Solitude and leadership and you

Being a leader does not always mean your job title is CEO or office manager or creative director. Leading from within is as affective if not more than leading from the top of the corporate structure. Based on William Deresiewicz’s essay/lecture (which I quoted portions of back in April, but for a refresher, read the article here: Solitude and Leadership), how would you apply some of the principles he suggests in “Solitude and Leadership”?

Maybe your work life is something like this. You have a full, eight-hour day work load of project management tasks (that you are trying to squeeze into ten hours), production items and internal and external clients to assist. Shortly after you sit down at your desk and take a sip of coffee, your email inbox audibly notifies you of an email from your supervisor. You do not respond to the email immediately because you are processing files from yesterday for today’s activities. These are files the supervisor needs by 10 a.m. That allows you one hour to complete the task. Within a few minutes you receive a Skype message from the supervisor asking if you saw the email. When you do not reply to the Skype message immediately, you receive a text message on my personal mobile device asking if you saw the Skype message about the email. Does this sound familiar? How do you handle such distraction and meet your supervisors requests and requirements?

This may be a mundane example, but it is more accessible to most readers than that of a Wall Street broker. So, how would you apply some of the principles Deresiewicz suggests in “Solitude and Leadership”?

How to be successful in life and business

WP_IMG_9959Does the world need another advertorial[1] on how to be successful in life and business?

This morning I read the article, “Books To Change Your Life And Your Business,”[2] on LinkedIn. It is rubbish. The books listed will not change your life, but might place you in a better neighborhood. Jeffrey J. Fox’s How to Become CEO[3] includes a chapter on required reading for those interested in rising to the top of the corporate ladder. It is a far better and engaging booklist than the one Linda Coles provides.

But, maybe Americans ask the wrong question. Maybe our culture seeks the wrong definition of success in life and business.

Earlier this week, Sunday morning, I was reminded that Americans who have enough to eat, adequate clothing, a place to sleep and a car, are in the top 15 percent of the world’s wealthiest. Further, if you have plenty to eat, a modest collection of clothing, a savings account, two cars and own your home, you are in the top five percent of the wealthiest people in the world.

What if success in life and business is simply a matter of doing what aught to be done? And doing it the best of an individual’s abilities?

NOTES:
[1] A “blend of advertisement and editorial.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advertorial
[2] “Books To Change Your Life And Your Business” by Linda Coles, May 21, 2014, accessed May 21, 2014, https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140521221520-33236097-7-book-choices-for-a-better-life The books mentioned in the article include: Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and others
[3] Booklist from How to Become CEO include: The Bible, The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings, The Prince, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, anything by Thomas Jefferson, The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, and others.

Why share your work in social networks?

One of the book cover designs I promote on the social network Behance.

One of the book cover designs I promote on the social network Behance.

“Why share our work in social networks?” was a question recently asked on a professional forum. My reply: two reasons: 1) promotion and 2) personal brand. It was a Malcolm-Gladwell-Blink response and I clicked the “add comment” button without much thought (which is not my usual practice). My thoughts still linger on that question, “Why…?”

A few months ago I came across a few articles asking the question “Does social media promote or enable narcissism?” [1] [2] The article that impacted me most was from a source I never read. In the post, the author, Dodai Stewart, reflects on piece in The New Yorker and her comments are stinging and self-revelatory.

Just look around: Between Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, the whole ME ME ME thing has swept the nation. Here are MY thoughts, MY pictures, MY shopping wish lists! We call it sharing, but it’s just egoistic self-indulgence, usually. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I WANT. But wait: Enough about me… what do you think about me? [3]

Hm, narcissism and self-absorption. Herein rests the lingering thoughts of a week or so ago.

As a professional, promoting my goods, services and whatnot help to grease the gears of capitalism, right? Conventional wisdom (or at least American business wisdom), purports that if consumers are not aware of your product/service, customers will not purchase from ME. So, I am advised by business owners and other professionals to promote MY skills, services, products, etc. And not only that, I need to establish MY personal brand (so that consumers can be more emotionally and psychologically invested in the products/services I provide).

Maybe social networks are not promoting narcissism and self-absorption as much as one might think. There may be a greater systemic issue that only social networks magnify.

NOTE: [1] Tara Parker-Pope, “Does Facebook Turn People Into Narcissists?,” New York Times, May 17, 2012 accessed January 2, 2013 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/does-facebook-turn-people-into-narcissists/ [2] Steve Tobak, “Social networks and the narcissism epidemic,” CBSNEWS Money Watch, August 29, 2012, accessed January 2, 2013 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57502035/social-networks-and-the-narcissism-epidemic/ [3] Dodai Stewart, “Self-Absorbed Is the New Normal,” Jezebel, June 26, 2012, accessed January 2, 2013 http://jezebel.com/5921468/self+absorbed-is-the-new-normal.

How to write a business bio

Or not. Here’s what professional copywriters will tell you. There are two steps to writing your business bio:

  • provide an overview of your skills and experience.
  • include related or interesting facts to punctuate your credentials.

Pretty simple, right. Wrong. Why is it so difficult to write in third-person? About yourself? (And I need send this to the publicist later today.) So, I wrote a first draft. It works. It’s short. Simple. To the point. But something is missing. So, I searched a couple web sites for help. Here’s a few basic principles I gleaned from Terje Johansen:  [1]

  • write in third person
  • list facts, not wishes
  • cite relevant experiences
  • belong somewhere
  • write tight
  • add a hook

Here’s a few things to add to that list:

  • audience
  • storytelling
  • social media

The business bio I’m writing is to be placed on a publishing house’s web site. So that audience will be authors and readers. A dash of storytelling to the bio helps readers remember who you are because of the narrative you share. And be sure to include your LinkedIn info. Here’s what I plan to send to the publicist:

Matthew Mulder began his career in a quiet Wisconsin studio of a calligrapher where he learned a hands-on approach to color, design, typography and the ancient art of Celtic knots. As creative director, he brings more than sixteen years of experience to the art department and provides creative, strategic solutions to the publishing business. After-hours, Matthew is a culture-maker in the literary community of Asheville, North Carolina where he is invited to present his work to audiences at bookstores, cafés, and fine art centers. His published work appears in such literary journals as Crab Creek Review, H_NGM_N, Small Press Review and others. Follow Matthew on Twitter @mxmulder or LinkedIn.

What do you think?

NOTES: [1] Terje Johansen provides the basics of writing a business bio . Here’s a couple other resources: 16 questions to help you write a douche-free bio and A Great Professional Bio.

What does a goat and a mule have in common with social media?

There’s an old proverb that goes something like this: one should avoid the front of a goat, the back of a mule, and every side of a fool. If you don’t want a private message, comment or opinion printed in 60 point, bold type headlines on the front of The New York Time, you shouldn’t email it, tweet it, post it to Facebook or your blog. That’s what prompted the following advice to job seekers:

1.) Don’t post inappropriate pictures or make any comments on the web that could be offensive to anybody.  If they’re already up, delete them now!

2.) Mark all of your settings on any type of social media as private.  Don’t let people who aren’t connected to you view your pictures or read your comments.  If friends posted a ridiculous comments, delete them now!

3.) If you want to share your personal beliefs, call a friend.  Don’t share them through social media.

4.) Google yourself because future employers will.  If you find things that you don’t think a future employer would like, find a way to get rid of it!

5.) I’ve shared all of the negative things about social media but don’t forget that there are a lot of positive things too.  If you’re actively volunteering, fundraising, running a marathon, or writing a motivational blog these are all things that can help you get a job.  Make sure these are public to future employers.

Link

It’s just common sense and good business practice. Yet it seems missing from the American culture as people display their most private details and opinions. If you truly want to maintain private details avoid the internet entirely. But if you are using the internet for social media and emailing, remember that the internet is immediate, permanent, and global.

Gen-Yers changing the workplace

Gen-Yers are using their personal networks and profiles as an extension of their professional personality. Even though they are using Facebook to mostly socialize with family and friends, they are inadvertently blending the two. Sixty-four percent of Gen-Y fails to list their employer on their profiles, yet they add an average of 16 co-workers each to their “friend” group.

Generation Y: The New Kind of Workforce (via thenextweb)