Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Passion and Career Success

By Bud Bilanich

I was thrilled to be asked to contribute a guest post on my thoughts on turning your passion into a career.

Tweet 8 in my career advice book Success Tweets says “Don’t focus just on making money. If you do, you’ll be asking too little of yourself. Focus on how you can be useful in this world.”

I loved the 1972 movie, Cabaret (I can’t believe it was that long ago). If you haven’t seen Cabaret, rent the DVD. It’s a funny and sad movie at the same time. I bring up Cabaret here because of one of the dance routines in it. It features Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli and is called “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round.”

Yes, money does make the world go ‘round. We all need money. It is difficult to live with little or no money. But I suggest that choosing a career solely on the basis of the money you can make is not a good idea. You have to feel some passion for your work, or you won’t become the career success you deserve to be.

John D. Rockefeller, once the richest man in the USA, said, “If your only goal is to become rich, you’ll never achieve it.”

This is great common sense career success advice. Your goals in life should be more than just making money. Your goals should spring from your purpose in life, your passion. This isn’t to say that you should choose a career in which you can make little or no money. Choose your life’s work based on what you love to do, and you’ll find a way to make money. The old saying, “Do what you love, and the money will follow,” is true.

Michelle Schubnel is a coach to coaches. She runs a program called Coach and Grow R.I.C.H. Her R.I.C.H. acronym applies here:

R ewarded
I nspired
C onfident
H appy

I think this is a great way to think about making money and being useful in this world. You are rich when you are: rewarded for your contributions; inspired by what you do; confident as a professional; and happy with the way you spend your time. Let’s talk about each of these.

Rewarded – We all deserve to be appropriately compensated for the work we do and the value we bring to others. This means that you shouldn’t feel bad about making money, only that making money shouldn’t be your sole goal in life. Some might say that the current financial crisis is the result of some people who valued making money at the expense of others. Do your job, get good at it and the money will follow.

Inspired – You can find inspiration in the work you do every day. If you’re a realtor, you can be inspired when you help a person or a couple find the home of their dreams. If you’re a pharmaceutical sales rep, you can be inspired by the fact that you’re helping doctors understand how the medicines your company makes can save lives. My dad was a steel worker for 37 years. He found inspiration in the buildings and bridges he helped build. I find inspiration every time someone leaves a comment on my blog or tells me that one of my tweets made a difference in their life.

Confident – Doing something you love, doing it well and being useful in this world will build your confidence. Your confidence grows as your skill level grows and you begin to make bigger contributions at work and in the world. A world of confident people would be a wonderful place to live. Confident people see the world from a win-win perspective.

Happy – When are you happiest? I’m willing to bet it’s when you accomplish something – or help someone else accomplish something – not when you get your pay check. When you do something you love every day you can’t help but be happy. I am happiest when I finish a book. Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort. And, I’m a perfectionist. I want to make sure my books are the best I can make them, so I put in a lot of time and effort making sure they’re just right. And, you know what? I’m really happy when I first hold a copy of one of my books in my hand. At that moment, I know the work was worth it. I’m happy when I help others succeed too. I love the moments when I can see the light go on in one of my career success coach client’s eyes. I love it when I help other people get it.

I saw a young woman wearing a T shirt the other day that made a profound point. On the front it said, “Wealth is not the opposite of poverty.” On the back it said, “Enough is the opposite of poverty.” This message goes to the heart of the message in Tweet 8. Successful people know what “enough” is for them and their family. They are happy with enough. They pursue a life and career that fulfills them. They know that being rich is more than having a lot of money.

The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are passionate about what they do. They see money as the byproduct of their work – not as their sole reason for working. They follow the advice in Tweet 8 in Success Tweets. “Don’t focus just on making money. If you do, you’ll be asking too little of yourself. Focus on how you can be useful in this world.” Successful people know that being rich doesn’t mean you have tons and tons of money. They know that being rich means that you are: Rewarded for your contributions; Inspired by what you do; Confident in your skills, and Happy with the way you spend your days.

Best of luck to you as you go about turning your passion into your career success. You can download a free copy of Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained at http://budurl.com/STExp.

Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy is a career success coach, motivational speaker, author and blogger. He helps his clients create their life and career success by applying their common sense. He is the author of seven books on life and career success. You can read his daily blog at http://www.BudBilanich.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Lottery

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

This posting is actually my response to a courseroom discussion about the film The Lottery in my Leadership and Management Change II course - minus the video at the end.

Teacher's unions are not the problem. They are not opposing open access; they are opposing the closing of neighborhood schools and the displacement of those students. Teacher's unions serve a very meaningful and much needed purpose.

Charters have a 50% failure rate. They are not the panacea their supporters make them out to be. But, whenever you pick up the paper or see an education special on TV or hear a politician speak, you see people praising charters and the amazing work they are doing.

Mississippi does not have a teacher's union, nor does it have tenure either. Yet, just like around the country, MS has a 40% drop out rate and the best performing schools are in the districts that serve the wealthiest students. The problem is not the teacher's union, it is poverty and the social ills that are the result of poverty.

The Lottery points out the absurdity of the leadership at the state, district, and school level. Klein was never an educator. Arne Duncan was never an educator. And their answer is to always close schools, instead of looking at the school leadership, the learning programs in place, as well as the student and parent participation.

The truth is there are millions of students who do not care about school. There are millions of parents who do not care about their child's education. We do not hear about those students. We rarely hear about those parents. All we hear is that all students and their parents want to learn. If you have spent anytime in a school you know that is not true.

The public school system needs to remove money from the game. No child's address should determine where they go to school. That is why I support theme schools. They are the great equalizer in public education. Students go to school based upon their interests, passions, and talents - not the neighborhood they live in.

Check out this video on school choice:

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ed Reform Conversation

by Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Former students of mine. They have since graduated from college.

I am educator. Nope I am not in K-12 education, nor do I work in higher education or some sort of adult education program. I also don't work in training development. I am one of millions of teachers, curriculum developers, program designers, coordinators, and executive directors who work within the field of youth development or out of school learning programs.

When people talk about education reform, they don't mention the need to reform the many organizations that serve youth after school and during the Summer. It's like we don't exist. We do and we do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Whether it is the Boys and Girls Club, America's Promise, Girl's Inc, Reel Grrls, GEAR UP, Junior Achievement, Admission Possible, City Year, or a million other organizations and programs, what we do is as critical to the academic, social, and emotional success of students as what happens within K-12 education. Not only do out of school learning programs pick up the slack of many schools, they actually do a better job at inspiring, challenging, and empowering young people. As such, I contend that out of school learning programs should be a part of the education reform conversation.

Just like in K-12 education, there is a need for competent teachers, leaders, and curriculum and program specialists in out of school learning programs. Just like in K-12 education, there is a need for degree programs that effectively prepare individuals for the realities of the work, as well as the students and the communities those students come from. And, just like in K-12 education, as part of their mission, out of school learning programs must find meaningful and engaging ways to connect and collaborate with other youth programs here and abroad.

Moving forward, I would like to see out of school learning program educators acknowledged for the work that we do. I'd also like to see us invited to Edcamps, Edchats, and other education conferences. After all, we serve the same age ranges and population of students. We deal with similar issues when it comes to student achievement, parental support, and funding. Though we don't have standardized tests to deal with, we are concerned about how our data affects the future direction/existence and funding sources of our programs and organizations. We belong in the conversation. We have a wealth of experiences to contribute to the education reform debate.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FutureWork with Laura Goodrich and Will Deyamport

My interview with Laura Goodrich - Workforce Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Author of the book and video Seeing Red Cars.

Listen to internet radio with Laura Goodrich on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Two: The Power of Educators on Social Networks by Shelly Terrell

First posted at Teacher Reboot Camp by Shelly Terrell!

Plymouth Keynote

On April 8th I celebrated my two year Twitter birthday. 100s of members of my Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) joined me in the celebration online and face-to-face as I gave my Keynote, Wings & Webs: Education Transformation and Social Media, which I've included a shortened version below. This was one of 14 presentations I gave in the last 30 days while traveling throughout Turkey, Germany, and the UK meeting 100s of members of my PLN. This will explain my 4 week absence on this blog.

Plymouth was an incredible experience for me. This was the first conference I had presented at in which the majority of the audience were tekkies, had smart phones and netbooks or iPads, had Twitter accounts, and the venue itself had a strong wifi connection. The backchannel was roaring as I gave my keynote livestreamed to my friends on Twitter. And yes, I do refer to several members of my Personal/ Passionate Learning Network as friends even though I have over 12,000 I connect and often collaborate with. I am one of those people who preaches about Twitter and the way it has changed my life so profoundly in just 2 years.

It's About the Tool

How odd that so many of us will preach, "It's about the tool," when we preach that schools and teachers should integrate technology. In the next moment many who say this also speak/blog vehemently against social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I have read many of these posts in the last year and have also heard speakers at the conferences I've attended speak against these tools. In some cases they try to encourage other educators to believe these networks are evil and that their feelings of warmth for their PLN are something to be ashamed of or that it is a superficial feeling. I want to clarify now that social media has profoundly improved my experience as an educator. I am a better educator because my PLN has supported, challenged, and collaborated with and shared with me. They have infected me with their passion to be better at my profession. Thank you, friends!

How Do You Use These Tools?

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are tools and I know that I have used these tools effectively to collaborate and connect with teachers worldwide. That is my choice. Perhaps, those who scream against these tools are really not that social? Perhaps, they haven't figured out how to use social media tools effectively? Okay, I understand we are individuals and make choices but why do they have to blame the tool? I use social media tools to share a human experience of reaching out to others and make meaningful connections. I have been able in the last two years to do amazing things I would have never been able to do as effectively without these tools, which include:

  • Provide free professional development and resources to 10,000s of educators worldwide in over 150 countries

  • Provide a free curriculum to an educator in Nepal who I also Skype with
    Travel to 16 countries spending quality time with friends from all over the globe including Turkey, Greece, the UK, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland, France, the US, Brussels, Brazil, Japan, and so forth

  • Eat fish and chips with friends I met online on the beach

  • Take roadtrips with friends I met online throughout Poland, Belgium, France, and Amsterdam

  • Provide free weekly webinars to teachers in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Peru, and other countries where resources and professional development are scarce

I have an overwhelming amount of stories I could share. Everyday I wake up I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing field where we make a profound difference in the world. I guess the reason I feel so passionate about social media is that I come from humble Mexican American beginnings. I am part of the first generation in my family to graduate from college and I have been blessed to travel more than anyone else in my family for generations. I explain more about this in my keynote below.

Social Media Transforms Our Conference Experiences

Social media has transformed my conference experience. I now attend more conferences because I want to hang out with members of my PLN. Before social media, most of the educators that attended conferences weren't connected to many people attending the conference. This was my reality and I remember experiencing this "alone" feeling. I would get lost among the crowd and feel even more alone. I stopped going to conferences a decade ago because I was sick and tired of the protocols of shaking people's hands and giving them a mini interview stating why they should want to know me. That's a conference, though, for educators not on social media. Social media has revolutionized the conference experience. I meet people at conferences and I feel I know them and they know me. They know about my pug, my preference for Coke 0, and much more. We hug at first glance and we spend quality time enjoying the talks and events. We "experience" the conference. I attend way more conferences worldwide as a result of my online connections and I leave feeling I have grown because of the conference and the people I learned from and connected with on a real level. How do you approach that first meet and greet and get to the point where you can just be comfortable enjoying each other's company? When does a conference become an experience versus an uncomfortable way to just network? Simply, social media. It takes away the leg work.

Power through Social Networks

Sometimes, the connections I make on social networks are to parents, learners, politicians, authors, other teachers, or administrators. We more than connect. We have conversations of what education transformation should be. I have the ability to show these various stakeholders what effective learning looks like. I have the ability to disprove their notions that what matters most is a learner's test scores or grades. I have the ability to persuade them that mobile learning is a way for students to get outside the walls of their classroom and be active, interacting in a meaningful way with their environments. I believe educator messages about education transformation should go viral in order to transform the way most education systems are worldwide. I shared this in my keynote. Social media is a powerful way to spread these messages. So to the naysayers I say sorry I'm not quitting. I have a world that needs changing and educators collaborating on social media are on a mission to positively impact their learning environments. Social networks may transform decades from now but the worldwide collaboration and human connection educators participate in daily on these networks won't ever die.

My Plymouth Keynote

Challenge: Share your story why you believe educators should be active on social networks.

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is the author of the Teacher Reboot Camp blog and tweets @shellterrell. She is also the VP of Educator Outreach for Parentella and the Social Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She has worked with students of all ages for over a decade and now teaches English in Germany.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Reinvention 3: Look The Part You Play

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

"Dressing for success today means looking positively unforgettable. Yet, most of the people I know who are not moving up have one thing in common: they don’t look polished and professional. Too busy taking care of their customers and bosses; they haven’t paid enough attention to their physical fitness or wardrobe choices. And that’s a shame, because all of the research I’ve read points to the fact that about 65% of communication is visual. So, make sure in reinventing yourself, your packaging is fresh, relevant and reflective." - Robin Roffer

Since I have moved back to Mississippi, which is a lot warmer than Boston, I don't wear suits like I used to. Here, I've adapted my wardrobe to not only reflect the climate, I've refined my look. I like to tell people that Vice-president Joe Biden is my fashion role model. I like how he's old school but with a foot in the present. That's exactly how I dress.

Most of the dress shirts I own are French cuffs in the color blue - though I have 2 white ones for more formal occasions. My favorite collar is the spread collar; however, I do wear pinpoint ones. In lieu of the jacket, I wear sweater vests, and I have traded in my belts for braces. I never thought that I would wear those, but I like how authoritative and executive they look. My dress pants (pleated) are in navy blue, black, and grey - with variations such as pinstripes. I only wear black shoes, and I never leave without them being clean.

Physically, I don't look like I did in Boston. I've let myself go, but I am working on getting my suit sexy back. To get there, I will be following Dr. Roizen's and Dr. Oz's dietary advice in their book You On A Diet. I will also be walking, hitting the treadmill and doing some weightlifting for toning.

I have until April of 2012 to get myself suit sexy. That's when I'll be able to actively pursue full-time positions at a university. In the meantime, I'll be working my plan and completing my dissertation - which hopefully, I get the approval to start in the Fall.

Next month will be my last posting following Robin Roffer's "4 Things You Can Do Now To Reinvent Yourself." As always, I welcome your feedback.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Mosaic of Musing on Leadership and Vision

By Jesse Lyn Stoner

This article is reposted by permission of the author. It originally appeared here.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a couple of months, I decided to try an experiment: to list some of my favorite statements from my articles and books, and instead of discussing them, let them speak for themselves.

You might think they don’t make any sense out of context or that without elaboration they’re too simple… or you might appreciate them because they remind you of what you already know or stimulate your thinking.

Successful leaders understand that true power comes not from exercising control, but from empowering others.

A vision is a clearly-articulated, results-oriented picture of a future you intend to create. It is a dream with direction.

A real vision is lived, not framed.

Curiosity opens doors. Blame closes them.

People who focus only on a vision live with their heads in the clouds. People who focus only on current reality live with their feet stuck in the mud.

Leadership is about going somewhere. If you don’t know where you’re going, your leadership efforts don’t really matter.

Vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going and what will guide your journey.

If not in service of a shared vision, leadership can become self-serving.

Focus on what you want to create, not what you want to leave behind.

Vision is about being great, not about beating the competition.

On this planet, we are part of one community. If your vision is only about yourself, you are too narrowly focused.

Vision can start anywhere in an organization. It’s not an excuse to say, “My company does not have a vision, so my team can’t have one.”

To achieve your vision, you must be willing to tolerate discomfort and delay gratification in the short term.

The images we hold in our minds have a tremendous impact on the realities we create.

Visioning is a lifelong journey, not a one-time activity.

Jesse Lyn Stoner, founder of Seapoint Center, works with leaders to align their business strategies and organization culture. With over thirty years experience as a business consultant, former executive, and bestselling author, Jesse has worked with leaders in hundreds of organizations worldwide from Fortune 500's to non-profits. Her clients include Honda, Pfizer, Marriott, Edelman Public Relations, Yale University, Jackson Hole Ski Resort, Barnes and Noble, and Corinthian Colleges. She is coauthor, with Ken Blanchard, of the international bestseller Full Steam Ahead: Unleash the Power of Vision. The 2nd edition, revised and expanded, was just released. For more information, please visit Seapoint Center or look her up on Twitter