Category Archives: Opportunity

Insight from “Big” Heather Johnson

A little while ago Heather Johnson and I met up to discuss what it’s like being  a big sister, also known as a big, through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. Her insight is vast–from talk about her first time meeting up with her little brother, also known as her little, to advice for strivers.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Advice, Audio, Interview, Leader, Life Coaching, Opportunity, Positioning, Service Work, Social Justice, Success

Four Lessons for an Effective Business Card

Even when you are a student and/or are looking for a job, it is critical to carry a business card because you must be prepared for all encounters. Here are four tips for creating an effective one even when your path may be a bit murky:

  1. Limit your strives to three in one to two words each. If you are not yet sure which pathway is your primary, consider alphabetically ordering them. For example: “Interior Designer, Journalist, Marketer.” The key here is for you to present yourself in a clear, organized, and concise fashion.
  2. Include as much contact information as possible. Email is so common these days—and should absolutely be on your card, but nothing replaces verbal conversation, so your number(s) should be on there also. If you do not have an office or postal box, then do not worry about an address.
  3. Consider including your picture. Particularly if you are really into networking then you probably meet many people; chances are that the person you are handing your card to does also. Make them remember you even more by being able to see you long after your meeting.
  4. Stay practical. Some people use shiny paper and have a mosaic or other details on the back of their card, but that is costlier and can prevent you from having a clean writing space. So be sure your card is in line with your pocketbook and style.

Ready to make your cards? You can do so for free if you have a program like Microsoft Word or software like Business Card Factory Deluxe (although you still must pay for printing and paper like from Avery). Websites such as Vistaprint and FedEx are also great resources.

Want more? Check out this post or this article.

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Filed under Advice, Business Cards, Getting In, Goals, Insider Insight, Life Coaching, Opportunity, Positioning, Rerouting, Rising, Success, Vertical, Working Hard

Career Services in San Francisco

With unemployment rates at the highest they have been since the records started being kept, choosing and finding a career that best suits you tends to demand much more effort and resources. Here is a map that lists some places in San Francisco that can help strivers stay ahead of the curve:

Want more? Check out Marie Claire’s Career & Money Blog, Penelope Trunk’s “Four Tips For Being Your Own Career Coach,” and this nationwide service list.

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Filed under Career Services, Getting In, Life Coaching, Map, MyMap, Opportunity, Overcoming, Positioning, Rerouting, Rising, Staying In, Success, Vertical, work, Working Hard

Learning How You Learn

With work, personal, and many other demands, it is critical to be as productive as possible; and understanding learning styles can help maximize efficiency. Below is an outline inspired by a class so you too can learn how you learn—to most effectively tailor to it.

Note: this is a recap of Learning Styles and Strategies by educators Richard Felder and Barbara Soloman and is reproduced with permission.

  • Active and/or Reflective
    • Active learners learn by doing things such as discussing or applying it
    • Reflective learners learn by thinking things through first
  • Sensing and/or Intuitive
    • Sensing learners tend to prefer facts, details, practicality, real world connections, and established methods
    • Intuitive learners tend to prefer discovering relationships and possibilities and tend to work faster and with more innovation
  • Visual and/or Verbal
    • Visual learners do well processing information through diagrams, sketches, photographs, and so forth
    • Verbal learners do well writing summaries, outlines, and listening to and explaining information, and the like
  • Sequential and/or Global
    • Sequential learners like linear steps that follow in logical order
    • Global learners like more random larger jumps to suddenly “get it”

Still not sure which style you are? Take this questionnaire to find out. Then become a part of the discussion, by relaying your learning preferences and what mediums teach you best.

Want More? Check out this article on “Technology as a Learning tool,” this index of “Seven Things You Should Know About” technologies and the like, and this three-part series of “100 Web Tools to Enhance Collaboration.” Just be sure to return and share your knowledge.

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Filed under accomplish, Advice, Barbara Soloman, Learning, Learning How You Learn, Learning Preferences, Learning Styles, Learning with Technology, Opportunity, Positioning, Richard Felder, Success

Q & A with NYOF Founder Olga Murray

A few days ago I had the good fortune of doing a Q & A with Olga Murray. Soon before her retirement from practicing law in San Francisco she was trekking the Himalayan Mountains when she broke her leg. A local porter carried her for days, which significantly touched Murray, and then she was moved again by the countless children at the hospital with such terrible disabilities and bleak resources. So soon after her fall—in 1984, she started to work with children in Nepal. In 1990 she founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. NYOF’s mission is to empower the youth of Nepal—and already their successes include freeing over five-thousand girls from bondage. But even after around two decades of service, Murray says she believes that there is still much work to be done. The eighty-four-year-old Californian volunteers full time to lead her causes forward, even living much of her time in Kathmandu, where she was when I interviewed her. Below is her insight:

When and why did you get into service work? Because I was approaching retirement, always had an interest in children, and wanted to do something to help them.

Before NYOF how did you picture retirement? I thought I would work as an advocate for a child in court or tutor at a community center, but I fell in love with the children of Nepal when I came trekking here in 1984, and decided that I would work with impoverished children here.

How did you start the nonprofit? NYOF developed organically, driven by the needs of children in Nepal. We started out by giving scholarships to orphans, but expanded to other programs when we encountered children in dire circumstances who really needed help.

How did you obtain support? At first, through friends. Later, we became more organized, wrote grant applications to foundations, and increased our donor base through publicity.

Is the work what you expected? Why or why not? The work has far exceeded my expectations both in scope and [in] the amount of satisfaction I get every day from knowing that we are providing a better life to thousands of Nepali children.

What were the needs you were originally filling? At first, we started by giving college scholarships, but eventually [we] increased our scholarship base to disabled children, those whose parents could not afford primary school, those who had no homes, and poor children in villages so that today we support thousands of youngsters in school, from kindergarten to medical school.

How have those needs evolved? They evolved from our observations about the needs of children in Nepal. When many children were dying or became stunted because of malnutrition, we began a nutritional rehabilitation home to restore them to health and educate their mothers about child care. [Today NYOF has restored the health of more than five thousand children and has educated thousands.] We now have ten such facilities all over the country. When we learned that little girls were being bonded away for fifty dollars a year for labor, we began a program to eradicate the practice, which is now on the verge of success. [Estimates are that around 1200 girls, which is twenty percent of the former total number, still need to be rescued from bondage.] When we discovered children who had no homes and no hope for an education, we established two homes for children—one for boys and one for girls.

What are your largest setbacks? Lack of funds. We could do so much more if we had more money.

What, if you can distinguish one, is your most touching experience in Nepal? My relationship with the children at our children’s homes is the most touching experience here. I see them come in as neglected, malnourished little waifs and leave to go to college as confident, happy young people ready to give back to society.

What is your typical work day like? I spend a good part of the day on the computer keeping in touch with donors and our office. In Nepal I also do this, but I also spend time with the children at our children’s homes and visit our projects.

Who are your idols and why them? The usual caste of characters—Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, The Dalai Lama, because they have found a way to encourage people to live in harmony together.

What are your future goals? To expand NYOF’s activities. So much needs to be done in Nepal, and we have a local staff and organization that is able, passionate about children, and could provide for their needs.

What advice do you have for people who want to get involved? Go to our website and find a program they are interested in. If they wish to do so, they can donate money to help the children of Nepal.

Want to help Murray but don’t know where to begin? Go here. For additional nonprofits click here.

Need more information about NYOF? Read on here.

Concerned about legitimacy? Be assured NYOF is authentic by contacting them here or visiting their newsroom here.

Photos are reproduced with permission from Gregg Tully of NYOF.

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Filed under accomplish, Advice, Altruism, Giver, Helping Youth, Insider Insight, Inspiration, Interview, Leader, Learning, mentor, Nepal, nonprofit, NYOF, Olga Murray, Opportunity, Overcoming, Service Work, Social Justice, Success, Working Hard

How I Set a Sales Record

In high school I was fortunate enough to earn the opportunity to work at a respected insurance agency. While there I set records in scheduling financial and insurance review appointments—enabling the agent to reevaluate client needs and make more sales. Here’s how I did it:

1. I knew what I was selling

Yes I had a script but I knew enough about the review and its significance to communicate script-free with clients. The result was that I exuded more confidence, had better responses to questions, and therefore clients felt more secure.

2. I listened to clients and then articulated value based on their individual needs

Usually when I asked to schedule the review responses were along the lines of being too busy. However, by listening to when those times were—along with their needs, I could respond with other times and also explain the value of the review to their circumstances.

3. I remained polite

Once in a while people responded to me rudely, but I always reacted with politeness. Occasionally, even this solution did not prevent a client from requesting to be taken off of the list, but more often than not the result was a call me later—which I always nicely did.

4. I asked for what I wanted

Letting the conversation go organic is great… for a little, but I always stayed in control by bringing it back to what I wanted: the review. Only the people who ask get, and from exercising this and the above tips, I usually succeeded.

5. AND I followed up

Follow up is key. This is because appointment times need to be reminded of so people show up; those who request a call back are usually impressed when it happens; and when clients finish an appointment (or any sale) then ensuring that they are happy keeps them returning for more.

These are just some of the basics to selling—there are tons of other related advice pieces at About.com, Entrepreneur, and Eyes on Sales.

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Filed under accomplish, Advice, earnings, Insider Insight, Opportunity, Sales, Staying In, Success, Vertical, work, Working Hard

Insight from Leader Jim Fraser

On Saturday morning I met with Jim Fraser, a former president of Levi Strauss and Company, a top 25 realtor, and a councilman. The audio will be posted very soon, but below is a summation so that you can hit the ground running with five lessons that make him successful.

1)      Be an Energy Giver, Not Taker

Fraser says he believes energy plays a big role in success, and he hypothesizes that there are two types of people: givers and takers. The takers suck your energy by dragging you down with negativity. So what you want to be, Fraser says, is a giver, which is a person who exudes positivity. If you have ever been told you brighten up someone’s day, you are probably already a giver… keep it up! But people who have never earned that compliment should try and become more happy and hopeful. This way you will both emanate attractive energy and cherish more of your own worth.

2)      Get In and Go Vertical

Fraser also says he believes strivers must earn a position in the company leading your field. The idea here is that you want to be around the innovators and industry-setters, not the followers. This is because your objective is to learn from the best—to become the best. And starting at the bottom is actually a common pathway to success because it ensures that you hone your understanding and skills of what is required to excel at each step of the ladder—to most effectively direct it.

3)      Work Hard

It sounds so cliché but Fraser also emphasis hard work as necessary for achieving potentials. In Fraser’s case he is military trained which certainly helped gain that ethic, but with motivation anyone can coach themselves into healthy work habits. Such was the case after his service time when he was earning his business degree at University of Southern California while becoming a top fashion district salesman. His continuous commitment to work secured him a job at Levi’s. Once there, that same dedication then led him to become the President of the Asia Pacific Division.

4)      Opportunity, Not Failure

Everybody has experienced a setback, but instead of letting rejection tarnish your confidence you must remember that striving is breaking barriers but when barriers are not breakable there is still opportunity. Therefore, when you do not reach your anticipated destination ensure that you maintain your work ethic and positive attitude. This way you will continue to radiate alluring energy to help you latch onto the leaders of your field who can teach you the ropes. This is what Fraser did after being rejected from a real estate company (which he applied for as a new licensed agent after a brief time as a retiree from Levi’s). And this rejection led Fraser to a new agency where he grew so successful as a realtor that the firm who previously denied him employment then offered him that dream job.

5)      Follow a Route, but Take Unexpected Turns

The last point strivers should remember is that having goals is important, but you must always be flexible. This lesson also comes from Fraser’s own life, but I have seen it happen time and time again. In Fraser’s case he wanted to be on the Planning Commission, but was instead offered a spot at the Parks and Open Spaces Department. Though it was not his planned route to helping his community, Parks and Open Spaces led him to an environment that he grew with and that watched his strides as well. Members came to believe so strongly in Fraser that they suggested he run for councilman, and from following this unexpected turn he secured a seat with the town of Tiburon in November where his success is again going to shine.

Remember, there is much more to leader Jim Fraser’s interview! To be among the  first to hear the audio of his insider insight, which includes bonus material like advice for young strivers, be sure to subscribe to this blog!

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Filed under Advice, Energy, Getting In, Giver, Insider Insight, Interview, Opportunity, Overcoming, Positioning, Rerouting, Rising, Success, Working Hard