No. 32 – Are You Ready to Earn More Money?

Posted on September 1st, 2015 by in Speaking Professionally

Cash

I suspect most people feel they need more money—not just to support their current lifestyle, but to provide for the one they aspire to.

Despite the risk of sounding politically incorrect or money grubbing: You want to make the big bucks. You don’t have to aspire to being a 1%’er, but you should be okay with making lots of money.

There is a spiritual snobbery some people take on about money. But really, to say you don’t like money would be to not like nearly anything—because money supplies nearly everything.

Think back to your own first awareness of money.  One executive told me, “As a kid I lived in California, and my dad and I would drive around Beverly Hills. He would point out wealthy peoples’ homes and tell me, ‘Thieves live there.’  That’s how I viewed people with money.”

We all have attitudes formed in our childhood about relationships about almost everything in life: the opposite sex, food, beauty, religion, money. Regardless of the subject,  it’s an outlook you can change with your own free will.

So let’s debunk some myths and mistruths we were taught while growing up that need to be corrected now that we’re adults:

…money is an acceptable topic of conversation

…money can buy some forms of happiness

…money does make the world go around

…money is not the root of all evil

…do what you love and money will follow only if others love it too

…if you do have health, kindness, balance, and money, you do have everything

…both smart and dumb people can make money

…rich people are not bad people

…people who say they don’t care about money either don’t have enough or have too much

I believe man was born to grow rich by using God-given abilities: intelligence, thoroughness, right-reasoning, promptness, tenacity, patience, labor. (When Moses came down from the mountain he did not bring a commandment, “Thou shalt not make money.”)

By using your abilities and making money, you give yourself power, leisure, solitude, and liberty.

It is true that money carries an assortment of distinct and powerful emotions for people, both good and bad. But that does not negate its role as a basic, important, and understandable system. For better or worse, money is the resource—now and in the future—that ties society together.

You can choose to spend it, save it, or share it—but first you have to make it.

-Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.


No. 31 – Networking: No Matter What You Call It, You’re Always Building Your Reputation

In college, it’s called socializing; in business it’s called networking.  You do the same thing; it’s just that your clothes aren’t as sexy.

One CEO told me, “My wife encourages sleepovers for the kids and sports, so that they learn to network from the start.”

So a few tips to do daily:

  • Have the goal be to get to know and to get visible to a wider range of people, that’s all.
  • Anticipate discomfort — they feel it, too — so push those silly feelings aside, and be the one that makes them feel comfortable.
  • Take four minutes out of your day to initiate a call, write a note, forward a link, pick up the phone to follow-up, congratulate, inquire, or whatever.

That’s it. One a day. In a year (giving yourself time off for holidays), you’ll have over 300 incidences that you initiated. That’s like 265 more than you did last year.

CEOs have told me this about the activity:

  • “One of my biggest regrets is the contact I’ve let drop over time.” (Mine too!)
  • “My rule is to follow-up four times with one individual. Nothing ever happens with just one contact.”
  • “Maybe some one accuses me of schmoozing, I just view it as being accessible, professional, and confident.”
  • And my favorite, “You’re only one phone call away from changing your life.”

Whether you like it or not, you’re building a reputation the day you start your career. Everything you do stays with you forever in some person’s mind.

– Debra


No. 30 – Practical Advice that I Received as a Starry-Eyed Teen

Movie Stars magazine

At thirteen my mother found me secretly reading a movie star magazine.  She kindly explained, “You aren’t pretty enough to be a movie star so you should develop your personality.” Now, do not take her words as insulting. I didn’t and I don’t.  Until her dying moment she was my biggest fan. She did not say those words disparagingly at all, but rather to do me a favor and get me to focus on more than wanting to be pretty.

I took her words to heart and decided to develop my personality — that became my goal. The local library had a self-improvement section, and that summer I read every single book in it.  I went down the row reading anything related to personal development: manners, etiquette, confidence, character, public speaking, comportment, appearance, psychology, humor, even selling.  Some of you may remember the book Psycho-Cybernetics and of, course, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which were two titles that got read more than once.

So what happened after the summer when I headed back to school with all that new found knowledge? Nothing.  I was still a gangly, tall, skinny, eye glass wearing, self-conscious teenage girl.  Just because I read the books didn’t mean I’d understood or captured all the good advice, but it was a start.

Recently I had the occasion to reminisce with an old classmate and over lunch she commented, “You know, in high school you were pretty nice to everyone, pretty funny, pretty interesting, pretty smart, pretty confident acting, and I was pretty jealous of you.” That was not my self image at all, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that’s how this friend remembered me.  And I got to thinking that maybe I was pretty enough after all.

The beauty of maturing is that you have eye-opening moments and they help you put your life in perspective. I’m glad my mother told me the good advice. Unbeknownst to her, she gave me a head start for my ultimate profession as an executive coach and speaker on leadership and communication.

I’d like to hear your own early life-shaping experiences. Write your story to me at debra@debrabenton.com.

– Debra


No. 29 – Considering Joining a Start-Up….Or Starting Your Own?

Posted on August 4th, 2015 by in Career Management Tips & Techniques

Exciting small start-ups seem promising and progressive, but on the other hand a legacy company offers proven systems, procedures and security. To compare and decide what is right for you, consider the differences:

The Small Start-Up Firm

This type of company is likely to have:

• A sense that no one is really in charge
• A sense of chaotic growth (say, from a staff of 14 to a staff of 400 within 12 months)
• Lots of wasted money (usually the investors’ money)
• No time to train you
• Little stability
• Limited support resources
• Fourteen-hour days, seven days a week
• Zero vacation or free time
• No clear payroll or human resource policies
• No clear practices
• No one to complain to
• No experienced managers as mentors
• More openness between management and rank file
• Increased speed of project execution
• Shorter time for advancement
• Increased risk of failure

The Blue-Chip Legacy Company

This type of company is likely to have:

• Opportunity at almost every level
• Resources
• Profitability (more likely, but not guaranteed)
• A proven reputation
• Security
• Stability
• A large peer group of colleagues
• Experienced managers as mentors
• Assistants
• Vacations
• Longer wait for advancement

Both types of organizations have a time and a place in a career. Both have a chance of ultimate success. The trick is to pick the right time and place for yours.

-Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.


No. 28 – Be Prepared for Company Changes (But Not Worried)

Change is the only constant—especially in business—so it pays to keep your ears and eyes open for these six warning signs that may signal trouble for your company:

  • Partnerships and co-marketing deals with other companies are canceled.
  • Two or more leading company executives resign or are fired.
  • One or more well-known figures resign from the board of directors.
  • Anticipated rounds of capital funding are reduced or canceled.
  • The stock price takes repeated hits.
  • There are spending and investment cutbacks.

One survivor of the corporate wars summarizes the downward slope of bad news like this: “First the bigwigs say, ‘We’re in transition.’ Then they say, ‘We’re downsizing.’ Finally, they say, ‘We’re closing.’”

Don’t work from a negative perspective but a realistic one, as things change constantly. Continue to expand your network of contacts, build your skills, and keep your resume updated

You can’t control change, but you can prepare for it.

-Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.


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