Supporters and Mentors

Hi, how are you?

Did you spend some time researching what you would like to do in life?

Remember, it’s researching that will save you money and time. You don’t want to invest heavily in something and then after for six years of schooling and apprenticeship find out that you really don’t like to do the job that you just learned. Believe it or not, this happens to many people.

Part of your research should be finding people who are willing to talk with you and give you some encouragement towards your goals. Trying to improve, can feel like trying to move mountains.  Having people who are willing to help mentor you is a great benefit to your work and your morale.  Find your supporters and invite them to be on your team as mentors, collaborators, partners or friends.

Most people are proud of what they do, and it is easy to get people who will talk with you for 20 minutes. It is easier if they can feel you are not going to put them on the spot, ask for a job, or take too much time from them. Below we have some do’s and dont’s and some ideas on finding and setting up mentors.

Ask those who you admire and look up to in your profession if it would be all right for you to call them some time with a question.  People who rise up in their business are frequently proud of what they do.  Professionals like to talk with others about what they do and how it helps others.  Most of them usually make time (20 minutes or so) to talk to someone or answer a few questions. 

As the person seeking the advice of a professional or mentor, it is important you not waste their time.  When you talk with them, have questions ready to go.  Pay attention to them.  Ask follow-up questions; however, do not argue with them.  Whatever you do, do not ask a professional who is giving you a little of their time for a job.  Asking for a job would put them in an uncomfortable position and cause the interview to end prematurely.  If they ask you, then you can give them a copy of your resume.

An Exercise in Collaboration

Call ten supportive friends and ten people whom you respect and who work in the same profession you want to work in.  Tell the friends what you are doing and ask if they could be part of your support group. Ask if you could speak to them, on occasion, about what you are doing. 

Ask the professionals if you could ask them a question now and then, and count them as a mentor.  Keep track of who says yes.  This looks hard, and you will be surprised how easy this exercise ends up being.

What does a new person to an industry want to know what they want to become?  Each of us will have different questions.  Some of these issues may be:

  1. What does the professional I want to become actually do?
  2. What are the pros and cons of the profession I am going into?
  3. What does the job I want to go to pay?
  4. What are the milestones in the business that I should look for to tell me I am doing well?
  5. Who are the industry leaders in my profession and what sets them apart?
  6. How much do the industry leaders make?
  7. What is an industry leader’s lifestyle in my desired profession like?

Many people will give you 20 minutes to ask a few questions about what they do and how their business actually works.  If you ask to talk to anyone, they will probably say yes.  When you meet with them, you want to ask real and specific questions and honor the time limit agreed to unless they wish to spend more time with you

Here are some Dos and Don’ts.

Do

  1. Have questions ready.
    1. It is hard to think of the right questions on the spot.
  2. Be polite, the person you are talking to is freely giving their time.
  3. If you have questions based on what the professional says go ahead and ask them.
  4. Be on time.
  5. Dress professionally.

Do Not

  1. Ask questions that you can find out from their (or their companies) Website.
    1. Do your research.
  2. Ask them for a job.
    1. Asking for a job often puts them on the spot and ends the interview.
  3. Waste their time.
  4. Dress or act unprofessional.

Next time, we will evaluate the desired positions in relation to new technology that is taking over many positions. 

Have a wonderful day.

 

How Many Shades is your world

When I was young, I knew that I knew it all. I had been schooled in the church. I read the Boy Scout manual cover to cover. I passed high school. What more was there? I knew what I knew, and nothing else seemed to matter.

Many people, not knowing they are only looking at one surface of the multidimensional universe grow up this way. They believe their ways, and the ways they were taught, are the correct ways. And, anyone who thinks differently is obviously wrong, or misguided. It happens when someone believes there is only one right way to do things, and you were taught that one and only correct way. Why would someone teach you differently?

As I grew, I started to see things from different points of view. This made me begin to doubt if everything I knew was correct. As I went through the military, I learned, I saw, and I experienced. This caused me to consider other points of view.

I received my associate’s degree late in my military career. I had always focused on my work over myself and was slow to complete the degree. Yet as I finished the degree, it did make me think.

When I went back to college for a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, I learned even more. Learning more made me think more, and made me wonder if I had now learned everything, or if there was more. I made a decision to go back to school for one more degree which I had always wanted. I took a Masters in Education and Training, focusing on adult education, corporate training, course development and long distance education.

As I finished my Masters, I had recognized there is a whole universe of items out there which I know either nothing or very little about. Knowing I do not know everything is a victory. Now I know, that I am a continuous learner.

The question is not if we know everything or we don’t know everything. The question is what are we going to do about it. We start off in a very comfortable, very easy, black and white two-dimensional world. As we grow, we find out that the world is not black-and-white, rather a three-dimensional world with infinite shades of gray (sorry, not only 50.) And, then we have a choice.

Some people except the three-dimensional world and move  forward to explore it. Some people reject the three-dimensional world and move backward towards the black-and-white of right and wrong. One way offers the simplicity and ease of comfort found in a small structured community. Others find great enjoyment and challenge by learning and growing in the larger environment.

I am not one to say that one is correct over another. The question is for each individual. Do they wish to live in a two-dimensional world with the rigidness of only right and wrong answers? Or, do they wish to acknowledge that all thoughts may have multiple outcomes, each of which which is correct depending on the situation at any given moment?

Please let us know what you think.

 

 

Never Stop Learning

Today more than ever it is vital to be a continuous learner and stay up with the times. Some people believe that they did all their learning in school. Other people continue to take classes after college, and believe these courses supplement and suffice for their learning. And, others never stop asking questions and seeking answers.

Today I want to give you a few tricks to being a continuous learner and give you some suggestions that I hope will help.

The first and most important thing we have to do as continuous learners is to admit that we don’t know everything. If we don’t do step one, we will never do any of the rest because we will believe we know it all.

The second thing we do is to ask why. In Six Sigma, we are trained to ask why until we can go no further down the path of gathering information. Normally this step is called the ‘Five Whys.’ You ask a question. Find out an answer. Ask why. Find out another answer. Ask why, and continue until there is nothing to ask why about any longer.  Finding the answer will initiate research. Research is where you learn.

Part of being a continuous learner is keeping up with what you already knew, and the new changes in those fields. Another part of continuous learning is staying up with new knowledge and new technology. Everything is changing faster and faster these days.

There is an excellent book on the change that is called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’ I highly recommend that if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet that you do so. It is a fast read, yet it is very interesting and a guide on accepting change.

So why would I say that it is very important to keep up with new ideas and new discoveries? The reason is, we keep up with new technologies or, we are left with the technologies that we know. Whether its books from the library, magazines, snail mail, or other technologies. What happens is, as you give up on technology and new ways of doing things, your level of current knowledge starts to fall by the wayside. If most items are written for a blog, or a website, or an e-book, and you’re not reading those, how do you keep up?

I love to read books. Real, hardcover books. When somebody hands me a handwritten note or sends me a thank you card which they wrote out themselves, it tells me that they took enough time and cared enough to make it personal. I still have a landline phone in my house. Yet I also have a blog on the web. I have two websites one is not up at the moment, a training site for my courses. A delivery system which delivers my blogs weekly and E-newspaper that goes up monthly and other wonderful things. I’m only 63 it’s way too young for me to give up and start ignoring technology.

Are You Looking in the Right Direction?

We all seem to be in search of something. Moreover, there are many people out there who are willing to lead us on that search in exchange, in exchange for something they want. They may want money or attention, or understanding or belief they are doing good or fulfilling some purpose. They do want something.

The question is, do those offering you guidance understand what you are looking for and can they really provide what you are need requires?

I find it interesting that our eyes set at the front of our body on the high ground and focus outwards. Unless you look in the mirror, you do not see an image of yourself, and it is hard to see what goes on behind the eyes. You have to look around look behind you again more mirrors with images.

The question I have today is, ‘Are you looking in the right place?’ Or, are you running all over the place looking here and looking there for answers? Do you seek things in many places, yet, never seem to be able to find them? Do the claims of others somehow generally leave you short of where you want to be, feeling somehow less, and somehow again without.

There is another place you can look. The place is one of the hardest to look and yet one of the easiest to get. You need to look within yourself.

Is there anybody who knows you better than you do? Who knows what you want? You do. Who knows what you like and don’t like? You do. Who knows how far you are willing to go to get something done, and done the way you want it done? Oh yeah, that is you. Okay

Reach out to the world to collaborate, to communicate, to solve technical issues, and to learn new ideas. Never let others tell you who you are or who you should be throwing a strong keep.

Would you like to discuss the idea of internal growth?  Please leave a comment. You can always reach me at mikeb@readingsticks.space

Changing Our Ways

A new year starts beginning of this next week.  A new calendar beginning is a traditional time that we set aside each 365 days to look at where we are, and where we want to go in life.

New years is the time when we evaluate our actions.  We promise better dietary control, more exercise, or a heightened control of our time and finances. The truth is, we are creatures of habit.

The annual exercise of betterment, spurred by a desire for growth, then plays out to ultimate failure.  Why?  Because the participants are working on the desired after-effect and not the underlying principles and actions that require a fundamental change to create the positive and desired actions. Continue reading “Changing Our Ways”