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Category Archive for 'Career'

During another downturn several years back, I learned a new definition of success.

It was a time not unlike these times. Many companies have folded. Many people have been laid off.

In the eyes of the world, these companies would forever be tossed in the “failure” category. After all, didn’t they run their companies to the ground?

I was, at that time, the owner of a public relations agency struggling to keep my clients and my employees. While I was discouraged, I wasn’t defeated. But for sure, I didn’t feel like “success” either, until I met professor Erickson from the City College of San Francisco, where I had signed up for a complimentary small business management class.

Professor, how do you define success?” A dark-haired middle-aged woman at the front of the classroom raised her hand.

The grey-haired balding professor in a navy suit looked up from his lecture notes and turned in the direction of my classmate.

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I was in a fancy Chinese restaurant in the Lion City, sitting across from Christina C., a dynamo of a woman and the new Singapore leader of our international public relations agency. We were deep in conversation as the waiter filled our cups with Puér tea and served us plates of steamed sea bass.

I would soon wrap up a two-week business trip. My life in San Francisco seemed so far away. Well, literally 8,500 miles away. Yet my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, whirling about everything I needed to do before I left, and everything that awaited me when I got back.

“How am I going to find the time to do everything?” I said as I wolfed down the sea bass and emptied the tea cup. “Within the next week, I’ll be making five presentations. Two here, and three back in San Francisco.”

Christina looked at me through her stern, maternal eyes.

“Slow down, Sharon. Don’t you know that time is elastic?”

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I will never forget him. He was a senior executive at Dell Computers. A former Longhorn, he had come to speak to our group of wide-eyed college seniors at the University of Texas at Austin, about our future careers, of course.

A tentative voice at the back of the room posed a question. “I…, I know internships are very important, and I’m an intern now. But I don’t think I’m learning anything because they just have me doing little things, like faxing, copying, filing and other menial tasks.”

I will never forget what this professional said in response as his gaze fixed on the intern. “If you remember nothing else from my speech tonight, remember this, “Nothing is beneath you.”

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Tweet Are you an entrepreneur?  A leader?  A manager?  Or aspire to be one?  Then you must have often wondered how you can best manage and motivate those who work for you, and with you, to great results. One of the most influential authors I have read on the subject of leadership is John Maxwell.  […]

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I await each day with bated breath,

The quench of thirst due to water fresh,

The tingling of nose due to breakfast smells,

The “vroom, vroom” sounds as my car takes off.

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One of the most uplifting, paradigm-shifting quotations I have read is an eloquent reflection on success, failure, but mostly about courage, by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.

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I had a boss once. His name was Fred Hoar. He taught me in small spades, and made me laugh in big spades. These were some of his famous lines on PR:

* “In advertising, you pay for play. In public relations, you pray for play!”
* “Public relations has seven times the reach of advertising. Advertising costs seven times more than public relations.”

Even after I left my old company and started my own public relations firm, he stayed in my life as my mentor and my firm’s advisory board member.

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