February 27, 2013

More Than a Connection

To succeed in today's world it's more about who you know than what you know.

Why? Because our society is interconnected so your social capital matters.

This doesn't necessarily mean the more friends you have on Facebook, followers on Twitter or connections on LinkedIn increases your chances to land your dream job (although it doesn't hurt).

Remember though a connection is simply a contact. That could mean you went to high school with them, met at a network event or found them online.
Challenge yourself to go deeper than that. 

Think quality over quantity. It's less about "how many" and more about "how well." 

As a naturally more introverted person, I used to think it was about passing out business cards or being a Chamber of Commerce member.

It wasn't until shifting my mindset from "networking" to "relationships" that things changed.

If you're "networking" there's pressure to sell yourself quickly.

If you're "building relationships" the focus is more about getting to know the person and strengthening the bond over time

If you want to start making "friends" instead of "contacts," be more concerned about giving than getting. 

Over time your investment will pay off...because a friend is more than a connection can ever be.

February 13, 2013

Don't Organize, Prioritize

How do you make decisions?

Every day decisions, such as: what to wear, eat and do probably don't take much thought.

But what about those more important decisions? 

What factors do you weigh? 

What process helps eliminate possibilities and choose the best option?
This isn't something you'll achieve overnight, it's really a personal decision that takes some "internal excavation" and reflection.

Sometimes in order to start the process, an example can help get you going.

I can't speak for you, but let me share my "5 F's" that help guide my life's decisions:


I put them in order of importance because prioritizing based on what's most important helps me make the best possible decision in lieu of circumstances. 

The bigger the decision, the more I rely on my "5 F's" for direction.

Making important decisions is more than just a random flip of a coin. It affects your future.

What are your priorities?

February 6, 2013

Dismissing Generation Y

Guest Post by Josh Allan Dykstra
This weekend I had the pleasure of bringing the keynote message to a student leadership retreat for a group at a private university in Denver, Colorado. This was particularly exciting for me because exactly ten years ago, I was them — a student leader watching from the crowd.

I have to confess; I love the university environment. I always have. I love the energy, the passion, and the optimism. I love the world-changing ethos. I love the youth and the naïveté. This weekend reminded me of all that.

It also reminded me how completely brilliant Generation Y can be.

These students were amazing and remarkable people. They sincerely cared about their leadership roles and thought deeply about the world. They brought insightful questions and an enormous amount of focused attention.

I know there are a lot of negative impressions of Gen Y out there. Primarily I know this because people complain to me about them. I understand that they are a bit different in the way they see the world (people say: “annoyingly technology-obsessed”). I also understand that they are looking for more mentoring and development at work (people say: “needy and entitled”).

But, if I wasn’t convinced before, this weekend proved to me that these dismissive and disparaging blanket assumptions need to stop.

If you think “all Gen Y’ers” are like the bad rumors you’ve heard, I’m here to tell you that those rumors are grossly misguided. I was honored to meet these exceptional “kids,” and you’d be lucky to have them join your organization.