Learning

Maximizing Leisure Time

Do you ever find yourself so focused on your professional goals that you just feel burned out? This happens to me frequently, despite my best efforts to plan and schedule things effectively. Let’s face it: there really is a lot to do and time is at a premium.

I sometimes find with my writing that I’ll be on a roll for a while and then get stuck. When this happens, I step back and do something else. Ideally, the activity meets the following criteria:

  1. It helps me meet another one of my goals.

The Problem With a Big Climax

So we’ve reached the end of the “Holiday Season” – radio stations have stopped playing Christmas music 24/7 and stores are now displaying stuff for Valentine’s Day. In the United States, this season starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s Eve. For some, like me, the big event is Christmas while for others it’s a different holiday such as Hanukah or Kwanzaa. If you’re heavily involved with the planning of activities related to these special days, you may have noticed yourself feeling a little bummed out once the big climax has happened.

How to Survive Unemployment

Getting downsized, laid off or outsourced can be a traumatic experience. At least it was for me the two times I went through it. It hurts your ego and self-esteem, adds a tremendous amount of stress to your life and just makes you feel miserable. To many, it has the same emotional effect as losing a loved one. The first time I went through it, it lasted nine months. I know people now that have been out of work much longer than that. So I thought it would help to share of the best advice I was given.

How I Stopped Dying

I don’t usually put personal posts on this blog but given that I haven’t posted anything in a while, I figured it’s time to at least let you all know that I’m still alive. Like most people in the US (and especially in the Northeast where we literally have wicked weather), December is a busy time for me. On the personal side, I celebrate Christmas and several birthdays of close relatives and friends. And this year was especially hectic because I actually did some traveling – I spent ten days at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

How I Got Interested in Public Speaking

When I tell people that one of the things I teach is public speaking, the first thing they typically ask is why. Most of the time, they really mean that they wonder why someone would get interested in that particular topic. So as I explain that I actually get a rush from doing something that most people avoid like the plague, the questions become more serious and I’m asked what interested me in public speaking to begin with and how I got to where I am today.

As a kid, I always enjoyed making people smile and I still feel the same way today. In fact, I’ll often go out of my way to get a laugh out of someone, even if I have to make myself look foolish in the process. When I was in my pre-teen years, I had dreamed of becoming an actor. I tried to convince my parents to move across the country to California so I could become one. That didn’t quite work out so I found other outlets for my creativity. In high school, it was sports.

Public Speaking and The Matrix

Much of today’s self-help and personal development programs and materials are geared towards the ‘quick fix’ crowd. People want results fast and the want them with minimal effort. It’s like the film The Matrix where whenever a character within the supercomputer needs to learn a skill, the needed knowledge is downloaded in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, despite the fact that many tools only feed this frenzy, life simply does not work like that.

How A Bad Reference Can Harm You

Whether you’re looking for work or looking for new clients, people want to make sure that you are who you say you are and you’ll do what you say you’ll do. One way to assure those considering you or your services is to provide a list of references – satisfied customers or employers that can vouch for your character and skills. But even though this seems like a no-brainer, many people lose out because they choose the wrong people for references.

The wrong reference can make you look unprofessional, unethical and unprepared – and all of this can be done unintentionally from someone who is trying to help you. Yes, this has happened and I’ve seen it. Remember that these days most employers are doing their homework and checking references – ditto on the consumer side when working with a small business. So there’s a good chance the people you list will get called so you’ll want to make sure that these people will represent you well. So let’s start with how to choose the right people as references. Here are some tips:

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