Jonathan Begley

January 19, 2010

WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

Filed under: Career,Development,Workforce — jonathanbegley @ 3:19 pm

 

What do actions like this say about a leader?  We have all made mistakes and we have all made decisions that have negatively affected others.  Some decisions must be made and others are made blindly, often with no intention of ill will.  This is just a fact of business.

My hat is off to these businessmen who care enough to take off their board meeting blinders to see and get to know the people who make their organizations run. 

Who are you following today?  Examining those you follow is a great indicator of the leader that you will become.  What qualities do you see in your leader that you wish to acquire?  How will you do things differently?

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January 3, 2010

FOCUS

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Goals — jonathanbegley @ 9:09 pm

It’s time to focus.  2010 is here and we are all ready to go.  The last month has been filled with talk of resolutions, expectations, and hopes.  Now it is time to get down to business and make these dreams a reality.  But how do we put action to these goals?  Where do we begin?

Whether your goals are to stop bad habits or to develop good ones, it all has to start somewhere.  The first of January is always a hard time for me to start anything, simply because it’s the first of January.  I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.  Think about the gym that magically fills to capacity as men and women of all ages and abilities come forward to embark on their journey.  For some reason I can’t stand being seen by others as “one of those people.”  Those people are the ones who start strong on Monday, they show up on Tuesday, and have the best of intentions on Wednesday.  By Friday they are ready to reward themselves for a great week, only to start again on Monday. 

The first of January puts a lot of pressure all of us resolutioners.  It is this reason that I think so many fail.  Yet we all continue to make resolutions, thinking that this year will be different.  To make matters worse I think many of us put too much on our own plates.  Not only do we wait until January to change our lives in major ways, but we rarely focus on just one.  I believe we would have a much greater success rate if we conciously chose one goal to focus on, not necessarily giving up on the others but consider them to be an added bonus if we succeed.  Goals are often very complex, but they need not be.  This is a choice that each of us has to make ourselves.

We often look at resolutions as goals for the entire year, yet January 1 we are all behaving like we must get there immediately.  Where do we want to be one year from now?  Then we should work backwards and set realistic goals.  If you want to be working out five times a week at the gym, what is a realistic starting point for you now?  How about walking the dog for thirty minutes a day?

The definition of focus is “attention on a central point.”  It doesn’t any more simple than that.  Yet if any of us were to look at our lives, or our goals, at any given moment, a central point is often extremly difficult to determine. 

If you were given just one word to describe your focus, what would it be?

December 23, 2009

THE SECRET OF ALL VICTORY

Filed under: Career,Development — jonathanbegley @ 11:04 am

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius

Doing the little things well can have a profound impact upon your career. It’s the little things that others neglect, making you stand out above the rest. Organization is a skill that comes naturally to some and to others it requires a fair amount of effort. This is a skill that is highly sought by employers even if they don’t know it.

Most people, without even realizing it, would have a certain degree of confidence in the organized worker. Organization creates confidence in others because we are all well aware that these workers are focused and productive. You would have little doubt that the organized person could handle an afternoon meeting. Not to say that this person is any less busy but it is common sense that organization allows people to get more done in less time.

Organized people are able to prioritize their tasks. Employers can depend upon the well organized to take on big tasks that often create big rewards. Those who can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much.

For those of you who are organized, what are your secrets? For those of you who aren’t, why not?

December 15, 2009

SPEAKING WITH PURPOSE

Filed under: Development,Public Speaking — jonathanbegley @ 8:56 pm

There are few tasks in life that can be as fulfilling or as painful as public speaking.  Some people just can’t get enough of themselves with a microphone.  They flock to every opportunity to speak even when they have nothing relevant to say.  Many of these “gabbers” neglect their audience, never bothering to stop to think whether what they are saying is interesting or valuable in any way.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those people who shy away from the spotlight.  These people often are content with allowing these “gabbers” to have the floor even though they have interesting and valuable things to say.  How many of us have left conferences and meetings feeling confused and frustrated at the lack of progress?  We feel this way because there is nothing of value being said, no direction, and no purpose.

Just because someone enjoys having a microphone in their hand does not mean that they should be allowed to have one.  There is a time and a place for those people to stand and hear themselves talk.  And just because you may not feel comfortable with that microphone in your hand does not mean that you don’t have anything of value to say, so speak up. 

So how do we bring value, direction, and purpose?  How can we be the speaker who energizes the audience and inspires action?  It all comes down to being prepared. 

Know your audience.  The same message can be taken many different ways by many different groups.  Knowing your audience will enable you to tailor your message to meet their needs.  It allows you to highlight what they want to hear.  Knowing your audience allows you to anticipate questions or concerns they may have. 

Watch your audience.  Look for signs of fidgeting, for yawning.  Also look for eye contact, for note taking, for nodding.  There are countless body language clues that can help you know when to elaborate, when to move on, or when to ask for questions.  Pausing periodically for questions will allow your audience to get back on the same page with you.  You want them listening to what you are saying, not thinking about their question. 

Most of all, know what you want to say.  Have a short outline if that helps, some bullet points that will help you stay focused on the end goal.  If you should happen to get stuck for any reason, there is nothing wrong with pausing for questions and looking at your notes.  Remember, your notes should be very brief, simple talking points.  The more you write down the less likely it is you will follow them.

With a few hours of preparation and some careful observance of your audience you can turn a frustrated and confused group into an inspired one ready to take your ideas into action.  Some personalities are more comfortable on stage, but some messages are more memorable.

What do you think?  Who are some great speakers and why?

December 11, 2009

JUST HUMOR ME

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Public Speaking — jonathanbegley @ 4:10 pm

“Just picture everyone in their underwear.”

Maybe it’s my complete lack of imagination but this public speaking trick never quite worked for me. I have found however that there is much truth to the saying. The key to public speaking is to find the humor in the situation. There is always something to laugh about.

When you are able to find the humor in the situation everything else just does not seem all that important. Even if it is the “biggest” or “most important” talk you have ever given, why treat it as such while on the stage? If it truly is an event of this magnitude, you should be prepared. If not you will suffer the consequences for this lack of preparation.

So there you are, about to go on stage after weeks of preparation. Your mindset when you walk on stage will dictate how your performance will be. Are you tense, thinking about every detail, every possible question? Or are you relaxed, confident, and ready to make a great impression? Nerves are bound to be there but a relaxed body and mind will help you keep a clear mind that can quickly process information when confronted with the unexpected.

What better way to relax than to laugh? Think about the reality of the situation. Is this really that big of a deal? Are people actually listening? And who really cares what they have to say? Whether it’s looking for those comical moments, thinking of a joke you can tell to start things off, or picturing everyone in their underwear, humor is the key to success in public speaking.

December 8, 2009

THE YEAR TO COME

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Goals — jonathanbegley @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , ,

December seems to be the month of goal setting. I’ve read more blogs over the last week about goals than I care to acknowledge. Yet whenever I come across another goal post I find myself reading it. I typically avoid New Year’s resolutions. I believe that goal setting should be something done constantly, not once a year because the calendar changes. So why do I continue to read about other’s goals, about other’s review of 2009?

Goals help me focus my energy. They help me measure success. They give me the strength to persevere when confronted with unforeseen challenges. Goal setting goes hand in hand with success in any area of life; home, family, career, friendships, hobbies. Whenever I do set a concrete goal, I find that I usually reach it. Yes, I have experienced failure in reaching some goals, but its these times in life when I feel that I learn the most.

2009 was a good year. I’ll leave it at that. 2010 will be one to remember because I am committed to making this year special. This is the year when I reach a major milestone, fatherhood. All my life I have wanted to be a father, and thinking back I have always had a certain “man” in mind. Happy, loving, devoted, spiritual and active are just a few traits. How will I become this man if I do not consciously make the effort each day? Below are my goals for the coming year, in no particular order.  So here’s to goal setting!

1. Running. With no money for gym memberships, what better way to stay active than running. And what better dog is there than mine to run me. I will participate in two competitive events at least 10K in length with the ultimate goal of running a marathon.

2. Writing. I am enjoying this blogging experience. I know that I will benefit from it. The more I write the better writer I will be. Who knows, maybe someone will enjoy reading my posts!

3. Reading. My goal is to read two books a month at the very least. Libraries are wonderful places and I don’t need $15 to find a book I will enjoy.

4. Work. 8 hours a day. I will take a lunch break everyday for an entire hour. I will practice public speaking whenever possible, sharing my ideas and opinions no matter whose listening.

5. Service. It is obvious that this is a gift that has been given to me. I will find ways to serve my community, no matter how big or small.

6. Finances. I will provide for my family. Stick to the budget and continue to knock down our debt. We’re so close! The baby deserves a family with freedom from debt.

7. Friends. Interact with at least one friend a week. Whether its coffee, lunch, hitting golf balls, or watching a game. Give more of myself to others.

8. My Family. Give my wife and child 100%. I will be the happy and loving father and husband that they deserve. I will help my wife in her transition to motherhood by being there and making an honest effort to listen (with eye contact).  In order to be 100% I can’t and shouldn’t drink alcohol. 

9. Other Family. I will call my parents at least one time per month and email them once a week. I will also make frequent contact with both brothers. Do something to help Mandy feel welcome and proud to be in our family.

10. God. I will continue to seek His will for my life. I will continue to seek to know Him more. I will lead my family to serve the Lord. I will give myself to the Lord daily.

This will start now, not on January 1.  Good luck to me and to all those out there who are choosing to make changes in the months and years to come!

December 4, 2009

TODAY, I CHOOSE…

Filed under: Attitude,Development — jonathanbegley @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Life is made of choices. 

No matter how many bad choices I have made in the past, I have a new choice today.  This next choice should be seen as a gift.  It’s an opportunity to change.  It’s an opportunity to persevere.  It’s powerful.

Today I choose to live a life of integrity. 

Today I choose to make a difference.

Today I choose happiness.

The list can be incomplete today, because tomorrow you can choose again.  The purpose is to actively choose the path you will travel.  Knowing who you are and where you want to go makes each choice a little easier. 

What choice will you make today?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Filed under: Career,Development,Social Media — jonathanbegley @ 8:39 am

Not until just recently have I considered social media as an opportunity for success in my life and career.  I stumbled upon a class at the local extended studies program at the local university.  The class, entitled “Google is Your New Business Card” was taught by Dr. Bret Simmons and Ronele Klingensmith.  Dr. Bret is the MBA professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

I immediately noticed upon walking into the classroom the different traits and personalities of my fellow students.  I was probably the youngest person in the room (late 20’s).  There were several older folks, an MBA graduate, bankers, yoga instructors, business professionals, realtors, among others.  You might expect that I, being the youngest, was the most comfortable with computers and social media.  If you guessed this you would be wrong. I guess I am somewhat of an anomaly compared to others my age.

Social media has never, until now, really appealed to me.  I had a Facebook account, but wasn’t very active.  I enjoyed seeing people from my past at first, but I have also realized that I have moved on and could honestly care less who is playing what farm game or mafia wars.  It seemed like a giant waste of time.

Dr. Bret described two different types of people on Twitter, and I think it goes for social media in general, the informers and the ME-formers.  This I have found to be 100% true.  Each day I explore social media a little more and realize that there is a vast amount of knowledge to be obtained from hearing people’s thoughts, reading other’s blogs, and just by interacting with other like minded people.  This “informer” truth is something that I feel most people are unaware of.  Most don’t see the benefit of social media.

I honestly now believe that social media, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs (and countless others I learned about) not only can be a fast and efficient method of marketing yourself, but can be an incredible method of self-improvement.  Follow and learn from the experts in the areas you’re interested in.  Brand yourself, show your value. 

It is impossible for me to invision a world five or ten years from now that does not have some advanced form of social media on the internet.  If you are like I was, a skeptic, who is unsure if you can really use these mediums effectively, just jump in.  There is a learning curve for everyone.  These sites are designed to be as simple or as detailed as you want

Why do you not use social media websites?  Or if you do, what do you find to be the most important benefit of this new way of communication?

November 25, 2009

Quick Fix

Filed under: Development — jonathanbegley @ 3:34 pm

The authors of Freakonomics wrote an article last week focused on a recent “trend” that has taken shape in the current economic crisis.  They question if this is possibly the solution to unemployment?  The article claims that a number of white-collar, educated individuals are considering donating organs because of their financial struggles.  They state that $100,000 would go a long way towards financial security, a lot farther than selling old items around the house.  This is quite the “out of the box” thinking.

I realize that this is not a “trend” that most of us would agree with (and if you do please leave a comment below), but I do believe that this “quick fix” attitude is extremely prevalent in our society.  Think about our athletes using performance-enhancing drugs or our parents giving their children medication at the first sign of behavioral problems.  Think about our government creating $787 billion to bail out businesses that were run poorly and who should be left on their own to fail.  We want things here and we want things now.  We want our lives as easy and painless as possible.  And we don’t consider the future consequences of our actions.

Our nation and economy did not get into this present situation quickly.  For close to a decade people bought homes they had no business buying, thinking that in a few months they could sell that same home for a huge profit.  Banks loaned money to anyone, regardless of income or credit history, just to put a few extra dollars in their pockets.  Many Americans were making unrealistic wages in an economy that could just not sustain itself.  Now many of these same Americans are struggling to find work.  The work that is available does not pay the wages necessary to sustain their previous lifestyle.  People’s lives are changing and it hurts, but this is the natural consequence of living outside of our means.

It has been widely reported that we are out of the recession, but that this recovery may very well be a “jobless recovery” for the next two or three years.  We need to be prepared to experience pain and struggle.  We need to work hard and to learn all we can from our experiences.  Most of all, we cannot expect to have a “quick fix” of any kind, whether from the federal government or from the sale of vital organs.  The good jobs in our economy’s future will not go to those individuals who made the most money before and who think that they are entitled to certain wages and conditions now.  The good jobs will go to those people who work hard, who learn all they can and who invest in themselves, even when times are tough.

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