Recognition is as important as integrity

Posted September 21, 2017 By Frank Strona

It doesn’t matter how seasoned a professional you are, or how much respect or national acclaim one gets; sometimes the most important recognition is from those that you are surrounded by or work with on a day-to-day basis.

Yet that can often be the same feedback that we allow ourselves to easily overlook. That old saying familiarity breeds contempt takes on new meaning when friends and close colleagues give us compliments and recognition.  It’s much easier to blow the words off when it’s from people we know. Perhaps it’s because we expect our friends and close colleagues to say them. Maybe there is a sense of “it’s not valid” unless it’s a stranger recognizing me. It is hard to say.

But in a world when criticisms, intolerance, lack of integrity, and hate is so abundant. It is crucial that we as a people, as professionals, and as human beings learn to allow those that we respect to share their feelings of love, admiration, and appreciation. Those moments have value to us and to them. The time it takes someone to mention or write you is an expression of sentiment, but also time. It is another opportunity to reflect on who we are and what we bring to the table.

Last week, I had a lovely reminder of this when longtime friend and colleague David Ortmann posted these words in reference to my work here in MentorSF

“MentorSF is really one-stop shopping for improving or growing any facet of your life. I must give a shout out to a man doing some amazing education, coaching, writing and life-focusing work in San Francisco. I have worked with, and learned from, Frank Strona, the founder of MentorSF for years. Check out the video if there are things in your life that need polishing or retooling. I highly recommend Frank. He’s a revolutionary thinker and guide.”

Every day, every one of us. no matter career role come into contact with an abundance of people and personalities. We often speak without thinking, think without speaking and sometimes we do neither. The biggest challenge we face is that we sometimes aren’t “hearing” what we’re “listening” too.

Next time you’re in a conversation and you find yourself thinking about the next thing to say or what to buy for dinner.  STOP for a moment and really hear what the person is saying. You may find yourself on the receiving end of a complement, a genuine heartfelt sentiment, a constructive criticism that could be of benefit you personally or professionally, or just a random moment that becomes an “AHA” moment for you.

 

On the flipside of that we often also ignore the power that we have in what we say. That casual stray coment or critical observation or even an honest reaction that to a listener or the person who overhears it may have lasting effects. These effects are ones you may never aware of. It’s important to honor to remember that the power of voice and storytelling is a gift for potential and gain, but also yields a sharp edge when handled badly.

 

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Many people want to take the next step in their career. There are plenty of ways for people to advance in their career and get the promotion they have been working for. Here are some tips on improving your career over the next few years. One of the key factors is that you must stay engaged in the process. It isn’t something you can’t start and stop, then wait for something to happen.

Experience

Gaining quality experience in your field is one of the best ways to move up in your company. Some people focus on earning money early in their career. However, the people who have the best careers typically focus on gaining experience at first.

If a new opportunity comes up at your place of work, you should take advantage of it. There are many people who get comfortable and stay in the same position for many years. Getting an online degree is a great way to get your career going again. Combining education and quality experience is the perfect way to advance in your career.

Education

An online degree program is one of the best ways to improve your level of education. Over time, education is the best way to increase your chances of getting promoted. A lot of companies will not hire people past a certain level without advanced degrees.

An online degree program is perfect for working professionals because it allows you to get a degree without quitting your job. There are many working professionals who go to class at night in order to advance their career. With all of the online degree program options in the market today, you should be able to find something that will meet your needs and is affordable. Some companies will even help employees pay for advanced education.

Networking

Another important aspect of getting promoted is to network with your peers. Networking is a great way to learn about various areas of your company and industry. In addition, people like to help people who they have a relationship with.

Networking is not difficult, and it is one of the best ways to improve your odds of success. Every few months, make a goal to interact with people throughout the company. Few people are intentional about networking, and this can help you separate yourself from others in your department.

Certifications

Getting additional certifications in your field is a way to stand out from others in your area. There are some certifications that require college classes or passing a test. These are usually the certifications that will actually add value to your career.

A certification in your field, especially in a technical area, is a great way to demonstrate that you are an employee who cares about your personal development. In addition, online education options today can help you prepare for these certification tests. Do some research in your field to determine the certifications that hold the most value.

Volunteering

Although it sounds strange, volunteering in your field is a great way to make new connections and gain experience. There are many volunteer organizations that are in need of help from working professionals. Not only can you bring your skills to an organization that needs your help, but you will be able to learn a lot during the process.

Now is a great time to start looking for an organization to work with that you are passionate about. With so many options today, there should be a company that you can find to help in the coming years.

Overall, it is possible to take your career to a new level and get the promotion you have always dreamed of. Many people get frustrated too early in their career that progress is not being made. Instead, focus on areas that you can control in order to take your career to a new level.

DREAM

That’s right. DREAM.  Never stop dreaming; of the future, the now and especially what you want in your world. 

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Do you have financial stressors? Maybe you’re worried you can’t pay all of your bills, or you’re already late on some payments. Money creates problems when it’s not flowing in at a steady rate. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life, making them suffer the results of financial stress. Living in a state of stress causes poor sleep, a negative attitude, and even worsening health. The key to overcoming the crippling anxiety that comes from financial stress is to gain control of your money. Here are 5 ways to reduce your stressors.

 

Stressor Reduction 1: Face Your Situation

Financial stress often comes from a sense of uncertainty about being able to meet financial obligations. It follows, then, that removing the uncertainty is the first step to removing the anxiety. Ideally, the replacement of uncertainty is accomplished through awareness.

Financial awareness comes by creating a budget where all expenses are matched against all income. However, simply writing down a list of all your bills and the amounts in the order of their due dates will provide a timeline of action for solving any problems in a logical way. There are even a few smartphone apps that track those dates to make things easier for you.

 

Stressor Reduction 2: Assess your Actual Spending

Sometimes even after creating a budget, you may continue to feel the strain that money matters can cause. If this is happening, it’s likely your budget isn’t as inclusive as it should be. Perhaps all the monthly bills are accounted for, but products and services throughout the month, like groceries, fuel, or hair care, are not. Coffee, ride services, and entertainment expenses add up quickly, too. Reviewing bank account purchase logs helps you to make honest assessments about what you are actually spending and whether or not it’s actually a necessary expense.

 

Stressor Reduction 3: Make More Money Available

If the source of financial stress is a lack of funds available to cover your pressing debts, then making more money will help to reduce the stress. Sometimes making extra money is a task that simply means getting a job. Other times, there are barriers that make things difficult for a second job, like school, children, and transportation, and those will limit your opportunities. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, though. Find legitimate online jobs, offer to babysit in your home, take clients to teach a skill.

Look into other ways to make more money available. Call some of your creditors and see if you can change payment amounts. Look into debt consolidation. Stop eating out as frequently, and make homemade meals. Most importantly, if people try to borrow money from you, say no.

 

Stressor Reduction 4: Learn a Skill

Find a way to make yourself more valuable in society. That is, learn a skill that people will pay you to do. Some people do odd jobs like changing the oil in their neighbors’ vehicles, learning to sew and providing hemming services, or learning a few songs on the guitar and making money as an entertainer. Learning a new skill can also come from a formal education, of course. Look into getting a degree or learning a trade that has a practical use. If getting back and forth to a brick and mortar university is a dealbreaker, research online universities—many of them offer online accounting degrees. In any case, educate yourself so that you have better chances at earning extra money.

 

Stressor Reduction 5: Get Help

When in a state of stress, it’s often impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Talk to a trusted friend, parent, or even a professional financial advisor about money matters. They may be able to see a simple solution you can’t, or they may have experienced something similar and can show you the best ways to get out of your current situation. At the very least, you will learn you’re not alone in your feelings of being overwhelmed by money.

Take control of your life and stop letting stress take a toll on your health. By following the above tips, you can reduce the stress and lead a more fulfilling life. It may take a lot of work, but when you find yourself not worried about paying your monthly bills, it’ll be worth it.

 

Stressor Reduction Bonus!

Make it ok for you to laugh, enjoy family time, and even on occasion – be ok with just doing nothing.

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App regret, do you have ever get it?

You know the script; catchy advert plus flashy visual, toss in the use of the word “free” all  entice us to explore some new app to be a solution to some percieved need we have to gain time, fill space, have fun or market something. Then we go to use it and it happens; app regret.

I happen to come across this post post the other night on TimeWellSpent and thought it an interesting read. It looked at “time spent online on apps” versus “happiness with the apps”. All too often we are seeing more and more “pitched” messaging about people spending too much time online, or “face in the phone”.

I can’t say I haven’t said or done the same. But I am becoming more conscious of how often I do have my “face in the phone” and missing life in the moment. My own storytelling is rich and complex, so missing out on more to add to it is something I always seek to avoid. It is odd because as amataur photographer, self-taught by my grandfather, I remember him always having his face in the camera “capturing those moments” but also missing out on both being in them and in the moment. Yet,  here I am as an adult, and I find myself doing the same things. Knowing that I do this, I try not to stress so much about the amount of time spent. Rather, what I have been looking at is the quality of the time I spend on the apps.

What is my time worth as balanced with what I am looking to achieve with the an app.

Lately I find I am deleting apps more often then ever before. Perhaps it is a growing sense of dissatisfication with the quality of the design or usability; perhaps it is the “free” concept being saddled with an overwhelming number of pop-up ads interfering with the reason I selected the app. In some cases, it is simply regret, in that in the use of them, it is not doing anything for me as a person. No matter the cause – I think with so many new apps in development, and many of us always on the search for the perfect app to do “x”. We must ensure that not only does the usability and quality meet some sense of acceptability – we need to check in on how they make us feel while using them. Going to the trouble to download, pay (or not) an app, then getting aggrivated because of its quirky or wonky design, lack of function or simply poor intuitive instructions is not going to improve my day.

The writers at TimeWellSpent, whose tagline this morning was right on the nose Let’s demand technology that serves us, not advertising” may be on to something. I was pleasantly surprised to find that TimeWellSpent is actually a Bay Area company – so look forward to reading more about what seems like a growing share mindset from them

They partnered with Moment; an app that “that helps people track their screen time, to ask how much screen time in apps left people feeling happy, and how much time left them in regret“. It has selection bias but I think it offers us a another potential way to think about  when talking to users of apps.

The images below are screen shot that I took from the story., but I encourage you to take moment to read the brief but full story herehttp://www.timewellspent.io/app-ratings/

 

 

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My 5 core beliefs in how to use social media platforms; yes another opinion to consider.

MentorMoments

Over the last few years, I have developed 5 core beliefs in how the use of social media platforms might be considered. As

Social media is eating the world.  Facebook alone has over 1.5 billion users – nearly 50% of the entire internet’s population. Throw in LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and region specific social networks like Vkontakte and Sina Weibo and WeChat, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s online but isn’t on social media”

With this, I can’t disagree. Social media is here to stay. But it isn’t the answer to every solution for success. Some “experts” believe you need to be on all of them to stay “current”. These would be those that are always the first at the party, ready to proselytize the ‘value” of the next great social media platform. But I see it differently, and do not feel that “all” is a perfect fit for everyone.  Instead I suggest a viewpoint, that offers the lens of ” Why do it,  if you aren’t ready to be, or if they aren’t likely to add value to your project?“.

I came to this thinking after being reminded of a former client. His work was personal, customized, very hands-on artistic and often marketed from word of mouth. Folks kept telling him how much he needed to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. This caused him stress, as he wasn’t a tech savvy person in general, and then made him question his business acumen and confidence. By the time he called me, he was all set to jump on every platform. Sort of like that new puppy you bring home, all eager and playful he had a whole agenda and calendar in mind. That is until I candidly asked to tell me: “What did he hope to gain from each platform?”;
  • Audience?
  • Profits?
  • Clients?
  • Reputation?
  • Adoration?
  • Self-confidence?
Until that moment,  no one had even asked him to consider “not being on a platform” or encouraged him to think how would he measure and allocate the time for them. Now, some companies and consultants can take on this work on a clients behalf, for a fee; even I do it from time to time with clients or as part of my Storytelling Bootcamp series. If it isn’t an industry I am familiar with, all I am really doing is playing the middle administrative function. Working with the owners “ideas” and assisting in the logistics of the platforms, someone still needs to create the original content to use. In the end, instead of casting a wide and diffused landscape of social media, he opted to use only some of the platforms; concentrating on the ones that met his needs, based on a concrete set of goals, understood time limitations, and technical comfort.

That all being said – here are my 5 core beliefs in using digital social media for a small business

  • Core Beliefs Number 1: “Shit rolls down hill”;

    Don’t commit to it, if you don’t want to do it. You can’t expect your junior staff or an intern to carry it forward in the same way you would. You won’t be happy with the results. The nuances of the small business and entrepreneurism is the relationship to an owner’s personal style, theme, and focus. It can be very hard to have others replicate you. Remember, social media is just another form of your personal ability to use “storytelling” for your brand

  • Core Beliefs Number 2: Don’t hide your head in the sand.

    If your blog allows for comments or you know you have accounts on Yelp, Angie’s List, GlassDoor etc, don’t be afraid to read what people are saying. You do not have to like all the comments. But ignoring them won’t make them go away.  If fact each of the “criticisms” is an opportunity for you to:

a) Appreciate that a person took the time to share concerns;

b) promote new or changed policies that were in the works or are a result of the comment and

c) craft a response that shows you care, what and how your business interacts with its clients.

  • Core Beliefs Number 3: Never be afraid to say “I don’t know”.

When you don’t know the answer or how to make it happen, be honest and say that. Most people find that being honest, and then following up with “but let me find out and let you know” and then actually remembering to follow up will gain you a more sustainable memory to that person. Whereas that “1/2 truth” that sounds good for a minute, then later when proven wrong, will only make you look like a fool later.

  • Core Beliefs Number 4: You don’t need to be on every social media platform.

    Just because it is trending, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for you. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and question if it is in sync with your goals as a business. Consider how much you are willing to allocate to social media accounts. That includes knowing what (if any) budget you want to invest, and how much time you can afford to spend. Ultimately – don’t do it because someone says you “just have got to be on x”.

  • Balancing Activism, Privilege, and Social Media with Frank Strona on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 43

    Core Beliefs Number 5: Take Risks.

    You all have heard the saying “think outside the box”. While it can be “trendy” and a catch all phrase – there are some selling points to expanding beyond your boundaries of creativity. One is looking at who are your natural collaborators. Short-term, partnering, collaborating and local joint-sponsored activities can actually expand your success without a lot of resources by getting you access to different markets. Be sure to include the collaborators that may not come to mind initially. Be willing to allow some creative thinking, link sharing and brainstorming how a measured collaboration would look like. In the end, it could mean access to huge untapped opportunities. One example that was truly a great experience for me recently, was guesting on other blogger’s podcasts. Instead of starting my own, I was able to leverage a guest shots and use those links as content and feed material to promote my Facebook page MentorSFCA and also my own work in MentorSF.

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The cost of being digital savvy. 

Posted August 22, 2017 By Frank Strona
Trade Show Sharing

Savvy is such an unqiue word in bussiness and can mean so many things.

PR Daily recented posted the following Report:  Half of all organizations lack sufficient digital savvy.

It was an intresting read in that it gave some support as to why one of my top calls are savvy related  and come from senior leaders asking for confidential Social Media overview and support services. Many of these requests are often built into other meetingss, so that the actual content is as obvious to the other team or subordinants.  They cite the  PwC’s 2017 Digital IQ survey. Clearly getting the  the concern that people have as “business processes become increasingly “digital”—and roles become more complex—we’re entering an era of uncertainty about hacks, data breaches and privacy”

What does it take to be savvy?

Very little in some cases. Mostly it is your time and willingness to think in a “call to action/motivation” framework and be ok with that fact thay the models and tools change rapidly.

When I get one of these request – in most cases 2 – 3 sessions will get someone up to spead and motivate them to do the rest of the experiencial work solo.

Check out the full read HERE

Interesting is speaking with me further about your needs?

Contact me direct at Frank@Mentorsf.com

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Storytelling. How do you show it’s power?

This is the power of storytelling. When it hurts the most, is when the story is the most important to share.

Heather Heyer’s Mom speaks about her daughter at the memorial service. Getting huge coverage in the press Washginton Post and the New York Times this remarkable women is reminding us that we each need to take a stand and not stand silent.

The quote that has captured the attention and hearts of the world;

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up…”

Note: A GoFundMe campaign created to support Ms. Heyer’s family had surpassed $200,000 as of Sunday evening.

 

Video curtesy of Facebook Videos code, posted by former SF mayor & 49th Lt. Gov. of California, Gavin Newsom


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Loving that the Storytelling Movement Continues

Posted August 7, 2017 By Frank Strona

 The Storytelling Movement Continues

Just catching up on some of my news feeds and came across this recent post from the Edge Network. As many of you know I hold a special place in my heart, head (and yes, evan my wallet) about the significant importance of  “Storytelling“. It is more than something just for children and I  love how seeing more and more forums integrating the technique into everything from health communication, care, advocacy, to finance.

Edge Network; Oral Histories of San Fran Activism

New Storytelling Project to Gather Oral Histories on San Francisco AIDS Activism

The GLBT Historical Society has launched a new oral history project under the guidance of historian Joey Plaster to chronicle, preserve and share the history of ACT UP/San Francisco and other AIDS direct-action groups.

For more on Storytelling and the full story: http://www.edgemedianetwork.com/?219246

For more information

About providing an interview or volunteering, contact Joey Plaster at joey@glbthistory.org. To take part in the conversation and get regular updates, join the project’s Facebook group and visit the project’s page on the GLBT Historical Society website.

For more information on the GLBT Historical Society, visit www.glbthistory.org.


Interested in how you can add Storytelling?  
Find out more details on the MentorSF’s  Storytelling Technology Bootcamp 

This engaged hands-on “Bootcamp” style workshop is an overview of ways and tools to share personal and communal stories with your family, friends or for wider sharing. It will cover the use of different tools and platforms from micro-blogging, to full out blog tools, e-journaling, use of Facebook as a story collector and more.

The 60 – 90 minute sessions are each designed to be interactive can be taken in any order. Sessions are arranged for 1:1 learning in person or online. For more information visit:Storytelling Technology Bootcamp

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Storytelling the Intergenerational LGBTQ Culture way with The Generations Project (http://www.thegenerationsproject.info). 

Sharing stories that spane the LGBTQ experience one story at a time. 

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More ways to increase your income with Social Media

Posted July 25, 2017 By Frank Strona

Never miss an opportunity because of a closed door

Income. Like it or not, it is what keeps our business solvent. The Funding Circle Resource Center just shared an interesting and super user-friendly read on way to increase your income with Social Media. They suggest ways, with minimal outlay, you can see a significant increase. While I think it goes deeper than any simple list can lay out, and what most of the list doesn’t account for is the cost of your time – I think its a great “idea read” to prompt some active engagement with your teams, or yourself on ways to “up” your opportunities.

The 6 step plan they offer is  based on the following points: 
  • Step 1: Goals
  • Step 2: Budget
  • Step 3: Platforms
  • Step 4: Audience
  • Step 5: Creativity
  • Step 6: Analyze
I think the list is a good reminder. I also shared a version from the State of Digital back in 2016, that was equally as simple – but I added a few adaptions you might find interesting as well. You can read my Engage!  post on Thinking behind promotion your digital content  to get an idea.
For the full read of the  article from the Funding Circle, Resource Center visit them here:  https://www.fundingcircle.com/us/resources/what-can-you-do-for-your-business-extra-25k-on-social-media/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=branding&utm_content=25ksocial_v3
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