My 30 Seconds or So of Fame …

Television - guys cheering“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  

Andy Warhol

So I might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

I recently participated in a panel discussion around blogging for business with several other very accomplished folks from our area.   The show recently aired on All About Business St. Louis (AAB)    

As with any television experience, I cringe  a little when I see myself on the screen, but feel that a good amount of useful statements about blogging and business from our group “made the cut” from a much larger amount of film shot.  

My co-participants were thoughtful, articulate, and very business-oriented … the energy in the room was easily sensed and the wisdom shared from these very accomplished professionals is solid.

You can find an archived copy of Episode 51 on YouTube or on the AAB website.

Television - bored guyPlease feel free to comment, critique, argue about, or make fun of my small role. 

After all, it’s just TVSmile

Amanda and the crew at All About Business St. Louis (AAB) deserve a big round of applause.  They do at least three things really well:

1)  AAB makes the process of shooting video footage a really enjoyable and stress-free activity. 

2)  AAB folks are magicians at changing diverse content into a cohesive, informative and useful production.

3) AAB focuses on the St. Louis area and business-related topics, highlighting local people, activities, and events that otherwise might go unsung.

Check out their website … you might be surprised what you find about business life here in the Heartland.

Preparing for the autograph–seeking hordes to descend in the Heartland ….


Looking Back or Looking Ahead . . . ?

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow could be talking today, couldn’t he:)?

This simple sentence explains why job interviews go awry, collegial relationships turn sour, and life just does not turn out the way we think it  should.

We are talking  potential and someone else is talking track record.

Young people have the luxury of being assessed on what they might do, where
the rest of us have to rest on our records. Something about this is vaguely ageist.

Deciding on a person’s value based on what they have or have not done before might be fair and in sync with theory.   However, it’s not always right . . .  especially in this time of recareering, reinvention, and reconsolidation.

One of my favorite Aristotle quotes is “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”    However, I think Aristotle misses a great point about the never-ending nature of possibilities.

We can always choose to be different.

Think about it  . . . when you are considering “something completely
different“, should you receive some credit for what you might do, and not
what you already have done or not done?

Your experience and knowledge comes into play and that’s as it should
be.  It’s just not the whole game.

Reflections and reactions welcome:)

Thinking about what I might do that I have never done before in the Heartland . . .


“Of Course, I Can Do That . . . Wait . . . No, I Can’t”

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell em, “Certainly I can!”  — and get busy and find out how to do it.”
Theodore Roosevelt

I love Teddy Roosevelt ~ not for his politics or his somewhat haphazard approach to foreign affairs, but for his absolutely confident approach to life ~ and this quote is right in line with that “Bully Boy” attitude.

That said, let’s look a little closer at this one . . .

In general, we are all faced with times when we are accepting a responsibility that is beyond our current capabilities or experiences.  This is often called “Promotion“, “A Step Up“,  “Opportunity” or even my personal favorite, “A Challenge“.  Oops, forgot the current favorite terminology:  “This’ll stretch your talents.” . . . of course, so will overly tight jeans and a noose.

We have to risk and change to grow.  If we do not try to grow, then we resemble that trite, old, but rather accurate saying:

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”

So we need to do this kind of career stretching and may be even more tempted these days to engage in wishful optimism about our own abilities, I do believe we need to do so while considering the following:

1)  When conveying ability in a situation puts others at risk

Every so often, we hear about someone who is not a licensed nurse or doctor somehow being able to practice.  Hats off to them for their achievement, but I do not want them prescribing, poking, or prodding me.  The person who graduated at the bottom of their medical class still has more credibility.

2)  When a question of ethics is involved

There is having confidence that you can develop a skill rapidly in the right situation and then there is lying about yourself.  I can learn a great many skills if I have the opportunity to practice and have shown the ability to become quite good at something in a short time.

I have used Adobe Captivate on several occasions and have enough knowledge of this e-learning tool to be “up to speed” fairly quickly.

I cannot do certain things and would require massive doses of professional development to become able to do those things.  Using the professional e-learning tool Dreamweaver comes to mind here.

3)  When claiming ability will make you feel guilty.

This one is simple.  Here’s my basic rule for ethical behavior in life:

“If it is going to make you feel guilty, do not do it.”

Sometimes the critical question is not “Can I do this?” or “Can I learn this?”.  The critical question should always include a healthy reflection on how you will feel when you face yourself in the morning.

“If I do this, how will I feel about myself?”

Even in this economy, you need to ask yourself this question about every opportunity and how you approach it.

An Alternative: 

“I cannot do this yet.  Here is my thinking on what it would take for me to be able to do this, along with all the other positive things I bring to this table.  Let’s continue to talk.”

What other considerations have I missed here?

With apologies to my favorite “Rough Rider” as I ponder his words in the Heartland . . .


Lessons Learned the Hard Way . . .

Three leadership lessons I learned early in my working life:

1)  Always pick up trash on the floor

As a young supervisor, my manager told me to pay attention to my environment and notice things, like trash on the floor, dust on the furniture, tears in the carpet, and so on.  Once I had noticed something, I should fix the problem or start action to fix it.   I found it  easy to casually pick up a stray piece of trash and throw it away, instead of walking past thinking “That’s not my job.” Continue reading