I think that it was Abraham Lincoln who said that if you had an hour to chop down a tree, you should spend the first 45 minutes of your hour, sharpening your axe.
I usually am the opinionated kind, and like to do my own writing, but yesterday, I found an article on a blog that impressed me. The author was trying to convey his or her thoughts about how to get ready for the upcoming recession, and use the acronym G. U. T. to convey the message. Grow your Network, Uncomfortable, and Tout your success.
I can relate to the post, because those three tips are things that you should do anyway on a regular basis if you want to remain competitive. Let me explain:
As a Soldier, I was brought up to understand that, and now I quote from one of my favorite authors Richard Marcinko, “the more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in combat”. Everything that we do as Soldiers is training. When we take care of our families, is in preparation for combat, for when we are not there and they have to fend for themselves, when we get up at 4:00 a.m. and run like maniacs through the neighborhood, is training, when we go to formal schools is training, when we go “camping” is training… Because when the time comes and we are called to go to combat, there is no time to get ready, it is too late to train or to sharpen the axe.
As entrepreneurs, or bloggers, or whatever we call ourselves, is easy to forget that we are making money now, but, what about tomorrow?
Growing up in Puerto Rico, one of the major companies in the region used to be the Commonwealth Oil Refining Company (CORCO). We used to hate the stench around it, but we also were amazed to see the ritzy neighborhoods in the nearby towns. There were no mansions, but the houses looked big and comfortable, and the neighborhoods where pristine. One day, the news hit the island like a ton of bricks, CORCO was closing its doors. A lot of people that worked there, suddenly found themselves with no job. People that were just a few years away from retirement, suddenly found themselves thinking about how they were going to be able to retire, when the source of their retirement income had vanished. It was sad. Decades later, the area economy is still in shambles.
Twenty to thirty years ago, the paradigm changed from “you work hard for thirty years for the same company and then retire” to the current 401K or IRA retirement accounts that you drag with you every time you switch jobs.
We are now more familiar with the uncertainty of job availability. So, it only makes sense that you will prepare yourself in the event that “change” comes and you are suddenly laid off.
The aforementioned blog post starts with growing your network. I agree with that. Social Media Marketing can make you money, and you can use it to market yourself. There is nothing wrong with self promotion. Social Media is a tool that many misuse.
Nobody really wants to see the pictures of you acting foolish drunk out of your mind, and neither do your future employers.
“But, but, it is my life, and I have the right to my life”. NEWSFLASH: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE UNEMPLOYED TOO.
Create and maintain tasteful profiles, job scouts, now days, conduct a search for your name on the web to see if you are a suitable candidate to work for them. If your online behavior has being shameful to say the least, chances are, they will hire the other candidate. Don’t believe me? On the job questionnaire required if you want to work for President Elect Obama’s administration, several questions have to do with whether there are any potentially scandalous events in your past, and online… go figure.
So, in other words, take down your semi naked pictures, and clean up your online persona. Also, start participating in forums and online groups related to your expertise. Do contribute to the forum, otherwise, you will be considered a spammer, and worst, if you claim to be an expert in your area, your comments will either verify your claims, or expose you as a fraud. The “U” of the acronym, the article expands, relates to “Uncomfortable” or learning to grow.
As we grow and settle in our ways, it becomes harder to expand our knowledge base. I am amazed at high school kids graduating and swearing never to touch a book again.
I believe that the moment you quit learning, you start dying. In the Army, we cross train our people, to the point where every member of a section knows how to do the others jobs, and old timers like me, have a certain disdain for those who believe that they can get away with saying that such task is “not their lane”.
My personal philosophy is to do something outrageous, or something I have never done before at least once a year.
Pushing your comfort zone on a regular basis, prepares you for the unpredictable, and makes you a better asset on the workforce. Finish your degree, get another degree, just do something our of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
And last but not least important, promote yourself. It is hard to maintain a balance between becoming a rambling lunatic, and an expert; but if you can manage, your credibility will grow with your popularity.
Use business Social Networks like Linked In to post your resume and keep it updated. Participate in professional forums, and you will grow. Social media marketing can give you a leg up the competition.
All these things are steps that we should be doing on a regular basis. This is the twenty first century. We are living in historic times, and we have the opportunity to make history. We either make history, or we are history.
What will it be?
Again, think about your previous experiences. Has this article given you new ideas? Share your ideas with us…
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