Saturday, September 22, 2007

48 Days to the Work You Love

More on personal branding. I mentioned in my last post that I was deconstructing myself. I pick up this book to help.

There is a quote from Tom Peters somewhere that if he gets one idea out of a $20 book, the ROI is incredible.

This is one of those books. This book is H-E-A-V-Y on the religious overtones. I don't judge and those parts are easy to skip over.

This book looks at goal-setting and life balancing. It asks you to look inward and "know thyself". It provides some decent tips along the way.

The author, Dan Miller, lays out 7 Areas For Achievement in your life. They are:

  1. Financial
  2. Physical
  3. Personal Development
  4. Family
  5. Spiritual
  6. Social
  7. Career
For more on this I really suggest you look at Rick Houcek. I met him a few years ago. He talks about the same thing...balance and goal-setting. He's an intense guy.

Digression - in the Social section, Miller provides a list of 6 Ways to make people like you - that he lifts from Dale Carnegie. (I don't know about "making" people like you, but these couldn't hurt):

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
Then he gets into understanding your personal brand. In order to understand your brand you need to understand three areas: your personality traits, your values, dreams, and passions, and skills and abilities. You need to take a very hard and detailed personal inventory to understand you values/dreams/passions and your skills/abilities. There are plenty of personality tests out there (more on those in a later post).

Miller takes a pretty common point about your plain-old-looks-like-everyone-else's resume and tweaks it in a way that bears repeating:
Your resume is your sales tool for where you want to go. Don't let it be just a snapshot of where you have been.
Where you want to GO. I like that.

He continues...
If you want to redirect your career path, you can begin the process with a well-designed resume. Remember, if your resume is just a chronological history of what you've done, it will pigeonhole you into continuing to do what you've always done. You can redirect in major ways by identifying 'area of competence' that would have applications in new companies, industries, and professions.
Along with goal-setting and branding, Miller provides interviewing tips. I liked his section on the always tough "Tell me a little about yourself" question. I think I am a pretty good interviewee. I hate this question. Miller helps and it really goes hand in hand with your branding. If you really lock in on your brand, this question will answer itself. He advises:
Remember, your answer to any question should be no more than 2 minutes in length. On this particular one, you might spend 15 seconds on your personal background, 1 minute on your career highlights, a few seconds on your strongest professional achievements, and then conclude by explaining why you are looking for a new opportunity.
I recommend video-taping yourself. It is BRUTAL. But it is effective. Get yourself a timer. Script out your answer, record it, time it. Edit it as needed. Pay attention to your body language as you speak. I don't know about the 2 minute rule either.

You need your elevator-speech (we really need a new term for that) and this will come as you come to understand your brand. Take the 2 minute version and chop it to 1 minute. Then to 30 seconds. It is OK to have multiple versions - long, medium, short.

Maybe I was unfair in the beginning of this post. There is a good amount of value in this book. I was really turned off by all the "Bibleing". Miller tosses around Scripture like - I don't know, I can't think of a good metaphor. But all in all, this is a good starting point for someone looking to know themselves better.

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