Managing Your Life's Work

October 6, 2013

Spaghetti on the Side

Filed under: Branding,Business,Business excellence,Entrepreneurship,Solopreneurship — Janice Coleman @ 10:47 AM

Business Excellence


There’s a lot to branding that the naked eye may never see. Often times we learn the hard way. I encountered a client who wanted me but not my ‘brand’. She wanted me to do the work she needed done but she wanted to dictate how I did what I do. That’s a hard spot to be in. Is the customer always right?

I was torn with regard to how to handle this. We had to part ways. The question was ‘How should this be approached so that the integrity of my ‘Brand’ stayed in place’? My eldest son shared a this ‘Spaghetti on the Side’ story about one of his previous employers. He worked at a very specialized Italian restaurant in Philadelphia. A customer came in and had no idea about the niche of this restaurant. They asked for this and that, nothing close to what this establishment served. But yet to the customer it was an ‘Italian’ restaurant and these were ‘Italian’ dishes. The staff that night sought to ‘please’ the customer. They PULLED something together which was tantamount to ‘sketi and meatballs’ if you will. The customer was happy. The next day, to the dismay and shock of the staff, the owner was not happy. He strongly informed the staff that this is NOT ‘THAT’ kinda restaurant! And if they want ‘this or that’ they should go to ‘THAT’ kinda restaurant! Well needless to say, the staff was well-informed and set straight!

The moral to me? We, as product and service providers, should create our BRAND and stand behind it 110%. Kindly inform those would demand ‘sketi and meatballs’ that they can get that just not from us. That stance will hurt at first but it will serve us well in the long run!

February 11, 2012

Is the Dream Job Possible?

Is the dream job possible? I believe it is. How do I know? Because I have mine!

One thing that is important about hoping and wishing for the dream job is that one must learn to be skilled at blending reality and imagination into one package. And there it is. Also we must hold to a good understanding of the 80/20 rule – The Pareto Principle. We may only get 80% of what we want. But if that means I can truly go home and smile as I finish my day and be glad to show up at work the next with that same smile, I’m in! 

This short post was propelled by a friend’s Facebook post about the dream job, This is some great information on the job search effort in general. I suggest that everyone who hasn’t found the career that really hits the spot spend some time contemplating what they should do. So many people spend a lot of time planning for weddings, vacations, parties, cruises and even a day out with the kids. But when it comes to a career, they the chips fall where they may. That’s a disaster. So, weeks or years spent planning for a day or a week’s time. And then an hour in the guidance counselor’s office to plan for a lifetime? Think about it! It happens so often. There are very few people who have the career they have always dreamed of. If you still have life in you you deserve a shot at being ecstatic even at work. I help to put themselves in a better career path all of the time. It’s possible. So instead of living a nightmare, seek out the dream job.

December 29, 2011

Staying Power – Part Three

Filed under: professional development,self leadership — Janice Coleman @ 6:10 AM

 So what if the changes that you need don’t happen as quickly as you would have liked? That seems to be the case quite often in my opinion. Holding fast to the goal and not giving up is a critical part of having Staying Power. We all have done it and should pat ourselves on the back for making it this far. The key is to stay on TARGET with the goal in mind. At the of the race it would be terrible to look at what you have in your hands to only find that it’s not what you planned!

PERSERVERANCE is the next key to Staying Power that I want to highlight. I know firsthand that keeping it moving is a very hard thing to do. The money is not there! The human resources are not there! The people you thought would – won’t! On and on! If there’s one thing that will slow you down to a crawl, it is the mounting up of disappointments. Well, get in line. We all experience them. A friend of mine shared a common term in football called YAC’s. That means Yards After Contact. How many yards a player can gain after he has been HIT!!! It’s one of the MILLIONs of statistics that are kept in the NFL. I had to ask myself, ‘What is my YAC?’… When a client cancels, when a program doesn’t go well or when I am delayed on the delivering a proposal… What are my  YAC’s? Do I keep it moving beyond that point of the pressure? Or am I waylaid – stalled at the gate? Do I PERSERVERE?

We may feel that whatever we are seeking to accomplish is a very difficult feat. We should be reminded of the millions of people who have done great and small things over the course of time. What you are doing deserves its chance for manifestation.

In order to garner your STAYING POWER, you and I must persevere – making it to the end.

December 12, 2011

Staying Power – Part Two

Filed under: professional development,self leadership — Janice Coleman @ 12:42 PM

 In order to have continuous growth both personally and professionally, I am convinced that everyone needs to have the right partners. There may be very few people/organizations that are a candidate for an effective partnership but nonetheless partnerships are to be sought out and valued when found.

I believe that partnerships transcend networking. The word and the activity of networking may have become more mechanical especially with the marketplace being what it is today. I am not talking about loading your Blackberry with hundreds of names. I am referring to having people and strategic alliances/organizations on YOUR side that would go into battle with you. If the fight started, turning around would you see them gearing up? Or taking off? Partnerships! That is not to say that everyone is going to be there through the thick and the thin. Some relationships are not built for that. And it would serve each person to understand where each relationship stands so that there is no disappointment to be had when it gets ugly out there.

In ‘Staying Power’, I mentioned the phrase ‘joint power’. This is the strength of multiple entities lifting/carrying one load. Two horses can move 9,000 lbs. That means that four horses should be able to move 18,000 lbs. Right? Well, four horses can move 30,000 lbs. What a difference! The combined efforts of multiple entities moving in the same direction, with the same passion and at the same time can literally move mountains.

Who are your partners? Who are you designed to help and who is designed to help you? You were not intended to lift everything alone although it may feel that. There are some great partners to be had. Put up your antennas and search them out.

In order to garner your STAYING POWER, you must build right partnerships!

December 5, 2011

Staying Power – Part One

Filed under: professional development,self leadership — Janice Coleman @ 5:07 PM

Many of us are being affected by what’s happening in today’s marketplace. And that’s unfortunate. The real question becomes how do we make it to the other side? Whatever that ‘other side’ is. We can make it! Many millionaires have been birthed out of hard times. Now, I am not touting that we all should be millionaires. But that would be nice. What I am touting is the fact people can make it and some will make it big! That could be you and me!!!

A dear friend reminded me of a presentation I delivered recently – ‘Staying Power’! Getting to where we need to be. We all have it in side of us. And we need to reach down deep to bring it to the surface. It will do us well when we feel the push and pull of the challenges of life. There are many ingredients to staying the course when it’s not easy to do. Here is the first of three keys that I talked about in my presentation – Purpose.

A person has to have a stated purpose for which they strive of a daily basis. Establishing a practice of consistent personal leadership will help with that. We need to know where we are going or at the end of our life we will not really done what we have been designed to do. That would be tragic. I am not given to ‘fear’ per se. SO let me just say that I am ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ that I say on task to know my purpose and the fulfillment thereof! Some people struggle with knowing their ‘purpose’ and if that’s you, let me offer a way of starting on that path. You can consider what you do well, your core competency, and just use it to benefit others and yourself. That’s a way to start. You should begin to see it grow/develop into something that brings you great satisfaction and pride. You could become ‘known’ in your circles for it. It may grow beyond your circles but let just begin there. Do not slight yourself by thinking that if you are not a Martin Luther King then your dream doesn’t matter. All dreams start in the infancy stage. So don’t be stifled by the size of the purpose/dream.

In order to garner your STAYING POWER, you must have your purpose in mind!

February 23, 2011

Hitting Critical Mass

Hitting critical mass is a very good thing. Recently, one of my career clients hit it in full stride!

What happened? My client was in transition! Surprised? Ofcourse not. And the client was in transition for several years. Being in the Informational Technology was daunting because it seemed as though everyone in IT was back in the marketplace. And it always seems like your field is the most crowded when you are ‘looking’.

So with resume in hand and online, he approached his industry. And faced what many face in the beginning – the cyber-crickets! Sending resumes out and hearing nothing back is not a surprise. Or atleast it shouldn’t be. Why? Because I told you it would happen. Over the course of months, my client had a very spotting response, because that’s how it often is in the beginning. Don’t be in despair. This is how it goes for most people. 

He then started hyping up the networking and this, we believe, is what made the difference! So, LinkedIn became a priority! Connecting with those he knew and some he didn’t know. I suggested that he add in networking and informational meetings. And the job search temperature began to rise. But, it was still not at boiling. But that was soon to come. Some HR managers began to reach out to him based on his profile out on LinkedIn. It seems he turned a corner when he started helping others with their search! Amazing. 

The two weeks before he landed his new job, this client was invited to interview at several companies on the same day. His last free week was so packed, I think I overheard him ‘complaining’ that he was too busy! Wow!!! 

When he received the offer, he had to negotiate the salary. That’s always scary. But, not as in every case, but in his, negotiating was necessary. It took several scary days for the potential employer to come back with the new offer. But they did! 

When my client hit critical mass, it was challenging and rewarding to both him and me. As a professional, he was relieved that he was viable in the marketplace. As a consultant, I was glad to know that what we professionals teach actually works! 

Be encouraged! All the best!


December 27, 2010

On Fire…

Jean de la Fontaine is noted as saying, ‘Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish’. Anyone who has studied human nature will attest to this. A person will rise and go beyond the call of duty (supererogation) when impassioned by what they believe and believe in.

How does this apply to career management? Well, as we are in the marketplace, with or without a job, our fire and passion should be communicated to those around us. And it will be! Passion for something is demonstrated by how it makes us, the one impassioned, act and relate to others. You will seem to be on fire when you LOVE your job. Or when you are great at what you do and you find yourself having the opportunity to share that – YOU WILL! And it will be memorable. So in an interview or networking situation, let the passion show.

Taking your passion and enthusiasm into an interview is translated into what can be an exciting meeting. MNBC contributor, Eve Tahmincioglu, elaborates in her article, In Job Interview, Passion Packs a Punch. Turning it on makes a difference. But, I caution you to be yourself. If you turn on more that what you can maintain you will seem like Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Even worst – BOTH!!!

It is important for a company representative to see a level of interest in the job opportunity at-hand. And you have got to show them right then! Be prepared by knowing yourself as well as alot about the job as possible. Also research the company and the industry for a fully empowered arsenal for your encounter with the interviewer. Be ready to have a ‘conversation’ about who you are and how you can fit into what the company needs. You need to connect and your excitement will help to make that happen.

In like manner, wherever you are involved, your ‘brand’ should be one of passion and competency around what you do. This will  ‘leverage’ space in the minds of those you know and meet. This will take you far in your network. It is said that your network will determine your net worth. Is that true? Statistics show that people who are good at networking have a far better chance of making more money. Networking seems to give an inside track. So turn on the passion and engage a network and that will make some things happen for you.

Fire in natural situations is all consuming. It will do the same in the context of your career. Have you ever heard people say ‘set yourself on fire and people will come and watch you burn’? Do you know any one who is crazy about what they do and when you talk with them for short while, the flames are there? Is that you? Do you have the passion? Think about it. How can you begin to convey your enthusiasm anew?

All the best,


December 21, 2010

Being a Leader of One – Where Leadership Begins…

It’s been a busy year in the marketplace. There have been so many unexpected adjustments on every side. How have the successful professionals navigated the apparent impossible? Self leadership!

Leadership is usually attributed the CEO, Director, Pastor, Manager or Athletic Coach. But, the very essence of leadership starts with people being able to give direction to their own lives in a way that will bring about success both personally and in the marketplace. This is definitely not an easy task. A professional of 5 or more years probably has started or established some habits – good or bad. If these habits are not the best and they are more than likely being reinforced by repetition and corporate culture, they are things to overcome. It’s not impossible though.

Author and leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, has written quite a few books around this subject. The ultimate premise is that leadership begins with one. We are to exert our influence in a powerful and beneficial way. Yet, it begins with being able to harness and cultivate our own potential. It is then that we can reach out to others. So as we develop and grow we can be a useful support to someone else.

There are many newly authored books on the shelves, but I am going to reach back a bit to a book that I love – Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey. Dr. Covey’s step-by-step walk through how to become a proactive person who is more aware of life and its opportunities based on self-directed living is worthwhile reading.  I love this book. It is about self-leadership!

The New Year is swiftly approaching. There are so many possibilities to ahead of us. Some who will read this post are forging ahead with great momentum in their lives. The career is gong well and the personal life is working okay. All is happy on the home front. There are others who may need a jolt in the arm since things may not going as they could. My suggestion to both categories of persons is to revitalize your self-leadership. As you consider all there is to come all of us can get better.

We all have a tendency to reevaluate our lives around this time. Sadly, many set unrealistic goals at the very beginning of the year and give up in short order. That’s the recipe for a year of unfulfillment! It takes being realistic about where we want to be. If the career scene is not what it could be and you are entering into 2011 on the ‘bad foot’ (I have to give you this link reference James Brown’s ‘Get on the Good Foot’), then it’s time to switch up, but not with a resolution that will not make it pass January 31, 2011. Switch up with a serious resolve to plan your work AND work your plan. Even with wisdom and guidance available to us, we must be a purposeful leader of one!

There’s more to come in the NEW YEAR to help you fortify your self-leadership!

 Have the Happiest Year ever!!!

December 1, 2010

Job Search at Critical Mass – Success Stories

Critical mass in the job search is all about doing everything you can and should be doing until you have enough in the pipeline to begin to see more and more positive responses/activity. It may take a while. I’d like to share two, not so unusual, stories that led to success.

One young I was working with met me one day and she was very despondent about the outcomes of her search. She said she had been sending her resumes to all of the right places and talking to all of the right people and NO RESULTS! This having been our first meeting, there were a few unknowns for me. One was how long she had actually been looking for her next opportunity. I asked as gently as I could considering her despair. When she told me two and a half weeks, I was floored. That’s right – weeks. Bless her heart… I shared some realities and we moved from there. She stayed strong. Fortunately for her, she really had been doing everything she said. In a number of months she found herself interviewing by phone and in person with several companies that were on her target list. Wouldn’t you know it – she received an offer with another still in the works. She hit her critical mass. Everyone’s different. What works for one person (their industry, their background, their drive) may not work for someone else…

Another woman I am mentoring found herself in a situation where her education was great but her work experience wasn’t strong enough to get her noticed for the type of jobs her education said she should get. We planned a transition that will span over the next few years – all dependent on the fact that she can stick with it when her emotions tell her she may need to abandon it. The questions that she had to answer for herself included 1) what the ultimate destination was and 2) what skills could she build on to get her there. With those answers in hands she approached several selected opportunities that were temp-to-hire and she landed. Things are looking good so far. The great thing that she is paid by the temp agency and even if this assignment doesn’t work out, no worries, she will move on as an employee of the temp agency (resume doesn’t change – yeah!). She is networking and building to the critical mass stage one assignment at a time.

Will these work for you? I don’t know. But I do know that they work. Each person must plan his or her unique career journey. There is no need to do it alone. There are so many resources out there. Find what might work for you and start with baby steps if necessary! But start!!!

All the best,


November 2, 2010

Your Job Search at Critical Mass


How’s the job search going? Have you hit critical mass yet? Don’t get discouraged! Everyone has tried to do something or be something. And the bottom line – it takes time! It’s just like planting a garden or crops. Everything has its own gestation period. The job search is the same. If you have been doing the right things, you will ultimately see the results. Resumes. Phone calls. Lunches. Networking events. Informational meetings. Internet searches.  They add up. There will come a point of what I call critical mass. All of a sudden, you will have a mounting number of activities leading up to the ONE employer that you need. And you only need one! Remember that. So if things seem slow – do something! Get on the phone and set up a time to meet that person you’ve really wanted to talk to. I know, I know. It’s not that easy but it can be. I work with people all the time who thought the last thing they’d ever do is ask for HELP! And now they are in the position to help others.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan your work. But it is more important to work your plan. The effort you put into will be your proof. Granted there are those people who don’t really have to work hard. I just haven’t met many of them. Most of us, in order to get to the next level – the next job, have to do SOMETHING! We all have to contribute to our success. Right now if you are seeking a career move of any sort, you need to do something to facilitate that happening. That is if it is going to be more sooner than later.

I heard about two newly graduated gentlemen from a local university. They listened to Pomp and Circumstance on day and a week later they set themselves at the base of the highway off ramp with resumes in hand. I AM NOT telling anyone to do this! In short, though, the next weeks were packed with interviews and offers of on magnitude or another. You can beat their courage and enthusiasm. I would probably not have been that drastic but who knows.

 What will you this week to further your cause? I am leaving this computer right now to go present at an association’s meeting! That’s what I’m doin’.

 All the best ~ Janice

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