From My Heart in 2017

Anyone who knows me is aware of the specific and numerous challenges I’ve survived to be where I am today.

But really, who hasn’t?  Everyone reading this email has endured challenges, torment, heartbreak and disillusionment. When I was younger, I thought the universe had singled me out for special punishment. It’s a silly and self-centered illusion.

Truth is, every human lives through heart-wrenching experiences. Deciding whether to live or die is what matters. And when you choose life, you realize you’re “allowed” to pursue your heart’s desire — if you’re willing and able to do the work.

I’ve thrown away the need to judge or compare myself with others. Instead, in this chapter of my life, I’ve decided to do what my inner nature compels me to do, as wild as I want. And in 2017, I feel as if I’ve removed a few more restraints. In 2018, I’m going to let the horses out.

Today is the last day of 2017. If you’re consciously “aware” and if personal development is your lifelong quest — and if you see your business or career experience as a part of that quest, realizing that the two are inextricably intertwined (i.e., you can’t leave your soul at the door when you walk to your desk), then 2018 is going to be an amazing year.

Why do I say this?

  • Major cultural shifts are changing the way we do business. It’s forcing us to re-evaluate what’s keeping us stuck and re-invent our business models and personal brands.
  • We have more freedom than ever to try new things when we communicate with the world. Can’t write? Make a video. Can’t video? Take pictures. Not a photographer? Do a podcast. Can’t podcast? Spend more time engaging in social media. Then there’s the “thing” that hasn’t been invented yet.
  • Entrepreneurs are realizing that in order to survive, one ought to have multiple streams of income. This enables one to dig deeper into the trunk of their inherent skills and abilities and find ways to monetize them.

Whoo hoo, right? Will there still be let-downs, fears and failures? Sure. It’s part of the package.

Here’s a good plan for 2018: Hold tight to your vision. Put one foot in front of the other, knowing persistence is the key. Hang around people who are smarter than you. Embrace/explore new technologies to remain relevant. Understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint. Make healthy living a priority. Read a lot. Don’t compare your progress to others, and don’t care what other people say about you. Be your true self, quirks and all.

I’m so happy that you are in my life. Thank you for your goodness and support. It’s a privilege to witness your success. Here’s to another year!

You Must Have an Online Platform

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My brother forwarded to me on Facebook recently the YouTube video of singer Michael Young belting out “Unchained Melody” in a voice so boomingly rich and powerful it made me gasp.

Aside from my amazement at his surpassing talent, I noticed that, incredibly, people in the subway station walked right past him, tapping away at their cell phones, as if he didn’t exist. Granted, this performance took place in New York City, which has been called, “the world’s most competitive city.” As the song “New York, New York” says, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” This phrase has been taken as prophecy by the thousands of talented hopefuls who move to Manhattan every year seeking stardom or fortune. Many of them leave heartbroken and empty handed. Not all—but most.

Such talent deserves recognition. But in the talent-flooded marketplace that is The Big Apple, a predictable phenomenon occurs—-commoditization. According to Investopedia, commoditization is, “a process in which goods or services become relatively indistinguishable from competing offerings over time.”

In the business world, when what you’ve got has been commoditized, your ability to capture your audience’s attention has become severely compromised. In such an environment, your only advantage against your competitors is one of pricing. It happened in banking, car insurance, real estate sales and many other service-oriented professions. There are just too many of us. Only a few are willing to do the hard work and take the bold steps that will propel you over the ordinary.

This isn’t to dissuade anyone from pursuing their creative or entrepreneurial dreams. Quite the reverse. If there’s a “must do” in you, then you must do it. Just understand this—you’ve got to be better than everyone else at building a platform of devoted followers of you, not your products or services.

Your expertise, your reputation for delivering valuable content, and the frequency of which eyeballs and ears are exposed to your presence and messaging determines your success in today’s marketing environment.

You must embrace the Internet as an important medium in your marketing mix for building your platform. Why? Because it’s where people’s attention is. At the same time, you mustn’t abandon traditional awareness building channels. Find out how your audience consumes content, and then go there to provide value.

As for Michael Young, the man with a singing voice as powerful as a speeding freight train, demonstrating his unique talent on a subway station platform (traditional, non-Internet attention getting device), and capturing video of the performance for YouTube (digital channel), was sheer genius. This particular YouTube video has been viewed 1.7 million times, not counting “shares” on Facebook.

In one week’s time, his video’s notoriety won the attention of the media, earning Michael the opportunity to sing “Unchained Melody” on the “Late Show with James Corden.” The video was viewed an additional 7.9 million times. All told, it’s estimated that the video was seen by more than 40 million viewers.

It’s all in the strategy, moxie, determination, talent, creativity and willingness to follow and serve your market’s attention, wherever it wants to go.

Episode 18: Jan Fox

lobster

Welcome to Episode #18 of the Media Pro Spotlight podcast. In this episode, Emmy award-winning news anchor, speaker and media coach Jan Fox explains how to get booked for television interviews, and how to improve your skills as an interview guest and public speaker.

Listen to the Audio

Some of the key takeaways from Jan are:

  • How to be “3D” for TV
  • How to “let go” and be your authentic self on stage or on TV
  • Why shutting your mouth is often a good thing
  • How to get the attention of talk show producers
  • How she used lobsters to land a TV reporting gig

Read the Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here:

Episode 18 Jan Fox Transcript

Links & Resources

Email: jan@foxtalks.com

Get Yourself on TV & What to Do When You Get There

About Dana Dobson

Dana Dobson is CEO of Dana Dobson Public Relations, a boutique PR firm that helps businesses with creative publicity campaigns and business building content strategies. She is an award-winning B-2-B business writer, specializing in producing compelling, persuasive content for businesses in the services sector. She is the creator of the PR Breakthrough Publicity workshop series, an online training program that teaches you how to launch your own successful publicity campaigns, and she is also the host of the Media Pro Spotlight podcast, featuring interviews with top media talent. Dana speaks frequently on building market presence for executive and subject matter experts, demystifying media relations and how to write effectively.

Who Would You Like Us to Interview?

Is there a member of the media you’d like to know more about? Perhaps someone you’ve been trying to contact but have been unsuccessful, or someone whose work you admire? Are there any particular questions you’d like us to ask media professionals during the interview? I’d love to hear from you.

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See you next time!

Create Your Own Charisma

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We used to think that charisma was an innate quality possessed by an anointed few. Some people had “it,” that je ne sais quois that generates attention the minute they enter a room. They seem to have a presence that’s so palpable that everyone senses it.

Scientists now believe, however, that charisma is a trait that can be cultivated, and they have empirical evidence to prove it. You can learn it! According to Ronald Riggio, PhD, professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College, there are three traits that, when combined, create the phenomenon of charisma: expressiveness, control and sensitivity.

My sister, Lori, has big-time charisma. I’ve watched her for years trying figure out what it is about her that makes people fall in love with her so easily and completely after only a few minutes with her. Bill Clinton is famous for having “it,” too.  Lori genuinely loves people, which gives her a leg up in the whole charisma thing. But even if you’re not naturally comfortable with strangers or in social settings, you can still adopt behaviors that compel others, subconsciously or not, to notice you, like you and trust you.

Charisma is something that you can “switch on” at will. Marilyn Monroe was famous for this ability, to switch from the unlit “Norma Jean” to the radiant character she called “Marilyn.” David Bowie, too, knew how to flick the switch from off duty “Davy” to flashy “Ziggy Stardust” when it was professionally necessary. With the switch on “off,” both celebrities could ride unrecognized on a crowded subway or walk the busy city streets.

Most of us don’t need to be so off-the-charts with our charm. The point is, we can all have charisma at will. It’s said that Princess Diana, a.k.a. “Shy Di,” had to dig deep to project her charismatic self, but if she could do it, we can do it.

Here’s the trick, using my sister as an example: When you meet Lori for the first time and look into her eyes, you suddenly feel that, to her, you’re the most important person in the room. She looks into your eyes, smiles warmly, embraces your hand with both of hers, and seems to genuinely want to know everything about you. She is actively interested in, and focused on, you. You sense that she cares about you and is clinging to your every word. She is fully present to you in the moment, asking open-ended questions and nodding appreciatively. She leaves you with the feeling that you’re fascinating and worthy of knowing. You feel you’ve known her all your life. It’s not artifice—it’s authentic. She cares.

There’s also a “calm energy” component to charisma, born of confidence. Scientists have noted that charismatic people speak with a minimum of “ums” and “ahs,” and that their speech and physical gestures become more animated when they’re speaking. Fun fact: This physicality is called “signaling behavior,” gestures that humans made long before the use of language. It’s in our DNA to respond positively to charismatic people.

Try it! Next time you’re in a crowded space, say, at a networking event, stand up tall, shoulders back, smile, and step up to someone you don’t know. Look them squarely in the eye, smile, extend your hand, shake theirs warmly, hold the eye contact, and watch them melt.

How Are You Perceived by Others?

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How do you think that you, as a person apart from your business, are perceived by others? There are ways to find out, if you really want to know.

In my personal branding workshops, we conduct an exercise that asks participants to write down three separate impressions they get of you after you give a 60-second introduction of yourself. Your peers are permitted to write positive characteristics only, because we don’t have time in the workshop to deal with the re-building of self esteem. (When I work with clients privately as a leadership branding consultant, we do explore the negatives and I’ll explain how to turn those frowns upside down later.)

To build a strong personal brand, you must have the courage to conduct an honest self-assessment, and also to receive frank appraisals from the people you love, trust and respect. If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty and lower your shields enough so that honest feedback can get through, then try this:

Send letters, or emails, to five or six people with whom you have supportive relationships. Explain to them that you are engaged in a self-improvement exercise (assigned by an image consultant) that requires you to get frank opinions of yourself from people you know and trust. Ask them to give you a list of positive characteristics of yourself, as well as any characteristics that might be holding you back from achieving your full potential in the business world. Ask them to describe the image you project to the outside world. Promise them that there will be no hard feelings, rather deep appreciation for their courage and willingness to help you with the creation of your new personal brand.

Warning: the feedback may be emotionally challenging. Given full reign, some people may “go to town” on the list of criticisms. Breathe, and take in the feedback with grace. It’s market research.

I asked some close friends and women I considered mentors to give me a frank appraisal of what they perceived as my strengths and weaknesses so that I could further develop my skills as a speaker and workshop leader. When I got my results back, it knocked the wind out of me. I threw up, ate a whole sleeve of Oreo cookies, and assumed the fetal position on my couch for a couple of days. Thank goodness for “I Love Lucy” and “Star Trek” reruns.

It’s not always easy to ask for, or receive, honest feedback, but I think you’ll find that as the result of it you’re able to grow into a new awareness of your unique gifts. Personal growth sometimes requires the shattering of long-held beliefs about how you are perceived by others. Some of the negatives about myself I already knew, but I thought I’d cleverly concealed them all these years. Other things were a complete shock, but they were things I could fix with practice. There were also things I could do nothing about, stuff that would require workarounds. C’est la vie.

If you’re a leader or a subject matter expert who wants to be in the spotlight, or who is inadvertently in the spotlight and is therefore obliged to present a positive image, then you need to know what others think of you. Let the friendly people in your life have a whack at you before the trolls do.

Who Gets All the Attention?

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If you’re in business, you’re always trying to figure out how to get people to pay attention to you. The thing is, people don’t want to pay attention to you. They want you to pay attention to them. In the world of making a living, we’re all intensely focused on ourselves and the need to make the next mortgage payment. That’s just the way it is.

In the large scheme of things, when we’re trying to make a living or pursuing our passion, no one cares about you. Don’t be sad—it’s not personal. The people whose attention you need are just not thinking about you as much as you’d like (or need) them to, for hundreds of reasons. But if you want to succeed in business, you’ve got to get them thinking about you, at least once in a while, by giving them a reason to pay attention. It’s a human nature thing.

When people are paying attention to you, it means they have put aside their own internal agendas for a moment and opened their minds and hearts just wide enough to hear what you’ve got to say. It takes some doing.

So, what does it take to get people to pay attention to you? By attention, I mean the good kind, of course, the kind that inspires trust, admiration, a loyal following and, best of all, the confidence to do business with you. Pay attention to the people you admire, and notice some of the characteristics that make them stand out:

They have strong opinions, ideas or convictions

The people who express their beliefs with unwavering consistency are the ones who make us sit up and listen. Develop your own list of strong beliefs. Think about the good of mankind, or about why your industry matters. What do you wish for the human race? What injustice is going on out there to which most of us are blind? What is the solution? How could this be a better world? How could people be happier/better prepared/more successful? One of the reasons that the TED talks are so popular is because the speakers are sharing important ideas with conviction, passion and unique points of view.

Energetic delivery

To get a crowd’s attention, or to be interesting on radio and television, you must crackle with energy. Turn yourself up about 10 notches—to 11, if your amp goes that high. This is a conscious effort, and it takes practice. If you’re an introvert, it puts you way out of your comfort zone, because in the beginning, it feels unnatural. But you can, over time, learn to turn it on when you need to. It takes courage and the willingness to stretch yourself, but you can do it. There are many notable personalities in the world who have trained themselves to be “on” for the sake of their brands, but who then turn it off again when they’re home and safely in their jammies.

Frequent, regular, consistent content over a period of years

Your face (brand) and your content should be out there all the time. Blog weekly. Post helpful content several times daily. Share the good stuff. Secure media coverage. Get mentions, shares and followers. Attend events. Host events. Give speeches. Do these things relentlessly even though you think no one’s paying attention. Eventually, they will. It’s because you stuck with it, and because of that, you’ve earned people’s trust. They’ve been trained to know that you’re the expert. You have to earn this. It’s work. Too many business people give up because they’re not seeing the results fast enough. What you don’t realize is that there is a silent, growing group of admirers out there who are paying attention to you. Give them time to emerge from the shadows.

Most people look at me strangely when I say this, but have you ever tried to tame a bird or squirrel? This is my big metaphor for the process of gaining trust. Birds and squirrels (i.e. your target audience) flee at the sight or smell of a human. They don’t trust us for nothin’. You cast some food on the ground and sit quietly nearby. You do it every day. In time, a squirrel creeps up, snatches a crumb and skitters off up the nearest tree. (The rest of the squirrels may have double-dog-dared-him to do this.) In time, perhaps a looonnngg time, the squirrel is taking food from your hand.

Can you get immediate attention? Sure! Do something totally outrageous on video and hope it goes viral. But the buzz lasts about 10 seconds before fizzling out and becoming yesterday’s news. Fifteen minutes of fame isn’t enough to put food on the table.

Be Unique and Don’t Compare

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The phrase, “Keep your spoon in your own bowl” is Appalachian in origin, and it means that one should mind one’s own business, and/or not to be worried about what other people are doing and focus on your own being.

A little background: I’m one of those people who seeks transformation and enlightenment through conscious living and the daily practice of activities that will raise my vibration and increase my sense of inner peace and belonging. I like the way Elizabeth Gilbert says it: “Mine is just a simple old human story—of one person trying, with great rigor and discipline, to comprehend her personal relationship with divinity.”

I still have lots of work to do, considering where I started, but the “aha!” moments happen more frequently these days. One of my biggest “aha!” moments, and one of the most memorable, happened about three years ago, when the true, visceral understanding of the concept of keeping my spoon in my own bowl washed over me like a warm, gentle wave.

Many of usB look at the accomplishments of others with well-suppressed envy and resentment. It manifested physically as a tightening of my solar plexus and awakened primitive fear-based thoughts that told me, (a) that I was not “good enough,” or (b) that because of their success, there was now less for me. Ugh. Ego and a scarcity consciousness make for a stinky cologne, an effective barrier to reaching one’s own full potential. When I became aware of this self-defeating pattern of perception, one that was programmed into my subconscious and needed to be rooted out, I sought out people and resources who could help me empty that particular trash basket.

My parents have a time share condominium on Sanibel Island in Florida. Sanibel is famous for the many varieties of shells that wash up on its shores. It is a haven for shell seekers. When I am able to get away for that one week every year when my family visits Sanibel, I will spend hours walking the Gulf shores and scooping up conch, junonia and lightning whelk shells. I’m in bliss when I do this, the warm, blue waters lapping around my ankles and the caw of sea gulls overhead. And then it occurred to me—even though there are hundreds, or maybe thousands, of tourists who walk these beaches every day, marveling at and collecting shells as I am doing, carting them off in their suitcases, there will always be more shells tomorrow. The shells will keep washing ashore, in endless quantities, for everyone to enjoy, forever.

These were my epiphanies in that blinding moment of clarity:

We live in an abundant universe

There is always enough to go around. The notion of “scarcity” is false and limiting. No one else’s success is a limitation of what is possible for ourselves and the pursuit of our dreams. The world offers limitless possibility. The universe wants to give us what we want and ask for. For this awareness to become deeply ingrained in our waking consciousness, we must reprogram our subconscious to believe this is true. It takes daily practice. It’s why we make vision boards and meditate. When I need to remind myself that there’s plenty to go around, I remember my beautiful beach in Sanibel.

In actuality, there are no “competitors”

Although there are hundreds of others who seek to accomplish the same things as you, there is no one on earth who can do it the same way as you do. There is only one you. People will select to do business with you because you are you. And there is no limit to the number of people who are looking for you, just you. Keep looking, and be true to your uniqueness. There is enough to go around.

The distraction is unproductive

While you’re busy trying to put your spoon in other people’s bowls, you’ve stopped putting your spoon in your own bowl. You’re robbing yourself of precious time and concentration, which is a shame, because what you’re doing is awesome. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the stuff in your bowl has become cold and soggy. Eww.

Your negative perceptions are false

The world you see is “made up,”  based upon your unique life experiences and the programming that was loaded into your subconscious mind when you were a small child who didn’t know what the heck was going on anyway. What you’re seeing in the accomplishments of others is entirely fictional. You don’t know where they’ve been, or what they’ve had to endure to be where they are, or even what the truths are behind their so-called “accomplishments.” For all you know, in actuality, they could be living in a van down by the river, but because of their positive press, you envision them as being rich and happy and living in the lap of luxury. Stop it! Envision yourself as being rich and happy and living in the lap of luxury, if that’s what you desire. Keep your spoon in your own bowl. It hurts you to do otherwise.

Their success is a demonstration of what is possible for you

So, your friend, Sally, has written a best-selling business book and she’s traveling the world, commanding huge speaking fees, staying in exotic hotels, and is smiling broadly in all her Facebook photos. Celebrate her success—celebrate with her, and support her in your heart—because she has given you an amazing gift, which is to demonstrate to you that everything you wish for is possible… that there are, indeed, rewards for all of your hard work.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do to keep your spoon in your own bowl. Let’s keep each other strong by sharing what we’ve learned and what keeps us moving in the direction of our dreams.

“LinkedIn Profile? No thanks,” said the silly Luddite.

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My friend and client, Holly Wolf, is chief marketing officer at Conestoga Bank and she is one of the brightest, most insightful marketing executives I know. Holly is a superior strategist, someone who understands the big picture and who is fearless in her application of early adoption industry technology to achieve her bank’s objectives. Moreover (and this is what impresses me the most about her), Holly successfully convinces key decision makers to implement her innovative solutions. In the world of bank marketing, this is a tough thing to do. Why? Because bankers (and other left-brained financial services types) are almost pathologically risk-averse.

When Holly and I first met, I was vice president of marketing for a recently bought-out community bank, and we connected immediately because we fought in the same trenches. When I created Dana Dobson Public Relations & Copywriting, Holly hired me as Conestoga Bank’s official LinkedIn profile writer for senior leadership, business development officers and customer-facing personnel. When someone new comes on board, Holly gives me a call and the result is a powerful, optimized LinkedIn profile. Occasionally, there are bankers in her midst who stubbornly cling to their anti-Internet inclinations. It inspired her to write the following email:

SUBJECT:  LinkedIn Profile

Hi,

I want to be sure we’re all on the same page with the LinkedIn profiles. Having your LinkedIn profile updated is an optional upgrade we offer. You don’t HAVE to do it, but we recommend it. Here’s why:

1. Why update my profile? I’m not looking for a job. That’s so 2013. (LOL.) Today, LinkedIn is a tool millions of people use to look for qualified prospects for business deals. It’s important that your profile reflect the job you do now and HOW it HELPS other people so they can find you.

2. I’ll just do it myself. You could. But our writer uses the style that helps improve your chances of getting noticed for what you do and helps people find you. If you are comfortable sharing your login, she’ll even update it right on your profile.

3. I don’t want to be inundated by recruiters. That probably won’t happen, because you’re not out there for that reason. Your profile won’t say, “looking for an opportunity,” or “searching for the next job.”

4. But I never (worked in another bank, got an award, sat on a board of directors, went to college, received the Nobel Prize or had a book published). You are correct. But I can tell you that you were hired because of what you offer the bank—your skills, your contacts, your knowledge. So, let’s focus on that rather than what you don’t have. And, if you need help with that, call me. I know what you bring to our organization. We take pride in hiring good people. That’s why we hired YOU. Take a look at (commercial loan officer name’s) LinkedIn profile. I think it’s a GREAT example of sharing your skills in a way that means something to the customer. Look at other team members’ profiles. Don’t just think “title/job description.” How do you make things better for other people?

Share those things that you want to share, or that you feel will make you stand out. Being the president of the South Philly Business Association is great. Being a volunteer at your church shows you’re committed to the community. Having lived in the area for many years means you know the lay of the land. If you’re not comfortable sharing something, simply don’t.

You are your own worst critic. Our writer’s job is to show you all you have to offer. She’s on our team. Her job is to make you look good. She’s not an investigative journalist trying to dig up dirt. She’s making us look our best.

5. Yes. You DO need to use a photo.

You’re going to be hearing the term SOCIAL SELLING quite a bit in our 2016 business plan.   It’s increasing the awareness of our sales team through social channels.  This is an important first step.  AND, you have a way to monitor how well you are connecting with people on LinkedIn. It’s an exciting time to be in your role.  We’ve got tools to help you.

Now…are you ready to take the first step?

*************

Thank you, Holly Wolf, for allowing me to share your email.

Want to be a Star?

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After years of speaking with people who ought to be famous but aren’t, or at least, who have the potential to be recognized and admired, I’ve discovered a common thread—they don’t realize that achieving fame is possible.

Of course, everyone wants their products to sell like pet rocks (aren’t you glad I didn’t say “pancakes?”), or to be courted for the big speaking gigs, or to have hundreds—no, thousands!—of clients, but it never occurs to a lot of the business owners I speak with that being famous is an option. It’s an epiphany, followed by a blush.

The paradox for the shrinking violets out there is that the drama-laden human story behind the business/product/book/expertise, their story, is what’s necessary to attract customers, followers and media attention.

Next, they ask, “What is it about me that could possibly be of interest to anyone?” The answer is: A lot, my friend. A whole lot. Here is where I wax poetic, and I tell everyone this:

You are a star—a bright, fixed point in the night sky, barely perceptible to the naked eye, but hot and shining nevertheless. You exist with a vengeance. You are one of a kind. You’re brilliant. But don’t get a big head. I’m not singling you out for special treatment. Everybody is a star. In business, though, you’ve got to shout like crazy to get noticed—not an easy task in an ever expanding universe.

As a star, you’ve existed for eons. “Eons” is a relative term, of course, because at times, hours can seem like eons. When you’ve given birth to a business, product or idea, it seems like an eternity since you’ve launched your rocket of potential into the heavens, yet it may be that only a week or two has passed. Or, it could have been years since your launch, and you fear your precious vessel is somewhere adrift, light years away, without fuel or guidance.

On launch day, your eyes followed your rocket’s trajectory, up and up and up, and as you followed the path of its fiery tail you noticed many other bright objects speckled against the limitless, black dome. You know the names of many:  Sirius, Canopus, Arcturus, Alpha Centauri A. Their lights never waver, and in your brief moments of self doubt, you feel small and insignificant against their greatness. But you’ve got all the raw materials that they’ve got.

Here, at last, is the point: The discovery of stars beyond our solar system is dependent upon high-powered telescopes. Once the Hubble finds you, you’ve made it to the big screen. The discovery of stars living here on earth is dependent upon the media. Once the media find you, you’ve made it to the eyes, ears and awareness of your target audience.

What makes you a star that’s noticed in the business context are the stories you tell, your commitment to telling them, and persistence over a length of time. I encourage you to learn the art of story telling. Find out what stories journalists consider to be “newsworthy.” Read the stories of people you admire, people who have managed to launch themselves into public prominence and keep themselves in the bright, shining orbit or your consciousness. and the marketplace. Ask family, friends and colleagues to tell you what makes you special. Then, tell your story: blogs, social media posts, press kit bio, speaking engagements, feature stories, radio interviews, articles… everywhere.

Want to be a Star?

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After years of speaking with people who ought to be famous but aren’t, or at least, who have the potential to be recognized and admired, I’ve discovered a common thread—they don’t realize that achieving fame is possible.

Of course, everyone wants their products to sell like pet rocks (aren’t you glad I didn’t say “pancakes?”), or to be courted for the big speaking gigs, or to have hundreds—no, thousands!—of clients, but it never occurs to a lot of the business owners I speak with that being famous is an option. It’s an epiphany, followed by a blush.

The paradox for the shrinking violets out there is that the drama-laden human story behind the business/product/book/expertise, their story, is what’s necessary to attract customers, followers and media attention.

Next, they ask, “What is it about me that could possibly be of interest to anyone?” The answer is: A lot, my friend. A whole lot. Here is where I wax poetic, and I tell everyone this:

You are a star—a bright, fixed point in the night sky, barely perceptible to the naked eye, but hot and shining nevertheless. You exist with a vengeance. You are one of a kind. You’re brilliant. But don’t get a big head. I’m not singling you out for special treatment. Everybody is a star. In business, though, you’ve got to shout like crazy to get noticed—not an easy task in an ever expanding universe.

As a star, you’ve existed for eons. “Eons” is a relative term, of course, because at times, hours can seem like eons. When you’ve given birth to a business, product or idea, it seems like an eternity since you’ve launched your rocket of potential into the heavens, yet it may be that only a week or two has passed. Or, it could have been years since your launch, and you fear your precious vessel is somewhere adrift, light years away, without fuel or guidance.

On launch day, your eyes followed your rocket’s trajectory, up and up and up, and as you followed the path of its fiery tail you noticed many other bright objects speckled against the limitless, black dome. You know the names of many:  Sirius, Canopus, Arcturus, Alpha Centauri A. Their lights never waver, and in your brief moments of self doubt, you feel small and insignificant against their greatness. But you’ve got all the raw materials that they’ve got.

Here, at last, is the point: The discovery of stars beyond our solar system is dependent upon high-powered telescopes. Once the Hubble finds you, you’ve made it to the big screen. The discovery of stars living here on earth is dependent upon the media. Once the media find you, you’ve made it to the eyes, ears and awareness of your target audience.

What makes you a star that’s noticed in the business context are the stories you tell, your commitment to telling them, and persistence over a length of time. I encourage you to learn the art of story telling. Find out what stories journalists consider to be “newsworthy.” Read the stories of people you admire, people who have managed to launch themselves into public prominence and keep themselves in the bright, shining orbit or your consciousness. and the marketplace. Ask family, friends and colleagues to tell you what makes you special. Then, tell your story: blogs, social media posts, press kit bio, speaking engagements, feature stories, radio interviews, articles… everywhere.

If you have trouble with figuring out what makes you special, let’s have a free, 30-minute telephone conversation. After a few minutes of hearing your voice and learning more about your business, I promise to give you some direction on how to get yourself noticed by the audiences whose attention you need to succeed.  Click here to schedule an appointment.

To your ultimate stardom!