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Posts Tagged ‘Living for Monday’

I had the great privilege of being asked to speak at TEDxUGA 2014. It was a full-circle experience for me, as I was a part of ODK on UGA’s campus just when it was getting involved with the early conversations around hosting a TEDx event on UGA’s campus. Then, in its inaugural year, I helped lead the TEDx student organization through a mission, vision, and values exercise, which was a blast.

This year, I got to deliver a talk that centered on the idea to which I have given my life over the past 2.5 years. I called it, “From TGIF to Living for Monday: A New Career Approach for a New Generation at Work.”

I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I hope you’ll share it far and wide. My goal is to have this talk viewed 1,000,000 over its lifetime. As soon as it hits 100,000 views, I’ll get to work on Living for Monday the book.

 

If you’d like to offer feedback or words of encouragement, you can reach me at barrett@livingformonday.com.

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This past week I finally got around to reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to read the book, and I flew through the pages as I learned more about the Zappos story and philosophy.

 

One of the things I loved most about the book was the way Hsieh describes the ten core values of Zappos and then illustrates them with stories from employees, customers, etc. It almost serves as a handbook for understanding the culture, which is something the vast majority of companies lack.

 

So, in an effort to make our L4M culture even better, I want to highlight each of our six core values over the course of the next week or so. My hope is that this will help lay out our story and why someone might want to join the company in the future. For me, I hope it will help clarify why these values exist (and potentially highlight what might be missing, if anything).

 

Our first core value at Living for Monday is ‘Live with Integrity.’ In my mind there are two big questions to answer regarding every one of our values:

 

  1. Where did this come from?
  2. What does it mean for the company and culture?

 

I’ve told the Big League Chew story on this blog before, but it is the most vivid memory I have of learning the value of integrity. From a very early age, I understood that doing the right things for the right reasons would pay off. Even when it doesn’t pay off directly, it ALWAYS comes back around. At least that’s my view.

 

After my experience with Big League Chew, the concept of integrity continued to grow on me. Every year something would happen that showed me that no matter what someone is always watching. Whether I was doing the right thing or doing things that didn’t always make Mom proud, it always came back around. Eventually, after plenty of heartache and unnecessary challenges to overcome I learned that it was far easier to do the right thing for the right reasons as often as possible than it was to try not to get caught doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

 

I think that doing the right thing for the right reasons is a great definition of integrity. It takes the concept at its most basic level and applies it to our decision making process at home, at work, and everywhere in between. But over time, integrity has come to be so much more to me. When I started this blog in August or September of 2010 (wow, now that I put it on paper, I can’t believe it’s been two years), I racked my brain for a name before finally settling on Living Values.

 

Ultimately, that name represents the next stage in my understanding of integrity. I could do the right thing for the right reasons without ever naming or understanding my personal values, and I could be a valuable, contributing member of society by doing so. But taking my integrity to the next level meant putting my personal values on paper, then on my blog, and ultimately constantly displaying them for the world to see. That’s a vulnerable place to be. It’s kind of like a 35 year old man having to hang his superman underwear out to dry because the dryer is broken – you’re revealing intimate information to the world.

 

I mean c’mon, my values are my beliefs – they are the 5 or so words that describe what means the most to me in. the. world. To openly state them to you is to openly welcome criticism and feedback when I’m not being true to those values.

 

But what I’ve learned is that putting those core values out for the world to see makes it that much easier to remain true to them. There’s no going back when you tell other people what you stand for. Yes, I can make shifts and my values may adapt as I learn more about myself, but by and large those values will remain fairly consistent. So the second stage in my understanding of integrity was to live my values and stay true to them through my actions and words. The same thing applies to a company. When we put our values out for the world to see, we take that seriously. They’re not just a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘plaque on the wall’ – they’re the way we do business.

My learning about integrity has had one final stage to this point. That third stage comes from my experience in taking my first job and then subsequently leaving my first job to start Living for Monday. Through that process I had a lot of heartache and a lot of questions in my mind. Why wasn’t I happy in that great job? What would I do if I left? How would I make money? Is it even possible for me to succeed in starting my own company?

 

When I thought about the answers to those questions, I realized several things. First, I had heartache and I was unhappy because I wasn’t taking my true self to work. I was molding myself to fit what I was ‘supposed to be.’ A suit-wearing, big-word-wielding, corporate junkie that solves problems to add money to the bottom line of our clients… but I don’t necessarily believe in all that. I don’t know that the one objective of corporations should be to increase the bottom line in the short term. I don’t necessarily enjoy wearing a suit everyday. And I didn’t think any of those things were going to lead me to the vision I have for my life.

 

That experience taught me about the third level of integrity, which is staying true to my dreams and vision. I could have made the right decisions for the right reasons in the context of my first job. I probably could have found a way to live most of my values. But what I couldn’t do is fulfill the vision I had for my life – the dreams I had for my future. Living with integrity means having the guts to take a stand, take a chance, and go after the vision I have for my life.

 

The third level of integrity applies every bit as much to Living for Monday. We have a responsibility to pursue our mission and vision to the absolute extent of our capabilities. There are a million ways to make money, but living with integrity means every way we make money should fuel our vision of the future.

 

At Living for Monday, we believe ‘Live Integrity’ means three things:

  • Always do the right thing for the right reasons. If in question, use the golden rule.
  • Make our values public and incorporate them into every single thing we do.
  • Pursue our mission and vision with every ounce of effort we have. Don’t settle.

 

What do you think about our first value, ‘Live Integrity’? Do you have ideas for how we can incorporate our mission, vision, or values into our operations? Let me know in the comments!

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At Living for Monday, the company I founded in late 2011, we say we’re on a mission to connect purpose-driven individuals with purpose-driven organizations. But what does that mean? Well, I’ve been giving the question a lot of thought recently as we prepare to open our doors for business in August. We’ll be accepting a maximum of 15 purpose-driven companies and organizations as clients at that time.

In order for us to take on an organization as a client, we’ll first certify that they are a purpose-driven company. With that in mind, here are the characteristics I believe make up a purpose-driven culture:

1. Mission-Driven

Mission-driven companies have more than a mission statement – they have a beliefs statement. They unequivocally state their core message for why they exist. Everything they do reflects their mission or core beliefs.

2. Values-Based

Great organizations establish values and then take measured action to live those values. Every decision, from hiring to sales, is made through a values-based lens.

3. Demonstrated beliefs through action

Most importantly, purpose-driven companies use their mission and values to guide their actions. They use them as the basis for all planning and strategic moves. Press releases, publicity, client service, compensation, etc should all reflect the mission and values of a purpose-driven organization.

4. People-Centered

Purpose-driven organizations put people first. They compensate their employees fairly and encourage them to tackle growth and learning opportunities. They also take care of their customers – because employees are taken care of and are hired based on value alignment, customers are taken care of appropriately.

5. Service-Oriented

Purpose-driven organizations have service built into their mold. Whether committing a % of bottom line profits to charity or requiring employees to take paid service days, they enforce the value of service in and out of the business environment.

6. Problem-Solvers

At the end of the day, purpose-driven organizations solve problems. They have a proven track record of success in solving interesting problems and encouraging their employees to innovate in order to tackle ever greater challenges.

These characteristics are very much a first draft of the requirements we will use to vet our potential clients. What are your thoughts? What else would you add to the list? How can we make it better? And how can we measure these characteristics? Please let me know how you think we can use these concepts to create a Purpose-Driven Certification for our clients!

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Blogger’s Note: You might notice my musings here begin to shift. My life has changed, and so too will my writing – its almost inevitable. On my mind daily are the issues we’re facing in building Living for Monday, and they’re what I’ll be sharing here. (Our site is live now by the way – you can sign up for our weekly newsletter called the::MONDAY:drop. You’ll get a drop of inspiration to do purposeful, fulfilling work every Monday morning.)

One of the biggest lessons we’ve taken away since starting to build Living for Monday is that the sales will come with the brand. Trying to educate people on who we are, what we do, and why they should invest in our Career Kickstarter program in an hour-long coffee meeting is impossible. Not only that, but its just a terrible way to try and sell people on our services. As Jeffrey Gitomer would say: “Nobody wants to be sold, but everybody wants to buy.”

So what’s the answer?

We believe the answer is brand building. Positioning ourselves as the experts in helping college students and young professionals define, locate, and land their dream job. We’re not just talking any old job here — We’re talking get fired up, wake up passionate, and make a huge difference in the world kind of work. We can’t sell somebody on that, but we can definitely prove it.

How are we doing that?

  1. We’re taking Pat Flynn’s be everywhere strategy and we’re putting emphasis on it. Not only will we be on the big three (YouTube, iTunes, and blog), but we’re also active on Twitter, Facebook, and G+. With every single thing we’re putting out there to be consumed by the universe, we’re building our brand and expertise.
  2. We’re booking speaking engagements to share what we’ve learned. We want to get in front of live audiences and share our enthusiasm and knowledge.
  3. We’re building excellent products and services. Every day. We’re dreaming up and building things that help people. We stay true to our mission: Inspiring individuals and organizations to find more purpose and fulfillment in their work.”

All of this adds up to trust. Over time it adds up to a valuable brand. One that makes people want to come to us. We’re not going to take any kind of hard sell to market. Hard sells might make us some money in the short term, but that’s not how we want to do business in the long-term. We’re building a lasting brand – one that we want to be recognized, trusted, and respected.

We don’t have all of the answers, but we’re doing what we think is right. What advice do you have for us? How can we ensure we build a brand that draws people to us? What types of content should we be producing that we’re not already producing?

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This is part two of a four part series on ‘How to Differentiate Ourselves in a World without Resumes.

Step one in differentiating ourselves without the use of a resume is to shift our mindset. In the first post in this series, I introduced this concept with the following:

Shift our mindset – The default strategy for pursuing jobs these days is sitting at home behind our desk and submitting countless resumes through job board postings. According to CNN Money, “80% of today’s jobs aren’t advertised.” This means that of the total job opportunities out there, we’re probably only accessing 20% of the job market. We have to shift our mindset from one of waiting to be chosen to one of proactive strategies to make things happen.

In a world where only 20% of job openings are advertised publicly and resumes are not accepted as the currency of the job market, we need to change our thinking about landing a job – especially our dream job.

Step 1: Anything is possible. The world likes to tell us what it thinks we should do in our career and how it thinks we should spend our time. That’s nice, and input from those we care most about should never be undervalued… But often the opinions of others and the external expectations that influence our actions are limiting factors. They cause us to narrow our view on what our possible career opportunities are. So, what to do about this?

Explore. Develop a thirst for learning and personal growth. Most importantly, we have to challenge the status quo. Starting today, we have to think of our career search without any limitations. Accept nothing as a given. The more we can learn to not accept the current standard as our reality, the more we can find ways to create a new reality that reflects the career of our dreams.

Step 2: Know what we want. Speaking of the career of our dreams, we need to know what we want. How can we do this? Spend time alone. Learn about our values, explore our various passions, learn new skills, understand or strengths, dream about the future. And then we have to be intentional.

Can we have everything all at once? No. Can we have a lot that makes us happy over time? Absolutely. But we have to put our finger on we want first. And we need to learn to be specific. Just like a product designed for everybody is a product that sells to nobody, not knowing exactly what we want from our career will result in us never really achieving purpose and fulfillment.

Starting today, we need to define exactly what we are looking for in our career – and then we need to define our first ‘dream job’ in terms of that career.

Step 3: From consumer to producer. The final step in our mindset shift makes us take what we know we want and get proactive about it. A consumer mindset is one of waiting on companies to post job openings online, submitting our resume, and hoping we get picked. We are completely dependent on the whims of the market, and we have little control over whether we are picked out of the stack.

A producer mentality is one of action. We understand what we want and we do the hard work required to make it happen. This is a mindset shift from “I hope I get a job” to “Here’s how I’m going to make this happen.”

How have you shifted your mindset around the career search process? How might you change your mindset after reading this post? Do you think it is harder to get a job with a consumer or producer mindset? Let us know in the comments!

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This post is all about our February 20th launch of Living for Monday’s first official offering, Career Kickstarter. We’ve been working hard on this program for nearly six months straight, and on February 20th we’ll release it to the world.

As you can imagine, we’re extremely excited about it. We’ve given a ton of information below, but I hope you’ll take the time to read through all of it. And if it looks like the Career Kickstarter program might be for you, let me know asap – I want you to have a spot. If you have questions or want to learn more before signing up, let’s set up a meeting or phone call – email me at Barrett@Livingformonday.com.

If it’s not for you, but you know someone who might be interested or could benefit, please share this blog post with them or send me their contact information and I’ll send them this information directly.

I can’t thank you enough for your continued reading of my blog here at Living Values. The Career Kickstarter program is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work, and I could not be more excited about the upcoming launch.

Here’s the details:

The Living for Monday Career Kickstarter Program

Living for Monday is an Atlanta-based coaching, consulting, and training company whose mission is to equip individuals and organizations to do fulfilling, meaningful work.  For a more informal explanation, check out our motto:

“Don’t wait for weekends to do the work you love”

To us, this joyfully explains our core belief that work should be stimulating, purposeful, and worth waking up for on Monday morning.

Living for Monday currently offers free and paid products and services that help college students and young professionals discover and get hired for their dream jobs (and a bunch of other cool stuff, but that’s for another day).

A limited number of spots are open in our Career Kickstarter program, which begins on February 20th, 2012. The coaching curriculum is designed for individuals or self-formed groups of 3-5. After the spots fill up, the only way the curriculum will be available is via the online self-study version.  I promise the coaching portion is worth your while (see testimonials below).  Currently, there are only 17 spots left for coaching.  Don’t take the decision lightly, but certainly take advantage of the opportunity before the spots are gone. (We won’t open the curriculum up again until the second half of 2012.)

The remainder of this post outlines the details of the “Career Kickstarter” program and it’s benefits.

Career Kickstarter

An inside-out process to discover your dream job (and get it)

Through our curriculum, our clients receive three key benefits:

(a) Transformed mindset :: stop dreading the concept of work, learn where you provide value, and figure out how to get paid for it

(b) Accessible toolset :: acquire practical means for breaking into the industry where you want to be and stop hoping a dream job just shows up

(c) Expanded job set :: “over 80% of today’s jobs aren’t advertised” [CNN Money] – learn how to access the hidden job market without destroying your professional network in the process

Through these benefits the Career Kickstarter program helps clients move from “I don’t know what I want to do in life” to having a plan to land their dream job in just 10 weeks.

Who Career Kickstarter Benefits

Let’s be real, this program isn’t for just anyone.  It’s difficult.  As a participant, you should be ready to push yourself and be pushed.  That’s simply what it takes to find fulfilling work.  

The only thing we require is a determination to succeed and a dedication to the Career Kickstarter program. We’ve worked with students getting ready to graduate, young business owners, and young professionals making career switches. Anyone who has the desire to start or move into a passionate career and is willing to put forth the effort will benefit greatly from our program.

What is Included in Career Kickstarter

Our curriculum is delivered in one of three ways: one-on-one coaching, coaching for groups of three to five individuals, or online self-study.

One-on-one Coaching – What you’ll get: One pre-coaching consult and goal setting session, eight individual coaching sessions, and one wrap up session. Also includes an 8-week email series or ebook to deliver the content, blog assignments on your very own career-oriented blog, the Strengthsfinder 2.0 book and assessment, access to online resources, access to coach in between sessions, and our guarantee.

Group coaching – What you’ll get:  One individual pre-coaching consult and goal-setting session, eight group coaching sessions, and one individual wrap up session. Groups should be formed by the interested parties – Living for Monday will not be responsible for forming groups between individual clients. Also includes an 8-week email series or ebook to deliver the content, blog assignments on your very own career-oriented blog, the Strengthsfinder 2.0 book and assessment, access to online resources, access to coach in between sessions, and our guarantee.

Online Self-Study – What you’ll get: An 8-week daily email program and ebook to deliver the content, blog assignments and your very own career-oriented blog, the Strengthsfinder 2.0 book and assessment, access to online resources, and email access to a coach for questions.

What our past clients have to say 

“Barrett and I started working together 2 months ago with the intention of aligning my values, strengths and passions with my small business. The results have been amazing. Barrett has a unique ability to ask the right questions that force me to think deeper into what my business needs and why. It has allowed me to have purpose in what I do. We have seen increases in revenues of 30% since we started coaching.” – Chris Reene, Business Owner, via LinkedIn

“There is something about having an outside, professional perspective that is truly different from what family or friends could offer you. I have learned so much about my strengths and weakness and how to be proactive with both. For the first time in my career, I have genuine, SPECIFIC direction that I can be proud of and excited to accomplish!…Every time I hang up the phone (I’m a cross-country client), I feel a surge of productivity.” – Kat Cowley, Writer, via LinkedIn

“Barrett has been stellar during our working together. His ability to relate and encourage make for productive and comfortable sessions. He can easily communicate in person, via phone, or through Skype, bringing a needed flexibility to the meeting locations. After our sessions, I feel motivated to define my future and take my career search to the next level.” – Miles Buchanan, Student, via LinkedIn

For the full reviews, check out Barrett Brooks’s LinkedIn page.

How to Reserve Your Spot Today 

Hopefully we have given you plenty of information to get you excited about Living for Monday’s Career Kickstarter. To set up a FREE 30-minute coaching session focused on the three steps to succeeding in an intentional career search and discuss pricing, details, and have your questions answered about Career Kickstarter email me at Barrett@livingformonday.com.

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I’m in the business of helping people find their dream jobs. We like to say that we do three things at Living for Monday:

1) Change our clients’ mindsets
2) Give our clients a toolset
3) Open up new possibilities in the job set

And we do all of those with the intent of helping clients pursue passion and purpose in their personal and professional lives.

Now, as you might imagine, one of the easiest objections to this concept of passion and purpose at work is money. “Yeah, but you have to live in your car and eat ramen to be passionate about your work.” Or,”I don’t want to take a lower paying job.”

Well, I’ve got two things to say in return.

First, I would challenge naysayers to consider the units by which our life should be measured. Money provides for our needs, but beyond that it mostly contributes to materialism and clutter. Wealth of spirit, attitude, experience, and giving is what passion and purpose bring to our lives. (This is not to say that monetary wealth is bad, but that’s for another day.)

And second, the practical finance and accounting major in me feels the need to appeal on a purely monetary level as well. I would make the argument (and I intend to prove or disprove this theory over time) that finding passion and purpose in our work significantly increases our earning potential over the long term.

Why? Because energy, innovation, leadership, and growth come from passion and purpose. And you know what else? Energy, innovation, leadership, and growth have tremendous value in the market place.

So whether you like the feel-good aspect, or you’re more of a rational, analytical kind of person, I posit there is much to be gained from living a life of passion and purpose.

What do you think? What objections come to mind when considering the possibility of finding passion in your work? Have you seen passion lead to higher earning potential? Let me know in the comments!

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