A Request for Your Subconscious Mind

Whenever we hear the name Edison we are reminded of light. The man was an American inventor and entrepreneur whose name was Thomas Edison. He let nothing stand in his way of achieving what his mind came up with.

His surname rightfully stands today as a brand for innovation.

Edison certainly is remembered for making many improvements upon other men’s inventions, notably the light bulb and telegraph technology. However, I think of Edison for something less well-known: He was quoted as urging people to make requests of their subconscious minds before they went to sleep at night.

If someone were to listen to that advice from Edison, they would have to accept that there is genuine and true connection between what we think about in our minds and how happy and successful our lives turn out to be. This kind of perspective on the built-in power of one’s mind as the root of our happiness is not commonly accepted, of course. That would be too sensible.

light bulb stylized

As for me, yes I am happy to quote Edison whenever I mentor and coach people. I am happy as well to share the name of my website, happier life (dot) coach.

I know what happiness is. I am an advocate of the belief that happiness originates within each of us. I teach people how to tune into their own mind and take certain steps each day to achieve and maintain happiness. Doing that makes me feel very good.

That focus on the space between our ears turns out to be far more important to our happiness in this life than how expensive our clothing is or whether our feet look attractive in designer boots. I’m someone who finds happiness wearing distressed blue jeans and walking around barefoot.

I hope you will think of Edison for at least a few days after reading this. I further hope that you will tune into your the power you’ve already got in there in your mind to start creating a happier life for yourself–personally and in your career. Do you see the light bulb going on yet?

White Hair Looks Cool

I worked for just over a decade in Washington, DC at the national headquarters of AARP where I developed an awareness about employment challenges for older workers (people age 40 and beyond) that I share here today with you. AARP switched their marketing focus to appeal to people born from 1946 through 1964, which was a departure from the initial AARP target audience of people born during or before the Second World War. This marketing change was so AARP could remain relevant at least from 2011 through 2029, the span of years that the baby boom generation hits age 65.

Whether AARP is the best organization to benefit you as an older worker (versus a retired person) is not the focus of my commentary here today. But, it is true that AARP consistently has tried to socialize how people today can try to cope with workplace age discrimination.

The marketing phrase that stands out for me is this one: “Age is just a number and life is what you make it.” Various versions of that sentiment found their way into AARP marketing over many years since the mid-1990s. There is some logical truth in that phrase, of course. However, in the real world, how many birthdays you’ve reached has much more significance than being “just a number” for you.

Experiencing age discrimination in the workplace (either while attempting to get hired, or, on the job, itself) in the United States happens to be what’s “normal” for most people. Some career paths, of course, are exceptions to this cultural norm. But, most of us have already learned painful lessons from our experiences with workplace age discrimination.

I work as a professional life coach and business improvement coach. On the personal coaching side, I mentor people who are older workers to reinvent and restart as the preferred way to fight back against workplace age discrimination. The methods I use are proprietary, but I can describe here how this works.

white hair looks cool

Very few people are born with a built-in skill to use their mind always for their own good and prosperity. So, I teach people that skill to augment what’s already in their set of skills. What happens after my coaching, consulting and mentoring is a person becomes confidently skilled at using their mind in proven ways that lead to their own good and prosperity. There is no magic or medications and nothing to take. Anyone with a mind that works can attain this newly-acquired skill.

Older workers know that age discrimination is reality. No marketing campaigns from any organization can diminish this. Age discrimination will not go away for you in the workplace if you attempt to “appear younger” by coloring your hair. White hair looks cool. I am a man who knows a few things about hair.

You can fight back against such workplace discrimination by learning how you can use your mind to succeed personally and professionally and leave your competitors behind.

Reinventing and restarting yourself at any age is neither simple nor painless. But, not reinventing or restarting yourself may lead to you remaining stuck in life. Don’t let that happen.

Your Career Choice Can Ruin You Financially

Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be DJs or journalism majors. Your kids will soon after choosing to be in radio or television or journalism become dead broke and they will come begging for you as parents to let them move back in with you. Stop them before they make a terrible career mistake!

You probably have at least heard of Kiplinger, a publisher located in Washington, DC that provides business forecasts and personal finance advice. Perhaps you’ve read their content online. It is worth noting that this company has survived since 1920. I think Kiplinger deserves your trust and confidence when it comes to forecasting financial issues for you, personally, and for business entities in general.

I just read a 2017 Kiplinger analysis entitled “10 Worst Jobs for the Future.”

Kiplinger is warning young people at the start of their career to steer clear of the radio and television industries. This comes as number 5 of 12 such warnings worth knowing about.

A projected decline of 10% (ten percent) in available jobs up through the year 2026 is forecast. The median annual salary of $32,283 is cited for radio and television announcers in the Kiplinger analysis.

A far worse fate than suffering through the indignities of that very low salary level you can expect is this Kiplinger explanation as to why you should steer clear of such careers in the first place:

“More radio disc jockeys, talk show hosts and podcasters are under threat of being silenced. Consolidation of radio and television stations, as well as the increased use of syndicated programming, limit the need for these kinds of workers. Plus, streaming music services offer fierce competition to radio stations and their workers. On the upside, online radio stations may provide new opportunities for announcers. If you’re committed to this career track, consider addressing even smaller audiences and becoming a party DJ or emcee. These other types of announcers make up a small field of just 17,326 workers currently, but are expected to grow their ranks 6.0% by 2026. They typically earn slightly less with a median $32,177 a year, but only require a high school diploma to get started.”

Why I’m writing this commentary needs to be explained clearly to you right now: I chose to seek a career on the air in radio back in the year 1970 when I was not yet old enough legally to buy alcohol. More of less four years later I was let go from that amazingly thrilling gig in the Los Angeles radio market, which the second-largest in the United States. I just was not sufficiently talented for an on-air career in the radio industry in Los Angeles. That stunning E-Ticket ride in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard was fast, unpredictable, and, entirely too short.

After I was not talented enough to keep a radio job in the Los Angeles market, I tried to work (part time) in the dead-end markets in both Eureka, California and Bloomington, Indiana. Working in both of those markets proved to be exceedingly depressing compared to working in the Los Angeles market.

My dear friend Evan Haning wrote in 2011 for the Foreword to my book KHJ, Los Angeles: Boss Radio Forever that the profession has disappeared. That was 6 years ago.

Evan Haning always was a man ahead of his time. And, Evan Haning is the ONLY person I knew personally who made it on the air in radio over the long stretch. Compared to me only being on the air in Hollywood at some rock and roll station for a very short while, Evan Haning, who started on the air in the dreaded San Luis Obispo, California radio market, made it from a success in the Los Angeles radio to the crucial Washington, DC radio market and he did so within the cut-throat all-news radio business there. He is one of the few living radio heroes I have.

Pay careful attention to my commentary here: It makes sense for you NOT to go after a profession that is already gone from our culture. I urge you NOT to pursue a career in the radio or television industries. I believe what Kiplinger is saying. So, should you.

You may want to go get a bachelor’s degree like I did in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But, do not for one minute believe that being on the air at KCPR radio at Cal Poly actually will prepare you to make a living in a career on the air elsewhere. Read about my own KCPR radio at Cal Poly experiences as a possible guide to what may happen to you if you go that route.

Remember that ANY bachelor’s degree anywhere will do the basic minimum—train you to learn how to use your mind effectively. Just do not expect a financial payback for all the dollars that you or your parents invest in your undergraduate education if you choose a major such as journalism that is declining in job prospects. You will need more than merely a bachelor’s degree. You will need a top-notch graduate degree or two from highly-reputable universities that are expensive and not at all easy to get into.

Ironically, now in the wake of President Donald Trump’s claims about so-called “fake news,” which is a false claim that does not stand up to the test of reason, skilled and talented journalists are needed perhaps more than ever before. But, the reality is this: Skills can be taught during an undergraduate or graduate degree program, yes. Getting a bachelor’s degree in journalism won’t give you talent that you don’t already have within you. And seeking a career on the air on radio or television may just ruin you financially even if you go the extra distance to get graduate degrees. You don’t want to beg mommy and daddy to let you move back in with them after you are 30. Mommy will do your laundry. Daddy will curse you under his breath while he gets loaded on adult beverages at the dinner table. And, while your rent will be free, you will end up not being able to look yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

These are my opinions. Your mileage may vary.

Why You Need a Website

You only need a website today if you want to prove to others that you exist. If you are happy to remain in obscurity, you can get along just fine without having your own website.

Individuals, small and medium-size businesses, and nonprofits need a complete, yet affordable, selection of professional and customized services to enable them to win over their particular target audience with online marketing. Usually this means paying today’s high prices for professional services to get your own website. That is just a waste. And so unnecessary.

Nearly half of small and medium-sized businesses or nonprofits do not yet have their own website. One thing that I tell people today may sound shocking: You need to have a website if you want to have street credibility today in the business world. Your personal brand depends on having a website.

I firmly believe in this need to have a website after working since 1996 using the Internet for business. If you are someone who really does not want to have your own website, please read this one page and give me a chance to change your thinking.

I can help you if you start with an acceptance that yes, you need a website if you really want credibility today in marketing your business to your target audience.

Basic Rule of Business

Once you understand the need to have your own website, you need help with strategic marketing and personal branding online. The basic rule of business that I use can be explained using an ocean metaphor: You need to swim in the same waters as your potential customers.

You get the idea. The truth is: To do business today involving seeking and attracting potential customers, you need to bring what you are offering to your customers where they are.

The other simple reality is that having your own website is essential proof that you are savvy enough to use today’s contemporary tools of communication in the digital realm and online. You don’t want to be considered irrelevant or outmoded.

Perspective

Today, the use of the Internet for business is roughly 20 years old. Websites today differ greatly from how websites worked back in the 1990s when the Internet was new.

The major difference is that today’s websites are intended to interactive for your visitors compared to the old-school style of websites from the past.

Let me quickly express what you need and should want: You want a website for today, not a website that is from the 1990s. The past belongs in the past. Learn to respect the past, but understand that we must focus on today and tomorrow.

Living in the Present Day

Today, the best practice is to have a site that is attractive to look at and easy to use, plus, the website works the way it needs to work: People need to interact with you through your website if you want to be successful in using the website for your business.

The manner or way that you employ online and using digital outreach technology should be important to you. Resist the temptation to jump into an expensive contract with a provider of website services that promises you the sun and moon and a couple of galaxies, too.

Sure, having a website today is essential, but you can be smart and conservative in how you go about it. Why? You don’t want to dump a lot of money and time into something that is wrong.

Now a Warning: Merely getting your own website is not a secret doorway to either sudden riches or fame. Rushing out and using social media channels without thinking about why is not the answer to your most pressing business problems. Text messaging to thousands of smart phones may not necessarily rescue you from irrelevance.

Today’s digital technology together with the Internet represent marvelous human accomplishments and inventiveness. Websites and smart phones could surely not have been imagined a few decades ago except by the likes of science fiction writers. But, don’t get lost in the marvels that we now have at our fingertips in the 21st century.

The best way to success is to use digital technology together with the Internet as one of the tools of your trade.

Consider how computerized word processing has become an indispensable tool for writers today. Since word processing is so important to the craft of writing nowadays, how did anyone write and publish books before the invention of word processing software? Trick question.

Here is wisdom you can take with you today: Make effective use of the tools of today’s technology. Use the Internet. Have your own website. Yes, get into Twitter. And Facebook. Send text messages to reach the smart phones you know your audience uses.

Just be sure that you have carefully thought out why you are using these tools: Reaching, interacting with, and persuading your target audience should be your core reason and chief motivation.

—————–

[My original version of this commentary first appeared in 2011 on this and other blogs.]

Go Buzz Power

GO-BUZZ-POWER-COVER_resizedFor everyone who wants to go out into the real world and harness buzz power: My eBook is available for 2014 in an updated edition. Revised and expanded with new content. This eBook covers the successful use of strategies and tactics in the digital realm that create public excitement about a person, place, or thing.

Two Cities

Once you make the decision to follow your internal guidance or your heart or your karma, there is no turning back. So, you think you can stand out? Yes, you can, but it may be more difficult than you can imagine.

Those who follow my column on Ned’s Job of the Week website already have seen my commentaries on making transitions in life and career. My most recent column on this subject was on June 29, my birthday. In that post, I wrote about what has morphed into an ongoing transition in my life and career. I chronicled my August 2012 relocation from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada. I never imagined that I would continue in transition in July 2013, but that is exactly what has happened. The lesson here is that transitions in life can be a regular journey for a person.

I was recruited to work as a communication consultant in San Francisco. What does one who is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada do if they want to accept such a terrific position in San Francisco? The answer is found in these three simple words: frequent flier miles.

Yes, I fly 400 miles one-way to get to and from work each week in San Francisco. I also live in hotels part of each week. In my experience, flying and staying in hotels has always been associated with vacation. Now, however, I have joined the ranks of steadfast business travelers who know the realities of regular travel by air and weekly accommodations in hotels.

Living in two cities is a major challenge, of course. I would not recommend this to you unless you genuinely are a highly adaptable person. There will always be unexpected twists and turns that sneak up on you and complicate an already difficult way to live. In San Francisco, for instance, I am having to deal with a strike at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that makes local commuting one of the worst traffic experiences one could ever hope to find in the United States. Then there is the issue of going between daytime highs of only 65 degrees in San Francisco to daytime highs of over 100 degrees in Las Vegas. You get the idea here.

I love working with my colleagues in San Francisco and I am very happy that I accepted this consulting offer. I would not trade my life with anyone else. Maybe in the near future, I will need to relocate for work to California from Nevada. You can be sure I will write about my experiences here to help you with your own efforts to stand out professionally.

Meanwhile, Here are some of my most helpful posts that I hope you will check out:

  • One of the most significant parts of my online column here on Ned’s Job of the Week website is my series on how you can create and maintain your personal brand. This series of columns began in July 2012 and is worth checking out if you haven’t already done so. The entire series is available all in one place online for you to see.
  • I am especially proud of my commentary regarding staying current with technology to help professionals of any age or experience level remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • My controversial comments about retirement will make you think carefully about your plans for what happens after you transition from the world of full-time employment.

Kubrick Warned Us, But We Did Not Believe Him

stanley kubrickAmerican film director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) created unforgettable and challenging ideas in his storytelling such as the recurring theme that technology is a curse for mankind rather than a blessing. Kubrick warned us, be we did not believe him. Just 14 years after Kubrick passed, technology is taking away jobs that we humans will likely never regain. This is not science fiction. This is real.

A sobering article entitled “After Your Job Is Gone” is a must-read for everyone who is employed right now. The central point of the article is that computerized automation already has made many Americans unable to keep jobs that they have held for years. This is not a future prediction This is now.

What would you do if technology destroyed your relevance as a worker? For us avid science fiction fans, such a question is as old as I, Robot, the classic speculative science fiction story from 1950 written by Isaac Asimov. Of course, many Americans tend to ignore science fiction as mere entertainment. That is, of course, a big mistake.

The most practical response you and I can have to technology destroying more jobs than it creates is to work in technology businesses. You will not be able to beat technology. So, you will have to join technology if you want to adapt and survive. This crucial need to adapt and survive is already especially challenging for people who have the false belief that technology is only for young people.

I will repeat here today what I posted earlier this year at this website:

When you live in the 21st century, you need to embrace and use the tools of the 21st century or you will become as relevant as dinosaurs. If you scoff at this, you are choosing to be a scoffing dinosaur.

How many birthdays you have had doesn’t matter one bit. Whether you like using computers or smart phones doesn’t matter either.

If you are in a career search in the wake of the Great Recession, you want to stand out. You definitely do not want to be a scoffing dinosaur. The choice is very simple and it is your choice alone: Relevant. Irrelevant.

You must embrace and use the tools of the 21st century if you are in a career search in the wake of the Great Recession or you will likely not succeed in your career search.

Create Your Own Reality

Throughout Western culture in literature, song, movies and other artifacts there is a common meaning to be found: Each person has the capability of creating their own reality. Tapping into this ancient wisdom can save your life and reinvent who you are.

A very recent echoing of this wisdom came from Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO at GE. Read his simple, yet profound message to a graduating class of college students to see what I mean.

Immelt’s core message is powerful and merits requoting here: “We can’t wait for the economy to stabilize. We can’t wait for a time when there is more certainty. It used to be that you only had to manage momentum. Today, you have to create your own future.”

I’m not sure how I came to be someone who embraces that kind of viewpoint about life. I just do embrace it. Wholeheartedly.

I have been reinventing who I am for many years. Long before I ever heard of the word reinvention, I was doing it in my own life.

That is partly why I write commentaries here on this website. My goal is to share with you what I have discovered to be true. I hope your life can benefit from the lessons I have learned.

Fake versus Real

American society in 2013 seems to have difficulties separating what is fake from what is real. Just look at the number of those so-called reality shows on television and you will know exactly what I mean. How any one us can hope to stand out from others is deeply affected by this American cultural context.

Since my youth I’ve heard the phrase, “fake it ’til you make it.” To me, the phrase always seemed to be sarcastic and more than just a little shallow. I used to wonder why anyone would want to be fake given the choice to be real. Then I became an adult.

My favorite quote of all time springs from my own lifelong search to tell the difference between fake people and real people. Julius Henry Marx lived from 1890 to 1977 and is best remembered by his nickname, Groucho. He was an American writer and comic with a profound ability to turn deeply intellectual thoughts into everyday language and make people laugh in the process. My favorite quote of all time comes from him: The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

The ability to find humor in the struggle to separate what is fake from what is real is crucial to your being successful in shaping your own personal brand so that you stand out in positive ways from others. I firmly believe this.

I recommend that this weekend you should rent a movie called O Lucky Man to explore the humor in how people work so hard to stand out. This film stars Malcom McDowell, a talented actor whose face and voice you will recognize instantly because he has appeared in so many films over the years. McDowell was just 30 when he starred in O Lucky Man as a struggling young man trying to stand out from others and become successful in a professional career. This film is a comedy whose main purpose is to make you laugh so that the filmmakers can sneak in persuasive messages in the story to compel you to think about the differences between fake people and real people.

At this point in my life, I have somehow managed to live and work in Hollywood, Washington, DC, and Las Vegas. Being in these three famous American cities severely confuses anyone who hopes to tell the difference between fake people and real people. If you spend any time in any of these places, you will come to understand this simple truth: Hollywood and Las Vegas encourage make-believe for purposes of show business. Washington, DC encourages make-believe for purposes of political power.

Each of us must arrive at our own answers as to whether we are being dishonest if we ever fake it to stand out from others. There probably are moral considerations here, but I dare not tell you what you should consider to be moral. You must find your own way. You would be wise, however, to keep in mind that what is fake versus real often is in the eye of the beholder like truth and beauty.

Trending Tactic if You Want to Stand Out

There is a tactic available to you today that is leading a trend in online communication. This can help you stand out from your competitors in a powerful way.

Let me tell you about it: This past week I finished producing an electronic book (eBook) and associated online promotional campaign for a Southern California newspaper columnist. He is Don Barrett and he has covered the radio broadcasting business for nearly 20 years online at LARadio.com. Don turned to me to produce a series of eBooks for him to chronicle personal stories of USA radio people. I also produced the promotional website to support the marketing of Don’s eBook series.

Having your own eBook available for sale online gives you a special klout that others do not have. Your eBook will be available online around the world for all time. This gives you a true permanence for your good reputation.

Anyone can write a compelling eBook to sell online. Whether you are sharing your family’s secret recipes, other family secrets, or, how-to tips that you have accumulated from your hobby or professional career, publishing an eBook is the way to get your ideas and your reputation out there to the entire world!

You can stand out from others if you have an eBook available for sale online on Amazon. Oh, and yes, you can make money from selling your eBook on Amazon, too. I approach this more from a reputation enhancement perspective, however, and not as a way for people to make money online. But, there are people who do make money from selling eBooks.

Get started today by checking out what I can do for you to help you stand out with your own eBook.

Achieving Courage and Competence

Even if we do not live and work in Boston, we all were impacted this past week by life-changing events that happened there. Many lessons can be learned from what happened to help us stand out from everyone else.

Because I lived and worked in the Boston media market years ago, I will always feel a deep connection to Boston and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Like many other Americans, this week I was horrified to watch the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent hunt for the men who chose to kill and injure innocents on Patriot’s Day.

It is easy to think that there are no lessons to be learned from what happened this past week in Boston in the context of trying to stand out in your professional life and with your personal brand. If you think that, you are wrong.

Readers of my online column on Ned Lundquist’s Job of the Week website know by now that to stand out is to choose to be unique in positive ways while deliberately working smart towards separating yourself in meaningful ways from your professional competitors.

I saw a commentary on CBS News about two traits that were vividly demonstrated in Boston this past week in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. I want to share that commentary with you because of my humble opinion that the two traits mentioned on CBS News can be applied to any one of us who wants to stand out from our professional competitors.

The two traits and competence and courage. I agree with the commentator that these traits are rare today. But, to have competence and courage is a choice. There’s still time in your life to achieve both of these crucial traits if you expect to stand out. Achieving these traits won’t happen by accident. You must be deliberate. You must choose to have these traits actively and with forethought.

Enough context setting; now I encourage you to follow this link to the CBS News commentary to learn more.

Your Own Place in the Future

Recently I posted here telling you of my enthusiasm and excitement for Amazon Kindle eBooks. I want to continue on this topic because I sincerely believe you can stand out with your own eBook that can enable you to claim your own place in the future.

While I’m convinced we will always have books made of paper, the future belongs to the eBook format. I’m also a true believer in the fact that you can claim your own place in that future.

If you get past the b.s. about how everyone can get rich quickly with an eBook, the reality is pretty exciting nonetheless. The financial viability of Amazon is well-known. You can also believe the buzz about eBooks and the device named Kindle. To ignore Amazon and Kindle and eBooks right now is to miss out of an emerging and revolutionary communications channel. This is no exaggeration.

I invite anyone who wants to learn about how to stand out with your own eBook on Amazon to contact me at woodygoulart@gmail.com today.

I look forward to hearing from you today!

  #1: personal brand first how to
  #2: personal brand verbal communication
  #3: writing well personal brand
  #4: character and personal brand
  #5: personal brand uniqueness
  #6: job seekers best practices online
  #7: more best practices online job seekers
  #8: personal brand your unique outcomes
  #9: personal brand the journey
#10: should I stay or should I go?
#11: networking in Las Vegas
#12: surviving a career transition
#13: scoffing dinosaur
#14: managing your online reputation
#15: choosing who you are
#16: so you think you can retire
#17: your own place in the future

So You Think You Can Retire

Long ago, you bought into the dream that AARP sold aggressively for decades along with affordable insurance plans. Simply stated, the dream you bought into was about you and your future.

You put in your time at work. You maybe changed jobs once or twice. Mainly, you put in your time. Why? You bought into the dream. That’s why.

It was a comforting dream to embrace. You saw yourself in the future with gray hair and wisdom. You saw yourself playing golf all day in this dream. You dreamed of drinking ice tea on the front porch with your significant other as the two of you smile at the schoolchildren who walk by.

Your smiles in this dream came from one simple reality: You don’t have to go to work. Those days are behind you. No more grumpy boss. No more annoying coworkers. No more commute. No more business attire. No more computers or cell phones.

You dreamed of transitioning from the world of work into the world of retirement. Ah, what a lovely dream it was!

Hey, wake up! No time to dream like this.

The Great Recession changed almost everything in our lives. Nowadays, the concept of retirement seems somehow absurd. How can you retire? You need to keep working to keep generating revenue to support yourself and your significant other!

If you’ve been lucky enough to keep your home, the concept of wealth from selling your home at an inflated price also seems somehow absurd now. How can you possibly sell your home when it is worth less than what you currently owe on it?

So you think you can retire. Or, so you thought. Past tense. You’re beginning to accept ever so slowly that retirement is not in the cards for you.

Fantasizing about playing golf all day or sitting on the front porch drinking ice tea seems somehow absurd right now.

Growing older does not necessarily usher in relaxing days on the fairway. Not after the Great Recession.

Old concepts about carefree leisure years that follow decades of work have been pushed into absurdity and irrelevance. Instinctively, you know you need a new set of concepts to carry you forward while you keep working to keep generating revenue to support yourself and your significant other.

The concept of retirement seems more and more irrelevant each day. So many other outmoded ways of thinking no longer apply in contemporary life: Our planet is not the center of the universe. Nor is it flat. Or hollow. Changing the Constitution to make alcohol illegal did not create a safer or healthier society. Owning a house will not guarantee you wealth in the near future. You get the idea here.

Refocusing your life is what’s needed now. You know that.

All of us in the United States are living during a time of powerful paradigm shifts brought on by massive economic, cultural, and political changes. These commentaries on this website are here to help you find ways to survive in these challenging times in which we live by developing a viable personal brand.

Share you comments and suggestions with me. I look forward to hearing from you today!

  #1: personal brand first how to
  #2: personal brand verbal communication
  #3: writing well personal brand
  #4: character and personal brand
  #5: personal brand uniqueness
  #6: job seekers best practices online
  #7: more best practices online job seekers
  #8: personal brand your unique outcomes
  #9: personal brand the journey
#10: should I stay or should I go?
#11: networking in Las Vegas
#12: surviving a career transition
#13: scoffing dinosaur
#14: managing your online reputation
#15: choosing who you are
#16: so you think you can retire
#17: your own place in the future

Choosing Who You Are

It may seem illogical, but people can take specific actions to define themselves. Make sure that what you are like on the outside is a deliberate choice on your part. There is no reason at all for anyone to allow what he or she is like on the outside to be left to chance or accident.

Helping yourself to be deliberate specifically involves using a certain amount of psychology. Don’t worry, this is something you can do on your own. You don’t necessarily need prescription drugs or medical specialists. The psychology works best if you ask yourself some difficult questions to test whether what you look like on the outside is deliberate or accidental:

Are you going out in public today with clothing that you deliberately chose with rips and tears in the fabric?

Did you choose to embed that shiny metal ring through your nostrils?

Are you walking out into the world today having made the deliberate choice not to wash your hair?

Did you choose to allow your breath to smell like you ate rotting meat an hour ago?

There is a point to these absurdly ridiculous questions: Every element about your outward appearance comes down to a choice on your part. And, whether you chose it or not, people are going to perceive that you made the choice.

If you are a celebrity who makes a lot of money selling music internationally and you want to embed a shiny metal ring through your nostrils, then why are you reading this blog post? The same is true for any of you who are so wealthy that you don’t give a damn how dirty your hair may look in the direct sunlight.

But, for everyone else, please pay close attention.

Not To Decide Is To Decide

It is ironic, but true, that not to choose is to choose. If you don’t care that you have unwashed hair, that not caring on your part turns out to become a deliberate choice that ensures you will look sloppy and lazy when you go out in public. Did you accidentally not shower this morning? Another difficult question for you.

Whether we like it or not, our outward appearance is going to be perceived by others out in public as though it were a deliberate choice. So we all need to get used to making smart choices and leave nothing to fate or accidents.

Your personal brand is first going to be noticed by the way you look on the outside. But, there is also much more than merely how you look. Every body gives off scents. The particular scents that your body gives off are also part of how you are perceived by others out in the world who are near you. If you have bad breath, few people (even dentists) will want to come near your face. If your armpits or other parts of your body give off a strong odor, few people will want to come near you.

If you go to a job interview without first getting your outward looks in order, you are asking for trouble. This goes way beyond the standard concept of dressing for success in business by choosing to wear appropriate attire at job interviews. The point is that your outward looks cannot completely be taken care of by wearing appropriate attire. You must pay attention to your appearance beyond your choice in attire: Your personal brand will be enhanced if you have clean hair and skin, no metal objects stuck anywhere on your face, and that fresh, minty taste in your mouth.

Within You and Without Out You

These are not just poetic lyrics from George Harrison. The inner you affects the outer you in many ways. This is unavoidable and completely within your own control. Here, too, is a bit of psychology.

Perhaps it may surprise you to learn that what you are on the inside does not necessarily have to be revealed outwardly to anyone. Many people never learn this. Many people grow up raised to put a premium on personal truthfulness at all times. Don’t be one of those people because personal truthfulness is overrated if you want to succeed with the best possible personal brand.

One important reality of the 21st century is that your reality need not be shared in detail with everyone around you. If someone asks you how you are doing, you should resist the temptation to be truthful and genuine, especially if you are not feeling very happy and focused at the moment. Social media and handheld devices have created a world in which you can instantly share what you had for breakfast as if anyone really needs to know that you enjoyed mouth-watering scrambled eggs topped with jalapeño chili peppers and lemon slices. Some things are just best left inside you.

A useful example may make this clearer. If, on the inside, you feel shy and have apprehension about going out in public to interact with strangers, you should learn how to not reveal that about yourself outwardly in public if you want to be a success in this life. The same holds true for anything else that is inside of you and is not overtly visible outwardly to others. Shyness need not be overtly visible outwardly to others. The same holds true for any of your internal characteristics or traits.

Consider, for example, what may happen if you let people know (verbally or using Twitter or Facebook or whatever) that you have color blindness. At the very least, you will have to suffer inane questions from people such as “What color is my dress?” The best answer to that question is, “The color doesn’t matter. That dress makes you look fat.” You get the idea here.

Be Honest: Know Yourself

The trick is to arrive at a very clear picture in your mind about what your own particular internal characteristics or traits are. Only then can you manage your outward appearance.

Here is one real-life example of the interconnected ways in which your internal characteristics will affect your daily life: If you are shy and have apprehension about going out in public, you should find some way to know that about yourself. This is because a person who does not know that they are shy and have apprehension about going out in public is going to suffer from unhappiness and frustration following a succession of unsatisfactory relationships. If you suffer from unhappiness and frustration, you will not be someone that others will want to be around, and you may end up being a very lonely person.

Here is another example from the real world of the interconnected ways in which your internal characteristics will affect your daily life: If you need to be the center of attention in every interpersonal situation, you should find some way to know that about yourself. This is because a self-centered person like you who does not know that they are self-centered is going to suffer from unhappiness and frustration following a succession of unsatisfactory relationships and being dumped often. If you suffer from unhappiness and frustration, you will not be someone that others want to be around, and you may end up being a very lonely person.

The basic reality of life today in the 21st century is this: Those who know themselves well and who are absolutely honest with themselves about their own internal characteristics or traits will have the best opportunities for success in life.

Emotional Intelligence

Those who are out of touch with who they truly are as a person will have a rough time finding acceptance or success or happiness in life. Your performance in job interviews will also be negative affected. How can you hope to develop your own personal brand if what you develop is based on faulty data?

Therefore, a crucial step in developing your own personal brand is to attain what is known as emotional intelligence. This is sometimes called EQ (for emotional quotient), as compared to IQ (for intelligence quotient.) Simply put, emotional intelligence is a smart awareness of your own and other peoples’ passions along with knowledge of how to control passions. Everyone either has sufficient EQ or not. This is an internal trait that is not necessarily visible out in the world.

So, how does one attain sufficient emotional intelligence? The very annoying answer is this: Some people just are born with this capacity while others will need to make considerable effort to develop it. Others do not care whether they demonstrate this capacity.

But, the truth is developing this EQ capacity is something that you can learn. This capacity is not restricted only to psychiatrists or other medical doctors. You can discover ways to learn this capability, too, even if you have no university degrees at all.

One additional and highly annoying truth is that this capability may not necessarily come to you from book learning. So, did you waste your money on a college education? Some people may be able to develop this capacity from learning lessons in life through interpersonal trial and error.

If you are one of those people who do not care whether you demonstrate sufficient EQ, and, you want to develop your own personal brand, stop reading this right now. Just stop. Go watch reality television instead.

At the core of this whole subject of your internal characteristics is the matter of choice and mental attitude. You can make certain, specific choices about how you present yourself outwardly. But, this will only be possible for you if you first achieve the appropriate mental attitude.

As an example, let’s say that you genuinely feel fearful of new situations in public, and, meeting with people you have never met causes you dread. You must learn to become aware of your specific fears about unfamiliar interpersonal situations and strangers. Once you have become aware of your specific fears in this sense, only then will you be able to construct an appropriate mental attitude to address your specific fears.

You can, for instance, develop the appropriate mental attitude that you are going to go out and meet and interact with people who are strangers and survive those interpersonal situations with dignity and strength and even a few laughs. Unless you first develop that specific mental attitude, you are very likely to suffer emotionally under the strains and pressures of those interpersonal situations in which you are required to meet and interact with people who are strangers.

Reprogramming Your Mind

More psychology for you: How you develop that (or any) appropriate mental attitude is to do what I call “reprogramming” your mind. You may not actually be programming or reprogramming your mind at all. But, let’s agree to call it that for the sake of simplicity.

The point is that you must convince yourself in your own brain that you truly believe something is true before you can behave out in the world with any credible authority.

Even a person who may have developed deep fears of meeting and interacting with strangers can create in their own brain the appropriate mental attitude that will enable them to succeed in what otherwise would be impossibly difficult interpersonal situations.

Is this known as “acting”? Oh, yes it is!

One of the most compelling statements about the power of developing an appropriate mental attitude comes from the great American philosopher, Julius Henry Marx (1890 – 1977): “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

He was better known as the comedian named “Groucho” starting in the early 20th century, but he was wise and full of insights for the present day.

I also want to share with you an obscure bit of song lyrics. Alan Price, who was born in England in 1942, wrote and sang a song in a movie called O Lucky Man in which his lyrics align with this same mental attitude concept: “Someone’s got to win in the human race. If it isn’t you, then it has to be me. So, smile while you’re making it, laugh while you’re taking it, even if you’re faking it; nobody’s gonna know.”

If you want a persuasive, yet also highly entertaining, lesson about discovering who you are and then developing ways to succeed in this life, rent O Lucky Man. It is a 1973 British film that will occupy only 183 minutes of your life, but you will never forget how it makes you feel.

Your own success in this life is dependent upon the ways in which you use your mind. You cannot accidentally be successful over the course of your life. You must deliberately choose to use your mind to enable success in your life or you should not be surprised when the outcomes do not make you happy.

The Mental Equivalent

Two crucial elements for you if you want to make wise choices about what you are like on the outside are: First, attain a sufficient emotional intelligence. Then, create a clear and specific mental equivalent of what you want the reality outside your mind to be.

You can express your mental equivalent of what you want the reality outside your mind to be by affirming what’s in your mind repeatedly until “it sinks in,” so to speak. One simple and inexpensive tactic to implement this affirmation strategy is to record your own voice saying particular affirmation statements and then play back your affirmations on a portable audio playback device using headphones.

Affirmations must be in the first person, the present (not future) tense, have an active verb, and state something very specific and clear. Here is an example:

“I am drawing positive energy from meeting and interacting with new people every day.”

The reason why you must use “I” and the present tense is to be able to hear you, yourself, telling your brain that the reality you want is available to you right now.

You should record several affirmations and play them back into your own ears privately every day at least once a day. The total running time for your recording should be under 10 or 15 minutes.

Repeated, consistent playback of affirmations into your own ears privately will help you truly believe what your own voice is telling you is true.

I did this exact thing with affirmations, so I vouch for the validity of using affirmations. After I endured a painful separation and divorce in the 1990s, I used affirmations to “reprogram” my mind to reorient myself to an improved life that would specifically replace the life that I was living at the time.

Not only did I end the sadness and loneliness that I was feeling, I also discovered new directions for my life and earning a living. My use of affirmations played back into my own ears privately some 20 years ago.

Even though that was two decades in the past, I can still feel the power of my own voice telling my brain that the reality I wanted was available to me immediately. This is powerful stuff, so be careful how you choose your affirmations and the wording that you use.

As I have proved to myself, the reality is that using your own mind, you can take charge of your life. You can reorient yourself and your life if you only will choose to do so. You can make changes to how your life goes. You can make changes to what you are like on the outside and choose not to reveal to anyone what you are like on the inside.

All of this adds up to the first step of taking control over what you are like on the outside (your outward appearance versus your inner self) so that you can create or fix your personal brand.

It All Starts in Your Mind

How you use your mind affects everything in your life. How you use your mind also directly impacts many people in your life.

“You cannot be healthy; you cannot be happy; you cannot be prosperous; if you have a bad disposition.”

Emmet Fox (1886-1951)

Your mental and emotional traits are vital to your survival in life. How well you communicate and whether you can be a leader versus a follower also are directly tied to how you use your mind.

I am one of many who believes that how you use your mind can be changed if you make the decision to change how you use your mind. How you use your mind is not a permanent condition that you were born with. You can choose to change how you use your mind at any age no matter where you live in this world.

How you view other people and how you judge other people are two elements of how you choose to use your mind. If you only believe, trust or value people who believe exactly as you do, then you are choosing not to use your mind correctly.

Believing, trusting or valuing only people who believe exactly as you do is a very clear sign that you have chosen not to use you mind very well. One sign that you are a person who chooses to use your mind well is if you really and honestly can “see the world through other people’s eyes” or “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” or other similar phrases in the English language.

The ability to know, understand, and feel what other people know, understand, and feel is an ability that comes to people who choose how to use their minds well. Such people are the one who become leaders compared to the rest who are only followers. You cannot accidentally get that job you’re seeking. You cannot accidentally become a success in leadership. You cannot accidentally communicate effectively over the course of your life. These specific successes are available only to people who choose how to use their minds effectively. You can become one of those people if you want to do so.

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Google Yourself

What do you think will happen when you Google yourself? See my latest commentary on Ned Lundquist's Job of the Week website to find out!

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Managing Your Online Reputation
Do you know what happens when you Google yourself? What information shows up the Google search results? You must never allow Google search results control your reputation. You need to be taking action…

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