Opportunity knocks every day, but do you answer the door?
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Your reputation is your brand and your brand is your reputation.
We live in a digital society where one click, one Google search, one anonymous message board post or one Yelp review can be the difference between the employed and the unemployable.
Google your name right now.
…Seriously, have you done it yet?…
What are the results? Are they what you had hoped? Are they good or bad? Why or why not?
Look, I know that you can’t control what others say about you. There will always be jealous and envious types that don’t want you to do well and there will always be those that say awful things just because they are miserable people.
Our society has become very vocal and opinionated - so much so that some will anonymously post vitriol that could drive a small business owner out of business, or engage in “group think” about a person or persons.
I get it, but don’t let those negative Google results affect you professionally…or personally. Google searches (which includes social media information) are common for employers when collecting background information on potential employees and potential clients. It’s perfectly legal.
It’s all about image.
So, what now? How do you create a personal brand? Here are five points to use as a guide:
- What’s your WHY? Clearly define your purpose.
- Who’s your audience? List what group(s) would be interested in what you have to say.
- Have a plan. Decide which social platforms you want to use and how you will use them.
- Listen, listen, listen. Listen to others on your social channels. Pose questions to your followers. Don’t just talk about yourself.
- Repeat after me: IT’S OK TO SELF-PROMOTE…in moderation. If you leave off the moderation part and just promote yourself 24/7, then forget anything I said about building a brand because your brand will be non-existent.
At the end of the day, all of us - and I mean, ALL OF US - that actively use social media are narcissistic on some level. But, hear me out on this: just because you have a personal brand doesn’t mean you have an inflated ego. Too many people confuse the terms.
Your reputation is your brand and your brand is your reputation.
Take care of yourself.
Thanks to Troy Kirby for inviting me as guest for his videocast.
Is Social Media Making Us ‘Anti-Social’?
Is social media making us anti-social? The answer is complicated.
Huh? How is that possible?
I, for one, am guilty of sitting at a table in a public place, scouring through hours of tweets and social media posts - trying to digest everything I missed in the last 30 seconds of real life. It’s a nervous tick. It’s so annoying that my wife, my kids and even my dog will take my iPhone out of my hand to get my attention.
Social media offers instant gratification. It offers external validation. It fills a void that may or may not be healthy.
Break social media down into two words: social and media.
We are now able to communicate easier, quicker and (in most cases) more effectively than ever. Social.
We consume and share news and information more than ever, easier than ever. Hence, media.
We are social beings by nature, but has the influence of social media really made us anti-social? It depends on who you ask. (Side note: read 'Stop Wasting Your Time on Twitter' by Matt Knisely)
I think we are so consumed by connecting with others that we may tend to forget the deep-rooted relationships we’ve already forged. Yet, we long for MORE human interaction. It’s natural. However, as we get older, we tend to lose contact with acquaintances and casual friends, instead choosing to focus on family and really close friends.
Social media has tricked us into thinking we have to be in the moment every waking second of the day. It’s not true. Live your life, don’t tweet your life (said multiple times by Kevin DeShazo).
One of the cool things (and sometimes creepy, depending on the situation) about being so “social” on social media: going to conferences such as NACDA and COSIDA and meeting people face-to-face (finally!) after interacting for lengths of time on social media.
How do we start the conversation?
What if he/she doesn’t like the real me? What if they only like the social media me?
Sometimes I feel weird when the first thing someone says to me is: “I follow you on Twitter.” I don’t know what to say. But, social media opens endless doors to developing and maintaining meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
Don’t be stuck behind a Twitter handle. Don’t get hung up on how many “connections” you have on LinkedIn on Twitter.
Don’t forget about what matters in life: Living life.
Let social media open the door, but you’re responsible for making real-life relationships…real.
A Father’s Day Letter to My Kids
Dear Addison and Jackson,
I hope you’ll read this one day when you’re older (or at least when you’ve graduated from Curious George and Disney books)….
I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect parent.
My family doesn’t have a strong lineage of great dads. It’s time to break the cycle.
I don’t want you to view me as your hero or your best friend. I just want to be a good dad to you and be there when you need me. I want to teach you things you’ll need in life…long after I’m gone.
I was scared to death when I became a dad for the first time in 2008. I remember holding Addy for the first time and thinking: “I’m now responsible for another life.” But I loved you from the moment I saw you. Unconditionally.
I know I haven’t consoled you enough when you needed me. But I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are and I hope I can raise you to be a respectful young woman, who sees the good in others.
You are smart, you are funny and you are destined to be great in whatever you do.
Yes, I cried at your Kindergarten graduation. I’m not sorry I did that, but be forewarned: I will cry at your high school graduation, when you graduate college, when I give you away on your Wedding Day, and when you have kids. That’s my right as a dad. I want to be sure you still love me and you don’t hate me when you grow older. I don’t want to lose my baby girl.
I can’t believe you’re 6 years old! (As I cry again)
Now, Jackson…. Oh, my little minion. You’ve been to the ER more times in the last year than I have in my 32 years of existence. That’s an impressive feat.
I am impressed you’ve made it to 3 - you know, with all the falls you’ve had. If you make it to 5, then I’ll call it my greatest accomplishment.
Don’t take this the wrong way: when your mom and I found out we were having a boy, I panicked. I didn’t want a boy. I didn’t think I could be a good dad to a son. You’re always by my side. You’re my little buddy.
I want you to grow up to become a respectful young man, who learns the value of serving others.
These last six years have been full of great moments that I’ll remember for a lifetime.
I’ll always be there for you in both success and failure, when you fall down, or when someone breaks your heart. I just want to be a good dad and set a good example for the both of you.
I want to break the cycle.
I love you with all my heart,
If you think you’ve made it, then you’re in the wrong place.
A day later, I am still in awe of those that won an award at the 2014 CoSIDA Convention in Orlando. Even months after being told I was the recipient of the Rising Star Award, I’m in shock myself.
It’s an honor, a privilege and a humbling moment in my life.
I thanked as many people as I could during Wednesday’s luncheon, but inevitably, I left some people out.
I had written an acceptance speech that didn’t have to deliver, but it’s pasted below in its entirety with everyone I want to thank for being a part of my professional journey.
"Before I do anything, I want to thank my wife Ashleigh. This award belongs to her just as much as it belongs to me. She’s the real star in my life. She’s believed in me from day 1 and when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s enjoyed the highest of the highs and she’s been by my side through the lowest of the lows.
Thank you for being the best teammate any man could ask for. I love you.
Thank you to my former student assistant Chris Whitehead, who nominated me for this award. I am proud to him a colleague and more importantly a friend.
Today wouldn’t be possible without those that took a chance on a South Louisiana kid who didn’t know this industry existed.
Thank you to Mike Montoro for hiring me at Southern Miss. Thank you Mary Beth and Dan McDonald, who treated me and Ashleigh like their own. Dan taught me the meaning of working hard and treating others properly.
Thank you to Randy Burnside, who convinced me to move to Huntington, W.Va., for graduate school. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Thank you to Ian McCaw and Nick Joos for the opportunity at Baylor. I learned more in four years than I ever expected.
Thank you to Blake James and Chris Freet for believing me and mentoring me through my first two years at Miami. I am forever grateful.
Last, but certainly not least - thank you to my Communications Staff at Miami - Amy Woodruff, Taylor McGillis, Camron Ghorbi and David Villavicencio. I learn from you guys every day and you challenge me to be a better leader.
The only thing worse than being without sight is having the ability to see without a clear vision.
I may be late to the party but, Andy Stanley has written a must-read book for leader/communicators who want to maximize the adhesiveness of their vision! I highly recommend this book! The book itself is only 74 pages, so it is a very quick read. Here are a few of my own take aways.
One of the greatest challenges is making vision stick. Vision doesn’t have much adhesive (12).
To get people to sit still long enough to understand your vision is hard enough. But to get them to actually organize their lives around it is supremely difficult.
The urgent and legitimate needs of today quickly erase our commitment to the what could be of tomorrow (15-16).
It’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure that people understand and embrace the vision of the organization (17).
5 things you can do to increase the adhesiveness of your vision …
- State the vision simply.
- Cast the vision convincingly.
- Repeat the vision regularly.
- Celebrate the vision systematically.
- Embrace the vision personally.
If your vision is going to stick in people’s minds, it must be memorable. […] People don’t remember or embrace paragraphs. They remember and embrace sentences (19). […] And, If the vision is too complicated, nothing changes (23).
Leaders must define the problem, offer a solution, and present a reason for the solution.
Every vision is a solution to a problem (25).
Buy-in by others hinges on your ability to convince them you are offering a solution to a problem they are convinced needs to be solved (26).
A leader points the way to a solution and gives a compelling reason why something must be done now (30).
As committed as I am to the idea of casting vision on a regular basis, sometimes I feel a bit guilty. I like I’m repeating myself (35).
The repetition is an essential component of vision-casting.
Celebrating a win incarnates the vision, bringing clarity in a way that words cannot. (40)
Your willingness to embody the vision of your organization will have a direct impact on your credibility as a leader. Living out the vision establishes credibility and makes you a leader worth following. When people are convinced the vision has stuck with you, it is easier for them to make the effort to stick with the vision (47).
If God has given you a picture of what could and should be, embrace it fully and refuse to allow the busyness and urgency of life to distract you. […] Seeing a vision become a reality requires more than a single burst of energy or creativity. It requires daily attention. Daily commitment (72-73).