Lance Armstrong “All apologies” -Personal Accountability

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 10-15 years then you know the drama that has followed the professional cycling industry’s top gun, Lance Armstrong. After years of brutally aggressive denial (to say the least) about accusations of his participation in “doping” and other banned performance enhanced substances Lance finally took ownership for his actions, well for the most part. He selected to interview with Oprah Winfrey about this topic. The interview aired in a 2-part series on OWN on Thursday and Friday of this week. I watched both episodes and here’s some of the discussion that ensued.

My husband, an avid sports fan and Lance Armstrong fan, was angered by his interview. In a nutshell, he felt Lance was withholding information and that Lance has a lot of work to do to regain his reputation within the professional sports industry. He mentioned several other athletes that did wrong and apologized “quicker” than Lance did based on that information it appeared he had a little more respect for those individuals. He felt Lance’s extreme behaviors and actions attacking those that accused him where in the least disgusting and as he said “He’s a douche-bag!”.

I can admit I agree the apologies are a little late for most, however he will get everything that is coming to him for his delayed reactions. As you may have read in my last post “Welcome to Whine Wednesday”, I have an issue with individuals that lack the ability to take ownership/accountability for their own actions. At the same time I completely understand that I have never lived another person’s life. I have never experienced another persons triumph, challenges, heart breaks, traumas, successes therefore I cannot say “If I was Lance I would have done A,B,C.” I’m not Lance I haven’t lived his life. 

While my husband pointed out Lance was a star from early on, and hand life handed to him, it still doesn’t change the root of who we are, however our environment can influence the surface of who we are and how we feel and act. Basically, my point is you cannot fully listen to someone when you are judging them.  I said to my husband I wasn’t going to jump on the “I hate Lance bandwagon“. I don’t care what analysts’ have to say about their perceptions on whether Lance was telling the truth in the interview. Anything outside of the words Lance uttered in the interview are just pure speculation and stories. The fact is Lance did not savagely murder his entire family, he lied about cheating in professional sport, an act may athletes take part in. Yeah, he took things to far I get it! But guess what he’s human, not perfect. No one is perfect. Everyone has weaknesses and demons. As a society we place too much unrealistic, and unnecessary expectations on our athletes and celebrities. We are all human and we all make mistakes!  He has to live with his mistakes, he has to learn from his mistakes.

This blog could be much long but I want to get to my point and move on. Here are my final takeaways:

  • Taking ownership for your actions earlier on is better. However, if you miss that boat owning up to your mistakes at anytime still offers you an opportunity to grow and better yourself.
  • When interacting with people try to zone in on their words, their story. Do not listen to all the “white noise” the stories and drama created by others. 
  • When you judge others you are loosing your opportunity to grow and be a better person.
  • Looking back is always clearer, we all wish there was something in life we could do differently. 
  • Lastly, remember we are all human, we all make mistakes no matter how perfect some of us may seem we are not. 

Live for today, Learn for tomorrow! ~Bonnie:)

First Impressions; The Good, The Bad, The CREEPY

Image from Bachelor Site    The new Bachelor’s series on ABC premiered this evening! Sean Lowe is our “newest” recycled bachelor. The first episode is ritually dedicated to the uncomfortable, odd and showy meet and greet session. There are some great takeaways for job seekers and candidates about making first impressions in this episode. First impressions are so important when meeting new people and especially when interviewing for a job. Here’s what we can learn from the GOOD, the BAD and the CREEPY Bachelor contestants.

Starting with the creepy candidates, oops I mean contestants. One of them wore a wedding gown, she hummed wedding music and then requested a kiss, “kiss the bride”.  Creepy contestants take extreme to a new level, to a level of pure uncomfortable creepiness. Unfortunately for them, they come across as needy, unraveled, and even pathetic. Job candidates cannot afford to take this uncomfortable risk in this job market. By all means if you’re genuinely a creepy person, than creep on, but for the rest of us its best to avoid being identified as the creepy candidate because chances are you will miss out on a great opportunity. Here’s the thing recruiters find in creepy candidates a pattern of potentially concerning behavior. As the episode continued all the contestants that presented creepiness in the first impression continued to exude more concerning and creepy behavior as the evening progressed. So in a nutshell, creepiness is often times foreshadowing and is not a trait employers are interested in pursuing. 

Bad candidates, surprisingly not as terrible as the creepy, but not as good as the good! Bad candidates will come across as inexperienced, lacking knowledge, unprepared and just overall bad! Another contestant attempted several fancy gymnastics moves from the limo to Sean’s feet however, she ended up falling on her butt after the 3rd move. She made a fool of her self. She was so embarrassed that she continued to apologize and talk about what just happened. She completely missed the opportunity to introduce herself and make a genuine connection. Employers are seeking candidates that have their act together, understand their business needs and more often than not present themselves in a professional way. Employers want someone they can trust and rely on! 

Finally the GOOD! Being a good candidate is the goal. The job market is bustling with qualified and competitive candidates and is not the time to fool around with uncertain trickery. Making a solid first impression is crucial to your success. There were several good contestants tonight and here is what they had in common; confidence, security, genuineness and enthusiasm.

Key takeaways:

  • Be confident and secure in your knowledge, skills and abilities.
  • Be prepared; review your employment history, know the employer and practice for your greeting and interview.
  • Be genuine in making a sincere connection with the interviewer. 
  • Your enthusiasm will come naturally when you present your true self.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY don’t be the creepy! BUT if you must be the creepy than make it good so all the recruiters can have a great laugh:)

Stamp Tramp!

Tonight I caught an episode of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and boy I’m glad I did because it was not only hilarious but totally related to an HR topic, employee referrals! But before we go further I must clarify the STAMP TRAMP is not to be confused with the infamous TRAMP STAMP, totally different meanings! The stamp tramp is a person that gives their “stamp” of approval on almost anything, thus losing the value of their approval. Others begin to question the stamp tramps standards for recommending products, services, friends etc when their recommendations are less than stellar. (Check out a clip from Stamp Tramp, here.)

In this episode Marshall runs into an acquaintance and fellow practicing lawyer who appears down on his luck. Marshall decides to help him out by scoring him an interview with his boss. Long story short his acquaintance blows the interview and royally offenses Marshall’s boss. As a result of this poor employee referral Marshall’s boss pulls him off a major case. His boss lost trust in Marshall’s judgement. Marshall had to do a lot to rebuild that trust and value in his recommendations. Building trust and a good reputation can take a great deal of time and effort. It’s important to be considerate of your reputation when referring a friend or family member to a position at your company.

How can you avoid a stamp tramp situation? 

Treat the person you are referring as an extension of yourself. How will they represent your brand?

Pretend it’s your company. Would you hire this person?

If you have any concerns or doubts about referring a friend, family member or acquaintance dig deeper. Are your concerns valid? If they are you may not want to refer that person.

Depending on the role you hold at work you may “have” to refer certain people. In that case be honest with the hiring authority. If you don’t know that persons’ work history or work ethic let the company know and they can decide whether your referral is a good fit. You’ve done your part!

Lastly, if you do refer someone who is “bad hire” don’t beat yourself up about it. Just learn from your mistakes and don’t turn into a stamp tramp! Stamping your approval on everything will make your stamps meaningless. To keep your value and weight with employee referrals, in addition to the advice above, you may want to give the people who ask you for a referral a mini interview. If they pass refer them, if they don’t….tell them to take a hike! Just kidding, find a kinder way to break the news.

All you need are these 3 steps to change your life!

Self-improvement and personal development and growth are a constant in my mind. I seek self-improvement literature in all forms of media. While, I appreciate this content and often times learn from it and grow I struggle with the presentation of these articles and sources. I’ve come to dislike the consistent underlying negative message that communicated. The message “you’re not good enough as you are.” I understand their are circumstances where humans need to change. I’m not talking about those sensitive topics, I’m addressing the “surface level”, quick fix topics in the self-improvement world.

Looking around my room I see some of the headlines on the popular magazines I subscribe to, here are the messages I see “Fight flab and win”, “10 tips to happiness”, “5 ways to get co-workers to like you etcetera”, you get the idea.  These messages tell me “Bonnie, you’re not good enough. You must change your life, and the only way you achieve this is by reading this article, buying this book, attending this conference, attending this workshop, signing up for this 8-weeks class.” Again, you get the point. Yes, I know much is this marketing, and attention getting methods to increases sales, etc. However, I have to wonder if there is a positive way to communicate self-improvement materials? For example, “You are so awesome. Here is some advice to the next level, awesomeness.” (Ok, you can tell I wouldn’t have cut it in marketing and PR:)

Don’t get me wrong I truly enjoy reading self-improvement materials. Learning, growing and being enlighten is all part of this beautiful journey. Enhancements are great, but I also love me for me. I don’t want to change the core of me.

We hold the power to reset our minds before engaging in the journey of self-improvement to self-enhancement. This will enable us the ability to value and appreciate ourselves just the way we are, and we won’t loose sight of our core being. Lets compare ourselves to cars, not just any car but lets say…I don’t know um…an Aston Martin. You are top of the line, best quality money can buy; anything additional is purely an enhancement!

Before you pick that next self-improvement literature or attend the next conference say to yourself I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me. ~Stuart Smalley

This is my journey of self-enhancement! 

This is Your Voice- Personal Branding

If you read my post This is Your Voice Battle Rounds – Interviewing, you can tell I’m an avid “The Voice” viewer. I love watching The Voice for couple reasons. First, I enjoy watching and listening to music! Second, I enjoy the human relations aspect of the show. Watching the artists journey, development and behaviors that relate to the human resources field. My last and most important reason for tuning in is the fact Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are hotties! LOL! There is a strong commonality from the coaches response throughout the season about “knowing who you are as an artist”.  There is great similarity between musicians knowing the music in their souls, and people in the business world knowing their unique talents. The way we can differentiate ourselves from the rest of the bunch is through personal branding.

Personal branding is a process when people create a brand and image for themselves, much like the way companies and celebrities brand. While watching the artists perform I can feel when the artist is 100% comfortable with who they are and what type of music they represent. Their confidence allows for their real, raw, unique selves to power past the lyrics and melody of the song and deep into the ears, mind and hearts of the audience. When an musician knows who they are is when they are a true artist. Their singing is more than just a song, their performance evokes real, connecting emotion in the audience and in that moment, that artist is rocking their personal brand! In the business world, when someone knows and embraces their true selves is the moment they really shine. Everyones path to personal branding is different. Some people are born knowing their brand, some people discover their brand through another passion or pursuit and some grow their brand slowly and steadily while they are discovering the wonders of the world. Here are some thought provoking questions if you want assistance in rocking your personal brand.

  • If you were to die tomorrow what would people say about you?
  • Recall a time when you were so passionate about something that all you could do was focus on that one thing. What was that thing, event or discovery? What did you learn about yourself?
  • If there were no boundaries, no fears, no end of the road where would you go? (Figuratively….Or literally I suppose!)
  • Listen to your heart. What is it telling you?
  • If you did not care what people thought you’d……..
  • What ignites your internal fire?
  • Think back to 5 year old you. In your “fresh” eyes describe yourself.

Sometimes knowing who you are takes time, reflection and discovery. Once you know your true self, your personal brand will practically create itself. People are drawn to others that convey a strong message. Their message, their brand is powered by unique knowledge, skill or expertise and self confidence. Everyone has something special to offer the world, its just a matter of taking the time to uncover the real you. Only YOU can do YOU best! So go on and rock your personal brand! Be YOU and people will LOVE it! And if they don’t, that’s ok because you know who you are!

The image is The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez, who is re-defining the boundaries of personal branding. She has touched the lives of thousand with her unique perception of the world, and amazing self-confidence and incredibility special and brilliant voice. 

This Is Your Voice! Battle Round Interviewing

I’m a big fan of The Voice. I love the concept of removing the physical element from the contest, allowing for full unbiased first assessment of ones vocal ability. A pure way, to evaluate an individual based solely on their skill and ability.  It’s quite like phone interviews in that way. Anyway, we could further analyze this show and the concept six ways from Sunday as it relates to HR but this post is about the battle rounds. In battle round contestants compete to  stay on the show. The “battle round” is similar to a  group interview , and brings a competitive nature to the situation.

Groups interviews are a panel of company representatives interviewing one candidate, or a group of candidates interviewing together with company representatives. For the purposes of this post, I am discussing that later of the two. I have not participated in a group interview from either perspective (recruiter or candidate). However, I have heard from a family and friends that have experienced this type of interview. They described the experience as nerve-racking, intimidating and borderline humiliating. All of which I find a disturbing way to remember a company.

However, the concept of “battling” with another person brings a new zest to the interview process. Imagine sitting head to head with your “competitor“. A chance to see and hear first hand what that person has to offer. Would it create a different sense of motivation for candidates?  Would candidates take more time preparing for the interview? Would they go above and beyond to bring their “A” game to the table? Would your voice be stronger? Based on what we know about human nature, I believe it would raise the bar for candidates to work harder to make the right and best impression the first time.

I think it could be a process that would weed out the “weak” ones more thoroughly. At the same time, I feel this type of atmosphere has the potential for leaving a “bad taste” in candidates mouth, from a customer service stand point. But this approach would not work for all companies, depending on the company culture and values.

What do you think? Have you experienced group interviews? What is your overall feeling on this type of interview; from a customer service stand point,  a reputation perspective and as an employment selection method? 

“She’s a Juggler!”

Photo from Microsoft Free Images.

So here I am on a Friday night, at my house, searching for something to watch on TV! When I happened to stumbled upon (no pun intended) “I don’t know how she does it!”. This movie stars Greg Kinnear and Sarah Jessica Parker. The title of my post really says it all “She’s a Juggler.” Woman play multiple rolls all in the course of one 24-hour period, and we do that 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

If you haven’t seen the movie here it is in a nutshell! “I’m in a nutshell, baby!” (Austin Powers reference. Yes, I am both old and a dork, LOL!) Greg’s and Sarah’s chartacters are married living in the city of Boston. Full time working parents of two children. They balance the responsibilities of worklife and family life. The adventure all begins when Sarah’s character is asked to lead a major project at work. A project that challenges her ability to fulfill her family commitments. The course of the movie follows the woes of a working mom and the pressures woman (and really working parents) experience when work takes over life.

It is truly coincidental that I happened upon this movie tonight, because it is this very week that I really started to question the decision I made 9 months ago; the decision go part time. This entire week, I have felt like I’m failing at everything! I’m failing at motherhood, wifery, working professional world, spiritual realm, my health and my wellness. While woman are expected to balance it all with a grandiose smile and kick in our step it’s far from the reality of the internal struggles that we go through to do our BEST to make it all work!

For the simple fact I have only walked in woman’s shoes my entire life, I feel like woman are really pressured and put in a hard place with our family and work expectations. We are expected to do it all, and all at the same time we are critized for everything we do. For example how many times have we heard “oh, she’s part time because she has children. She doesn’t take work as seriously as the rest of us.”  Then the flip side “Oh, she works, she’s not fully dedicated to her family!” These are the stigma’s that are our reality, the words and beliefs that make woman work harder to meet the needs and expectations of EVERYONE, ALL the time!

I have a constant “TO DO LIST”. This “TO DO LIST” must be done, and until it is done I cannot do anything for myself, even if it is cutting and filing my nails, that takes a matter of 20 mintues TOPS, I cannot do it if I know I need to call so-and-so for an interview, post a job, make dinner, schedule my daughter’s doctors appointment, vacuum, do laundry and/or make dinner.

How do we put the “TO DO LIST” to rest? Even if it is just a couple minutes for some peace and quiet. Personally, I turn to meditation. However, in recent time I have found this more challenging. I cannot quiet my inner “MUST DO LIST” and frankly it’s driving me mad! I need to regain my inner peace and balance to that I may continue to be the best juggler I can be. What do you do to quiet your mind? Tips, tricks, life experiences??? What have you learned about balancing work and life?

P.S. If you’ve seen this movie I really could have written about several different relatable topics but this one so happens to be the one I followed:)