30 April 2010

LinkedIn: How's Your Profile?

I am trying to understand what really needs to be done on my LinkedIn profile to make it "zing." I found this arcticle about Guy Kawasaki's "LinkedIn Profile Extreme Makeover." It is quite helpful, except I am unsure about "Add your voice. Generally, your profile is boring." Is it an overall comment? Or something specific to where the arrow points, aka his name? Hmmm....

But, the point is that if Guy Kawasaki's profile is boring, then how does mine rate? I plan on trying to spiff mine up today. Suggestions are welcome. If anyone wants help on theirs, please let me know and I'll do what I can to help.

29 April 2010

Future Predictions

As I mentioned yesterday, I like to read Steve Pavlina's blog on personal development. I think taking the challenge of seeing where I have been in the past month or so may show where I'll be in one year from today. I'm marking my calendar to read this entry on 4/29/2011.

Where will I be?
  1. Living in the heart of a major metropolis (NYC, Boston, Chicago, for example)
  2. Working at job I am interested in (investments most likely, but possibly management consulting)
  3. Taking classes that are of interest to me (examples include culinary, photography, Photoshop, and/or glassblowing)
Now, while my past does not completely indicate that this will happen, I have been trying to get a job that fits my needs.

Points 1 & 2: I don't want to live in a small town and I already feel like I'm compromising by staying in the U.S. My plan is to live downtown in which ever city I happen to land a "good" job in. Most of my contacts seem to be coming from NYC and in investments.

Point 3: I always have some hobby I'm trying to work on. I've taken cooking classes in during my stint at Coastal Seafoods as well as in Japan, Bali, and Thailand. I have been actively trying to learn how to better operate my Nikon D80, but would prefer to take a class. Unfortunately, there do not seem to be any classes in Butte, MT for such things. I've always wanted to learn how to blow glass. I took a chemistry glassblowing class at the University of Montana and made some glass beads in a workshop in Japan. Again, I haven't found any classes locally.

I completely agree that it is important to develop habits to achieve goals. Slow and steady wins the race. Perhaps my predictions are fairly general or vague, but I just see so many things and like to be flexible. We'll see how it went on April 29, 2011.

28 April 2010

My Own Challenge: Continuity in Action

In general, I find Steve Pavlina's Blog about personal development to be quite useful and good food for thought. I found great things in his recent article "The Past DOES Equal the Future." I realize that I need more continuity in my own actions to produce better results.

Part of the article's point is to contribute positively within your own field. I find this interesting when compared to Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project Blog's idea that giving to others help you achieve your own inner happiness. (Unfortunately, I cannot seem to locate the exact place where I read that.) This is a notion to which I fully subscribe. I love giving to others, even when it's a small gesture such as sending a postcard or giving cheesy, little, fun toys to my adult friends. It just makes me happy.

Thus, I realize that I can "kill" two birds with one stone, I can be happy by giving more to others via good content here (I hope the content is good) and improve myself in terms of writing and editing. My challenge, as you may have noticed, is keeping the ball rolling. I have trouble with consistency in terms of how often I post. I was trying for twice a week, but Gretchin Rubin's suggestion is to write everyday.

Some things Steve Pavlina's article mentioned that I am considering:
  • "If you take haphazard action, such as was mentioned in the Gung Ho Dufus approach, then what are you injecting into your past? Not success. We could say you’re injecting failure and even stupidity into your past because you’re simply repeating a strategy that’s a known failure. And that leads to a perpetuation of the past in your future. (Einstein once said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)
  • Instead what you need to do is inject some form of consistency into your past. You need to establish a new pattern of behavior. That new recent past, if it looks consistent enough, will alter your predictions about the future.
  • No new behaviors means no new predictions.
  • If you want change, you must create evidence of change. Evidence of change equals new habits. No new habits equals no change in prediction.
  • If you really want to create some serious changes, another perspective I can share is that you want to think about breaking your past. Shatter those past patterns, so they absolutely cannot continue in their current form. Deliberately create a disconnect with your past which — at the very least — makes your previous predictions impossible… even if it means trading the comfort of certainty for the discomfort of unpredictability."
I am struggling to have consistency and structure. I find that it is a very difficult lesson especially as I am unemployed and have a lot of "free time." Perhaps there are others out there in the same boat as me.

27 April 2010

My Fishy Fate

I've been a member in my Toastmasters Club since January, and I had only given one speech! My plan is to write a speech for every meeting in the event that a speaker does not attend or if there is time for a third speaker in order to enhance my writing and speaking prowess.

My project's focus for this week was to organize. As you may have guessed, I enjoy writing; therefore, I was more concerned with content and flow than actual delivery. I felt my transitions were not the best and my evaluator commented on that very issue. None the less, I was voted as best of two speeches. I beat out our most experienced and top-rated speaker who has earned the title "Distinguished Toastmaster" (DTM).

Here's my speech:

My Fishy Fate

My fate is somehow linked to fish. I’ve been to the ER three times, all with fish related injuries. I worked in a fish market. I studied Japanese because I liked sushi. I overcame my fears by learning to swim with the fish. It all seems to boil down to fish affecting my destiny.

When I was about three years old, my brothers Tony and Daniel and I were playing in our backyard. Tony, the oldest, was sitting on top of our wooden fence practicing casting while Dhann and I tried to chase the line as it whizzed by us. Obviously, this was not the best idea. All I know is that after getting hit in the head, right between my eyes with a sinker, I woke up with Mom driving me to the emergency room. Fortunately, I seemed to be fine.

Fast forward about 17 years. I was living in Minneapolis and was working full-time as a fish monger. I had not one, but two injuries while working at Coastal Seafoods.

The first accident is what I consider to be rather odd. We had freezers in our retail store that we kept locked as there were expensive items such as lobster tails kept within. The key was attached to a fish scaler. The scaler’s handle was a piece of metal that bent around where the two sides had a bit of a gap. One day, I was opening a freezer door and my thumb somehow slid into that gap. The fish scaler was pinching my thumb and wouldn’t come off. Off to the ER I went.

The second incident was a bit more severe than the first, but it actually hurt me much less. I was in the back cooler unpacking salmon from Styrofoam boxes. I used a boning knife with a blade about so-long that had just been professionally sharpened by our knife guy that morning.

I was cutting boxes, like this. When I looked down at my left hand. I saw the first latex glove open, then I saw my blue neoprene glove open, and then I saw my hand open. Suddenly, I saw blood appear. I grabbed my left hand with my right—it felt floppy. I ran to the retail door where I peered in. My immediate manager was with a new employee and a customer. I then ran to the back of warehouse yelling to the general manager that I needed to go to the hospital. He at first didn’t believe me. Then, he saw my hand. Off to the ER I went. I came back with 22 stitches.

Coastal Seafoods is the place where I learned to make sushi. I had already dropped out of two universities—the University of Montana and Arizona State University. It was time to decide what to study when I enrolled full-time at the University of Minnesota. I thought about my options. I had studied chemistry and hated it. I previously was a psych major but didn’t want to pursue a career in being around people with issues worse than mine. French seemed like a pointless pursuit. Aha!!!! I figured I’d studied Japanese. It’d set me apart from other liberal arts majors and I liked eating sushi and learning the fish names in Japanese. Three years after I graduated with a B.A. in Japanese, I took the plunge and moved to Japan.

For most of my life, I’ve been scared of drowning. This may have something to do with my brother Dhann playing “shark” when we went to the pool. He would swim underwater and when I least expected it, he’d pull me under. Because I would be screaming as this took place, I usually felt like I was going to die as I would always swallow so much water.
One of my dreams was to scuba dive. I wanted to see the fish in their natural habitat that I had seen in the aquariums, eaten at both Coastal Seafoods and in Japan. It was time to fulfill my destiny. I took my first international vacation alone from Japan to Bali to obtain my PADI Open Water license.

Taking the scuba course freed me from most of my fears of drowning. At that point, I realized there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I was the only one stopping me. The fish had empowered me once again.

Without fish, I would have missed out on many adventures. I never would have visited the ER, probably never would have learned Japanese, and maybe I would have never overcame my own fears. My fishy fate has led me to led an interesting existence.

22 April 2010

My Role as Toastmaster

One aspect of Toastmasters, in addition to becoming a better public speaker, is to gain experience in various club roles. There is a leadership track which you can focus on in addition to becoming a competent communicator. The leadership workbook has 10 projects that help with the topic, specifically on managing meetings.

This week was my first time being the Toastmaster since I began this new club. The project I worked on for leadership was time management. I, like many, could benefit from such a skill.

Planning, another leadership component, is important. I had to know the schedule both in terms of who has which role and the time allowed for each portion of the meeting. I needed a theme, although I originally thought this was the topic master's duty. I chose "spring." I needed introductions from each speaker, but both scheduled speakers did not attend. Fortunately, two people volunteered and I was given one introduction.

Ultimately, my first time as a Toastmaster went well. I was glad to see that people were able to improvise in giving speeches. I kept things running on time. People commented that they enjoyed my theme and the facts and stories surrounding spring. It was a good experience, and I learned more about becoming a better leader.

The leadership portion of Toastmasters is something I look forward to completing. I really enjoy being in an environment where people are friendly and supportive. I also feel that many of the lessons taught at Toastmasters will support future career growth opportunities.

Go Uptown Toasters!!!