Tag Archives: happiness

You Need to Be a Salesperson

2-½ minutes to read

Any lucrative career opportunity will require some type of selling. You may sell a product or service. But minimally you have to effectively market your abilities to get a good job. Yet, when I speak with veterans most will not consider learning to sell. The moment they hear the word they think of shady methods, abuse of customers, or just plain sleaze. It’s a shame. In today’s civilian world you cannot escape having to sell yourself. Lack of this valuable skill closes many doors.

You Need to Be a Salesperson

The Misperception about Sales and the Military

Recently I was talking with a friend about differences between military and civilian life. I told him civilians sell their qualifications to get the job they want. But service members don’t. On further reflection, I oversimplified the situation.

The military’s massive recruiting effort shows you don’t need to market yourself to get in. But beginning with basic training, your ability to sell how well you’ve adapted to military life impacts the rest of your career. One of my first counselees is a case in point.

Days after arriving in Okinawa, I was asked to speak with a young, female Marine. She had gotten drunk the night before and showed up for duty unable to work. Unfortunately, this was not her first infraction. She had a reputation as a troublemaker during boot camp and follow-on training. Once I learned all the facts I saw her situation was not her fault alone. But we could not overcome the poor way she had presented her character. She sold the Marine Corps on the idea she wouldn’t accept its ethos. In the end, she got kicked out.

The need to sell yourself in the military doesn’t stop with character. Through a well-defined career path, you can show your willingness to develop new skills and leadership ability. Then you have the opportunity to prove mastery on the job. Your success determines the quality of the jobs you’re offered next time you comes up for orders. There’s not a lot of room to market yourself directly to the detailer. (Note: The detailer determines a service member’s next billet.) That’s because he learned about your performance from the supervisors of your last job.

Like with any pyramid structure, those who make it to the top have superior sales ability. They bring the attention of decision makers to their skills and achievements. This is as it should be. Senior enlisted people and officers lead. This duty requires mastery of using influence to meet a desired outcome. At the pinnacle, general and flag officers interact with civilian leadership to determine and implement national defense strategy. If they are not adroit at selling their ideas, the defense of our nation would break down.

Intentionality as a Salesperson

For both civilians and service members, the best salespeople advance. The difference lies in how aware each is of this process. Since it’s part of the system, many in the military don’t realize their performance determines their future employment prospects. As a result, they don’t develop the skill of intentionally selling themselves. Worse, they get the idea that it’s not necessary. “I didn’t have to do this in the military. Why should I have to do it in civilian life? It’s not fair. It’s wrong!”

Organizations need astute marketers and self-marketers more than ever. You need to learn how to sell yourself. You’ll need to be assertive yet humble. Rather than staying stuck in the military model, work to gain the skills to make yourself standout. You took off the uniform that made you look like everyone else in the military. Now unmask the inner you so employers and customers can see your true value.

What keeps you from selling yourself well? Please comment below.

Do You Have the Courage to Get the Job You Want?

1-½ minutes to read

Do you like your job? Are you paid enough? Is what you do engaging? Do you look forward to interacting with your colleagues? If you answered yes to these questions you’re fortunate. According to Gallup, over the last three years only 30% to 35% of Americans are engaged in their work. Gallup defines engaged employees as being: “…involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

Do You Have the Courage to Get the Job You Want-

What Creates Job Satisfaction?

Many factors impact how much you’re likely to enjoy your work. Of the top ten identified by Forbes, most fall into three categories:

  1. Treatment: Do you receive adequate appreciation for your work? Are you secure in your job? Is your job interesting and are there opportunities for professional growth? Does your job allow for a good work-life balance?
  2. Financial Issues: Is your company financially stable? Are you properly compensated?
  3. Workplace Relationships: Do you have good relationships with your colleagues and superiors?

Of the three, note that your ability to impact the other two rests on the quality of your relationships. Is there any doubt that when mutual respect exists between you and your coworkers you’re more likely to be treated and paid properly?

Relationships Get You the Job You Want

Since relationships are the key to job satisfaction, it makes sense to have maximum interaction with people at a company before deciding to work there. That let’s out job boards as a search strategy. They’re easy to use. They feel safe and comfortable. But you’re not interfacing with humans until, maybe, you get an interview. Having run the online gauntlet, you’re setting yourself for getting a job you’ll hate.

Move out of your comfort zone. Take steps to meet and get to know people in the industry and at companies that interest you. Social media makes it easier than ever before to network nationwide. Take a lesson from Millennials and people in their late teens. They’ve been doing this their whole life.

As an added bonus, by building relationships during your working years, you’ll accumulate the asset that leads to a longer life and happiness when you retire.

Be courageous! Overcoming your fear of meeting new people will pay you dividends now and for the rest of your life.

What stops you from focusing your time on intentionally creating and nurturing useful relationships? Please comment below.

The Essential Quality for a Successful Marriage

It happened again last week, didn't it? Your spouse for the umpteenth time did that thing you just cannot stand. If he loved you enough he would change, right? If she really cared she would follow the example you set, no? But you already know that is not going to happen. What if there is a better way?

The Essential Quality for a Successful Marriage

I remember when Melanie and I were dating. In the beginning every email and phone call was an affirmation of her interest in me. Each date more strongly cemented our relationship. I think she felt the same. After all she married me.

And her quirks of character endeared me.

But let's be realistic. After many years of marriage formerly cute idiosyncrasies drive you crazy. Nostalgia for the early days of your relationship is ineffective for combating their irritation. You need a long-term, sustainable strategy. Here it is:

Develop selective absentmindedness

Next time your spouse commits annoyance immediately distract yourself. Hum a verse from a favorite ditty. True, you may get the song stuck in your head but isn't that better than an argument with your loved one? Change the conversation. Tell yourself a joke. There is nothing like a smile to spur forgetfulness.

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I am not suggesting you overlook self-destructive behaviors or ones that truly undermine the foundation of your marriage. But you should not allow tiffs over annoying habits to become skirmishes in a battle over more important matters. Nor should they become a means of avoiding significant challenges.

Before considering the habit you want your spouse to change, think about the arduous road ahead. Where will the love, attention, and discipline in your marriage best be put to use? Save it for the major issues.

For a successful marriage,  practice intentional, judicious denial. Forget about the little things, literally. At the end of your day, journal something positive about your spouse. You will reinforce her good qualities and strengthen your selective absentmindedness.

Question – How do you deal with your spouse’s annoying habits?

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How to Live Better with Less

Nostalgia for simpler times is undoubtedly a part of aging. Yet the burgeoning minimalist movement, which seems to be most active among people younger than me, indicates that on some level life today is uncomfortably complex. Talking about this with my running partner stirred a few thoughts. So picture this: It seems two rabbis were jogging down the street when . . .

How to Live Better with Less

Two weeks ago I said goodbye to beautiful Point Loma and rejoined civilian life. Notable changes include having to decide what to wear each morning, driving my daughter to and from school, and viewing brown grass out my bedroom window instead of the Pacific Ocean. But perhaps the biggest and most difficult to accept is living in our new house in Los Angeles. When I left active duty last year we found a gorgeous 1920’s Spanish bungalow with a separate finished garage that I used for my office and library. Suffice it to say I spent an hour sweeping up rat dropping in the garage of our new house.

Fact is we were fortunate to find it. Supply is short in our neighborhood. And our landlord is terrific (I’d say so even if he didn’t read my blog!) So when my running partner asked how my new house was I felt guilty for complaining about what was essentially a matter of aesthetics. Laughing, he reflected on the idea of

How quickly comforts become necessities

Slap forehead with heel of hand.

For eight months I lived in a hotel room, albeit ten feet from the ocean. Somehow I did without most of the comforts of home: just my navy uniforms, exercise clothes, one set of civvies, about 20 books, and rarely ate hot food. Yet life was enjoyable. I had no expectation of luxury because I was living away from my family on a military base.

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Back home on the weekends and now for good, my life seems drab, enhanced by neither an ocean view nor elegant architecture. Yet I am blessed to have a home that is much more comfortable than navy bachelor housing and pretty much any place I lived in as a kid. More importantly, I have my wonderful wife and precocious daughter and the blessing of comforts that are necessities.

Previously I wrote that managing expectations is a key component to happiness. Surrounded by the affluence and consumerist culture we enjoy in America it is easy to accustom yourself to accepting nothing less than the ideal. Yet the ideal is that unachievable Utopia that keeps you striving.

Happiness = Knowing which comforts are truly necessities

So I will better habituate to counting my blessings, fortunately with the help of the men with whom I have prayed for over 10 years. I will live with my priceless family and without an exquisite house. I will not become accustomed to comforts that are not necessities. And the next time my running partner asks me how I am doing the canvas of my life will be brightly painted.

Hmmmm, I wonder what I’d be writing about if instead of jogging, two rabbis went into a bar . . .

Question – How do you prevent yourself from becoming too expectant of comfort?

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Why Praying for Comfort Makes You Unhappy

The serious but joyous work of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are done.  Hopefully you emerged from it having repaired your relationship with G-d and with a commitment to live a life true to your ideal self.

Succos begins today.  Time to give up what seems like comfort to explore your relationships with G-d. The essence of this festival can be gleaned from the following story about the sage, Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz who lived during the 18th century.

Why Praying for Comfort Makes You Unhappy

During the early years of his life Rabbi Pinchas’s spiritual greatness was unknown, but after a time people came to see that his devotion to studying Torah, prayer, and meditation truly elevated him to extraordinary heights. Soon, he was inundated with people who wanted his advice, his blessings, and his prayers. These requests got to the point that Rabbi Pinchas feared he was no longer serving G-d as he ought.

After much soul searching he decided he would pray that the constant interruptions would stop. As a tzaddik prays, so G-d does, making Rabbi Pinchas despicable to others. When he walked down the street people would avoid him. But he was happy. His time was his own again.

The time for Succos approached. Unlike in previous years, no one offered to help Rabbi Pinchas build his sukkah. Not having any ability in such matters, he began to worry that he would not have one for the Chag. He tried everything but if he found someone to build a sukkah the person had no tools. Finally his wife intervened and they were able to complete a flimsy sukkah just moments before candle lighting and the start of the holiday.

Unlike most times, on festivals Rabbi Pinchas went to shul to pray so he could find a guest and fulfill the mitzvah of hospitality. But having becoming so disliked, no one wanted to share his sukkah. Discouraged, Rabbi Pinchas went home alone.

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In his sukkah that night he started to pray the Ushpizin, welcoming the seven heavenly guests who spiritually visit every sukkah. G-d decided that Rabbi Pinchas should be privileged to have our forefather Abraham as his guest. When Rabbi Pinchas looked up from his prayer, there stood the great man outside the sukkah. Rabbi Pinchas beckoned him to enter, but Abraham replied, “My greatest trait was chesed expressed through hospitality. I will not enter a sukkah until another guest is there.” At that moment Rabbi Pinchas realized his error, and he prayed that everything would return to the way it was before.

May you use your time dwelling in your sukkah to reflect on how you will use the year just granted you.

Question – What have you prayed for in the past that you will change for the future? 

Please comment on this question or ask another question below.

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