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Guest Post: Part II Strengthen Your Focus

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on April 15, 2010

Continued from 10 Mantras for Empowering Focus

6. “WHAT DOES FAILURE LOOK LIKE?”

If you believe in it, you give it life.

If you don’t, it can’t breathe.

I stopped believing in defeat. I mean that. I didn’t look at any of the obstacles as insurmountable, and believe me; they could have easily taken me off my course for years. There can be no such thing as failure. It doesn’t equate. It has no logical substance to it. No matter what sacrifices you will have to make on your way there, remember…you are on your way there. Remember that you are heading no place else, but towards your success.

7. “THE MYOPIC IS LEGAL HERE…”

Don’t tolerate anything that will distract you. Flexibility is needed when you are certain of exactly what you wish to accomplish, and the flavor can be negotiable, but outside of the superficial details, there is only one thing that exists. Make sure that you know the difference between a compromise when settling disputes, and a compromise with your life’s goals. If you have not gotten to a place in your thinking where you have absolutely defined exactly what the general goal is, then you shouldn’t be reading this. This is not about finding a focus; this is about strengthening your focus.

Focused people tend to be short-sighted and narrow-minded when it comes to all else. This is a necessary evil. Keep your eyes on the road, let all else subside from your periphery…

8. “ONE STEP AT A TIME”

Ever see someone jump in a pool and not stroke, kick, or doggy paddle? Can’t make it in a pool without some sort of movement, huh? Sure, those are my thoughts exactly. Your focus is your pool. You cannot claim to be focused if you are not making even the tiniest of steps toward realizing your vision. The smallest kick or push will keep you afloat, and may even attract the attention of the person with the resources necessary to sky rocket your vision. But you can’t get their attention by doing nothing. You must make those steps.

No one is going to give you the permission to be as great as you should be. You have to take that reality and carve it into yours. You have to take the necessary steps to make your vision a reality in the world we already live in. One step at a time and the journey of one thousand miles is completed.

9. “SET BACKS HELP US IF WE LET THEM…”

I once saw a baby standing while it was having its umbilical cord cut, and once cut, the baby walked over to its mother, jumped up on the gurney, and kissed her. Alright, I never was much of a fiction writer but I think you get my point here. It just doesn’t happen without the falls, the scrapes, the bruises, the tears, and all those moments where you just think that it will not happen.

Focus means direction. You are moving toward something. You are going to fall along that course. That fall may present you with the necessary perception or strength to continue at a higher frequency than before. Don’t give in to your cowardice. Remember, you came to this world without a language to speak or read, no clue about the opposite sex, no idea about the health care reform(alright, we are all still working on that one…).

Stay focused. Take it easy. We all fall. Use it as reason to keep striving…

10. “IF YOU DON’T, WHO WILL?”

And as the circle of life revolves and spirals, leaving us in a higher place than where we started, we are back to purpose. If you don’t develop your abilities to tackle that dream and vision of yours, who is going to? If you don’t follow your heart’s desires, who will? No one can fulfill your greatest hopes for yourself but, well, yourself. YOU.

The energy needed to achieve anything is actually about the same as the attention needed to push the “x” (close) button on an application on your computer screen. It just means holding that desire over a longer period of time. That is what we actually mean by focus. That only means a constant reminder is necessary so you will not forget that only you can accomplish this task. Even if someone could, how much of a little squirrel do you think the world is going to make you feel like? There is a definite spiritual force that punishes those that don’t even attempt to do that in which they most want to do. Stay the course…it is almost over.

J. Farand is a writer, web designer, and web developer and writer of the book, “The Better You”. He is currently finishing a BA and co-authoring a book entitled,”Media Messages.” His daily musings and analysis can be found at http://www.owlasylum.net

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Am I Really Ready for Success?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 4, 2010

Are you ready for the good life?I was talking to a friend and even through a text message my friend could tell that something was bothering me. I went on to tell how I felt trapped by my circumstances. Some might call what I am experiencing a quarterlife crisis. Circumstances surrounding the incompletion of my higher education have me living at home, working two part-time jobs, and wishing that things could have just been different. What do I want from my life? I want the success that I can see is on the horizon; and, I want it now. I want to move out. I want the life that other people younger than me have. I know I shouldn’t compare my journey to anyone else’s, but I am so so so so so so tired. Mediocrity is exhausting. Then, my friend asked me how I was going to get what I want. My answer: I don’t know.

Every day I’m reminded of how much I want my life to be different. Every time I get on the bus, watching the unwed pregnant teenagers, having to drown out the derogatory tunes emanating from the iPod 5 feet away from me, dodging the smokers’ spit puddles, I say I can’t do this anymore. Then, I wake up and do it all over again the next day. We all know the definition of insanity, right? That’s it. That’s what it is. I’m insane. I must be to want something better for myself, to be able to see it, and to not be trying ridiculously hard every day to achieve it. What is wrong with me? Then, I wondered, “Am I really ready to receive all that I want? Am I really ready for success?”

Stay tuned for the next post in this series on how I started moving towards getting what I want.

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What You Can Learn From Working In Retail

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 13, 2009

At the pay desk

Retail – It’s a thankless industry. Between the elitist customers who look down on you for being a lowly salesperson and the family that does the same, you can begin to feel like you’re wasting your time in a position that has no potential to help you in your professional life. Well, you’re wrong. If you’ve been trying your best to get a so-called real job but feel that all you can get is retail, consider yourself lucky because you are now privy to the best on-the-job training for which you will not have to pay.

Your time spent on the floor of your retail store will give you countless hours of access to sensitivity, anger management, and customer service training while, also, developing your social skills, exposing you to deductive reasoning, working with a team, and developing your confidence. If you think these attributes are not important to your professional life, then re-read the skills and requirements that employers are looking for in their job ads.

You will begin to notice that people have a tendency to repeat certain actions. Take notice of these patterns because they can offer much insight. What follows is a list of some behaviors that you should take with you into your professional and personal life.

Read the fine print
When something is on sale, most companies list all of the exclusions in their marketing. This is the same for companies outside of the retail industry. Read through paperwork. Ensure you have full knowledge of what you are entering into. Don’t sign something without this knowledge.

Ask proper questions
Sometimes you can’t answer something for yourself, and you need help. It is perfectly acceptable to ask someone who is more knowledgeable about the subject for assistance. However, they cannot read your mind. “You know what I mean” will not always work. It is best to be clear on what you need so that the other person can adequately and efficiently serve your needs. Give the person clues to help them understand what you need.

Help yourself first
When was the last time you walked into a store that had no marketing, no price labels, and no item descriptions? Not recently, I would bet. How often do you bypass the marketing, price labels, and item descriptions to ask someone what’s on sale, how much something is, or what something is, though? In retail as in life, signs and labels are around to help you help yourself. People are much more willing to help you find a solution to your problem when it appears as though you have taken the initiative to educate yourself on the matter from the outset without expecting that you are entitled to receive the answers from someone else.

Double Check
You were taught this lesson in school. People make mistakes, but agreeing to their mistake will cost you in the end. After you have helped yourself, asked the proper questions, and read the fine print, ensure that all of the facts and figures are correct before signing your name.

Just because it’s on the front table doesn’t mean it’s for you
The first thing that you see is not always the solution to your problem. If you’re allergic to wool, would you buy a sweater without checking the fabric label? In the professional world it is necessary to dig deeper. Guarantee that you have fulfilled your needs before walking away.

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Doing Everything Right But Still Not Getting Hired?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on September 1, 2009

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

I find so much information about what GenY is not doing right in regards to the interview process, but I know plenty of people who don’t show up to interviews in a bath robe; they have their resumes reviewed by experts; and, they ask what they are told are really great questions; but, they still don’t get hired. I wondered if there is still something that we’re doing wrong.

On August 17, 2009 I was participating in a hashchat called #journchat on Twitter. Towards the end of the discussion the professionals on the chat responded to this question from the host, @journchat: “Q8 What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm? Doesn’t have to be social media specific. #journchat” I re-tweeted what @katcalbes said, and, after speaking a few more times, I asked if she would mind offering more advice.

Kat Calbes is a PR strategist and branding counselor based in Los Angeles. What follows is her advice for interviewees on other statements or behaviors that can result in a poor interview.

In general, telling an interviewer that you are a “people person” because you’re an outgoing social butterfly doesn’t mean you should be in PR.  Here are other “no-no” behaviors and statements that can jeopardize one’s potential for landing a job:

Dropping the L-word too many times. This is a personal favorite of mine because I learned this lesson through one of my mentors early in my career. Plenty of young (and not-so-young) professionals wander through life using the “L-word” a bit too much.  It’s distracting. It’s unprofessional. And frankly, I want my company to be represented by someone who can clearly articulate their thoughts.  For example, We represented this “like” one company that “like” offered this “like” product that “like” does X, Y and “like” Z.  It was “like” the best campaign that I “like” ever got to work on and “like” I would work there in “like” a heartbeat.

Showing up to an interview without a portfolio or writing samples. We want to know if you can actually write (not just talk talk talk!). In PR and marketing, writing is one of the most basic, yet most important, tools for success. Writing means both internal and external documents – from press releases and byline articles to internal newsletters and basic memos to your bosses or clients.

Telling the interviewer you don’t really read the news. As PR pros, we need to be alert and on top of current events and trends in order to leverage our company/clients for timely media coverage or promotional opportunities. Make sure to follow the news, read industry-related blogs and pay attention to what is being covered in the media landscape. Hearing an entry-level candidate say, “Oh, I get my news from reading People, InStyle, etc.” is not what you want to hear (unless the position is for entertainment PR, which would then of course be relevant).

Don’t say “Oh, I don’t have any questions, you answered them all already.” It’s important to ask intelligent questions that show your genuine interest in the company. Even if the interviewer has covered every nook and cranny, always have questions handy. Write them down on a notebook (I’ve seen this and totally support it!). If the conversation truly covered every topic under the sun about the job or company, ask questions about the interviewer.  It’s just as important to know more about your future supervisor as it is for them to get to know you. “How did you get started in this company? What have you learned so far in your position?  What do you enjoy the most about your job?  What is your management style? Can you tell me a little about the department or team that I’d be working with?”

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Don’t Treat Me like A College Dropout #2

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 18, 2009

college dropout

“The college dropout”. Unless you’re Kanye West or Bill Gates, having this label attributed to you garners only negative attention. To be a college dropout is to be a wasted resource. “It’s a shame to see all that potential go to waste” is what most people say (behind the backs of the people to which they are referring). We hear you, though. You don’t have to say it to our faces because it shows in your eyes. Your body language expresses your contempt for us. It’s a good thing some of us don’t pay attention to your misguided attempts at encouragement, or else we may never get past the pain and onto success.

What follows is an interview conducted with Stephanie Danforth, who is the editor of Venus Diva Magazine. A strong believer in thinking outside of the box, Stephanie is passionately pursuing her dreams in accordance with her reality. She is working with her circumstances towards a path of even greater success.

Did you feel expectations from family, friends or society to succeed in college? If so, what impact did this pressure have on you?

Definitely, coming from a family full of college grads with Masters and PHd’s, being successful in college was the only route to go.  Success as it relates to school started early on for me.  My father was an English professor at a local college.  My grandmother was an Administrative head at an elementary school, and my uncles were all teachers, so to not succeed in college was unheard of.  I didn’t feel pressure to succeed.  I thrive in pressure situations.  It gets my blood boiling. The pressure of success didn’t have as much of an affect on me as the fact that I didn’t graduate.  It’s not like I felt so much pressure that I couldn’t handle it.

How do friends and family treat you because you don’t have a college degree?

I’m not treated any differently by friends, but, at times, I feel like my brothers treat me a little differently. They treat me as if I am not as educated as they are, or don’t understand the struggles of a black college student. Hello, I went to college for over four years, and I don’t have a degree; if anyone understands the struggles, it’s me.  My mom constantly tells me how I need to go back to school but when I think about the jobs that me and my brothers have had, it’s easy to view me as the most successful of the three.  So, my question to them is often, “What did having a degree get you, since I’m making more than you?” Men can be competitive at times, so, sometimes, I have to go there with them.

How do you feel about yourself?

At times I am disappointed in myself not because I didn’t graduate, but because I let it bother me that I didn’t graduate.  I’m proud of everything that I’ve accomplished and believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes I think not having a degree messes with my confidence.

Why did you leave school without a degree?

Why did I leave school?  The first time I was put on short term suspension for grades and the second time, financial wouldn’t give me any more money.  I guess the first time I left, I was gone too long and my loan defaulted.  I think.  I really don’t remember the details; all I know was that I ran out of money.

Do you plan to return to get a degree? If so, what is preventing you from returning in the immediate future?

I would like to, but once you start working and having a family, it’s easier said than done.  Right now I have an application in at University of Phoenix; so, as soon as they call me for the job, I will enroll.  When I ran out of aid, I promised myself and my mom that I was going to get my degree, and get someone to pay for it.  If I could afford it, I would, but I can’t; so, U of P, here I come.

What is the biggest myth equated with dropouts that you would like to dispel?

That we are incapable of working in corporate America.  There is nothing that anyone does that cannot be taught. Having a degree does not make you that much smarter.  People seldom go into a career path where their degree can be useful. In my eyes, asking for a person with a degree is nothing more than trying to weed out what’s considered good from bad.

Many people have had to leave school for reasons other than the stereotypical “college just isn’t for me” attitude; and, many would like to return to get their degree, but existing roadblocks make it difficult. Support education reform to enable the passionate people to more efficiently achieve their dreams.

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