it up over time.”

“Taking control of your reputation and making sure it reflects the real you is a critical starting point.”

I highlighted two quotes above that I feel are extremely important for everyone in their careers, regardless of who you are. Think about who is on your “personal board of directors” and who your validators are. They are the key!

Follow Dorie on Twitter @DorieClark