By Cynthia Simmons
We all want to be right—on the right side of the argument, of the law, of the street even! And we all want people to agree with us. We want to have the best opinions, and to be respected as well-informed people.
But for me, at some point as an adult I recognized that honesty is superior to agreement. I mean, I can get sympathy most days from a good friend. But if I want honest and objective feedback, I need to present my situation, my problem, honestly and objectively.
This is leading to my argument that having friends who are different than I am is invaluable—friends who have different values, backgrounds, and preferences.
Most of us have heard the story of the six blind men and the elephant. (This is a teaching fable cited in many cultures.) Each of the blind men stood next to a different part of an elephant and was asked to describe what sort of creature it was.
The blind man by the elephant’s trunk, said it was like a snake. The one by a leg, said it was like a great tree. The one by the ear, said it was like a fan. And so on.
Each one was both right and wrong, because what he knew was from feeling only part of the whole elephant.
Wisdom is gained from perspective. And perspective does not exist as a singular entity.
As you travel the unknown and uncertain territory of job search, seek out and befriend people who are different from you. You will gain treasured relationships that you may wish to maintain for many years into the future.
Consider that possibly living with only mirrors of your own images, values, and perspectives can be boring. And incomplete.
Instead of considering how limited each perspective was – that each blind man was blind to the whole picture, instead consider that each blind man experienced his own perspective and his own version of the truth. His own insight. Having friends with points of view that are different from yours teaches you malleability, flexibility, and plasticity in your thinking.
A case in point: I was puzzled about someone’s motivation for a particular action. It didn’t make sense to me, so I asked a relative who is older than I am and from another part of the country. Her explanation was, “Of course, that’s what some people do, because…” And then I thought, “Really? I would never do that!”
In a small way, I was enlightened, and my mind opened up to more possibilities.
Cynthia Simmons has a background in publishing and publications.
Photos credited to the morgueFile.com
© 2014 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved.
Favorite Beers of America in order of popularity: Blue Moon, Bud Lite, Yeugling, Sam Adams, Miller Lite, Coors, and Corona. How do you get rid of a 100 bottles of your favorite beer down off the wall quickly? “You take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall” of course. And rarely have all the verses of this old song been sung.
You’re tasked with getting a job. Do you choose to accept it? How do you get a job? Using the drinking song plan:
Keep the task simple
List what you want
Laser focus on your objective, get a system
Enlist others for support
Remember – Keep the main thing, the main thing
This is the same system as “Hello World” in computer programming. It is a simple program that can be used by a beginner and it can be used to verify that you’re operating correctly. The list above is a practical tool; useful and real. This system is simple, it requires you make a decision, define a goal, and there is little chance of indefinitely effort. Success will come.
People will let you down; a system will not. In computer language persisting, looping, and evaluating, control flow, is just as important as the beginning. Be repetitive. Looping back will need to be ingrained in process as well as the people for assuring success. Control flow is as important a step because it requires you pay attention and notice unplanned for variances in your system. I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. – Steve Jobs
May you see “The operation is a success” come across the computer screen of your mind.
Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She has a passion for writing and ToastMasters International.
© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved
By Deb Bryan
While listening to a seasoned sales professional talk to his new recruits I heard, “Just be yourself.” What a welcomed thought!
I have been on the job search trail for a while. I have been told to retool; pursue further education, dye your hair, memorize behavioral interview questions, lose weight, excel at networking, reframe your thinking for “you are not your job search”. It is refreshing to hear the words, “just be yourself”?
The truth is we all are selling something; we all have talents we would like to use in the market place. Sure, there are days we would not give a plug nickel for what we’re selling while the newspapers assure us there are people and companies who struggled. Other days, we are just fine. We feel a bit confused by our culture with a tinge of worry about our future but then, so are our fearless leaders; and they’ve got jobs.
Another day I feel good about myself, what I have accomplished, and what I have still to contribute. What feels good today is though I have been through some difficult times and had some hard lessons-learned along the way, I have given back to the society around me. My dad likes to call it ‘keeping my ears level’.
American Rock Band, The Byrds, had a hit song titled, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season). The lyrics of this song recorded in 1964, reminds us there is
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late lyricsfreak.com/b/byrds/turn+turn+turn_20026419.html
They were right; there is a time to make peace and the time to make peace with ourselves is right now. Among the numerous reasons to make peace, there is one we can take even into the marketplace. As we make the sale of these wonderful and worthwhile products of time and talent to the market place we can show up and be ourselves, our best selves.
I wish you peace my friend.
Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She has a passion for writing and Toastmasters International.© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved
By Deb Bryan
Sunday’s Tribune had a story about one of America’s best known funnymen, Johnny Carson (Rick Kogan, Oct. 20). Johnny Carson had an on-stage personality, a side-kick in Ed McMahon, great jazz music (thank you Doc Severinsen), and Johnny was very, very rich. Prompted to do a little research, I found an interview by newsman, Mike Wallace*, that made me roar with laughter and want to gather clues as to Johnny’s success.
Johnny had talent but he approached his talent like work he had to make happen. Most of his mornings, he was immersed in the Tonight Shows’ atmosphere he had transported to his home office; jazz music in the background, numerous mementos and awards, and his beloved drums. From that office he would read newspapers, lots of newspapers, write material for the evening show, and study his performance from old show tapes. In the afternoon, he would drive to the studio and for hours, talk to the shows’ producer about that night’s guests. Later in the evening, his support staff of Ed McMahon, the band, NBC technical people, and guests arrived. Johnny tirelessly worked his craft because it was important to him, it meant his success, and he was in competition with other comedians just like himself. And Johnny was very competitive! But I believe the single most powerful point for Johnny’s staying power and career was his repeated, “I’ll be right back” because he meant it.
Johnny did not do life alone. Fred De Cordova, the show’s producer, was a good friend. Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen were talented and skilled co-workers. NBC was well known in the television industry so it could draw the best of the best but still Johnny’s’ mantra of, “I’ll be right back” drove home his focus, not just for today, but for the future until he said “no more.”
As in everyone’s life, there were failures along way. Just to highlight one performance review: the producer from the 1950 Johnny Carson Show, Ben Brady, said of Johnny, “Carson was trying to be a major comedian in prime time, and he didn’t have the power. He is generically not a strong standup comedian like Hope, Skelton, or Benny. He isn’t now and he never can be.” We know the rest of the story but imagine having that broadcasted through the media? It’s the stuff my nightmares are made of! Quickly, breathe and say the mantra, “I’ll be right back!”
The governments’ foibles, any government, were the grist for the Tonight Show’s comedy mill. We got a good laugh at the wild and wooly world of leadership. And why not, they are still funny and they kept Johnny in business until HE decided to retire.
Johnny Carson was a man of paradoxes. Perhaps his own foibles are what made him a national treasure. He was known for being shy and defensive, a gentle man by his guests, a man who liked to be in control by fellow workers, and extremely quick witted by his public. He admitted to all but he stood on stage, 5 nights a week, and exposed himself to our opinion of the career he daily hammered away at with intensity. During his work day he said, “I’ll be right back” over and over again but he said it to himself as much as he said it to us.
At a news conference, Johnny was asked what he’d like his epitaph to be. “I’d prefer not to have one at all if-where it never got to that point,” he said laughing, “I don’t know. I think something like, ‘I’ll be right back.’” Now that’s a funny line! Or, is it? Maybe it is a message to us to keep the faith, baby.
by Deb Bryan
Last Thursday’s Chicago Tribune ran a front page story, “Cross-Country Gains Steam” email@example.com . The article described the efforts of coaches and runners from Chicago Public Schools to use cross-country running to give and get experience in competition and personal improvement. The runners are not star athletes. The runners are city kids whose school systems give poor education, who come from neighborhoods where most people won’t walk, and from a place where athletic equipment is merely dream material. They run because they can. They run because they don’t want to go home. They run because they want to feel invested in their school. They run for their future.
Little ideas bring exponential results
Remember when you and a friend from grade school came up with ideas for play like dolls, army men, fashion show, model airplanes, or magic show? Man that was fun. Nobody told us how to be creative we just would for hours or days, and ideas would just go wild. The hardest thing was to be called away and to stop being creative. Even though we knew we would do it again, it was hard to quit.
Or remember the books on adventures of leaders who were on everyone’s lips: explorers, scientists, inventors, statesman, ball players or maybe they were all those things. I know I loved going with them through story as they climbed high mountains, had a horse shot out from under them, had an idea and made it into reality, endured tough time and sometimes, people were telling them they couldn’t do it.
How many of us can still smile as we remember those early years. Did you know that same kid who thought those ideas is still in you? That same creativity, love of adventure, determination is still in the intelligence you use to do simple things today. You may have buried those thoughts, thinking thoughts you equate with being an adult, but those ideas, dreams, visions are not lost.
Capitalize on small ideas and minimize errors
If government, family, or friends voices diminished what would you, could you do? What idea or ideas have been simmering for a while in your imagination? Sometimes implementing ideas looks like a huge effort. Similar to trying to keep a beach ball underwater, suppressing dreams and desirers also takes a lot of energy. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, where could you travel to in the next few years by starting today? Your competition would be just you. You who just knows there is a better way.
Experiments never fail
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” (Thomas A. Edison). Can you fall off the ground floor? What does it matter if you get a little dirty or messed up in the process? Somehow working your dreams makes you forget to look into the mirror. Dirt, sweat, and tears on your face are part of the experience of putting your ideas into practice, not a lifetime condemnation. Besides, the one who works the experiment becomes the resident expert not the critic.
Resident Dreamer Solution
“Running has made me a better person. When you run over a hill, you learn you have to work hard to get over it. Any problems in my life, running’s way harder. How could you not get over those problems? You got over that hill?” Elizabeth Bueno, 17 years old Chicago high school student.
You and I may have been given a gift during this job search; the gift of time. The gift of time to take personal stock, time to retool, time to look at things from a different perspective. Or perhaps time to hear a long dormant call to a path we desired before, where rocks in the road were just mere distractions and not the finish line. Now, where are those running shoes?
By Deb Bryan
Following the 1929 stock market crash and a severe drought that withered crops and killed farm animals, it made life on the farm exceptionally brutal through 1939. Farmers by the scores lost their farms. Fortunately, by being constantly frugal, Louis and Norma managed to save their farm. This experience marked them and their children for life. Spending money was done cautiously from then on. The breadth of experiences we had on the farm has served us well. We can improvise at the blink of an eye. – Norma Jean (1975)
Following the 2007 economic downturn, companies lost the ability to support their product and employees so they asked them to leave. Suddenly, a steady stream of people found themselves without a place to be Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. Life became confusing and pitiless to folks of all ages, educational background, and status. Families, communities, and cities lost their way of life. Homes became houses that were simply liabilities, or worse, objects for those who preyed on others during bad times. Professionals and blue collar workers struggle with subsistence living and work whatever job they can find. And here is the rest of their story _______________.
Similarities between 1929 and now are striking. The only thing left for each of us is to fill in the blank of our story. So we are going to train our eyes not on what we see, but on what is yet to come as the leaders we are. From our history books, we see this time period will not last forever. It is only temporary. The future is yet to be but it will be our story history books and families will write and tell about. You and I need one strategic decision before us; not grand sweeping plans because the future is too complicated. And then we need to work the plan.
We are Americans; the prodigy of those who came here for freedom and a chance to do something for theirs and their families lives. People, who are still coming here just for those very same reasons, find this place amazing with opportunities that stretch before them. Despite media bad mouthing, this is still the land of possibilities and freedoms yet to be understood by other lands. Come on, let us who are American sons and daughters of freedom lovers light the way.
I found a penny the other day. On it the words, “In God We Trust” was written. Daylight’s burning. Get your work shoes on and let’s get going.