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.

 

Congratulations – It’s a Website

Here at ReadingSticks, we have exciting news today.

Today we have launched our newly revised website ReadingSticks.space.

This allows you us to bring everyone the ability to find and procure our courses, books, charts, and other help.

On our new site, you may contact us either by email, on our scheduling and contact page or you will be able to schedule a phone call with us. The first phone call which can last up to 30 minutes is free.

This offers us the ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone who needs help, or individualized service for them or for their companies.

Although this site was brought online today, you will see many additions installed and various changes in the next few weeks as we calibrate the site to the needs of our audience.

Please enjoy viewing this site at http://www.readingsticks.space

Please leave us a comment telling us what you like about the site and/or what you would like us to add or take away.

Thanks,

Mike Balof, Director Reading Sticks, LLC

 

Doing Research Is Critical

We hope everybody is doing well.

Did you take your time last night to consider what you would like to do in life?

Now it’s time the time to research what you would like to do, or what you would like to be. As a matter of fact, research is the most important thing you can do when trying to plan what you want to be or and where you want to go in life. It’s even the most important when you decide you’re going to go on any trip

I want to share a story with you about a true incident that happened when I was in basic training. This really identifies why research is so important when you’re looking at doing something.

When I was in basic training, on our second week we all went to a briefing and were given a chance to sign up for our jobs in the Air Force.  I went into weather maintenance.  It was a career field with a 9-month technical school.  I learned all about electronics and the weather.

Others in my flight chose their desired profession.  One of the airmen in my flight wanted Fire Control Operations on a bomber.  He was very happy and very proud.

We asked him if he liked to fly.  He said he did not like to fly.  The obvious question then was why he signed up to be a gunner on a bomber with the Viet Nam War in high gear.  He told us his position as Fire Control Operator entailed loading all the fire extinguishers and refilling them when and if the planes came back.

Everyone in the flight tried to convince him otherwise, and he would have no part of it.  Three days before the end of basic training the Drill Sergeant called the flight together. The drill sergeant told us about a hero to be in our midst.

The airman who volunteered to be a Fire Control Operator was being graduated from basic three days early.  The reason was the airman’s new crew flew in to pick him up.  They were waiting in a jeep out front to meet their new gunner.

It Actually Happened

For today, please do research on your goals and destinations.  Tomorrow we will look at who to talk to, and about finding mentors.

Not Planning Forsakes Goals

 

When you make your plans and set up your timelines, start with who and what is most important to you. Then you have to think and make plans for what it will take to sustain those people and things which are most important to you.

Make your plans synchronize to the movement of life. Those plans must meld with the time, the seasons, the phases of our lives, and our trek towards our goals and objectives. And while doing this, understanding that no matter how perfectly we develop these plans and goals, nothing is guaranteed. At the same time understanding that not planning forsakes those goals to the whims and desires of everyone and everything else. Planning and goal setting is essential.

Last week the blog spoke on gathering your lists and data and knowing where you were. This week we will look at identifying where we want to be how we want to get there and what and even more important who we take with us along the way.

The first question is, “What I want to be when I grow up?” If you’re in high school, this is a very good question. If you are in college, this is an excellent question. If you’re in your mid-20s and tired of service level jobs, this is a most needed question. In your 40s this is a mandatory question and believe it or not between 55 and 65 this is a vital question. These questions at each step of our life help to hone and know where we are and where we want to be. If you are not sure of your goals, how will you know when you get there?

For today, please think about what you would like to do in the future. At this point don’t worry about money, education or other items. Think about what you like, what you think you would enjoy doing, and how that supports not only you but those people and things most important to you, and write it down.

Tomorrow we will start more exercises and have a lot more fun. And hopefully, I will have good news about a reconditioned website

Talk as Though You’re Saying Nice Things

It’s interesting that we can be the most knowledgeable on the subject. We can be the most caring on the subject. We have desiring compassion and understanding, and we want to act on something. Yet, without good communication and collaboration, we often fail.

Often, we failed because we get too eager and try to do things too fast and in that effort, we end up putting others off rather than bringing them into collaboration.

We are humans. Humans run on emotions. Yes, humans do run on facts, yet often those facts are clouded by emotional and often irrational fears. When dealing with others, a slow and steady approach is better than rushing the other person. The idea, you don’t want to scare them off.

There are ways to talk to people, and there are ways to talk to people. One the best things I learned in my 13 years as an instructor in the classroom is that it is not what you say to people, rather it is how you talk to them. I’m almost embarrassed to tell the way it works.

The trick to having a good tone in the classroom, in the boardroom, on the factory floor, or at the coffee shop, is to speak kindly. That is,  speak in such a way that your puppy dog would stop and listen to you if he or she heard the talk.  The dog would not understand the meaning, just the pleasant tone.

If you can talk in such a way that your dog will stop and listen to you, then people will also stop and listen to you. It is not what you are saying. It is the way you are sending the information. I often practiced my courses with my dog in attendance, and she paid very good attention. I am glad to hear it was not because of the tuna fish sandwich I held in my hand.

The trick is to talk soft, and whatever you’re saying, talk as though you’re saying nice things. If you do this and do not get pushy, people will listen to you.  They listen because they hear empathy.

Another thing to think of is not to make my favorite error. Rush to judgment. It turns out I’m a guy. And guys like to fix things. I’d like to blame it on John Wayne. Unfortunately, I think this goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind. The trick is to stand back and listen, and this is true for both men and women. Listen, have a good understanding, understand the main characters in any situation and what is going on, and then when asked, have a polite recommendation or to.

Now even though the guy thing (above) is something I’ve been able to practice for many years, I recommend listening and learning and then suggesting or helping to act. It is hard, it is frustrating, and it is very necessary. No one will see the situation the same way you will. Because they are using different eyes different knowledge different brains and a different position within any situation.

This is something to think of and something to consider.

I am proud to announce that we have redesigned the http://www.readingsticks.space website. We are putting the final touches on to the website now. You may see it on Wednesday as we perform live testing. And, depending on how the testing goes we will be live, and running either Wednesday or Thursday.

If you’re interested in what I work with and talk about, please come and take a look at the website there are many interesting things.I think you’d like it.

Have a great day.

 

 

Your Goal In Life Is Personal To You

Have you read the blog posts I wrote this Week?  Did you make the lists and take the time to think about them? Are you happy with your path in life, or do you want to strive for something larger, farther, or different?

Remember, there are no wrong answers as long as the answers are truly yours, based on your desires.

Your goal in life is personal to you. And, everyone has goals that are different, based on their desires.  So, remember the lists you made of where you are right now?  Now is the time to figure out where you want to go

This exercise will require both lists and research.  Researching is like understanding not only the map to get where you want to go, it also shows you some of the positives, and the pitfalls that come with the goal.

For today, think about the future, make your lists of who and what you will take with you and what the future goal will look like once you get there.  Start to do some research on your goals.

Monday we will have a great announcement about something that I think you will really like.

Until then, have a great weekend.

 

 

We All Desire Our Comfort Zone

Did you make your lists for Wednesday? If they caused you any consternation, I first must apologize, and secondly, let you know that is a good thing. Consternation is what comes the when you start to realize that not everything is where you want it. The realization helps you move to the fact that sometimes to get what you really want, changes must come from within.

Change is good. Change happens all the time. Many, though, fear change. If you’re sitting in a very comfortable spot in your nice easy chair, and you’re comfortable, and even though it’s not where you want to be, at least you know everything that’s there.  We call this the comfort zone.  We all desire the familiarity of the comfort zone, no matter how bad the circumstances.

There’s a well-known concept in physics that it takes more energy to start something moving, then to keep it moving. As a process engineer, I used to measure the differences when designing manufacturing lines and how much energy people needed to exert. The same is true between starting and sustained movement from an old comfort zone to a better one.

Yet if we did not venture from our comfort zone, how would we ever grow? How would we grow as a person if we did not leave our happy home and venture to kindergarten or school? How would we grow financially if we never took that first job? How would we grow as a people if we failed to sail the seas, discover new lands, learn to fly, and develop the technology to explore moons and planets?

I like my comfort. I like learning and growing even more. Our assignment for tonight is to think. Will where I am right now last forever? It is rare that something will last forever. Do I like to learn and grow? If I do not grow with my surroundings, does that mean I get left behind? And if I get left behind, what happens to my comfort zone?

These are just some good thoughts that we do need to consider. Often, it’s best to consider these questions before being overtaken, and left in the backwater.

Think of this today, and tomorrow we will explore ways to live, grow and excel.