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Nelson Mandela quote

What are your deepest hopes? Where do you ideally see yourself in your career and personal life? What’s holding you back?

Hopes can be big and ambitious–you may hope to change your career, make a difference in the world, or overcome a fundamental personality challenge (such as low self-confidence). Or, hopes can be modest. Perhaps you simply hope to appreciate others more fully or use your creativity more often.

No matter how lofty or humble your hopes may be, they are POWERFUL and WORTH PURSING. 

Recognize that your hopes are important and take the time to reflect and consider them. Make a list of your hopes (no matter how small!) and figure out which ones are most urgent–the ones you’d like to pursue first.

Keep in mind: hopes are only the beginning. They are the catalysts that spur you to act. Use them to light your fire!

How can you turn hopes into reality? One of the ways to hold yourself accountable for pursuing your hopes is to share them. Meet with a trusted confidant and tell her about your hopes and what you’d like to achieve. Let her know that you’re serious about bringing your hopes to life and that you’d like her help as an accountability partner. Check in regularly.

Need help articulating your hopes? Or, do you need guidance with developing a plan to achieve your hopes and goals? Feel free to contact me today and let’s get started!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

 

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overwhelming social mediaHappy social media month! If that phrase makes you roll your eyes or shudder, you’re reading the right blog post. Many small business owners cringe when they think about social media marketing. They don’t know where to begin; they’re not sure why it’s valuable; they don’t know which platforms to choose. I cover all of this in greater depth in my May newsletter, but for now, let me lay out a few basics for the reluctant social media user:

1. Choose the platforms that are right for you.

There are dozens of social media platforms in existence today–everything from Instagram to Tumblr, Facebook to Ello, Flickr to Pinterest. What’s right for you? If you truly don’t know where to begin, hire a social media strategist to help get you on the right track. Or, if you don’t mind doing your own research, hop online and look up companies that are similar to yours. Find out what social media networks they’re the most active in, what kind of things they post, and how often they post. Or, you could always ask your teenage son/daughter for some help!

2. Create a sustainable plan

Once you’ve determined which social media platforms you’d like to use, figure out a posting strategy. Typically, you’ll want to post something at least a couple times each week (more for Twitter or Pinterest), and a social media strategist (or online research) can help you determine the best course of action. HOWEVER, do not commit to a schedule that isn’t going to be sustainable for YOU. Even though it may be optimal to post to Twitter 8 times per day, do you really think you’ll be able to keep up that pace? Figure out what works for you. Maybe you’ll choose to post a relevant photograph twice a week; maybe you’ll post a business tip once a week. Create a schedule, stick with it, and adjust the schedule as needed down the road.

3. Foster community

Remember, social media is not about YOU (as counter-intuitive as that may sound). It’s about your network, your community. If you’d like to engage and energize your network, be sure to make them feel included. Ask them questions (i.e. if you sell apparel, ask your audience what their favorite travel outfit is. OR, if you sell flowers, post a few pictures of different floral arrangements and ask your audience to vote on their favorite). Also, give your audience bits of relevant, useful information they can use. I often post career tips and tricks, or links to my latest blog posts. Don’t forget to visit others’ profiles and “Like” or re-post their content. This demonstrates that you are active in the community and excited about what others are doing (and not just focused on yourself or your own business). Besides, there’s a lot of great information out there. It’s fun to see what others are sharing.

Good luck with fitting social media into your marketing strategy. It’s a valuable way to connect with your audience and reach a wide range of people at a low cost. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating if you stick with the three main guidelines I laid out. Relax, have fun, and socialize!

If you’d like any additional guidance, please feel free to reach out and contact me.

 

 

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best career advicePeople can be full of advice. “Do this,” “do that,” “this worked for me,” “this didn’t work for me.” Sometimes it’s difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. For the most part, you simply have to forge ahead and use your best judgment. But sometimes, others will give you truly valuable gems that you should take to heart.

One of the best pieces of career advice I ever received was ask good questions. Try to ask three questions at every important meeting: one that shows support, one to gain clarity on the subject, and one to demonstrate inclusionary behavior (helping to involve others in the room in the discussion). Asking good questions not only helps to gather information, it also demonstrates that you are an active, interested, and inclusionary employee. Additionally, you’ll be seen as a fair leader–someone who wants others voices to be heard, as well as their own.

Another great piece of advice I’ve received? Stay relevant. Know what’s important to the organization, the market, the customers. Study and stay abreast of industry happenings and innovations, strategies, issues and concerns…then look for solutions and speak up! Show that you’re interested in your job and are striving to be the best you can be by constantly learning and seeking new, salient information.

What are some of the best pieces of career advice you’ve received? Has anything really stuck with you and helped you either advance in your career or guided you through career challenges? I’m interested to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let’s start a friendly, valuable discussion.

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