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Rose was a great and motivating speaker for GO! Network on July 19th.  Her no-nonsense, no-excuses methodology was an inspiring call to action for me, while still maintaining an empathy to us, her subject, that is uncommon.  Her empathy stems from her understanding that what we, the unemployed, are facing a job market that has never been seen before.  The no-nonsense, no-excuses aspect of her presentation comes from the fact that she knows that we can’t just give up – we have to step up to this challenge.  The only way to reach success is to not lie to ourselves; not in our planning, not in our actions.  Rose focused on taking steps through your fears to reach your goal – a job.  Each step should be positioning you toward your goal.  Rose was great and I encourage anyone who didn’t get to see her presentation to watch the embedded video.

Dixie ”blew” us away with this presentation on moving past our “can’t’s” to “I can”.  It is through overcoming our fears that we achieve success.  Most people don’t even get started because we are afraid to fail.  The first step is to discover your passion.  Some really important questions to ask to find out are:  What is your purpose?  How do they manifest in your presence?  How does your presence affect others?  These questions are directional in finding your passion.  Doing what you are passionate about is the only real way to find happiness and fulfillment in your career.

Dixie also shared her “5 essential elements of success stories” -

  • It begins with you.  Success stories derive from very personal things – “passions”.
  • Your fellowship determines your level of success and the ease with which it comes to you.  The friends that you collaborate with about your passion will inevitably lead you to your success story, if they are the right ones.
  • You have to fall in love and be completely clear about what you’re in love with.  When even the tedious aspects of your passion don’t feel tedious, then you know that you’re correctly aligned.
  • You have to start taking steps, even when you can’t see the whole path.  When standing in the middle of a road, it looks like it goes on forever and we won’t see the side streets from a distance or if there are hills.  Avenues will open up as long as you keep walking the path.
  • You have to keep reaching, even when your rational mind tells you it is impossible.

Dixie, as always, was inspirational.  Not only in her own story, but in the stories that she relates to us.  She makes you believe that you can have a story.  That you do have a story.  All you have to do is find your passion and start walking and always keep reaching.

David provided some great insight on how you can make your resume work for you and work towards your goal.  He broke down all the different options available in layout and strategies.  These hints can make or break your opporunity when the hiring HR manager takes seconds to look at your resume.  Until you have made it to a personal interview, you are not a person to HR, thus,  your resume needs to get you past this gatekeeper.  He points out the “do’s and don’t’s” of resume writing to help get you through to the other side.  His knowledge of Human Resources is obvious, helpful, and cut-to-the-chase.  He points out that the real way to get in is through good networking.  Thanks, David, for all your help!

On June 14th, Nancy Whatley-Blaine spoke about how to confront and proactively dismantle the elephant in the room.  What Nancy meant by the elephant in the room is the unspoken confrontations that we deal with at the work place or at home.  Whether its a coworker not holding their own or someone not being respectful of your personal space, dealing with these issues constructively is critical.  If you don’t deal with them correctly, the problem could multiply; and not dealing with them at all creates the atmosphere where the negativity that surrounds that issue could permeate into all other interactions with the other person.  Some helpful hints that Nancy shared are:

  • Searchlight the source – Focus on the real problem at hand.  It is common for people to use the opportunity to target all the issues that they may have with someone or to target the person themselves.  Focus on the behavior, not the person.
  • Prepare the way – Run through the whole conversation, beforehand, in your mind.  This helps to keep you on task and to take emotions out of equation.
  • Look for the missing choice – We often think that there may only be one or two options for solving the problem, when in fact there may be a third or more options available.  Take time to analyze the situation and think outside the box to discover what all the available options are.
  • “Is that helpful?” – To evaluate those options, always ask yourself “is that helpful?” before going through with it.  Many times what we think will happen, doesn’t because we don’t consider the ramifications from the other persons perspective.  Make sure that the option is constructive and will accomplish what needs to change.
  • Trust the process – We often leave things alone simply because we don’t want to deal with confrontation or are afraid of the potential ramifications.  This can only lead to greater headaches.

On May 31st, Armers Moncure gave a “passioned” speech about not cheating yourself of the opportunity to not just be passionate about your work, but to work in your passion.  He said that fear may put a strangle-hold on us and prevent us from even trying.  The fear of losing stability, control, and continuity.  The fear of failure.  He has an enthralling true story about how this happened to him.  Like us, he was forced into it.  It is actually easier to take a risk like this when you have nothing, than when you think you are putting all your chips on the table and knowing it could affect not just you, but your loved ones as well.  When you have that steady income, but it is from doing a job that is not your passion, it is very hard to jump ship to the unknown where you could lose your house, your car, your life, if you fail.  Armers does have an answer for that:  You can’t fail if you are doing what you love and give it everything you’ve got.

By Dustin Cronin

If you’ve ever had to give a speech or presentation, then most of you know that all of the little nuances that the communications professor told you about to control yourself and give a good speech seem to fall out of your head the moment you stand in front of the crowd.  You get nervous, sweaty palms, quivering voice, speech information gets tossed around in your skull like dice.  I’ve given quite a few presentations in my life and I’ve always thought of myself as an above-average presenter.  That is, until I see the person who put in the preparation and practice time combined with good presentation skills.  That person always blew my presentations away.  On Tuesday, May 24th, Fred Miller definitely helped me understand the steps that I was missing to reach that level of presenting.  He also gave some great pointers on how to keep people enthralled through proper make-up of your speech, speed, and voice fluctuations.  This presentation not only can be handy to the person who is giving a presentation, but to everyone who has to give an interview.

by Dustin Cronin

“Genuine Engagement”.  An Entrepreneurship Forum with Brian Vent.

 -by Donald Nations.

As David Greenwalt reminded us at the Tuesday, May 10 meeting of GO! Network, entrepreneurs started many of St. Louis’s largest and most-recognized companies.  World-class  companies like Monsanto, Emerson, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), Sigma-Aldrich, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, World-Wide Technologies all started out small; from one or two people with an idea.  Today these companies employ tens of thousands of employees.  Not just locally, but worldwide.  How does one become an entrepreneur?  Or more importantly, how does one become a successful entrepreneur?  For the GO! Network audience, how are these factors important to the job seeker, or even the non-entrepreneur?

Build-a-Bear is another one of those St. Louis companies that started out small and has blossomed to more than 400 stores in the U.S. and in about 20 countries across the globe.  Former Chief Operating Officer, Brian Vent, shared some of his insights on entrepreneurship during an informal conversation with Greenwalt on the GO! Network stage for the first half of the Tuesday session.  “Ever since I was a child, I had wanted to run my own business,” Vent said.  Through a chance meeting, he became acquainted with Build-a-Bear founder Maxine Clark.  Vent said the Build-a-Bear concept “grabbed” him when he saw that the excitement of a 7-year-old boy building his own Teddy bear, was echoed in the same instance by a 50-year-old man doing the same thing. The entrepreneur process, Vent said, can take place anywhere, but the environment must be conducive to creating new ideas.  “We are truly a product of our environment.  We can create a good
environment to learn and grow.  Yet, how do you create an environment where people can be great?”

Vent said that what really matters is finding ways to enforce the company’s greatness in everything you do.  You need to operate in a way that always leads forward.  But as an individual contributor to the corporation, Vent said, “It is important to know where your strengths lie.”  One needs to evaluate his or her skills versus where the company wants to go.  This, he added, is extremely critical in a company that is constantly evolving, while trying to remain profitable in a turbulent economy.

“Either you get hit by the bullet or you get out of the way,” Vent said, and added that the biggest obstacle to individual success is fear.  “Fear causes us to miss our gifts.  Giving ourselves permission to say ‘what the hell’ is the largest fear.  “Do you have passion?  Can you see a way to contribute your unique gift to the mission of the company?  If you can answer this question positively, then this company will be a great place to work.”

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