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Walter Akana
Walter Akana is a Life Strategist ...
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Hey Debbie! Thanks for your comment!! I do love this speech! Steve Jobs' awesome legacy goes well beyond Apple products to the philosophy that drove their creation!! Great man!! So, your New Year's Resolution is me?! Well, I think that could be a good thing!! Look forward to seeing you. Meanwhile Happy Holidays, my friend!! Warm regards, Walter
Hi Julie!! Thanks for your great comment!! You're absolutely right to encourage your clients in the way that you do! Ultimately, our fulfillment comes from making meaning of our lives. It is not something that can ever be given to us. It's an inner journey of discovery. Being who we truly are is the real secret ... not only to a genuine personal brand, but to a satisfying life.
Wow, Megan! Great post! I absolutely love the idea of a quarterly brand, career, and job search check up! And while some elements should be an automatic part of living one’s brand, there is always a need for a regular review!! As well, I think the areas you suggest for examinations are right on target – especially for long-term career management! Frankly, though, I think your quarterly work life assessment is absolutely the most brilliant part of your post! As I see it, just about everything else is tactical while this is truly strategic!! Ultimately, it’s the answer to these quality questions that will drive everything else. In the end, the best careers are the ones that create fulfillment across all parts of one’s life – and that’s what we should all strive for!!
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Thanks, Meg! You’ve hit an angle I wasn’t really considering, but is so very true! Even a model job search still has that element of being driven that can create frustration, and ultimately burnout, the longer it goes. And while I’m not saying everyone should dramatically alter their career path, I think pausing to determine if the path is the right one is well worth the effort. For me, that means putting your career into the context of your life and seeing if it is leading you closer to the meaning and fulfillment your want for yourself and your loved ones. If not, then clearly there is a need for making significant adjustments!
Thanks, Megan! That story is one of my favorites!! The lesson, just as you point out, is that we all need to understand what we really want. Of course, since it can be a moving target, we do need to check in from time to time. I think the idea of a life well lived is what drives my affinity to personal branding as a process. Because the work helps you reach deep introspective insights you can discover the core of who you really are. And once you learn that you can be yourself, you can take that permission and apply it in a variety of ways that serve your vision for the world while providing you great personal satisfaction!!
Hi Hannah! Thanks, as always for your great comment! You definitely get it! Interestingly, at Right Management, I faciliated a life options workshop for people just beyond mid-career. Typically, the response was that this is the kind of mindset they wish they’d developed years earlier. Actually, what most people don’t realize is that nose-to-the-grindstone work and sacrifice makes you ill prepared to enjoy yourself with new-found free time! So, if you can’t live a meaningful life now, you won’t be prepared to live one when you retire (whatever that means!!).
Thanks Gayle! You know you can always count on me for taking a slightly (or not so slightly) different angle! In thinking about that mid-year check up (especially in an environment where even doing the right things may still mean a long job search), it seemed a good time to suggest looking at the bigger picture. In fact, I do believe that by stepping outside of the box we so often put ourselves in, we may see ways to make a better life that helps us escape the treadmill we think we have to jump back on! Not advice for everyone, necessarily, but there are lots of people who may benefit from this kind of check up!
Thanks for your comment! “The Thank You Economy” is an interesting book, and I highly recommend it!! It is perhaps the best treatment of how social media has given rise to a relationship economy on a global scale – yet with small town dynamics. From a career management standpoint, it has given us the tools to reach out and build relationships with the people we most need to connect with. And this is a two way street, where both “candidates” and “employers” need to get to know, like, and trust each other!! Building relationships inside of trusted networks can lead to opportunities that make formal “job search” methods and documents of secondary importance!
Thanks, Matthew. Wish I had thought of the I SEE exercise myself! It's a great one! Laurence Boldt's book is a great read - especially if you like mythology and eastern philosophy!
Hey Heather! Thanks for your terrific feedback. Knowing that you “get it” on social media, I’m not surprised that this is what you’re teaching! You really are giving your people a big advantage in driving their careers in this brave new web-enabled world! Thanks, again!
Hi Hannah! Thanks for your great comment! Clearly social media continues to gain steam as a tool for enriching one’s life and career. There were insights that Shel Israel captured in “Twitterville” that began to point the way. Yet, if we need to be reminded that it’s all about becoming known, liked, and trusted, then Vayernerchuck’s book is a must read! In this post, I’ve mostly tried to present what I think are recommendations for driving your career in a social media enabled world! Great to be on the Career Collective with you!
Hi Megan! This is a rich and thought provoking post. You have certainly made a powerful case for not over-attaching oneself to one’s job title! For the longest time, claiming identity in terms of what one does has been so habitual that it seems natural. And yet, as our work in personal branding shows focusing on one’s title is not a way to stand out and succeed. The next step in the evolving dynamics of career success is, in fact, self-definition in terms of the unique bundle of competencies that result in the value one brings. And beyond that it means having a supporting backstory that authenticates that value. At the organizational level, it also seems natural to think in terms of job titles and descriptions. Yet, I think that is evolving as well. Ultimately, I think that organizations that want to be more adept at managing talent will see this and become more receptive to evaluating candidates by looking beyond the lines that create a job spec. Indeed, in the more dynamic marketplace we’ve seen evolving, it will take more fluidity to achieve results!
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Hi Megan! Great to be on the same team with you too! I appreciate your comment and great feedback on the exercise. It is an excellent one. In fact, I think Boldt’s book, because it is not a “typical” career book, is very well done and very inspiring.
Oh, Hannah! You are so kind! I’ve toyed with writing a book; and with encouragement like yours, it is even more tempting! Yes, in fact the safety/security thing is so VERY wrong. Indeed, it’s what Seth Godin has been writing about lately. “Linchpin” really gets at this…and the reasons people seek out that safety! There is, in fact, a certain level of facing your fears in all of this! Yet, ultimately, the way forward can begin with addressing the elements of I SEE. When people can figure that out, they are in a better position to summon the courage to make a difference!
Hi Gayle! Thanks for your comment. I’ve seen this too, and think it can often be the result of not digging deeply enough. And that digging is simply not all that easy or comfortable to do. Frankly, there are lots of people still working who chose “plastics” as the answer. At a late stage of their careers, they now embark upon a work/life balance quest by focusing on the superficial elements of their job. Any satisfaction they may gain is typically fleeting. What I am proposing is a deeper work that zeros in on what gives one’s life, and therefore one’s career, meaning. The quest needs to be for the central theme, or central purpose, of one’s life – and then grounding it in the elements of the I SEE model. Yes, it takes work, and maybe even facing some old demons, but the outcome is longer lasting and deeper satisfaction.
Hi Jacqui! Thanks for your astute comment! I love the concept of relationship economy. Actually it belongs to Scott Allen, Jay T. Deragon, and other authors of “The Emergence of The Relationship Economy: The New Order of Things to Come.” Yet, in my view it seems a fitting way to describe the importance of brand community – which I’ve written about before. Conveying our stories to our brand communities is a way of sharing experiences that create a “one of us” perception within the community – and predisposes a knowing, liking and trusting over time. Much of this happens over the course of many small interactions – and typically well before anyone looks for a resume. This doesn’t mean a resume is unimportant – even if tired lists of transferable skills are! Done well, a resume will involve using an introspective process to unearth the many small stories (or scenes) that support a large theme that’s central to our brand story. And the finished product should give the reader a tantalizing view of what the individual behind the resume stands for. In a way, a resume can be as powerful as a movie trailer – motivating the audience to want to invest more time to see the full-length feature! Hopefully, more people will begin to see the light and begin to tell their own powerful stories and better engage their communities!
Hi Hannah! Thanks for your terrific comment! I always enjoy having your perspective. You make a great point about PAR/STAR stories being a way to convey what we look like in action. Those stories are important in interviewing, and handled well can provide an opportunity for “shared narrative” – okay, fancy words for swapping stories – that can create a bond for with the interviewer. Yet, those same stories can be relationship builders for us within our broader professional communities. Not only do they convey what we do, but spark others to share similar stories. Ultimately, shared experience creates a “one of us” feeling that can predispose others to know, like, trust – and bond with us! Yup, relationship economy!
Hey Gayle! Thanks for your comment…and for sending a “wow” moment back to me! It’s not every day someone wants to frame one of my quotes!! This is a theme that’s been very much alive for me for a while, and it keeps picking up steam! Frankly, all the usual career criteria – credentials, competencies and track record – are still relevant. Yet, today, the world requires more. Indeed, I think it requires even more than a simple personal brand statement. I think we truly are seeing a time where it is the convergence of our story and our community that will provide the opportunity to create value! I sincerely hope that many more job seekers – and others – find that inspiration!
Hey Michael! Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your kind words! Having once been in corporate training, I know that you have the right skills to help companies make a new game! Best wishes on your job search!
Thanks, Dawn! I really appreciate your great comments. You're absolutely right about cultivating a networking as an ongoing source of both professional and personal growth over a lifetime! And actually there is great research on development networks that bears this out (see, for example, the work of Dawn Chandler: ). Not only is it a development issue, but also opportunities seem to find their ways to people who are part of trusted networks. Ultimately, though, I think success and satisfaction is the best reward for belonging.
Megan, this is an outstanding post! As I started reading it, I was reminded of a quote from John Twelve Hawks : "People don't believe they have power. Because they're scared, they want magic spells and secret passwords." If there was ever a place where people feel they lack power, it’s job search. And The very magic spells and secret passwords that people hold onto are the very obstacles to true progress. I love your approach of contrasting “Reality” with “Impact.” Not only is the form of you post terrific, but you have also made it a point to offer solid, in-depth discussion to guide your audience. This is advice that transcends the expat experience to touch all job seekers! Well done!
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Thanks, Hannah! I’m glad you enjoy my posts! I enjoy yours too, so it really works out great, doesn’t it?! Interesting that you say I model my unique brand! I do write from a perspective of being highly self-directed and owning your life! So, yes, I’ve been kind of a rule breaker myself. Yet, I think we have come into times when managing one’s career requires that kind of ownership as never before. Success increasingly requires breaking a few rules, or in many cases, breaking them sufficiently to change the game completely. And by changing the game, I mean it mainly in the sense that Chris Brogan and Julien describe it in “Trust Agents.” That is, figure out who (or what) the gatekeepers are and develop the kind of upstart strategy that will make them, and their rules, irrelevant. How to start? Well, let’s put it this way: The ultimate act of revolution is to think for yourself!
As a Reach colleague, you're well versed in the advantage a clearly developed and communicated personal brand is in driving success. We have long pushed beyond cookie cutter…especially in your work with Expats. Still, I think we’re entering a time when it will be increasingly critical to have an authentic story to validate your brand and deep roots in a brand community that will both seek you out and recommend you to others! We live in challenging, yet exciting times!
Thanks for your kind words, Gayle! I try to think about our topics in the broader context of career management. If they are on target an inspiring, I guess that’s a bonus. In fact, there still lots of tactics for job search that remain mostly the same. For example, if you’re looking for a job, you still need a resume. Yet, the broader context of career management has changed dramatically! And it requires more. Today, even if you have a job, you need to be mindful of showing your value and authenticating it via story and brand community, both on line and off! It truly is a different world!
Hey Meg! Terrific post! I wholeheartedly agree. Social media has changed the game! With so much information available on line, not putting a photo on our LinkedIn profile is simply a silly nod to an old precaution. I think folks making comments here make great points. I do want to point to Ed’s in particular. It’s typically the case that hiring managers see candidates before hiring anyway! So, forgoing a picture has been unnecessary for a long, long time! I think people need to let it go!