Category: Personal Branding


7 Best Books That Will Make a Huge Impact on Your Life and Career

Last year I shared a post describing five books that will make a huge impact on your life and career. This year I want to share my latest reads guaranteed to also have a huge impact on your life and career.

I’ve read a lot books this past year. But, in an effort to save you some time, I’m only highlighting my top five (with a couple of honorable mentions) that provide tangible take-aways. These take-aways are guaranteed to produce results when you apply them to your life and career.

I’ve personally applied many of the principles from these books. And I’ve either seen immediate results, or the beginning growth of those sown seeds.

Top 5 Best Books

1. Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money by Pat Flynn

I have several clients considering starting their own business. This is a great book for them or anyone else thinking of starting their own business or side hustle. It guides readers through several litmus tests to help determine if their business idea is viable, prior to diving in with a huge time or money investment.

The first half of the book is very similar to my program on personal branding. The author Pat Flynn (who’s known for teaching people how to create passive income streams) spends a big chunk of the book discussing the importance of having a personal mission statement and personal brand prior to starting any kind of business idea. It truly is the first step to starting anything new in your life or career.

Biggest take-away:

“Make sure you’re running to something instead of away from something.”

This is so true. I see many people who come to me wanting to start their own business for the sheer desire of leaving their current job.

Will It Fly? helps you determine both the right reasons and the wrong reasons for starting your own business. Because it is so important to know these reasons, I did an entire group coaching call on this very topic with this book as the basis for the discussion.

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2. The Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business by Chris Ducker

I read The Rise of the Youpreneur on the heels of Will It Fly? It’s a good follow-up after you’ve done all the exercises from Will It Fly? and determined which of your business ideas are most viable and best support your personal mission.

Like Flynn’s book, The Rise of the Youpreneur is chock-full of exercises and online resources to help you get your business off the ground.

Biggest Take-Away

While I’ve been doing a lot of what Ducker recommends to become a successful brand in my own coaching business, I hadn’t been doing all of it because it just seemed so overwhelming. Drucker’s book helped me to organize and prioritize all those things into manageable phases and steps.

I’m currently working through those phases to improve what I’ve been doing and to add in what I haven’t been doing.

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3. Breaking Money Silence: How to Shatter Money Taboos, Talk More Openly About Finances, and Live a Richer Life by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

I got a copy of Breaking Money Silence from the author when I heard her speak here in Nashville. It is BY FAR the best book on finances I’ve ever read.

Kingsbury delves into the emotional side of money. She talks about the various mindsets people have about money, explaining why money often creates unnecessary conflict between people. It dispels myths both men and women have about money. And it reveals the hidden costs of staying quiet about an often uncomfortable topic.

What I love most about it is it provides tangible ways to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about money between couples, children and aging parents, siblings, and more. It also helps readers see their worth and the importance of negotiating a fair salary with their employer, something I often teach my clients how to do.

Not only is this a great book for anyone who feels insecure about their knowledge of finances (or thinks they already know everything about finances), it’s also recommended for financial advisers so they can learn how to address the emotional side of money when working with their clients. There are exercises at the end of each chapter for both the interested reader and their financial advisers.

Breaking Money Silence is also a nice prerequisite to one of my honorable mentions listed below, Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover.

Of all the books on this list, this is the one I’d buy a copy for everyone if I could. I plan to keep my copy because I know I’ll refer back to it every time I need to.

Biggest Take-Aways

There are too many take-aways from this book to list here, but the big ones for me were:

  • Understanding my own personal money mindsets and where those came from.
  • How to broach difficult but necessary conversations about money.
  • How to best prevent or handle potential financial conflicts in the future, especially if I ever get married.
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4. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller and his wife Kathy Keller

Speaking of marriage, I chose a book on marriage to include on this list, even though I’m not married. I initially read The Meaning of Marriage because it’s also a good read for singles. Plus, I’m always trying to best prepare myself for whatever God has in store for my future.

Keller, who is the founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, discusses the importance of purpose and vision in a marriage. Purpose is obviously important in helping my clients discover work they can be passionate about, so this concept of purpose in marriage really piqued my interest.

Biggest Take-Away:

A Christ-centered marriage can’t be merely about itself. It must be about something else, something both partners are committed to and passionate about besides one another.

A marriage based on attraction alone does not provide a common vision. Physical attraction and financial goals will bring unity for only a while. But such goals don’t create deep oneness, because eventually you reach those superficial goals (or you don’t), and then what? What is your marriage for? Where are you going?

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5. Your God Is Too Safe: Rediscovering the Wonder of a God You Can’t Control by Mark Buchanan

Last but certainly not least is Your God is Too Safe. The very first words of this book in the introduction are:

“I’m stuck.”

This is a phrase most clients say to me when they first reach out to me. Many of them feel stuck in their life or career. My job is to get them unstuck by helping them discover and pursue their passions.

But it’s also common to get and feel stuck spiritually. Buchanan’s book addresses this feeling of being stuck spiritually and how to move to new levels of spiritual passion.

He sets out to diagnose why Christians get stuck in their faith and are unable to see God at work in their lives. He calls this “living in borderland” – the barren but crowded place between a Christian’s old life and their adventurous and abundant new life. It’s a place where doubt, disappointment, guilt, and wonderlessness can keep us in mediocrity.

Then Buchanan shares how to move beyond borderland to a place of excitement, boldness, and exhilaration by not putting our own limitations on God and allowing Him to do beyond all we can imagine for our lives.

Biggest Take-Away

“Christianity without a deep longing for Christ in your heart is no Christianity at all, just a cheap imitation of the real thing.”

This quote actually comes from another reader who reviewed Your God is Too Safe. I believe it’s very well-said.

While as humans we all want to remain safe and feel secure in our own comfort zone, this book reminds us that’s not what real Christianity is. It’s not what we’re called to as Christians. We’re called to live boldly in Christ’s name, even when it’s uncomfortable. Not to do so is to live an inauthentic life and to miss out on all God has planned for us.

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Honorable Mentions

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan For Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

The Total Money Makeover is an oldie but goodie in overcoming debt and finding financial peace. It’s a good follow up to Breaking Money Silence mentioned above.

While I don’t listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, I did enjoy this book. I’ve been following the steps in it which has resulted in significant head-way in my finances this past year.

Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins

Another great read for those who need help understanding their worth. While this book is geared toward artists, the principles can be applied to anyone who’s working for themselves selling a product or service (their version of “art”).

Real Artists Don’t Starve doesn’t provide a step-by-step approach to setting your rates, but it does give you the confidence to ask for what you’re particular “art” is worth and gives you a sense of your art’s value to the world.

Many of the creative types here in Nashville will really appreciate what Goins has to say!

What I’m Reading Next

Right now I’m in the middle of reading two books:

I’m really enjoying Secrets of Six-Figure Women because it turns out it’s not just about money. And the strategies for career success can be applied to both genders.

I have several more books on hold at the library, and several I purchased during the Southern Book Festival here in Nashville.

So I have a long reading list and look forward to sharing another post next year about my best reads. Stay tuned!

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The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech


It’s Time to Ditch The Pitch for Something Better

Do some people’s elevator pitches make you wish you’d taken the stairs?

Does the thought of having to share your own elevator speech make you want to pitch yourself down the elevator shaft?

Most elevator speeches are very awkward. And it’s obvious when someone has over-thought their pitch when reciting it.


The Wrong Way to Write an Elevator Speech

I have a friend and colleague who, every time I get his voicemail, I have to sit through the sound of his voice reading his elevator speech word-for-word from a piece of paper.

While it’s a well-written and well-thought-out pitch, it still sounds and feels “manufactured.”

It’s much like the endless elevator speeches I’ve had to sit through at networking events where we all have to go around the room and introduce ourselves with our elevator pitches.

I couldn’t begin to tell you what each person said in those meetings because I was probably sitting there trying to decide what exactly I wanted to say when it came my turn.

You’ve probably experience the same thing.

All I know is by the end of it, I felt like I’d had everyone’s industry jargon vomited into my ears.

And it was obvious some people took the term “speech” literally and used the very outdated advice of making their pitch one minute long.

Have you ever timed yourself for one minute?

It’s WAY TOO LONG!

In fact, 30 seconds is WAY TOO LONG!

Especially in this day and age where attention spans are shrinking.

Do you know what else?

Not one of those pitches spoke directly to me. I never felt like the person was trying to relate to me or engage me or anyone else in the group.

They just spewed out an obviously rehearsed MONOLOGUE.


How to Write a Better (and Less Annoying) Elevator Pitch

If you’re in a place where you need an elevator speech or you need to update your current elevator speech for networking purposes, you’ll want to follow these tips when drafting your pitch.

Doing so will result in more authentic and more productive networking conversations that are less awkward.

Best of all, your listener (or listeners) won’t feel like they’re being “networked.”


1. Keep it to 7 seconds or less!

Yes, you read that right. Gone are the days of long drawn-out diatribes about what you do.

Don’t give your listener’s eyes time to glaze over as you keep babbling on about something that makes no sense to someone outside your company or your industry.

You may be wondering though how you can say everything you need to say in only 7 seconds. Read on!


2. Start With a Question to Create a Dialogue

Always start your pitch first with a question. This allows you to engage your listener or audience and begin a dialogue


3. Make Your Question Relatable and Use Common Language

Think about what is a typical problem or challenge your market faces. What kind of wording do they typically use to describe their problem or challenge?

For instance, I’m a career coach who specializes in helping people make career transitions to work that’s more related to their passions.

But I don’t introduce myself that way.

Instead, I look at the types of words my clients use to describe their situation when they first come to me or when they fill out my intake form.

Many often say they “feel stuck” in their careers.

Everyone has felt stuck in their career or their life at one time or another. Therefore everyone can relate to that feeling.

So, my own elevator pitch starts out like this:

“Have you or someone you know ever felt stuck in your career?”

(Most people at least know someone who has felt stuck even if they personally haven’t, hence the phrase, “or someone you know.”)

The word “stuck” is easy-to-understand language that’s common to most people’s vocabulary, as opposed to some kind of industry jargon that only my fellow career coaches would typically understand.

Plus, the word also stirs up the listener’s emotions.


4. Pique the Listener’s Interest

Nine times out of ten, the answer to my question is “yes.” A “yes” then creates buy-in to what I say next.

“Well, I help people get unstuck.”

That’s it. That’s my whole elevator pitch.

From there, the listener’s interest is piqued and he or she now wants to know more about how I help people get unstuck. This usually leads to a question from my listener:

“How do you do that?”

Now we’ve got a dialogue going on that allows me to go into more detail about what I do, why I do it, how I do it, etc., all the while asking the listener additional questions to keep it conversational.


So when you sit down to draft your own elevator pitch, make sure you’re writing one that is so simple not only for you to remember but for the listener to understand.

Remember to keep it short, ask a question, create a dialogue, make it relatable, keep it simple, and pique the listener’s interest.

That way, once you’ve written it, you can toss your sheet of paper out because you’ll never need to read from it or use it to memorize something that’s too long and boring.


More Networking Tips

For more networking tips, check out two of my most popular articles:

7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts (or Anyone Who Dislikes Networking)

and

How to Be Realistic About Networking

Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

elevator speech


How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

It’s a New Year. Time for a New Career?

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” 

This is a question I recently came across on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask you:

Are you also wondering the same thing?

Or is it already clear you’re in the wrong job? 

Could it be time for a new career for you? 

It’s a new year, so why not a new career?

Especially if you already realize you’re in the wrong job.

The question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” 

Instead it’s, “How long does it take to realize it?”

My response on Quora actually answers both of these questions.

The Quick Way to Know

It doesn’t take long to know if you’re in the wrong job when you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. 

Here’s an exercise that’s much more effective than a traditional pros and cons list:

First…

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. 

The first column should include the things you must have in a job (i.e. your “dealbreakers”). 

The second column should be the things you’re willing to compromise on. 

The third column should be the “icing on the cake” things (i.e. things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content).

Next…

Compare your three lists to your current job. 

Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? 

Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?

Then…

If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job that matches the majority of those things on your 3-column list.

Need help looking for the right job? Complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients,

“You should love at least 60% of your job.”

Why?

Because nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. 

I once had a client who, when he first came to me, was so miserable in his job that there were some evenings he said he would find himself in the fetal position on his couch near tears at the thought having to go back to work the next day.

After reviewing the results of some inventories he’d done with a previous career coach, I said, 

“Do you realize you only enjoy less than 20% of your current job? No wonder you’re so miserable!” 

Another surprising thing I discovered from the results of his inventory was he has a very entrepreneurial spirit. 

This all came as a shock to him because the results had not previously been interpreted to him in such a way.

Revealing these insights to him with a new lens of “passion” instead of just “job” or “career” opened up a whole new outlook for him.

He’s now been able to make extra money on the side doing the art work he’s passionate about and very talented at, which could possibly lead to his own full-time business as an illustrator and cartoonist, or provide him the financial means to leave his current job in search of something more fitting with his foreign language skills. (The guy speaks 3 languages, including Japanese!)

https://www.instagram.com/artbyrobert/

 

Where a pros and cons list would’ve been more limiting, my client is instead more diligent in not compromising on his “must haves” and more open to opportunities that meets at least 60% of the criteria from his 3-pronged list.

I’ve personally found the 3-column list exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to my own big life decisions. 

The benefits are that it helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

It also helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

The More In Depth Approach

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. 

This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. 

Why? 

Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: 

“To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. 

If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. 

This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

Click here to read more about my process of writing a personal mission statement.

So where are YOU in this all-important decision?

If you know it’s time for a new career, a career coach can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. 

Don’t wait until the end of 2018 where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!

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The 12 Most Purposeful Things You Can Do This Christmas (Re-Post)

Two Christmases ago, I found myself coming out of a year and a half long period of limbo in my career.

I had been struggling all that time to figure out what direction I should go with my business.

Should I continue what I was doing? Should I quit and go back to working for someone else? Or should I do something altogether different?

After having done the life-changing and career-changing activities I’ve outlined below, it all became clear to me what my next move was: shift the mission of my business to support my personal mission.

Once I did this, everything started falling into place!

As a result, I created a personal branding program using the same approaches I used on my own to get unstuck in my career.

Now it’s become my most popular program among my clients and audience. I’ve had the opportunity to present it to a variety of groups including freelancers, artists, other coaches, corporations, and even pastors from remote villages in the Amazon jungle!

Here’s some very nice feedback from one of my program participants:

“Hi Lori, I met you last year when you spoke at a coaches training event and I have to admit your session was by far the best. I love how you blend your passion for adventure and helping people find passion in their work life. After you spoke I felt more confident and enthused about my own career path.”

The 12 Days of Purpose

The holidays are a great time to discover what your purpose is in this current season of your life. Especially if you are contemplating a big change for 2018, including a job or career change or promotion, a start-up business, a retirement, etc.

Because the program I’ve created has helped so many people, I’m sharing an outline of it as my gift to you this holiday season.

(NOTE: To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. 45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.)

You can work through it over the holidays in order to start your new year off right, or at any other point in the year when you need it most. Enjoy!

purpose
 

 

Phase I: Clarify Your Purpose

Day 1:

Spend some time reflecting on what kind of person you want to be and to be known for (think in terms of traits instead of accomplishments).

What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?

And most importantly, why do you do the things you do? (Recommended reading: Start With Why by Simon Sinek.)

Day 2:

Take an inventory of your strengths, limitations, accomplishments, and how your skills benefit others.

List the things you’re good at, the things you’re not good at, your biggest failures and the lessons you learned from them, and your reasons for why you like to do the things you do best.

Day 3:

Be open to constructive criticism.

Ask your friends, family, co-workers, clients, etc. what they perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses.

Note the things that show up as patterns and the things that surprise you.

Day 4:

Based on your own personal inventory and the feedback from friends, write down what you think makes you unique from other people who do what you do.

See if you can think of additional things that make you unique.

Day 5:

Determine what makes your audience unique.

Who are they (recruiters, potential clients, fans)?

What do they care about?

What’s their biggest challenge or need?

How do your skills meet their need?

How can you serve them with your abilities?

Phase II: Articulate Your Purpose

Day 6:

Once you’ve determined why you do what you do (Day 1), write out your “WHY” in the form of a vision statement.

A vision statement is your goal of what you want to accomplish with your skills and abilities.

For example, the paNASH vision statement is:

“I believe you can find the courage to discover and pursue your passions despite the obstacles you may face. I want to see you actively pursue your passions with flair (‘paNASH’) and confidence, along with responsibility to your purpose in life.”

Day 7:

Write your mission statement.

Your mission statement is HOW you plan to carry out your vision/your WHY.

For instance, the paNASH mission statement is:

“To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.”

Day 8:

Craft your Unique Selling Point (USP).

In 140 characters or less, create a statement that summarizes the unique impact you have on your audience.

The paNASH USP is:

“Putting your passion into action!”

Phase III: Package & Present Your Purpose

Day 9:

Make sure you’re able to back up your message with a summary of your credentials and accomplishments.

This can be in the form of a resume, a LinkedIn profile, client testimonials, reviews, letters of recommendation, etc.

Day 10:

Post your message on your social media platforms, your web site, your business card, and other professional collateral.

Day 11:

Foster and maintain relationships with strategic partners and your audience.

Share your purpose and expertise in a variety of outlets, including blogs (your own and others’ where you can guest blog), article posts on LinkedIn and Medium, media interviews (print, online, radio, and TV), comments on others’ posts, etc.

Day 12:

Most of all, learn how to present your message and purpose with confidence and professionalism.

This is something that of course takes practice. Ask for feedback on your presentation with friends, close colleagues, and mentors. Then apply that feedback to improve your message.

More Details:

To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.

Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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A Simple Way to Make Big Decisions

Are you facing a big decision, unsure which direction to take or which option to choose? It could be career-related, such as the choice between two job offers. Or it could be more personal, like the choice between staying in a relationship or ending it. If only there was a simple way to make these difficult decisions! Well, maybe there is.

Notice I said “simple,” not “easy.” I’ve personally found a simple way to make some of my hardest decisions. But, it requires deep reflection and discipline to utilize it. I’ve used this same method in working with my clients to help them better face their own difficult decisions. Here’s how it ‘s worked for me, and how it can work for you.

Reflection

First, I had to come up with my own personal mission statement. I’d done a professional mission statement for my business, so why not a personal one just for me? I had to spend time reflecting on my core values, philosophy, and goals. Then I had to reflect on how I wanted to carry out those hopes and beliefs. This took some time and required me to be completely honest with myself and with God.

My personal mission statement:  To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Discipline

Second, I had to remember to use my mission statement as a filter for all my choices. If the choice didn’t support my mission statement, it had to go. I had to be disciplined enough to make the decision my mission statement revealed to be the right one. No matter how difficult it would be.

For example, at the time I wrote my mission statement in late 2015, my friendship with my guy-friend was turning romantic. The relationship was great at first. But, after nine months of dating, I noticed a pattern that had been developing for some time. This pattern wouldn’t make such a relationship sustainable if certain variables remained the same, which they did.

I wasn’t sure if I should end the relationship or give it another chance. After much prayer, I was reminded of my mission statement and why I’d written it. So, I pulled it out and started reading it. I immediately realized that the relationship didn’t support the life goals in my mission statement.

What I had to do.

Though I didn’t want to end the relationship, I had to in order to stay true and authentic to my God-given hopes. It wasn’t an easy thing to do because my heart didn’t feel like ending it. But my soul knew what was best for me in the long run. (This is why it’s dangerous to subscribe to the “just-follow-your-heart” advice of today’s culture.)

I had to be disciplined enough to push through my fickle emotions which were temporary, and focus on the decision that would make me happier and healthier down the road. Once I ended it, I received confirmation in so many forms (including red flags that weren’t previously present) and realized I had indeed made the right decision. Anytime I considered turning back, those red flags served as reminders as to why I had to stick to my decision.

What do you have to do?

Do you have a big decision in your life you soon have to make? Maybe it involves a move to a new state or a new country. Maybe it involves going back to school or ending a long-time friendship. Whatever decision you face, I encourage you to follow a similar process to see if it helps make things a little simpler. Not easier, just simpler. It may even make you stronger.

To learn how to write a mission statement that’s authentic to your true self, check out my on-demand program Personal Branding:  How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. In this program I teach you how to determine your unique differentiators and how to write your own vision and mission statements.

Note: 45% of the sales from this on-demand program go to support Justice & Mercy Amazon. Click here for more details.

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