September 29, 2016

Building a Daily Success Plan

The more that I listen to podcasts and read books of people that have achieved success, the more I realize that their success doesn’t come from the things they do.  Instead, it comes from the habits they’ve created.  With this lens of seeing our actions as living out a habit, I have realized how many things I do throughout the day without even thinking about them.  They are habits that I’ve developed along the way – some good, some bad.

So, to work to ensure that I am successful, I have been working on building habits to improve my life.  The last two months, I worked on developing a habit of getting up early and spending time following Hal Enrod’s Miracle Morning.  I complete his daily life SAVERS (silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing).  I still am having to work to make sure that I do this each day, but after two months, it certainly has become easier.  I no longer have such a hard time getting out of bed and getting moving in the morning.  It truly has helped improve my attitude and provide me with more energy each day.  In addition, it ensures that I am devoting time each day to improving myself to move toward the best version of myself.

Currently, I am working on building a habit of reach out to at least one person every day to help improve my person and professional networks.  I have connected with old friends, had deeper conversations with close friends, attended local events, and reached out to people I’ve never met before to see if I can add value to them.  I am definitely struggling with this new habit, as networking is not something I do very naturally.  However, I believe that if I continue to work for the next couple of months on making this a daily habit, just like with the Miracle Mornings, I believe that I will be successful.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

September 27, 2016

What Are Your Super Powers?

The sweet spot is finding a job that combines what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what people that are willing to pay for.  So, when I think about the things that come naturally to me, I have found the following to be my core strengths, or perhaps, my super powers!


I am a very analytical person and I’m always looking to accomplish tasks as efficiently as possible.  When I look back at times when I’ve been the most successful, it almost always involved working to create or improve processes to help get the job done faster or more easily.  I don’t always think of this as a super power, because I forget that not everyone thinks in the same way I do.  The more that I can incorporate improving efficiency into my job, the more successful I will be.

Team Building

A number of people throughout my life have told me that I am a natural leader.  Whether it was on sports teams in middle or high school, creating volunteer organizations in college, or now as a manager in my job, I always am looking to help people around me improve themselves and their performance.  It also excites me to be a part of a motivated and accountable team that is working well together.  I continually want to raise the bar by empowering those around me to become the best versions of themselves.


When I am on top of my game, I am able to focus for long periods of time with great intensity.  I’ve seen this play out in my life when driving long distances, solving complex problems, and working toward a goal.  I know that this super power is not always as strong as my other strengths, so I need to need to be more deliberate in ensuring this is something I work on regularly.

So, in order for me to become the best version of myself, I need to look to have a clear goal or mission (focus), to work with a motivated group (team building), and to improve the way things operate (efficiency).  When I can find the intersection of these three, I may just become … A Super Hero!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

September 26, 2016

What is your perfect day?

When I visualize my perfect day 5-10 years from now, it starts with an early morning routine of meditation, visualization, reading and writing.  Once I have spent time grounding myself and feeling empowered to accomplish what I want, I begin to take action.  I go exercise, whether it be running, biking, yoga, swimming, or weight lifting.  After my work out, I help my wife get our future children get ready for the day.  After they get off to school or day care, I start on some focused work from my home office.  I have clearly defined goals of what I want to achieve that month, that quarter, that year, so I know each day the main actions I need to take to accomplish them.  The morning is my time to produce.  I leave email, phone calls, and social media alone until I’ve spent a few hours building my business.

After a productive morning, I see myself setting out to work with other people.  I have a lunch meeting with a prospective business partner or client.  Then, I head to the office to work with my leadership team.  My focus is on helping them to become the best leaders that they can to help move the business that I’ve created forward.  After helping provide my team with direction and focus, I head to pick up my kids from school and take them to sport practice, or musical rehearsal, or some other club activity.  While they are busy with practice, I take care of emails or make phone calls to be able to close out the business day.

The evening is filled with quality time with family and friends.  We have dinner as a family each night, and I spend focused time with each member of my family to know what they are most excited about from their day.  We are involved in our church and community.  Some nights, we will head to community gatherings, or volunteer our time.  Once we get home and the kids go to bed, I have a drink (wine, beer, or herbal tea) with my wife and wind down from a balanced day.  When we head to bed, I feel fulfilled in mind, body, and spirit, and I am ready to get a good night of sleep and begin again the next day.

Now, it's time for me to go achieve it!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

September 21, 2016

Discovering Your Why

Why do I want to live the freedom lifestyle?

When I think about why I am on this planet, I continually come back to a mission of “helping people to become the best version of themselves”.  I am a very analytical person and focus a lot on data, details, and processes.  However, I really feel as though the character traits that set me apart from other people that have a similar framework is how much I enjoy working with people and helping them to learn and grow. 

I spent two years as a middle school teacher, and I very much enjoyed working with my students to learn mathematics as well as grow in their study habits and feel confident in their abilities.  Prior to that, I was very involved in college with individuals with intellectual disabilities and helping them to build a social structure that made them feel more connected to those around them.  Now, as a manager of a consulting team, I enjoy the one-on-one conversations talking about struggles that my team members are facing and asking them focused questions about how they think it would be best to solve the problem and how I can help them in the journey. 

To me, freedom will be when I am able to focus my efforts on helping people being the best that they can and leveraging my analytical mindset to create structures to get to their goals in the most effective way.  I look forward to being able to remove the negative influences in my way, to have clarity around the group that I am meant to help, and feeling confident that I am truly showing up in the world to the best of my ability.  This will allow me to be free to be the best person I can be! 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

September 20, 2016

Finding Your Focus

Hello!  It’s me again.  I know I have been away from posting blog posts for quite some time.  This site was an amazing resource for me as I researched and identified where I wanted to go next in my career.  Now, 5 years later, I am still searching for what is right for me.  Perhaps, I should have been posting all along.  Looking back at these posts, there are a number of insights that I’ve had to re-learn.  Who knows, maybe I could have kept them front of mind had I kept up the habit of posting and saved myself some time.  Recently, I was pointed to a challenge by Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, for a 10-day blog challenge.  So, I’m going to be posting some more reflections here to share my thoughts.  I don’t yet know where I’m headed, but just like before, I’m excited for the journey.  This time, I feel as though I have a number of great resources like Natalie guiding me on my path.  I hope you enjoy!

What are the things that are your biggest challenges from living your ideal lifestyle?

Negative Influences
I tend to get a good portion of my energy from the people surrounding me.  When I am with people that are positive and optimistic, I truly am at my best.  However, when I am surrounded by people that are negative, I begin to feel negative myself.  Right now, I do not feel all of the people around me personally and especially professionally are helping me become the person I want to be.  I need to upgrade my network.

Unclear Focus
I know that I have been struggling in finding fulfillment lately, and I have been taking a number of steps to gaining momentum to move forward.  For example, I have gotten up early each day for the last 2 ½ months to complete Hal Enrod’s MiracleMorning.  Similarly, I’ve been listening to podcasts regularly, which has lead me to join Geoff Wood’s master mind, The Inner Circle, after listening to The Mentee continuously.  Also, I’ve read more books in the last 3 months than I probably have in the last 3 years!  The problem with building all this momentum is that I don’t have clarity around where I want to go.  I know that I need a change; I am ready to take action; but I don’t know where to go.

Limiting Beliefs
Growing up, my dad was a successful business man.  I always admired how well he did in his career and how much he seemed to enjoy his work.  I have a lot of similar traits as my father, so I’ve always seen myself following in a similar career path.  Now that I am experiencing some success as a manager within a growing business, I don’t feel the fulfillment that I expected.  A number of my reflections point me toward starting a business.  However, I have a limiting belief that I can’t start my own business.  Entrepreneurs have something “built” inside of them; I don’t have that – I’m a business man.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

October 20, 2011

Elevator Speeches

I want to take some time to discuss elevator speeches (a.k.a. elevator pitches, 30-second resume, etc.) and their importance as a young professional.  First, lets talk about why it's called an elevator speech.  Because, let's be honest, the elevator is probably the most awkward place to have a conversation with a complete stranger.  I would argue that 99% of elevator speeches never happen in elevators at all.  So, what gives?

Well the way I've best heard it explained is as follows: You bump into a business executive in the lobby of your office building.  You say hello and mention that you have this project idea you want to discuss.  They are a busy person, so they tell you that you have until the elevator gets to their floor, and then they need to get to a meeting.  Ready ... Set ... Go!

So, let's take a closer look at what an elevator speech is and how it can be used outside of this example.  Usha Krishnan Sliva describes an elevator speech as a statement that clearly illustrates who you are, what you do, and makes the person you're talking to interested in hearing more.  Usha highlights that this speech need not be given only to the top executive in the elevator.  Rather, this speech can be delivered when meeting any new person - at a conference, during a networking meeting, at a local bar, and so much more.

With this, it becomes apparent that not one elevator speech will get all the jobs done.  You wouldn't want to go to a first grade career day and talk to the 6 year-olds  about TPS reports, Fortune 500 companies, or SAP software solutions.  Also, you don't want to stutter over your words when someone at a networking event asks you to explain what it is that you do.  So to be successful in both of these situations, you should make sure that you Practice, Practice, Practice!  Practice so much that you can give your speech without thought and adapt to your current audience instantaneously.

Now, I'm sure you are on the edge of your seat with excitement about all the great people you're going to meet and give your "speech" to, but you ask, "Jason, what exactly should I say?"  Well, great question.  Each person's speech should be different and reflect not only what you do, but also your personality.  Heather Huhman highlights that elevator speeches should generally have these components:
  • Who you are - your name and position
  • What you are seeking - job, client, network contact
  • What you can offer - you need to be of value to your audience
  • Request action - explain your expectation moving forward

Finally, your speech should be short - under a minute for sure, and within 30 seconds if you can.  Any longer than that, you start to seem self-centered and lose your audience's interest.  Like I mentioned above, your goal is to get to the end of your pitch and have your audience interested in hearing more.

I've found some examples of elevator speeches, but its hard to find great examples that will fit you.  You are different than everyone else.  You have different job roles, different experiences, and a different personality.  Examples may help, but you should focus on your own way of delivering a speech.

Well, there you have it ... Get out there and work on your speeches.  If you ever find me standing in an elevator next to you, feel free to give me your speech.  I'll be sure to give you mine right back.  (I just hope we have a tall building ...)

September 21, 2011

Use Social Media Effectively

I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel like it can be so hard to keep up with social media.  Even if I login everyday, I have 300+ Facebook news feeds and 50+ tweets to look at.  And that's not it.  Then, I have to keep track of Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Google Reader, Foursquare, Yelp, and so much more.  On top of this, I have e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to deal with too.  Then, once I feel like I get a handle on everything, Facebook goes and changes their home screen, and I have to relearn how to use it effectively!  Come on!  Sometimes, I just feel like giving up and throwing in the towel!

Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PwC) highlighted the need for young professionals to embrace social media in order to effectively build their networks.  I found two parts of their presentation particularly interesting:  making over your online image and developing your personal brand.  Take a look at the thoughts they have to share:

Online Image Make-Over
  • Study profiles of people you admire in order to understand what, where, and how they post
  • Beef up your Linkedin profile with a headline, specialties, experience, apps, and recommendations
  • Make Facebook more professional by adding work experience, incorporate professional pages and events into your account, and remove inappropriate material
  • Use Twitter appropriately and connect it with Linkedin or add it to your e-mail signature
    • Follow companies and people you admire in the professional world
    • Tweet professional events you are attending and books you are reading

Develop Your Personal Brand
The people in your personal and professional networks can have a large impact on the way other people see you (especially potential clients and employers).
  • Spend as much effort (if not more) on building relationships than skills
    • Don't just look toward your network when you need something; make sure you develop genuine relationships
  • Make sure you have an accurate, up-to-date database of people in your network
    • Keep track of important information about the people (birthdays, hobbies, connections, etc.)
  • Connect with your network on multiple social media sites
    • Share short hellos and interesting articles to show interest in your network
  • Join groups in addition to connecting with people
    • Groups show dedication and interest in your field
  • Go the extra mile and be thoughtful
    • Send "happy birthday" and holiday messages with a personal touch
    • Reach out to connections to ask if there is something you can do for them
  • Share what you are doing in your life
    • Update at least once a week about books you're reading and events you're attending
    • Invite people to support events and organizations your involved with

Well, there you go.  A quick summary of why we can't just through in the towel and give up on social media.  Networking is becoming more important in succeeding as a young professional, and social media is a component of networking that isn't going anywhere.  I'd like to finish with an experiment, and I could use you're help...

This is where you come in (ACTION REQUIRED)
If you have come across this blog post via a social media sites, add a comment below by clicking where it says "comments" and let me know how you got here(Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, etc.).

Also, if you liked what PwC and I have to say, share it with your own social media network.

Let's see how many people we can get to comment!!!