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Monthly archives "November 2013"

Lessons on Winning from Maurice Greene, Rocky III, and Bieber-stein

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Maurice Greene

Maurice Greene

Maurice Greene, for those of you that do not know him, is one of the fastest men in the world. He has won numerous gold medals and has proven himself to be the best time and again. Preparing for an Olympic track and field event is no walk in the park. It takes years of dedication, training and perseverance. Maurice Greene said the following, now famous, words in regards to his focus on winning:

To be number one, you must train like you are number two.

Let me back up. I was sitting in church on Sunday looking around. My people-watching illness got the best of me, and I noticed this teenage boy who looked like he was barely old enough to have a driver’s permit. His hair looked like a mix between early Justin Bieber and Bride of Frankenstein. He was wearing plaid shorts and a wrinkled t-shirt. The traditionalist in me was disgusted because of his lack of respect for church, then I noticed what the shirt said. It had this quote from Greene.

As I am reading this quote for the first time, I thought it was just a little motivation for a school football team or something. Then I read it again. And again. And again. Soon enough I could not stop thinking about this quote. This is a key to winning in any business.

If you are truly great and find your giant pumpkin (thanks Michalowicz!), you can make it to number one. Once you hit number one you have a couple problems that did not exist before:

  1. Maintaining your number one status
  2. Minimizing your arrogance

Once you are number one, you are now that target of many more companies or people than you even realized were competitors. They will constantly be biting at your heals waiting for you to fall. Minimizing arrogance and keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive is highly important. Brands in all eras of history have made it to the top and simply started thinking they could not be touched. Some say, this is happening to Apple right now. Companies need to stay hungry to stay in the fight. Number one is great, but you need to treat yourself and your business as if you are number two to keep moving forward.

My best example of this concept comes from Rocky III with Sly Stallone. No, it is not a joke. “Rock” made it to the top. At the start he was hungry. He punched a lot of meat. He trained day and night. Nobody thought the “Italian Stallion” could beat Apollo Creed, but he did. In the movies that followed, Rocky began to enjoy his wealth and get comfortable as the champ. Enter, Mr. T as up-and-comer Clubber Lang. It was a new era, and he was hungry too, just like Rocky was when he first started. Mick, played by Burgess Meredith, realized this and came to Rocky to try to talk some sense into him. Rocky does not listen. Lang defeats Rocky and kills his longtime trainer, Mick. Rocky was devastated, and had forgotten what it was like to be hungry. Re-enter Apollo Creed. Soon, Rocky was training hard again and re-igniting that hunger. At the end of Rocky III, the Italian Stallion became champ again and the status quo was restored.


Rocky’s story in the third installment of the classic movie series is a great one. However, it is unlikely many times for large number one giants of industry to regain the old momentum.  Do you remember the Kodak moment? It is now an iPhone moment. I have to thank Bieber-stein for that very wise lesson in church (Sorry Father) and my Dad for the thousands of times we watched Rocky together over the years. It is amazing where you learn very specific lessons.

What will you do to keep the hunger alive in your business pursuits?

17 Personal Branding Tips to Become an Indispensable Employee!

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7k0a0032The moment you hand in your two weeks notice, the company offers you a blank check and an open job description. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is a true story and it can happen to you. To do so you need to make yourself an indispensable employee. Being indispensable is defined as not subject to being set aside or neglected and absolutely necessary. There are thousands of articles on how to go about becoming an indispensable employee at work.

This blog article has 17 quick tips that if followed diligently can nearly guarantee your rise to the top of the pack. Do you want to be indispensable to your company? If so, keep reading.

  1. Always look your best.
  2. “Yes, and…” More popularly used by improvisational comics, the “yes, and” approach can do wonders for your career. To illustrate this concept in an example, if you were asked to find a venue for a company holiday party, you would not just look for one place. You would find 3 potential venues, their pricing, potential food, and entertainment. The “and” takes you and your career to another level.
  3. Being early to everything and with every project.
  4. Bring solutions, not just complaints or ideas.
  5. De-stress before your fire off that email. You know which email I am talking about.
  6. Allow yourself the ability to understand both sides.
  7. Be nice.
  8. Remember that everyone, including your boss, is your customer.
  9. Take every opportunity you can to present your work and solutions. If there are not many opportunities, make them.
  10. Talk with others like they are human, because they are. Do not talk down to those below you and do not be afraid to talk to those above you.
  11. Make it a point to have lunch or coffee with many different types of people inside your company and out. Do not out yourself in one clique. The thoughts and feelings of and towards that group can affect you both positively and negatively.
  12. Stay neutral if high stress topics like religion and politics arise. Everyone has the right to an opinion.
  13. Watch your language. This may seem a little outdated but it still holds true with many working professionals. They will appreciate your ability to stay cool and laugh it off.
  14. Do not procrastinate.
  15. Show your appreciation. Whether it is bringing in coffee and bagels after the conclusion of a stressful project or sending a simple thank you email, it makes a difference.
  16. Find your ability to make change in the business. Everyone has the power.
  17. Smile.

Nobody is perfect, but with a little drive and determination you can implement a majority of these 17 quick tips. You could be filling out that blank check one day, maybe even while sitting in the corner office. The power is within you to change your personal brand. Which tip will you start with first?

SDC Preview: Meet Workshop Speaker Don McLean

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The 16th Annual Student Development Conference committee is proud to present Don McLean, the marketing and proposals lead at MMS Holdings, Inc.

Don will be one of the workshop speakers at SDC on Friday, Dec. 6 and will speak about personal branding.

Don’t forget to get your early bird special rate by reserving your spot at the Student Development Conference. The early bird special rate is $10 and is available until Friday, Nov. 29. Please visit the SDC web page for more details.

Payment and RSVP’s must be made to Lisa McClees before Friday, Nov. 29 to receive the early bird rate. Refunds will not be given once payment is made because SDC is a fundraiser for EMU PRSSA.

Personal Branding for Students

  • Understanding the personal brand concept
  • Why are personal brands important?
  • How to elevate your personal brand
  • How social media plays a part of personal branding
  • Key…

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