Tag Archives: Business

Own Your Professional Career Decisions

Have you ever lost your job? Do you have a wide enough professional network? Do you feel disconnected from the latest technology and overall economic trends?\r\n\r\nIf you have been following my newsletters, you will know that I have covered several situations around the three steps outlined in my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve Your Mission in Life:\r\n\r\nStep1: Become 100 percent accountable for the decisions you make (and not make) in your life.\r\nStep 2: Develop and record in writing your personal mission statement.\r\nStep 3: Live your mission 24/7.\r\n\r\nThis month, I want to cover a topic related to Step 1: How to become 100 percent accountable for the professional career decisions we make and do not make. I am going to leverage the insights I gathered from a book I recently read: The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder) and Ben Casnocha. I found the book highly relevant to today’s business and job environment, where lifelong employment with a single company is no longer the norm, and where you need to assume a much higher level of ownership of the professional career you wish to have.\r\n\r\nHere are my top three insights from the book:\r\n

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  • Treat your career like a start-up company. Be in permanent “beta mode,” constantly searching for ways to improve your value proposition in the job market.
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  • Invest in yourself. Related to insight number one, keep a close watch on the market trends and skills required to succeed in your field. Invest not only in the skills you need for your current job, but try to anticipate which skills you will need for future careers. Avoid the “Detroit Syndrome,” where the U.S. car industry failed to anticipate market and economic trends and was overtaken by foreign competition.
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  • Network. In the chapter titled “Who You Know Is What You Know,” we learn that having a broad and heterogeneous network is not only important to spot career opportunities, but is also a source of market intelligence. It is important, however, to build and nurture your network by giving something of value to them. Build the relationship first, with no strings attached.
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\r\nReading this book gave me some fresh ways to assess how well I am living up to my professional role within my personal mission statement. I have started to build the three insights shared above into my professional priorities. They may also be relevant to your own professional career.\r\n\r\nI want to close this newsletter with a quote from the American motivational speaker and author Les Brown: “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

Lessons Learned From an Entrepreneur Taxi Driver

I want to share the business principles I saw being practiced by a taxi driver on a recent trip to Peru. Although the principles were not new to me, the way this entrepreneur put them in practice caught my attention. Hopefully, they will catch yours as well.\n\nUpon finishing a presentation to a group of general managers and business owners on work and life balance, I struck an enlightening conversation with a taxi driver. The 20-mile ride from the event site started with the driver telling me that he enjoyed learning and wanted to listen to my presentation, but he had prudently decided not to “break” into an event where he had not been invited.\n\nHe told me that he saw himself as an entrepreneur, a provider of safe transportation from point A to point B. His customers were mainly women who did not want to use “a taxi from the street,” but rather one where the driver was somebody they could trust. He charged a premium for his services, but this did not seem to present an issue to his customers. To the contrary, he mentioned that the demand for his services was larger than he alone could fulfill. I noticed he received two to three customer calls during the ride, which he politely handled by indicating he was with a customer and would return the call as soon as he was free. He had plans to finance the purchase of a second car and had already found a driver for that unit, another retired police officer.\n\nHe said he also owned a beauty salon, managed by and co-owned with his wife. He was proud of his rather large customer base, which had also become the main source of prospects for his transportation business. In fact, the lady who managed the logistics of the session I had just performed was one of his customers.\n\nHe was a retired police officer. He positioned such experience as a key credibility factor for secure taxi rides. He left the police force due to what he called “political differences” with his superiors. It seemed that these differences had been escalating over the years, until they got to the point where he could no longer endure them.\n\nAs we reached our final destination, I thanked the driver-entrepreneur for the great lessons he had shared with me from his life and his businesses. I congratulated him for the clarity of his thinking and his growing businesses. I gave him my business card and a sample of the Spanish version of my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life. He gave me his business card and committed to share his reactions to my book upon reading it.\n\n In summary, here are the top three business principles I saw being practiced by this driver-entrepreneur:\n

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  1. You can charge a premium for your products and services, as long as you offer an added benefit versus other competitors.
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  3. There is a large cross-selling value in a group of satisfied customers.
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  5. He understood the value of integrity and saw it as a key element of productive networking and successful entrepreneurship.
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\nI want to close this newsletter with a quote from the American writer Richard Bach: “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.\n\n \n\nPercy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\nwww.cannonbalance.com\n\n \n\nPS1: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code MU5Z7NLM.\nPS2: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS3: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.

How to Define Your Mission in Life (Part 3 of 3)

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How to Define Your Mission in Life (Part 3 of 3)

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Two newsletters ago, I posed the following three questions:

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  • Is achieving professional success taking too high a toll on your personal life?
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  • Is there something in your personal life that is not allowing you to do your best at work?
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  • Do you feel like you’re living your life based on someone else’s priorities?
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I suggested you address these questions by defining your mission in life. In Part 1, I recommended drafting a brief mission statement describing the kind of person you wanted to be remembered as at the end your life. In Part 2, I outlined how to define the different roles in your life. In this Part 3, I will outline how to assign long- and short-term goals to each role.

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Those of you in the business world are familiar with setting or receiving specific performance goals at work. The time frame usually ranges between three to five years (for long-term goals) to yearly, quarterly, monthly, or even daily (for short-term goals). These goals tend to be numerical, specific, and measurable. In other words, you usually know when you’ve exceeded, met, or missed them. I want to invite you to use a similar approach to setting long- and short-term goals across all of your roles in life.

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The first step is to review and adjust, if necessary, the drafts you have prepared for your mission statement and life roles. If you haven’t written a mission statement and defined your roles, review the last two months’ newsletters here and at least develop initial drafts for both. To illustrate the goal-setting process, let’s assume that you defined your mission as “leaving a legacy of kindness and service to your neighbor.” Let’s also assume that you picked three roles to apply this mission to: Family Relationships, Professional Leader, and your Personal Development.

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The second step is to develop long-term (three- to five- year) goals for each role, consistent with your mission statement. Once again, for illustration purposes, let me offer the following potential goals, written in past tense, as if you already achieved them:

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  • Family Relationships: You made your spouse the happiest person on earth, your children have made the right choices in life, you were always there to help and support any family member.
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  • Professional Leader: You became a successful and respected business leader.
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  • Personal Development: Your physical, mental, and spiritual health have significantly improved in the last three to five years.
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The third step is to break down the long-term goals into short-term goals (for the next 12 months). This connection between long- and short-term goals is key. Setting short-term goals without linking them to your long-term goals risks aiming for something that is not consistent to what is truly important to you. Here are some potential short-term goals, tied to the long-term ones illustrated in the previous step:

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  • Spend 15 minutes after dinner every day listening to your spouse’s account of his/her day (tied to you made your spouse the happiest person on earth).
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  • Allocate the first working hour of every weekday to helping someone who reports to you achieve his/her business goals (tied to you became a successful and respected business leader).
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  • Use the first 15 minutes of every day to either exercise or read a motivational or spiritual passage and reflect on it (tied to your physical, mental, and spiritual health have significantly improved in the last three to five years).
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I want to close this newsletter with a quote from Michelangelo, the great sculptor, painter, and architect from the Renaissance: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

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In the next newsletter, I will share some insights on how to take baby steps to start living your mission in life. Stay tuned!

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Percy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\nwww.cannonbalance.com\nwww.thebusinessapostolate.com

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PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.\nPS3: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code UN2WS547.

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