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It is How You Finish

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moneyball-posterMoneyball. Have you seen it? The 2011 baseball movie with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill was quite an amazing true story. IMDB describes it as “Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.” While watching this on a plane to Rome, one key phrase that Pitt’s character Billy Beane said was “All they care about is if you win the last game.”

In taking the time to think about this, one thing became evident. This statement is true in every facet of life, no matter how much hard work you put in.

Promotions will happen early to those who performed well on the last big project, whether or not they are ready for the leadership role. Other executives will perform well their entire career, make one bad decision and pull it all out from under themselves.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Billy Beane is a great example of preparation and determination for career success. He has developed his personal brand with thoughtful resourcing, innovative uses of technology and open-mindedness. Beane is leaving people with something significant. There is no reason why me or you should know Beane unless we were entrenched in the baseball world, but he is leaving his career with something significant.

It is okay to lose games in life as long as you learn from each of them. Take the sum of the losing games and build yourself up to one big winning game. Beane’s quote challenges you to leave them with something significant. Leave them with something significant in every possible thing you do. “Them” is anyone and everyone in life because you never know who you are talking to or who is listening. “Something significant” are the tangible and intangible things that leave a positive impact. If you died tomorrow, what is the last thing you have done and what would that person say about you? Are you happy or would you change it? Now is the time to start.

Start the New Year Off Right

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timeLast year I wrote a blog article on making the ultimate new year’s resolution. I started my year off with my own advice – do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I took that advice and shortened it saying “The time is now!” I wrote the saying everywhere. I kept it in my mind. I repeated it to my friends when they asked for my advice. I told it to multiple audiences in professional presentations I gave. I told it to strangers.

A new year’s resolution is a way of making yourself better. It is about being able to continue it, not only this year but, for years to come. I followed my own advice and many great things happened as a direct result, as follows:

  1. I attained a new dream job at Airfoil Tech Marcom and PR
  2. I was asked to sit on the Board of Directors for Michigan Parkinson Foundation
  3. I was accepted to teach professional development courses on social media at my alma mater, Madonna University
  4. I achieved my one year blog goals
  5. I was asked to sit on the Madonna University Alumni Advisory Board
  6. I’m going to be a Dad (the best one of all)

By telling myself a simple line – the time is now – in all situations, I was able to elevate myself to a level of success that I did not expect. The world will not wait for you. You will never be as young, good-looking or healthy as you are today. So, why wait? Through this next year, challenge yourself. Now is the time:

  • To make sure you are happy
  • To help someone
  • To help yourself
  • To push yourself for that promotion
  • To write that email
  • To make that phone call
  • To try something new
  • To ask that question

Give it a shot and tell me how it is going for you. I may feature you in a blog article. For me, now is the time to finish writing my book this year. I’ll update you throughout the year on the progress.

What was your resolution last year? How long did you follow through on it? What is your resolution this new year?

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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5 Personal Branding Tips in Discovering Opportunity

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knocking-featureKnock, knock. Who’s there? Opportunity. Opportunity, who?

If you get to “Opportunity, Who?” you have lost. When opportunity knocks, it is your duty to yourself and others around you to look into the opportunity more. Doing your due diligence with every opportunity that comes down your path is key to a successful person. Sometimes you must take a leap of faith, but in general every opportunity has its risks and rewards.

This article is to help students, professionals and everyone in between know how to discover opportunities to build their personal brand. Below is a list of five key areas in which opportunity can be made a reality.

  1. Being open to opportunities (i.e. Being nice): First you must allow yourself the ability to be open to opportunities. This means being nice to those you come in contact with. With each community, no matter if you are in real estate, advertising, construction, politics or public relations, the community is tight-knit. The longer you stay in the industry, the more you realize that everybody knows everybody. Shutting off one person because of an annoying trait or because they are not attractive could be the cause for many lost opportunities. It is interesting to note that many opportunities come at the most unexpected times, such as in bars, at parties or on your way to Italy, for example. Once you meet someone and leave a great first impression with them they will remember it. Not to mention, if you are lucky, they will come to you when they need you.
  2. Trying the angles. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. A few small opportunities could even work out much better than one large opportunity. Trying the angles really means finding your specific sticking point. What specific impact do you want to make that sets you apart from all the rest? For example, say you want to start your own business. if you were starting a cleaning company, do you just want to clean homes or do you want to clean with all home-made natural products and leave fresh flowers behind? if you were starting a marketing communications firm, do you just want to develop  logos and brochures or do you want to connect business with the socially engaged customer through human interactions? You get the idea. There will always be someone better than you in a specific field, but if you help form a new angle in that field, opportunity will always knock.
  3. Knowing when to turn an opportunity down. This is always a tough one. In the second paragraph I mention the term due diligence. When reviewing an opportunity you need to consider all the factors. Are you excited about the opportunity because it will look good on a resume or are you excited because it is the right thing, right now? For example, I was offered the opportunity to sit on the board of a local professional group. The year prior I had tried and failed to get on the board, so it was very exciting to me to be asked straight away this time. Over that period of time some things had occurred in my family life and I had taken up other endeavors from a philanthropic standpoint. I turned the opportunity down and the decision has suited me well. It has allowed me to more closely look at other opportunities I have had that i may have not had time for otherwise. Also I can spend more time where i find it necessary. Turning an opportunity down is never easy. Be careful to thoughtfully decline without shutting the door completely.
  4. Making opportunities for others. Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Nothing could be more true than that. When you open an opportunity to someone, or find a way to make them happy, they will never forget it. Similarly, they will also never forget who was behind that happiness. Always think about who you can help, no matter the situation. Of course, you should not expect anything in return, but good favors are usually returned tenfold in other ways.
  5. Making opportunities for yourself. This is one of the important changes you may have to make to your mindset. Opportunities exist, but there is great competition. So, how do you make opportunities happen for yourself? First, you need to allow yourself to seek out the opportunity. This means not discounting yourself or the idea before you start and remaining confident. Second, you need to self-reflect and understand what it is you truly want to do. Third, you must go out and do it. Networking is a good start. If you get lost in the path to finding your opportunity go right to the source. I wanted to interview a celebrity costumer designer for my blog but I had never performed an interview before. I was confused on what to do and where to go. One night when i got home from work I said to myself, “The time is now.” Twenty minutes later I was talking to her publicist and I interviewed her the next week.

Some opportunities are clear and some are vague. Some opportunities will keep you up at night. Some opportunities will drive you crazy. Some opportunities will make you the happiest person alive. My advice to you? Never stop looking.

What opportunity are you looking for? Maybe I can help.


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rubiks_cubeSome may call the persistent one a dream chaser. That they may be. However, Is life not made out of dreams? As children we had dreams of grandeur. Do you remember yours? Things like wanting to play basketball alongside Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was attainable as a child.

So what happened since then? A little something that certain people call reality set in. The reality of bills and responsibilities – these things are inescapable. The persistent one does not let this hold him or her down. I would aim to bet that if I asked Michael Jordan today what his dreams were as a child he would say to play basketball alongside Dr. J or Wilt Chamberlain. His grades were not the best. He was told he was not tall enough. His other siblings out-shined him in everyday life. With many things going against him, it was his persistence, and a little encouraging from his parents, that allowed him to attain his dream.

For some, dreams like this are still attainable. Dreams make the world a better place. Dreams do not die because you get another year older and have more responsibility. They only get hidden and lost in the dark shadows and cobwebs of your mind. What was your dream growing up? Have you thought about it lately? Not every one of us can be Michael Jordan, an astronaut or the next President. However, we all have a potential that you may not completely understand.

Persistence is unpopular because it is really easy to feel defeated. Defeat has many friends and they are all happy to grab a beer with you. Rejection probes the feeling of defeat. Some people give into it faster than others. Most give up on the dream to quickly, In my world, giving up is not a choice. On one walk with my Dad growing up I remember that he told me that a good person never quits. He reiterated the saying popularized by W. E. Hickson “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Now I admit, I have tried to fall to a defeatist attitude at one point or another, but nothing can stop me from remembering that simple talk with Dad.

Being in competition and getting knocked down is a very real part of life. Very few people succeed the first time they try something, let alone the 800th time. When Thomas Edison created the first light bulb he did not complain about how long it took him. He simply said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 1,000 ways how not to make a light bulb.”

Our Scottish and Polish ancestors did not come to America by boat for me to say I cannot do something. That is the whole point of America. America was and is built on persistence. Those who have it can change the world. Those who do not, work for them.

Which will you choose?

17 Social Media Quotes From 17 Presidents

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kennedysSeventeen social media quotes from 17 Presidents? That is impossible. My dear friend, if you have not learned by now, nothing is impossible. The idea of being social transcends generations. It is all a matter of how you apply the meaning behind quote. Below include 17 different Presidents with sound advice for the social media professional. It is up to you to derive the meaning. After all, I cannot give away all the secrets!

  1. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. – John F. Kennedy
  2. Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. – George Washington
  3. Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln
  4. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  5. Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
  6. Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think. – Bill Clinton
  7. Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out. – Ronald Reagan
  8. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson
  9. My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent. – Ulysses S. Grant
  10. Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  11. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. – Theodore Roosevelt
  12. I would rather the man who presents something for my consideration subject me to a zephyr of truth and a gentle breeze of responsibility rather than blow me down with a curtain of hot wind. – Grover Cleveland
  13. Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe. – Martin Van Buren
  14. The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. – James Madison
  15. Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. – John Adams
  16. We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. – Jimmy Carter
  17. It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word. – Andrew Johnson

Social media is simply another way to communicate. Principles behind it in regards to public relations will nearly remain the same. These living and dead President’s are speaking about war, government, economy and the nation. They did not plan to have the meanings of any part of these speeches apply to social media directly. However, indirectly, they certainly apply. History can teach us many things. The funny thing that I notice is, we are not much different as people. We have advanced technologically in many ways but the principles of our forefathers are almost unchanged. What is the best advice you have ever received from someone unexpected that you applied to social media?

Dropping the F** Bomb at Work!

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03_zappos-employeeNo, not that f-bomb.  In this case, the ‘f’ stands for fun! You may ask if work and fun can be synonymous. The answer is ‘yes.’ Companies need to brand themselves from the inside out to create happy employees. Happy employees work harder, While certain companies are doing it right, others are suffering through the day-to-day struggles.

Fun does not mean not doing work. Fun means having an enjoyable environment. It involves hardworking people who want to be able to take a break to re-energize. It is a management team who understands that happy employees make the best employees. A fun work environment is not meant for the lazy or undetermined. It is meant for the go-getter, the innovator and the rule-breaker. This type of work environment expects and retains the best.

Branding your company as one that is fun and full of life is not easy. It takes a good amount of thought and a culture that encourages you to enjoy your work life. Here are a few examples of work environments that brand themselves from the inside out:

  1. Google: Google probably makes every one of these lists. It just goes to show if you do something right, you will be recognized. Here is a great explanation of what Google does to make work fun.
  2. Brogan & Partners: Every year Brogan takes their entire company on a mystery trip. No, not the mystery trip your grandparents took with their senior unit to Branson, Missouri. Real vacations to tropical paradises. The catch is they do not tell them until they get to the airport. Pretty cool, huh? Yea, they know how to have fun. They also encourage you to bring your dog to work.
  3. Zappo’s: This office environment is not state of the art like Google. It is not relaxing like Brogan. It is what is known in the corporate world as ‘cube-ville.’ This boxed in world is very different from the average though. They ask employees to have a lot of fun with their cubes. It is not unusual to have props hanging from the sides of the wall cubes and even the ceilings to make the space their own. See what I mean here.

Now you may be thinking that your work environment is nothing like that. Not to worry. There are things you can do. If your work is stuck in the past, you can step up and make change. Sometimes it only takes one person to get the fun started at work. If you were a small business owner, what would you do differently to foster creativity and fun at work?

1 Year on My Blogging Journey

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Today marks the one year anniversary since I published my first post. I especially want to thank you for being a follower of Advertorious and reading it regularly. It makes me feel so good to know that my thoughts and ideas are being well received with a larger community.

Here are some fun statistics from the first year of Advertorious:

Why do I blog? I do not do it for the money, that is for sure. In fact, this entire year I have not been paid for any of my work. I blog to open opportunities, to share ideas and most of all, to learn. In my post Educate or Deteriorate I spoke on the importance of continual learning. That is a philosophy of mine that is ingrained in my being and will stay with me for life.

What you can do for me? I never ask for much in return. All I care about is that you enjoy what you read and from time-to-time you share a post or two with your friends. if you have any suggestions for further posts leave a comment below.

What will you see in the next year? Some even larger interviews with key folks in business, advertising, marketing and public relations. No guest posts. A deeper focus on social media and personal branding. A continuation of the dedication to answer to every question or comment that is made by readers, You never know, I may just write a book.

What do you want to see in the next year of Advertorious?