Archives for posts with tag: focus

Just Say No
It’s not just their discipline to work hard to reach a goal, but their ability to say NO to those things, which on the surface appear to be important, but in reality are distractions. Saying “no” is a gift you give yourself.

When you choose to only focus on what’s truly important, it will make you available physically and mentally for the things that are really critical to reaching your goals.

By saying “no” you inevitably protect your most important fixed resource- TIME.

You and I have 24 hours in a day. So do President Obama, Tim Cook and Katy Perry. Your success no longer just depends on your ability to prove yourself, but more on your ability to prioritize what’s important.

As Steve Jobs once said, “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.” Jobs followed his advice in 1998 when he cut Apple’s product line from 350 down to 10. Watch this 1-minute video with Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike talking about a call he got from Steve Jobs.

When you’re focused, it’s easy to see what you need to do to become remarkable and manage your brand. Herb Kelleher, the Founder of Southwest Airlines applies a simple mindset to every issue: Will this help Southwest continue to make the airline THE low-cost provider with remarkable customer service? Southwest was recently named to Fortune’s 2015 list of World’s Most Admired Companies for the 21st consecutive year with a record 42 consecutive years of profitability.

I Carry Free Bags
That’s why remarkably effective people are so decisive.

Indecision is usually the result of a lack of focus. Take a look at this video of Kobe Bryant’s insane work ethic that earned him a net worth of $300 million as a 37-year-old basketball player.

Your career is not a ladder where you have unlimited time to reach your goals. It’s a mountain that has to be climbed. If you want to make it to the top, you’ve got to carry only what’s necessary, and nothing more. Because what you carry will either slow you down or help you get to the top faster before you run out of time.

March Blog Pic
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 14 years since Reese Witherspoon starred in the movie Legally Blonde. At that time, she was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. But after Witherspoon won an Academy Award in 2006, she got divorced and her career floundered.

Fast-forward 8 years. Reese has made a dramatic comeback. She recently produced one of the highest grossing movies of 2014, “Gone Girl” proving that when you take control of your career and stop waiting for someone else to create what you want, you can change your life.

Witherspoon read a story in the New Yorker in 2012 involving a profile of Ben Stiller and a list of actors who were big stars 10 years ago and now they are not. She was on that list.

Within 2 years of starting her own production company, “Wild” was released, and this year, she was back at the Academy Awards as a nominee for “Gone Girl”. In her words, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on yourself.”

Take some time and watch the last 5 minutes of the movie “Legally Blonde” and see how she inspired others to realize their dreams in life. The movie is a comedy, yet it underscores the often hidden truth that success is not dependent on always being successful, but how you handle failure or unexpected challenges.

If You Don’t Like What You See, Do Something About It

Witherspoon did not like the roles she was being offered, so she created her own production company, Pacific Standard. It’s focused on creating interesting and complex roles for women. Since she never knows which project will be a hit, her company has 16 television and movie productions in development.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself, What is the lifestyle you want to architect?

What career or job changes do you need to focus on to reach your goals? The odds are, you’ll need to try or evaluate many options before you discover the right formula for your success. Failure or dead-ends are your friends.

More often than not, it’s the process of trying and sometimes failing that will help you uncover the golden opportunity that was waiting for you to find it.

FocusA major role of our unconscious mind is to filter the millions of bits of information that we’re bombarded with every day and delete, distort and generalize them, allowing us to focus on what we think is important.

When we change our focus, the world around us presents us with evidence that supports our new thoughts. Our brain likes making sense of the world, so despite the many contradictions you may encounter, you will find supporting details for your beliefs.

In the book, “The Secret”, it says, “Whatever you focus on will expand and be brought to your conscious awareness”.

Think about your biggest challenge in life right now. If you spend your time thinking about a problem, your unconscious brain will filter all the information being thrown at you and present you with more evidence to support the problem. Your brain likes being right.

Try shifting your focus from the problem to the solution. What is it you really want to accomplish? The problem shouldn’t be your focus. Focus on the ideal solution long enough, and your brain will shift gears. It will start providing evidence (evidence that is already around you, but not consciously recognized) that you can use to work towards the solution and around or through the problem.

Professional athletes focus on the ideal outcome and then visualize all the steps necessary to make it happen. Focus on “not falling”, and your brain gets caught up in the “falling” portion of the process.

Know what you want and focus on the results, not the obstacles. Change your thoughts to change your world. It works.

The Little Guy

The mass production of standardized products fueled during the past industrial economy brought high productivity and low costs to consumers.

Now with our information-rich digital economy, technology is eroding the power of large-scale mass production and moving us quickly into a world where millions of small producers offer unique services/products. Consumers are becoming less interested in mass produced things.

3D printing, mobile apps, cloud computing and collaborative work technologies are making the “digital economy” economically feasible to almost anyone with Internet access and offering you the capability to deliver unique products/services globally.

A series of breakthrough technologies and new business models are destroying the old rule that bigger is better.

By exploiting the vast audience afforded by the Internet and taking advantage of cloud-based platforms/tools now available to startups, Small is becoming the New Big.

Take a look at Airbnb. It’s the online marketplace allows people to list, find and book accommodations globally offering over 600,000 accommodations in 34,000 cities and 192 countries. Founded 5 years ago, Airbnb is now on target to become the world’s largest hotelier! Watch for the evolution of companies like Airbnb to transform many industries and related jobs in the next few years.

Now companies can be launched without a massive investment in personnel and an IT infrastructure and can quickly get to market to compete with mid-sized to large companies. By buying specialized services, in customized form and at modest cost, companies can create unique products and find buyers globally. Hyper-niche market companies can now access customers using platforms like Etsy to sell across the world.

Global competition continues to drive large companies to aggressively focus on productivity and leverage technology innovations to get work done with fewer employees. As a result of these changing corporate infrastructures, large numbers of people will have no choice but to invent their own jobs, based on leveraging digital markets and platforms.

The GREAT NEWS is that The Digital Economy Will Be Good for Job Growth because it opens up thousands of new market niches. Going forward, your employability is almost guaranteed if you focus on how to leverage this new way of creating income security.

Instead of looking for what jobs are available within a driving distance of your home, look for ways to capitalize on digital markets that allow you to help people make money, save money or solve a problem.

Keep in mind that your income is generally in direct proportion to the number of people you serve. Going digital can be a great way to use the Internet to reach more people and earn an income based on RESULTS instead of TIME.

For those who want to reach a large audience, a growing host of well-established companies are acting as incubators to connect you with production, manufacturing, and distribution channels.

Start NOW to learn the technology and discover the tools to build a digital infrastructure to market services or products that are remarkable.

“The Little Guy”
Now Holds The Means Of Production AND Distribution


People are usually bad at predicting the future because everyone thinks the future will resemble the past and they have totally different perspectives of the past based on their own experiences.

Statistics genius Nate Silver recently told a story that offers us an insight into why we need to be aware of our viewpoint looking toward the future of our career path.

Radar technology was in its infancy in the 1940s. Navy planes circled the Hawaiian Islands, searching for threats by sending planes that would fly around the islands until they were low on fuel. The Japanese military knew exactly how large that circumference was, so it sent its aircraft carriers just beyond the range that the U.S. reconnaissance planes could fly so a surprise attack would be easy.

The point is that our viewpoint usually just gives us a fraction of the whole picture. There are important developments and technology that are just outside your viewpoint that, if we knew about them, they would totally change how we view the world and future employment opportunities.

Another factor is your personal history, which is heavily influenced by your own experiences. But just like the Navy aircraft, your own experiences are only a partial view of the world, altered by when you were born and your past, the equivalent of the reconnaissance planes with a limited fuel range.

Dr. Morris Massey a Sociologist, and a former professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder produced a 70’s video titled “What You Are Is Where You Were When”. An updated version captures the essence of “viewpoint” not just related to what we believe, but also how it can affect how you develop your future employability.

The lesson here is that we need to continually and consciously update our viewpoint.

That’s why I have always believed that (1) Who You Hang Around With and (2) What You Read, are the 2 Key Factors In Determining Your Future.

Consider these ideas to ensure your viewpoint enhances your future success:

  1. Set aside an hour a week to browse the magazine section of your local library. Pick a magazine that piques your interest and look for insights that can offer you a new perspective related to a future career.
  1. Go to, select topics of interest and then let the site algorithms bring you to related websites with just the click of a button.
  1. Use a Twitter Keyword Tracker to find articles and links to topics that will lead you to alternative career perspectives.

In computer technology, the acronym WYSIWYG translates to “What You See Is What You Get”.

Make it a habit to change what you see by taking a different route to work, rearranging your office furniture or maybe going to to discover new friends who can offer you a new perspective on what you believe and how you think.

The world of work is changing fast. It’s time to update the software of your thinking and embrace the exciting opportunities that await you.


Will Smith – Actor, Rapper & Producer

Newsweek called him the most powerful actor on the planet. He has been nominated for 4 Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards and has won multiple Grammy Awards. In the late eighties, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, though, his celebrity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for nearly six years (1990 – 1996) on NBC and has been syndicated on various networks since then.

In the mid-nineties, Smith transitioned from television to film, and he ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films that received broad box office success. He is the only actor in history to have 8 consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office as well as being the only actor to have 8 consecutive films in which he’s starred open at the #1 spot in the domestic box office tally. 14 of the nineteen fiction films he’s acted in have grossed of over $100 million, with 4 of them taking in over $500 million in global box office receipts.

His 12 rules for life:
Watch the video for his ideas on these key points.

1. Greatness exists in all of us.
2. Life can be easy if we let it be.
3. There is greatness in all of us.
4. Lay one brick at a time.
5. Focus on making a difference.
6. Represent an idea…represent possibilities.
7. You have to believe in yourself.
8. Nothing is unrealistic.
9. Our thoughts are physical.
10. You really got to focus.
11. Attack your fears.
12. Be willing to die for the truth.

What are your thoughts on how you will become successful?


For most of us, when we graduate from high school or college, we assume it’s time to go out and get a job.
But like many things the masses do, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option, particularly in today’s employment market. In fact, getting “a job” may NOT be your best option

1. Having  A “Job” Is Essentially Trading Your Time For Money

Because you only get paid when you’re working, you are essentially “renting” yourself and trading income for time.  The key is to separate your value from your time by either adding a way to increase your income with an added commission or some payment based on results not just time.

2. Limited Experience

A job only gives you experience at that job. You might think it’s important to get a job to gain experience.  But if your skills ever become obsolete, then your experience won’t be worth much.  Ask yourself, “What will the experience you’re gaining right now be worth in 5 years?”  Will your job or skills even exist or be in demand?

3. Employment Security

Many employees believe getting a job is the safest and most secure way to support themselves. Look at the increasing number of layoffs and contractors in the workforce along with the amount of work being outsourced to other countries.  Does having only one source of income truly give you employment security? Could your job be digitally outsourced to the Internet (consider on-line university classes and buying books from Amazon instead of a local bookstore).

4. The Value of Relationships

Many people find that their jobs are their primary social outlet.  They hang out with the same people working in the same field. Yet relationships are the key to get a job and increase your value to others in the business world. In today’s world, it’s what you know AND who you know that counts.

5. Getting  A “Job” Versus Doing A Job

Realize that you want to earn income by providing value — not just offering your time.
You can apply this concept working with an employer or by starting your own business in addition to working for a company.  The key is to find a way to have multiple streams of income along with one that offers residual income.

Stop looking for a job and focus on providing valuable services. Employers and customers will be calling YOU for work.

Now more than ever, understand that YOU are the CEO of your life!

bounce back pic-blog01.01.13

A 2013 Mindset to Get “Back In the Game”

In the spirit of the New Year, consider creating a “2013 employment mindset” that anticipates disruption yet maintains a core focus of what you are as a personal brand. Volatility and disruption are the new normal.

The secret to your future economic survival is to develop a product or services infrastructure that is simple, deliverable from any location and involves multiple income streams. In simple terms, you need to focus on enhancing your adaptability and deemphasize sustainability. You’re better off adapting to the changing job market than trying to rebuild what worked for you in the past.  Being safe is risky. Take time now to reinvent how you can deliver a service or product to multiple employers (customers).

When J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, addressed the graduating class of Harvard in June 2012, she didn’t focus on success. Instead, she spoke about failure. She once was an unemployed single mother and almost homeless. She bounced back by focusing on her core skills and then delivered them to a mass market by using a synergistic relationship with a publisher becoming the 1st person in the world to earn over $1 billion as an author. So how can you “bounce back” and architect the lifestyle you want?

  1. Create Multiple Income Streams

    You have to develop several sources of income to ensure your economic stability. It can be as simple as buying items from yard sales and selling them for a profit on Amazon or eBay. Relying on an employer as your sole source of income is no longer an option for most people. The point is you don’t have to be primarily self-employed. You just need to think of ways to earn income from more than one source. The free digital tools available today can get you up and running in a week!

  2. Figure Out What Distinguishes You From Others As Your Own Personal Brand

    As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, “In the U.S., “average is over.” Becoming remarkable in whatever you offer is the key to surviving in the new economy. Most people are used to being a laborer. You need to become an entrepreneur even if it’s nothing more than a small business you do part time.

  3. Become A Lifelong Student

    Staying relevant by learning new skills and directing your own continuing education is the secret to making you valuable. The learning curve for most jobs is flat within 12 months. For as little as $25, you can take on-line training classes that can change your skills in less than 30 days!

  4. Find a Mentor and Build a Relationships with Them

    Aside from the people who you are already associated with, get in the habit of using social networking sites to reach out to respected industry leaders, experts, and authors. Figure out ways to support them in their goals. Do free work for them or promote them on your blog or social networks in exchange for their mentorship. You’ve got to give to get. The more you help others the more they will be willing to help you.

  5. Stay Future-Focused

    What you focus on expands almost magically, so focus on what you want each day. The secret to success is that you become what you think about most often.  Architect the lifestyle you want. Take the time to draft a plan of the life you want and the steps to get there. Focus on where you want to be and before you know it, the “new you” will appear. Don’t worry about each step along the way. Solve problems as they appear. Change your focus to being solution versus problem oriented and your goals will become a bridge to where you want to be.

  6. Tap Your Network“Your Network Is Your Net Worth” is particularly relevant when it comes to finding what you want by word of mouth. Reach out to people you know and enlist their support in making any introductions or connections that could help you. A person with 170 connections on LinkedIn is at the center of a network of 2 million people just 3 degrees away! You can reach those 2nd and 3rd degree connections just by asking for an introduction.

Think you’re not smart enough or don’t have the time to do something great. Consider this story.  A simple but hugely addictive video game is taking the world by storm. Bubble Ball™ is a physics-based puzzle game that has been downloaded as an app by 2 million iPhone users. It became the top free application in the Apple store.

It wasn’t designed by a team of highly paid experts; it’s the work of a 14-year-old boy in 8th grade. Robert Nay’s game even outsold the adventure game Angry Birds. He designed Bubble Ball in his bedroom in his spare time. Angry Birds was developed by 17 professional game designers in Finland. He tried Objective-C programming tools, but found the software a bit difficult, so switched to GameSalad, which he didn’t like. Then he tried Corona Tools that let him write and publish his game for both Apple and Android devices. Robert released Bubble Ball™ through his own company, Nay Games.

The Internet offers you the tools and the distribution network to change your life! Focus less on THE world and more on YOUR World.

Average is over. Become remarkable as a personal brand. Start small but think big. Make the New Year your New Life!

What can we learn about job search from athletes who compete in the Olympics?

Watching their amazing athletic abilities on TV make what they have achieved seem so easy. Yet when you read about what they did to make it to this event, you realize that “you never get anything good for nothing”. Add the pressure of competing against world-class professionals and you can’t help but be impressed with how a person can achieve greatness despite seemingly impossible odds.

Consider these insights translating their effort into what it takes to find a job in today’s employment marketplace.

Motivate Yourself With Goals, Not Just Tasks.

Athletes generally train for years to get a chance to compete for a medal. The long hours of practice and daily effort eventually take them from being good to being great! Often times what seems like luck is really the result of chance favoring the prepared mind or body. Nastia Liukin, Olympic Gymnast – It’s really important to set goals for yourself. Not just a long-term goal like the Olympic games, but something that’s short term, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Even if you’re not a high-level gymnast, you have to figure out what works for you. If you want to run a mile, you have to work toward that. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to always keep trying.

Keep your eye on the prize. Sure, it’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re searching for a job online but in order to make strides toward your goal, you’ll need to remain committed and focused on your goals not just daily tasks. Tyson Gay, Olympic Sprinter – You can’t lose focus by looking to the side to watch other runners. Scoping the competition doesn’t just break you mentally—it throws off your form, too. Instead, pick a point straight ahead of you, lock your gaze, and power toward it. I keep my eye on the finish line.”

Commit Yourself to DAILY Effort.  Study the “greats” in almost any field and a pattern of daily effort to perfect a skill if more often than not, the common denominator that takes you from average and ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY! Katie Uhlaender, Olympic Skeleton Slide – During the summer, she had a packed schedule. From 9:30 until 12:30, she was the track running sprints. Then she took a break for lunch before hitting the weight room from 3 until 5:30. Afterward, she did her stretching and spent time in a cold tub. By 7:00, she’s was eating dinner and by 8:00, she was studying past races.

Focus on YOUR world not THE world. While we can only imagine what goes through swimmers’ minds as they race in the pool alongside other tremendous athletes, the odds are they’re only focused on what’s happening in their lane. Out of the corner of their eye they may see competitors right behind them, but they stay focused on what they need to do to win, not what someone else is doing that they can’t control.

Listen to Olympics winners during an interview after they have won a gold medal and it’s apparent that they all have one thing that ultimately separates them from their competitors – it’s DESIRE and the resulting effort that made them the best at what they do. A great interview question is “What are you doing to find a job”?  Your answer will tell the interview if you are just looking for work or if you are excited about a TALENT that you can offer a company that is in demand and marketable.

The key to survival in the new employment marketplace is to develop a digital infrastructure that’s focused on multiple income streams and cash flow instead of an annual salary from one company. Now that it’s easier, faster and cheaper to launch a web business than ever before, developing your own personal business brand has to be more than just great design or service.

In his book, Pour Your Heart into It¸ Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks wrote that he founded Starbucks because of a cup of watered-down, bland instant coffee that he was served on a flight to Canada. Prior to the arrival of Starbucks, many Americans had never tasted cappuccinos, lattes, and espresso. Despite the high cost to maintain a coffee shop, Schultz figured out a way to charge $3.00 for a cup of premium coffee while gas stations charged $.75 a cup. He was convinced that if he could introduce a “coffee culture”, his new company would become one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Schultz opened up Starbuck’s coffee houses that were furnished to look like a combination of a living room and a reading room. Then he introduced new names to describe the coffee options .The baristas (Starbucks employees) educated their customers about coffee in a brand new and passionate light. Rather than purchasing a Styrofoam cup of bland coffee from a gas station, coffee purchases became social experiences.

Ultimately, the higher price of the coffee was dwarfed by the intimate and extraordinary experience provided by Starbucks. Howard Schultz achieved product differentiation by just focusing on the simple process of buying a cup of coffee. He chose to layer his product in a package of multiple benefits that made customers feel connected AND loyal to Starbucks.  Here’s how you can “own your own niche” as “talent” not just someone looking for work.

Differentiate What You Can Offer

·         Analyze what products or services already exist and see what your potential competition has in common with what you might offer. Don’t try to be different just to stand out. Think through what you can eliminate, what you can add and how you can create a truly creative offer that helps people get what they want.

Focus on a Customer Niche

·         Give yourself a competitive edge by focusing on making yourself the go-to person for a target group of customers i.e. ex-military clients, people over 50 or possibly high school students.

Become a Niche Expert

·         To stand out from your competition, you need to become the expert in your market – identify a level of expertise beyond your competition.

Work Your Brand

·         Consumers are paying less attention to comparisons between companies that do the same thing. If you can connect with your audience on more levels than your competitors, you’ll ultimately get new customers who are attracted to your brand, not just your niche.

Rebrand Your Customers

·         To maintain your niche, think of new ways to build another niche market from an existing one. Consider re-branding your customers like the airlines did. They created status levels and frequent flier miles to give loyal customers another reason to stay with that airline instead of just switching airlines to get a better fare.

Starbucks used niche marketing to attract customers who expected more than just coffee. Customers come to be a part of the coffee shop experience as a neighborhood gathering place. Through deliberate product differentiation, Starbucks has become synonymous with coffee. Start now to own your own “niche” as “talent” not just someone searching the job boards looking for work. If Howard Schultz did it by selling a simple cup of coffee, you can do it too.

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