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Category Archives: Self-development Tools

Five ways to build a kick-ass personal brand

kick-ass personal brandYour personal brand is how others see you. If you want to grow your business, obtain a better job, get noticed by your peers, take your career to the next level, or meet high-quality professional colleagues, the impression others have of you will have a huge impact on your success.  But how do you build your “best” personal brand?  How do you build a brand that “kicks ass”?  And just what does “kick-ass branding” mean?

What does it take to build a kick-ass personal brand?

This is exactly the topic of my latest column for Canadian Accountant titled Five ways for CPAs to build a kick-ass personal brand.  In it, I offer five steps that anyone can take to positively influence how they are perceived by others.  Not an accountant?  Doesn’t matter – the five kick-ass tips I give here apply to anyone who is looking to take their career or business to new heights!

kick-ass personal brand

 

As you can see, authenticity is ultimately at the root of building a kick-ass personal brand.  As far as I am concerned, everything grows from the foundation of genuineness and truth.  But what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  This is what has worked for me, but I’d love to hear what you’re doing to build your personal brand.  Share your thoughts here or on the Canadian Accountant website.

When things are out of control, are they really?

controlSome things are entirely and wholly out of my control.  Severe weather, for example.  I cannot effect change in the weather.  Whether it’s a sweltering heatwave, a blinding snowstorm, or a stormy hurricane, I can’t make the weather calamity go away, no matter how hard I try.

But, on the other hand, there are plenty of things I can do to control how I react and respond to harsh weather.  I can seek out a cooler environment (inside an air-conditioned shopping mall for example), delay my road-trip to future date to avoid wintry driving conditions, or gather essential documents and supplies as I evacuate to safer ground.  Instead of complaining about the effects of severe weather, I can choose to take thoughtful actions to avoid, or at least, mitigate the damage.

Just because we can’t control the situation doesn’t mean we can’t influence the outcome

There are a myriad of events in our lives that are outside our sphere of control.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t influence the final outcome.  Continue reading

Are you inadvertently sabotaging yourself?

sabotaging yourselfAre you inadvertently sabotaging yourself?  A few weeks ago, I asked a different question: Would you run a marathon blindfolded?  It was in reference to how managers in organizations sometimes (usually inadvertently) set their employees up to fail by not giving them the tools and resources they need in order to get the job done!  This post prompted an email from a reader who shared the following:

[This post] reminded me of what one of my bosses used to always say when he saw people doing things in an unnecessarily difficult way.....You can climb Mount Everest in a pair of Oxfords, but it's difficult!

(By the way, Oxfords are formal lace-up shoes, usually worn by men as a necessary component of formal business attire.)

You can climb Mount Everest in a pair of Oxfords, but it’s difficult!

Which got me thinking further.  My original post was about how managers were the ones at fault … asking their people to complete tasks or fulfill responsibilities but neglecting to give them the tools and information they needed to make it happen.  But what if the guilty party isn’t your manager?  What if it’s you?  Do we sometimes, without realizing it, sabotage ourselves by wearing the metaphoric Oxfords when we should be wearing hiking boots?  Continue reading

What is your response to difficult workplace situations?

As a leader, you will often find yourself dealing with difficult workplace situations.  Many of which will test your resolve and tenacity.  Some will be people-related, others process-related, and yet others will have to do with ethical and moral dilemmas.  Several will make you stumble and even fall.  And more than likely, a few will cause you to question whether the entire leadership journey is worth it.

You don’t stop walking because you sprained your ankle

difficult workplace situations

You don’t stop walking because you sprained your ankle.  Instead, you take the unfortunate experience as an indicator of what not to do and what obstacles to watch out for, but you still keep walking.   Sure, you may rest up for a couple of days, perhaps even use a walking aid for a few more, but eventually you stand up, take a few tentative steps and continue walking towards wherever you need to be.  You may be more thoughtful about what route you take and you may be more aware of your surroundings, but at no point do you say “That walking thing didn’t work out so well, I think I’ll stop doing it.” Continue reading

Five keys to breaking free from accounting stereotypes

170108_CA-smBean-counters, number-crunchers, pencil-pushers — merely three of the common monikers often used to describe those in the accounting profession — and none of them complimentary. These labels are frequently used to disparage and belittle those who take seriously the responsibility of minding the money.  Unfortunately, negative stereotypes such as these can stunt career prospects and adversely affect the number and quality of new opportunities that come one’s way.  So for those who have aspirations to make their mark in the top echelons of organizations, they need to prove that these negative labels do not apply to them.

How to break free from the stereotypes

This is the topic of my latest regular Leadership column for Canadian Accountant titled Five keys to breaking free from accounting stereotypes.

accounting stereotypes

To summarize, here are the five specific ideas to overcome these negative stereotypes:

  1. Take on different roles
  2. Learn to talk in terms of the big picture
  3. Break the pattern
  4. Get out there!
  5. Above all, be flexible

Well, I’d love to hear your perspectives.  Let me know what you think of my latest column.  Comment here or on the Canadian Accountant website, let us know about your experiences.

Dealing with adversity – wisdom from P!nk!

musicnotesThe song “Try” by P!nk popped up on my playlist as I was out walking in my neighbourhood the other day.  Now I’ve heard this song many times in the past, but for some reason (likely because I have recently been dealing with adversity in my personal life), I noticed the lyrics in the refrain more than I usually do.

“Try” by P!nk
Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame

Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned

But just because it burns, doesn't mean you're gonna die

You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

Gotta get up and try, and try, and try

You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

Now I know that this song is actually about romance, but it caught my attention because the words so appropriately so apply to our both our personal and professional lives as well.  If you replace the word “desire” with “adversity”, suddenly these lines take on a whole different meaning.  What was intended to be a song about finding love is now solid advice for dealing with adversity, for never giving up, both in the professional and personal arenas. Continue reading

An ageless folktale about dealing with adversity

hot water as a metaphor for adversityEvery so often, a conversation with an elderly relative reminds me of a story from Indian folklore that I heard when I was a child.  Recently, that happened again, this time on the topic of how one reacts or responds to adversity.  The story tells of a young person who was complaining to his grandmother about the challenges he was facing in his school and job – difficult assignments, tough professors, a demanding boss, not enough time to relax, and always, a seeming shortage of funds.

Her response: to place three pots of water on the stove

The grandmother responded by placing three pots of water on the stove.  When the water in each was boiling, she placed two potatoes in the first pot, two eggs in the second, and a scoop of tea leaves in the third.  About twenty minutes later, she pulled out the potatoes and eggs and placed them on a plate, and strained the water out of the tea leaves into a cup, and placed them all in front of the young man.  Puzzled, he looked up at her. Continue reading

Grow your mind and develop your abilities

Stephanie Staples is my professional colleague, a good friend, and a past guest blogger right here on the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog.  And she also hosts Your Life Unlimited on CJOB 680 Radio AM, airing across Canada on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  I was very excited to be her guest on March 11 and 12.  We talked about strategies to grow your mind and develop your abilities, based on my best-selling book Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell?

Listen to the show!

You can listen to the archived radio show here – my segment starts at about 14.45 mark.  If you don’t have the time to listen to the whole interview, you can still read about 17 strategies to grow your mind and develop your abilities at this same link.  These 17 strategies are selected from the 171 strategies that are listed in my book.

grow your mind

 

Well, I’d love to hear your thoughtsI’ve used this lobster metaphor for a long time to illustrate and emphasize the overarching leadership themes of growth, change, transition, seizing opportunity, and continuous learning,  This is  both in the book of course, as well as in my signature keynote of the same name.  But I’m always excited and interested to hear about how this metaphor resonates with you (or not!).  Please add your comments below.

Who should you have by your side?

stephaniestaplesStephanie Staples is a recovering burnout nurse and a serial entrepreneur who has founded three businesses.  As she says, 🙂 two of those were successful, and one a nightmare … but you can’t win them all! She is a speaker, radio host and consultant, and I am proud to also call her my professional colleague and friend.  Today she guests on the blog, with a wonderful metaphor about who you should have by your side, as part of your personal support structure, to help you achieve great things in your life and career.

Who’s in your Front Seat – and Who should be in the Back?

No man is an island, it takes a village to raise a child, we can’t go it alone … All these clichés to say we need people to get through this crazy thing called life. 

Not just any people though – top-quality people.  Some people call it their dream team, their empowerment team or their board of directors – I call it front seat passengers.  The special people we want to ride with us on this journey of life and we want them in the front seat – helping us navigate, advising us as necessary, encouraging us when we are not sure and cheering for us when we avoid an accident or make a great move.  Some people are in the front seat of our cars because they are family, some are there because they have been there for a long, long time, some are there because they put themselves there. Still others are there out of habit, obligation, fear or plain laziness on our part to get them out. Continue reading

Self-awareness: yet another inadvertent action that can jeopardize your credibility

Portrait Of A Bored Young Businesswoman At WorkLast week I blogged about self-awareness, and shared one example (glancing at the clock while talking to someone) of how your inadvertent actions can send a wrong message.  I had promised to give you one more and here it is – slouching.  Slouching is a sign of disrespect.  It doesn’t matter if your intentions are the polar opposite; the message it communicates (right or wrong) is that you’re bored and have no desire to be there.  When you slouch, your body tells the world that you’re apathetic and couldn’t care less.  And if that’s not what you really meant, your lack of self-awareness has just jeopardized your working relationship with your employee, your co-worker, or even worse, your boss. Continue reading