Choose Your Change – Then Jump!

I’ve been in a mood lately. A little restless. A lot ready for something new. And while I now know that this is good news, I didn’t always feel that way.

I have a history of restlessness in my life. A personal life that has taken more twists and turns than the girl who grew up on an isolated Tennessee farm could ever have expected, and a career that has morphed into a life spent as a certifiable introvert, whose job is all about people.

And it’s all good.

But getting here hasn’t been without uncertainty, struggle, missteps, wrong steps and pain.

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11 Podcasts To Fuel Personal Growth and Leadership Development

I’m a voracious consumer of content in the areas that are of interest to me – specifically leadership, entrepreneurship, speaking and personal development.

Interestingly, I’m not a good book reader (fixing that is a goal for 2016). But I do buy lots of books. I just rarely read them.

So a couple of years ago, I decided to try podcasts as a way to continue learning, and to fill time that was normally spent listening to the same songs in my playlists or on the radio over and over again. Now, I listen to podcasts while driving, traveling, exercising, cleaning the house, fixing dinner, etc. Suffice it to say, I’m hooked on learning.

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You Can Change The World – Without Changing Who You Are

When you think about people who have changed the world, who comes to mind?

Maybe you think of people like Henry Ford, who transformed the automobile into an innovation that has moved the world. Or Orville and Wilbur Wright, who made the world accessible to all.

It makes sense that these individuals are thought of as world-changers. They’ve invented or improved upon everyday things that have had a lasting impact on us all.

Now, think about who has changed YOUR world?

If you were to make a list, it might include a parent, a teacher, a boss, or maybe even a religious leader. These types of people hold places in our lives that position them for great opportunities to influence.

But what about you? Would anyone name you as someone who has influenced his or her life?

If not, why not?

5 Reasons You May Think You Can’t Change The World

“I’ve got nothing to offer.”

The truth is, there are many good things – and maybe a few not so good things – that make up who you are. So you’ve got something – and you can use your life experiences to help someone else.

“I’m not really that interesting.”

The good news is that influencing others is not about you. It’s about them. You influence others by focusing on their story – not yours.

“I’m not super successful.”

Your level of success has nothing to do with your ability to listen. Many people are seeking influencers who they can simply talk to, and who will share a different perspective.

“I’ve got some skeletons in my closet.”

Failure makes you human. There’s someone out there who can relate to – and learn from – your failures. So can you.

“Nobody has ever asked me to be a mentor or influencer in their life.”

Then your first opportunity is ready for you! Don’t wait for someone to ask you to speak into his or her life. Most likely, the people who have influenced you the most weren’t invited to do so.

So how can you actually change the world?

One person at a time.

[Tweet “You don’t have to invent something with lasting impact or create a movement to change the world.”]

Somebody in your life needs your influence. Somebody is ready to benefit from your knowledge, skills and expertise.

Steve Jobs said: “…the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I believe that you can change the world.

Just do.

Jennifer McClure – You Can Change The World – #DisruptHR from Jennifer McClure on Vimeo.

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of talent strategy and leadership development. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Exploring Career Opportunities Without Jeopardizing Your Current Job #AskJennifer

Are you happily (or contently) employed, but at the same time wonder if there are better career opportunities out there?

(Email subscribers click here to view the video)

If that’s the case, you may wonder how you can position yourself for career growth – either inside or outside your current company – without making your employer nervous – or even worse – risking being blackballed or fired because they consider you a flight risk.

I’m diving into this topic on this week’s edition of Ask Jennifer – a new video series where I’ll be answering your questions – in five minutes or less.

Except this week’s episode is slightly longer. Oops.

Let’s chalk it up to inaugural excitement about the new format. 🙂

In Episode 1 of Ask Jennifer, I’ll answer the following question for “Valerie”, a woman who recently attended a workshop I led on “Defining and Communicating Your Personal Brand for Career Growth”.

Valerie has been with her current company for almost 20 years. She’s not unhappy. But she would like to explore career opportunities to understand how marketable her skills are – and if the grass really is greener somewhere else. But she also doesn’t want to send any red flags to her current employer that she may be looking. (Smart!)

Want to know what advice I have for Valerie?

Take a few moments to watch the quick video to learn more about the 3 steps I recommend to Valerie (and others) who want to get noticed for opportunities without causing any drama.

  1. Update/fully complete your LinkedIn Profile.
  2. Talk to/offer to help Recruiters that reach out to you.
  3. Attend and get involved with your local professional networking association.

Have a question related to growing your career, your leadership or your skills as a speaker or presenter?

Send it my way!

I’d love to hear from you, and maybe your question will be featured in an upcoming episode of Ask Jennifer!

 

 

Creating a Value-Based Positioning Statement

As a speaker, consultant or business owner, have you struggled with how to position yourself in the marketplace in order to create demand and eliminate the need to compete based upon price?

To solve these common problems, you have to begin by answering some fundamental questions.

Last week, the National Speakers Association (NSA) held its annual convention in San Diego, California, and although I was unable to attend in person, they did provide some of the sessions via live stream, which was a great opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best speakers, authors and consultants.

One of my favorite sessions was from Hall of Fame Speaker and The Million Dollar Consultant® – Alan Weiss. I’ve long been a Fan of Mr. Weiss’ advice and approach. His Million Dollar Speaking: The Professional’s Guide to Building Your Platform book was one of the first that I read after starting my business in 2010. It’s full of great advice, examples and tips not only related to the business of speaking, but how to become an in-demand expert through effective positioning in the marketplace.

In his 75-minute talk at #NSA14 – “Million Dollar Positioning: How to Position Yourself as the Expert” – Mr. Weiss shared the basics of creating a Positioning Statement/Value Statement to convey expertise, value delivery and ultimately price in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

Figure out what you love – and what you’re best at. Take everything else away.

When you’re working at your best and highest value, you’re creating a great piece of art. And to create the great work of your life, you have to find what you love to do – and what you’re great at – and then carve away everything else.

It’s rumored that when asked how he carved out the amazingly beautiful and intricate David from a big square block of marble, Michelangelo replied, “I just took away everything that wasn’t David.”

Creating an effective and artful Positioning Statement is no different. Cull away things that aren’t really you or that you aren’t enthusiastic about so you can create your masterpiece.

Tell people how they’ll be better off after working with you.

Your Positioning Statement needs to answer these questions for your potential buyer:

How will you improve them?

What is the real value that you bring?

Ideally, you’re approach will be a bit edgy and provocative, and show that you think a bit differently. That way, your audience will want more – and because what you offer is unique, they’ll be willing to pay more to get it.

Position yourself as an Expert – not as a Speaker, Author, Consultant

There are hundreds and thousands of speakers, authors, consultants, etc. in the world, which means there is plenty of choice.

Buyers don’t want to hire just anyone, they want to hire experts. And if you’re not considered “The Expert”, you’re just a commodity – and you’ll always be treated as such in terms of price and opportunity.

Don’t just be a “delivery alternative” in your industry or profession. Be The Expert – which means you’ll need to create new and unique ideas, products and services that separate you from the rest.

Tip: Once you determine your area of expertise, you can then determine how to deliver it, but don’t mix in methodology in your Positioning Statement.

For example, don’t say: “Through coaching and consulting I create change that impacts strategic objectives.”

That kind of statement isn’t unique or compelling, and it doesn’t answer the most important question: “After I walk away from you, how will I be better off because I met you?”

Effective Position Statements: Examples

“I help small business owners accelerate their business and lead a fabulous life.”

“I help you to reduce stress so you can make rational and powerful decisions about your life.”

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Always opinionated and full of great one-liners, Mr. Weiss (@BentleyGTCSpeed on Twitter) also reeled off some great quotes during his presentation – and all of which just happened to be less than 140 characters. (Check them out below, and if you like one or more, just click the link to tweet it out!)

“Wealth isn’t money. Wealth is discretionary time. You can always make another dollar, but you cannot make another minute.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“The greatest damage to excellence is from the pursuit of perfection.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Self-esteem is an action that creates self-confidence. You have to work on it everyday. Tell yourself what you do well.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Confidence is the belief you can help other people. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing to learn yourself.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

I really enjoyed the session and took plenty of notes to take action and implement in my own expertise branding journey. And I appreciate the National Speakers Association for making this session available. I’d love to attend the event in-person next year!

Question: What’s your Value Statement? Share it with me in the Comments section. I’d love to learn from you and help others find your expertise!

5 Action Steps To Refresh Your Online Brand

Mid-year is a great time to reflect on your progress towards your goals – and it’s also a great time to review your online presence to ensure that your profiles are up-to-date and on-point with your personal branding strategy.

Your life and career are continuously evolving, and social and online platforms are continuously changing, so it’s important to set aside some specific time each year to do a thorough review of your online presence to ensure that it’s accurate, current and presented in the best way possible.

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30-Day Commitments: The Sexier Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re in the majority, you made some sort of New Year’s resolution. According to this Infographic, 62% of Americans do, but unfortunately less than half maintain those commitments beyond 6 months.

I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I’ve stopped making New Year resolutions.

Why? Because I don’t like to start something I can’t win – and I’ve never crossed the finish line victorious after 365 days of success with a new habit.

Each year, I’ve had good intentions to lose weight, eat better, get more organized and create more margin in my life for spending time doing the things that I love. But so far, those things have not happened consistently for any length of time.

Sure, I’ll be moderately successful for a few days or weeks, but soon the enormity of committing to a life change for such a long time – 365 days – makes the activity seem a bit overwhelming. Once a day gets skipped, the slope becomes very slippery and the likelihood that I’ll slide backwards down the hill of success increases exponentially.

So this year, I’ve decided to try something different. I’m going to make 30-day commitments in three areas of my life – personal, health and business.

Why 30 days? It’s a shorter distance to the goal line. It’s doable and not overwhelming. Plus, I’ll be able to try at least 36 new things in 2014 that I may not have done otherwise!

Part of my inspiration for this idea is this popular and short (3:27 minutes) TED talk  from Google Engineer Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days. (email subscribers click here to view)

I like it. I can do this.

Here are my three 30-Day Commitments for January 2014:

Personal – I will get out of bed by 7am every day for 30 days (even weekends)
Health – I will do some form of exercise every day for 30 days straight (no rest days)
Business – I will create and post content (good stuff) on my blog 5 days per week in January 2014

Want to join me in committing to something for 30 days instead of 365?

I’d love to encourage you in your journey. Leave a comment and share with me your commitment(s)!

The World Needs More Balcony People

A few years ago, as I was beginning to take the mental steps towards stepping out on my own and starting Unbridled Talent LLC, a mentor* encouraged me by expressing belief in my skills and talents, as well as my ability to make the right choices for my future.

He said, “Just know that whichever path you choose, I will always be your Balcony Person. I’m here for you and I want you to succeed.”

At that time, the mental image of looking up and seeing someone in the balcony cheering me on really resonated with me. And the statement and sentiment meant a lot to me then, as it still does almost four years later.

It’s a powerful thing to know that someone wants you to succeed and believes in you.

It’s even more powerful when that person cares enough to provide honest coaching and feedback, as well as support – even when you screw up. Especially when you screw up.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how I can become a Balcony Person for more people in my life. As a result, here are some action steps that I plan to take:

1. Be intentional about encouragement.

For me, if it’s going to get done, it needs to on my calendar or logged into my To Do list. I don’t want this important activity to get lost in the “nice-to-do” pile.

2. Listen more and better.

We all want to be heard. I plan to work harder at being a better listener.

 “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”  ~Ralph Nichols

3. Solve fewer problems and facilitate more victories.

As a problem-solver, my tendency is to listen to people and attempt to offer solutions to their problems. Instead, I want to listen to them and ask how I can support them in creating the best solutions.

4. Have the courage to share constructive feedback – even if it’s difficult.

I’ve found that the people who care about my success the most are the people in my life who are willing to deliver constructive criticism when I need it. They are also the people who help me the most to improve and continue to grow.

5. Recognize and thank the Balcony People in my own life.

I want to show more appreciation for those that are an encouragement to me by sending an unexpected card, email, text or gift just to say thanks. The first victim? My mom. She’s the original, all-time best example on the planet of a Balcony Person. Thanks Peggy.

If you have a Balcony Person (or People) in your own life, consider yourself blessed!

Now, I encourage you to multiply that blessing by being intentional about being one for someone else. Who will it be?

* Thank you to Mike Sipple, Sr. for being a genuine and wonderful example to me and so many others of what a Balcony Person should be.

Question: Who are the Balcony People in your life? Give them a shout out or encouragement in the comments section!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.