Feelings. Nothing more than feelings.

Sometimes I become more honest and aware of my feelings.

Feeling overwhelmed, stretched and tired. Feeling like I’m saying “no” more often. Feeling like I’m letting people down. Feeling like I’m starting to sink. Feeling I’m struggling with my ideal balance, especially my health/weight. BUT…

Feeling like I’m learning to be more efficient. Feeling like I’m getting more opportunity. Feeling like I can do more with each hour I spend on people and things. Feeling I can prioritize more optimally.

Perhaps…Feeling more like a leader?

To all I may have affected with the first part, I’m sorry. Trying real hard. Will try to do better.To all who have affected me with the second part, Thank you! I appreciate you.Most of all, I thank you all for being on this journey of connection, leadership, growth, and impactful change.

Just being aware and sharing some raw and brutal honesty. It’s how I was feeling.

Acknowledging Others – Creating Win/Win/Win Situations

— Guest blog by Tash Jeffries. I met Tash and was inspired by her energy, affection and passion for people. I asked her to share with us something that is part of her connection with others. Enjoy! — Bobby

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As I walk around the city, my level of awareness to people and is always super-high. I like to see what’s in fashion, watch for people who have a great sense of style, and just admire beauty in general.

One of the things I do quite commonly is that I’ll stop a man or woman, and tell them “you are stunning” when I truly do think they are. What’s so surprising is that usually when I say this, the person for whom the compliment was intended usually looks around, and then looks back at me and asks “Who me?!!!!!”. I now realize that as a society, we are not used to being complimented, just for the sake of being complimented, with absolutely no strings attached. Usually it means “I’d like you to buy something” or “I need you to listen to something”. When I say it, people know that it’s genuinely coming from my heart, and I seek nothing in return.

I know the power of these random acts of kindness. In addition to stopping a random stranger and acknowledging how beautiful they are, here are some other things we all can do:

• Smile!!! – yes, this is a simple one, but more people don’t do it, and not often enough either. I’m usually found smiling, but it stands out because it’s uncommon. I’m hoping more people can do it so that it becomes common!

• Compliment Freely – it doesn’t just have to be because a person is beautiful. Maybe someone has a great outfit, or you like their jacket. Doesn’t matter! You acknowledging their style is a compliment and also means “thank you for being you”.

• “Well Deserved” ¬- this one I actually borrowed from one of Seth Godin’s newsletters, but its still so valid. When someone wins an award, achieves something, “well deserved” is always better than “congratulations” because it’s an acknowledgement of the work they put in to win.

• Accept Compliments Graciously – because most people aren’t used to receiving comments, they usually are accepted by feeling like they’re falling on deaf ears. In the case of men hitting on women, compliments are usually followed by a snarl followed with a look that says “how dare you talk to me?!”. Doesn’t matter if you’re taken or single, when someone stops you to tell you how beautiful you are, smile and say thank you.

When we were young kids, we had absolutely no reservations about walking up to a stranger, if we wanted to play with them, if we wanted to talk with them, or just ask them a question (one of the reasons I LOVE watching kids play and discover the world!). Somewhere along the line as adults, we lose this sense of going after every opportunity. Practising acknowledgement helps us get rid of inhibitions, appreciate those around us, assist in establishing great relationships, and also help us boost our confidence. It takes guts to give without expectation like this. It also builds character and resiliency… Oh, and did I mention that it always makes for wonderful conversation starters with even more strangers? 🙂

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Tash Jefferies is a best-selling author, speaker, trainer, facilitator with Cool Connections TO and Lifestyle Cheerleader. She helps people detox their lives. Find out more information about her and her programs at http://www.tashjefferies.com.

Top 10 Tips for Authentic Networking

My main passion and expertise is the Power of Connection — thus, Networking is fundamental to how I run my business and how I create  and maintain relationships.

I love networking because it has given me so many amazing opportunities and experiences in my life and I have met some incredibly inspiring and nurturing individuals with the advent of social media. I learn something each day with every connection. Networking is something we all can use. Networking is something we all need. Networking is something we can all improve upon. So here are my Top 10 tips to think about networking.

1) Networking is the new certainty in life, so start learning now

Benjamin Franklin once said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. I propose that there are two more: delivering presentations and dealing with people. No matter where you go, you are giving presentations at school, at work and at home. Throughout your life you will always need to deal with people whether at home, work or in public. Networking is both presenting and dealing with people. Once you acknowledge and accept this, why not start investing now to become better at it?

2) The 80-20 rule of networking helps you find jobs and opportunities

The 80 per cent of jobs and opportunities are found through networking and 20 per cent are not. Twenty per cent of people use networking effectively and 80 per cent do not. So if 20 per cent of all people are using networking to get at 80 per cent of all the opportunities, what should you be doing? Networking!

3) Give without expectation

Networking is not asking for a job and it is not just taking what you can from a connection. My personal philosophy is to give without expectation. I always ask every contact, “What can I do to help you?” I give my ear and spend a good amount of time just listening because every person has his or her story. This philosophy will help build up your reputation, integrity and personal brand. That good karma will come back to you.

4) Know your value

With any networking scenario, there will be give and take. Many people, especially youth, don’t realize what value they can provide. Every person has value and it comes from your experiences, your energy and enthusiasm, your personality and your contacts. Beyond that, you should get comfortable with knowing your personal brand and elevator pitch. Take to the time to understand what you bring to the table. Remember that networking is not just “I want to meet you” but also “I want you to meet me.”

5) Build the relationships

Networking is just the start. Your ultimate goal is to build a relationship. That is where the true value of networking comes into play because you will get advice, support, mentorship and a higher likelihood of opportunities coming your way.

6) Everyone is a bridge

We forget that every single person we meet can be a bridge to someone else. Perhaps that cashier has an uncle who works at the company you have targeted for a new job? I have discovered opportunities from random meetings in an elevator, a subway seat and a New Year’s Eve party. Know that you can network anywhere, anytime with anyone.

7) Networking strategies are great, but learn the tactics

Every networking article talks about the typical strategies – have business cards, create your pitch, have a plan, etc. But very few talk about actual tactics. You need to learn how to enter a conversation, ask the right questions and leave the conversation. The best tactic to enter a conversation is to use your “power words” such as “Hi!” “Excuse me…” “Sorry to interrupt…” and “Pardon me…” These words will get you into any conversation. Just make sure you are clear and loud enough to be heard. You should also ask open-ended questions such as, “What are you passionate about?” and “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” These questions invest, engage and open up the conversation. When you need to leave, again use your power words from above and mention the next step you’d like to take (e.g. email, call, coffee, LinkedIn connection).

8) Leverage online networking is now expected, so build a compelling presence

Networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are huge right now. Start building your profiles in these spaces if you are there. If you are not sure where to be, think about who you want to network with. For example, if the majority of the people and companies you admire are engaging on LinkedIn and Facebook then you need to be there. Having a strong profile, responding to articles and updates, and connecting with people you have networked with will build your online personal brand.

9) Not following-up renders networking useless

So often people exchange business cards and never contact each other. Or they add each other on LinkedIn and the networking dies there. Remember you are building a relationship and you want to be memorable. Following up is critical to making networking work effectively. In fact, by following up you are setting yourself apart from most networkers. I once spoke about networking at a national conference of 500 young entrepreneurs. I personally asked them all to take my business card and contact me; 75 people took my card, 21 people followed up and only two maintained a relationship with me. So you can either be in the top 15 per cent of taking a card, the top four per cent who actually follow-up or the top 0.4 per cent who created a relationship. Where do you want to be?

10) You gotta want it!

Networking, like leadership, is something you have to want and demonstrate. This mean you have to do everything – be prepared, plan your questions, rehearse your tactics, offer to help, use social networking, follow up and build the relationship – to make an impact with networking. The person who called and emailed me seven times in order to get a coffee meeting finally got one, because he got my attention. The person who waited for 30 minutes while I was talking to dozens of people after my keynote then got me for one-on-one for 10 full minutes. The student who offered to help me with a project eventually got hired for a job and then later I recommended her for another job. The more you want it, the more you will do and the more you will find success with networking.

— originally appeared online at http://bit.ly/NAK1PJ

9/11 Tragedy: What do You remember?

I remember 9/11. What do you remember?

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I was on my way to MBA school to spend a day in meetings and working in the library. I ended up in the student lounge, watching the TV with utter shock. I stayed and saw the second plane crash and then ultimately the fall of both towers. I couldn’t believe it. We stayed the entire morning sharing our thoughts and wondering how and if it would change things. I didn’t know then how much things would change and be affected by it. I didn’t know then it would actually hit me, having dealt with prejudice at the border. I remember that day, just like I remember when the Shuttle exploded (Grade 10) and when Princess Diana died (I had just left a wedding)

But what I also remember was the very next day having a close friend give birth to a child. I called to congratulate with great joy and happiness for them and my fullest wishes for their special time. There was some awkward pauses, but what the response I got was basically “Bobby, you are the first person who hasn’t mentioned 9/11. You haven’t mentioned how challenging it must be celebrating this birth when there is so much death and mourning, etc”. I thought about my response and said simply:

“Life and Death go hand in hand. We should always acknowledge tragedies and mourn events around the world that affect us. But we should also celebrate the joy of birth, of life because they do happen. It’s Yin Yang and I am really sad about 9/11 but I am also really happy for you. Enjoy these incredible first moments of life and don’t ever feel bad about it.”

I learned a ton those few days, including my perspective on many things — how some had changed, while others remained the same and the rest was reflection and growth — But most of all, I remember.

What do YOU remember?

— Bobby

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