Attitude of Gratitude

During this season people tend to contemplate, with thanks, the good fortune they receive in their lives. Friends and family gather round tables laden with bounteous food and take a moment to share with one another those elements in their lives for which they are grateful.

Studies indicate healthy benefits that arise from a constant attitude of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude enhances the probability you will achieve your goals. The second step of the GoalsWork model recognizes that others will help you achieve your goals. Common decency dictates that you thank the people that help you accomplish you goals.This blog outlines a few simple ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude and the benefits you will accrue by doing so.

Send a Handwritten Thank You Card Each Day

Larry H. Miller, billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, took time every day to hand write and send a thank you card to at least one person. He attributed this action as one of the keys to his success.

First, he said, knowing that he would write a card each day heightened his attention to what people did. He looked for good work from employees, colleagues, vendors, suppliers, and others. This focus on recognizing the positive contributions people made lifted his spirits, eased him through the trials, and brought perspective to his sense of ego and self-importance. Recognizing the contributions of others helped him realize how much he depended on others good works.

Second, the handwritten nature of the cards touched people. They sensed the sincerity of his gratitude. They worked harder to do add value to the relationship professional or otherwise because they knew it meant something to Mr. Miller. They also told others about the thank you cards they received. Larry Miller’s reputation for gratitude increased his stature in the community.

We encourage you to also start looking for someone each day that you can send a simple, handwritten thank you card. Buy one box of thank you cards and send one a day until they are gone. Analyze how this actions made you feel and changed your attitude.

List 10 Things Each Day

Another daily activity that can change your view of trials and problems: end the day by writing down 10 things for which you can express gratitude. Similar to the benefit Larry H. Miller found, knowing that you have list 10 things each day, enhances your attention to good things that happen in your life.

I belong to a community service organization. The president of the local chapter asked participants to participate in this activity for one month. Several of the people who participated commented on the happiness this exercise brought them. One lady who had experienced multiple losses, despair, and negativity discovered an attitude of gratitude changed her perspective on life.

Germany Kent declared “It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” (

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5 Keys to Get a Great Job

Today, we’ll examine the 5 keys to get a great job in 2 months The 5 Keys include:

  1. Define your dream job with an employer description.
  2. Adopt the how can I help attitude.
  3. Ask questions to discover organizational wants and needs.
  4. Prove that you are the solution they are looking for
  5. Make your tens: 10 contacts a day and 10 meetings a week

 We’re going to briefly describe each of them and go into much more detail in the later posts.

Define your purpose and passion in a written Employer Description.

 The majority of people, especially high performers, are unhappy with their jobs. Many times, dissatisfaction occurs because people have not taken the time to identify what they really want to do, or they don’t describe it in enough detail to make it real. Identifying and pursuing your purpose, passion, and calling provides criteria to evaluate your options. This is done in three parts. First, discover your calling. Second, explore your favorite skills. Third, writing your ideal employer description.

First,let’s talk about identifying your passion and purpose. The six essential elements of a job. You need to decide are you going for a job, a career, or your calling? To do so. Every job has six essential parts: 

  1. The skills and responsibilities you love to do. 
  2. The industries that interest you. Industries change the nature of the job changes. For example, a manager in a manufacturing company, a bank, a fast food service. You have the same job title, the same kind of responsibilities of boy is the job different.
  3. The size of the organization. Do you want to work for a startup, a smaller organization, medium, large or global? 
  4. Who owns the organization. Stockholders, private yourself, we the people or no ownership.That’s nonprofits. 
  5. Location, both the geographic locale (country, state, city). Locale means metro, urban, suburban, rural or virtual. 
  6. The most important and the most overlooked element of the job is the environment you want to work in, the physical, cultural, leadership style, and more. It’s the environment that usually impacts our happiness on the job and it’s the one we do the least to prepare for, identify and verify.

Adopt the How can I help? attitude

Next,you need to adopt the “How can I help?” attitude. This involves stop saying stupid stuff, maintain your professional identity, and then look for people you can help.One woman described a job search as the most demeaning experience in her life. She said, I felt like I was standing on the corner holding a sign saying “Will work for food”. But it was worse than that. I had to chase the cars down the street shouting. “Pick me,pick me”.

Now,contrast that with Vick who is an aviation flight test engineer. When he adopted the “How can I help?” attitude, he said (two weeks into his job search) “I am having so much fun on this job search!”; two phrases that usually don’t go together. But because he was working to help people achieve their goals, he not only had fun, he had a great job paying 15 percent more in four and a half weeks of being laid off.

Ask questions to gather information about wants and needs

The third step is to gather information about wants and needs. Remember, you ask questions to identify the organization’s goals or challenges that  you can help them achieve or resolve. You do that in three ways:

  1.  Review the literature on their web site, annual reports, press releases, LinkedIn or professional association articles.
  2. Ask people general questions.These are the people who aren’t doing the job you want to do, but they work in organizations that may have do the work you do. Ask how the organization they work for does what you do, what they do well, and what the could do better. Also ask who else you could talk to gather more information.
  3. Ask people technical questions. Those are the people who are doing the job you want to do or related to it. These questions can be more detailed about projects, goals, and objectives they are trying to achieve; problems or challenges they are encountering; industry trends and news, software platforms and upgrades.

Prove you are the solution they need

 Once you’ve gathered the information and found those people who need and want help,your next task is to prove you are the solution they need. You prove this in phone calls, interviews, meetings, reconnecting after interviews/meetings, and in your written materials. Prove you are the solution they need because you can 1) do the job they want done, 2) you will fit into their team, and 3) you are going to be a great return on investment.

Provide specific examples (including #, $, %s) to prove you are the solution. We suggest 

  • Present your dessert tray of hobbies, civic service, education, work experience, words that describe you, and home run statements
  • Prepare 36 statements based on a ball diamond: 1st base=where you worked, 2nd base=what you did, 3rd=the results your work generated, and home plate=a question that applies the example to their organization (“Are those the results you want?”)
  • Reframe their thinking about your weaknesses or negatives
  • Ask questions to gather information to be able to answer the questions.

Make your 10s: 10 Contacts a day and 10 Meetings a week

Make your tens and that means 10 contacts a day, 10 face to face meetings a week. Remember, we’re not talking about only contacting job opportunities. We mean contacting people by phone:

  • 4-5 of the10 conversations you will ask the questions you’ve prepared to gather information
  • 2-3 of the 10 contacts will be to schedule face to face meetings
  • 2-3 will be to reconnect on prior context or meetings that you have already had.

The 10 face to face meetings a week will involve

  • 5-7 to gather information
  • 3-5 to impress decision makers you can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems

In a future blog, you will learn how you can find all 50 of these people just two hours each Monday:

  • 10 people from your phone or email contacts
  • 20 from your LinkedIn,Facebook, professional associations and directories
  • 10 following up on previous contacts for meetings
  •   7 from advertised job opportunities
  •   3 from other sources.

That’s 50 people a week,10 contacts a day. We know that this system works. We’re going to share successes on how it works. We hope you enjoy these blogs.

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Reusable Materials 42: Answers to A Few New Reusable Materials

Alan worked for a high tech firm programming visual graphic displays for corporate security systems. He maintained his skills through regular seminars and workshops sponsored by the vendors of the programs he used. He also decided to earn a master’s degree. He petitioned his company for an educational reimbursement. They agreed to cover 80% of each class depending on his grades. He added two scholarships that covered his books and lab fees, plus gave him extra money for food.

Q: What are the reusable materials you suggest we prepare?

A: For 8 years, we’ve taught you to prepare the following reusable materials:

  • Reusable application including answers to all application questions, lists of awards and transcripts, and themes with subcategories and home-run statements
  • 6-8 reusable essays that you can modify and adapt within 10 minutes
  • 5 reusable letters of recommendation from school, church, work, community and other leaders
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

In that time, we’ve added a few additional reusable materials you may consider preparing:

  • Reusable and completely customizable resume
  • Reusable and completely customizable cover letter
  • Reusable phone scripts for setting appointments and reconnecting with local committees

Q: Why would we need reusable resumes and cover letters?

A: Many local companies and service organizations sponsor scholarships. The small amount of the awards prevent the committees from investing in building online applications or screening tools. Therefore, they may ask for a resume or cover letter instead.

In addition, you may use a reusable cover letter and resume for school or employment applications. Your reusable resume and cover letter use the same home-run statements as you prepared for your master application. You may copy and paste them into the body of the cover letter or summary of your resume.

Q: Why would I need a phone script for scholarships?

A: Local scholarship committees frequently talk to recipients as part of the award process. Scripts help you effectively communicate your value and why you deserve the scholarship.

Saturday we share several tips for enhancing your qualifications for scholarships

This blog will improve as you submit comments, questions, and experiences. We will answer your questions in future blog posts. Please submit your comments and questions so we can answer them.

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Sources of Money 43: Government Finance Officers Association

[Logo-GFOA2.jpg]Wendy needed more money to get through school. She singed a contract to attend a proprietary, for-profit school to study nursing. She needed $35,000 for her Associates Program. She used our program to find scholarships through search engines, financial aid counselors at the college, and scholarship books. Unfortunately, the more she looked, the more she discovered that students at proprietary, for-profit schools did not qualify for hardly any scholarship money. She also discovered that the contract indicated she had to pay for the schooling even if she did not attend.

Characteristics of Government Finance Officers Association

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) sponsors a couple of scholarships. They include

  • Frank L. Greathouse Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to two undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in full-time study preparing for a career in state and local government finance. They award the scholarship at the annual conference
    • Qualifications: The web site says “Students must be currently a full-time student in an undergraduate or graduate accounting program that prepares students for careers in state and local government finance. Undergraduate students must be in the process of completing at least their junior year by the time the scholarship is awarded. Application must include a recommendation from student’s academic advisor or chair of the accounting program. Student cannot be a past winner of a scholarship administered by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.”
  • The Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship is available for award to a full-time graduate student who is pursuing an advanced degree and is preparing for a career in state and local government finance.
    • Qualification: Criteria for Scholarship Award: Statement of proposed career plan in state and local government finance and proposed plan of graduate study. Plans to pursue a career in state or local government finance. Past academic record and work experience.- Strength of past coursework and present plan of study, as it relates to a career in the public sector

Thursday we answer questions about applying for scholarships with reusable applications

This blog will improve as you submit comments, questions, and experiences. We will answer your questions in future blog posts. Please submit your comments and questions so we can answer them.

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5 Steps to Scholarship Success–Overview

Hi, this is Lawrence D. “Larry” Stevenson. I began helping people find scholarships in 1994. Our team worked with 1,000s of students to help them earn $4,000 to $360,000 from scholarships.

It’s been a while since I wrote to this blog. I’m going to start adding to it more frequently. This blog will introduce you to the five steps to Scholarship Success.

  1. Find 60 to 155 scholarships that are perfect for you.
  2. Can you prove that you deserve the scholarships. (This is the power option). We’re going to help you prepare 36 statements to convince the scholarship committees you deserve the money.
  3. Solicit four to get five letters of recommendation that you can reuse over and over in your presentations.
  4. Prepare five to six reusable essays. That saves time, that you modify immediately.
  5. You apply for two to three scholarships each week in about 60 to 90 minutes.

Each blog in this series will cover one of the keys. You’ll learn how to

  • Find the scholarships using three sources: scholarship lists, scholarship search engines, and single sources.
  • You’ll be able to prepare those 36 statements that will say things like, “As chairman of our high school sub for Santa Committee, I supervise 26 students. We raised $12,000 and provided Christmas to 255 disadvantaged families.”
  • You will solicit four to five letters of recommendation from people who can recognize what you’ve done and speak specifically of your accomplishments.
  • You’ll write reusable essays and we’ll teach you how to take essays you’ve already written and turned them into essays that people want to use and will reward in scholarships.
  • Finally, with all of those reusable materials, you’ll start completing two to three applications each week and it’ll take you about 60 to 90 minutes to do all three each week.

We hope you enjoy the series and we ask that you leave us comments, especially as the money starts rolling in. We hope you enjoy it. Thank you.

Enroll in our free or paid online courses at

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Get a Promotion 9: Build an Internal Network of Contacts

networkThis continues our series on actions to help you get a promotion in your current company

We discussed the need to develop a network of contacts in a previous post. The focus, in that post, dealt with how a network helps you improve your productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality. This post explores how internal networks of contacts teach you the written and unwritten rules, and about the organizational structure.

How to Build Your Internal Network

You build your network by making friends in the company. Do not select your friends based on what you think they can do for you. Select people that you want to know more about.

Sarah and Jared Stewart teach 9 keys building relationships. I’d like to share just of few of their keys in this post:

  • Get out of the coliseum: avoid developing relationships for hoped for transaction
  • Learn, serve, grow: Learn about people so that you can find a way to serve them, so the relationship will grow
  • Just because: build relationships just because knowing people is good: not for some selfish purpose

The CIO Survival Guide authored by Karl D. Schubert offers this good advice:

  • Cultivate a broad network to exchange ideas and rally collaborative support
  • Stay in touch with people at all levels of your organization—vertically & horizontally
  • Continuously investigate what managers and others need from you and your team
  • Respect and openly acknowledge the individuals on your team
  • Adapt your interpersonal style to align with the strengths & shortcomings of others
  • Act to preserve relationships, even under difficult stress or heated emotions
  • Promote collaboration and remove obstacles to teamwork across the organization

What Your Network Can Teach You

EFinancialCareers posted “Building a network within your company can be as important to your success as developing contacts outside. But watch out: The wrong moves can sink you. Here’s how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

  • Assess Your Workplace Culture
  • Follow Company Guidelines
  • Keep Your Boss in the Loop
  • Stay Positive
  • Reciprocate
  • Don’t Be Pushy”

Monday we examine how studying the policies & procedures for the company helps you fit in

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Get a Promotion 8: Fit In the Organization—Find a Mentor

MentoringThis continue our series on actions that can help you get a promotion within the company

The first step to getting a promotion is doing the job management wants done—and more. The second step involves fitting into the work team or organization. Fitting in includes abiding by the written and unwritten rules, the organizational culture, and getting along with co-workers. A good mentor will help you learn what you need to fit in.

Traits of a Mentor

Mentor Scout defines “A mentor is a coach, guide, tutor, facilitator, councilor and trusted advisor. A mentor is someone willing to spend his or her time and expertise to guide the development of another person.” Mentors help you fit in.

The University of Washington published What is a Mentor?,

  • “A mentor may share with a mentee (or protégé) information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.
  • A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.
  • The mentor role may change as the needs of the mentee change.
  • Some mentoring relationships are part of structured programs that have specific expectations and guidelines: others are more informal.”

How to Find and Cultivate a Mentor

The American Psychological Association lists characteristics of effective mentoring to include “the ability and willingness to

  • value the mentee as a person;
  • develop mutual trust and respect;
  • maintain confidentiality;
  • listen both to what is being said and how it is being said;
  • help the mentee solve his or her own problem, rather than give direction;
  • focus on the mentee’s development and resist the urge to produce a clone.”

Lindsey Pollack authored Seek a Mentor on Wet She advises:

  • Seek a mentor in your existing network
  • Ask a focused and informed question about something you need to learn about the organization
  • Be specific about the kind of help you want
  • Meet any way you can
  • Ask your mentor to make you accountable

Friday we will discuss how to build an internal network and use it to get a promotion

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Get a Promotion 7: Chart Your Performance & Goals

3-line graphThis continues our series exploring actions that help you get a promotion on your job

Improving performance and reporting it to management helps you get the promotions you desire. You monitor your progress more effectively if you make a chart graphing your expected, targeted, and actual performance. A chart or graph visually communicates your improvements to you, your supervisors, and others.

What Should You Chart

Each job will measure something different. We discussed metrics in a previous post. Hopefully, you identified the important metrics for your job if you followed our suggestions.

You probably need to maintain multiple charts. First, you chart the metrics for each of the following measurement criteria:

  • Productivity metrics: how much you produce
  • Efficiency metrics: how much time, money, or materials do you use for production
  • Effectiveness metrics: how well does what you accomplish its intended purpose
  • Quality metrics: the degree of excellence or shoddiness of the performance

Second, you chart:

  • What management expects you to perform in each of the areas listed above
  • Your target to exceed what management expects
  • Your actual performance for each of the metrics identified

How to Make Your Charts

Several methods of making charts exist:

  • Manual graphs: you can use graph paper to manually make a chart
  • Google Spreadsheets: you can graph your metrics for free using Google documents
  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheet: you must buy MS Excel to graph performance this way

A line graph will display your metrics better than a bar or other type of chart. You create a separate graph for each metric because each graph will chart three measurements.

The details of your graph will include:

  •  Time (days, weeks, or months) along the bottom line of the graph
  • Performance metrics along the vertical or left side of the graph
    • One row (line) of the table will contain expected performance data
    • Another row (line) of the table will contain data of your goals
    • Final row (line) of the table will contain your actual data performance
  • Data labels if you wish

Wednesday we begin to explore the next step in getting a promotion—fit into the organization

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Get a Promotion 6: How to Improve Your Performance

people and puzzlesThis continues our series about actions that may help you get a promotion at work

When you begin to exceed the company’s expectations, you move toward a promotion. You must decide what you wish to improve: your productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, or quality of your work. You must also decide how you will improve your performance. Fortunately, you do not have to decide on your own. Your mentor and network of contacts within and outside the company may help you brainstorm ideas and develop your plan of action.

Incorporate Others in Developing Your Plan

Several people can help you improve your performance. They each assist you in different ways:

  • Your supervisor can help you understand why the company does things the way they do it. He or she can explain any restrictions, guidelines, or ideas for improvement
  • Your mentor can nurture you, guide you, and brainstorm ideas on how to improve within the corporate culture. Your mentor can also introduce you to others that can help you improve.
  • Your internal network of contacts can help you get your work done more efficiently and effectively. For example your contacts in,
    • Purchasing may teach you how to order your material more efficiently
    • Clerical staff can make your written materials clearer & more accurate
    • Operations can show you the better products to promote
    • Shipping can help you understand how to prepare your orders better
  • The Internet shares best practices, benchmarks, articles, and ideas for improving performance. You move forward when you spend 30 minutes 2-3 times a week studying
  • Your Vendors can help you reduce costs, find discounts, and improve work
  • Your professional or trade associations can share best practices from others doing the same work

Deciding What to Do

Your research and discussion will probably generate a multitude of ideas for improving your performance on the job. Eventually, you must select 1-3 specific actions. I suggest you use the Proact model to guide your decisions:

  • PRoblem: describe it
  • Objectives: what are they
  • Alternative actions: to consider
  • Tradeoffs: weighted to prioritize

Monday we will explore how charting expectations, goals & actual performance will help

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Get a Promotion 5: What to Improve in Your Performance

PEEQ ImprovementsThis continues our series describing actions that can get you a promotion at work

We’ve described how to get a promotion you must 1) discover exactly what they want you to do—and more, 2) identify the metrics you or they will use to measure you performance, and 3) translate the value of your improvements to dollars or percentages. Today, we examine what to improve. You begin to qualify for promotions when you improve the productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, or quality of your work or those you manage. You may focus on one area or strive to improve in all four areas. You must, however, show progress to qualify for promotions.

Improve Productivity

Productivity measures the quantity of work you do. You improve productivity by increasing the number of what you do. For example:

  • Sales representatives or clerks sell more product than they sold
  • Assembly workers make more product
  • Customer service clerks handle more calls per hour than before
  • Data entry or accounting clerks process more transactions per hour

Verify that doing more will not create problems: too much product, sell more than you can deliver, or bottleneck the next step in the process.

Improve Efficiency

Efficiency measures the resources you use to complete the task. Most business owners seek to increase efficiency.  For example:

  • Use less time, money, raw materials, equipment, facilities, and other costs. 
  • Do it faster & cheaper as measured by time or cost per unit or shortened sales cycle

Improve Effectiveness

Effectiveness measures how well your work accomplishes it’s purpose. Increasing productivity or efficiency mean little if you do not accomplish your purpose. For example:

  • Making more sales calls in less time means nothing if you did not sell anything
  • Processing accounts payables in less time means nothing if the bills don’t get paid

Improve Quality

Measures the degree of excellence of your work. For example:

  • Manufacturing measures acceptable versus rejected parts per standards
  • Accounting and clerical staff measure accuracy of work produced
  • Attorneys and judges measure how many cases are appealed or overturned

Friday we will explore how you can improve your performance to get a promotion

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