Take this job and... love it

I'm sure there are many days you'd rather end that sentence as in the classic 1977 Johnny Paycheck hit.  I find it ironic that Johnny’s last name is Paycheck given the theme of this post.  I’m just sayin’. 

I read a crazy statistic that some 1 million people call in sick every day and surveys vary, but anywhere from 45% to 87% of people in this country don’t like their jobs.  So, if this Lovemyjob
is you, you’re definitely not alone.

But, this isn’t a misery-loves-company kind of day.  How about in honor of this day of love, you make a vow to really love your job.  Even if it’s just for a day?   

If you’re already there, congratulations!  If not, perhaps some of the following ideas might help:

  • Call in sick.  Kidding.
  • First morning thoughts – when you get up in the morning, think of 3 things you’re really looking forward to that day, anything from seeing certain co-workers, to working on a pet project, but list 3
  • Greet everyone you see during the day – exchanging positive energy throughout the day helps to raise your spirits
  • Tackle the tough stuff first – you know what they are, whether it’s a task that has been nagging at you or a mini-crisis that comes up in the moment, crossing those things off your list brings a sense of accomplishment which increases your endorphins (your happy hormones)
  • Ask to be involved – possibly in other areas of your company that interest you, or in a project that you’ve been thinking about
  • Showcase your talents – any time you get the opportunity to show your superiors your successes or even your unique thought process on a given problem, it’s a good thing and makes going to work more enjoyable
  • Make your desires for advancement known – it’s not going to happen if you just have the conversation in your head.  Put yourself on the top of their promotion pile.
  • Take mental health breaks – have a quick chat with a co-worker, call a friend or family member to tell them you’re thinking of them, walk around the block, do 20 twenty squats in the bathroom (you may laugh but I’ve done it!), drink a fast 8 ounces of cold H20, or close your eyes for 3 minutes at your desk and breathe deeply.
  • Eat your lunch away from the office! 

Then at the end of the day look back at the good things that took place.  Don’t allow yourself to focus on anything negative, just the good stuff.  What you focus on expands and if you're only thinking about the negative events that took place during the day you'll only wake up to more of it the next day.  Yuck.

And, tomorrow is a new day!  Who knows?  Maybe you'll do it again tomorrow.

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's not what you do that matters, it's who you are. But, at the same time they are connected, aren't they? When what you do matters to you, then you are more of who you are supposed to be.

It's Finally Leap Year

"It's Finally Leap Year!"  That's what I imagine people born on February 29th say when a leap year comes around and they get to celebrate their true birthday. Girl-jumping1

Well, it's not technically a leap year, the next one is 2012.  But, this is the phrase that came to mind as I set my theme for 2011. 

I don't like New Year's resolutions.  I prefer setting a slate of clear goals and giving myself an overall theme for the year.  Goals are great because they give you milestones to put into your life GPS for the year. 

But, the theme.  The theme is your undercurrent, your throughline, your foundation or your touchstone for the annual journey.  It's the platform on which you place your goals and it's the glue that keeps them in place as you forge your path.  And, they give an overall meaning and purpose to your plan. 

One of my goals this year is to break through barriers that have held me back in the past.  Writer and dear friend Debra Rogers gave me the book that is the basis for my theme, "It's My Leap Year!"  Written by Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap looks deeply at the barriers that are keeping you from breaking through, what he calls, your Upper Limit so that you're operating in your "zone of genius."   It follows along my theory that glass ceilings are, for the most part, self-imposed.  This book has very clear guidelines on how to break your own glass ceilings and leap to the next level and eventually highest levels you want to reach in your life, career, relationships, etc.  It's pretty profound!

Plus, it's fun to create your theme! 

In coming up with your theme, look at (or create) your list of goals for the year.  Now think of those goals in terms of being Fearless, Healthy, Authentic, and Abundant.  With those core themes in mind, what phrases or words spring to mind as being an overall throughline for you?

Or think of songs that inspire you.  Come up with a theme song and then let that guide you to setting your annual theme.

You can use mine if you want to hit your higher levels too.  Make it your leap year too!  I'll meet you on there.

Make What You Love What You Do

Photo by Mandy von Stahl on Unsplash

Awhile back, while attending the five-year-old birthday party of a little friend, I encountered a most surprising artist, who created, truly, the coolest balloon creatures I've ever seen. I think the adults were into it more than the kids.  

She made me a butterfly which she whipped up in mere seconds, along with alligators (with teeth), dogs, tigers, mermaids, hats, flowers, you name it. This artist was in pure joy creating her art and has been doing it since she was five-years-old herself.

It reminded about a story I saw on CBS Sunday Morning, about master ventriloquist Terry Fator, who became fascinated with his art form when he was about ten and perfected it until he became an "overnight success" after winning "America's Got Talent" in 2007. Since then, he's signed a $100 Million dollar deal as a headliner in Vegas.

The thread that connects these two is that they appear to have learned early on what they loved and then made it their life's work. Every day I talk to people who are in jobs that don't fulfill them. Yes, there's something to be said about being grateful for having a job, but that doesn't mean you should set aside your avocations or your passions, your true desires.

There's also something to be said about making what you love what you do! Why? Mainly, because it brings meaning to everything else you do, even the job you don't particularly like. 

If you don't know what that thing is, here are some good questions to ask yourself.

  • If money were no object, what would you spend your time doing?
  • What is it that you do where there's no sense of time and space? Where you have a sense of peace in your body and mind?
  • What have you been known for all of your life, perhaps outside your 9-to-5? Where do people compliment you?
  • Where, and for what, are you a go-to person in your life?
  • What are the top five things you know you're really good at, that you also like to do?
  • What did you love to do when you were a kid? How did you spend your alone play time? How did you interact with other kids? When you examine this you really learn a lot about your true desires.
  • Complete this sentence with as many things that come to mind:  "I can't wait to..."  Don't edit yourself.
  • Where are you relentless in your passion?

Look for ways to incorporate what you love to do into your life. Find and meet like-minded people, surround yourself with those who are doing it. Join a group, attend some events in your desired field. Devote a little energy every day perfecting the skill, if that's what it requires.

At the very least, take a step today toward making what you love what you do. Pretty soon you'll being taking the next step, and the next. 

What's not to love about that?

11 Powerful Re's to Reignite Your Career

Dinner guests were arriving when the electric igniter went out on my oven.  And, then a few minutes later I discovered the igniter on my gas grill was also out.  After a momentary panic attack I re-thought the evening, ordered in and we got a laugh out of it.

But, being aware of metaphor and the subtle epiphanies it can bring, it got me thinking about where in our lives the igniters go out from time to time.  For both the grill and the oven it was an easy fix to re-ignite the mechanism.  What about re-igniting our lives and careers?  It’s a powerful act and allows you to live your life rather than your life living you.
  Lightbulb idea

Taking it a step further, it got me thinking about the impact other Re’s can have on us and all we do.   Think about your own life and career for a moment.  You have a dream, or a plan, or a specific project you’re trying to complete, or a bigger goal with a deadline, or an overall vision.  Perhaps you’re stuck or not feeling inspired; or what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore; or you really feel like you want to make a change but have no idea what it is or how to go about it.

The power of the Re is that it places new energy in a new way toward what you’re looking at or trying to accomplish.   If you allow the Re to do it’s thing and not fight the process, the results can be staggering.

There are a lot great Re words, but here are 10 powerful ones to get you started, or re-started:

  • Reinvent your career by getting back to the foundation, what do you love and why do you do what you.
  • Reinvest your time in a new and charitable way.
  • Reclaim your dreams, keeping them alive by articulating them on a regular basis.
  • Rejuvenate your attitude, turning can’t into can and don’t into do.
  • Refocus your energy by pausing, taking a deep breath and changing your position.
  • Readjust your thinking, allowing yourself to come at a project from a fresh angle.
  • Retool your personal brand, your resume, your leadership style.  A fresh approach can bring fresh results.
  • Recharge your physical battery; take walks midday or change up your commute on the way to work.
  • Reignite your vision, like gently blowing on cooling embers.   It’s in there, gently wake it up and bring it to life by pursuing it in thought and action, a little every day,
  • Redesign your plan; remove what’s not working and try something else.
  • And, Refuse to quit on yourself.  Everyday, get up and Redo something else.

In the way our skin renews itself every 24 hours, embracing the Re allows us to do the same thing in our lives and careers.  And, the good news is you can do and re-do it again and again.

It’s truly the cycle of life.  Or, in this case, the recycle of life.

50 Seriously Great Tips to Elevate Your Personal Brand


I love connecting with extraordinary people; it's part of my amazing journey in this life.  And, in my current stead of helping people build meaningful and successful careers I have had the esteemed pleasure of running across remarkable folks who are really out there DOING IT, people who have exploded their personal brands!

Ladder to success  Your personal brand is the most important factor when laying out an effective career blueprint and then building and executing that blueprint into an targeted action plan. 

So, I have gathered 50 Seriously Greats Tips to Elevate Your Personal Brand in 2010 from people who are certainly doing it themselves and who were very quick to come forward, offering help to you.  Many of them will be thought and game changers for you in your career and business.

It took me thrice as long to ink this blog post because I kept visiting the sites of my fearless contributors.  I invite you to do the same.

This truly is a keeper so you may want to print it and include it in your business plan, your career blueprint and your marketing plans as a guideline to keep coming a back to.  And, feel free to share!

1.  Be an expert

"Position yourself as an expert and be willing to take up public speaking opportunities in your business community. Many associations, organizations and companies are consistently looking for slots to fill at monthly meetings and annual conferences. Target speaking opportunities that will position you in front of your target audience. This exposure leads to increased visibility and when delivered right, increases your credibility. It's estimated the less than 2% of the American population enjoys public speaking, so it's usually a great way to get a leg up on your competition."  Amy Jantzer,

2. Make the most of a great business card

"Break the Business Card Malaise.  I'm working on new business cards, but as opposed to the same old same old with a new design I'm doing a whole different format - doing them as trading cards.  I have an artist friend do comic-style artwork, build the card myself in a simple graphics program, and print it via Zazzle.  You instantly have a business card that stands out from the crowd in design, shape, and creativity.  There are trading cards for comic characters, games, sports figures, and so on - pick the style that fits your brand!"  Steven Savage,

3. Have instantly recognizable brand elements

"Make sure everything you do is consistent with the personality you've established for your brand and appropriate for your product. If you're an authority, your tone should always be expert. If you're an entertainer, well, your tone should be entertaining. Everything should be consistent, from your appearance, your language, your logo, even your fonts and colors for your website, blog and print materials. They should be instantly recognizable as Your Brand. In a noisy marketplace, those who stand out as consistently delivering the same experience or product, from the initial encounter to the very end, will win!  Celia Milton,

4. Be a networking group leader

"Join an appropriate networking group and become a leader and thought changer.  If there are opportunities to become a leader and show the community how much you know about your field of expertise, that can bring more awareness to your company and propel your brand forward."  Sarah Shaw,

5. Gain insight by surveying your peeps

"Go out there and see what messages people are sharing about you. Google, Yahoo and Bing yourself. Where do you show up...what messages are out there...what's the gap between what you want and where you are now?  You can also survey customers, colleagues, family and friends...what
do they think about your brand, how do they feel when they see, hear, read info from the brand, etc.  Use the insight from each area of research to build the brand you really want."  Jennifer Davidson,

6. Keep your name in the press

"Use sites like HARO to find creative ways to keep your name in the press. The other is blogs, by using your blog correctly, articles you write come out looking like news items."  Judy Misbin May

7.  Set yourself apart with your knowledge

"Often, too many people try to build their brand without enough substance. Your associates, clients, audience, and/or customers should see you as an expert in your field. Their expectations should be that you are up to date with the latest industry news, current trends, and useful information. So, what do you do now? Set aside a small portion of each day to build your expertise. Subscribe to trade magazines, newsletters and other publications that can help to make you an informed expert. Of course, Internet sites and consumer publications that effect your industry can be very helpful with stories on latest styles and current trends. Set yourself apart from others in your industry with your knowledge, and willingness to share it with clients. Not gossip, but useful and helpful information. The more that you become an important resource to others, the easier it will be to promote your own personal brand.  Jhan Dolphin,

8.  Reconcile your public perception

"Take a moment to get feedback on your brand and how you currently show up in the world. Many times the brand we believe we have and the perception of us in the outside world need to be reconciled. It's hard to take a look at ourselves, and well worth it to improve."  Monic Cost,

9.  Increase your "human factor" online

Increasing your personal brand is about consistency, transparency, and the "human" factor when you are trying to elevate online.  Encourage your "offline" contacts and fans to interact with you online to elevate your brand to larger markets.  They know you personally and know your brand very well.  By coming to your site and engaging you online they bring that "human" factor to the page, they peel back the internet veil and provide credibility because readers who do not know you get a sense for what you are "really like".  When they allude or directly talk about the offline interactions they had with you in a very natural and normal way in the online setting they display how your offline life is consistent with your online brand and how you are a real person, with real interactions."   Coach Reed,

10.  Consistency is key

"Maintain consistency online and offline.  Consistency helps to reinforce the mature brand that one is trying to display. One should always display his or her personal brand statement on social networks, and reinforce this statement with professional profile photos, content, and in-person."  LaTron Brown,

11.  Get yourself on the morning news shows!

"Call your local television news stations (plural!) and ask for the person who books the morning news. Ask if you can send this person an e-mail introducing yourself. If you get that opportunity, BRIEFLY (two sentences at most!) tell them what you're capable of talking about, and let them know you'd be happy to be available at the drop of a hat. Morning news shows have interview slots for members of the community--make sure that's you by communicating how you can be of service to them.  Be available too; nobody is perfect, and sometimes a booked guest has to cancel. Be the person they call to fill the spot and you'll be doing a lot to make their life easier.

Pro-tip: send the planner or producer brief notes about the most popular questions people want to know about what you'll be talking about. Example: If you're a pet store owner, and your interview is on pets, list the top 10 questions you get asked, AND, type out your general answers. This gives the producer an idea of how to make the interview interesting, AND gives them an idea of how you'll answer those types of questions. If you hit the nail on the head for what the producer is looking for, you may just hear your questions being asked, verbatim!" Fritz Chaleff (Communications Director | U.S. Congressman Brian P. Bilbray)

12.  Have your own unique name online

"Be sure the name you're using is consistent across sites, especially if using social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Your name is part of your brand leverage it. For example, the first step in your own branding is to Google/Bing/Yahoo yourself and look at results. If your name is fairly common, can you create a more unique identity by using your full name / middle initial, etc.?  Be cautious about using nicknames. Also, as part of researching what's already out there on the web about you, leverage the tools like recruiters use ( or or to conduct an even more comprehensive search and explore your online presence. Posting and building an online presence can help boost your image/brand."  Danielle Beauparlant Moser,

13.  Control your tweet messages

"I love scheduling many of my Twitter messages each week in Hootsuite. It allows me to spend an hour or so each week setting up my regular tweets and Hootsuite lets me see the Stats on each tweet, and has provided hootlet which lets me tweet any web page easily. I love it!"  Wanda Jewell,

14.  It's all about the company you keep

"Have you ever heard of "guilt by association?"  Well, it works in the other direction too. One of the best ways to elevate your personal brand is by creating genuine relationship with other well-respected individuals in your industry and niche. By cultivating relationships (and emailing a person once doesn't count as a relationship), you gain a sense of credibility from the company you keep. Plus, you can also gain access to those people's fans- folks that likely overlap your target market.  This is a strategy that takes time, but is worthwhile over the long haul and will not only give you the most bang for your buck, but also the most long-term credibility.  Carol Roth,

15. Be bold and valuable

"Do something big, outrageous and valuable to your target market ."  Carma Spence-Pothitt

16.  Focus on where you're going

"Focus less on where you are now, and more on where you want to be a year from now, and start positioning yourself that way."  Alexandra Golaszewska,

17.  Create an event where you're the center of attention

"In February I created the 'Song Bomb' recruiting 32 songwriters to each write a song, record it and post it on my website. I wrote, recorded and posted 32 songs myself.  The rewards from this venture?  All the fans of those songwriters who visited my site to hear their songs got to find out about me too.  My site traffic for the month at least tripled and I have a project that I can use to bring new fans to my site for months to come.  More over I strengthened my relationship with every songwriter who I brought on for the project; everyone was grateful for an catalyst to write new songs and get them out into the world." Timmy Riordan,

18.  Write an advice booklet

"If you're a small biz owner or solo entrepreneur, you're an expert and can write advice booklets or brochures for your target market. Small booklets are easy to produce on office copiers. Design a cover and you have a wonderful, unique and valuable branding and marketing piece to pass out at conferences or mail to prospective clients. Tammy Brackett

19.  Update regularly to build your reputation

"1) Use a professional resume writer and update your resume regularly. There are degrees of professional certification -- use the best you can afford -- and repurpose their content for Linkedin and other professional profiles.   2) Ask for new recommendations for your online profile quarterly. Pull language from the quotes, "e.g. creative, thought-leader, skillful manager, etc. and create an intro paragraph for yourself that leverages the same language. Consistency in a brand builds strength.   3) Make a vow that if you offer to do something for someone else (e.g. create an introduction) do it within 24 hours after the ask. This builds a reputation for speedy, reliable assistance."  Karen Howe

20.  BE PERSONAL with your blog

"Obviously, if you are not maintaining a blog, you should. Too many people writing niche blogs think they cannot inject their personality into their blog. They also think that every post must be laser-targeted to their niche. Don't be a robot -write in a way that let's people get to know you - that's how you elevate your personal brand."  Chris Reimer,


21. Write and self-publish your own book

"As an author my tip would be SELF-PUBLISH! The big companies want to eat up your potential profits so print your own book.  And don't advertise on Amazon or use a distributor who will steal your profits - create a site and push it hard.  Start small, make your initial money back, and reinvest in advertisement to gain sales momentum on your product(s), keeping in mind that is not the book that is selling, its the author!"  Romaine Williams,


22.  Be visible speaking in public

"I've planned to engage in at least three public speaking events in my business area because it puts me face-to-face with people I want to meet."  Ford Kanzler,

23.  Keep it simple & unforgettable

"It's basic, but important. Keep it simple, make it unforgettable, insure it tells your story.  As 'The Timeshare Crusader' and my tagline, 'Never Fear A Timeshare Salesperson Again', my brand does that."
Lisa Ann Schreier,

24.  Keep it clean

"Clean up, and use proper wording, in all of your social media. It's a great way to boost natural search traffic."   Charlie Riley,

25.  Connect in a genuine way

"Arguably the most significant way to take your personal branding to the next level is to be genuine and participate in a thoughtful way.  Self-promotion and personal brand development is always about connecting with people in a meaningful way. In the new world of social media, personal/professional transparency and real time information you simply cannot afford to be anything but genuine. Being genuine and thoughtful increases the return on all of your branding activities and without a doubt will add to personal brand value."  Morgan Christian,

26.  Live it!

" Live it and have passion for it.  Establish yourself as an expert at SOMETHING. That means you, not your company or work. And get as much press in your expertise area as you can. This will make you relevant, credible and findable. You can do this by writing something others will find helpful and pointing to it, then look for ways to guest blog it, post about it in relevant communities and network yourself with like experts. You can also respond to HARO when you're qualified to speak to it. Find as many ways as you can to be part of it.  Brent Shelton,

27.  Be true to YOU

"When it comes to elevating your personal brand, so many people seem to fall short. The number one tip to elevating your personal brand to the next level is to be true to yourself. When you are not genuine and truly passionate about your life, career and business, it shows. Decide what values in your life are most important to you, and be sure that your whole life is centered around living those values. The best way to be successful in life and business is to be genuine to your core values."  Megan Kline,

28.  Be truly accessible

"Surprise people by being overly accessible.  I created the SNAC system to help kids and parents learn how to eat correctly in a way that speaks to kids. By doing this sometimes parents may have questions about a certain situation and when I call them personally, they are really surprised and thankful."     Carrie Chacon,

29.  Have a crystal clear vision

"Elevating my personal brand has been a top focus of mine this year. The one thing that has really been most beneficial is having a crystal clear vision of what I want my brand to be and positively reaffirming it to myself daily. I have to believe in myself and believe in me as a brand before others will. This has allowed me to really be my brand."  Laina Turner-Molaski,

30.  Get a Facebook Fan Page

"Get a unique URL and then point all of your offline branding to this URL. So, if you do direct mail, radio, tv advertise this new URL and point people to your Facebook page - this way you can capture your audience and have the chance to market your brand to them over and over!"  Lisa Johnson,

31.  Forget competition; forge relationships

"Those offering similar value in a similar niche or field are not competitors because no one can offer exactly what you do, the way you do. Instead of fearing, fretting over, (or worse) ignoring or undermining these birds of a feather, turn them into allies and advocates for your own brand.  They can sharpen your focus, they can push you toward your best, they can show you what you are lacking, their success is not your downfall but a catalyst and a sign that your niche is prospering. Show them good will (acknowledge what they do well, encourage their efforts, and even share their work with your readers/clients/supporters). You will earn the respect and admiration of your colleagues but also your supporters because you've increased their knowledge and resources. The good will youve shown and spread in these directions will come back to you."   Nichelle Strzepek,

32.  Be a Collector & Connector

"Cultivate relationships, for yourself and for others.  Those who are able to increase their personal brand are those who see the value in surrounding themselves with people who are diverse in their skills and ambitions and then connecting those persons with others, for their mutual benefit. By cultivating these relationships and helping to connect like-minded and complimentary people you increase your reputation (brand) as a person who "knows everyone" and "gets things done". People want to be around those who make them feel good about themselves and help them accomplish their goals. Can you make people see their own worth and bring them together with others who can help them meet their goals? If yes, then you will increase your own personal brand."  Nadine Owens Burton,

33.  Take time to stay centered

"Spend at least 2 minutes per day in silence - "meditating" or just sitting, and breathing in more inspiration and breathing out any stress. Assigning meaning to the breath makes it more powerful and gets you more centered!"  Stephanie Mansour,

34.   Protect your time by delegating

"I have hired a high school and a college intern over the next 6 months to do online research and pitching for me. I don't have the time and they can do it at a very low cost rate."  Abby Marks Beale,

35.  Broadcast your message daily

"One way to elevate your personal brand at very little or no expense is consistent and daily messaging to the audience you want to reach. Ensure your web site messaging is consistent with your blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter messaging. The key here is to communicate often and with a clear and direct message." Daryl Wizelman,

36.  Enhance your digital presence

"There are 2 ways to do this easily, without having a lot of knowledge in the field. 
1. Subscribe to blogs that interest you and comment often.  When you take the initiative to add your thoughts to an ongoing discussion, ensure that you have something insightful to say. The more you add, the more attention you receive. The more attention you receive, the more people are interested in what you have to say. This eventually leads them to your blog. *Be sure to always take the option to leave your website URL as well as your name and email address.
2.  Offer to guest post.  Social networking is currency in the digital world.  The only way to gain "digital cred" is to make sure that you are very visible and adding something to the medium.  If you are launching a business or are a niche blogger, be sure to reach out to folks in your field. Write a post and send it over with your credentials. More often than not, bloggers and professionals are all to happy to introduce you to their communities if you have something useful to say."  Tiffany Hill Thompson

37.  Surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy and who inspire you.

"I'm particularly drawn to other people who love their work and are ambitious enough to keep moving forward in life. Choose those with ethical codes similar to yours, for example: emphasizing quality in their work, aiming for sustainability, and looking to improve the industry rather than to make a quick buck before getting out."  Colin Wright,

38.  Engage ferociously

"Embrace, be fiercely active, engage on social media & build genuine relationships with successful entrepreneurs."  Ros Guerrero,

39.  Determine how you want to be perceived.

"Figure out how you want other people to think of you. Then consistently and constantly act in a manner that will get them to think that way."  Bud Bilanich,

40.  Expand your visibility everywhere you can

"I am elevating my brand in 2010 by subscribing to HARO and and pitching every appropriate request that is presented. Taking just 15-20 minutes/day to carefully review the listings and responding wherever there is a good fit. I've been doing this for just one month and have already gotten 4 responses (1) Included in a St. Patricks Day Gift guide on a website with millions of visitors per month (2) Radio Interview scheduled for April 5th (3) Radio and Weblog - gift guide plug all of May and (4) Tying in a custom song with a double date for another Radio show. I fully believe if I continue doing this religiously day after day, week after week my brand will increase greatly in popularity and value."   Vincent James,

41.  Know your stakeholders

"Know who your stakeholders are, what they need, what they're interested in, and how you can make a difference. Genuinely engage your stakeholders in conversation. Ask questions that matter. Offer insight that is fresh by doing your homework. Dont be phony. Participate in conversations. Read blogs. Write a blog. Follow people and organizations who you think are interesting; maybe theyll follow you back. Comment on their work. Make a contribution that will add value to your brand."             Christopher R. Groscurth, Ph.D.,

42.  Be strategic in getting attention

"I exploded my personal brand into a Resume Magazine called SEEKERS. I printed a bunch and have circulated them among employers. They loved it.  I also created personal bookmarkers, tassel and all, to have employers bookmark my website and invited them to go visit. I also developed a postcard as a direct mail piece and sent it to employers. The resume is dead. My strategy is getting attention."  Gina Marie Mangiamele,

43.  Create a video resume

"We created a video resume to help marketing professionals elevate their personal brand. This is a compelling and engaging way to reach targeted audiences - prospective employers, clients or partners. The response has been tremendous!"  Tara Greco,

44.  Do great work

"Do a really great job on a client's case, so you can truly believe in what you do.  It gives you the confidence to elevate your brand."  Jay Weinberg, Esq.,

45.  Seriously use video online!

"To personalize your brand, include a different You-Tube video on each page of your website.    WHY:  In order for potential clients to connect with us personally, we put a U-Tube video on each page of our website. Since doing that, our website has come to life and has cemented us at the center of the brand. This use of three-dimensional media not only enables audiences to listen to information about Success Trek, but it also allows them to tap into the energy, voice and look of the presenter who someday might be leading their focus groups, retreats or trainings."  Theresa Valade, SUCCESS-TREK.COM

46.  Really do things differently than anyone else

"We have elevated our business through cafes.  We started our business as a group of freelancers in cafes... a lot of our business came from the people we would meet in the cafes. Now we are a full-service agency and cafe agency with our own studio in chicago. We attract several clients since the front half of our studio is a Doejo cafe.  Doing things different than the average business and standing out is the key to elevating our business."  Karley Hall,

47.  Hone in on your core values

I recommend sitting down and thinking through your core values. Too many of us know the values we were brought up with ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," "Money doesn't grow on trees" etc) but few of us have thought through what we really stand for.  Company's have mission statements that include their core values-- each of us must as well.  Do you prize responsiveness? reliability? flexibility? creativity? attention to detail? punctuality? clarity? brevity? Spell it out for yourself, then embody it in all you do, say, write."  Frances Cole Jones,

48.  Be REALLY effective on Twitter!

"Google’s real time search has changed the way the search engine finds tweets.  Now, tweets must include keywords that your clients, prospects and press use to find information about products, services and businesses.  For these reasons make sure you:  run a Google keyword report on search trends and use these keywords in your tweets; use – A Twitter application that allows you to search for what’s trending on Twitter; review Twitter trends daily and incorporate these trending keywords and phrases into your Tweets as long as they are relevant to your target audience, otherwise it’s spam! Use #hashtags to #SEO your message via Twitter so you can be discovered; use simple language that offers advice, how to’s and important information that is Google-friendly to real time search."  Valerie Jennings,

49.  Talk about the benefit you provide instead of what you DO

"Is what you do for a living perceived by potential customers as being a mere commodity; more or less the same as others in your profession? The good news is you can change customer perceptions by changing the way you describe what you do.  Rather than describing yourself in terms of a generic label, you can instead refer to the ultimate benefit that you deliver, inviting them into the conversation.  Bottom line: next time you need to set yourself apart from the competition – beyond just lowering prices – try changing the way you talk about what you do for a living."  Jeff Mowatt,

And, last but equally as important...

50.  Observe your A, B, C's!

"You are your own best walking advertisement, your own walking billboard. When you “show up” anywhere, you are both the message and the messenger for your brand. Align your physical image with your brand image and you’ll see -- people will hear you, see you and “buy” you much more quickly, more easily. Accentuate your best assets,Balance your message from the inside out and head-to-toe, and Camouflage anything your adoring public does not need to know. It’s as easy as A, B, C!"  Lauren Solomon,

Thank you to the inspiring people who contributed here!

By applying these principles, utilizing these tips and incorporating these techniques into your branding blueprint and marketing plan, it would be close to impossible NOT to succeed in 2010.


Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog owner & curator.  Cindy is a Career Architect, helping people build careers they love.  She guides clients through personal branding, career reinvention, leadership & executive coaching and how to own the room.  Cindy is also a writer for hire, screenwriter & author.

Grace Under Fire - Tools to Lead Through Trying Times

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” ~ John Gardner, Author

2 cats jumping


During trying times sometimes troublesome situations at work do seem mountainous and insurmountable: shrinking budgets, staffs, client lists, time, etc.  As a leader you're likely facing the daily charge of producing more with less.


A key leadership attribute is demonstrating “Grace Under Fire”.  And, here are a few tools for helping you get there.



  • Utilize Filter Statements – A filter statement, like “it is what it is”, “this too shall pass”, or “it's a moment in time", filters the largess of the situation and immediately accomplishes two things.   


  1. It brings people into the present moment narrowing the lens through which you look at the circumstance, so they don’t compound it into something it isn’t  
  2. It centers the conversation, putting a calming prospective to things and allows you to get back to focusing on the problem rather than any ancillary side effects that you have no control over 


  • Control Emotions – This is where the notion of Emotional Intelligence comes into play.  Author Daniel Goleman wrote in his still relevant book, "Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ."  It’s a controversial subject debated by scientists and academics alike, but thematically EI creates strong leaders.  So, take time to recognize and manage your own emotions.  


  1. Understand your own emotions through self-awareness – slow down and check in with yourself before you react.  Learn your own touchstones.  
  2. Study the emotions of those around you – read the room and those in itManage the way you handle emotions – it enables you to handle conflict and to be the most effective with peers and subordinates.
Margaret Thatcher said, “To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.”  

In other words, utilize your emotions in a positive way.


Practicing grace in a grizzly situation is a brilliant way to control it and will position you as a go-to person when it comes to problem solving and dealing with conflict.  Not a bad position to be in!

Do You Matter? 5 Ways to Have a More Meaningful Career


Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”  I take that to mean that how you contribute and make a difference each day puts the “life in your years.” 

It got me thinking.  To have a meaningful career means being driven by a vision or purposeful goal that is connected to making an impact, making a difference.  And when you come from the truth of your vision and from a place of positive influence, people and opportunities will be  drawn to you.

Purpose stones Many times when we think about career, it’s about setting goals in terms of what we want to achieve, how we can climb the ladder, make more money.  That’s all good. We all need goals.  But to have true sense of accomplishment and purpose, if your overall vision is tied into how you make a difference or how you can make an impact, then it really does give your life and career a lot more meaning.   And, here’s the surprising bonus: this type of vision mindset helps you to think about ways in moving forward with opportunities that maybe you wouldn't have thought of before. Then, the difference or impact that you make becomes part of your legacy.  

Your vision will to continue to be refined as your career progresses, as you become clearer about what’s truly important to you. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself so you get clear on your career and life vision.  And, free yourself up here. Your vision is fluid.  Let yourself really dream with this exercise.  Let go of barriers including time and environment and money to think about where you want to go in your life.

  • What kind of impact do you want to make and on whom?
  • What kind of difference do you want to make and with whom?
  • Your legacy IS the impact that you leave behind. What do you want to be remembered for?
  • Start small – you can incorporate small changes toward your vision before you take any giant leaps or make any big changes to your current circumstances.  
  • Describe what your dream job looks like as you’re making the kind of difference you want to make.  And really get detailed here.  Do some ‘creative visualization’ where you put yourself in the space of doing what you want to do. What does your typical day look like? Include the environment, include the sights and smells and sounds, what your responsibilities are, your time, the impact that you're making, the kind of money you're making, where it is in the world, who you have working for you or with you or partnering with you.  Try to paint a typical day.  Take one day because it makes it more specific, take one day and paint what that looks like.   And then what will your life look like if you have the career of your dreams? What kind of relationships will you have? Where would you live in terms of what kind of home you would live in?  How would you spend your spare time?  

Simply put, when determining your career vision, ask yourself what kind of impact you want to make and on whom.  Clearly stated, your vision becomes real.


How "Rainbow Thinking" Can Catapult Your Career & Improve Your Life

There was a magnificent rainbow out my kitchen window recently.  It was one of those breathtaking ones where you could see the entire thing from beginning to end.  We’d been hit with torrents in Los Angeles; and, this hopeful vista was an organic reminder that there is an end to the storm; it represents a gateway to things better and brighter. 

It got me thinking about how “Rainbow Thinking” in terms of career, and life for that matter, might go along way toward keeping us focused on what matters.   

I bloody love metaphors and rainbows are the mother lode.  Stop and think about it for a moment.  What do rainbows mean to you?  Some may say it’s just a sign the rain has stopped.  Well, even that simple statement is full of metaphor if you’ll let yourself go there.  Other rainbow meanings that come to mind: Rainbow

  • it’s a sign of hope and new beginnings
  • it signifies diversification and acceptance as in “rainbow coalition”
  • it exemplifies a wide spectrum of choices, not to mention colors
  • and it’s the pot ‘o gold at the end of…  

The infamous lyrics to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from Wizard of Oz are filled with optimism and dreaming of better things to come, “if happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why, can’t I?”  

Weathering the storm has practically become a way of life for many people and companies since the economy tanked.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say, “We’re (or I’m) weathering the storm until things improve,” I’d be able to fill that pot at the end of the rainbow.   

Some believe that searching for the pot ‘o gold at the end of the rainbow is a futile journey only set up for failure, that it's an impossible feat.  But, I disagree.  

Here’s some "Rainbow Thinking" to apply to your life & business:  

  1. Define your ‘end of the rainbow’ – set a goal that’s lofty and makes you stretch, and then build your brand and your plan so your sights are set on that goal.  
  2. Dare to dream – give yourself permission to dream huge.  Practice active visualization, seeing yourself living your dream.  Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”  Same goes for the end of the rainbow.  
  3. Be diversified in your thinking – aim to live outside the box, or the norm, so that new and different solutions become a habit.  
  4. Look for ways to color your life – allow yourself to open your eyes to the world and people around you.  Notice nature more.  Make eye contact and smile more.  
  5. Be courageous – be bold and fearless in your convictions.  A great way to do this is to focus on the dream and goal rather than on the fear that’s keeping you where you are.  
  6. Stay positive – not trying to be Pollyannaish here.  Truly, a positive mindset manifests many things, including being able to actually SEE the rainbow when it appears to you.  

So, do what you can to adopt Rainbow Thinking as you move your career, your brand, & your life forward.  And know that a rainbow always appears somewhere after the rain.

3 Keys to Control Your Brand

Okay, there are many reasons why I love British Actor Colin Firth.  I won’t bore you with most of them (wink), but a recent quote of his on a TV interview got me thinking.  He said, “You get a brand attached to you sometimes whether you invite it or not.” He was referring to how he will probably always be thought of in terms of the iconic role he played, Mr. Darcy, in BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice.”  It haunted him in his earlier career.  

It got me thinking that, even if we’re not aware of it, even if we never utter the words, we all have a brand of one sort of another.   

So, what’s all this talk about personal brand?  Brand shmand.  It’s definitely a big buzz word out there in the ether, and arguably an overused one.  But, since you already have one, you might as well know what it means and how to control yours, right?  

Think of your brand as the stamp you put on everything.  Your brand is your reputation, your  follow through, conversations, written correspondence, online presence, physical presentation, what people say about you, even why you do what you do; they are all part of the brand that you are already putting out to the world.   

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already been branded.  Unless you’re aware of it and on top of it, your brand is how everyone else brands you.    It’s likely you may not have thought of yourself in those terms, as a brand, because mostly we just live our lives and do our work.  We go along the way life takes us.  And, chances are if there’s a lack in one of those areas we don’t even know it.  Because we live our lives and do our work.  

How do people brand you?  I believe it’s based on three very basic keys: relationship, action and consistency.   They are also the keys to taking control of your own brand!

1.  Relationship - how you build, nurture and maintain relationships truly determines the heart and longevity of your brand.  More than ever, relationships are key.  People will gravitate toward their relationships before anything else.  It truly is the tie that binds.    And, integrating relationship with action is a great way to start to take control of your own brand. 

2.  Action - by action, I mean your "proactions", actions, reactions and non-actions.   

  • Proactions – take time to set authentic goals; be proactive and plan ahead; set the stage for action; be the first one in on something, or the first one to provide a solution.  
  • Actions – be cognizant of literally all of your actions in the present moment that affect others.  Your actions speak loudly; mark them with excellence and authenticity.  
  • Reactions – follow through, follow through, follow through.   Also, how you react to people and situations speaks volumns about you and can enhance or hinder your brand stamp. 
  • Non-actions – Be aware and take charge of your non-actions.  Not doing any or all of the above results in negative non-action, which reflects poorly on your brand.  A positive non-action is when you make the choice not to do something because it doesn’t ring true to either your relationship integrity or your intrinsic values.  This type of non-action reflects positively on your transparent reputation and brand.  

3.  Consistency - we are all multi-dimensional; it’s a blessing of being human.  When taking control of your own brand, inconsistency becomes the curse.  In fact, inconsistency makes your brand appear confused.  It’s important to remain true, persistent and consistent to build and maintain a powerful personal brand

Colin Firth?  He took control by embracing the typecast which only added to the cache of his brand.  By getting into the driver’s seat of his career and brand has led him to opportunities that may not have presented themselves otherwise. And, now he's nominated for an Oscar for a role that is so NOT Mr. Darcy.

'Nuf said.