Monday, September 22, 2008

Consistency and Authenticity: Do as you Say and Say as you Do

I believe consistency and authenticity are important traits for successful people. I've recently been reading about these traits in a book entitled "Speaking the Truth in Love: How to Be an Assertive Christian" and see commonality in what I've read about enduringly successful people in the book entitled "Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters."

Truly successful people believe in something and assertively act. They don't act aggressively such that they push beliefs or agendas, but they act and react with situations in ways that promote success. They speak honestly and act consistently with what they say. They authentically relate with people. They act, assess, and adjust if necessary.

As an avid networker and professional, these traits are important to me in relationships. I want to work and deal with people that are honest and speak authentically. They do not act inconsistently with what they say. I realize that factors may change outcomes such that people are unable to deliver what they say. However, a true professional should communicate this change. I believe it is proper etiquette because the lack of this communication weakens relationships. This integrity adds value to the relationship because they accept accountability. Therefore, I respect people that do what they say and honestly say what they do.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keep Going and Adjust: the Train is Coming

My faith keeps me going. It's taken me a while to let go of burdens and realize the nonfulfillment or unintended results of my plans are not ultimate failures. There are various factors, many of which are unknown to me, beyond my control. Instead of stressing over what I cannot control, I continue to focus on what I can control. I control my actions, not those of others. I cannot make someone hire me. I cannot make someone believe my ideas. I cannot make someone support my business ventures. I can plan and be ready when the opportunity is available. If something happens, I reassess the situation and adjust. It’s almost like I don’t have a train yet, but I can lay the track to the destination. I come upon obstacles like mountains. I assess the situation and either go around or through it.

The Prosper loan I created to personally focus on building the Triangle Networking Group didn't work. The bidding closed with only 1% funded. This is surprising considering I created a blog article stating my intentions and emailed about 450 of my LinkedIn connections requesting assistance getting the word out about what I'm doing. I know many of the 2700+ TNG members see value in the organization and many verbally support what I'm doing.

It is easy to feel distressed and neglected. However, a friend reminded me that I don't know all the factors. I don't know how many people read my email nor had the time to investigate what Prosper is. Many people may have misunderstood what I was doing. As a friend recently told me, and I have observed repeatedly in the 3 years I have led the TNG, people probably will not act if what you’re asking is not easy to understand.

People, especially professionals, will not take the time to investigate if the value is not apparent. This reluctance to investigate will hinder professional success. Have you ever heard “if I had only known it was that easy” or “I didn’t know you could do that” before from someone that didn’t take time to investigate something?

Ironically, one of my objectives for the Triangle Networking Group is to reduce the “investigational” burden on professionals through the leverage of a network. I want to support my professional community, but I need the support of my network and professional community to do so.

I will continue to lay the track in anticipation of the train. The passengers need to get to their destination.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Triangle Networking Group and Financing an Opportunity

I have been a member of the Triangle Networking Group since December 2003 and assumed leadership of the organization in April 2005. I have worked diligently in a volunteer capacity to create and sustain an organization that enables professionals to succeed in their professional endeavors through connections with opportunities, information, and people. This has been a cumbersome and sometimes daunting task as a volunteer with a fulltime job and a leadership team comprised of fellow volunteers.

My goal is to build an enduring organization that provides tangible value for professionals, specifically in the Triangle area of North Carolina, seeking to achieve professional goals. I believe this is a noble cause and deserves a concentrated effort; an effort of which cannot be effectively realized with volunteers that have limited time to devote due to other responsibilities. The TNG exists to reduce burdens on professionals, and I cannot effectively build an organization to do so for professionals with burdens of my own.

I would like to increase my effort. To do so, I would need sustaining capital. I have a plan that requires temporary capital to get things going. I believe that I could get the TNG operational in a sustaining fashion within two months. I also have other endeavors, which I have discussed in other blog articles, which would produce income given some time to devote.

I have set up a loan to be funded at Prosper. I ask your assistance to get this loan funded. Please pass the link for my loan ( and possibly the link to this blog article to your contacts. If so inclined, please invest in the loan. I will not get the loan unless it is funded for the full amount by Thursday, 9/18. Please understand that this loan is an investment vehicle through Prosper to allow me to build the TNG. This loan is my obligation, not the TNG's. This is the catalyst to get things going.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Financial Hardship: the key phrase

I saw an infomercial the other day about a debt reduction book where the author said there is a two word phrase that will change the conversation with creditors. However, he didn't give the phrase during the infomercial. He has a book to sell. I know this phrase. After many months of past unemployment and degraded credit, I've dealt with many creditors. This includes the mortgage company that started foreclosure proceedings on my house.

The key phrase is "financial hardship." This will turn the conversation. I believe they won't even discuss a relief plan until you say this phrase. On top of that, the mortgage company didn't even propose a "short sale" until I mentioned my attorney told me about it. When I told the mortgage company that my unemployment caused my delinquency, their solution was referring me to a staffing firm. Another option my attorney told be about is the "deed in lieu of foreclosure." However, a mortgage expert told me that the latter option would have the same effect on my credit as a foreclosure.

By the way, I avoided foreclosure by selling my house through an approved short payoff with my mortgage company. It was a wild process. The mentality of lending institutions and the way they operate is bewildering.

Affiliate programs and referrals: the value of a customer

I have been looking at referral programs for subscription services in the past few months. I find it really unfair that some of these services give referrers a one time credit for their referrals that result in a continued customer. The service continues to profit from the referred subscriber while the referrer doesn't.

I have been looking at the independent associate opportunity from Pre-Paid Legal Services. I've discussed the benefits I have received from my personal legal and identity theft protection plans in previous articles. I've also discussed the opportunity I can provide people by giving them a business at no financial cost and handling referrals from them. The referrals would offset the cost of an associates personal plans. It is possible to earn enough to pay for the personal plans, if not earn additional income.

Imagine having an attorney or identity theft investigator through your Pre-Paid Legal membership available at your discretion for no cost. Imagine if the cable tv, telephone, or auto insurance companies would do this for customers?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Empower Yourself: Think employed while unemployed

I have experienced my fair share of unemployment. One period lasted a year and the last period lasted 5 months. Through my participation with the Triangle Networking Group, I have associated with many unemployed people in transition. I can understand their frustration and anxiety. They have lost their main source of income and possibly their sense of worth. I've been there. I've been a member of the Triangle Networking Group (TNG) since December 2003 and Executive Director since April 2005. I have associated with many unemployed professionals in transition and attempted to assist them. The main obstacle I see is mindset. For some reason, the unemployed people I've encountered think they have to spend all their time looking for a job. I understand this attitude for those that are new to the unemployment scene because they are optimistic that they will quickly find another job. There are also those folks that are in panic mode to replace the income source they lost. I have heard repeatedly that they didn't expect to be out of work this long. I have learned that you can't make the hiring authorities give you a job. There are many factors and hurdles involved, so why concentrate all your time in your job search.

If you can spend 40 hours a week just on your job search and keep your sanity, more power to you. Some folks would rather add value for someone else rather than increase their own value. In other words, they devalue themselves. Don't think like you are unemployed; think like you are employed as the head of your career. You can add value to yourself through education, establishing another source of income, and volunteer work. Now spend 20 hours a week on your job search and 20 hours a week, or a proportion that makes you comfortable, increasing your value.

I had a legal plan and identity theft plan from Pre-Paid Legal Services for months previous to the abrupt end of my last job. While unemployed, a friend and colleague on the TNG leadership team was looking for assistance educating people about identity theft. I needed to get my mind off of my job search, so I agreed to assist her. I because an independent associate for Pre-Paid Legal Services with my friend as my sponsor. This was one of my greatest decisions, because I learned so much more about my plans and the value they can provide to others. I learned how I can provide peace of mind to others, but I also gained some peace of mind as well. I was in a business I could control and this complemented my job search because I wasn't obsessing over the lack of jobs available or nonresponsive employers and recruiters. I could relieve the anxiety caused by something I couldn't control with the satisfaction of something I could control. I'm now back in a fulltime job. However, now I have an extra source of income. Furthermore, I have a contingency plan for future unemployment.

However, the mindset of the obsessed unemployed folks still prevails despite the opportunities I have devised and proposed. I can give people a business at no cost with varying degrees of commitment. I can put people into a business at no financial cost to them helping other people protect themselves and their family. They can pursue the business actively or use it as a referral vehicle where I am their partner (or employee depending on your point of view). I can also offer my services as a LinkedIn consultant as a benefit of purchasing legal or identity theft plans.

Basically, I offer to provide unemployed folks with a side income at no financial cost and little commitment with my continued assistance. I am amazed that folks decline my offer, yet they are still unemployed and complaining.

The opportunity I present unemployed people may not be attractive, but my message is to relieve your anxiety by doing something positive with your time that will add value financially or your career.