Applying Your Resilient Mindset At Work Is Much More Than Just A Brown-Bag Seminar Topic

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency and now a part of the Lennick Aberman team – www.lennickaberman.com. Check out my newest e-books at www.resiliencyfirst.com. Contact me at beseke1@earthlink.net or sbeseke@lennickaberman.com.

 Overarching statements about most anything can, well, be truly overstated. From studies and professional/personal experience, however, understanding why work resilience is one of the most important aspects to your career success is definitely not one of them.

Having a resilient mindset at work separates those who want from those who do. I rarely say something so starkly in my worldwide articles or presentations, but this mindset is absolutely essential for your success. While enjoying the good times in life, it also allows you to overcome those unique work challenges that confront us – yes, sometimes every day.

 I talk about ways to use your mindset in my third resiliency e-book: “Liking Yourself And Being Happy Even When Your Boss Or Your Spouse Gives You That Chilling Stare.” It will be launched on my web site – www.resiliencyfirst.com – most likely next week for your reading enjoyment.

To give you a taste, I have updated one of the book’s many resiliency articles highlighting ways to use such a mindset for your absolute advantage at work – and life. Please enjoy.

This is absolutely not a political article, but early in his 2008 successful presidential campaign, Barack Obama said something very enlightening.

The President mentioned he used a resilient mindset in keeping on track at work, staying focused, understanding how other people see him and staying emotionally healthy during highly stressful days.

Wow! In times of struggle for all of us, the lesson I learned from the President is the need to look hard at your resilient self, your work/career objectives and understand the work needs you want achieved. 

Whether you are looking for work or are employed but maxed out, all of us should adopt or fine-tune our own resilient mindset. This will keep us from going nuts!

The challenges you face can be very daunting in your career: Ever-increasing budget cuts, workload expectations going through the ceiling panels, working more with a lot less and, yes, the notion that layoffs are not over yet to name a few.

As you look at your work resilience, you may want to mull through the following questions many typically face every day at work:

  • Do you deal difficult customers, colleagues or supervisors?
  • Are you involved in chaotic or exhausting work events?
  • Does it seem like you have to solve the challenges and problems of your direct reports even before your first cup of coffee every morning? 
  • Are you asked to solve work issues assigned by your boss that seem overwhelming or unsolvable?
  • Do you find that you are becoming less resilient to taking sometime challenging work events in stride?

If you’ve said “yes” to any of these, don’t feel alone. A national survey of employees found that 78 percent said “yes” to at least one of these questions. More than 50 percent said “yes” to all of them…

Are you surprised? I wasn’t. I have spent nearly 30 years successfully (or mostly successfully) stamping out the work fires that probably keep you up at nights. Some of my “fun” has included:

  • The last second “request” by the CEO to tweak his approved upcoming speech – and do it in the next hour for his plane ride review…
  • The direct report who was to present a white paper at a conference, but accidentally deleted the presentation 15 minutes before his presentation. The IT guys had fun with that one.
  • Staying up all night to meet a project deadline that unknowingly during the day had been pushed back two weeks. My AA was busy planning a luncheon celebration and never gave me the message…

You, of course, can probably fill in unique examples in your career that fit this bill.

There have been more than a few times I have been knocked down trying to navigate through the turbulent currents we call “the office.” But most of my work life has not been on the “dark side” but trying to stay within a healthy resilient mindset. 

As you probably have, I’ve been mostly successful at overcoming the work obstacles many of us face everyday – and ride the resilient wave helping solve a myriad of work issues because of a few strategies I’ve learned along the way.

I use the phrase “resilient mindset,” which I define as dealing effectively with all aspects of your work life, including challenging customers, colleagues, being patient and persistent with your team/boss, or possibly being nervous that this challenging economy might still affect your job. 

Such a mindset also means springing back from adversity to take pleasure in the quiet moments of fun with your spouse, significant person, children, friends or yourself. And even realizing that work/life balance is more than just a concept on a corporation’s blotter.

To keep your work resilience at a healthy level, I have found the art of workplace compromise, adaptability, finding common ground, and understanding strengths and weaknesses are more important than just a feel-good brown bag seminar topic.

They can truly make a career difference for you. A bit of resilient detail for you to noodle over:

Compromise: At least in American culture, the word “compromise” is not always seen in the best of light in the workplace. Typically, many of us are brought up to stick to our beliefs and not give in unless absolutely necessary. Well, in your job and career, this narrowly-defined attitude can spell ultimate failure. There was a study that showed that not being able to compromise was one of the top reasons work relationships fail.

For me, compromise does not mean always giving in to the eccentricities or demands of your co-workers – or even your boss. It is finding ways to give a little on both sides to find a common middle, even when the other side does not realize it.

That approved CEO speech I mentioned earlier is a good example of how I used the art of compromise to my fullest advantage. Could I control how he ultimately reacted to the speech? No. Could I control how I reacted to him. Absolutely yes. After the tweaks, and very humbly speaking, the CEO received a standing ovation after his speech, and I received a company award.

At lunch, a senior manager friend recently struck up a conversation with an hourly worker about the new work/life balance plan of the company he was presenting to the entire company the following week in the afternoon. The worker was interested but asked how will it be communicated to his friends on the “grave yard” shift. The manager said they would have to attend the presentation or call-in to the 2 p.m. meeting when all the company executives would be attending.

The worker said presenting info about work/life balance policies is great for those on the right shifts, but the presentation for others – especially on the grave yard shift -might be a burden with families, sleep, etc.

The light bulb went off and the manager added presentations at the times convenient for the shift workers. It meant a bit more time for him but ultimately was seen as very proactive in getting the message successfully out.

The manager compromised – not because of superiors – but because he listened to a typical employee. He could have stuck to his original schedule but he didn’t for the good of employees. It ultimately caused him less stress because he did not have to go back and “fix” something out-of-whack.

What ways you could “compromise” with a superior, co-worker or direct report that might make your day and week go smoother. Not everything needs to go your way, and the skill of compromising in some situations can be seen as a very positive career enhancer and part of your work resilience.

 The workplace point: Sometimes your co-workers or other colleagues are right on about the implementation of a project. I suggest not letting status and (yes) egos get in the way of a great idea.

Adaptability: We have all learned to adapt in our lives one way or another – whether at work or personally. Personally, I’ve had to adapt to a life-long disability known as Cerebral Palsy, which has at least initially affected perceptions of me at work. 

The old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover” definitely applies in my case and possibly many colleagues you deal with every day – possibly you. Sometimes initial perceptions get in the way, which might affect you or your team’s productivity at work. Such unfounded perceptions can cause you stress and may make you pop a few antacids during the day.

I’m now in my 50, but 30 years ago I was a par golfer. Phil Mickelson I was not – although I was a lefty, too. But I sank my share of putts for birdies in my time. The point…

Don’t worry that a person may be of a different generation, different gender, different belief or – like me – a bit different physically.

I suggest leaving all that at the door and judge folks on their work and how they get along with you/others. Sounds easy, but I know perceptions can become reality if you are not careful. 

Very early in my career, a supervisor was so caught up with my disability, he would go down to the lunch room to get me something to eat, never schedule a meeting if it was not a long distance away from my office, etc., etc. He was under the mistaken impression that I could not do normal activities. He later said he thought I was in pain when I walked.

 Disconnect to the max. He assumed something that he never asked me about and adapted much of his free work time “to help me.” Finally, I sat him down and very gently let him know I never need help unless I ask for it.

He was shocked I walked around the State Fair, and lettered in tennis and golf in high school, etc. When I told him this, he was shocked. But it effectively released him from having to adapt a lot of his day to make my work day better. This, of course, was well before the Americans with Disability Act was enacted in 1988.

 The workplace point: My personal example may be on the extreme side, but a resilient mindset partly means you need to be successfully adaptive in your work style with others. I suggest never assuming someone can’t do something or only has a certain skill set without asking or observing the person first.

 Please think about two adaptability and compromise moments at work that relieved your stress in the past, or ones you would have like to have done differently.

Knowing Your Strengths – and Weaknesses. Now let’s talk about how your resilient mindset plays into strengths and, yes, our weaknesses. All of us have tremendous personal and professional strengths – and, of course, a few weaknesses along the way.

As we talk through this section, please think about ways you use your tremendous strengths to be a great person, employee and/or supervisor.

When doing this, then think about the ways your perceived weaknesses sometimes mask the best that you are. As employees, all of us want to feel great about our work and have a sense of accomplishment without feeling like you are gasping for breath or waiting for the next crisis to hit.

While we need to understand our weaknesses, I contend (for our health, happiness and well-being) we should focus on what we do well in at work, instead of always dwelling on the things we don’t do so wonderfully.

It’s definitely easier said than done. I know I could list work weaknesses easier than writing down the same amount of strengths. Studies show that our strength/weakness thought process is just the way our brains are connected and how societal norms prompt us to view ourselves.

In a job, though, I have found my greatest success when I am totally focused on what I do best. I know we don’t always get accolades on your strengths at work. Rather, some corporate cultures rate you more on your possible missteps. 

I m usually a very laid-back consensus-builder type of guy at work, and I am not at my best when I step out of character – being too inflexible and stubborn. I definitely can exhibit all these sometimes-perceived weaknesses but my strength I strive for is being the compassionate, team guy in most work situations 

What type are you at work?

 Knowing my particular strengths have helped successfully stay on the same resilient page. When I was asked to create a layoff communications plan a number of years back that would affect so many of my work friends – and ultimately me -the first draft was not seen as “hard enough” by the executive team. I’m not good at being too hard.

I took the critique by upper management, and used my strengths of adaptability and patience to craft a more direct yet sensitive communications plan that was implemented.

The workplace point: Unless you lack some core skills, I suggest not worrying as much your weaknesses. Spend at least 80 percent of the time demonstrating your strengths to your work world. You’ll feel happier and a lot better of yourself, while showing what you do best. You were hired for your strengths – showing this part of your resilient mindset every day will keep you healthy.

A study has show that workers can improve their strengths by up to 30 percent. If they use the same amount of time to improve their weaknesses, they can only get less than a 10 percent improvement rate. If we have a glaring weakness, that is a different story but…focus on your strengths, my friends.

In Part II of this article next week, I will talk about finding common ground, dealing with work setbacks and enjoying your time at work – where you may spend more than one-third of your years in life. 

Your comments have been very inspiring…thank you! I appreciate linking to my resiliency site – www.resiliencyfirst.com – and I will talk with you again next week about some amazing news!

Photo By:  alibubba

Finding Ways To Overcome Mistakes Requires Not Letting Them Consume Us

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency, beseke1@earthlink.net, steve.beseke@resiliencyfirst.com (Please take a look at my new resiliency e-books at www.resiliencyfirst.com)

As nearly all of us have found in our own unique orbits, life and work mistakes can have profound effects on our family and the fabric of who we are as a person. A gifted colleague of mine pointed out recently that each of us makes 10s of thousands of routine and complex decisions each day. Even if we make mistakes or misjudgments on as little as 1 percent of these thoughts, we can rack up 100s of small or more significant mistakes on a daily basis. 

When I first heard these numbers, I was simply astounded and a bit of intimidated by the volume. As I thought about them further, though, I realized mistakes our inevitable no matter if you are a CEO of one of the top Fortune 500 companies orr someone like you and me.

 You probably crossed the finish line on this before me, but I finally realized: Whether we make mistakes large or small, it is how react to them through our resiliency, adaptability, honesty and integrity that will help us move forward successfully in our lives and/or careers.

Circumstances Should Not Consume Us

While I have a very wonderful 27+-year marriage, we’ve definitely made our share of mistakes along the way. But we’ve worked through them, moved forward and have not allowed any to stop us from enjoying life.

You have probably been in the same type of circumstance in one way or another. Mistakes are inevitable, but it is truly digging deep to use our personal brand and having a heart-to-heart with ourselves that will allow us to minimize any damage in our personal lives – or at work.

Many of us, for example, have gone through layoff challenges in this perfect storm economy – or have been over-burdened at work because of extra duties added with valued colleagues being let go.

Should we feel down at least momentarily? Of course. Should we lose our confidence for the moment because of very challenging circumstances coming to our doors? While I hope not, we are only human.

Mistakes happen to all of us. Too often, though, we misidentify them as our mistakes when we did not have as much control over the situations as originally thought. This happens a lot when there are extraordinary stressful times at work.

 Does this mean you are any less of a person, or your top-notch skills have diminished? Not… 

I made the mistake of blaming myself after my layoff 2+ years ago – even though being told I was one of the top performers at my company. More than 90 percent were ultimately laid off because of the worsening economy…I did not have as much control as I thought despite, humbly, my rock star performance.

Whether it is a layoff, not reaching the profit margin the Board of Directors expect or rarely being able to have a meaningful conversation with your 16-year-old “drama queen” daughter. Sometimes all of us make the mistake of beginning to doubt ourselves and the skills that have made us so successful at work and in life.

I also made a mistake after the lay off of thinking I just had one course of action to try to find the same type corporate communications executive position I’ve always been successful in the past.

My biggest mistake, however, was letting such circumstances consume me without seeing the true skills and potential I had in this “new” economy.  

How are you reacting to your own unique life circumstances? 

You also may have experienced this, but I did a lot of soul-searching after I figured out the types of jobs I was accustomed to were just not there – or at least not readily available – anymore.

I Did Not See My Life Gifts or the Broad Picture…

Do you see your true gifts and talents? Most of us make the mistake of seeing what is “inside the box” and only going for the easier low-hanging fruits of life.

I was there after the lay off. So where was I going to go and what were my next options. To be honest, I just did not know at first. Should I continue down the same employment path as before or should I do something else?

What if I make a mistake?

Well, what I decided is an example that I suggest you consider as you move down your unique career and life journey – whether you are employed or in transition.

I moved outside the box quite dramatically. 

I did not make the mistake to continue rehashing the past. As you should whether employed or not, I looked extremely hard at my personal brand and what I truly loved to do in life. I want to retire some day in Hawaii, but that is not going to happen any time soon. 

So how should I use my many talents in life to continue being reasonably successful in my work – and, most of all, happy?  

How are you doing?

After a lot of reflection, I decided to use my gifts as a writer and speaker to help others (like you) with the shared desire to have a happy life/work and very resilient future. But how could I do this? 

For my health, I started to write this blog to keep my writing talents sharp and my skills in talking with people fine-tuned.  I did not think many would read it, but…

It was a God-send and a true revelation…my common-sense resiliency strategies hit the right cord with individuals and corporations. I used my personal work resiliency moments and life challenges as a person with a lifelong physical disability (Cerebral Palsy) to help provide – as so many of you have appreciated worldwide – real life vignettes showing how all of us can stay resilient.

Resilient strategies (like adaptability, perseverance, persistence and patience) that you can use every day to make your world more rewarding and just a bit less stressful…

While I now have more than 3 million viewers worldwide who have visited my much more enhanced web site (www.resiliencyfirst.com) and spoken to more than 100 groups, the point is I needed to re-invent the way I thought about myself leading me to a very resilient mindset.

How do you think about yourself? Low-hanging fruit or something more inspired…

I didn’t make the mistake to only see me for what I was professionally for nearly 30 years, I stretched myself to the point my resiliency business is on the edge of something very humbly big.

This has helped me maintain my confidence, stay persistent and be truly patient as I keep finding ways to spread the resiliency message to (very, very humbly) millions of great folks like you.

If you’d like me to talk with your corporation or group, please contact me at beseke1@earthlink.net 0r 651-341-9826.

Never Limit Yourself 

The additional point: Please never limit yourself or let any mistake make you spin to where you begin to not see your true potential – not only at work but in life. 

If I would have stayed the typical course, I may still be out of work with much reduced confidence and a sense of diminishing hope. Now, I have a resiliency business that is so gratefully taking off. Despite my perceived layoff mistakes a couple years ago, I looked at what I absolutely wanted to do in life and developed a plan to get me there.

So, if you have made life or career mistakes or are facing other significant challenges, I suggest you never give up believing in yourself, your resilient attitude or the rock-solid values you live by everyday.

While I personally went through my “black hole” after the very agonizing layoff, I found the resilient formula to be happy and healthy in my life and career. You can, too.

Understanding your personal brand and confidently going where you want to be. I know you can have even more success than me if you only believe and find ways to move forward from your life or work mistakes. 

I will talk with you next week, and I hope you are staying resilient despite the possible missteps and challenges all of us inevitably face. Again, please take a look at my work and life resiliency e-books at www.resiliencyfirst.com.

Stat resilient, my friends!

 

Establishing Your Work Brand Means Much More Than Having A Terrific Idea

By Steve Beseke, beseke1@earthlink.net, steve.beseke@resiliencyfirst.com

Great ideas at work. Many of us have them every so often. Why do some convince “the boss” to take action, while others of us have seen our ideas spin like a top without anyone grabbing hold of them?

I read a very thought-provoking article recently that posed the questions:

Have you ever seen two people offer a similar idea, and one is heard while the other is not? Have you ever been that person whose idea was passed over? 



Many of us have been there at one time or another in our careers. Why do such things happen? Is one person brighter or just more convincing then the other? Possibly. But I don’t think that is the entire story…

I highlight this further in my newest e-book, “Join The Likes Of Bill Gates and Donald Trump As Someone Successfully Branding Your Talents.” It is available for a nominal cost on my web site – .

I think a lot of it has to do with the sometimes-nebulous ability to “close the deal” and understanding what one writer coined as a “personal leadership brand.”

Sounds like a couple of Twilight Zone topics that are not really part of the package for normal folks like us. Right? Well, not really…especially in the economy we are living in today.

Early in my career, I didn’t always know how to present my ideas in a way that connected deeply with the needs of my audience.

When I worked in local government in the 1980s, I was one of the recycling leads in the Public Works Division. I helped create one of the first successful recycling programs in the Twin Cities area. As time went along, I thought that giving a rebate on your water bill was a way to get more folks to participate across the city in very high numbers. I presented the idea, but it was another colleague that eventually got the proposal through.

How come? I thought. What had made the difference in convincing our superiors? What was getting in the way of my ability to speak so that others—particularly my bosses—would jump on my idea bandwagon?

This is where that connection I spoke about earlier came in.

Laura Lopez, an International Association of Business Communicators contributor, has it spot on.

She writes very adeptly: Communications is an influencing tool. To influence others to take action, you need a personal leadership brand. Developing your personal leadership brand ensures that your communication messages connect with your audience, even if your audience is a boss or other senior leaders. 



Too often we believe that leadership is only for those who have a certain title or the responsibility to lead others who report to them.

What I found out back in the 80s has helped me since. Influencing others when you are in a supporting or advising position is when you require leadership skills the most. 

So what is a personal leadership brand?

A personal leadership brand, according to Laura, requires you to clearly know your core offering and how it benefits your target audience. Effective brands are leaders in the marketplace because they connect emotionally with their audience and offer a benefit that there audience values.

I presented that recycling idea with cold hard facts. It was ultimately going to save the city money, while getting folks to begin recycling more. My colleague presented these facts, but also showed how such a move would be a personal benefit to the bosses in letting them get more sleep at night. They did not have to worry about getting more folks to participate in the fledging recycling program. Saving money talks loudly.

He closed the deal with just not facts but with emotion. This teaching moment back then has helped me throughout my corporate executive career and in my worldwide resiliency business.

His communication was more consistent with the core offering, which, in other words, is what he did better than my brand at the time. He found a way to emotionally and factually connect it to those who want and need this offering.

In response, my resiliency messages today just don’t connect your world in a factual way, but sometimes just as importantly they stir your emotions.

All of us have obstacles and we deal with them in a variety of ways.

As Laura points out, our core offering is based on your strengths, values and overall experience. When developing your personal leadership brand you must learn to connect that core offering with the needs of the boss or senior leader who you are serving or advising.

When trying to influence them with your ideas and perspectives, your messages must consistently provide your target with a benefit that addresses their needs – sometimes emotionally.

I did not do this with my recycling example, thus my suggestions were not as convincing as my colleague. As I said, that was definitely a learning moment that has shaped me as an influencer today.

That’s why I just don’t talk about resiliency in a fact-based way in all my communications today. I interject my real stories to connect with all of you. That’s why some say I am humbly one of the top influencers on career and life resiliency in the world

In upcoming weeks, I will be talking about other key steps to help you navigate successfully toward your personal leadership brand.

Thanks, again, for allowing me to walk down your own unique path to your work and life resiliency. Again, please visit my web site – – to see my newest e-book on personal branding.

I hope you are having a resilient day!

 

Photo By: [Jongky]

 

Your Personal Brand: Thinking Like Multi-Million Dollar Corporations

By Steve Beseke, beseke1@earthlink.net

Many of you have requested I talk even more about personal branding – and why staying in control of it is so important. To continue this on-going series, I want to highlight more about understanding yourself and what you bring to the table every day.

Sure, we know the Nike and Apple brands. The swish and the apple are part of the landscape of corporate society these days. But do we know our own brand that people see and judge – especially at work?

For the sake of a definition, a personal brand is the talents and skills you show the world – whether in life and/or your career. I will focus on your career in this piece. How do people see you? What is their reaction? How do you see yourself?

All of us have career strengths, life passions, unique personality traits and a myriad of talents helping make us stat successful in our careers and lives.

Sometimes, however, these talents are not always seen by others and believed in by us. One of the best ways to show our best is to better define and actually use our personal brand.

Please just remember to not try to create/reconfigure your personal brand all at once. I suggest you think through it and take one step at a time.

Firstly, a little about my own personal branding journey…

When I assessed my career a couple years ago, I wanted to take a critical look at what I offered companies and, really, myself. At the time, I said to myself, “You are nearly 50 now and what is your career passion that will make you happy for the next 15 years.” It was not like I was struggling in life or anything.I’ve had a very successful career making money to buy a nice house, afford periodic vacations and live a quiet upper-middle-class life.

But I wanted more. I wanted to be reenergized again at work and actually feel more work passion than the everyday humdrum of job stress. I am sure many of you have gone/or going through the same reflection.

I asked myself, ” Does my career resiliency and legacy only depend on how much money I make?” I am a materialistic guy, but after considerable thought I had to admit that it was not.

This started me on my journey to identify my personal brand and passion. The fascinating ride has taken me down some interesting turns – including a layoff because of the economy. This journey has led me to my resiliency business, motivational speaking and personal brand consulting. As I am now nearing 51, I want to continue using my life experiences as a person with a disability (Cerebral Palsy), a local leader in internal/employee communications for companies and an average person like you to make a true difference.

Over the next decade, I want folks to remember me (a.k.a., my personal brand) as someone who is helping others find their resilient “sweet spot.” All of us have this spot and we deserve to find it for our health, happiness and resilient well-being.

As we continue our discussion about personal branding, please think of yourself as a corporation selling a product. While you may not have millions of dollars to promote yourself like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, you do have your wonderful skill set, personal/professional experiences and on-going integrity to offer a company the “best deal in town” – yourself. Whether you are seeking a job, or secure in one right now.

Let’s get started:

Personal Branding is Your 21st Century Key to Standing Out From the Crowd

Today, branding isn’t just for companies, Hollywood celebrities, or highly-paid athletes. People in all walks of life are starting to use personal or self branding to get ahead in the game of life.

The single factor that often explains the difference between a professional who is competent and doing okay and one who earns a significant income and generates lots of business is having the confidence of self branding.

Self branding also is a strong personal identity based on a clear perception about what you stand for, what sets you apart from others, and the added value you bring to a job or situation.

Your self brand is the sum total of other people’s feelings about your attributes and capabilities, how you perform, even their perceptions about what you are worth.

To brand or not to brand? Many people think that if they do a good job, their career will go fine. But no matter how secure your position seems to be, you are in competition with more people than you think. Even if you do a great job, you could still side-railed by circumstances out of control. I had this fantastic position that I was receiving wonderful accolades and salary. This country’s economic meltdown forced my company to lay off 2,000 0f 2,200 employees including me.

To some people, branding may seem manipulative or phony. “I’d just rather be myself,” they say, “to with the flow and see where my career takes me.” Or, the familiar line, “I’m not good at marketing myself.”

If you don’t brand yourself, others will. The fact of the matter is you’re giving the power to other people to brand you if you don’t do it yourself.

Self brands are created not born. Branding is mainly a process of analyzing a product in relationship to a market and figuring out how to maximize the brand’s potential. Branding is creating an asset out of something. It is a matter of satisfying a market need in a different way. And figuring out a plan of action – the marketing plan – to build awareness and trial of the brand.

Launching a person on a drive to become a successful personal brand is essentially the same process. It is a conscious strategic process, a branding process, a process that Hollywood celebrities and high profile athletes have been using for some time. As I mentioned earlier, I had to sometimes be brutally honest with myself in my branding process!

The Self Brand mindset: Self branding means looking at yourself as a marketer would look at a product that he or she wants to make a winning brand. You don’t think of yourself as an employee even if you work for a boss. You think of yourself as working for yourself marketing the brand, You.

The first thing a marketer does is analyze the market and the product to understand what the opportunities are, what the threats are. What are the current conditions? What are the assumptions about the future? What problems need to be solved? What needs aren’t being met?

Act like the marketer of the product: You. In personal branding, after analyzing the market, you do a self-audit. What are my strengths and weaknesses? How does my brand compare with the people I am competing with?

You focus on key attributes and resources that differentiate you. Skills, abilities, even personality traits you have that are a solution to a market need. Then you adopt what Theodore Levitt called “the marketing imagination.” You build a personal brand identity that is different, relevant and adds value.

Plan to dazzle: Write out a marketing plan. I often work with folks to develop a formal marketing plan that lays out a personal brand strategy and action plan. It is often in the writing that new creative options come to light.

It is important to set personal brand goals with a specific timeframe and plan of action for achieving your goals. So, just like a marketer would, write down your personal marketing activities to achieve your goals. And, of course, you then need to execute the marketing plan. You can’t get to where you want to go unless you plan it and then do it.

The final step is measurement…assessing your effectiveness. How is my “portfolio” different now than it was last year? What new projects did I take on? How did I expand my network? What new learning did I acquire? If something isn’t working, you change trains. Branding is a dynamic process that offers the greatest rewards to the receptive individual.

Thinking and acting like a corporate brand can create and maintain demand for your most important product – that is, you!

Microsoft and Starbucks has nothing over you or me – except those millions of dollars. We need to “live” our brand and folks will see the true passion and commitment no matter what your profession.

Please begin to think about establishing or reassessing your personal brand. I will have the next installment in my personal brand series in the near future.

I look forward to helping make your personal brand experience a resilient and worthwhile adventure.

Until next week, thanks again, for joining me. I am very humbled to say the least.

Image Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardodiaz/604551936/

Does Your Life/Career Feel Like You Are On A “Yo-Yo” These Uncertain Days?”

By Steve Beseke, beseke1@earthlink.net

Sometimes when you are trying to find your next great work adventure or establishing a new worldwide speaking business like me, your life seems like a “yo-yo.” One day it is running like a Ferrari and heading up. The next week it seems like you are descending in a dilapidated Model T.

Not that you are doing anything wrong or giving it any less effort.

It might just be that you feel less confident about the actions in your control. Whether it may be: You had your fifth interview for a particular job and the company is not getting back to you in a timely manner as promised. The vast amount of networking among colleagues seems to be yielding less than you expected. Or, a personal relationship is not going quite right.

More than ever, this is when all of us need to manage our expectations better. We need to realize that there are always going to be those days where you miss seeing opportunities, or you’d like to crawl back into bed and shut out the world for awhile.

No matter how successful we become in life, all of us must deal with life and career challenges – great and small – whether momentary or not. Other examples might include losing a loved one, or being shut down by your boss after presenting “the next greatest idea” at work.

We cannot get around it: Sooner or later all of us will face an opportunity to test our personal and professional resiliency. To successfully adapt to such moments, I have learned we must show some patience and understanding – in ourselves.

From personal experience of losing my dream job because of the country’s economic mess, I just wanted to get back “in the game” without worrying about my emotions. I forgot to deal with the emotional loss in a much more thoughtful way.

I felt so much personal pain thinking that if only I would have… Or, why didn’t I do this or that… Instead, I needed to rationally look at what I needed to do next. After I realized this, and thought through the grief stages below, I saw how successful I am and will stay in the future.

I have very humbly been very successful at retooling my career, and I am talking with great folks like you worldwide through speeches/conversations and writing about resiliency.

This has allowed me to continue my award-nominated http://resiliency first.com web site – which has now surpassed 1.5 million hits in a year. It has given me the opportunity to share my resiliency successes, and offer you a chance to tap into yours.

But there are days when even my life resiliency fails me. Whether it is because of a business issue or my lifelong physical disability (Cerebral Palsy) is particularly acting up, I’ve learned to not get outrageously high or sinking down to low.

While emotions cannot always be seen, they can be felt by those of us who have experienced pain or uncertainty. If you seem like you are going up and down too much because of a loss, I wanted again highlight Dr. Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief that has helped me feel less like a “yo-yo” being flung around.

These stages led me to recover from the job loss last year, and gave me the confidence to start my successful speaking and consulting business.

The stages are:

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

Life is definitely full of ups and downs. How we react and manage these challenges will determine the scope – and for how long – it will take us to recover our stride.

Now it is your turn. Don’t get caught up in the “yo-yo” syndrome of any particular day. Be ready for whatever comes and manage your expectations. This will help all of us ride the “yo-yo” moments a bit better.

Until next time my friends…thanks for reading my blog!